Flaunt it Friday 133 and a Book Study

Hey there!  Can you believe that Christmas is over already?!  I know, I know... I say that every year, but it just goes by in a flash.  We had a great Christmas, our boys are still young enough that everything about Christmas is magical and it is truly a joy to watch it through their eyes.

Before we start partying I wanted to invite my fellow bloggers or those of you thinking about starting a blog of your own to better your blog (or start a blog) with me through a book study starting in mid-January.
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We'll be reading 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.  Darren Rowse of ProBlogger is the guru of blogging and I have heard tons of big name bloggers raving about him and his books, especially 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.  I'm so excited to read it and plan to start it after the holidays when things slow down.

I'm planning to do a "book club/book study" of sorts starting in mid-January (after the kiddies go back to school) where we can read the book together and meet on Facebook group chat once or twice a week to discuss what we're learning from this book and ask questions.  If you're interested please email me at kateluvs2decorate @ gmail (dot) com or leave your email in a comment below so I can plan accordingly.

You can buy the ebook at the link below the button, you'll need it for our study.



I hope you'll join me.  To those of you that already said you'd join me in my previous post about this, please email me your email address!  Many of you are "no-reply bloggers" which means I can't reply to your comment because of the way you were logged in at the time of commenting. :(

Ok, now time to party!

*This post includes affiliate link.

Merry Christmas!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11



(Yes, I photo-shopped our Christmas card since no one else calls my boys "Mr. Chic and the little Chicsters" :)

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

PS:  Finally posted my Christmas Home Tour Part 1 Fancy Part 2 Rustic Christmas.


Christmas Home Tour Part 2: Rustic Christmas


Hi there!  Merry Christmas Eve!  I can't believe I'm just now posting my Christmas Home Tour (part 2).  At least I'm not really late as it's not officially Christmas yet... so, technically I'm a day early.  Congratulations to me. (said with complete sarcasm)

I'd hoped to get it posted much earlier but with sick kids, parties, Christmas shopping, baking, etc. there just hasn't been a lot of spare time.  You know how it is...  Tis' the season for over-doing.  But this season I tried not to over do it.  And, I almost succeeded.... I think.

Anywho, welcome to my Christmas Home Tour Part 2, Rustic Christmas.  Be sure to check out my "fancy" Christmas decor in Part 1

We'll start with my mantel.  

rustic christmas mantel


This year I wanted to mix up my Christmas mantel a little bit.  The past couple of years I've had somewhat of a candy cane-ish theme.  You can see my Candy Cane Christmas Mantel here..  Anyway, I'm am totally over the candy cane-ish look.  (Big surprise.)  

I loved the rustic look I did on my kitchen console table last year.  DIY Network even featured it on their site!  


I decided I could pull off a rustic Christmas mantel on the cheap using mostly stuff I already have.  

I busted out my old 90% off red candle holders that I bought with the intention of spray painting.  They are marvelously Christmas rustic looking so I’m so glad I didn’t.  The birch candles were 80% off from Hob Lob’s after Fall sale.  (they are definitely not just for Fall, score!)  I used some of the Christmas trees that I had and that was that.

rustic christmas decor

I used an old wreath and made it look new by adding a few of these burlap-ish flowers I scored for half off at Hob Lob and adding some burlap ribbon through it.  

rustic christmas decor wreath


I changed up the hearth of my fireplace this year too.  So many times people forget to decorate the fireplace hearth.  It's like dressing your top up with your best Christmas sweater but forgetting your pants.  Don't forget the pants bottom, people! ;)  (and don't worry, I don't wear Christmas sweaters.)

rustic christmas decor


I got this huge red lantern for $8 after Christmas last year!

 $8!   

It was 90% off and a super score deal in the game.  It is ginormous and I heart it.  I was planning to put it on my porch but then I couldn’t stand thinking that it would get rained/sleet/snowed/iced on and likely only last a few seasons.  And if it was by my front door I wouldn't get to see it much because I always come in the garage.  Bummer.  

I made an executive decision and saved it’s life by sticking it by my fireplace alongside another lantern that I keep there all year. 

Your welcome, Ginormous Red Lantern.



My friend made the awesome lantern stand that is now a permanent fixture on my fireplace hearth (it will never be pantless again!).   I dressed it up with a few faux greenery swags and a big burlap bow.  

I made the bow myself after following extremely confusing instructions and some cursing I found online.  I’m not sure if I like it, it is kind of like the post is wearing a big, fat, little girl hair bow looking thing.  I added some jingle bells to distract from the poor bow formation.

I changed it up by sticking a Santa in the lantern instead of a candle. Further distracting from the burlap hair bow.
rustic christmas decor


On the other side of the fireplace hearth I stuck some birch branches in my blanket basket along with some greenery.  It's sort of gives a cozy rustic glow.

rustic Christmas decor


My stocking are from Pottery Barn Kids and have a train, airplane and my boy's names on the other side of them.  I staged them with the red side showing for my pictures but the other side actually doesn't look bad.  The boys were highly offended that I had put up their stockings "backwards".  Of course I changed them back after the pics.  

I got a new pillow that I am completely in love with... a TJ Maxx find (of course).  I've seen similar ones for 3 times what I paid for it.




I hung my DIY burlap wreath on my kitchen mirror.  (See my burlap wreath tutorial)



I hung it over my sideboard which holds a simple wooden tray full of greenery and votives.



I'm loving this vignette and thinking it's neutral enough I can leave it up all winter.


Although the red in the wreath is kinda screaming Christmas at me.  Maybe I could keep the wreath but lose the red flowers after Christmas.  It's a plan.

My kitchen table centerpiece was a thrown together at the last minute deal.  I feel like these deer would've liked to be laying in greenery instead of snow.  You could see them a lot better that way.  But, unfortunately for the deer, I ran out.  In keeping with my attempt at not over doing it this season I decided that the deer could just suck it up and sit in the snow.  Maybe if they're really good next year I'll buy them some greenery to sit in. ;)



Merry Christmas, everyone!

PS:  Consider joining me in January for a book club studying 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by ProBlogger Darren Rowse.  Learn more and sign up in the comments here.

Christmas Decor Tour 2012 Part 1: The Fancy Rooms

Hey there!  How's it going??  Are you having a pre-Christmas meltdown or are you relaxing and enjoying the season?  I hope it's the latter.

I've been to two Christmas cookie exchange parties in the past two days, I hosted one the first night and attended one the next night.

Today I'm pretty sure I've eaten my weight in Christmas cookies.

You know what?

It was awesome. :)

There are only a few days left of good Christmas eats and then it'll be back to reality (meaning no cookies for breakfast anymore).

Time is ticking down quickly and the big day is right around the corner. I'm just barely going to get my Christmas decor tour up in time.  So come on in!

We'll start in my entry way...

Just a little vignette of trees and deer.

Christmas decor

Keeping it simple.  Loving these deer that have very similar brothers from Pottery Barn.  These are from TJ Maxx for a quarter of the price.

Christmas tree decor

Then step into my living room to see my "fancy tree" with a touch of leopard print.  Leopard can give an elegant and sophisticated look but can go bad very quick if you're not careful. :)


I have leopard print ribbon on the tree and one leopard print pillow.  That's it.  It's just enough.

Each year I add a few unique ornaments that I usually find very cheap at TJ Maxx. (where else, right?)

Christmas tree decor


The loops have French script on them  an the colors are perfect for my fancy tree.  It's looks handmade but I couldn't have made it for as cheap as I bought it.  That's the beauty of TJ Maxx.

Christmas tree topper

The tree looks prettier when it's glowing a little bit don't cha think?

My topper started as a smaller bow.  It was too wimpy for my 9 foot tree so I just kept adding to it until it looked good.  It doesn't even look like a bow anymore, I refer to it as my tree's hair-do.  I think it's channeling it's inner Chaka Khan.


I have a little vignette on my ottoman.  This year I fell to the antler frenzy and picked up a few faux antlers at my favorite flea market.  One landed here....

Christmas decor

And who can resist a Santa in a cloche??

Christmas decor pillow

My "Joy to the World" pillow is one of my rare authentic Pottery Barn items.  It's piped in burlap rope.  Love.  It was on sale last year and I got free shipping.  Merry Christmas to me.



My golden reindeer and feathered and sequined trees top my great-grandma's curio cabinet.

Christmas decor


A view from above...

Christmas decor

My dining room is finally starting to get the makeover that it so badly needs.  I have a little vignette set up on my mirrored table.

chalk paint furniture

I started painting my dining room table and chairs.  Finally!!  My Mamaw gave me her set when they down-sized their home a few years back.  They had been an orange-ish cherry that dated the traditionally styled set.  I can not believe the difference the Annie Sloan chalk paint is making.  Here is a peak!



I really think I'm going to love it... it will be a January (or February?) project.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed my "Fancy" Christmas tour.  It isn't too fancy but my boys call this one my fancy tree and unknowingly named this tour for me.  Part 2 will be my more rustic Christmas decor in my kitchen and family room.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Linking: The Nester, Jennifer Rizzo, Tatertots & Jello, Savvy Southern Style

Flaunt it Friday 132!

Hi friends!  It's finally snowing here and my boys are SOOOOO excited!!  I'm a little bit too, I love me a little snow on Christmas.  Hopefully it will stick around and make it to the big day. The downside is that we're under a blizzard warning and the wind is so stinking strong that it's too cold to play outside.  Total bummer for my boys.   I let them throw a few snowballs and catch a few flakes on their tongues and they were in hog heaven.  I love to watch them... pure wonder and joy.  I wish I could make time stop.  Wow... I'm getting all sappy on you all the sudden.  We better start partying!

Stay warm!

Still praying for CT.

Hello there, friends.  I had some cheery Christmas posts planned for the weekend but just didn't feel like sharing them in light of the tragedy in Connecticut.  Instead I hugged my boys a little tighter and said a lot of prayers like many of you did too, I'm sure.

My friend Abbe from Brown Apples has a heartfelt post today.  She shares some hope for us moms who worry about the safety of our children.  I hope you'll take the time to read it.

Brown Apples:  What is Safe?

Flaunt it Friday 131!

Hey there!  Can you believe that Christmas is less than 2 weeks away?!

Crazy!!

This week I got some January issues of some of my magazines... whenever they arrive I always think it's a little depressing.  It's like, aww man... the end of the most wonderful time of the year is coming.  Wah, Waah.  I get so excited to get the Christmas issues and I read those back before Thanksgiving.

Oh well.  Let's enjoy the season while we've still got it.  I can't wait to see all of your Christmas and Holiday link ups!  Of course you can link up whatever you want so no worries if you're not doing the Christmas thing this week.  

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Burlap Christmas Wreath Tutorial



Hi friends!  A few weeks ago I did a guest post at the amazing and famous Tatertots & Jello blog.  I thought I'd post it here in case you missed it.  


I'm sharing an inexpensive DIY Christmas wreath made with one of my favorite things... burlap!  

Do you guys love burlap as much as I do??  It's almost the perfect fabric...  super cheap, looks great, durable and very versatile.  What's not to love (besides the fact that it smells a little funny, I would probably make myself a scarf with it if it didn't!)?

burlap wreath tutorial
Here's what you need:
  • Roll of burlap ribbon, 10 yards
  • Wire wreath frame 18"
  • Pipe cleaners or Floral wire
  • Glue gun (optional)
  • 2 burlap-ish poinsettia flower picks
  • 2 long needle pine branch picks
burlap wreath tutorial

I've found that the Panacer brand burlap ribbon from Michael's works great, in fact, I've attempted to use some other burlap ribbon to make this wreath and failed miserably.  (Michael's did not pay me to say that)  I used a 40% off coupon so it was around $3. *Update, Hobby Lobby brand ribbon burlap also works well, they have changed it since I originally posted.  I got Christmas flowers and pine picks from Hobby Lobby 50% off making for an inexpensive project.  (Hooray for cheap projects!)

Anywhooo, since burlap goes with anything this can easily be made into the Holiday or seasonal wreath of your choice depending on what type of floral picks you choose.  (I told you burlap was versatile) ;)  I made a similar Fall burlap wreath for over my fireplace.  

Let's get started!  

First, attach the end of the burlap to one of the cross hatch bars of the wire wreath form.  Basically, just fold the end of the burlap ribbon and starting at the inner rung, snake it up through the rungs and wind around the cross hatch bar.  There is no right or wrong way to do this... just twist it around so that it stays.  (I tried to take a picture of this but it just looked like a hot-mess of burlap.)  Since the burlap is pretty sturdy it will stay put if you wrap it around but you can add some hot glue if you want it to be more secure.  Don't worry how it looks, it will be covered up.

Start pulling burlap through the wreath frame, start on the inside rung and just go up the rungs, when you get to the top I found it easier to stay at the top rung, scoot over your loops and pull the ribbon over to start your next row staying in the top rung.  From there start working your way back down to the inner rung.  You should be able to fit two rows of loops between each set of the wreath frame cross hatch bars.  
burlap wreath tutorial

At first it might take you a few tries to get the loops through and looking right but once you get the hang of it it will be easy-peasy.  Make rows of loops all the way around your wreath form.  It doesn’t have to be perfect... just make sure that as you pull the burlap through you are making the loops about the same size.  When you make it all the way around just cut off any extra and tuck the end into the wreath form.  You can add some hot glue if you want for extra security.

When you're done with the burlap go back through and fluff and adjust as needed.  Remember, it won't be perfect but it's not supposed to be, the imperfections give it some "hand-made charm". ;)  

Now, decide where you want to attach your floral picks... I always try to find the worst looking part of my wreath where I made a sloppy looking loop or the wire is showing and put my floral picks right over it... no one will ever know your wreath had a big bald spot!  (some "hand-made charm" looks a little too hand-made if you know what I mean...)
burlap wreath tutorial
   
To attach the floral and pine picks all I did was put their sticks through the wreath form at one of the cross bars, this adds some extra security but isn’t necessary.  If you have to stick it through some burlap that's fine, just be careful that it goes through the fabric and doesn't stretch out your loops.  

I secured the picks with a pipe cleaner (cut it to size and use it like a twist tie) on the back of the wreath in a couple places.  You can add hot glue if you’d like.  I didn’t use any hot glue because I was too lazy not worried about it falling out.  
burlap wreath tutorial


I added the pine branch pick first, then put the poinsettia at the bottom of it. I added an additional flower under the first and another pine branch under it to balance it out.  

burlap wreath tutorial

I hung it up on the mirror in my kitchen with a suction cup hook  I made sure I hooked the wreath frame and not the burlap.  I am loving how it looks and might make a few more as gifts.

burlap wreath tutorial


It is the perfect touch to mix in with my rustic Christmas decor.  In a few days I'll be sharing how I put together my tray of greenery on my sideboard under the wreath.  Come back soon!



Handprint Christmas Plate Keepsake Craft for Kids

Hey friends!  I wanted to share this post I wrote for the Holiday Bake, Craft, Sew Along a few weeks ago in case you missed it.  It's fun, cheap and easy!


This is a super-easy and inexpensive craft that you can do with your kids that will be a sentimental piece you'll want to display each year and keep forever.

No, really... you'll want to keep this forever.

Because let's face it, most of the crafts you make with your kids aren't exactly pretty.  They are cute in the sense that "oh, little Junior made that when he was just 2, that's why Santa is purple and has red eyes and green teeth, er... is that his beard?"  

I love this project because it’s cheap and you only need a few supplies.  You’ll probably have a few of these already lying around your house.
  • Plastic Charger
  • Acrylic Craft Paint
  • Paint Brush or Foam Brush
  • Paint Marker or Colored Sharpie
Christmas holiday kids craft


I get my plastic chargers (big plastic plates) from Hobby Lobby.  They are usually on sale for .99 cents.  They have a nice selection of Christmas-ey and Holiday colors so you can choose the color that works best for you.  I’m pretty sure they have these chargers at Wal-Mart too if you don’t have a Hob Lob nearby.   

This lovely craft is going to be a charger featuring your little sweeties cute little handprint.  Let’s get started…

First, cover up your work area with newspaper and then you can bust out the paint.  I used acrylic craft paint because this is a craft.  Just kidding.  I used it because it is what I already had.  I’m sure there is a better skin-friendly type of paint but since I knew it wasn’t going to be on my boy’s hand for more than a minute I wasn’t worried about it. 

Let’s start painting!  If your sweetie is old enough they can paint their own hand.  If sweetie is a little too young you need to help them with this part (obviously, duh).


Take your little one gently by the wrist and get a pretty good slathering of paint on their hand.  My sweetie thought this tickled which only added to the fun. :)

We actually put another coat of paint on after this picture below… it should be pretty wet with paint.



This is where things can go very, very bad.

Make sure to give age-appropriate instructions warning them to not touch anything with their paint hand.  If your sweetie is little, hold on to their wrist and do not let go.

I repeat, do NOT let go! 

Now it’s time to bust out some old dance class moves and show them how to make a one-handed jazz hands.  Demonstrate how to use their jazz hand to make a stamp on their plate, make sure to tell them to pull their jazz hand straight up as to not smear their handprint.  

Since I couldn't let go of my sweeties painted jazz hand I couldn't get a picture of this move but I think you get the idea.  After a successful handprint and still not letting go of their little wrist go straight to the sink and wash off the paint. 



Success!

After the paint dries use a silver Sharpie or a paint marker to write on the trim of the charger.  My little guy wanted “Merry Christmas” and then wrote his name and the year in his cute little boy handwriting at the bottom.  



See!?  I told you this would be a pretty and sentimental keepsake that you’ll want to keep forever.  (am I sounding like a bad infomercial for one of those ugly porcelain baby figurines?)  

Much better than a purple Santa with red eyes and green teeth, don't ya think? 

*Please note: this plate is only for display, do not use for food! 

Linking: Home Stories A to Z


Rustic Christmas Mantel


Hi there!  After Germageddon we are finally getting back to normal around here although I am waaaay behind on my Christmas decorating.  I am getting stuff up slowly but surely...

My Christmas mantel is finally complete!

rustic christmas mantel


This year I wanted to mix up my Christmas mantel a little bit.  The past couple of years I've had somewhat of a candy cane-ish theme.  You can see my Candy Cane Christmas Mantel here..  Anyway, due to my decorating ADD I'm am totally over the candy cane-ish look.  (Big surprise.)  

I loved the rustic look I did on my kitchen console table last year.  DIY Network even featured it on their site!  


I decided I could pull off a rustic Christmas mantel on the cheap  using mostly stuff I already have.  

A few years ago I shared with you that my mantel garland is super scraggly. 

rustic christmas decor
scraggle garland (the one poinsettia is super classy)
Well, I attempted to replace it last year after Christmas when the Hob Lob takes 80% off and I got some really nice and realistic looking blue-spruce-ish greenery.  

It looks so real and beautiful... lying on my floor. 

I could not get this stuff to stay on my mantel!  It has a permanent metal bend in the center that makes it impossible to lie flat.  I tried to bend it back the other way, no luck.  I tried to flatten the bend, no luck.  I considered nailing it to the top of my mantel (I've have done this with other uncooperative decor before (shh, don't tell)) but even this wasn't going to work unless I nailed it in like 5 different places, that's a little much, even for a crazy mantel nailer like me.  My gloriously cheap, beautiful, realistic, blue-spruce-ish greenery was not happening on my mantel.  

What kind of loser greenery doesn't stay on a mantel?  How annoying. 

So that left me with going and buying some new stuff at before Christmas non-discounted prices (you guys know I'm way too cheap for that) or suffering through another year of the dreaded scraggle greenery. 

Scraggle it is.

“The scraggle”, which it will now be known as, had the nerve to have dead lights on it even though I put brand new lights on it last year.  It is SO going in the garbage after Christmas.

Anyway, I managed to dress up the mantel enough to hopefully take away attention from the scraggle… no one will ever notice, right?  Just don’t look real close…
rustic christmas decor

To take away attention from the scraggle I used an old wreath and made it look new by adding a few of these burlap-ish flowers I scored for half off at Hob Lob and adding some burlap ribbon through it.  

I busted out my old 90% off red candle holders that I bought with the intention of spray painting.  They are marvelously Christmas rustic looking so I’m so glad I didn’t.  The birch candles were 80% off from Hob Lob’s after Fall sale.  (they are definitely not just for Fall, score!)  I used some of the Christmas trees that I had and that was that.

rustic christmas decor wreath


I changed up the hearth of my fireplace this year too.  So many times people forget to decorate the fireplace hearth.  It's like dressing your top up with your best Christmas sweater but forgetting your pants.  Don't forget the pants bottom, people! ;)  

rustic christmas decor


I got this huge red lantern for $8 after Christmas last year!

 $8!   

It was 90% off and a super score deal in the game.  It is ginormous and I heart it.  I was planning to put it on my porch but then I couldn’t stand thinking that it would get rained/sleet/snowed/iced on and likely only last a few seasons.  And if it was by my front door I wouldn't get to see it much because I always come in the garage.  Bummer.  

I made an executive decision and saved it’s life by sticking it by my fireplace alongside another lantern that I keep there all year. 

Your welcome, Ginormous Red Lantern.



My friend made the awesome lantern stand that is now a permanent fixture on my fireplace hearth (it will never be pantless again!).   I dressed it up with a few faux greenery swags and a big burlap bow.  

I made the bow myself after following extremely confusing instructions and some cursing I found online.  I’m not sure if I like it, it is kind of like the post is wearing a big, fat, little girl hair bow looking thing.  I added some jingle bells to distract from the poor bow formation.

I changed it up by sticking a Santa in the lantern instead of a candle. Further distracting from the burlap hair bow.
rustic christmas decor


On the other side of the fireplace hearth I stuck some birch branches in my blanket basket but I didn’t have quite enough to fill it properly.  This is when I decided to take advantage of the new blue-spruce greenery and stick it in there with the birch branches, lights and all.  This is the shape it likes to be in, completely bent in the center.  It's happy now.

rustic Christmas decor


Guess what?

I love how it all turned out despite the scraggle.

The scraggle did not doom my Christmas mantel after all. 

Take that the scraggle!!! 

Kate: 1   Scraggle: 0

Stay tuned for more Christmas decor...

And, consider joining me in January for a book club studying 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by ProBlogger Darren Rowse.  Learn more and sign up in the comments here.