Evergreen for Ever So Easy Winter Decor

Over the summer I was asked if I’d be interested in adding some content from a DIY blogger’s perspective in the form of a column to BG Home & Lifestyle magazine. It has been a fun little project and I was really happy to share some childhood memories in December’s issue. You can check that out here.565deac009402.preview

When I started decorating the house for the holidays around Thanksgiving I realized we now live in a house with more space and I do not have many Christmas decorations! Of course we have a tree and a few things here and there but the visions in my head of it looking and feeling like Christmas in every nook and cranny of the house was not going to happen with what I had packed away in our Christmas tubs.

Has anyone visited the white and sparkly Christmas decor aisle at Hobby Lobby?! It is wonderful. I stood there staring at the pretty weathered wood and glistening reindeer and and nativities and completely neglected  tuned out my rowdy toddlers in the shopping cart. It was magnificent. Because I’m a stubburn DIY-er thoughtfully frugal person I went home totally inspired to actually make things out of the pallet collection in my garage and make said things wintery white and glistening with German glass glitter and twinkly lights. Nope…. didn’t happen. Who am I kidding? My Guy was away for a week on business two weeks ago and I am still recovering.

I DID however come upon some live evergreen and become totally re-inspired to decorate but in the easiest and most natural way. I have a little bit of snipped and layered evergreen here and there and the house feels so warm and cozy. My Guy brought me home some more clippings from the Christmas tree farm we took the kids to this weekend and helped me make this pretty little centerpiece.

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I also filled an old whisky jug in the foyer with evergreen and fake berries and added some into my artificial garland. I hope you feel inspired to bring the outside in for your Christmas. Evergreen makes the prettiest tablescapes and brings amazing fragrance too.

Sharing some of our weekend fun at the Christmas tree farm…

We brought home a pretty Christmas Hemlock to plant in our yard. It is supposed to be 70 degrees on Christmas! Who’d have thought we’d be planting this week? Especially because it was actually snowing on the day we went to the farm -crazy Kentucky weather!

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The kids loved visiting with the rabbits, goats, and chickens. I think all of us are convinced with need a farm -except My Guy. We’re working on him. 😉

 

Little Guy did not appreciate the cold and cried about it-a lot. I feel ya kid.

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A happy Hemlock for future evergreen clippings. 🙂

Merry Christmas Week!

Love,

Tracey

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DIY Gift: Collage Tray

It is Christmas week! Can you believe it?! Is your wrapping done? Mine isn’t and probably won’t be until Christmas Eve. It’s fun to procrastinate. I work well under pressure. 😉

Every year I try to do at least a few homemade gifts. I think it is more meaningful and it typically helps our Christmas shopping budget. I was so excited with how this gift turned out that I had to share. It is a great gift for that person who doesn’t really need anything yet you want to give them something meaningful. It works for any holiday or occasion and it is inexpensive to boot!

I was at Hobby Lobby and came across some wood trays with handles. The trays in the link are part of a set. They do sell them individually in the store. I picked one up for $5.99 less 40% from my coupon (so only $3.60!). I had the idea that I may paint it (of course, right?!). When I got home a great gift idea hit me though for the grandparents in our family who can never seem to get enough pictures of their grandbabies! I decided to decoupage a collage of pictures to the inside of the tray.

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Here is how I did it!

You will need:

First I stained the tray in dark walnut. My idea was that I would stain it and then paint it so that when I distressed the edges the dark wood would show through instead of the unfinished pine. Once I stained it though I really loved the wood grain and decided to leave it as is.

I selected some photos, both old and new, and had the ones I didn’t have on hand printed. I picked a few wallets just to add variety of size for visual interest.

Next, I arranged my photos. I had to trim a few edges and rearrange a few times. Once I had them how I wanted them I took a picture so that I’d remember the layout after I took them off again.

To adhere the pictures to the tray cover the bottom in a thin coat of Mod Podge (MP). You can see I did this really carefully (not!).  I’m a pour and spread kind of gal. If you want to be neat and more careful about not glopping in the corners then you may want to pour some in a paper bowl or plate for easy dipping of your brush.

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Lay out the pictures and MP in between any places that overlap. Don’t underestimate how fast the MP can dry. You can see I had some unwanted gaps because I waited too long to scoot them into perfect position. Oops!

While I let this dry I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out some text to add to the collage. I simply did the kids names and “Great Grandchildren”. You don’t have to add text at all or you could do other scrapbook embellishments or text from a magazine -whatever you want!

I decoupaged the text on next by adding a thin coat underneath, arranging the text and then I went over the entire collage with my first thin top coat. I like to get my strokes in the same direction and watch for any bubbles. I let it dry 15-20 minutes and did 2 more thin coats to really make sure the pictures weren’t going anywhere and to ensure the tray would actually be usable.

Don’t freak out. It dries clear!

I then painted the underside of the tray because I realized I forgot to stain it (oops!). Definitely do the bottom when you stain or paint the rest of the tray. It is worth it for more of a finished look. Once the MP dried I used paste wax to buff all over the stained wood. I did a couple of coats to give it a nice satin finish. I had the wax on hand and once you buff it is pretty dry, I didn’t want to wait another half a day for polycrylic or spray varnish to cure but whatever you have on hand is fine and a finish coat may not be totally necessary. Whatever you think…

That’s it! I took about half of a day to complete which included time in between taking care of my kids. I plan to do a few more for other family  members and maybe another for a wedding.

A few other ideas using this tray could be to decoupage scrapbook paper to the tray and do a monogram or do a monogram all by itself. The possibilities are endless.

If you try this project please share pictures with me on Facebook or via email!IMG_3968

Thanks to my younger sister
Heather for helping me with the project,
taking pictures, and transporting my gift across the country to its recipient. Love you!

Merry Christmas!

Tracey