I'm baaaack!

These past few weeks have been pretty crazy. I spent a week back home for Thanksgiving, and business has been non-stop (can't complain there!). I've also been battling a sore throat/incessant cough for 3 weeks... and that is getting old. Needless to say, there hasn't been much house related activities since the last post.

However, I made sure to carve out time to do some Christmas crafting and our mantel was the first order of business.

Here was the fall setup:

And now, as of yesterday, here is the holiday look:

Everything was DIY'ed/repurposed, so let's go through them all, shall we?

I made these cute little snowflake/yarm pom poms as Christmas tree ornaments and decided to add a few smaller ones to the mantel branches.

I don't have photos of this process, but it's quite easy. You just need yarn and scissors. There's a bunch of tutorials floating around, I like this one.

Next is this wood and fabric peace sign:

This shape may look familiar to you:

Yes, it is the back side of my thankful sign!

I knew I wanted another wordy sign for the holiday mantel, and I loved my little wood banner, so I decided I'd flip it and repurpose the backside to say something else. Now I can use it for all my fall/winter holidays... I think it's pretty much the best idea I've ever came up with in life.

I love this tutorial because it's easy and cheap and there's so many possibilities.

I first bought 1/2 yard of some fun turquoise and beige chevron fabric at Hobby Lobby (came to around $2, and I have plenty extra to use for other projects down the road).

I applied a layer of modge podge onto the wood, and smoothed the fabric over it.

After letting it dry/set for a few minutes, I flipped it over and grabbed my Xacto knife.

I've never cut fabric with a knife before so I wasn't sure how well it was going to work, but luckily, it cut like butter.

All done!

For the lettering, I wasn't sold on trying to paint/draw directly on the fabric, and I wanted something a little more dimensional. After no luck finding the right sized wooden letters in the style I wanted, I decided to pick up a sheet of white foam (for 89 cents at HL) and cut it out myself.

After measuring the sign, I printed out the word PEACE in the font of my choice (I used Gotham Black) and taped the paper over my foam.

Then it was just a matter of carefully cutting out each letter:

Once they were cut, I lined them up on my sign and used painter's tape as my guide so they would be straight:

Then I applied modge podge to the back with a paintbrush, and voila! $3 Peace sign.

Now for the rest of the mantel...

First, the trees.

After gathering inspiration on Pinterest, I settled on these three designs (there are so many things you can make into a tree... I can make a different one every year for the rest of my life)

Unfortunately, I have no photos of the process because a) two of the trees were made during a craft night with friends, and no cameras were present, and b) I had step by step photos of the pinecone tree, but forgot they were on my SD card when I deleted everything by accident.... oops.

I'll try to recreate the process in words.

For the cone bases, I used large sheets of cardstock weight paper, rolled them into a cone, taped it so it was secure, and cut the bottom so it would sit flat. The paper tree and pinecone tree bases are both made this way.

For the paper tree, I used an old book of hymns and cut out a bunch of leaf shapes in varying sizes (small, medium, large). Before applying the leaves, I wrapped the entire cone with the hymn sheets and hot glued them (so you wouldn't see any paper underneath the gaps). Starting from the bottom and the largest leaves, I glued each one individually and worked my way across, alternating each row. Easy peasy.

For the felt tree, I can't take the credit. I found it on Pinterest and fell in love. I already had the foam cone so it was perfect. Tutorial here.

The pine cone tree was a last minute decision. I had a bag of crushed seashells that I originally wanted to use, but it did not turn out as I had anticipated.

For plan B, my friend had a bunch of pine cones she had collected and wasn't using, so she let me cut them up for this project. I first spray painted my paper cone dark brown to camouflage any of the gaps. After carefully trimming each pinecone piece off, I organized them into piles by size (small, medium, large). Then I sat in front of the TV and individually glued each one down in a row, using the larger pieces at the bottom and smaller ones at the top (same process as the leaf tree). One and a half episodes of Chelsea Lately later, and it was good to go.

For another Christmas/wintery touch, I placed a 5x7 of my Deer silhouette print with a charcoal gray wood grain into an Ikea frame.

PS... if you follow my facebook or are on my mailing list you know this already, but I'm offering $8 off this print (in any size, background and color) until Christmas with the code REINDEER at checkout.

That would make the print shown above just $5! Christmas score.

Finally, we have this new banner that I whipped up yesterday afternoon:

Materials needed for this:

-Canvas fabric (1/2 yard is plenty)
-Paper (thick is better)
-Spray adhesive
-Inkjet printer
-Xacto knife (or scissors and a steady hand)
-Twine, string or rope
-Hot glue

After deciding on a slogan I wanted to use and picking up my materials, I determined the size I wanted for the flags: 4.25" x  5.5" (half of a letter sized sheet of paper—you'll see why).

I found this tutorial on pinterest and was intrigued, because if it worked as well looked like it did, this would open up a whole new world of decorating possibilities.

So I found a stiff piece of paper, applied a coating of spray adhesive, and smoothed out my canvas material:

It instantly bonded and didn't need to dry. I then used a ruler and Xacto knife to trim the fabric to the paper size:

This worked just as well as my Peace sign.

The paper I chose ended up being too thick to feed through the printer (it wasn't even really paper, more like extra thick card stock), so I went though the process again using regular thick letter sized paper and it worked like a charm.

To simplify things, I designed it so that two flags would fit perfectly onto one sheet.

Then, using a template I had designed, I cut each sheet in half and notched out my little flag shape at the bottom:

Once each flag was trimmed, I simply pulled the fabric off the back and it was perfectly free of any glue or residue. Like nothing had even happened. Amazing.

After each flag was completed, I lined them up and spaced them out to fit the mantel. Then I laid my twine across them, folded the top over and secured with hot glue.

Both the Peace sign and Merry banner were completed over a few hours yesterday afternoon, for under a few bucks each. These are my favorite types of projects!

I still have Christmas tree I'm finishing up, so that will be coming next. I didn't forget about the pantry either... I just need to make it through the crazy holiday season before I tackle anything that large :)

I'm off to prepare this delicious pumpkin dessert for a dinner party tonight. Have a very Merry first week of December.... until next time!

Linking up to the DIY Showoff!


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