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Month: November 2012

Christmas Card Holder – A Lowes Creative Idea #LowesCreator

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and stuffed your tummies full of turkey and mashed potatoes (with butter of course) – my personal favorite.  We traveled and enjoyed the Holiday very much, but the only bummer about not hosting was the lack of leftovers.  Anyway, let’s get on to something fun…

I’m super excited for today because I have so much to share with you!  I’ve been busy preparing for the Christmas season (yes, alreadyI know for some it’s early), but wanted to let Thanksgiving pass before bombarding you with all my Christmas inspiration.  Now that the Holiday season countdown has begun, brace yourself for a fun few weeks ahead with DIY creations and decorating ideas and tips!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the first Christmas cards started trickling in over the weekend and since my December Lowe’s Challenge was to create something for the upcoming Holiday season, a new Christmas Card Holder seemed so apropos.

This card holder is one of my favorite projects I’ve ever made.  I got the idea when creating the family pallet photo holder a few weeks ago.  At the time, I mentioned how I felt the photo holder was so versatile and didn’t have to just hold family photos, but also christmas cards during the holidays, as well as invitations, announcements, etc anytime of year.  Thus my Christmas Card Holder was created…

I started off my hitting the lumber and paint aisles of my local Lowe’s and picked up a few must-have items:

  • 6′ long X 12″ wide wood board
  • clothes pins (30 – 35)
  • spray paint (I chose Valspar Glossy Cut Ruby)
  • stencil (purchased at AC Moore / a silhouette would work too)
  • white paint & stain (for the distressing)
  • paint for the letter (I chose metallic gold)

I began by…

1. Distressing the Wood

I was going for a worn look and wanted the wood to look old and distressed, so I banged-it-up a bit and layered it with a combo of paint and stain.

I began by using  nails, chain, and a hammer to bang up the surface to make it “used and abused”.  This is a great way to get out some of that pent-up aggressionhehe.

Once I achieved the desired “wear”, I added one coat of white paint.  I used a semi-gloss finish paint that I had laying around, but any kind will do.  Once dry, I sanded the wood thoroughly so some areas of the raw wood showed through and the surface was smooth.  I added a light coat of stain focusing more on the edges and ends. I applied it in small sections and quickly wiped it away so only a thin layered remained. Then I added another coat of white paint and sanded the surface once more.  This layering process resulted in just the right amount of wear.

Old to New in 30 minutes!

2. Stencil

I found a pretty stencil at AC Moore which I got for about $3+ (using a 50% off coupon). The letters are 3″ high and the words CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS fit just right on the 6′ board.

3. Paint

Once I outlined the stenciled letters with a pencil, I filled them in with a nice metallic gold craft paint. At first, I was going to use red or green for the letters, but I am so glad I chose gold – I’m loving the hue, especially with the other goldtones in my other holiday decor.

4. Adding the Clothespins

While the letters were drying, I spray painted the clothes pins with Valspar Glossy Cut Ruby.  Once they were ready, I attached them to the wood board with hot glue.  The spacing between each clothespin is about 5-6″ and there are 16 on each side.

 And it’s done…

I’ll admit, the Christmas cards are from last year – I haven’t received that many yet.  I always keep my cards and then use them the next year as tags for presents, so that’s what these will be used for in a few short weeks.

My new card holder is such a unique and fun addition to our Christmas decor. I have it situated right next to the Christmas tree so we can enjoy the treasures that are sent from family and friends – true Christmas Blessings!

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to display Christmas Cards, check out the roundup I did last year, by clicking on the link: 15 Creative Ways to Display Christmas Cards.

And I created another card holder last year if you want to see that as well.  I love this one too, but with all the cards we receive, it ended up not being large enough.  This new one though, has lots of room! Click to see: Holiday Card Holder.

I’m still working on putting the finishing touches on the rest of the house, and hope to share a Christmas Tour next week.  In the meantime, I’ll be showing you a few more DIY projects, as well as some easy and fun decorating ideas.

Have you decorated for the Holidays yet?  How to you display your Christmas cards?

Disclosure: I am part of the Lowe’s Creative Team and was provided with a Lowe’s gift card to purchase items for my project.  I was also compensated for my time to use the products.  No one told me what to create, what to buy, how to use the product, or what to write.  All opinions are 100% mine!

I link my projects to some of these parties: Skip to My Lou, Dittle Dattle, Between Naps on the Porch, Today’s Creative Blog, Stories of A to Z, All Things Heart & Home, House of Hepworths, Finding Fabulous, The Shabby Nest, Serenity Now, Tatertots and Jello, Thrifty Decor Chick, Tip Junkie

Stick Star Door Decor

Last week I was vying to create something for my front door to transition the time between now and Christmas.

I’ve had my Fall wreath up for a while and I was ready for a lil’ change.  Then while driving over the weekend, I spotted a large wood star on an old, distressed barn.  It got me thinking and inspired my latest creation… a Stick Star which I’m now donning on my apple green front door.

In the front of my home is a 20’+ weeping willow tree and it’s beautiful in the summer, but this time of year with all the wind, the soft, thin branches often easily break off leaving lots of piles.  When cleaning up the yard on Sunday, we collected a bunch of branches and I knew they’d be perfect for the foundation of the stick star.

With my son helping out, we collected a good pile of branches and I started out making my new door decor. With my ruler in hand, I trimmed the soft branch to 30″ long.  And cut 49 more to have a total of 50.

The branches didn’t have to be exactly 30″, but close to it. After 50 were cut, then I broke them into 5 groups of 10. The 5 groups were used for each “leg” of the star.

This was a dry run and I was pretty happy with the direction it was looking.  Surprisingly it actually looked like a star, ha!

It was time to put it together!

I disassembled the star mock-up and separated each star “leg”.  Using floral wire (or any thin wire would do), I tied each end of the stick grouping so it was secure and “one”.

Once each “leg” was secure on each end, I put them together to create the star.  Once the star was layed out, I secured them together with more floral wire.

Since the floral wire is close to the color of the sticks, it really isn’t visible unless you are close to the arrangement.

And honestly within about 10 minutes, it was done.  It was really simple to create and something different than I’ve ever created before.  And I have to say, once the sticks are together in a bunch, they are really secure as “one”.

It still needed something though, so I trimmed a few branches and berries from my yard and tucked them within the branches.

This pretty and easy to create stick star can be used all year round and dressed up for any occasion.  It can be used on a door (like I used it for), indoors, or outdoors.

For my stick star door decor, I cut a 3″ strip of burlap, attached it with floral wire to the back of the branches and secured the top onto the head of the door with push pins.  There’s no damage to the door and it can easily be switched out.

And here is the result…

My stick star was super simple to create and didn’t cost a penny!  The perfect door decor for the coming Holidays or any time of year. I just love simple, just stylish creations!

Creating a Well Styled Table Vignette

I’ve shared my ideas and thoughts on how to create a well styled bookcase and today I’m back sharing simple, affordable, and stylish tips on how to create a beautiful table vignette (or any horizontal surface – could be a dresser, buffet, window sill, etc).  I just love the word vignette – it sounds so she-she and regal – but getting down to basics, it simply means a pulled together and balanced composition (that’s my meaning, not Webster’s, so please don’t head to your dictionary and quote me- hehe).

A well-styled table vignette is the perfect way to add warmth, interest, and unique character to your home.  Inexpensive elements can easily be introduced to create a beautiful and balance composition.  It’s really not about the value of the items you display (I have things that have cost mere pennies) , but instead how it’s put together!

Let’s get inspired (and dissect)…

To start off, this vignette atop an antique dresser is fun because of the variety of color.  I like color, but that’s my opinion.  Color isn’t always needed to achieve a well-styled vignette, but I would suggest adding in a splash here or there – a small dose is better than nothing. This composition works so well because of the layers, as well as varying heights and sized objects – 3 key elements to achieving a stylish vignette.  The overall setting is engaging and interesting because of the different textures and unique objects. Vignette via House and Home

Tip 1. Once you’ve chosen your perfect horizontal table to create a vignette, clear everything off.  When decorating ANYTHING, it’s a must to start with a blank slate.  It’s not only easy to add elements and move them around, but also to see the space in a different way – believe me, it works! I start every revamp (a room or a vignette) by clearing out and then bringing elements in.

Basically a beautiful vignette can be created on any horizontal surface, even a nightstand.  Don’t you just love this space? I sure do!  In this vignette there is a little pop of color and it goes a long way. It’s nice to make a nightstand look pretty, but I come from the school of thought that it also has to be functional.  Meshing the two isn’t difficult.  One favorite way is to use a decorative or antique bowl for holding jewelry, which can be layered on top of the book(s) you’re reading.  Of course you need lighting – again the lamp is not only functional, but also adds height to the table. Additionally, flowers bring a touch of freshness to a simple vignette. Inspirational Vignette found via Cape Code Collegiate

If you’ve noticed, there is a common theme with each of the three above pictures, and it’s my 3 key elements again – layers, varying heights, and varying sized objects.  Instead of a lamp in this vignette, this space has a tall plant filled urn with layered black and white framed photos behind.  In front is a nice-sized tray filled with colorful boxes (there is the pop of color again), with more interesting objects of varying sizes and heights to the right.

Tip 2. Choose an anchor: Starting with and positioning an anchor object is the ideal way to begin a vignette.  What’s an anchor object?  A lamp, floral arrangement, sculpture, etc – basically the dominate piece in the vignette.  It’s the focal point of the horizontal surface and brings height to the overall composition.

Tip 3. Layer: Add elements – pictures, artwork, accessories – from the back to the front of the horizontal surface. If there is a wall behind, have something large (picture, photo, mirror) on the wall or a smaller grouping, then layer objects in front on the surface.  Again start with the anchor object and layer around. Ideas: Position small pictures in front of large ones.  Add a small bowl, vase, or accessory on top of a stack of books.  Create a grouping of candles layered in front of each other.

A simple and elegant side table next to the bed.  Again the lamp is the dominate feature in this vignette with layered pictures leaning against the wall.  Books are layed on their side with a small flower arrangement atop. This table isn’t overloaded with “stuff” (what nightstand should be?), but all the elements are here to create a well-styled table vignette. Vignette via Traditional Home

Love this entryway by my friend, Pamela. It has all the elements to create a complete composition. She started with her large mirror behind, then added a beautiful tall lamp in front to anchor the vignette. Continuing, she introduced inexpensive elements of varying heights and layered them on the top of the table, as well as on the shelf underneath.

A little bit different type of vignette, but still using the same techniques.  The large bowl filled with rope is such a strong element in this vignette and is nicely balanced with 2 other elements – a smaller rope filled glass jar and an interesting sea creature (do you know what that is? looks kinda like a porcupine).  This grouping has awesome texture and would be simple and inexpensive to create! Vignette found via Pinterest (original source unfound)

Tip 4. Varying Heights and Sizes: Accessories and elements used in a vignette shouldn’t be all the same height and size – that would just look strange.  Play with the idea of introducing objects where some are smaller, some are larger, some are thin and tall, some are short and stout.  This will allow the layering to be more obvious and easy to create.

Just as you were probably getting comfortable with the idea of 1 major object, layer, and size variation, I throw you a curve-ball.

This table vignette has 2 major focal objects.  But it works because they’re the same. If you had one lamp and one large vase on the other said that would have been dominance overload, but this nautical composition works.  Also because of the intense main objects, the center accessories are minimal which gives a nice balance. Vignette Inspiration found via Brunch at Saks

Tip 5. Mix it up: Introduce different kinds of interesting elements / objects. Display a mixture of books, accessories, collectibles, DIY creations, and photos.

Tip 6. Display in odds: For some reason, designing in odd numbers (3 or 5 work best) makes better sense than even numbers.  Plus you can create a great layered composition with 3 rather than 2.

A few more inspirational vignettes …

Vignette Inspiration found via Brunch at Saks

Vignette Inspiration found via Forever Cottage

Vignette via Ladybird and Fellow

My final tips and tricks…

Tip 7. Affordable Vignettes: Creating a well-styled vignette doesn’t have to be expensive.  Honestly it could cost you nothing depending on what you already have on hand.  I’m always changing and revamping my vignettes by “shopping my home”. I move objects and accessories from table to table and purchase new pieces when I see something eye-catching and/or on sale.  I rarely go to a store specifically to find something.  9 out of 10 times, I see something I like, buy it, and somehow incorporate it now or in the future.  Aside from shopping-your-home, Craigslist, thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, and of course discount stores like Home Goods or TJs are great go-to hot spots.

Tip 8. Enjoy and trust yourself: Just go for it! Don’t hesitate and say you’ll do it later.  Go for now and you’ll be so satisified once it’s done.  Again, clear everything off to start fresh and new.  Then start layering and moving things around.  Trust yourself in knowing what you like.  Use the images I provided to help you or find inspiration in magazines and pinterest of course.  And if you need extra help, I can always be of assistance!

Creating a table vignette can be thought of as tricky or challenging for some, but once those anxieties are lost a beautiful display can be achieved – patience and practice helps too!  Hopefully my tricks, tips, and ideas have helped you to create a well-styled table vignette.

If you’re interested in creating a well-styled bookcase, click to this post:

If you’d like to learn tips on designing a mantel, click to this post:

You can also check out my recently styled shelves, click to this post:

What do you display on your tables? What other ideas or tricks do you have to display objects on a table?

DIY: Pallet Picture Holder

Just last week I finished up a really cute project for a client (which I was super close to keeping, but she was glad I didn’t) and I’m excited to share it with you today!

I’ve been making my way through the huge stash of pallets that I’ve had stored in the garage for quite some time.  Pallets are great for projects like this when you’re looking for a distressed, worn result and want to spend little (or no) money. Most pallets, a.k.a. shipping crates, have already been used-and-abused, so they are easy to dismantle and start upcycling.

When finishing up the final details on this clients family room, I showed her this picture of a similar pallet project and her response was YES! And off I was creating this Pallet Picture Holder

I started off by looking through my pallets (some were new and some had been picked through) to choose the 8 that looked best with each other.

Every pallet that I’ve taken apart (except one), has been constructed using twisted nails, and they are a BIG PAIN!  A typical crowbar or hammer won’t be helpful here and so I always use a reciprocating saw.  It’s a lifesaver!  Actually during this project, my original reciprocating saw broke – what a bummer.  Understandable though since I use it ALOT + it wasn’t top of the line (lesson learned: buy quality, buy once).

Anyway, once I took apart the pallet, I gathered the planks I needed (8 total which were about 40″ long) and then cut two pieces for the back that would hold the planks in position.

The overall size of this pallet picture holder is (about) 40″ x 28″.

Using finishing nails, I nailed two in each plank on each side into the back plank.

This was the result when done (from the back)…

I tell ya, this bad boy is heavy! I forgot to take a picture of the picture hanging wire I added to the back, but if you try something similar, make sure the hardware is for at least 100 lbs+.  The last thing you’d want is this falling down.  It doesn’t weigh 100 lbs, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

This wall decor picture holder is going on a soon-to-be dark chocolate colored wall, so we (the client and I) decided that it’d look best to have the planks be lighter in color.  To do this, I added a quick sweep of paint to the surface.  The wood of the planks still show through underneath, giving it a rustic worn aesthetic.

This was the point where the pallet went from a blank canvas to a picture holder.  And the simple way that happened was by adding clothes pins.  Before that though, I gave them a little color.  I used a slightly darker color taupe – Annie Sloan French Linen to be exact.

Once the clothes pins were dry, they were ready to be placed onto the pallet.

I wanted to give the option to use 4×6 or 5×7 sized pictures, and with the size of the pallet, I’d determined that 3 rows or 5 across would be the magical number.

Using a tape measure and starting off in the center, I marked where each clothes pin would be placed.

Once the positioning was just right, I added hot glue to the backs of the clothes pins and stuck them in place.  They were good as gold!

The last step was personalizing it a bit and adding {our family}.  My client is a photographer and huge picture-person, so this totally fit the bill!

And then to finish it all, I gave it a quick sanding with my orbital sander to distress the words and edges.

And the Pallet Picture Holder was complete!

It’s nice “naked”, but pictures make it pretty!

I also had a thought that this would make a great Holiday Card Holder too!

What projects have you created using pallets?

Want to see more of my pallet creations, check them out:
How To Make a Pallet Bookshelf
Wall Decor in my Eclectic Family Gallery Wall
Travel Subway Art Sign
Monogrammed Chevron Pallet Tray
Succulent Arrangement in a Pallet Container