Valentine’s Day Mantel

I finally got my Valentine’s Day decor up. There’s not much of it, so it was really just laziness that it took me so long.

Last year, I showed you the heart garland and heart pillow that I made. Those have been put to use again.

The main upgrade for this year was the mantel I decorated in our living room.


It’s the first thing you notice when you walk into the apartment, so I like to keep it festive and change the decor out each season/holiday.

The wall art in the frames were easy to do. I printed out this printable from Scrapaholics.

For the red frame, I found a Valentine’s Day card I had given Dan last year, centered it in the frame, then backed it with pink scrapbook paper.

Those little tea light holders are from Ikea, though I bought them years ago and doubt they are still available.

I still had some of those felt cut out hearts from last year laying around, so I used some leftover red ribbon (from Christmas) and some mini laundry pins to hang them.


Pretty simple, but I really like the way it looks.


Holiday Mantles – My Favorites

In a previous post, I shared how our holiday “mantle” is looking these days.


I’m loving the look with the star, chalkboard art, and rustic tree.

I was looking online at other mantles, and I thought I’d share my favorites.

I like this modern looking subway art and banner mantle.


Fun colors too!

I usually prefer red and green to blue and white for a holiday color palette, but there was just something about this mantle that I couldn’t resist.


Maybe it’s the contract of the blue against the white, but I think it looks gorgeous.
Last, but not least, I really like this twist on traditional.


The warm cozy fireplace, the stockings hung with care, the evergreen garland, and that tall display of calla lilies are just gorgeous. I kind of want to dive into the photo and read a good book in that chair with the fire going and a hot chocolate to drink.

Which is your favorite?

Wreath Decorating Party

Last night I hosted a wreath decorating party for a few of my friends.


We bought some wreaths from Alive Rescue, as one of their fundraisers, and thought it would be fun to decorate the wreaths together. My friend Erin and I did this last year, and it was fun to add more people to the tradition this year.

I kept mine simple this year and created some silver glitter stars ahead of time to attach to my wreath.

Can you guess what the stars are made from?


A cereal box!

I used cookie cutters and free-handed a large star onto the cardboard and cut them out.

With a pencil, I drew lines from the center of each star to the points. Then, I traced over the lines with an exacto knife.

I did the same thing for the folds inward.

After some cardboard bending, I got some pretty cool looking 3D stars.


To get them sparkly silver, I had Dan spray paint them using some silver paint we had laying around. After they dried, I dabbed on  two coats of sparkle paint.

Not exactly the most difficult craft in the world, but I was very pleased with the result. They look like shiny metal stars, which was exactly the look I was going for.


All in all, a fun night of wine, more Elf, glue guns, and good friends.

A Different Kind of Sweater Weather

I’ve always loved sweater pillows.They go with the fall like the sweaters I wear do.

Pottery Barn had some great ones last year. This year, I’m lusting after these from West Elm.


But, at $39 a pop, without including the pillow inserts, these were just too rich for my blood.

I’ve seen many sweater pillow tutotials on pinterest, so I decided to try my hand at sewing some sweater pillows of my own.

I started by choosing some colors I’d want. I decided to stick in the light blue/beige/off white family. I figured it would match my living room colors, and would translate well from fall to winter, and even be OK for the holidays.

Dan and I took a trip to a local thrift store on half price day, and I think I bought all of these sweaters for less than $8 total.


Now, it was just a matter of sitting down and sewing.

Because I don’t own a sewing machine, or know how to work one for that matter, I sewed everything by hand.

I didn’t really have an idea of how I was going to make each pillow cover. I just looked at each sweater, all in different styles, and tried to figure out what the easiest thing to do would be.

I think the results came out rather well.

I made four pillows.

Two for the chair and a half.


And two for the couch.


I think my favorite is the light blue cable knit pillow with the rosette embellishment I made from the collar of the sweater and a stray pearl button I had.


Dan really likes this toggle closure too.


Maybe they don’t look exactly like the West Elm ones, but with a savings of $148, again, not including the cost of pillow inserts, I think mine will do just fine.

Enter…If You Dare

Last year, I showed you a bunch of my Halloween decorations. Some are the same, like the lighted house and tree, but I changed up some elements this year. Including the front door.


Creepy huh?

Well, maybe not the sign. I got it at Kohl’s because I thought it was really cute.


The creepy part is the eyes.


Would you want to enter with those scary, disembodied eyes staring at you?

Luckily, making these evil eyes isn’t half as hard as mustering the courage to go past them.

I started by using a regular glass to trace circles on neon paper I had on hand. I used lime green, but I think these would look great in purple or orange too.

Cut out the circles (I made 6 circles for 3 pairs of eyes).

Next, you just have to freehand the pupils of the eyes. I took a pencil and lightly drew an outline of where I wanted the black part to be. Once I settled on how I wanted it to look, I put a black piece of paper under the circle and pressed down hard on the pupil lines. That left an small indent on the black paper so I knew where to cut.

Using the first cut out pupil as the template, I traced 5 more and cut them out.

Finally, I glued the pupils in place.

Wait a little while for the glue to dry, then tape the eyes to the door.

Check back tomorrow to see the spooky way I decorated my front stairway.

Thrift Store Series – Spray Painted Tray

I realized I hadn’t done a thrifting update in a while, so I thought I’d share this super simple upgrade.


All we did (OK, all Dan did) was spray paint this tray. With all my crafting talents, spray painting is not one of them. Oh well.

I don’t have a before picture, but it was pure black when I bought it. I think it was $1.75 for a Crate and Barrel tray (the tag was still on it).

The black was fine, but I thought doing a two-tone tray to hold magazines and the remotes on the coffee would be nice.


A few coats of ivy green on the outside and matte white on the inside was all it took. Oh yeah, and a clear protective coat all over to help prevent scratches too.


We keep it in the living room, but we’ll still use it to carry food and drinks outside for parties or grilling.


Fireworks for the Fourth!

You know me, I’m a big decorator for the holidays. Any holiday.

Yet I’m just not big on the 4th decorations. Sure, I’ve put out my patriotic door hanging, but other than that, there were no 4th items in the apartment.

Maybe it’s because there aren’t a ton of decorative items for the 4th that come to mind. Maybe it’s because it’s summer time and I’m always on the go. Whatever the reason, I took a few minutes and made some cute and festive fireworks out of tissue paper and bamboo skewers.


This was quite possibly the easiest craft I’ve ever made.

To start, measure out how long you want your skewer to be. I cut mine down, but you can leave yours standard length.


Next, grab some tissue paper. I went with the traditional red, white, and blue.

Cut 2 pieces of each color into 8 inch x 16 inch rectangles. They don’t need to be perfect.

Fold them in half, lengthwise. Start cutting into the tissue paper on the non-folded side. Don’t cut all the way up.


Put a small dab of glue on the end of the tissue paper and put your skewer down on top of it.


I waited a minute or so, for the glue to start to dry, then I began rolling the tissue paper around the skewer.


Glue the end of the tissue paper in place.


Pick up the skewer and the fringy part of the tissue paper should fall into place.


Here’s a close up of all 3:


I put my little fireworks sticks in my hurricane jar.


And there is my one 4th of July craft for the year.

Under the Sea

Check out this cute piece of summer wall art I made for free:


I was inspired by this lovely print on etsy.


It just screamed summer to me with those bold colors and playful beachy print.

Since my husband is so wonderfully talented at Photoshop, I knew he’d be able to replicate this print for me, costing nothing more than printer paper and toner. Here’s our version:


I wanted to put it on the shelf above the couch, but I thought it would look too small on the shelf. It did.

Dan and I got to thinking and we decided a set of 3 matching prints would look great together. We brainstormed and thought an octopus and a mermaid would round out the beach/sea theme we had going.


I wish I could tell you how Dan did it. I know he googled to find the images we ended up using, then created a silhouette of them. He said the chevron wasn’t too difficult to make either. You know, because he spends a lot of time in Photoshop.

As for the frame, we’ve long had it in our hall closet. We got it as a wedding gift with a cut out mat that spelled “Wedding Day,” but didn’t have anywhere to put it. Until now.

Is it perfect? No. Does it add color to the room? Definitely. Is it fun for a quick summer living room update? Absolutely.

Happy Memorial Day!

Just a quick post as I’m off having some Memorial Day fun.

I hung this new door sign up on Saturday morning.


Classic and simple. Home Sweet Home with a wooden blue star for a little bit of patriotic flair. It’s from Kohl’s. I’m a sucker for their holiday door decorations.

Don’t forget what this day means. Thank you to all those brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can sleep safely in our beds each night.

Summertime Itch – A To Do List

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer to me, even though it doesn’t officially start until June 20.

Once that glorious 3-day weekend starts, all of my thoughts go to summer activities I’ve been itching to do since it got cold last year. Usually, I’m able to get all the summer basics in before September. Stuff like heading to the beach, eating outside, grilling as much as possible, and going on summer night walks. But, every year, there seems to be some summer staple I miss out on doing because I don’t think about it until too late.

Not this year.

To start me off on the right foot, I thought of a list of things I absolutely want to make sure Dan and I get to do before the weather turns cold again. To remind us, I wrote out these “summer goals” onto a chalkboard I’m going to place in our entryway, where we’ll get a reminder every day.


In case you can’t read it, the summer activities I don’t want to miss are:

1. Carnival
2. Drive in
3. Bike path
4. Make limoncello
5. Picnic
6. Beach volleyball
7. Pool
8. BBQ
9. Garage sales
10. Boat ride
11. Canoe
12. Summerdance
13. Mini golf
14. Movie in the Park
15. Make ice cream
16. Outdoor brunch
17. See fireworks
18. Book club
19. Garden (I’m growing herbs.)
20. Bonfire/s’mores
21. Farmers market
22. Wineries/Breweries
23. Make fresh fruit pancakes


I came up with this list thinking of past summer favorites while keeping the list more adult. In looking for inspiration online, I saw a ton of ideas of summer goals for families with kids, but obviously, that doesn’t apply here, even though I would like to learn how to make play doh some day. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start checking items off the list this coming long weekend!


What things are you excited to do this summer?