Quick Christmas decorating project and poinsettia ornaments

Need a quick way to decorate your home for the holidays? If you have leftover wrapping paper and a few frames, you can put together fun Christmas decorations to set around your home.

Remember the wrapping paper frames that are sitting on our kitchen island?

With a quick change of the wrapping paper, we have Christmas frames sitting on our island.

You can change the paper throughout the year for different holiday decorations. If you receive a gift wrapped in beautiful paper and you can’t bring yourself to throw it away, why not use it in a picture frame?These frames are great to put in bathrooms and guests rooms. They are a nice holiday touch without taking the time to decorate every room in your house.

I love this project because it took me around 15 minutes this morning to switch out the wrapping paper in the frames. If you would like to read more about my wrapping paper frame project, visit my earlier blog post here. 

And if you’re looking for a few inexpensive Christmas ornaments, you can make Christmas poinsettia ornaments.

First, cut a paper towel or toilet paper roll into 3/4 inch strips.

Next, take each strip and use your fingers to pinch the ends. Holding each end, push toward the center of the strip to create the poinsettia petals. If not, they will look more like daisies as seen above.

Next, lay out four strips and put them together in a star pattern and then take another four strips and cut slits on each side of the strip. With the four slit strips, hook the strips together until you have a finished flowers that look like this:

There should be four petals on the bottom and four on the top.

If you would like to add the centers to the poinsettia, you can use Q-tips cut in half, or you can leave the flowers as is. Finally, spray paint your flowers in your choice of color. I chose a deep red because I love red poinsettia.

Once your poinsettia are dry, you can hang them on your tree with string! I used the flowers above to make a recycled wreath for an office competition. It’s a great way to repurpose paper towel rolls.

Happy Decorating!

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A year in the making…

One year ago, after a trip to Home Depot, we taped a blue paint chip to our wall. And that paint chip stayed there for a year.

Friends and family came and stayed at our house and still the paint chip stayed on the wall.

Until last weekend, the paint chip seemed like a part of our wall. We even joked that we would go back to Home Depot and get enough paint chips to cover the entire wall. Finally, last weekend we went to Home Depot and bought a gallon of paint instead. After a year of living with our paint chip, we decided to take the leap and paint the wall.

So below is our paint of choice for this project. It’s Behr Premium Plus Interior Eggshell Enamel. We like eggshell paint because it is more durable than a flat, but doesn’t give off any sheen. Our color of choice: Glass Sapphire. The paint chip was actually for paint that included primer. Since our walls were already a light color, we chose to go with the regular interior paint. Because we went for the non-primer paint, they had to color match our chip, which sounds funny, but it turned out perfect.

On Sunday morning we got up, ate some breakfast, prepped the paint brushes and rollers and sanded the rough spots in the wall. After we sanded the wall, we wiped it down with a dry cloth.

While we prepped the brushes, rollers and the wall, Zoey came to inspect the paint supplies and supervise.

And to help BJ tape the trim.

After we put the kitten upstairs to enjoy lounging on our bed while we were busy working, we finished taping the trim, laying all the drop cloths, ate some lunch and then painted. So here is the wall sans blue paint:

Then the first coat went on:

And as the sun set Sunday evening, we ate some dinner then painted the second coat and wrapped up our painting project.

We waited over 24 hours before we hung the decorations and curtains back on the wall. After two days, our wall was finished and looked great.

So now the moment you’ve been waiting for: the before and after (from slightly different angles).

Before:

After:

After one year in the making, our big blue accent wall is complete!

Curtains = Cat Beds

Did you know that curtains can also double as cat beds? Zoey certainly thinks they can. Normally when I’m working in my office, Zoey can either be found laying in my lap or the desk by my feet. The other day, she was no where to be found. That is, until I looked behind the curtains to find a sleeping kitten:

I’ll admit it was a little chilly last week, but I didn’t think it would be cold enough for Zoey to seek warmth in the curtains. Maybe she is just getting herself ready for the winter months. It was really cute to see her all snuggled up in the curtains. I wish I could’ve gotten a picture of when she was sleeping on the other side of the room on top of the curtains.

Here is Zoey all tucked in her new curtain bed.

To give you some perspective, I have one curtain panel hung on each window of my office and then the curtain is draped over a hook. Zoey was laying in the part of the curtains that gathered on the floor.


S
o aside from finding sleeping kittens in our curtains, BJ and I have been busy working on projects around the house.

Here is a sneak peek of some upcoming posts about our projects.

The blue paint is finally on the wall! Remember the paint chip that we taped on our wall nearly one year ago:

Well, we finally finished the wall!

Over the weekend, I learned a very valuable lesson about gardening. Do not put off cleaning your flowers beds and then spend all day working on them. You will wake up the next morning with sore muscles you didn’t even know you had. My hat goes off to professional landscapers. I’m still beat from spending all day weeding, trimming flowers and bushes and pulling out unwanted sticker bushes. And there is still more to do.

The before:

It’s already been a busy October and there is still more month ahead!

Fall project rewind

It’s been over a year since we moved into our house and we’ve already tackled a few big projects on our list.

Here is a recap of what we’ve accomplished:

1. Staining the stairs and railing
2. The kitchen island
3. Painting accent walls in the office and dining room

Not to mention all the painting we did before we moved in. Or all the smaller projects we’ve done. One thing that I’ve learned is that regardless of whether your house is one or 100, there are always projects to do. But I’m loving every minute of it. One of my favorite home improvement projects that we’ve done to date is the staining project on our railing and stairs. While we were building our house, we participated in the builder’s sweat equity program. Since we painted the entire house, they took some money off of the final cost. Nice deal, right? Well, it was a lot of painting. One thing we negotiated after seeing the quality of the wood spindles they were putting in, is that we would wait until after we moved in to paint them. This would allow us to stain them instead of painting them the standard white like the trim.  Because the wood was in good shape, it seemed like a shame just to paint it white… so we didn’t! Instead, we stained it a beautiful cherry!

When we first moved in, the wood looked like this:

We moved into the house in the summer and between the hot weather, getting married and our honeymoon there wasn’t much time for house projects. I also spent a great deal of time outside in the front yard planting flowers to boost our curb appeal. Once October came, it finally cooled down enough to work inside with the windows open. And that’s when we got our stain on.

Instead of doing the traditional three-step stain process, we tried the PolyShades from Minwax. Although it was fewer steps, it was more like painting and less like staining. This isn’t as easy as it sounds when you are staining spindles. The stain dries faster than you can get it all on there. You have to work a little faster to get the stain on without creating light and dark spots. Because you do not wipe the stain off after you apply, there isn’t much room for error. But all in all, it turned out pretty well and the stairs and railing look great.

We started the project by sanding the wood (my job) and the pre-stain. Here is my beautiful sanding job on the downstairs railing by the kitchen.

And here’s BJ starting the pre-stain.

After the pre-stain dried, we applied the PolyShades. The main difference between PolyShades and traditional stain is that PolyShades is polyurethane and stain mixed together. You only need one coat of the top coat to finish! No sealing required.

Now the only thing left to do is fill in the nail holes! Because they are not really noticeable, we’ve been filling them in as we have time. I finished the railing by the kitchen, so now we just need to finish the upstairs railing.

It’s been almost a year since we stained the stairs and railing and I’m still so pleased with how it turned out!

As I mentioned in the last post, up next is painting the accent wall in the kitchen and living room and crown molding!

Shelves and new projects

The shelves are up and the wait is over!

As I posted a few weeks ago, there is a large purple wall in my office that was a blank canvas. Originally, I wanted to hang a photo collage on the wall. But after looking at photos of other home offices and thinking about it, I decided I wanted to do shelves. Before I found the floating shelves at Ikea, we were going to make our own. I would’ve been a lot of fun to make our own, but the Ikea shelves turned out really well.

Remember the blank purple wall:

And our fabulous find at Ikea. Floating shelves!

Prior to the shelf install, my rendering of what the wall would look like included three white shelves. After some thought and measurements, I decided  on two shelves for now. I can always add a third which would be lower to the ground.

Putting up the new wall decor was more difficult than I thought. The shelves came with metal braces to hold them on the wall and then you put the shelves on to the metal braces and screw them into place. Seems simple, right?  The truth is, it was not easy to measure, level and hold the brace with only two people. The brace was flimsy and I couldn’t keep it still.

One of the issues we ran into was the lack of studs in the wall. So our solution was to use anchors to make sure the shelves are stable and we do not wake up one night to the sound of everything crashing in the office. Those little white holes in the wall are anchors. They look like big white plastic screws with holes where the smaller metal screw goes. Evidently those little suckers can hold up to 75 lbs!!!

After we got one shelf up on the wall, we used it to measure where we were going to put the second shelf. We used a very sophisticated method: Post-it notes. Hey, it worked! The fancy red arrow on the wall is our Post-it. Now BJ can no longer tease me for having millions of them (another post for another time). In time of need, the Post-its came though.

Here is the finished product with both shelves on the wall.

And thanks to the anchors, even with the decorations, they are still solid! (I always worry)

Now I just need to do some rearranging, hang some more pictures and my office will be complete! For now 🙂

With the temperatures outside cooling off, BJ and I are getting into home improvement project mode. There is a wall in our kitchen/living room that we are planning to paint blue as an accent wall. In a few weeks, we can finally start painting. It’s been too warm to open up the windows while we paint. We are also going to put up crown molding in the living room and kitchen to hide some wires from our ceiling speaker install. It’s going to be a busy fall for us! Here is a preview of our upcoming projects:

Painting the accent wall:

And crown molding to cover our speaker wire:

Have a great Sunday everyone!