Monday, December 21, 2015

Easy DIY Winter Scene Ornaments

Only four days until Christmas! Can you believe it?? I know lots of you will be off of work this week, and you probably don't need something else to add to your to-do list. But in case you're still feeling crafty right up until Santa comes down the chimney, I have two more ornament crafts for you today! 

If you haven't caught on by now, I really love anything in miniature. I have always been drawn to teeny little things, and I still have all my original Polly Pocket toys from the 90s. It feels like every Christmas craft I've done has been involving cute things in miniature form: houses, trees, deer. Look at these adorable (and easy!) winter scene ornaments! 

I started with these plastic snow globe ornaments from Michaels. 

I like that these are flat on the bottom and also have the little terrarium-style opening in the front, but you can also find some that are a solid globe. Those have a seam in the middle you can open and close, and they are completely enclosed. 

Next, I hot glued a cotton ball to be the snowy base of my scene. I can warn you not to burn your fingers, but we all know it will happen.

Also, don't judge my weird brown fingernails. I am a hairstylist by day, and my nails are always stained from haircolor even though I wear gloves! 

After you have your cotton ball glued down, you can start hot gluing down the elements of your snowy scene. I'm using mini bottle brush trees, tiny deer figurines, and miniature bags of "reindeer feed."

After I got the deer and tree liked I liked them, I first sprayed the area around the "ground" with Loctite Spray Adhesive. Use a lot. Then I pinched small handfuls of fake snow flakes (found at Hobby Lobby) and smooshed it on top of the sticky cotton ball. I gave it another coat of the spray adhesive so that it wouldn't all fall out of the opening. While still wet, sprinkle some glitter atop the snow. 

Note: If you're using the kind of ornament with no opening, I wouldn't spray the snow down. I'd let it fall wherever as if it were an actual snow globe. 

It stayed like this for a week or two until I decided it needed a little something more. I added the bags of Reindeer Feed (found at Michaels) to fill up the negative space. That's a lot of reindeer feed. My little deer will never go hungry again. Then I tied a simple bow out of ribbon and hot glued it to the top. The snow flake is actually a button I glued down.

I also made a second ornament out of a vintage Coca-Cola ice skater figurine I found at an antique store and a miniature bunny rabbit. 

After I made these, I saw this tutorial. Shadowboxes! Tiny figurines! I had to make my own. 

Luckily I already had these small kraft boxes, but you can find these in the gift wrap aisle. I modified mine just a bit. I chose to use chalkboard style stickers instead of buying a stamp I'd rarely use again. I also used ribbon as a boarder instead of the green garland stems, since my tree is white. I also didn't add hangers to these. Instead, I just nestled them into my tree. 

The Santa figurine came from Wal-Mart and only cost one single dollar! 

I love how the black background of these adds a pop of dimension in my white and pastel tree. 

I think the best part about both of these style ornaments is that you can put whatever you want in them! If it fits, glue it in there! Check out the Christmas village section and stock up on little people and figures or use small toys or dolls. You could have a princess or Star Wars themed ornament for your kids! 
Seriously, these were so easy and so satisfying. An instant gratification craft if I've ever seen one. Even kids hopped up on sugar can help make these ornaments! Okay, maybe not that last part. But they really are fun and simple. 

I'll be back tomorrow with one more installment of easy ornament crafts for you! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rustic Christmas Porch

This year, I went with a feminine and pastel vintage vibe with our tree and other indoor Christmas decor. To balance it out, I decided to go more rustic and old school Santa on our porch. 

I love our little porch because, in a neighborhood of similarly designed homes, our house is one of the only ones with a true porch and not just a deck or stoop. It's one of the things that drew me to this house to begin with. This is the first year I've done this much decorating for Christmas on the porch, as well as lights in the bushes out front. 

I was inspired by this old Santa portrait I got our first Christmas as newlyweds. I love his kind face, and I knew I wanted to do vintage Santa out here. I'm also loving the plaid trend (as is most of the internet). I found the red plaid Christmas balls and the "Merry Christmas" chipboard words at Michaels. I picked up some pinecones at my mom's house, and clipped some pine branches from an empty lot in our neighborhood. I also found some cute rustic ornaments at Target, like the stuffed polar bear head and the burlap wrapped balls. For the tree skirt, I just shoved some extra burlap fabric under there. 

This little Merry & Bright sign was a five minute DIY using scrap wood, chalky finish spray paint, hot glue, and a wood die cut from Michaels. The wooden dairy crate usually lives in my kitchen, but I put it our here to hold more pinecones and a string of white lights. 

Here's the wreath I made using the bottle brush trees I bleached and dyed. I added the Santa sign I found at Hobby Lobby, and I love the way it pops on our aqua door. 

Look at that twinkle in Santa's eye! I found the pillow at Hobby Lobby, and the burlap sack from the gift wrap section at Target. A few spare ornaments and pinecones, and you have yourself a rustic vignette! 

I love the way this plaid throw from Old Navy pulls together the blues and greens from my front door and the glider and makes it work with all the red! I wrapped my existing cushions with an old burlap sack and tossed on some mini pillows from Target's One Spot. The Merry Christmas marquee sign is from Michaels (I got it 70% off!), and the deer is from Target. Y'all, I love that deer so hard. We will be finding him a permanent year-round home. If there are any left after Christmas, I'm buying them all so we can have a happy deer family. 

The Coke crate is from the antique store, and I folded up one of my scarves to make a mini tree skirt for the small tree. 

I'm so pleased with how our porch turned out this year! I love driving home at night and seeing it all lit up and happy. Even though it has been 75 degrees this week, it makes my heart light to see Christmas lights aglow all up and down our street. 

How do you decorate your outdoors for Christmas? Do you even bother especially when it's this hot? How many items from Target's One Spot can one girl possibly need??

Friday, December 18, 2015

Miniature Putz House DIY

Yesterday I shared with you my obsession with bottle brush trees, and I showed you my pastel snowy village I have in my kitchen. Today I wanted to talk more about the adorable little cardboard houses. 

Putz houses, or glitter houses, were popular in the late 1920s and 1930s well into the 1960s, and they're usually part of a whole village of colorful, glittery, adorableness, like this one. 

So adorable, I can't even. Also, source
I am such a sucker for anything cute and miniature, and these glitter houses are the cutest and bittiest! I bought these on Etsy here, but this shop has lovely little kits with everything you need to make your miniature Putz house. 

They started off as brown kraft paper houses, then you customize them with paint, glitter, fake snow, and mini trees. Here are more of mine that I used as ornaments on the tree, and also in the centerpiece on my kitchen table. 

I think they add the perfect amount of vintage sweetness to our Christmas decor! I didn't make a tutorial, because I followed this one, and it was excellent. If you're loving these little Putz houses like I am, I encourage you to search around on Pinterest for them! I have found several tutorials on how to make your own patterns for them, as well as lots of inspiring photos to get your Christmas crafty juices flowing! Next year, I plan to have an elaborate and adorable Putz city to decorate with! Bitty houses everywhere! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

How To Bleach and Dye Bottle Brush Trees

It's only eight days until Christmas, but there's still plenty of time to get your craft on! Over the next couple days, I'll be sharing eight easy Christmassy crafts and ornaments for you to try out. So settle in with your hot chocolate and your hot glue gun, and get to making! 

This Christmas season, I have been crafting up a storm in every moment of my free time. When you completely update and change out your Christmas decor, it behooves you to get a little DIY action since all new decorations can be so costly. By far, my favorite decoration obsession this year are the sweet little miniature bottle brush trees. And my obsession might have gotten out of hand! I think I have bought 50+ of these trees, and I still want more!! 

Today I'm sharing with you how I bleached and dyed my bottle brush trees to make them pastel and vintage inspired. I found bitty trees in the Christmas craft section at Hobby Lobby, as well as in the dollhouse miniature section. I also bought a 21-piece bag of trees in various sizes at Michael's for 50% off. 

Step One: Prepare your bleach bath. I feel like my career as a licensed cosmetologist has completely prepared my for this craft. I lighten and deposit color on hair on the regular, and this is really no different. I just used my sink since it is stainless steel. I filled it up with enough hot water to be able to submerge the trees, then dumped a bunch of bleach in (very scientific). I didn't measure because I know if I want them to bleach out faster or if they're not getting light enough, I can always add more. 

Here they are after a couple minutes soaking. You can see the little ones go pretty fast. I found the bigger the tree, the longer it needs to soak. 

Step Two:  Soak and rinse your trees. Just like with hair, it's hard to know exactly how long it will take to lift the color out to the pale shade you want. Just let them sit until you like the way they look. I discovered that it was helpful to scrub the trees a little in the bleach to help penetrate the fibers. The small ones really didn't take long at all. 

Then I rinsed each one with cool water and let it sit to dry. 

Step Three: Prepare the dye. I used Rit dye in various shades to get the look I wanted. It comes in a ton of different colors, so you can pick whatever you like. I will confess, I didn't do any measuring like maybe I should have. I filled various stainless steel mixing bowls with hot water, added a good amount of salt (I don't know why this helps, but the instructions say you can do it. I found the color took much better when salt was added), then soaked my trees. 

As you can see, I mixed up various bowls. I was going for pale pink, mint green, and aqua. I ended up liking the red dye with lots and lots of water the best. I just dipped the trees for a few seconds into the diluted red and got a very pretty pink color. 

I'm sorry there's not more specific instructions, but I just winged it really. Check your trees often, and when they are a color you like, take them out and let them dry! Leave them in longer to get deeper shades, or dunk them quickly for subtle pastel tones.

Ta-da! I left some of them white because I liked it so much. And you know what? If some of them turn out weird, hit them with some white or gold spray paint. Spray paint fixes everything. 

Step Four (optional): Add flocking and glitter. I don't have a photo explaining how I did this because it isn't necessary. But I liked how my trees felt "finished" when I added some snowy effect and glitter to them. Most of the flocking will come off when you bleach them, so this makes them look pretty again. I mixed basic white acrylic paint with basic white Elmer's glue and brushed it haphazardly onto the tips of the trees. Then while it was still wet, I poured iridescent glitter all over them. You could also choose to paint or glitter the bases, but I decided to keep them snowy white. 

Step Five: Decorate! I used these little trees for a dozen things all over my house! I glued them onto little vignette ornaments (post coming soon), made two different wreaths with them, and lined them up in the kitchen to make a snowy little village. 

You can also hot glue small pearls and other beads to your trees to make bitty ornaments, like I did on my front door wreath. 

Tell me what you think in the comments! Do you share my bottle brush tree obsession?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Simple Vintage Modern Christmas Home Tour

Y'all, I am finally showing you our Christmas Home! It has taken me too long because I had the brilliant idea to update and replace nearly every bauble and decoration we own. When Chad and I got married over eight years ago, my friends threw my a Christmas ornament shower, and all of our holiday decor came from those gifts, as well as a keepsake ornament from my grandmother every year. I cherish all these decorations, and I still have them! But just like our style and taste in our every day home decor has evolved over the last near decade (I can't believe I'm old enough to have been married for a NEAR DECADE), so has our Christmas style. And since we were replacing basically everything, I really wanted to keep things simple. It doesn't hurt that my girls are little! We are just not in a season of life that calls for elaborate decorations and multiple trees. But I can't wait for the day when I can deck every hall in my home from top to bottom! 

Before, much like our house, my Christmas tree had very brightly colored, whimsical ornaments in vibrant, saturated colors. This year, I was craving a more pastel color palette in what I'm referring to as "vintage-modern" style. I oohed and aahed over photos of vintage pink and gold ornaments on Pinterest, and I really struggled to find exactly what I wanted. Then Target came to my rescue! 
Target, you da real MVP.

I found the paper star on top, and most of the basic glass ball ornaments at Target, as well as the gold-dipped feathers and other fun ornaments in gold and shades of pink and glass green. I'll be sharing several posts on the many DIY ornaments I've been working on for the last several weeks soon. 

I whipped up these smaller stockings to fit in this space in an afternoon. I used this tutorial and it was so simple! I'm super obsessed with bottle brush trees and their sweet, vintage vibe. I'll be sharing how I made the wreath soon also. 

Confession of a lazy decorator: this is basically how our living room looks all the time. I added a cozy new throw, a tree, and various ball ornaments, and fa la la la la, it's Christmas! 

Here she is all lit up. I think a white tree complements the vintage-modern style perfectly! 

In the kitchen, I did even less! 

I was feeling good that the floor is at least swept. 

I am truthfully in love with all of these bottle brush trees and glittery putz houses. Y'all know I love a miniature scene! I found the cardboard houses on Etsy here, then painted and glittered them. The trees came from Michaels, and I bleached and dyed them myself (post coming soon!). 

I added some pine sprigs I cut from the empty lot across from my house, and this free printable I found here. The little truck was a fun find. I scoured antique stores for an old toy truck, and I found this little guy. I tied one of my million bottle brush trees to him and called it a day! 

Right after I spent most of an afternoon searching for a little truck, I checked the dollhouse miniature aisle at Hobby Lobby and found this little red pickup. Of course I had to have him too! I made this mason jar snow globe, and I think it's super cute on top of my vintage scales. 

I'm not really a huge tablescape kind of girl. I mean, I want to be. When I grow up, I will create elaborate and fancy tablescapes for every holiday. But right now, this table is the workhorse of our house. It's my sewing and crafting table, our dining table, and the largest shelf in the kitchen! As beautiful as it would be to set it with lovely plates and place settings, it would be so fake. Instead, I'll enjoy all the perfect Christmas tablescapes on Instagram, and keep it simple at home. The marble slice was a flea market find, and the cake plate came from the One Spot at Target. I added one of my DIY glitter putz houses, some mercury glass candle holders from World Market, and more free greenery from the yard. It's simple and so sweet! I wonder how long it will last before my three-year-old has it scattered??

Another confession: My house is so not clean. That is why most of these photos are strategically framed. The counter behind the photo above?? Covered in junk. And I have a few other corners decorated, but I didn't have time to get them looking fancy. Like I said, as I add to my updated collection of decor, I hope to one day have Christmas in every nook and cranny of our home! It's truly the most wonderful time of the year. 

I hope you've enjoyed this little and simple tour of my new Christmas stuff. Please check back soon! In the next couple weeks, I'll be sharing my decorated front porch as well as LOTS of easy DIY ornaments. 

What decor trend are you obsessing over this year? Is anybody else a lazy decorator too?
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