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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A Christmas Message from Reynold

“Merry Christmas, everyone! The dads are probably busy drinking by now. They tortured me all morning with this GoPro dog harness thingy to help film the family. I only agreed to take this photo so they’d leave me alone AND give me more treats. We hope you all have a very merry Christmas! Don’t forget to give your pups a handful of dog-safe table scraps! Now, back to destroying my new toys.”

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Toot Toot, Beep Beep, THUD.

The holiday season can prove extremely trying in certain scenarios. Getting around a busy Indianapolis can result in the loss of a voice because you’re screaming at every idiot that doesn’t know what a turn signal is, or gesturing violently at every basic driver that’s taking turns at three miles per hour. I didn’t have a vehicle with a working horn until mid October, so that was my struggle in road rage expression.

It all hit me while I was driving home with some delicate items in the back of Tanya – our new car  – when I heard a “CLINK… THUD.” “Well there goes my new piece of Christmas decor I just bought for the place… probably broken..” I thought in an annoyed, this-shit-always-happens-to-me and curse-my-luck type of way. When I got home, I hurried to unwrap the frosty, ice-glittered tree I’d bought to rest by the fireplace. Nothing was damaged. The only casualty was a small mound of snow like material that had fallen off during the mild tumble in the car’s cargo area; and that probably would’ve shaken off in the years to come anyway.

My road rage tends to rest at manageable levels during the holiday season. I was too excited for this piece of decor, so all of my holiday zen went out the window momentarily. As soon as I heard the thud come from the back of the car, I immediately slowed down and became that driver. This is the only time of year those drivers get a pass, though. Sure, maybe they’re all moving at molasses-inspired speeds because there are delicate items on board, but sometimes people just need to get the hell out of the way.

Drive safe everyone! …and don’t wait too long to get that shopping done 😉

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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.

Happy Holidays!

Hello Everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple weeks. S and I are in the middle of having the entire bottom half of our condo remodeled, and things have been crazy busy. I just wanted to take a moment and say HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all of you, and thanks again for reading Gays in the Life.

Here’s a pic of our pup Reynold. He’s now 6 months old, and wants to wish you a happy holiday as well.

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We will return after the new year, and hope you all have a very safe, and fun holiday 🙂