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 ūüėõ

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

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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¬†‚Äútheme-y‚ÄĚ 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!
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The jaw isn’t for everyone, but have to say . . . it‚Äôs 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!

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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.

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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 ūüôā OR, pick up a cheap assorted flower bunch at the local box store – around $5 or less.

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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..

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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.

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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.

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TIP:  For anyone . . . a quick dress-up for a couch: 1. Throw, 2. Toss Pillows.  Use a throw, small colorful blanket Рtoss 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.

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

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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

Killer Pain . . . but Man, Was It Fun!

Last week was almost MY last week!  After three straight days of shopping, the walking nearly killed me.  Two of my cool and crazy cousins came to visit, and Thursday noon through Saturday evening, all we did was shop!

Well, not all . . .¬†there was the talking . . . and the eating . . . and all the laughing. ¬†Not much sleeping though¬†& all that walking . . . yikes. ¬†Hubs said it didn’t kill me, it did me good. ¬†Okay, yes, I’m still¬†alive (barely) but my new best friend is ALEVE!

We ladies are three of a kind, so we set out to visit as many thrift and 2nd Hand stores as we could find. ¬†My area is chock full of em’ so no problem. ¬†And we got some deals! ¬†Can’t remember theirs (or even all of mine) but here are some of the things I found. ARTZZLE.COM Milaca Discovery Thrift was having their¬†“Third Thursday Sale”, where each month on that day, everything is 30% off EXCEPT furniture which 15% discount. ¬†Last month, I purchased a beautiful wooden ¬†bureau (for $63) so I¬†didn’t buy big this time. ¬†The cute strawberry themed items @ $2.50 were all I left with.

Our local Family Pathways in Princeton, was where I found the vase, cup & saucer and these fun foam stamps.. ¬†Plus a glass casserole w/lid, a chrome wine rack, and a couple of miscellaneous things. ¬†FP has “color tag sales”. ¬†On our visit, green tags were 20% off; 40% off on yellow, and 60% discount on lavendar tags. ¬†I spent around $9 for all my items. ARTZZLE.COM

Princeton Used Clothing Center  also has toys and household items.  And I recently started volunteering for them, so we had to stop in.  They were having 50% off on hardware items, and any clothing or fabrics, etc. was $3 a bag for all you could get in one. ARTZZLE.COM

No kidding, I got everything pictured for $3 . . . the clothes and the beautiful table cloth.¬†There is absolutely nothing wrong with anything. ¬†No spots, tears, nothing. ¬†It’s¬†all washable. ¬†The slacks also have a casual accompanying blazer, and the pieces are inter-changeable. ¬†Love it! ¬†It’ll be great for the wedding I’m attending in November. ¬†The table cover will work¬†for several different holidays and occasions.

ARTZZLE.COM ARTZZLE.COM

At the Elk River Goodwill  it was twenty minutes to closing when I discovered a 10 books for $2, green tag sale.  I used my time wisely!   Picture books, funny quotes and sayings, decorating books . . . wow!  All hard-cover except one.

ARTZZLE.COM At a local “Thrift with a Twist”,¬† my cousin Robin pointed out a sandwich cooking gizmo. ¬†Brand new with a little spatula and instruction booklet, she said it was perfect for me . . . easy, fast and step by step directions. ¬†(She knows I hate to cook). ¬†I bought that and a set of 4 glass mugs for $5.

My final great find was at “Savers”,¬†¬†the pitcher below.¬† At $5.99, this was my biggest expenditure, but hey . . . it matches those $2 glasses from a recent garage sale! ARTZZLE.COM The ladies come up every summer and we always have a blast. ¬†But in planning for next year, we decided to

  • Day one – shop
  • Day two –¬†relax, gossip, talk design and decorating
  • Day three – shop, eat out

That way I won’t have to take so much ALEVE.

Hey, what fun finds have you come across lately?  Share with me.  You can email any pictures.  My address is on the About Page.

As always, try not to stress out, just get going!

Later – Cheryl

Last Minute Holiday Projects … in 15 minutes or less

Hi All.

ONE WEEK FROM TODAY IS …¬†THE DAY. Anybody needing some last minute, quick little Holiday accents? ¬†C’mon, it’s OK to admit it. ¬†Everyone has had that dilemma at one time or another ¬†… you have most (or almost) everything you need … BUT¬†it just hasn’t all come together yet.

MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF.¬† Let me help with some easy AND economical projects, most of which can be done in 15 minutes or less. Just don’t wait until 15 minutes before your guests arrive, to do them …¬†the night before would be better!

ALL YOU NEED IS …¬† a roll or two of holiday wrapping paper, some ribbon, twine or pretty string, a few unbreakable ornaments and one or two minor items that you’ll probably have around the already. ¬†If not, a quick run to the closest Big Box Store will do the trick. ¬† So …

HERE WE GO.

Artzzle Christmas

Dress up a smaller window … YES, EVEN IN A BATHROOM!

Artzzle Christmas

Above is everything you need.
1. TENSION ROD
This is an adjustable little curtain rod. You set it’s length to just a bit wider than your window opening. A spring inside allows you to then push it into place in the window, and the tension holds it there.
2. ORNAMENTS
Using unbreakable ornaments is best. Use an odd number so you have a center piece for balance.
3. RIBBON, TWINE or STRING
I used narrow, paper ribbon in a copper color, to coordinate with the rest of the project and room.
4. ROLL OF WRAPPING PAPER
You won’t need the entire roll, but you have to use rolled paper as opposed to folded, flat sheets.

FIRST, adjust the rod to fit your chosen window. Then decide how far down from the top of the window, that you want your paper to show.
NEXT, cut your paper: Make the length the same as the length of your rod. Make the width double the amount you want showing.
NOW, fold over each end on the long sides, about two inches or so, folding the excess to the back side of your paper.
NEXT, lay out your ornaments on your work table. The center one is your main ornament, and should hang from your rod, either shorter than, or longer than your side ornaments. EXAMPLE: My center piece is longer, and in a different design than the others. Then, balance one on each side of your center one, then two more and so on. Once I had my arrangement, I then cut pieces of ribbon, accordingly, to how far they would hang down from the rod.
NEXT, tie one end of ribbon to the ornaments and the other to your rod, and hang rod in window.
FINALLY, just fold your wrapping paper over the rod until you have the right amount showing in front. Gently pinch a fold in the paper at the top of the rod, to better keep it in place.
Artzzle Christmas

#2 PAPER/RIBBON PROJECT
This one doesn’t even take 15 minutes, it’s SO EASY and QUICK.

Below is the credenza featured in the previous post. See how much more festive it looks with this easy addition.
Artzzle Christmas

All you need is
1. WRAPPING PAPER
2. RIBBON
3. DOUBLE SIDED TAPE or GLUE
Use tape OR glue with paper and cloth ribbon.
Use glue only with metallic and/or wired ribbon (the tape doesn’t adhere to the metallic ribbon)

Just, measure the length and width of paper you want for your table. Fold an inch or so on the long edges, to the back or underside of your paper. Then, adhere ribbon to the hanging edges and done!

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TWO MORE !

EASY TABLESCAPE CENTERPIECES

I’m always advising to use what you already have. It also works at Christmas.

Here’s the green one featured in our last post. Just a big glass bowl, a plant, some ornaments and wrapping paper ( also a fabric remnant ). It’s so easy you don’t need instructions.

Artzzle.  Christmas

REMEMBER Christmas doesn’t always have to be red and green. I have lots of browns, coppers and other metallics in my home. So I put this together.

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I began with a beautiful copper and gold wrapping paper (same as on the window treatment)
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Then I added the runner from a Thanksgiving project.

Artzzle Christmas

In this last shot I tried a big, old rusty star with it. Haven’t decided if it stays or goes. Except for the ornaments in the vase, these are everyday items … just combined differently and dressed up for the holidays … that extra SPARKLE.

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Now, as they say … ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD

If you’ve got BOOKS and WRAPPING PAPER … you’re set to go. And you can set the timer for 15 minutes!
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I have several very pretty holiday books that I display as is. But to add color here and there, I cover others. This is a Christmas book, but Martha on Blue doesn’t fit my scheme this year.
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First you need to correctly size your wrapping paper. Follow the instructions below.
scan023

Artzzle Projects

Open your book and slide the tube (pretty side up) onto the cover.

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Wrap around the front, spine and to the back edge.

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Now you’re almost done. Slip the open tube onto the back cover.
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Now you’re finished.
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Don’t waste precious time trying to wrap every single book. Just do a few, in a few sizes and different papers. Then use them wherever you need color and Christmas!

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Whew, a long post! It will probably be easier to print out at least the book cover section. There will be one more before Christmas … but don’t worry … just a short one!

Dearest Readers, as the holidays draw near, I wish for all happiness, joy and peace in this special season, no matter your beliefs or celebration reasons. Stay safe and warm.

As always, try not to stress, but just start.

Later – Cheryl

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