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.


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


Kitchens, Cousins and Cabinets

July has meant kitchens, cousins, cabinets and me . . . completely pooped!  It was a VERY busy month for me and Hubs. Regular readers know that my cousins come up each July to visit, as they did this year too!  As usual, we had a blast 🙂







And you’ll also probably remember we’ve been attacking our kitchen cabinet project in steps, and still had the lowers to finish.

Artzzle Backsplash Feature

Remember how my timing is often a little off?  I didn’t get motivated about the cabinets till the week before our visitors’ scheduled stay.


Hubs did his part, trimming everything out, and on one of our cooler days, I tackled the painting and sealing.


You know our dishwasher died this past winter, and I may also have mentioned that its’ gaping absence has Hubs designing a wonderful pull-out drawer for pan storage – my back just loves that guy 🙂 !  But it’s a “future” plan.  In the meantime, lazy me just left it naked and exposed to the world.   The ladies know we’re always in the middle of a project or two, and once they arrived, we had plenty to keep us busy, so nobody cared.


Showing off some of their thrift finds, before departing.

Showing off some of their thrift finds, before departing.

After they headed home, we took a couple of days off, appreciating the AC.  It gave us lots of time to talk . . . about what else . . . projects.

In afterthought, I regretted the big black hole left open for our company.  I remembered some of the clever “disguise” ideas my blogger buddy Kim has done with fabric.  I had remnants left from our recent family room drapes makeover (haven’t posted it for you yet).  Since that area is directly behind the kitchen, those would work.  So, supplies yes, but still a problem.  C’mon, you all know how I just love to sew . . . NOT!  Covering the opening meant using two pieces.  Oh boy!

Speaking of boys, all these boy-toys around here tend to come in handy. Hubs has all sorts, including an upholstery stapler, and an air one at that.  So it was brought to the kitchen.

Keep calm . . . it wasn’t ME operating anything electric.  C’mon, an air compressor and an automatic stapling gun . . . seriously??  No no!  You know me!   I pleaded and begged Hubs away from his shop, for this quick and easy project.  I put a comfy, big ol’ pillow in there for his back.  Then as I gathered material, he stapled two little curtains in place, from behind the cabinet front.  No sewing.  The bottom was already nicely hemmed and the raw edges were just folded in and stapled.  Voila’ – done.  It’ll work until the practical pan drawer is done, don’t ya think?


Remember my grumping about our broken rider mower last time?  Well . . . it’s still out of commission but sometimes good things rise from bad.  Hubs was out “push mowing” today with our noisy old hand mower, when a second roaring machine piped in.  I looked out to see our neighbor teen, Tyler, zipping along on their rider, finishing things off in no time.  He didn’t want pay and left without telling us.

So, Hubs and I leashed Gracie and went for a walk back to his house, delivering a card and a little monetary compensation.  And we got to know our newest neighbors even better.  Nice.  Great guy, that Tyler. I should’ve taken a picture.  Maybe our granddaughters would visit more often if they knew what a cute neighbor we have.  Hhmm.

So, kitchen is done, cousins are safely back home, and yard looks good, for now anyway. . But don’t worry, there’s so much more to report . . . next time because me, I’m pooped out!  Think there is a cat puppy nap in the near future.

Artzzle Feature: Gracie Mae

Hey, Gracie, ya started without me!

Meanwhile, I’m working at staying positive to stay productive.  See if it works for you!

Later – Cheryl

Thanksgiving Thinking

Hi All,

Thanks for the wonderful comments and emails on the Halloween posts. So glad you enjoyed them. Karianne at THISTLEWOOD FARMS has inspired me to come up with some cutout printables for Thanksgiving as well, so expect a project soon. Checkout Kari’s site over there. She is a Hoot! 🙂

With that said, I know I’m not the only one who’s glad that Halloween is done. The pumpkins are pooping out and any color other than orange, is much welcomed at this point. Still, it’s a bit odd that the BIG BOX stores are already decked out in red and green. What about that holiday in between? You know, the big Gobble-Gobble with the green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.

After my latest budget “fun finds”, I’m into some fun Thanksgiving designs. I found several great fabric pieces in the remnant bin at Wal-Mart. Two are for more easy make table runners, like the one I’ve already finished, pictured. The tutorial is at the end of this post. artzzle.com

The others are for another RAG WREATH . If you missed that post, check it out. I’m tickled to tell you that the Wreath for All Seasons was one of my most popular posts yet! A friend wants help making hers so thought I would do another along with her as a demo.

The wonderful works of world renowned artist MARIE THURMAN have inspired me to get creative with some decorative glass and ceramic ware. You’ll love this easy, inexpensive project. Found the perfect glass and plates to use, at my local Discovery Thrift Store. Article coming soon. Also coming up, a twenty-five cent TV tray will get a remarkable re-do and new use.

My continued search for cool, new blogger buddies means another “FEATURED FAVORITES” spot in the very near future as well.

But today, look how easy and inexpensive this table runner is to make. And it only takes about an hour.

I’m using two compatible fabrics and some decorative wired ribbon to make three runners that will criss-cross over the table top.

First, I cut the polka-dot fabric lengthwise, to create two equal pieces. Then I trimmed off the end edges.


Next I pressed the fabric with my iron on a low-steam setting. It had some heavy wrinkles, so I placed a lightly dampened wash-cloth over those areas and did another light press over. Just don’t have the wash-cloth too wet or the steam setting too hot.

Now, I cut four pieces of my metallic, wired ribbon; two that are two inches longer than the length sides, and two that are two inches longer than the width. You want your ribbon to have an extra inch on each end, so that you can miter/match your corners a bit later.

While my low temp glue gun was heating, I covered the top of my ironing board with wax paper. This will catch any glue goofs and protect the pad. Place your fabric FACE SIDE UP on the ironing board. Beginning on a length side of the fabric, I lined up my ribbon (with one inch hanging beyond the end) then pinned down the ribbon and pinned down a few areas of the fabric. TIP: be sure to allow a one inch overhang of ribbon, beyond the end of the fabric. AND start your glue line down an inch or so from the end of your fabric. You’ll have one inch of ribbon unglued to the fabric and one inch over hang.

Now begin to glue. I ran a very thin line of glue about a quarter inch in from the edge of the fabric, going as far as one glue pull would take me. Now begin placing the ribbon on top of the glue line, gently because it is hot.


Go back and pat down the ribbon onto the glue. Continue until you are an inch from the opposite end.


When your first edge is done, go back to the beginning and glue your inside edge, following the same procedure, placing glue about a quarter inch above the inside edge of your ribbon.

If you go crooked and off line with your glue, DON’T WORRY, just leave it alone for now. Correct your line and continue gluing.

When your ribbon is attached, and glue is dry, you simply go back to the extra glue on your fabric, rub back and forth a couple times and gently pull it up and snip it off.

Complete both glue lines of one length edge and then do your width edge next. BEFORE YOU BEGIN to glue this second ribbon piece, overlap your loose end pieces. Then cut a miter cut through both pieces. Pull away the excess ribbon and you’ll have a mitered corner. Now begin gluing this edge, following the same steps as before.


Do each remaining side in the same manner.

Here’s the final project.


FABRIC, cut to preferred width and length; this project was 13.25″ width by 43″ length.
GLUE GUN, low temp and 2 GLUE STICKS were used for this project
WIRED RIBBON; I used a 1 1/2 inch width ribbon.

I’m going to make an identical runner, and then two long runners in the striped fabric. Not sure if I’ll use the same ribbon on those. One will be used in the table group, and the other in the next room on the piano, to keep the look going.

This is a quick and easy, economical project that can add a little perk to any table. I’m using mine for Thanksgiving! Let me know what you do with yours.

Later – Cheryl

This original article “Thanksgiving Thinking” appeared first on Artzzle.com.

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Halloween is Scary … Paint Color Choices Don’t Have To Be

Halloween is scary fun. For most people, choosing paint colors is also scary, but not fun. Making paint color choices doesn’t have to scare you to death. All you have to do is start with a great inspiration piece. Fabrics are fantastic color aids. It could be as easy as using a favorite blouse in your closet or finding a gorgeous pattern at the fabric store.

For this article, I used two of my favorite resources, Sherwin Williams paints and FABRIC.COM At either of these, you could browse for hours for something that catches your eye. It’s just easier to begin with a fabric you like and draw colors from that. Don’t worry about what the fabric might be used for, just go for your gut feelings and those “Ooh Ahh” and “Wow” reactions to things.


You may feel like you’re back to square one, with the many colors choices in these examples. But stay calm, these are compact groups to work with, not the entire paint deck! I’m not telling you to use all of the colors at once, but just giving you a nice, narrowed down selection to look at.

Note here, that with everything done online, colors are influenced by computer settings, so it’s always best to do your final shopping with actual samples to view.
REMEMBER, each of the colors mentioned have their own variations and color strip. So once you have a favorite or two, you can find more tints and shades if you want to stay with just one color family.

Only you know what levels of color you’re comfortable with. You may feel safer using lighter colors on walls. Perhaps you have lots of windows in a room, and aren’t afraid of darker colors, either as an accent on one wall or throughout the room.

For several areas open to one another, again consider your natural lighting. You could use darker paints in bright rooms, mid-tones in less well lighted rooms, and lightest tones in darkest areas of your floor plan.


Now consider where and how you could use the fabric. For example, it could be in draperies or window treatments in one room, as chair or chair seats in another, and toss pillows or a throw in yet another connecting room. And don’t forget to give your main fabric some friends, a few coordinating fabrics.

The next example is definitely a “one room” category. At least most people wouldn’t like pink enough to use it throughout the main living areas.


This material/color scheme would be fun for a “girly girl’s” bedroom or in any gal’s dressing room or closet. I can also see it in a sewing room or a woman’s home office.

Owls are trending at the moment. The pattern below could be very cute in a nursery or child’s play room.


Another great inspiration is nature. Resources here are endless. You might find a fantastic landscape painting or photograph on line, or have some personal photos of your own that you could refer to. I’ve given you a couple of mine below.



Have fun with this post. Let me know if you have comments or questions. Email followers will have a Reply section at the bottom of this post. Online visitors can click the little bubble at the top right of the title to reply.

Thanks for visiting. If you enjoy Artzzle.com be sure to spread the word about us.
And try not to stress too much with any project, just have fun and start!

Later – Cheryl

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No compensation was received for mention of any products or source.