Hi Friends! I can’t believe there are only 6 more weeks until Christmas! It’s right about now that my husband starts asking me what I would like and I always struggle a bit with an answer. I’m not into jewelry and I’m certainly no clothes horse because I work from home and I’m in my sweats most days. I don’t like to cook so I can’t even ask for new pots and pans. Other than a bottle of cinnamon whiskey, or maybe new furniture ;), I’m stumped.
So what do you get the girl who likes to craft, create, paint and even build stuff? Here’s my gift guide with some of the things that I would suggest (and may ask for myself) for the beginner DIY DIVA.
This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.
A quality glue gun
These come in handy for so many different types of projects! You can check out some of my projects where I used one HERE. No, they are not all created equal.
It’s worth spending a little extra for one that will last longer.
2. Safety first
A good pair of safety glasses, a mask and rubber gloves can save the day. From stripping furniture and sanding to staining, make sure to protect your skin and eyes. Put it all in a gift basket with a gift card to her favorite craft/supply store and she’ll be thrilled!
3. A palm sander
I’ve used this on all of my furniture makeovers and if you’re doing any type of furniture flip/paint project, you need one of these. They’re easy to maneuver, can be used to help remove stubborn layers of paint as well as smooth surfaces to get them ready for new paint or stain.
4. Cricut Machine
This I am asking for. 🙂 Full disclosure, I’ve never used one but I’m looking forward to trying something new. You can make so many things with these but mostly I want to make signs with different fonts and shapes. The possibilities are endless.
5. Your own tool bag. (and it helps if it’s FULL of tools!)
My husband got this for me for Christmas a few years ago. MY VERY OWN TOOL BAG, yay! I don’t have to go pawing through the basement to look for anything. It has EVERYTHING you would need for a small project including a tape measure, hammer, screw drivers and pliers. It’s perfect for hanging pictures and signs, building a small shelf, making a wreath, or any number of other projects. I especially love the plastic container for all of my fasteners, screws and anchors. Everything is all on one place.
6. A cutting mat
The best way to protect the surface of your table while cutting with an Exacto knife is with this cutting mat. It’s great for when I’m cutting scrap book paper for projects or fabric.
7. A cordless drill/driver
Whether it’s hanging one picture, creating an entire gallery or taking hardware on and off a piece of furniture, you’ll need one of these for a ton of projects.
8. Stud finder
If you’re hanging a heavy picture or a shelf, you’ll need one of these. It helps locate the studs in the wall so you know where (or not) to hang something on the wall. It could save you a lot of time spackling and repainting. 🙂
9. Laser level
This comes in handy especially if you are working by yourself or if your measuring large spaces.
10. Quality angled paint brush
Again, it’s worth spending the money on one that will last. I keep a some on hand for paint and some for stain.
Books should be on every gift guide and home improvement, craft or how-to books would be great for new ideas and inspiration as well as instructions on new projects. My husband got me the Magnolia Story last Christmas and it was a nice surprise.
Tip: He said the one thing he wished he had done was to write something in it for encouragement. I probably would have cried. 🙂
I love my plastic bins. I sort everything out so I know where it is by category. I.E. craft paints, stamps, picture hanging supplies, paint brushes, scrapbook paper etc. It’s great to have it all in one place when you need it.
14. Gift cards to her favorite stores 🙂
No gift guide would be complete without these. Whether it’s Michaels, Target, Home Depot or Lowe’s, she’ll be sure to find something she loves.
So whether you’re trying to give friends and family some ideas for Christmas gifts for you or you need something for the DIY Diva in your life, these are the things that I find the most helpful since I started DIY projects. Now, I’m off to update my Christmas list.
Happy Holidays to you and your family from all of us at Life on Kaydeross Creek!!
Hey everyone! I know it’s still early but once the cold weather hits, I’m just ready to decorate for the Holidays! I started thinking about decorating the front porch and I’d like to do something different this year. You know, think out side the wreath 🙂 So today I am sharing 20 alternatives to a wreath for your front door for Fall and Winter. Let’s get creative, shall we??
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. See my full disclosure here.
Make something unique with an inexpensive or even a thrift store frame. I love the chicken wire.
I love all of these ideas! I’m definitely inspired to do something different this year. I hope you are too. If you have decorated with something other than a wreath in the past or plan on using something unique for your front door this year, I would love to see it!
Today I’m sharing 20 ways to Decorate for Christmas on a Budget. If you’ve been to my blog before, you know that I’m all about saving money on my projects for my home and it’s the same when it comes to decorating for Christmas, or any holiday. The thing is, and I can’t stress this enough, is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have to build your holiday decor stash and it takes some time, energy and planning. Here’s how to do it without spending a fortune…
Start shopping early. When I say early, I mean early, like the day/week after Christmas early. There are tons of sales out there but it will take some effort to dig through the messy piles of what is left over and the crowds of people. Look for things that have good bones and that go with your color scheme (more on that later). Don’t buy stuff that is so different from what you already have because no matter how cheap it is, you may not use it if it throws off your entire groove. What I mean is, if your decor is all red and green and has a woodland theme, don’t buy a blue metallic candlestick holder just because oh, it’s so shiny and pretty and it’s only a couple of bucks. Unless you are prepared to switch gears and go that route, put the candlestick holder down, walk away or it will end up shoved in the back of a shelf in the basement and money wasted.
This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.
2. Shop early some more. Shop garage sales in the summer. Keep your head in the game even if the game isn’t for another 5 months. I’ve found some great stuff at garage sales including faux trees, ornaments, wreaths, leftover bows/wrapping paper, dishes, you name it. Don’t just look for Christmas specifically. look for other things you could use for Christmas decor like candlestick holders, lanterns and trays. Imagine if they were updated with paint or other embellishments for Christmas. You can see more of my money saving garage sale tips here.
3. Shop thrift stores. Remember to shop often for the best deals because you don’t know what will be there from one day to the next. Keep an open mind, too. For example, if you see a grapevine wreath, it may not be a “Christmas” wreath necessarily but if you added some greens and pine cones from your yard, it would be. How about ornaments that you could paint or add stickers to or ribbon? How about solid red dishes, silver trays or white candles? These things aren’t specifically Christmas but can be used to create a cohesive Holiday look. How about white dishes?? Here is a great project with white plates from Thistlewood Farm. Add a stencil and some hangers and you’re good to go…
4. Utilize old decorations you may have outgrown. Don’t throw it out, upcycle it. You have an old centerpiece that just isn’t you anymore. Take out the pieces you do like from it and combine them with that grapevine wreath I mentioned above for a new piece. Or you have a small piece of ribbon left over that’s too small to wrap a gift. Why not wrap it around a white candle or mason jar for something new? Take out your stuff and re-think the way you have used it before or create something new from it.
5. Shop at Discount stores. There’s always HomeGoods and TJ Maxx but Walmart and Target both have great stuff, too. Try to wait for a sale. You can save even more money with Target’s Cartwheel discount app and also %5 off with their debit card program. Sign up for emails to get a heads up on sales so you can plan ahead. Don’t forget the Dollar Store! Check out some of these Christmas decor projects from Dollar Store finds here.
6. Use coupons. I rarely ever buy anything full price. Micheals, Hobby Lobby and AC Moore. always have sales and/or coupons and have great rewards programs as well. Sign up for emails and they’ll also send you coupons. I just scored huge at Hobby Lobby with 80% off Fall/Halloween decor this week and 50% off Christmas stuff.
7. Bring the outdoors in. Comb through your yard for pine branches, pine cones, acorns (make sure you prepare these to get the bugs out. You can see how to do that here.) etc. If you don’t have any in your yard, as a friend, neighbor or relative.
8. Keep your color scheme simple and stick to it. Choose 2-3 colors and it makes it easier to mix and match from room to room and year to year. You’ll also always know what to look for when you are on your “hunts”.
9. Use your everyday things. White dishes mixed with a few red ornaments goes a long way. Put some faux greens in a crock on top of a cutting board for an easy vignette. “Shop” the other rooms in your home and see what you have that may work with your color scheme.
10. Get back to basics – Simple popcorn strings or round paper chains, popsicle stick ornaments, Vintage and “old fashioned” are back! Get the kids involved and make it a family project.
11. Craft-o-maniac. Make it yourself. – There are thousands of things on Pinterest that you can make yourself. You just have to be careful not to take on too much and that the cost of the supplies is not more than what you can buy it for. 🙂
You can see one of my favorite projects, framed Jingle, Bells lyrics here.
*You can find some great posts on Christmas crafts here.
12. Free Printables. This one’s my favorite! There are so many of these out there now and they are just so darn cute. Simply print and frame in an inexpensive frame. (which you should also look for at those garage sales) Here is a link to some really cute & free printables from Country Living.
I printed these two from on line and put them in inexpensive frames:
*You can also frame pretty scrapbook paper, pieces of leftover fabric, wrapping paper and the front of cards you received last year.
13. Paint it. Have some old candlestick holders you’ve outgrown? Grab a $3.50 can of (red, green, gold, silver etc. ) spray paint and give them a Christmas makeover. Add some ribbon and your set. You could also use that same can of spray paint on an old cookie tin or an old tray or even one from the dollar store. Always think beyond what it is to what it could be. Here is a great post from Listotic.com on how to spray paint all different kinds of things and transform them into something different.
14. Make your own throw pillows. I’ve made a few of these out of shirts I have picked up at the Salvation Army. I’ve also seen them made from kitchen towels or old sweaters. Don’t worry, no sewing necessary. Use fabric glue. You can see my post here.
15. Use extra mini white lights – These can be purchase at Walmart for less than $5 for a strand and are another great bang for your buck. Use them on a your mantle, on shelf, in a crate, in a bowl or tray for a centerpiece. The soft light just adds something magical to the holidays and is a great way to decorate for Christmas on a budget.
16. Use candles. These can be picked up at discount stores and even at thrift stores. It’s a great bang for your buck because not only do candles add so much warmth and feeling to a room, they can add color and texture, too especially when you use them in groups. Don’t forget about that wonderful scent, too. Check out Hometalk for some great ideas on how to update candles. I wrapped the candles in the picture below with scrapbook paper that had Christmas music lyrics on it.
17. Use Chalkboards – these are great because you probably already have one and use it everyday. Use it to decorate for Christmas (Christmas- ify it) just by changing up the picture you draw on it to a tree or wreath and hanging some ribbon or some greens around the corners. Here are some great examples from Clean & Scentsible.
18. Decorate with books and book pages. You may have an old box of books in your basement or you can find inexpensive books at thrift stores and garage sales (add that to your hunt list) Here are some great ways to utilize the books and/or their pages from BookBub Blog.
19. Swap items with friends. Maybe your not into that gold wreath anymore but your friend is or you have too many red ornaments and she has too many green. Work something out to swap some stuff and you both can breath new life into your collection.
20. Take care of what you do have. Keep your stuff stored carefully in the off season.Wrap delicate items in paper. I re-use the plastic bags from the grocery store to cushion the bottom of the plastic bin . It’s a great way to recycle them and helps keep breakables safe. I label each bin on the outside by taping a plastic sleeve to it and inserting a piece of paper with what is inside so I can find things easier when I go to decorate next time.
So there you have it. Start early, make a plan and stick to it and you’ll have a beautifully decorated home for the Holidays that doesn’t break the bank. Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you’ll visit again to check out my full Christmas home tour coming in a couple of weeks where I’ll share some of the ways I use these ideas to decorate my home.
You can find my Christmas Home Tours from last year HERE and HERE.
I don’t know about you, but in our house, the kids are so excited about Santa coming that it’s all about the countdown to Christmas now! I’m so glad you’re here today because I’m sharing my latest project to help the kids keep track of exactly how many more sleeps they have until Santa makes his magical visit. It’s also one of my favorite kind of projects, the budget friendly, trash to treasure kind, and it’s also part of a Holiday version of a trash to treasure blog hop with some other lovely bloggers sharing their projects as well.
My project started when I picked up this little gem at a thrift store over the summer for the unbelievable price of only $1. Lucky for me, I think they were just inundated with stuff and were trying to get rid of it. It’s not something that I would use “as is” but I liked the chalkboard part and shape and thought I could use it in a some way so I tucked it away for a future project.
I started by giving it a really good sanding with the palm sander to remove the letters at the top and the shiny layer on the wood. Then I painted it with creamy white chalk paint made with plaster of Paris. I used almost a dry brush technique (not a lot of paint on the brush) because I wanted it to be a bit muted and rustic.
The chalkboard was in decent shape but the person who had it before used some kind of industrial strength chalk and I couldn’t get it off completely so I gave it another coat of chalkboard paint using a foam brush. The foam brush leaves a more smooth finish than a regular brush. Luckily, the back came off and it was SO much easier to do this than I thought.
When the chalkboard paint was dry it seemed like it was missing something so I decided to paint a stripe around the edge. I used painters tape to make lines around the sides to add some interest to the center and give it some color.
I also wanted to cover up the little “chef” on the end so I used a piece of scrapbook paper that would match the red of the lines and eventually the color I would use for the wording. I placed the paper on the board and gently bent it around the edges so I would know where to cut it. I cut out the shape and used spray adhesive to adhere it.
So far, so good. Now on to the countdown part. I used a stencil to add the “Days til Christmas” on the top. To keep it straight I used a ruler to make a faint pencil line evenly across the bottom. I highly recommend this so you don’t get half way through and realize the entire thing is slanted. Not that it happened to me, just sayin’. It’s a good thing the paint didn’t dry very fast. 🙂
So I stenciled the “Days til Christmas” on and forgot to take the picture as I was doing it, sorry. Anyhoo, it seemed too clean and new when I put it all back together. Since I really wanted to this piece to have an antique feel, I used the palm sander around the entire piece to let some of the raw wood show through and then applied Distress ink with a clean cotton rag over the entire thing to get a warn, antique-y feel.
You need chalk if you are going to record the number of days so I tied a piece of chalk to the back with twine and for a bit more embellishment added the wooden stars to the end in front of the scrapbook paper.
So that’s it. Super cute and fairly easy to do and definitely budget friendly! Please check out the other lovely bloggers to get some inspiration for other Christmas trash to treasure projects below.
Thanks again for stopping by. How do you countdown to Christmas?
This Hot Cocoa Bar has to be one of my favorite projects on Kaydeross Creek. It may be the winter that never was up here in the Northeast but that didn’t stop me. By this time in February, we usually have a couple of feet of snow on the ground not a couple of inches. I mean, come on, if it has to be cold, shouldn’t we at least get some snow to have to play in and enjoy, right? I shouldn’t complain, I know. What we do have, though, is cold and what goes great with cold weather?? Hot cocoa of course!! So we built an Adirondack Hot Cocoa Bar! This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, see my disclosure here.
I’m especially excited this year to have a special place to sip it! A few months ago we built a lean to on the other side of the bridge where we could hang out with the family outside and enjoy a nice fire…
What better place to sit and enjoy some hot cocoa than around that fire! So Hubby built a bar for me out out there from tree branches and rough saw pine.
From there, we set it up with all of the things that make hot cocoa yummy. Marshmallows, peppermint, peanut butter chips and caramel to name a few. We even have something for the grown ups. 🙂
For the fixins, I picked up these jars at Walmart for like $4 each.
I made the labels for the jars from cereal box cardboard and scrapbook paper much like I made the Valentine’s Day banner. I drew out a pattern in a shape that I wanted and then traced it out on the box…
Then I traced the same shape on the scrapbook paper and glued them on both the front and back of the cardboard…
I stenciled individual letters on white Avery labels and placed them on the snowflake tags. There you have it, cute little labels that cost pennies to make. I hole- punched it and added the twine to hang it around the jars. No time to make your own, you can get similar labels here.
I LOVE stencils! I made all of the signs that are hanging on the wall using stencils and old scrap wood we have from other projects. The wood on the Hot Cocoa sign is the same wood I used on the deer head mounted to the right and the Farmers Market sign in my dining room. It came from the floor in my Dad’s old shop. I love the aged color!
If you’d like similar products to create your own Hot Cocoa Bar:
The kids are so excited to hang out by the fire and make their cocoa and Mommy’s pretty psyched too! I can also see it as a Hot Cider bar in the Fall and Lemonade Bar in the summer. Maybe an adult beverage bar one day?? Lots of possibilities!
Is a hot cocoa bar on your to-do list this winter? Do you have a favorite place you like to hang out with family and friends?
I truly believe that creating a warm, inviting home that is uniquely yours means decorating with collected pieces that mean something to you and that have a story behind them. I think it’s so cool when you can walk through your home and point to things and say things like we got that on this trip or that vanity belonged to my grandmother…
Or, my father found this butcher block in his friends barn. It was actually used for it’s intended purpose and was a mess when he brought it to me. He knew I would love it and it cleaned up great. We’ve had it for 20 years…
The hardware on this barn door came from the barn at our first house…
I love stories like these so today I’d like to share a new story with you.
Last week my husband and I stopped in to some of the very cute little antique shops in our town. I wasn’t really looking for anything specifically but was, instead, hoping for something to speak to me. As we walked through one store I spotted a really cool old sled. It was very beat up but nothing that I had ever seen before. It had a box on the back and curly rod iron rails on the front. I stopped and looked and said to my husband “what do you think of this?” His response was “what are you going to do with that?”
“I don’t know but it’s really cool. It will look so good at Christmas by the tree”. He replied “But what will do you do with it the rest of the year?” He continued walking.
I didn’t have an answer for that so I hesitated for a moment and then we went on our merry way. It turned out it was not so merry for me because all I could think about was the sled for the next 4 days.
So finally I had enough of thinking and decided I wanted to buy the sled. I called the shop and asked if it was there. I waited while the person on the phone went and checked. She came back a moment later. “Do you mean the sled with the box on the top?”
“Yes” I said excitedly.
“I sold it on Sunday.”
Heartbroken. “Son of a Biscuit!!” I yelled in her ear to which her response was “have a nice day”.
So I called my husband all full of regret and sadness and told him I was upset. I should have bought it I said! I’m so mad at myself. He said there would be other sleds. Maybe, but not like that one.
I know what you are thinking here. Seriously?? It’s just a sled and in the grand scheme of things is it that big of a deal? You are absolutely right, it’s not.
My husband knows me so well. I never really ask for anything or complain so when I got upset he knew I was disappointed. He called me later and asked if I was still mad. I told him yes and before I could say anything else he said “Col, it was me. It was me who bought the sled. I bought it for you for Valentines Day.”
WHAT??? YOU DID??? How??? Aawwwwww, REEAAAALLYYYYY??? You did?
He is beyond thoughtful. I love it and now I love the story it comes with and every time I look at that sled I will hear his voice say “Col, it was me”. That is what a home is made of. Not things, but memories and meaning.
Can you look around your house and remember stories behind some of what makes your house your home? Do you have a story to share about any of your favorite things? I would love to hear it!
Today I’m sharing a Christmas Art project that is super cute and so easy to do. It all started when I saw the cutest scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby a few months ago that had the lyrics to Jingle Bells on it. It was all muted and antiquey and I had to have it. They really do have the best scrapbook paper there. If you have been here before you know I love scrapbook paper. Not for scrap-booking, no. For other stuff like art and light switch covers.
Of course I picked it up along with a few other pieces. Here is what happened to it…
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. See my full disclosure here.
Fortunately, the paper had the entire song right in the middle of the page. Imagine that. I cut out the entire song from the middle and it was the perfect size to fit centered inside the frame. The white paper looked a bit too new and I wanted the edges to be a bit rough so I didn’t worry about whether or not the sides were straight. To get an even more rough look I sanded, yes sanded, the edges with sandpaper. The sandpaper rips up the sides just a bit but you have to be careful because if you press too hard you can rip it.
After sanding the edges I used antiquing ink to age the paper. You need a cotton rag – I usually use one of Hubby’s old tshirts, and gently dab it around the edges and a few spots around the middle as well. It really works well with the roughed up edges and give is a nice worn look.
So after sanding and adding the antiquing ink, it was all nice and aged. I glued it to a piece of the red paper that I had cut out to use as a mat. I used the backing of the frame to trace on the paper so the piece would fit perfectly in the frame. Once it was dry, I simply put it in the frame.
The bell was a bit shiny for me so I spray painted it Oil Rubbed Bronze and instead of using the bright red bow, I used twine. Much better I think for this Christmas Art project…
So, pretty easy, fairly quick and inexpensive. Oh, and it will look great for the rustic black, white and red Christmas decor! More Christmas decor projects this week so stop back!
When I’m decorating a space I always start with an inspiration piece and that includes my Christmas decor. Something that is a “jumping off point” as one of my favorite designers, Sarah Richardon from HGTV says. Tt could be a paint color, colors pulled out of a rug or piece of art or fabric. This year, while searching for Christmas ideas and inspiration, I happened to see this black mirror in the Ballard Designs catalog and thought hmmm, black. Then I remembered I had this red and black shirt pillow (a pillow made from a button down shirt) that I made last year and it all came together. I’ll carry the rustic theme through from my fall decor and it will be a rustic, woodland, Red, White and Black Christmas!
Here’s how it all started, the black mirror from Ballard…
So pretty but too expensive. I have a window frame that I’ll paint black and I’ll be able to get the same look for literally no money because I already have the paint too.
The second piece, the shirt pillow…
I made this pillow using a man’s shirt I picked up at the Salvation Army for like $7. I forgot to take pictures of that one (blogger fail) but here’s how I made one this summer using a $4 women’s shirt…
These are so simple and you don’t even have to sew it. After I cut out the square, I turned it inside out and used fabric glue on the edges on 3 and a half sides, leaving just enough room on one side open to stuff it. I turned it back right side out and stuffed it with stuffing and then glued the remainder. I didn’t even have to do anything to the buttons. So easy and so cute right?
Anyhoo, back to Christmas…In keeping with the rustic black, red and white theme, I picked up the North Pole pillow and the plaid HOME pillow at Marshall’s. I started pulling all of my Christmas decor from last year and realized I also had quite a bit of black and red already. I happened to get this red bowl/tray last year which was a thrift store find for just $2 and I printed the deer silhouette off Google images last year as well and put it in a rustic wood frame. The birch candle holder was from target.
The black and red metal chippy tray is one of my favorite pieces. I got it from antiquefarmhouse.com The other big project was a large chalkboard with a whitewashed frame. I picked this frame up at a thrift store for just $5. I removed the picture and used chalkpaint to paint the glass. It will be a great backdrop for an upcoming birch bark wreath project. (both posts coming soon)
So I’ll bring in lots of wooden pieces and accessories, lots of pillows as well as some some silver accessories for a little Holiday bling. I will have the Full Christmas tour and lots more Christmas decor projects coming soon!
It’s all coming together!! I can already picture Christmas morning and I’m so excited! Here’s to finding your inspiration!