Criss-Cross Christmas

For anyone, there are so many things to do and places to be, during the holidays.  People have lots of contenders vying for their time.

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Those of us with “blended families” have extra scheduling difficulties in this season, as people have to multiply the visits and celebrations.  It can be stressful, especially to kids, even after they’ve become adults.

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In the past two years, I’ve tried a different approach.  We combine Thanksgiving and Christmas into one get-together, and we celebrate in mid-December or early January.

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The thought was to aim for less stress directly on the holidays, when so many other duties call.  It has worked quite well … except … this year.

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So, for the first time – in a long time, even the single celebration has to be split, as schedules just can’t come together.

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This year, grandchildren are older, and teenagers have jobs and sports activities and everything included.  So even if we’re not trying to use the exact holiday for our gathering, there are still conflicts.

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Solution:  One family is coming here to our home, and we’re having a brunch instead of a turkey dinner w/fixings.  I’m really looking forward to it, as the kids AND grandkids are doing all the cooking.  Sounds like fun, don’t you think?  Can’t wait!

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The other kids who are local, have been remodeling their home and wanted us to visit their place for a get-together.  We headed over there last weekend, and had a blast.  My daughter-in-law is a marvelous cook and this time, she even made a big vegan dish for my husband.  And it was fun to see the new looks in their house.

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So, Readers … how will you be spending your time over the holidays?  I love when you share in the comments.

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And if you’re looking for last minute decorating ideas, you can do a search in the menu bar up-top.  Just type Christmas and you’ll find all of the projects and ideas I’ve posted previously, lots of stuff there.

OR, visit Artzzle’s Facebook page.   Lots more fun projects there and many are “kid” friendly too.

In closing, I’ll just say that

Whatever your Beliefs or Reasons for the Season,

be Happy, stay Safe and Best Wishes to all!

Later – Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today … of all days …

I’m in the mood to send out a post.  My logical side (is that left or right brain?) says “you can’t take time today, to write posts!!!  Your ladies are on the road, headed up for their annual July visit”.  The other side blurts “Yah, yah … I know … but”.

Logical: “NO but’s.  You’ve got laundry to do, beds to make, dusting and dishes.  And for pete’s sake scrub out that fridge and the bathtub!  Geesh!”

Other side:  “I can’t help it!  The pictures and writing are just working for me today.  I gotta do it!”

Logical: “Well, stop with the ‘buts’ and get your ‘butt’ going then!”

So loyal followers and readers, sharing some fantastic finds for you to drool over.

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Added a new glass bird to this collection recently. The pretty, purplish blue one, fourth from the right. $2.00 LOVE IT.

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The bird closeup, on the right end.

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Recent thrift store haul. The napkin sets were 25 cents for each pattern set, the gorgeous velvet table runner (or mantel liner) was also 25 cents and the vase a whopping half dollar.

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Here, the beautiful Fireking serving tray from the previous shot ($2) joins many of it’s relatives in my hutch.

 

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I bought that pretty vase noted earlier, to complete this grouping on my dining room table. Love two-toned blends in colored glass.

Oh, just a thought.  The scarf pictured above, while NOT a “Vera”, was still a great buy, long-time back, @ $0.75.

TIP:  Interesting scarves, of any shape or size, always make both great fashion AND decor statements.

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You know of my love of books. Hubs was recently given (free) some wonderful walnut boards, and this little unfinished project was part of the package. I’m using it “as is” to hold books in our family room.

Haven’t mentioned it on ARTZZLE, but I joined a really fun group on facebook.  It’s called “Decorate with Pyrex”.  A blogger buddy of mine invited me to join.

These people – a few fellas too – collect pyrex, fireking and many other glass and pottery items.  They post displays and finds of all kinds.  It is a blast, and if you’re interested, I’ll put links at the end of the post.

While I don’t have much Pyrex, I do collect glass (as you regulars know :o) and recently I discovered something I had NEVER SEEN.  So of course, I shared it there, but want to show everyone else too.

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A unique discovery ($4.75) from our local thrift store.

 

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NOTE: The pitcher has no handle. You hold it at the stem and gently push the back over to pour.  A Pyrex pal says this is called “Blendo” so I’ll be researching soon.

Ok, for me, this has been a pretty fast post.  But now, Ms. Logical is demanding I get all this housework done.

Yikes, I only have three hours!!!   ARGH!

Always nice talking with you.

NEW BLOG FEATURE:  Going forward, I’ll close with FYI links, mentioned in the post.  Here are today’s.

#1.  The Decorate with Pyrex sign up page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/317294351810256/?fref=nf

#2.  My ARTZZLE facebook page.   I post often here, sharing fun I’ve found from other blogger buddies on fb, including some fantastic AND easy projects.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Artzzlecom/386346584831653

#3.  This is from my Pyrex Blogger buddy.  Besides a number of other interests we share, I originally found her here because of the recipes, which work well for T2D’s like me.

http://www.glutenfreepoodlehome.com/

I’d sure love to see ya’ at my fb page, but HERE too, so replies are always anticipated.

Later – Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

From Gloomy to Good

For a host of reasons, I’m always glad to see
the third month of the year disappear.
Though someone in my life seems to be
on a mission to start a new tradition
to brighten my March with cheer.

It began last year with this little lovely.

And late afternoon today … another knock at my door … brought this beauty.

Artzzle March 2016 post

Though March will be my least favorite month … forever,
my daughter Bri is determined to make it better.

Thanks, Breezer. Luv Ya lots! … Love, Ma

Artzzle March 2016 post

Later, Readers.

 

Little Things Mean a Lot

Valentine’s Day isn’t the elaborate celebration it once was, around our place.  It’s more of a “stay home and snuggle” than a “reservations and retail” type of holiday, after being married for 31 years .  We kind of like it that way … especially in a freezing February!  So, it was unexpected (and sort of cute) when, while shopping this week, Hubs wanted me to pick out something for a Valentine gift.

An obvious starting point was the display of mixed bouquets.  There were three different prices and assortments presented.  Now, don’t get me wrong, many of the choices were fresh enough, that one may have worked.   But remember I’m a former florist, so I looked them all over closely.  Still, those prices for something that would be gone in a few days gave me pause.

I wanted to keep looking.

We went back to the normal garden department and while the variety and choices were very limited, there was a good sized foliage plant I liked, for a bit more than the flowers.  Similar price points. Live plant (non-blooming) vs. soon-to-be dead flowers. Hhmm.

I wanted to keep looking.

Jewelry?  Too spendy.  Towels … or how about a colorful little throw-rug.   Nah.  We went past a Valentine’s Day display with candy, cards and bunches of fresh (sort of) tulips. I’m diabetic, so any big time candy purchase, well prob’ly not a great idea, as it’s hard for me to stop on that, when I get going 😛  Just sayin’.  The tulips were okay, but Hubs wanted to spend more.  Well I was up for that, so . . .

We wanted to keep looking.

We were almost to check-out and I saw a young gal with a little mini rose plant.  She pointed to yet another display area.  Okay, enough already, people.

Here is what I chose for my Valentine’s gift.  A live and blooming plant.  A cute little pink and purple cyclamen.

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It will bloom for quite a while yet, a week or even longer.  And, the foliage will give continued interest until next bloom season (if I don’t kill it first).

Next, a bundle of orange tulips (one of my favorite colors and blooms).

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Some low, broken stems were discovered when we got them home . . . so

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they got a special “short” vase.

Finally … chocolate.  Not just any old candy, but … crunchy M&M’s.  These happen to be a triple play of pleasure for me!

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First, one of my favorite things.  Second, affordable and third, small so I can have just a few at a time without messing up my sugar #’s (with a little supervision from Hubs)!

These all make me smile, and at that $$ amount, I don’t have to feel guilty.   It really is true … Little Things can Mean a Lot.

Thanks Dugger.  Love you still!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  If you still need some decor ideas, search valentine(s) here on the blog, or check out my pinterest and facebook place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Minute Christmas Fast Fixes

There are ALWAYS A FEW OF US who need some décor perks FAST, especially during the extended holiday seasons.  So, keeping with my 1-2-3, EZ PZ philosophies about such things . . . here ya go!  Be sure to catch all the TIPS and the LIST of supplies.

1.  BANNER of Christmas Cards

EZ PZ Christmas Banner

Use the actual cards you’ve received, or like these, that I purchased for crafts, at “After Christmas Sales” last year.  FIRST, cut cards in half down the folds and trim rough edges.  NEXT, cut out the front sections from your colored envelopes, like my example, for hand lettered messages EZ PZ Christmas Banner

OR you can simply use the inside message section of your card (the back half).

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

NOW punch holes in the top corners of each piece. USE twine, yarn, ribbon or whatever you want, to string the cards and form your banner.  It is light weight and can be hung with thumb tacks or push pins, without damaging walls.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

TIPS:  Re: After Christmas sales:  1.  Look for designs that instantly catch your eye.  For banners and many other projects, you’ll want variety so choose cards that have several designs in the box.  These screamed my name right away.  The design is big, colorful and generic themed AND the images are glittered = sparkle and interest.  2.  Look for cards with COLORED ENVELOPES.  That’s just more colored paper for any crafts!
3. Faux Flowers:  Bushes of flowers rather than single stems, give you more bang for your buck.  Just snip off individual blooms to scatter through the house.
4. Wrapping paper:  I always buy the widest, longest rolls … not the short, skimpy ones.  I look for paper in colors that can be used ALL YEAR ROUND not just seasonally.  I buy as many coordinated patterns and colors as I can afford.  Paper doesn’t spoil, right!  5.  DON’T MISS your local thrift store sales, both before and after Christmas.  TON’S of deals there and you’re supporting your community, too!   6. Always start with my golden rule . . . house shop first, use what you already have before buying more! 

2. ORNAMENTS in Anything

Simply put a few colorful ornaments in any container you have;

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

a basket, a bowl, any glass jar or vase available.Christmas Fast Fix Decor

EZ PZ with things you already have.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Below, the ornaments are in a beautiful, giant copper leaf piece, a gift from one of my daughters.  The little “Russian Doll” snowmen another daughter and I saw years ago while shopping at Sears.  They were on the check-out counter and I said how cute they were.  So the clerk said “Here, you can have these!”  A memory moment for sure.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

YES … you know it.  Even my bathroom gets decorated.

Christmas Fast Fix Decir

BLING belongs everywhere. . . you knew that, right!

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

3. PLANTS, PINES & BRANCHES

Pointsettias are everywhere.  Buy one or two for important spots in your room.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Pine branches are easy to come by and so are fake pine garlands.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

A small grouping of pine, a faux flower and a Holiday item are an instant little vignette.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

See, you don’t need a lot.  Sometimes simplicity is elegant, effective … and FAST.  And putting that blue plant container in a Christmas colored basket would be great too!  The table runner is paper and ribbon.  See below

3. BASKETS, BOXES and PAPER

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Put one of your houseplants in a bright basket.  Wrap some empty boxes in varied sizes and papers.  Only takes a few minutes.  OR you could wrap small items you’re giving as guest favors and throw them in a big basket.  NO TREE . . . take a bamboo basket or tub, and put all your gift-wrapped presents in them.  Lots of bang with what you have already.

RIBBON

This is one of the most easy and fun ideas.  No pictures but just use your imagination.  Make one  big bow for a centerpiece.  Make several small bows to scatter here, there and everywhere.  Make a quick tree garland or wall banner with thick ribbon and a few unbreakable ornaments.  Wrap jars with pretty ribbon and use as serving pieces … hold candy, silverware, extra napkins, etc.  HAVE FUN.

CANDY

?? Candy ??  YES, that’s what it says.  Hey talk about multiple duties: decor, gifts, food AND inexpensive.  C’mon people, candy is perfect!Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Stores have tons of beautiful foil wrapped chocolates and candies for the holidays.  USE em!  OR Candy canes are cheap, pretty and edible.  Hang them on the tree, put em’ in a jar (with a ribbon tied round it).

The next shot includes Paper, Fabric, Pine Branches and Ornaments, used in pieces I already owned.  AND this arrangement carried me during Fall through New Years that year!

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

SUPPLIES used in these projects

Christmas cards & colored envelopes
Wrapping paper
Fabric remnants
Unbreakable Christmas Ornaments
Houseplants
Candy
Christmas decor pieces (you already have)
Already owned vases, jars, holders, etc.

FINALLY . . . I know, this has been a long one, yikes.  But here’s the EASIEST.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take down some of your wall art pictures; wrap them with pretty paper and ribbon, then hang em’ back up. There you go … instant Christmas decor.

CLICK THIS TO FIND MORE EASY IDEAS.

Hope these have been positive inspirations to help you eliminate those last minute stresses.  We’ll talk again soon.

Later – Cheryl

Best Ways to Use the Time … During Football Games

YES I KNOW it’s Christmas time, but it’s also the weekend.

Ahh … and a winter weekend … YES.

Sleep in, laze around with coffee and chocolate. (that was gonna say “sweets” but truthfully, I always have something chocolate with my coffee!) Quiet mornings, just good coffee and good conversation. No noise, no television. Well, none until … game time, and even then, it has to be the right game, or the screen stays black and quiet.

Quick, fast, exciting and then BAM … DONE!

That’s why hockey and soccer are my favored sports. The stupid, ever-changing clock and all that instant replay baloney in football, make me crazy! Ggrrr!
Having no extensive knowledge of or patience with any sport,
I need diversions to survive.
Well, lets just say “I have my ways”.
Hubs is usually patient about providing me any necessary updates.
Thank You, Dugger 😛

MY BEST WAYS TO USE TIME DURING FOOTBALL GAMES

1. The TV is visible from the kitchen, so I can do dishes, mind the meal, clean or whatever.
2. I can throw in a load or two of wash, fold and put away. The laundry room’s next door.
3. Gracie gets lots of close-contact lap time in. With her on my lap, I don’t go anywhere!
Today I’m typing, so Dad’s gettin’ all the lovin’.

Artzzle Christmas Feature4. A big stack of magazines helps the monotonous sports time.
5. Finally, those who know me will be nodding yes,
when I say “my best use of football time is, of course, on the laptop”.
I have no problem answering emails, working on a post or cruising the net.

Today, it’s football, Chicago, here against our Vikings ..
UPDATE: end of 3rd qtr, Vikes lead 24-10,
but with that stupid football clock, there’s still plenty of time for them to screw up.  Meanwhile, there’s laundry done and more in progress.
No dishes yet, but the bed is made, and I received some great email like this.

Gift Bag Wall Hanging

A SUPER quick, EZ-PZ project for some last minute Christmas color,
from Kim over at Exquisitely Unremarkable.
You all know how I love to share. This year, Hometalk asked me to be a contributor to their Christmas Pinterest Board, so I shared Kim’s article there today, along with some others.

HOMETALK CHRISTMAS PINTEREST BOARD

Go over and see …
halftime works great for a visit.
And, that’s my Q. The game’s over
the Vikings won … OMG … final 38-17,
not a slaughter but pretty good guys!

So now everyone, stop stressing over the holidays … just relax and start something fun.

WOW, it’s 4 o’clock and I haven’t eaten yet … and OH NO, now my guy Peyton is playing.  Geez!  We’ll talk again soon 🙂

Later – Cheryl

Glimmers of Christmas

“READERS NOTE:  Following are three collages.  As you click each one, you are taken to a photo on a black background, and you can then arrow to the right to review the complete collage.  TO EXIT a collage, click in the very upper, right corner of the screen and you’ll be taken back to the entire post, and on to the next selection.

This Season’s clock is ticking
The time for calm is near
So take a little rest and
Click the Pics for some Christmas Cheer

Christmas Present
Those now Past
All Cherished Memories
Forever will Last

The Christmas Tree
so noble and bright

Each year’s may be different
But all are Just Right

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME EVERYONE … stress less – accomplish more!
Later – Cheryl

Christmas Finery from Farrow & Ball

Christmas Past is today’s post … a fun one from 2015.  Enjoy.

A favorite online place of mine is the Farrow and Ball site.  You’ll never fail to find something beautiful to enjoy; color and decor ideas, crafts and more.

Today I’m sharing this Christmas post … have fun!

Easing Into an Easy Christmas

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone,
Black Friday past and Small Biz Saturday nearly done …
it’s time to think about Christmas.

We usually ease into Christmas gradually, but this year since our family is combining the two holidays, and celebrating in Mid-December, I began early, pre-Thanksgiving, even.

The most difficult and time consuming part (and a great relief when completed) is the tree, so it goes up first. Then after a few nights of pretty lights, I’m in the spirit to do the rest. Often, I work with a definite color scheme and theme, continuing it through the house. Not so much this time.

Easing into Christmas Feature

I brought out all of our “special” family ornaments and memory pieces, added a bit of sparkle with some beads and garland, and finally, added multi-colored ornaments through-out. The result is a very old-fashioned, homey look, especially since we placed the tree right by the fireplace.

I have a collection of Dayton Hudson Corporation “SANTA BEARS”; small in quantity (only 3) because the guys themselves are big and a bit difficult to hibernate for the rest of the year. In 2014, it was just Hubs and I around, so no giganto tree. I put all three bears atop the piano, around a small table tree.

Christmas Decorating at Artzzle

Did ya notice the reindeer antlers on the tree top 😛

This year, the bears are taking up individual little spots in the living room.

Ease Into Christmas "Feature"

At a younger age or earlier stage, your holiday decor collection will just be starting. Don’t feel you have to rush right out and grab everything on your first official holiday. One of my favorite tips applies at Christmas too.

TIP #1: Start with what you already have, and build from there.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"EXAMPLE:  A plate and figurine, a metallic (musical tree) and bright colored books with metallic print. You may already have a piece or two that you treasure. Pull some ideas and color from that.  Cost on pieces:  Plate = $2.00; Santa Bell = $0.75; Tree = $1.50 (silver plated, musical) .  All are thrift buys, but keep in mind, all purchased at different times.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

If you’re a complete beginner, shop for two or three items you really like, then try a boost with a little greenery, faux or real. Also in this season, take advantage of the beautiful wrapping papers and fabrics. No sew … just fluff up a remnant fabric, tuck under the rough edges and top it off with some pretties.  Above, I just wrapped three sizes of boxes, held together with ribbon and topped with a bow.  I put one of my houseplants in a bright red basket (thrift store $0.25) for a holiday look.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION … and HAVE FUN!

TIP #2: This is a great time of year to shop all of your local thrift stores. There are beautiful pieces for just pennies. Good for the budget (and not as crowded as the big box stores).

The stars below were $3.00 and $0.75.  I get most of my books at a local Goodwill in their end-of-day sales.  Last time I purchased 10 beautiful HARDBACK books for $2.00.  That’s $0.20 each, guys).  I never pay more than a dollar for any book unless it’s stupendous!

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

TIP #3: Remember the Magic # 3. Those arrangements and little vignettes are as easy as 1-2-3. Start with three items varied in height and interest. Work with the 3 essentials; color, pattern and textures.

Be sure to “ground” your grouping; use a pretty fabric, or perhaps a seasonal placemat; maybe a book or two. If your objects are just sitting in the middle of a table, they give a disconnected look; just floating around. That’s why it’s important to ground.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Our place isn’t finished for the coming celebrations, but here are some 14 vs. 15 looks at the kitchen cab tops.

2014 …
Ease into Christmas "Feature" Ease into Christmas "Feature"

vs. 2015

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

2014, single cabinet …

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

vs. 2015 look.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Finally, a 2014 shot of one of the hutch shelves.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

I’m using this one again.

Okay … I’m “holiday’ed” out for this time.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and remember … staying positive is a good way to stay productive.
We’ll talk soon.

Later – Cheryl

Lots of WOW for $0 and 15 minutes

Got company coming this weekend?
Need to spruce up your place … quickly, cheaply, easily?
Round up some of your treasures and have a little fun.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Start with 3 items of different heights and textures (add more later if you want).  You can go “theme-y” with similar pieces, or pure random just showing off things you love.

Purely random here . . . 1. Rusty star, 2. Silver ceramic figurine, 3. Jawbone, naturally bleached. OK, I KNOW . . . you don’t have (or may not want) an animal’s jawbone.  I’m just goin’ for the process here.  You’ll be using your own great stuff!
Artzzle Display Feature

The jaw isn’t for everyone, but have to say . . . it’s the most talked-about arrangement in our house; a real eye-catcher and a great conversation piece.

TIP: Group your pieces, let them touch.  You want them to connect.  Sometimes a straight line works . . . but not too often.

Got books? Show em off.  Below, several big books are placed under artwork and dressed up with three decorative pieces.  1-2-3 you’re done!

Artzzle Display Feature

It’s easy to jazz up a shelf.  All we did here was line up three nice, but different vases to give things a little shine.  (YES, a line works fine here.)  NOTE: Use varied heights and patterns, and don’t put too much space between the items.  Pull them closer together.

Everyone has dishes and I’ve never met anyone who hates candy or flowers.
Dress up a convenient spot with 1. Bowl, 2. Plate, 3. Mug.  Add some flowers & greens from your yard. Throw in some goodies and you’ve got a great look on a kitchen table or the end of a counter. Just make sure it’s easy access for your guests.

Artzzle Display Feature

Don’t have or want the matchy-matchy look? No garden flowers? Use what you’ve got and like. 1. Paint can, 2. Tin, 3. Odd plate.

Artzzle Display Feature Clip some evergreens or shrub branches. YES, evergreens work all year round (but maybe use something besides peppermints and red candies when it’s not Christmas 🙂 OR, pick up a cheap assorted flower bunch at the local box store – around $5 or less.

Artzzle Display Feature

Maybe you don’t have a yard at all.  Above, we just put root clippings from two houseplants into water.  EZ PZ.  (These stems will be planted after they root).

How about plants and books?  1. Houseplant, 2. Books, 3. Handmade wooden mallet.  You’ll have personal pieces of your own.

TIP:  Notice the little angle to the books.  EXPERIMENT, don’t always just line things up, or pull everything evenly to the front..

Artzzle Display Feature

You GUYS can use these tips too.  Just work what you have and follow the same 1-2-3’s.  Below are more masculine displays.  Again, really easy, just use things you already have.

Artzzle Display Feature

Natural wood pieces and beautiful rocks make great accents. On top, we used the paint can and house plant cuttings again, along with a little handmade fishing pole, a found rock and a VICTORY cycle gas cap.  (these all have meaning for a special fella of mine)

Artzzle Display Feature

TIP: The fishing plaque was simply positioned on the wall with putty (big box stores). It holds light weight things, can be as temporary or permanent as you want.  Doesn’t hurt the wall upon removal.

Artzzle Display Feature Artzzle Display Feature

Again, have fun and EXPERIMENT.   Here, three decorative boxes, more books, some natural elements and yes . . . even magazines.  This display was easy, and tells a story about the  person who lives here.

TIP:  Play!  Books can be upright but try leaning or stacking a few.   Magazines laying around?  Gather them up in a nice bunch and show em’ off.

Baskets are great in lots of places.  The one below stores (and displays) books and magazines.  NOTE:  Three pottery pieces on table top also hold books and treats.

Artzzle Display Feature

TIP:  For anyone . . . a quick dress-up for a couch: 1. Throw, 2. Toss Pillows.  Use a throw, small colorful blanket – toss it over the corner (or middle) of the couch, pull it together in the middle, then throw a couple toss pillows over the corner (or middle).

It’s also quick and easy, to pop flowers or a plant into a nice basket.

Artzzle Display Feature

Accent with favorite items.  Add a colorful placemat or scarf underneath and you’ve got a great table look.

Artzzle Display Feature

So just as the title promised . . .

  • $0 money spent using what you already have
  • Quick Spruce Up
  • Easy tips that anyone can do

Wishes to all for a safe, happy Memorial Day Weekend.

And remember, stress less . . . start more.

Later – Cheryl