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JOY Christmas Canvas

JOY Christmas Canvas 

 

 

Our Christmas decor has always been a bit non-traditional.  I wanted something on our mantel that expressed the JOY of the season in the colors of our home.  This JOY Christmas Canvas was the perfect fit.  Since any color can be chosen for the canvas, it can be customized for everyone’s decor.

Supplies 

  • Cardboard letters 
  • Acrylic paint and brushes (desired colors) 
  • Blank canvas (big enough to accommodate the word chosen and size of letters)
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks  

JOY cardboard letters  

metallic acrylic paint

 

 

To create this project, paint each letter in the desired color.  I wanted metallic colors since it’s Christmas time.  I tried silver and did not like the way it looked.  I then chose Pure Gold and Rich Espresso.  You can certainly customize this with whatever colors you choose to go with your decor.  I chose to paint the “O” in gold to add interest.

So, for the canvas, I wanted a bit of an ombre look.  However, solid colors or even a pattern would look good on this project.  I started with a darker aqua blue for the bottom of the canvas.  As I painted upward, I added more white to the paint to lighten it.  It’s very subtle.  However, the darker color seems to lend visual weight and made the canvas unique.  It’s a simple technique with great results.

Last, but not least, hot glue the letters onto the canvas after letting the letters and canvas dry.

I completed this project during my daughter’s nap time.  The longest part of it was letting the paint dry before hot gluing.

This is one of my favorite projects for this Christmas season.  It simply expresses the JOY we have as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

 

If you like this post, please check out my other Christmas projects and my favorite Christmas Tree Truck sign here.  

 

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small portion of any purchases, at no cost to you.*

 

Wishing you many blessings for Christmas! 

Last Minute Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 

We bought pumpkins at the end of September this year.  I was excited to decorate for fall.  Now, these are the only three little gems that are left and looking decent.  So, I decided to give them one last hurrah and use them in our Thanksgiving centerpiece.  I used an old wooden hand-me-down bowl.  Any bowl would do though.  Go shopping in your home and find something to repurpose.

What you need:

  • Raffia
  • Wooden bowl
  • Burlap scraps 
  • Pumpkins 

Most of us have little pumpkins, real or fake lying around during this season.  This is a great way to put them to use.  I used scraps of burlap, leftover raffia from another project on top and added the pumpkins.  Voila, you have a simple and sweet Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless your family! 

 

simple thanksgiving centerpiece

Simple Fall Decor on a Budget

Simple Fall Decor on a Budget 

Fall decor makes the season so much more cozy and endearing.  I love to explore and take in all of the fall foliage.  Our family visits pumpkin patches, apple orchards and takes as many hay rides as our behinds can handle.  While I love fall, it seems so short in New England.  Winter will hit here shortly.  So, I like use simple fall decor that is easy on the budget since the winter decor will be up soon.

 

Front Porch Idea

Our front porch always poses a problem for me with decor.  The wind hits is so hard that I have to make sure everything is heavy or anchors in well.  Pumpkins are perfect!  This year, I found a cute scarecrow at Aldi for just a few dollars.  A small bale of hay from Joann Fabrics (on sale).  Then, I thought a small, rustic sign would set it off.  See the instructions below for how to make the sign.

Wood Sign Supplies 

  • Piece of remnant wood in desired height.  This piece is a 3 feet long 1/6 board.  Check out the bins at your local home improvement store for pieces which were cut for other projects.  
  • Paint in desired color.  I used acrylic paint in a deep orange color.  I also used white paint along the sides and dry brushed on the top to give it a weathered look.  Black paint for lettering.
  • Clear lacquer spray.
  • Raffia
  • Ribbon
  • Pencil for writing letters
  • Glue gun and glue sticks

Step 1:  Paint the sign with orange paint on the top.  Paint the sides white.  Sparingly use dry brush to lightly put white paint on the top, giving a rustic look. Step 2:  Write words on the board with a pencil.  This can be done with vinyl letters or using a stencil if you prefer.  I prefer letters by hand.  I think it gives it some charm.  And, I’m too cheap to buy vinyl letters.    Paint the letters with black paint if you go that route. Step 3:  Spray board with clear lacquer and allow to dry. Step 4:  Hot glue raffia and ribbon to the corner.  Enjoy! porch fall decor wood sign

Mason Jar Pumpkin

Mason jar anything is adorable in my book. Supplies

  • Mason jar rings (can be purchased in a set of just lids and rings)
  • Wire-could probably use a paper clip stretched out.  I used floral wire because it’s what I had on hand.
  • Stick from a tree limb
  • Leaf from artificial flower
  • Glue gun and glue sticks

This was the easiest little pumpkin and only took minutes to make.  Put the rings in a circle, going the same direction.  I used the silver wire to secure the inside together so that the pumpkin stayed together.  Glue on the stick and leaf to the top center of the pumpkin.  Simple, easy and adorable!

Mason jar lid pumpkin

Glass Pumpkin Center Piece

I like elaborate center pieces for holidays.  However, for everyday use, I like something simple and easy to remove when I bring sizzling fajitas to the table or the kids want to drag out the craft supplies.  My favorite thing to use is a charger.  If it fits on the charger, it’s the perfect size for the table for everyday and is easily removed with one hand.  I’m usually juggling somebody’s cup, plate or some other nonsense in the other hand.  I also like how the pumpkin is close to the color of the table, making it just a subtle addition. Supplies (raid the storage areas) 

  • Glass pumpkin (found in the basement—SCORE!) 
  • Eucalyptus branches-stole from my wreath making supplies 
  • Silver charger-sale bin find years ago

Nothing is used to hold everything together.  Just drape the branches around the pumpkin on the charger and Voila! Glass pumpkin on charger fall decor

Wood Chip Wreath

This is a simple wreath that I reuse for fall and winter each year.  I just change the ribbon with the season or holiday that I am using it for and we’re good to go.  It’s a favorite of mine because it is simple and classic.

Supplies

  • Burlap covered wreath-a flat wreath form can be used also
  • Wood chips-round or natural cuts
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Ribbon
  • Jute twine for hanging (optional)

For this wreath, just glue the wood chips to the burlap wreath in any fashion desired.  I chose a layered look.  If you choose to reuse this wreath, you can wire the ribbon on to the top.  I glued the ribbon this year.  Hot glue is easily detached and the ribbon can be changed.  I added jut twine to the top of the wreath to use when hanging the wreath.  **Tip-use a command hook upside down on the back side of the door to hang the wreath**. wood chip wreath  

Give Thanks Pumpkins 

If you have kiddos, chances are you have a few plastic pumpkins lying around.  If not, Walmart carries them for $1 around Halloween.

Supplies

  • Plastic pumpkins
  • Rocks for weight
  • White spray paint
  • Acrylic lacquer spray
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Artificial flowers
  • Foam block-small
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Ribbon (optional)

Making this pumpkin was so simple. Step 1:  Spray paint the pumpkins individually and allow to dry. Step 2:  Write and paint on letters in black and allow to dry.  I chose the phrase “Give Thanks.”  Vinyl letters can be used if desired. Step 3: Add rocks to the bottom of the pumpkin that will be on the bottom of the stack.  This adds weight to keep it from toppling over.   Step 4: Glue the top pumpkin to the bottom pumpkin with hot glue. Step 5: Add clear lacquer to the pumpkins to seal the paint. Step 6: Add foam block to the top pumpkin inside.  You may need to cut the block to fit. Step 7: Add artificial flowers to the block in the top pumpkin.  You may choose to add a ribbon to the center to hide the seam between the pumpkins.

3 Easy Grocery Budget Strategies

3 Easy Grocery Budget Strategies 

With summer winding down, I have decided to get back to a more organized menu plan each week.  During the summer, we have more people in the house with visits from family and friends and lots of play dates.  And of course the kids need a snack every two seconds when they are playing outside, or at least they would have you believe.  Our grocery budget has been a bit out of whack for the past few months. Truthfully, grocery budgeting is an area where I struggle.  I often buy more than we need in a week.  Impulse buys get me too often.  And I cannot even get started on those big stores that carry craft items, clothes, shoes, etc.  Craft items get me every time!!  Yikes!!!!  By the end of the week, we lose food to waste or I have the freezer full of miscellaneous stuff in odd amounts.  This brings on the guilt about not being a better steward of our finances.  So, I developed a better strategy.

Strategy

  • Created a spreadsheet of all of the groceries I buy regularly and their costs
  • Created a Menu board for the kitchen counter 
  • Set a strict dollar limit per week for groceries 

Grocery Cost Spreadsheet 

This may seem extreme to some people.  For me, it took about an hour and really has helped me to stay on track financially.  I struggle with remembering the cost of items and where I purchased them for the best price.  I typically shop at two major stores each week.  So, I gathered grocery receipts for the past few weeks and created a spreadsheet.  This does not have to be anything saved in the computer. A good old pen and paper list will do just fine, too.  The spreadsheet was easier for me so that it would calculate my list totals.

Spreadsheet or list should include

  • Items to be purchased 
  • Cost of that item from at least one store 
  • Space to calculate each week’s list.  

Here is a link to the spreadsheet I created.    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Yn6WoovWbDwde4mawbJeQ3iaNFg8dF6DXiQ6P-SoSz8/edit?usp=sharing

Simple Menu Board 

Creating a menu board for our kitchen was key for me to stick to a grocery budget.  Planning out a week of meals allowed me to know the amount of money I would spend.  It also keeps me from running to the store mid-week for something I forgot for a dish. Our kitchen is accented with aqua, so I went with that color for the menu.  I also like decor that is distressed/rustic.  This was so easy to achieve.

What you need
  • Picture frame (8×10 works well)  
  • Paint in desired color 
  • Craft paper/card stock in desired patter or color for background
  • Letter Stickers 

I shopped my house for the items needed for this project.  I love it when I can do that!!  I found a black plastic frame in storage.  I had blue paint and found a piece of cardstock that matched it perfectly. I removed the glass and back panel from the picture frame before painting.  I then put it on a piece of aluminum foil to add the paint. Blue frame painted While the paint was wet, I used my finger and a piece of paper towel to strategically smudge the paint in places where natural wear or marks might occur.  Since the frame was black, it showed through giving a rustic appearance. Once it was dry, I added the glass, card stock (cut to size) and the back panel.  Then, I added the letter stickers I found in my craft bins.  To save space, I used the lowercase letters in the package. All that is left is to add my menu and get shopping! Blue menu board frame

Keeping the Budget 

Setting a budget amount per week is crucial for success.   I review my list and the costs several times, before heading to the store, to ensure that I am staying within my budgeted amount.  It is also helpful to carry your phone in the store and use the calculator to add things up as you go along. Staying on budget is not easy as we are inundated with impulse-buy items and lots of enticing choices.  In the end, I feel better knowing I was a better steward of the money God has entrusted to us.

Easy 4th of July Decor on a Budget

4th of July Fun!

When I was a kid, 4th of July always seemed like the highlight of summer.  It was one holiday that everyone gathered just to play and eat mountains of watermelon in the hot sun.  We took hay rides on my aunt and uncle’s farm.  We watched fireworks and sometimes dozed off as the evening air cooled us after a long day in the sun.  Some of my best memories are of the 4th with my family.

As I look back, I remember all of the red, white and blue decorations hung around the house and outside which set the atmosphere for the holiday.  In an effort to try to recreate that for my kids, I have created a few decorations to hang around the house.  Even though we currently live far away from where I call home, I want to create memories for my kiddos that they can reflect on as they get older and start their own traditions.  We will enjoy community events and cookouts with friends.  But, I’m going to start by decorating our house with some 4th of July flair.

 

Simple 4th of July Decor on a Budget

Bandana Wreath 

 

What you will need: 

  • Embroidery Hoop-This set is nice because you can pick the size that matches your decor-https://amzn.to/2MwWGsZ
  • Bandanas-This is a nice assortment-https://amzn.to/2MvYq5K  (I used 4 bandanas that I found at Walmart in the craft section)
  • Ribbon-(optional)-coordinating to the bandanas purchased

 

 

4th of July Banner 

This pendant banner is perfect for the front porch or the mantle.

What you will need: 

  • Burlap fabric-https://amzn.to/2Kx1XQE
  • Sharpie or other marker to outline letters and shapes-https://amzn.to/2yUVNZb
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paint (red, white and blue)-https://amzn.to/2KviUe7
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Cheap paper plates (optional)
  • Templates (letters and star–both optional) 
  • Jute Twine 

 

I used a piece of card stock as a template to cut out my banner panels.  I folded it in half and then cut it in the shape I wanted.  Then traced it onto the burlap with the sharpie marker.

I then traced a star using a candy dish I have.  You can use anything or free-hand the star on to two banner panels.  I free-handed the letters on the other three panels.  I then painted the burlap.  Since painting burlap is kind of tricky, I used paper plates to limit some mess.  I laid each panel on a paper plate and painted it.

Once the panels were dry, I just hot glued it onto some jute twine in a length that would reach around our porch supports.  You may wish to measure the area where you are placing your banner for the correct length of twine.

Simple Red and White Flowers in Blue Jars 

 

With this floral display, I used a box and jars that I use in all kinds of arrangements.  I added red flowers and some leftover sparkly baby’s breath from a Christmas floral display.  The sparkles added just the right flair for 4th of July.

What you will need: 

  • Mason Jars (blue) 
  • Red flowers and (optional) baby’s breath (or other white flowers) 
  • Wooden Box 

 

This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing from these links provides me with a small commission at no cost to you.

Organizing Paper Clutter

Taming the Paper Clutter

Organizing paper clutter

Paper clutter makes me crazy!!  If I do not stay on top of it daily, it has a tendency to take up the counter space, end tables and anywhere little hands can drop it on their way to whatever they are doing at the time.  As a busy Mom, I find that if I stay on top of clutter, it becomes a much less daunting task.  Taming the paper clutter is a high priority.

Magazine-worthy closets are not something I aspire to achieve.  In an ideal world, I would love to have everything match and be so cute.  Instead, I look at organization as a great opportunity to use what I have on hand.  If it is in a closet or cabinet, it does not need to be fancy or decorative.  If you decide to set up organization bins in an office or where it will be visible, you may want to opt for the more magazine-worthy bins.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing from these links provides me with a small commission at no cost to you.*

 

Examples of Daily Paper Clutter

  • Kids’ completed homework and class work
  • Kids’ artwork
  • Teacher notes or School event fliers
  • Junk mail
  • Bills
  • Store ads
  • Letters, cards and personal greetings
  • Receipts
  • Medical summaries from doctor visits
  • Warranties from products purchased
  • Coupons

 

Organizing Tips

  • Group like items together, as they enter the house, and put them in their designated place.  For instance, I save the current year’s school papers for the whole school year.  This saves an issue if something is “missing” from a grade report or something needs to be used to study for a test.  

  • Recycle or trash anything you will definitely not use or need immediately. 

  • Put things in their designated place immediately.  Make sure the storage space is easily accessible or chances are it will not be used.  

 

 

Example Organization Containers

Use what you have on hand when possible to save money and time.

 

  • Small plastic tote for completed homework I keep all completed work for the duration of the school year in case a grade is not recorded or review of something is needed at the end of the year.  Once the school year is complete, I go through all of the work and keep an example of their handwriting from the year and anything special from the year.  The rest gets recycled.

 

  • Bins for artwork through the year.  I used inserts from Amazon Pantry orders which worked perfectly as a temporary holder in the closet.  You can use large cereal boxes, plastic magazine holders, etc.  When the bins are full, I go through the artwork and keep the things that I know I will cherish for years and add it to a bin I keep for each child.  You can make that decision as it enters the house, too.  If it is a coloring page from a coloring book, it has little long term value.  It is likely the page will yellow and be gross over time.  Of course, if it has a painted hand print of your little one, it is something to treasure.  This can go directly into the file tote.  
    • Each child has a file folder tote with legal size folders, https://amzn.to/2IONXAG.  Each folder is noted with a school year or year of age.  I add examples of their handwriting, notes from teachers/friends and artwork from each grade or year of age.

 

  • Folder for Bills that need to be paid

 

  • Accordion file folder for receipts with at least 12 folder slots (https://amzn.to/2GRs2r3).  I label each folder section with a month and year to keep bill stubs that are paid and receipts from the month.

 

  • Small Tote or accordion folder for cards, letters, etc. that you choose to keep.  

 

  • 3-Ring binder with page protectors for medical information.  We have a binder for each member of the family which includes:
    • Immunization record copies for each year
    • Medical visit summaries where follow up care or instructions are given.
    • Family medical history is listed.

 

  • Folder or binder for warranties and operating instructions.  Currently, this is just a plastic pouch.  I only keep warranty information for major appliances and operating instructions for things that are difficult to use or maintain.  I typically do not keep this information for inexpensive toys or appliances.  

 

  • Zipper pouch for coupons or binder if you are a major coupon clipper.  I am a coupon clipper when it is convenient.  I do not search for coupons or anything.  If they come attached to something purchased or are for a store that I love, they go in a zippered pencil pouch in my purse so that I have them handy.  This is also where I store gift cards so that I carry them with me as I run errands.  
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