Christmas Gourds

Doesn’t it pain you to throw perfectly good gourds and pumpkins into the compost just because Thanksgiving has passed? Uh, I hate that! I had some good gourds (that’s what he said ;) ) laying around after the fall decorating season this year, and just couldn’t bear to chuck them yet. Thankfully, some paint came to the rescue and made them Christmas-season acceptable. I did two different sets. The first was the little bitty guys that were adorning the nooks and crannies.

Christmas Gourds 8

This is clearly not rocket science. A little acrylic paint, some brushes and a cup of warm tea and you’re in business. After one coat, they looked like this:

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About 4 more coats and a sprinkle of silver glitter and I had these:

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They totally season-ify my desk and are fun to look at while procrastinating :). The other set of painted gourds? Well, they didn’t come out exactly as planned. I started with these guys:

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Primed them…

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And sprayed each a different Christmas-season color I had laying around.

Christmas Gourds 1

The painting part worked, but when I stacked them back up into the pump-cairn, well…they kind of looked more Italian flag than fa la la la la.

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They’re not totally offensive, so they’re staying. Maybe next year I’ll do ‘em all up in the same color. As I say all too often, get ‘em next time!

Counting Down to Christmas: DIY Advent Calendar

I think it’s been established that I love the holidays.  (Seen my Instagram lately?) So, I guess it comes as no surprise that I like counting down to Christmas. My favorite way to do that? An advent calendar, of course. Last year I got tired of buying the flimsy cardboard ones, so I made my own. This was pre-blogging, so there aren’t many pics, but I’ll try my best to explain the embarrasingly simple process. I bet you could about figure it out by looking at it. Check it:

DIY Advent Calendar 3

Yep, just a 2×6, some spray painted clothespins, and labeled manila tags. I told you it was simple. After spraying the wood white, 24 of the pins red and 1 yellow (I took them apart before spraying because I wanted the spring part to stay metallic color), I hot glued on the clothespins. I eyed the spacing, and let the length of my scrap wood dictate how far apart they went.

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I painted on the header by following a print out I made and glued on some tiny pinecones I had. Then, I printed out the back page of the advent calendar  featured here (the printable doesn’t seem to be available anymore! bah! Any clip art, or even hand drawings would work, though.) and cut out the shapes. Those got glued to the back of manila tags I had left over from wedding crafts, and then each got numbered. The big day got a big tag for good measure.

DIY Advent  Calendar 1

The tags get hung up in random order so that every day Mike and I can play the advent game. We both stand with our backs to the calendar, count to three and turn around. The first one to find the tag with the date on it gets to peek at the little drawing first. We always make a big deal of how cool the one we got is, making the other person totally jealous, haha. It’s fun, I swear!

So, have you made an advent calendar?

From Trash to Treasure: Mirror Edition

Hey guys! So, as you may know, I’m trying my hand at no-cost crafts/projects/everything in an effort to busy idle hands while we’re seriously saving for a house. One thing that helps me keep that little promise to myself? Side-of-the-road finds!

Now, I absolutely looooove checking out other people’s trash. Wait…that came out wrong. Hmm, put it this way: I’m not scared to take a second look at someone’s trash pile if it looks like there’s anything remotely salvageable. And just last week my dirty little habit paid off in the form of this pretty little mirror:

We have a ‘no shoe’ policy in our house, so I rarely get to take a look at my outfit with shoes on. So, when I saw this mirror, I envisioned hanging it in the mudroom so I’d  finally be able to see how ridiculous my socks with crocs looked before heading out to walk the dog. Yeah, that happens more often than I’d like to admit. The mirror was originally tacked on to a dresser, so I Mike hung it the same way we did here, and then it was up to me to clean ‘er up.

When I found it, it did have lots of sticker residue on both the wood and mirror, but a little rubbing with Dawn dish soap and warm water and it was all but gone. I’d have taken pics, but it was night and the lighting was baaaad. The next morning, when I could see better, I broke out the Murphy’s Oil Soap and wiped it down. Then, I used some Feed ‘N Wax. See, it was looking a little dull:

And then with the wax, it was looking fresher and fresher.

Woop, all done!

And now I’ve given myself another chance to actively ignore my less than stellar fashion choices. Sometimes you’ve gotta accept the things you cannot change.

Happy Monday!

Chalkboard Labels for my Spice Jars

Remember the spice rack I fashioned a looooong while back?

Made of blueberry crates. Well, not too long after, I purchased some spice jars so we’d have a uniform look. Well, the spice jars ended up not having a standard top size, so there weren’t any straining lids (the ones with the holes in them to sieve out the spice) available. Boo. I called to return them, but the guy said he’d give me a credit and to just keep ‘em. Don’t mind if I do. So, after having them sit in the mudroom for weeks, I had an epiphany one day when pouring myself a cocktail. What if the plastic inserts in the booze bottle fit in my spice jars?!?! And. They. Did. Cue the angels singing. So began my quest to raid every recycling bin on the block. I know, I’m that crazy lady going through your trash. But hey, check my spice bottles!

And those labels? Well, they’re just cut-to-size chalkboard paint contact paper and a little rounded edge punch for effect. Cute right?


And the best part, the labels are totally customizable in case of turnover. Score!

No Cost Crafts: Leaf Garland

So, I don’t know what came over me, but when I was walking Oats a week or so ago, all of the leaves in the road were just too beautiful to leave there. I did the logical thing, then, and brought a few of them home. I know I made some paper-leaf garland earlier in the season, but these were the real deal! After pressing them between pages in the Twilight series, this is what I had:

Keeping with my new ‘no cost’ theme, I punched some holes in them, weaved some hemp string through the opening

and hung them from the bookshelves.


A little touch of Fall/Thanksgiving charm, if I do say so myself.

Luggage Rack to Towel Rack: NSWR Luggage Holders

Okay. There are good finds (see: Yay! 8 foam brushes for 50 cents!) and then there are great finds. This is a great find. Check it out. I went to a yard sale last weekend on the way to the grocery store with Mike. I happened to have $20 on me, which I almost never do. I saw these two racks that were cool and vinategey and interesting, so I inquired about the price: $15 each, but she’d give them to me for $1o a piece. I walked around a bit more but then decided to bite. Check ‘em out:

Then we went home and did a little google searching and it turns out these racks are from the New South Whales Railroad and were meant to hold luggage and hats and such on the train.

And they go for about $200 a piece on eBay today. Woohoo! I actually bought them with the intention of using them, so after talking it out with Mike we decided to keep them (figuring that we could always resell later). They are just too cool. And they’re from Australian trains! Likely in the 1800s (ours have roughly forged edges and imperfect spacing for the screw holes, apparently indicating they are originals). Double cool. The baskets can go either way,

but we decided to keep the ledge towards the front as our intention was to corral some towels and other bathroom goodies. We hung them up and check it:

some antique railroad luggage rack towel holders. I bet the train passengers never dreamt this up!

Fifty Nifty: Flag Curtain

Remember how on Monday I mentioned I’ve been scoring at yard sales? Well, that wasn’t my only find (and I’ve got the best score coming on Friday!). At a different, but equally awesome sale last weekend, I found a pristine Betsy-Ross-13-colony-3×5 embroidered flag. For $5. Ok, so, yeah, I have a thing for flags. And this was a honey. It was original in the box and I just had to have it. Not that I had a purpose for it or anything.

But once I got home and took a gander around the A-P-T, I thought, ‘Hey, this could cover a window.’ And then I remembered back to a Danny Seo post I’d seen a long while back and figured, ‘Why the heck not?’ I had a flag and I had the curtain clips. What was to stop me?

This is what I came up with:


Kind of at home on our newly painted office, eh? It’s a little weird, but I’m diggin’ it. C’mon, let’s chant: U-S-A! U-S-A!

Yard Sale Find: Glass Canister Upgrade

(Hey, Dudes! I know it’s been a little quiet here on the blog front for the last week. If I’m being honest, it’s mostly because I’ve been lazy. What can I say? I could make up tons of excuses, but the truth is I’ve been coming home from work and either running or reading magazines. No paint, craft or garden in sight. I can’t say I’m sorry, but I do feel  rejuvenated :). Anyway, I’m still kinda slow on the DIY front, but I have done a few things and I am back this week! Woohoo!)

Yard sales. Sometimes I’m hot, and sometimes I’m capital N-O-T. Thankfully, the past two weekends I’ve been the former. One thing I’ve picked up (in addition to my $5 perfectly good and incredibly comfy air mattress. SCORE.) is this glass jar:

Rubber gasket that turns ants away at the door included. I didn’t exactly fancy the light pine top, so obviously, I did something about it. Chalkboard paint to the rescue! Is there anything a little chalkboard paint doesn’t fix? Don’t answer that. I scuffed up the surface with some 150 sand paper and did a few thin coats.

Four coats later and I had a nut jar. Ta-da!

It matches the one we keep our coffee sweetener in, so it’s a welcome addition to our little kitchen :). Anyone else addicted to snacking on nuts?


Fall Leaf Garland

Ok, indulge me. I’ve been dec-ing the house out for Fall and, for some reason, this year I’ve been inspired to craft stuff. Here’s another simple thing I’ve made to make the house more fit for the season. I started with some leaves, crayons, and cardstock. You’ll also need some jute or other string to hang the garland with.

Then I traced the leaves onto the card stock and cut them out. I used those as stencils to then create lots more of each size leaf.

Finally, I used the crayons to do a rubbing, kind of like you did on gravestones as a kid. This created a kind of cool marbled look.

I strung them up with jute and hung them around the house. A nice fall touch!

It’s starting to look like fall everywhere I look.  Just how I like it.

Painted Sticks for Fall

So it’s been all Fall all the time around FH. All my craft/DIY energy has gone to making fun Autumn themed crafts. What can I say? It’s my favorite season. I’ve been trying to make stuff using what I have or what I could source without a trip to the store, and today’s display is a product of that. I started with some sticks I found in the yard after a rain storm, some acrylic pain, and some painter’s tape.

I taped off the sticks in a pattern I thought would look cool.

And painted the sections different fall colors.

Let ‘em dry and place ‘em in a vase with some rocks for stability.

A fun little display of fall colors. Next time I’d go for more painted sections and more muted colors, but I’m still happy with this little stick bouquet on my desk :).