Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How to Decorate for Christmas During a Spending Fast

Welcome to my Christmas "mini home tour".  I hesitate to call it a tour because I'm not an over the top holiday decorator. I don't have the energy to decorate for something that will only be up for a month.  I keep it simple and affordable.  This year I'm in the midst of a spending fast, so I came up with a few new creations using materials I already had at home.

I made this garland from pine cones my daughter gathered in our backyard.  After screwing eye hooks into the top of each cone, I threaded them with twine and tied a knot to secure.
Every year I like to wrap a few "faux gifts" from my recycling bin.  I found two nicely shaped boxes and covered them in leftover wrapping paper.  

I like to use things I already have to add in punches of color.  They aren't Christmas decorations, but the red in my scarf and my daughter's outgrown boots make the hall tree look festive.  In place of my usual bouquet, I have a few pine cones resting on a tray.  This year, I decided to make a Christmas "wreath" around the mirror with all the pretty cards I receive.  Definitely a tradition I will continue.

I love this fake treeI'm a real tree girl at heart, but the benefits of a fake tree are undeniable.  1.I can get it out the week of Thanksgiving and not worry about it drying up before Christmas.  2.It's already paid for, so no repeat expense at an already expensive time of year. 3.The branches are malleable, so I can easily manipulate them into the position I need for hanging ornaments.  4.It's pre-lit! 5.No watering=no spills on my laminate flooring, which is the original reason I switched to an artificial tree.

Another pine cone project.  I tied them together with string and then attached them to the chandelier.  I learned that pine cones slip very easily from string and this design isn't really sustainable.  It was very difficult to keep the garland together and it will fall apart when I take it down, so no reusing next year.  Wire or eye hooks would be much better.

I made this Advent calendar last year with craft paper envelopes, scraps of paper and string, and an old frame.  My daughter had the wonderful idea of filling the envelopes with little verses and sayings to be read each night at dinner.  I love her heart.  P.S. I didn't grow up with this tradition and found out after making it, that it's only supposed to go to 24. Oh, well. I like the 25th envelope too much not to use it.  As my daughter said, "it's our calendar and we can make it how we want it."

Little tinsel wreath.  Super easy to make, again with help from your recycling bin.  Find a scrap piece of cardboard. (I used a cereal box.)  Draw a circle and then a smaller one inside. (hint: find something to trace.  I used two jar lids.)  Cut out your wreath base.  Then tape a piece of tinsel ribbon at your starting point and wrap it around until the cardboard is covered.  Tuck in the end and hang with a piece of baker's twine or other ribbon.

Easy easy way to use something you already have and tailor it toward the current holiday/season/event.  This is my chalkboard door adorned with scripture and drawings for Christmas.

Another recycled wreath wrapped in fuzzy wired ribbon and hung with a left over scrap of gold ribbon.

This little nativity scene has been pieced together from two different sets that I found while thrifting.  They are hanging out on an old brass plate and baby Jesus is lying in an abandoned mussel shell, a treasure we found in the White River last summer.  And of course, more pine cones in an awesome vintage ceramic dish.

My favorite handmade decoration this year was created from supplies you probably already have in your kitchen: an old school salt dough star garland.  You can find the basic recipe here.
Before baking poke a hole in the ornament for hanging.  When cool, use a paint brush to coat with Modge Podge and sprinkle with glitter.  Apply a second coat of Modge Podge over the glitter to seal.  Wait until the top coat is completely clear before stringing.  Use baker's twine to hang.  Thread through the hole, then tie a knot on one side of the star's top point.  This will allow the star to hang so that the front side is facing forward.

So, there you have it.  I hope this gives you inspiration to decorate your own home this season.  Merry Christmas!

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