The Interior Frugalista: November 2013


Simple DIY Christmas Door Hanger {with old brooches}

While waiting for Mr. Frugalista to return home from his business trip I was having a heck of a time staying awake. So I did what any DIYer would do...went down to the workshop to play!

These are the little trinkets I had on hand to play with...

Materials used to make a Christmas door hanger with old brooches

I bought some inexpensive frames at the Dollar Store and removed the glass.  Then with my hot glue gun I attached a piece of burlap ribbon to the back side of the mat that came with the frame.

Glue burlap ribbon to the back of a picture frame mat

I have a few Christmas brooches that have been with me since I was around 18 years old. I'm no spring chicken so they are old...vintage...antiques...okay, maybe not that old!  They are nothing fancy but have such sentimental value to me. They've been sitting in the bottom of my jewelry box for decades and when I saw a project that +Nici Higby at Posted Perfection made, I was so excited and inspired. 

Attached an old Santa Sleigh Brooch to burlap and framed it

I attached my brooches to the burlap and slipped them inside the frames. Can't get easier than that!

Attached an old Mistletoe Brooch to burlap and placed in a frame

Attached an old Gingerbread Man Brooch to burlap and put inside a frame

Then using my hot glue gun I attached each frame to a strand of pretty red ribbon.

Attached framed Christmas brooches to a red ribbon

I just love our pretty and very sentimental door hanger for the interior side of our front door!

Christmas Door Hanger with frames and old brooches

I hope you are inspired to pull out your old Christmas brooches!


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Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Shhhh, I know it's early but while the cat's Mr. Frugalista's away, the mouse must play...
Decorating projects for the holidays
We usually wait until the first week of December to decorate but after finishing the Pallet Board Centerpiece, it looked lonely sitting there all by itself in the dining room. I've had a few DIY Holiday Projects on the go over the last couple of weeks and once they were finished I couldn't stand leaving them in the shop until December. Besides, with all the snow we've been having it feels a lot like Christmas.  Sorry Mr. Frugalista, I'll save the tree decorating for when you get back!

I saw an unfinished wood birdhouse church at Michael's and just had to have it.  Excited to dig into this project I forgot to take before pictures but I'm sure you're familiar with these little guys.
Wrapping a birdhouse with sheet music and faux snow
I paid a visit to +The Graphics Fairy LLC and found Vintage Christmas Sheet Music.  I choose I Heard The Bells Ring and Silent Night and printed them onto tan colored paper.  I measured the walls of the church and drew out my pattern pieces onto the sheet music and cut them out. With a foam brush I applied Modge Podge onto the back of each one and wrapped the walls of the church. The rest of the church was painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in Old White.  I used Burnt Umber acrylic craft paint on the doors.

Once the paint was dry I brushed Modge Podge onto the base, roof and steeple and sprinkled white glitter, removing the excess into a tray.  Once dry I brushed thick globs of Decor Art Snow Tex everywhere that snow would naturally build up.  To give the sheet music a frosty appearance I dry brushed some watered down Old White chalk paint and wiped away the excess.  Using a hot glue gun I attached the caroler figurines.  I think it's so adorable on the mantle!

To add to my nature inspired mantle I made inexpensive snowscapes using a glass apothecary jar and candle holder.  I filled the bottom with faux snow, placed a mini bottle brush tree mounted on a tree branch slice and wrapped in red chaffon.   Then I laid a few Christmas lights painted with gold glitter onto the snow.  So simple yet so pretty!
Apothecary jars decorated in mini snowscapes for the holidays

I remembered I had three feather trees that I normally place on the family room mantle.  They worked perfectly for my snowscape!  I filled the bird cage (you probably remember it from my Spring and Fall mantlescapes) with gold Christmas balls.  When the light hits them they sparkle.
Bird cage filled with Christmas balls for the holidays.

To complete the mantle I wrapped a faux berry garland around a faux pine and spruce garland that came embellished with pine cones. I remembered I had a strand of glass beads in my sewing basket that replicate mini ice cubes and strung those through as well for a little glam. Can you see the Stiletto Stockings hung by the chimney with care?
Fireplace mantle decorated for the holidays.

Onto decorating the bookcases.  I found these wood blocks at the Dollar Store for $1.50. Initially I bought two but I had so much fun painting them in different color combinations that I sent Mr. Frugalista back to buy the rest of their stock. These were the keepers that made it onto our bookcase shelf!
Painted wood blocks spelling out the word Christmas in red, white and gold.

I painted them with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in Old White and Emperor's Silk.  The other letters were painted with metallic gold craft paint.  Then I applied a coat of clear wax and dark wax, removing the excess to give them an aged appearance.  I wish you could see them in person because this picture does not do them justice!

Moving to the dining room I made a cute holiday bunting flag banner for the mirror using scrapbook paper, silver metallic letters I found at Wal-Mart, and paracord from the Dollar Store.  
Mini Christmas bunting flag banner

Mini Christmas bunting flag banner with scrapbooking paper

You'll notice throughout this post that I have a fetish for mercury glass!  I bought some red wired ribbon at the Dollar Store and hung various mercury glass ornaments from the chandelier as well as the dining room window. I was going to add some pine garland and/or berry garland around the chandelier but decided I like the simple elegance of the ornaments.
Mercury glass balls hanging by ribbon on the chandelier

Merecury glass finials hanging by ribbon in the window

Last but not least I turned a clear glass candle holder that I purchased at a local thrift store for $2.00 and with Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint turned it into faux silver mercury glass.  So easy and quick to make!
DIY mercury glass candle holder

All you do is spray light layers of Looking Glass Spray Paint inside any clear glass vessel. Let it dry about 1-2 minutes between coats. Keep adding layers until it has a solid metallic finish. In a spray bottle mix one part white vinegar to one part water. Lightly spray over the looking glass paint and let it sit for about 20 seconds. With a paper towel carefully wipe away parts of the paint (I dabbed). Once dry apply another light coat or two of Looking Glass Spray Paint over the areas where you removed the paint. Ta Da!
DIY mercury glass candle holder
I love how it looks on our sofa table grouped with a couple of gold mercury glass finials.  

I had to throw in a couple shots of the banister.  The only DIY object on there is the Hockey Skate Stocking
Banister decorated for the holidays

The pretty gold grapevine stars were a gift from a friend in the Netherlands.
Gold grapevine stars hanging from the banister for the holidays

I thought I would close this post with this cherished sign that a friend gave me a few years ago.  Like Friends, Its The Old Ornaments That Mean The Most!
Friendship sign hanging from the banister for the holidays




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Festive Pallet Board Centerpiece with Fresh Greenery

Are you like me and put up an artificial Christmas tree each year but miss the scent of fresh pine wafting through your home?

Well, I've come up with an easy way to have both!  Where I turn this...

Pallet boards dismantled and ready to make a festive centerpiece

...into this

A festive centerpiece made from pallet boards

and this...

Embellishments to make a festive pallet board centerpiece
into this.
Completed festive pallet board centerpiece

To build the pallet box...

Pallet Box Assembly:

  • I started off by dismantling an old pallet.  This was the first pallet I ever dismantled and let me tell you I have a new respect for the female DIY Bloggers who do this regularly.  At 55 years old, this nearly did me in!  Another option (which I'm going to use in the future) is old or new fence boards.
  • After cleaning my pallet boards with a bucket of warm water and some fine steel wool, I cut two boards at 20 inches long and two at 8 inches long.
  • With a mitre saw I cut the ends of each board at 15 degree angles.
  • I assembled the box using carpenters glue, a power drill and galvanized screws.
  • Chop a 1" x 1" piece of trim into four 1 1/2" wide pieces to use for the feet.
  • Glue the feet onto the bottom with carpenters glue, clamp in place and let dry overnight.

Image transfer onto pallet board centerpiece

Beautifying the Pallet Box:

  • I filled over the screw holes with wood filler, let it dry and sanded to a smooth finish.
  • I painted the entire box inside and out with two coats of Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™
  • I found the pretty Decorative Ornament Image at +The Graphics Fairy LLC and printed it to the size I wanted using a  laser printer.
  • In Microsoft Word, I typed some of the lyrics to the song "Sing We Now of Christmas" in the font and size I wanted and printed them as well.
  • Using carbon paper, I traced the image and lyrics with a pen onto the wood.  
  • With acrylic black and metallic gold craft paint, I hand painted over the transfer.
  • I brushed the exterior of the box with Annie Sloan Clear Wax™ and immediately brushed Annie Sloan Dark Wax™ over the top making sure it got into the recesses and grain of the wood and wiped away the excess.
  • With fine sandpaper, I slightly sanded over the graphic and the corners to give it a slightly distressed look.
  • I applied another light coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax™ and buffed it lightly with a clean white cloth.

Now the fun part, decorating the box to use as a centerpiece for the dining room table!

Pallet board centerpiece box

I bought four of these simple glass vessels at the dollar store.  I filled them with water and assorted fresh greens clipped from my back yard.

Fresh greens in dollar store vessel for festive pallet board centerpiece

I placed one on each end of the box and two in the center like this...

Fresh greens inside festive pallet board centerpiece

Next I added these...

Food cans to be used as bases for candlesticks in pallet board centerpiece

...and these little pretties.

Ceramic tea cup and saucer ornaments repurposed into candlesticks

I found these pretty little ceramic tea cup and saucer ornaments at Canadian Tire and thought they would make cute little candle holders. But how was I going to hold the tapered candles in place *scratching head*. I lit two tea light candles until they were liquefied. I blew them out and added my tapered candles in the center of each and within minutes the wax had solidified around the candles. I slipped those babies inside the tea cups and voila!

Tea cup ornaments being held in place with food cans in pallet board centerpiece

This is where the cans of refried beans come in! Searching around the house for the perfect sized container for the candlesticks to sit on I found these in the cupboard. Hey, whatever works! I guess we won't be eating Refried Beans any time soon.

Next up having fun with embellishments! I found these cute little glittery silver reindeer heads, some gold glittery musical instruments, and dipped pine cones (although I could have made these myself) and thought they would be perfect.

Fresh greens and ornaments in festive pallet board centerpiece

The pretty silver and gold wired ribbon I found at the dollar store. I made a couple of simple ribbons and tied them to the base of the pine cones with florist wire.

Wired ribbon, pine cones, and ornaments used in pallet board centerpiece

They don't feel finished so once I bring the Christmas ornaments out of storage I will see what treasures I find to complete the ensemble. In the meantime, my house smells so festive!

Fresh greens inside festive pallet board centerpiece

Now that the table is dressed for the holidays, I'm itching to get the rest of the dining room decorated. But Mr. Frugalista burst a hole in that bubble when he said "Marie, it's too darn early to start decorating for Christmas". Bah Humbug!

Festive pallet board centerpiece

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How To Fill Outdoor Planters for the Holidays

My goal in this post is to debunk the myth that filling Outdoor Planters for the holidays is difficult and expensive. You probably have most of what you need right in your own backyard!

By following the steps listed below, you too can make your own festive planters to welcome guests during the holidays.

8 easy steps to decorating outdoor pots for the holidays

Hopefully, you already have large pots or urns on hand that you use during the summer months. If not you can purchase relatively inexpensive plastic ones at your local home improvement store or garden center. The pedestal styles look beautiful for this purpose.

How to make an outdoor Christmas urn

As you can see from the picture above, my pots are quite large so a trick I use year round is to fill them two-thirds with gravel and slip an inexpensive plastic pot on top of the gravel so it rests just under the top of the planters. In the summer, it's easy to take the plastic inserts over to my potting bench and fill them with flowers.  During the holidays, I can take them inside where it's warm and cozy and a mug of hot apple cider awaits to decorate them.  

TIP:  In the Fall, I remove the wilted annuals and bring the dirt filled inserts indoors to keep them from freezing. I store them in garbage bags in the basement and bring them out during the holidays.

Using a plastic insert for your outdoor Christmas urns

The first thing you want to do is cover the drainage holes (so you can freeze in the greens). I use plastic saucers that fit tightly over the gravel/dirt inside the urn.

Now let the fun begin...

Materials List (per pot):

  • 1 bundle each per pot (approximately 6 branches) of three different types of greens. The most common are; pine, spruce, fir, cedar, and juniper branches. These are readily available at a cost of anywhere between $5.00 - $8.00 per bundle
  • A handful of tall dogwood or willow branches.  These are also readily available at a cost of between $7.00 - $12.00 per bundle in natural or painted varieties.
    If you're lucky enough to have any of these growing in your yard or a natural green space nearby then grab your gardening shears and head outdoors.
    • 1 set of outdoor electric Lighted Branches.  I've seen them priced between $14.99 - $30.00.  
    • 1 large shatterproof Christmas Ball, Willow Ball, or Pine Cone.
    • 1 pkg of 21" x 30" Mesh Ribbon
    Materials used to make an outdoor Christmas urn


    Step 1
    Position your Lighted Branches.  If your arrangement is against a wall then place it at the back of the insert.  If not, then place it in the center.

    Step 2
    Cut your tall Dogwood or Willow branches so they stand slightly taller than the Lighted Branches. Intersperse them within the lighted branches so the willow branches are illuminated by the lighted branches.

    Tip: Make sure you press your branches deep and firmly into the soil. 

    Step 3
    Working in a triangle, insert the more firm Spruce or Pine branches in the center around the tall branches. If the arrangement is against a wall then avoid placing branches at the very back of the pot.

    Tip:  To avoid rot, clip greens back so only the branch is inserted into the soil.

    Step 4
    Put the Juniper or Fir branches at a slight angle so they are pointing sideways.

    Step 5
    Put the cedar branches on the most outward part of the insert so they hang downwards around the pot.

    Step 6
    Make a simple bow with tails using Mesh Ribbon.  Secure the center of the bow with florist wire, leaving enough on the ends to attach the bow to the lighted branches.

    Step 7
    Attach a large shatterproof Christmas Ball, Willow Ball or Pine Cone onto a bamboo stick with florist wire or a hot glue gun and insert it into your pot.  Repeat this process for any other embellishments.

    Step 8
    The most important part of the process
    Mist the greens with water and then thoroughly water the pots to freeze in the fresh greens.  If the temperature goes above freezing, spray and water the greens daily.

    A DIY outdoor Christmas urn

    There you have it, beautiful evergreen holiday planters to welcome guests during the holidays.

    Pretty outdoor planters flanking the front door during the holidays

    There is something about a house with Christmas Urns flanking a doorstep that sets it apart from the others down the street. 

    Happy Holidays!

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