Archives For christmas

I’ve always been enchanted by flocked Christmas trees (although, I didn’t know they were called ‘flocked’ until more recently). Artificial trees are expensive enough but the ones that have fake snow on them are even more expensive. And since I was gifted a perfectly fine pre-lit tree last year I decided to try my hand at flocking my tree on my own.

Little House Design: How to flock a pre-lit Christmas Tree

I googled and found that there are several different ways to flock a tree, but I landed on this tutorial as the easiest and most cost effective.

Little House Design: How to flock a pre-lit Christmas Tree

I mixed all of these ingredients in my mixer for about five minutes until it was all whipped up like icing.

Little House Design: How to flock a pre-lit Christmas Tree

If you are wondering if I started to doubt myself when I put GLUE into my very expensive (albeit 12 year old) Kitchen Aid mixer the answer is YES. But, like so many weird projects I’ve done before (most notably when I bathed my sheepskin rug) I pressed on. Did I feel ridiculous putting glue and shaving cream all over the fake tree that will be in living room for the next four weeks? The answer is in the question.

As for the the application, being the resourceful lady that I am I just stuck my hand in a plastic baggie and started wiping that crap all over my tree. And despite how ridiculous it felt to do it, the results aren’t bad!

Before:

Little House Design: How to flock a pre-lit Christmas Tree

After:

Little House Design: How to flock a pre-lit Christmas Tree

Little House Design: How to flock a pre-lit Christmas Tree

Little House Design: How to flock a pre-lit Christmas Tree It does have the tiniest bit of a blue tinge (most noticeable in the last picture) but in person it isn’t too bad. Plus, I have no ornaments or anything on it to draw attention away from it. I really like it! I think if I were more ambitious I would do another half-batch and add more to make it that much more snowy, but that’s probably not going to happen.

It dried hard but not like rock solid or anything, it definitely flakes off. So there is the possibility that it will all come off by the end of the season but I kind of doubt that will happen. It’s definitely less messy than just throwing fake snow all over the tree!

It was a super easy and fast project that cost me less than $10 so I highly recommend attempting the DIY version before buying a $150 Christmas tree. Also, it only took me like an hour tops so that was a bonus.

Disclaimer: This is a pre-lit tree and I globbed glue and shaving cream all over those lights and their wires and I have no idea if that is a safe or responsible thing to do. If you are worried about doing it I would ask someone smart and/or an electrician first. I had the lights on all day today and there was no fire! I also touched the lights several times and they don’t seem to generate hardly any heat so the glue/shaving cream mixture wasn’t melting or anything. 

Like most people I love to travel and I also love cool stuff, which equals up to me being a hoarder. I’ve written about my travel souvenirs here and here, but this post is specifically about Christmas themed souvenirs. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, congratulations! You don’t have a retail problem! If you do, then like me you will shop for Christmas crap year round.

I like to buy stuff when I’m visiting a new city. Usually I try to find something that is a nod to the place I’m visiting without being obvious and that I will either use or will fit in with home’s style. A pretty perfect example is this hook I bought in New Orleans.
Fleur de lis are everywhere in New Orleans so this hook is great symbol of the city and it is functional (Bob’s leash hangs on it). Plus, it reminds me of my time in the city without actually saying ‘New Orleans’ all over it.
But sometimes you go to a new place and you can’t find anything you like or everything is overpriced or ugly… that is when I hit the Christmas section. (Of course, normal people would just leave without buying something.) Yes, every gift shop or tourist location has a Christmas section. If you’ve never seen a Grand Canyon Christmas ornament/snow globe/stocking than you’ve never been to a Grand Canyon tourist shop.
I love Christmas because it is the one time a year where I just fully embrace kitsch in my life. No other time of the year do I have so much little crap sitting out, but at Christmas it’s fun to just go with it. So Christmas + Tourist Souvenirs = Kitsch Fest 3000. Do you need an ornament of the Washington Monument? Absolutely not, but if you go the Washington Monument than an ornament is a better souvenir than a crappy little statue you’ll never put out. At least at Christmas you can have out little weird things and no one will question it.
 
So far I’ve only gotten one Christmas souvenir, but I’m sure over time, I’ll acquire more.
This is an advent calendar that my Dad bought for me on a trip to Mt Vernon. We had talked about going there ever since I had moved to DC and we managed to go the last month before I moved back. It was a fun trip (we also went to Monticello) and when we saw this advent calendar we both loved it. He bought it for me as a sort of heirloom because it is a really large and well made piece. I don’t really use it yet because I’m way to lazy to add things to it for just myself, but someday I’ll use it. It is pretty country and it’s not something I would normally have in my house but at Christmas anything goes and the bonus is that it reminds me of a fun trip I took with my Dad.
Are you souvenir hoarder like me? Please say yes.

Christmas Craft Roundup

December 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

It’s that time of year again… the time where you realize that you didn’t get everything done that you wanted to do before Christmas (okay, I did get one project done). So in true fatalistic spirit here is a round up of the Christmas crafts I wish I would have done a month ago. Perhaps next year?

Glitter Origami Cranes by Zakka Life. You had me at origami, little ornaments. I’ve been obsessed with paper cranes since we read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes in fourth grade. So, paper cranes + glitter = the best thing ever. Tutorial here.
Glitter bulb ornaments by Sweet Paul Magazine. Mostly, I just love these old style light bulbs and the addition of glitter and a string makes them extra adorable. Tutorial here.
Felt Ball Wreath by Pickles. I’ve been obsessed with this wreath for over a year. I just really like how colorful it is. Also, it isn’t super Christmasy which I nice. I haven’t done this project yet because it looks like it would take forever and I’m not sure the payoff would be worth it. Tutorial for making the wreath here and how to make the felt balls here.
Polka Dot Wreath by The Paper Mama. A friend send me this link a few weeks ago and I love it. Moss is so beautiful already that adding it to a wreath form plus miniatures is like totally my jam. Tutorial here.
Miniatures in a jar by Salt Tree. Seriously, need I say more? It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with miniatures and Christmas minis are like my own personal brand of heroine (I am so ashamed I just quoted that book). There are many variations of the ‘Christmas snow globe in a mason jar’ idea and I think it would fun to do any of them. Tutorial here.
Thumbtack wreath by Canadian Family Magazine. Apparently, I am now obsessed with wreaths. But I think you could do this treatment to other things as well. Basically it is just hundreds of flat metal thumbtacks pushed into styrofoam. Easy and cheap! Tutorial here.

Did you get to do any Christmas crafts this year? Or maybe you are satisfied with just looking and not attempting?

Last night I did a sort of juvenile thing. I wrapped my front door with Christmas wrapping paper. Yes, it is a bit of dorm room look but I’m all about low cost decorating around here.

mylittlehousedesign.com Christmas paper wrapped front door
I chose plaid wrapping paper and I’m very happy with how it looks. Is it wrinkly? Yes. Does it looks a little childish? Yes. But I’m okay with that. I can’t afford a fancy Christmas wreath and I’m waaaaay to impatient to hang Christmas lights (plus I have no electrical outlets on the outside of my house) so this was a low cost way for me to bring a little Christmas cheer to my front porch. I timed the project and it took me just over 30 minutes and cost me around $3 for a roll of wrapping paper (which I still have half of so technically I only used about $1.50 of the roll).
 Bob was thoroughly convinced this was the day I was just going to let him free into the world to explore and sniff to his heart’s content. Not today Bob.

I started by putting tape rolls all over the door.

The bottom piece was easy but since I have this little half round window I had to get a little more measure-y. Turns out the paper was thin enough that if I pressed down with my fingernail I got a line that I could cut. Easy!
mylittlehousedesign.com Christmas paper wrapped front door I’m very happy with this project considering it only took 30 minutes and a $1.50… what do you think? Too dorm room-y or is it just retro enough to be cool?

Apparently, Christmas is around the corner, but I haven’t bought one gift. So if you are like me and are going to be doing a lot of very last minute shopping then this list is for you. This gift guide is great for those people in your life that love their spaces and get excited about home decor. So without further ado:

From left to right

Row 1:
Young House Love’s book. I just got this and I love it. If you don’t know them already, John and Sherry have an awesome blog and this is their first book. It is chock full of DIY ideas that are nearly all cheap and cool.

Throw pillows. Seriously, a person that likes interior design can never have too many throw pillows so it’s a great ‘go-to’ gift. This pillow is from the Mudhut line at Target and is only $19.99.

Interior design lovers love random tchotchkes so this mercury glass hour glass would be right up their alley. This one is from Pier One and it’s $19.95.

Row 1 and the last one in Row 2
These three images in the top right hand corner are all dinner napkins. Dinner napkins are totally unnecessary but there are so many cool designs and they are fun gift (especially appropriate as a hostess gift!). The three shown here are from the Boho Boutique at Target (here, here, and here) for $19.99 for four napkins.

Row 2: 
This gold dahlia shaped candle holder from CB2 is awesome. Enough said.

I love this glass water bottle. I have plain ones from IKEA that I love, but these with the typography are super fun. It is $9.99 from Target and it would also make an awesome hostess gift (on a separate note, I need to throw a party so that I can get hostess gifts… does anybody give hostess gifts anymore? I never do but I should, right?).

Who doesn’t need a glass female head? The answer? No one doesn’t need one (huh?).

This is an adorable bird tea light holder from CB2 that is only $7.95!

Row 3: 
This is a bright green acrylic chain that I’ve been thinking about all day. Do you not understand why someone would want this? Just trust me, someone who is into interior design will get it. Also, it’s from Nate Berkus’ Target collection, so you can totally name drop that one.

This is no ordinary stationary… wait for it… it’s Carolina Herrera. Yep, the classiest lady ever made stationary for Target. Go get it.

You can never go wrong with a picture frame, especially if it’s this cool zig zag bone one from Nate Berkus’ Target collection.

Though pricier than the other items on this list, these owl speakers from West Elm are completely adorable. For $49.99 you can amplify your iphone and have a super cool ceramic statue for your house.

Home by Novogratz is a new design book from the Novogratz family. They are famous designers that have a great TV show that I used to watch when I had cable (that sound you just heard was a teeny tiny violin playing).

This is also my Christmas list if you’re interested to know haha. Happy Christmas shopping!

A Christmas Tablescape

December 6, 2012 — Leave a comment
I love having a dining room in the center of my house. Most dining rooms get little to no use, but since mine is essentially the hallway in my house it gets used a lot. Whether it’s where people congregate at parties or I’m using it as a faux office, this table gets a lot of use. For the holidays I wanted to add a little Christmas flavor to my table without spending anything.
It’s not much but it gives just a little Christmas spirit to the table and the best part is that it only cost me $1.50! The boldest statement is, of course, the fabric which I got in the IKEA clearance section last January for $.50. Seriously guys, if you go to IKEA you have to go on Wednesday mornings. The clearance section is 50% off! It’s crazytown then but it’s worth it to get some super cheap stuff. This piece of fabric was sewn together for some display so it isn’t a perfectly tailored table runner, in fact it is too short, but I like it anyway. The other thing I bought is the red laser cut Christmas tree which was $1. I had those two things out at first and I was thinking…. this isn’t enough for a centerpiece. So I walked around my house and gathered some things that would work well with the colors. I grabbed the gold leaf tray I DIYed here, a fabric ball from my friend’s wedding, a lantern from my friend in Germany, and a few color appropriate books. Then I just kind of mashed them all together and voila! I think I spent a totally of 5 minutes doing this and I am happy enough with how it looks.

Do you have the whole Christmas decorating thing down? Or are you, like me, just doing what you can with what you’ve got?

As I mentioned here, I got a Christmas tree and I managed to scrounge up enough ornaments to make it look relatively decorated. Side note: there are about 10 ‘real’ ornaments on there, the rest I either made, or are gift tags that I used as faux ornaments. I was all proud of myself when I got done but then a saw this:

Yep, no tree skirt. Can we talk about how stupid tree skirts are? First of all, the name. A skirt? Lame. Also, they are either cheap & ugly or awesome & expensive. So I decided that this is going to my new issue, I am going to be that girl that rants about how stupid tree skirts are… and then I took a deep breath and realize that the one thing dumber than tree skirts is ranting about tree skirts. All that to say, I decided to get a tree skirt without supporting the tree skirt industry. I used this antique blanket I got for $15 at an antique shop in the sticks (antique shops in the middle of nowhere are way cheaper than city antique shops).
This blanket does the job of a real ‘tree skirt’ just as well as a store bought one. You could also use a sheet, a sheepskin, a small rug, spare fabric, a feather boa, a fur coat, a tablecloth … the options are endless.

Do you also feel the need to rant about useless subjects? I have to constantly check myself from getting riled up about silly issues.

As I shared in this post, I had a small tree that has served it’s purpose well for the past few Christmases. This year, since I won’t be going out of town for the holidays and since I have my own house I knew I wanted to get a bigger tree. The one I had was like 2′ or something so I thought a 4-5′ would be a good improvement. Then I got stuck because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get a real or fake tree… Here is the mental chart I made:

REAL TREE: pretty, expensive, you have to buy a new one every year, hard for me to carry in and out of the house, messy?, better for the environment

FAKE TREE: very bad for the environment, cheesy?, ugly (sometimes), suburban, you have to store it, you only have to buy it once, expensive, lots of color options

After this internal battle I finally decided, I wanted a real tree that was 4-5′ tall… well, turns out it didn’t matter what I wanted because one night my Dad showed up at my house with a 7′ fake tree. Here’s the thing about my parents, they just love me too much. Seriously, they just want to buy me everything and it’s so annoying. No, I’m joking, it’s awesome because I’m kinda broke so I totally take any freebies people hand out. Anyway, he found one on clearance and just bought it on a whim. Thankfully, I like the tree! It is a fake 7′ tree which is basically the opposite of what I had decided I wanted but you know what, life’s short and I don’t really care because it will be up for three weeks a year.

The End.

Paper Clip Ornament Hanger

November 30, 2012 — 1 Comment

Two things happened this week:

1) I found a tub of paperclips that I’ve had since middle school.
2) I started putting ornaments on my tree and had about 20 with no hooks.

These two occurrences + laziness + frugalness =

Yep, I took my endless supply of paperclips (they sell them in packs of 750 and I think I’ve maybe used one a year for 15 years so I had about 735 to work with)…
and my ornaments with no hooks and I made ornament hooks. Which saved me probably $3.99 and a trip to the store so not big stakes but still a win-win!
First, I first spread the clip apart so it made this ‘S’ shape
Then I inserted the smaller end into the ornament
Then I pinched the ends together so that the ornament wouldn’t slip out
And then I hung it on the tree. I also sort of love that my paperclips are colorful but the plain silver ones would work too. I’m sure I didn’t invent this idea but I am glad that I pulled it from the recesses of my mind so I didn’t have to go out and buy ornament hooks.

Have you done this before? Also, my tree is up! I’ll post about it tomorrow.

I am not super crafty. I enjoy doing crafts but it is a lot of work to gather all the right materials and then to make the whole craft come together. But last Christmas I actually did a craft that was easy, attractive, and affordable – yay!

I made mini yarn wrapped wreath ornaments. You know why I love them? Because they are miniature of course! There is literally no skill involved in making these so that makes them even better. Here is what I bought:

1) 3″ Styrofoam Wreaths – I bought a pack of 20 for $15.00 from here.

2) Yarn. I got four colors: red, green, cream, and dark grey. I still have a lot of yarn left over since these ornaments are so small, but I wanted a variety of colors. This is a great project if you already have yarn sitting around.  I wrapped the yarn around them, tied it off, and cut it very close. This one below has lots of knots because I did it color blocked. If you’re picky you could tuck the knots under the yarn but clearly I’m not so I just left it like this. It will eventually be hanging on a tree so only one side will be visible anyway.
3) I also bought a pack of mini trees and mini bells to add to a few of them.
Here is a sampling of the finished products.
I made 18 out of 20 ornaments last year. The 19th is below. Apparently I just couldn’t take it another second so I left this one half finished all year. That’s extreme laziness for ya, I could finish a one minute craft haha.
I loved this craft so much I decided to do a bigger wreath. I got a 12″ styrofoam at Michael’s for about $12.99 and wrapped it in the same way I did the little ones (why are styrofoam wreaths so expensive??? Seriously, it is like 4 oz of styrofoam, it can’t cost that much to make).
I love this wreath! I think I left it at my parent’s house so I need to get it so I can put it on my front door.

So that is my craftiness of last year. I don’t think I’ll be doing any Christmas crafts this year. I think I’m more of an every other year kind of Christmas crafty gal.

You should totally do this craft because it is easy, cute, and cheap (about $1.50 per ornament, $15 for the bigger wreath).

Happy crafting!