Getting in the Holi-DIY Spirit

Christmas is around the corner and we couldn’t wait to get our decorations up this year. It’s always been the tradition in my family to throw the Christmas tree and the rest of the decorations up the day after Thanksgiving – ours were up the week before Thanksgiving this year (laughs out loud).

I wanted to do a smidge more this year with the decor without doing too much and decided to check out Michaels for inspiration. “Stairs, lights, this, and that.” I had an idea of what I wanted to accomplish in our space that I love so much, but it would be easy to go overboard if I didn’t control myself.

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Garland and lights were on my mind prior to walking through those doors, so I went straight to the faux-pine section of the store. Naturally, there were way too many choices. I spent quite a bit of time pulling the long strands of garland down to check out the various detail that had been added. In the end settled for four strands – running $8.99 per strand – and left the store with twenty-four feet of christmas garland and lights.

Did you notice how I said I settled? I knew I was going to check out Target’s holiday selection before I reached my car. The Target near our place is usually hit or miss when it comes to any item you may  need. I had to chance it because the garland in the craft store bags weren’t going to help me achieve the look I was going for in our living space. Sure, I can drape my ass off, but I didn’t want that.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that Target had bundles of garland on sale – $10 for fifty feet! I placed two bundles in my cart and knew right then the garland from Michaels would not be leaving the glitter-sprayed bags in which they rested.

The garland from Target was plain and did not have any of the extra bells and whistles – fake snow, acorns, berries, etc – but I own a hot glue gun! Any extra pizazz I could surely add. My original thought was to wrap the garland and lights on the banisters so this ended up working out for the better.

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In the end I spent about $30 on Christmas decor this year. Last year I raided the dollar stores and Walmart and put my glue gun to work. I preserved those projects and will continue to use them in the years to come. Our tree is from one of S’s first apartments out of college and it works and looks just fine. Our stockings are from the dollar store and look just as  joyous above our fireplace as the over-priced products that fill most store shelves today.

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The point is to work with what you’ve got and don’t be afraid to get creative. I have this ritual before I decorate a space. I scan the internet for ideas, walk every square inch of the space I wish to transform, and hit the stores for supplies to recreate the looks I stumble upon for about 60% less of what you’d end up spending on more expensive decorations.

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So what do you think?! I think I’ll go ahead and wrap up this post so I can get back to Christmas shopping online and this zinfandel.

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SunDIY: Baby Shower Decor Pt. 1

I’m so pumped to begin decorating for my sister’s baby shower. Of course, I’ll want to do most of the decorating myself. It helps that our living room is colored denim blue… she’s having a boy 🙂

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My first project will be a display that spells out the word “baby” to be placed somewhere in the center of the loft space. Yep! I’m hosting at our place here in Indianapolis, so you know I’ve gotta do it up right.

I’ve started by drawing some bubble letters on cardstock paper, and painting them a metallic gold. While the paint is drying, I sprinkle a dash of salt – yes, salt – on each letter to create an explosive particle explosion effect in the liquid gold.

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Once the letters are completely dry, I’ll place them on the fronts of these empty boxes I’ve wrapped to appear as oversized gifts. I’ll place bows and loosely-curled ribbon upon each box before putting them in their final resting place – a ladder will probably be required. Pics to follow!

The shower is this coming Saturday, so I’ll be sure to check in with some more things I’ve put together for the event. I’m even more excited that our Mom will be here Thursday afternoon. She’s where I get all my decor skills from and she can help me with food prep! Praise be.

 

A Deck of a Mess

Home ownership is the most frustrating thing at times. Our only goal today was to pressure wash our deck and clear it of old paint the weather had already begun to peel up. The plan was simple: Get to Home Depot right when the tool rental counter opened, pressure wash the deck, and return the washer with plenty of time to spare within our 4-hour rental window.

I don’t like housework that involves anything on the outside of the house. When it comes to the inside of the house and decor, it’ll always be on and poppin’, clean and sparklin’. Both our moods shifted when we realized this was going to take longer than we’d planned.

The plan never goes like it should, though. S and I of all people should know this with all the adventure we’ve had with our condo already. The tip we needed, for the spray nozzle,  to make the most progress removing the paint was broken. Not wanting to waste too much time, we immediately packed the washer up and returned to the store.

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We didn’t know the tip was the issue before the customer service rep tested our machine and the replacement in the store. Deep down we were thankful, because on the car ride over, we both thought “If something is wrong with our water pressure and this house, we will rage.” We ended returning home with our original rental and a new tip.

Sadly, the new tip made no difference in the rate at which the paint was coming off the deck. We imagined the paint would just fly off as the water made contact, but this was far from the case. S and I spent a good amount of time switching roles on the project. Scraping and spraying, we longed for larger pieces of paint to come up, but found we were barely making any progress. Our good friend, Google, ended up informing us that the machine we’d rented from Home Depot was only half the power required to execute a project like ours.

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This made sense. Why in the hell were we spending ten or more minutes spraying one spot, only to see a speck of paint chip off at a time? This couldn’t be right. We confirmed gas pressure washers were stronger, but were also instructed not to go that route because there’d be a high risk of damaging our deck. S called his dad and we’ll be borrowing his pressure washer next weekend. It’s the right amount of power, and our deck isn’t huge, so we should be able to get the work done in a decent amount of time.

Sigh… maybe we can hire some eye-candy to do this for us. Probably not, but a dude can wish, can’t he?

The Budget Queens Strike Again

So I went to Michael’s to get a couple posters framed over the weekend. The customer service rep at the counter was extremely nice, but there was no way I was paying $110, each, to get both of our Radiohead posters framed.

S and I plan on painting our loft a gray that is slightly lighter than the seal-toned color we had in our first apartment. I have a tendency to lean towards dark colors. Knowing this and the fact that our office/music/yoga space would be painted gray with pops of color throughout the space, getting white frames for these posters was my only goal at the popular craft store.

After learning the price to frame just one of the posters, and confirming the second would be the same or more because it was an odd size, I asked “…so where can I find your standard stock frames and white chalk paint?”

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Praise be to my mother, for blessing me with creativity and the gift of decor, and for a good sale on craft supplies. I was able to get two frames for $30 a piece and scored an additional 40% off one of those and my paint. I got out of the store for just over sixty bucks; NOT two-hundred and twenty plus. Go me.

S has always been a huge Radiohead fan. I had no idea who they were until they released In Rainbows – making a huge statement across the music industry, instructing fans to buy the album directly from their website for however much they wanted – no label involvement. I paid five euros and I can’t get enough of opening track, 15 Step.

We knew how we’d decorate the loft area in our condo from the moment we saw the space in person. “This space needs to be productive and filled with music” I thought now a little over three years ago. Keep this picture in mind as I describe how the loft space will look – things are rearranged in the living room now, but keep the color scheme in mind:

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The space will be gray-walled and trimmed in white. With a funky floral chair, resting on a spicy red rug, bookshelves (filled to capacity) and music art will surround what will be the funkiest corner of a library you’ve ever seen in a person’s home.

Our condo is open and the loft area is exposed, so picture the colors we have going on downstairs, suddenly shifting from chic, shady tones, to a color-punched and bold workspace. I do yoga in this space, S works in this space, and we hangout with friends, the most, in this space. Wait… I’m writing in this space.

The gray walls, paired with bright art and white trim, will make every piece stand out. Eventually I’ll have my trumpet hanging above one of the windows – serving as art and a reminder that I should pull it down and practice more – and my guitar and bass guitar on stands in the corner by the bookshelves.

Our Pinterest Palace is well on its way, I’d say, and finally having these posters framed will kick off the upstairs transformation.

That Holiday Feeling…

Now that we have another Thanksgiving behind us, it is high time for Christmas decorations around the (loft) condo. I’d been scanning Pinterest for a few weeks now – mostly checking out DIY wreath posts – and finally stumbled upon an idea for our front door.

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GORGeous, right?! I was out Christmas shopping when I decided to grab all the materials I needed for the project I’d been craving to execute. When it comes to inexpensive DIY craft materials, Walmart is a source I frequent. Nine times out of ten, I can find everything I need for less than six dollars an item.

The original frame I grabbed from Walmart died when I decided it was a good idea to try forcing the glued glass off the frame with the palm of my hand. The glass came out, but the frame broke. I can easily fix it with the Gorilla glue we have in the garage, but I wanted the project completed today – and repair was not on the agenda. The frame I used in the end came from Target; $19.99. I’ll repurpose the broken frame for another project.

Each ornament costs less than two dollars, the floral pieces were three dollars or less, and my hot glue gun was six bucks. Not bad for a last minute burst of inspiration on what could have been an expensive DIY craft. Just think, if you were to go into Home Goods – love that store, no shade, promise – they would try to charge you at least fifty bucks for a frame or wreath like this. I cut all the floral bundles myself, played with placement of material around the frame before deciding on a look, and finally set everything into place with hot glue.  I couldn’t stop at just my holiday frame extravaganza for the front door – I had to frame it with some candy cane ribbon feels.

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There’s nothing like the warm vibes of the holiday season. Everything seems more cheerful and light. We can all use a little bit of that feeling right now. I wasn’t able to decorate last year because we were in the middle of an emergency remodel when the holiday season arrived. I’m making up for lost time this go ’round.

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I had an extra ornament and some scraps from the frame project, so I started scouting places to put my lonely holiday florals around the loft. The concept of hard and soft in decor has always drawn me in. The strength of the stag and the delicacy of the flowers with their bold softness, compliment each other very well on our fireplace. Good pop-of-color moments get me every time.

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I had some more materials to use, so I put the rest around some candles on the entertainment center – cute.

Does anyone else think Christmas lights around the house set the perfect mood? I like turning off all the lights, except the Christmas lights and candles, and curling up under a blanket. Whiskey or red wine on the coffee table, music playing softly in the background, GQ magazine or a book in hand. I try to do this on a regular basis, but the added warmth of the holiday season puts it over the top. You should try it.

We do have our tree up, but I’m saving that picture for a later post. If you follow us on Snapchat (being_mrj), you probably got a peek there.

Remember to enjoy all the positive people and things around you this holiday season. Soak in that energy.

Be zen and happy holidays,

J.