Spring Fling: My spring entry table.

I just put away the few St. Patrick’s Day decorations I had out, and was inspired by the Spring Fling Link parties going on over the next few weeks to very quickly throw together a springy vignette for my entry table.  Nothing special, and all put together in about 10 minutes with stuff I already had around the house.

It was dark outside by the time I took these pics, so again, I apologize for the poor quality.  When you work during the day, it’s hard to find time to take good pictures during daylight hours.

The birds were a Briar Patch clearance deal a couple of years ago.  I think it was about $8 for the set.  I think they are so cute!

These are Target Dollar Spot eggs, in a bowl that I got in a gift basket many years ago.  The “pedestal” is actually just an electric tart warmer (unplugged, of course).  I think it’s so pretty, and works great to give some height to the bowl of eggs when we aren’t using it as a tart warmer.

I used these same little vases as part of my Valentine’s Day decor last month ($2.50 for the set at Target), but I think they are springy enough to stay for a little longer, especially with the flowers.  The tray is from Dollar Tree.  The little bunnies are a new find at JoAnn Fabrics.  I think it was about $3 for the pair.  I love the medley of pastel colors.

Like I said, this was really quickly thrown together.  I hope to tweak and add to it over the next couple of weeks.

Happy first day of Spring!

The Lettered Cottage

Valentine’s Day around my house.

I already showed you my favorite Valentine’s Day decoration, my super-easy heart doily garland.  I thought I would show you a few of the other decorations I have up around the house.

I usually have this hanging on my door in lieu of a wreath this time of year, but any breeze makes it knock against the door, which either sounds creepy or sounds like someone is actually knocking at the door.  Drives everyone crazy!  So I decided to just hang it up in my kitchen.

Here is what my entry table looks like right now.  Lots of Dollar Tree and Target Dollar Spot items here!

Red rose soap petals and pretty accent towels in the powder room!

Linking up with the Valentine’s Mantel Party over at Home Stories A to Z!

Simplest Valentine’s Day Craft ever!

I have finally pulled out my Valentine’s Day decor.  I don’t have much, but enough to make the house look festive.

Last year around this time, I was looking for a simple craft to do, and came across this idea.  I thought I had found it via the Dollar Store Crafts blog, but when I searched the archive, I couldn’t come up with the article.  If anyone knows the original source, please let me know so I can give proper credit!  It’s insanely simple, cheap, and really cute.

You simply buy heart shaped doilies like these (mine were from Dollar Tree!):

And simply tie them together with some narrow ribbon (I just used curling ribbon) and hang them somewhere in your house.  It’s really that easy!  I seriously love everything about this craft!

I will be back soon to show you more of my Valentine’s Day decor.  But for now…I’m going back to watching the game.  GOOOOOOO PATRIOTS!!!

This post has been shared on The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Valentine’s Week Link Party!

A little more holiday decor.

I thought I would share a few more photos of my home all decked out for the holidays.

We don’t have a fireplace, so we have to get creative with hanging our stockings.

A little “Ho Ho Ho” for the top of the TV (not sure why the walls look SO unbelievably bright yellow in this shot…the actual shade of yellow is much paler  in real life).  This stuff sheds glitter like no one’s business!  But it’s worth the annoyance, because I think it looks so cheery and festive.

I added little touches of Christmas to our wall of shelves.

My favorite part of the wall of shelves is this little Santa boot I got during the after Christmas sales at World Market last year!  Once we put it on the shelf, it just needed SOMETHING, so Tadd filled it with red Target Dollar Spot plastic ornaments.  Cute!

I don’t really go too overboard in the kitchen.  Just some green garland across the top of the back cabinet, a couple of finial-style tree toppers, and my little star-shaped wreaths on my dual pantries.  The plate in the plate holder on the right is a brand new purchase.  Found it randomly at Walgreens for $1 this past Saturday.  It goes with the red bird/cardinal holiday theme I am starting to see take shape in my recent purchases.  Ignore all the crap on the counters…I was getting ready to host a Christmas party when this pic was taken.

A closer look at my new $1 plate.  Cute for only a buck, huh?

Moving onto the foyer & dining room.  My little foyer shelf is always decked out for every season.  This year I used my trusty apothecary jar, filled with cheap ornaments.  The snowflake topiaries are from Hobby Lobby (50% off!).  The silver tray and candy dish are from Dollar Tree.  More cheapie ornaments on the tray, and a frosted cranberry candle, which was a gift from a friend.

The dining room is home to my new second tree!  The table is dressed simply with my snowflake table runner, my homemade Dollar Tree hurricanes, and some smaller Dollar Tree tealight holders, along with my regular year-round green & brown centerpiece.  Yes, I would say that almost half of my seasonal decor comes from my beloved Dollar Tree!  I think since my dining room is already green, a little bit of red goes a long way to make it look festive for Christmas.

And a few more shots of my trees, since they make me happy…

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of my home.  Happy Holidays!

A tale of two Christmas Trees!

My whole adult  life, I have always wanted two Christmas trees.  One for my sentimental hodge-podge of ornaments that I will ALWAYS want to display year after year, and a second tree just to look pretty, possibly with some kind of overriding theme.  But I never had two Christmas trees, nor did I have the space for two Christmas trees until we moved into this house.  I found a 6.5 ft white pre-lit tree for $19 during the after-Christmas sales last year, and I decided to make my little dream come true.

So this is the first year for me having two trees.  I will be honest, that my new decorative tree is sparse, and I don’t even have a tree skirt yet!  I have been picking up ornaments here and there over the past few weeks, but don’t really want to spend too much right now.  This tree is in my dining room, where I have a brown/green/tan/white very natural scheme already, so I decided that this tree will have somewhat of a natural/woodland theme.  I was thinking pinecones, woods, birds, little woodland creatures, etc.

Without further ado, this is my traditional/sentimental hodgepodge tree, which is in our main living area:

And a few of my favorite ornaments…

And here is our new white tree in our formal dining room (note the ornament on the floor at the bottom left…darn cats!):

My lovely mother-in-law purchased these cardinal ornaments for me while she was in town last month.  So beautiful!

I also bought these cardinals at Dollar Tree (two for $1!).  The red wooden bead garland was a Garden Ridge find.

I love these little sign ornaments from Target!  I bought three for this tree, and I love how simple and slightly vintage they look on my tree.  The other two say “Peace” and “Ho Ho Ho” and each design is slightly different, but in the same style.  You can also see the pine cone glass ornaments I picked up at Hobby Lobby early in the season.

Linking this post up with Thrifty Decor Chick’s Holiday Home Christmas Tree Link Party!  I love seeing everyone’s trees!

A fall/Halloween non-mantel!

I am very excited to participate in the It’s Fall Y’all link party series hosted by some of my favorite DIY bloggers!

Today we get the party started with a Fall Mantel party  hosted by Layla over at The Lettered Cottage.  However, I must confess that I very regretfully do not have a mantel.  I live in the sub-tropics and very few of the newer homes down here come with fireplaces.  So sad!  Although we may not need fireplaces for practical purposes, I feel like I really miss out on the architectural interest and charm it would bring to my home.  I make do by treating my small foyer table in almost the same manner, so that is what I am going to show you.

Now, it may not be the most stylish or interesting or creative arrangement, but this vignette is truly filled with some of my favorite items.

The apothecary jar is something I bought at Homegoods back when we first knew we were buying our house.  I think it was one of my very first home decor purchases with the new house in mind.  Most of the year it is filled with artificial lemons, but during the fall, I fill it with some pretty Dollar Tree leaves.

I’m pretty sure the smiling-pumpkin-on-a-pedestal is my favorite singular Halloween decoration I own.  I found it randomly last year at Hobby Lobby and couldn’t leave it behind.  Not sure why I am so drawn to it, but I am.  I think it’s fun and whimsical.

The other touch of fun and whimsy in this vignette are my Boney Bunch pieces!  I love, love, love my Boney Bunch candy dish.  It’s my favorite of all the pieces in my collection.  You can also see my spider tealight holder next to the apothecary jar.

Below all of the items are two felt leaves that I’m sure many of you have seen at Dollar Tree.  I also have red and green felt ornaments that I use in a similar way at Christmas time.  And of course, I added some real baby pumpkins to add a touch of natural to the vignette.  Who doesn’t love pumpkins?

And there you have it!  My fall non-mantel!

The Lettered Cottage
Also linked up to:

A spoooooooooooky Halloween craft!

As I mentioned yesterday, I finished my little Halloween craft and I am really happy with how it turned out.  As a matter of fact, I am thinking about making another one so I can have a set!

I started with this little wooden tray I found at Dollar Tree.

Which I spray painted with a few coats of black.

At Hobby Lobby, I picked up a little wooden sign with sparkly letters that said “SPOOKY” (they also had “CREEPY”, which I may use next!) and some spider web scrapbook paper.  I already had spider web ribbon and purple ribbon that I knew I could use.   I think if I were buying ribbon just for this project, I would have picked green or orange instead of purple as the accent ribbon, because it does blend in with the black a little bit.  But I wanted to use what I had.

I cut the scrapbook paper to size so that it fit inside the tray.

You can use spray adhesive or whatever you want to glue the scrapbook paper onto the tray.  My can of spray adhesive was dead, so I used a small amount of hot glue.  Probably not the best thing to use on paper, but it’s what I had, and it worked.

I then took the “SPOOKY” wooden letters and used my glue gun to affix them to the inside bottom ledge of the tray.  Then I took the wider purple ribbon and glued one end of it, starting on the outside edge of the tray, underneath the “SPOOKY” letters, pulled it tight all the way around the outside of the tray, and glued the other end on top of where I started.  I followed this up by doing the same with the spider web ribbon, on top of the purple ribbon, only I used a small bead of glue all the way around.  I just drew a straight line with  my glue gun down the middle of the purple ribbon, and then very carefully pressed the spider web ribbon down over the glue, making sure to keep it centered on the purple ribbon.

In the end, it looked like this all around the outside of the tray:

I then took another small length of the spider web ribbon, and used a regular stapler to staple it into the back of each side of the top of the tray, so I could hang it from a hook or a nail in the wall.

I remembered I had a bunch of bright colored plastic insects that I bought last Halloween.  So when Tadd got out my boxes of fall and Halloween decor yesterday, I was thrilled when I saw the plastic baggie full of bright orange spiders and green centipedes (and purple cockroaches…to be honest, those kind of freak me out!).  I hot glued a couple of them onto my sign for one last creepy touch and my project was complete!

I’m hoping I can make it back to both Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree in time to get another tray and the “CREEPY” letters so I can make a second one

I had so much fun turning this boring little $1 wooden tray…

Into this fun, festive little sign!

Anyone else doing anything to get in the mood for fall and/or Halloween yet?  Or is it just me?

I am linking this up with Thrifty Decor Chick’s September Before & After Party!

Also linked to The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday link party!

A little Vermont loveliness for your Thursday.

I think this is my favorite pic from my trip.  The wedding we attended in Vermont was at a ski resort called Stratton Mountain.   The wedding wasn’t until late afternoon, so Saturday morning, my parents, brother, and some friends took the gondola to the top of the mountain just for the heck of it.  Gorgeous scenery!

Below is another view of the same mountain from the bottom looking up (taken from our hotel parking lot).

Lovely place!  I have little interest in skiing, and probably wouldn’t have many other reasons to go to Vermont, so I’m glad I got the opportunity to check it out a little bit during this very short trip.

Unfortunately most of my pictures from the trip didn’t turn out too well.  We had the camera on a different setting to take pics of the kitties in the house and unfortunately, I left it on that setting all through my trip, so my pics are very washed out and not very attractive.  I am doing what I can to salvage the pics that aren’t too bad so I can share soon.  My dad has a bunch of good ones too that I’m hoping he will share.

In other news, life is returning to normal post-trip, which means BUSY!  So far we have managed to avoid spending money on 15 out of 25 days in August in an effort to meet our goal for our No Spend August.  I was hoping for a larger number this late in the month, but it hasn’t been easy.  Things pop up and life gets boring…  But I think we can still make our goal of 18 days in the month without spending money.  And I have REALLY noticed a difference in our budget.  We have loads more wiggle room than we usually do in the entertainment and “day-to-day stuff” areas of our budget.

I will shamelessly admit I caved and spent $20 at Dollar Tree last night.  Bought a bunch of random fall decor, plus some plastic bins to organize our master bedroom linen closet.  Plus I bought this little flimsy wooden tray with a few ideas in my head of what could be done with it…:

I have already spray painted it with 2 coats of black.  Might need one more coat before I start turning it into something fun for Halloween!

Anyways, hope your week is going well.  I cannot wait until it is weekend time!  We have a lot of fun stuff planned and I can’t wait to see my friends.  With our self-imposed austerity and my travel, we haven’t seen some of our friends in weeks (or months in some cases).  I have missed them!

An Update on this “No Spend” thing.

So I am officially 1 week into my No Spend August challenge.  We are doing quite well, as we have only spent money 2 days so far in August.

We had made prior plans for a friend’s birthday celebration already and knew we would be spending on Saturday, so Tadd also went ahead and got his haircut and we gassed up the car on Saturday.  Then we went down to a new place in downtown Orlando called Frank & Steins.  As the name suggests, they specialize in hot dogs and beer, and the whole place has a sort of sports bar feel, with board games and video games (even skiball) to play while you are eating and drinking.  Being that I am not a huge fan of hot dogs, I had a pretzel with queso and started out with a La Fin Du Monde…one of my all time favorite beers!  I was delighted to see it on the menu, as not too many bars carry it around here.  After that I switched to a witbier that I had never tried before called Blanch de Bruxelles.  Loved it!

So we got ALL of our spending done within the confines of Saturday.  The rest of the weekend, we did not spend a DIME.  I also overcame a huge temptation Saturday morning.  Confession: I really like the Boney Bunch at Yankee Candle.  In case you don’t already know, Boney Bunch is a line of really cute and extremely popular Halloween decorations and candle holders that Yankee has put out every year for the past few years.  They have the big preview event the first weekend in August, which means this year it fell on this past Saturday, and many of the more popular items sell out really really quickly.  Before we had implemented the challenge, I had told Tadd that I would definitely be going to the Boney Bunch preview event and purchasing ONE item.  BUT, I did the same thing last year (promised Tadd and myself that I would only buy ONE item) and ended up with all of this:

They always end up having a lot of those “Spend $XX, get this free!” and “Spend $XX, get this super-fun extra thing for only $10 more!” deals, which I end up getting suckered into.  Because instead of just getting one item for $20, I ended up with all of this for $60-something!  But seriously, aren’t they adorable!?!  Just look at that salt & pepper shaker set!  So cute!  I could not resist…

I was quite excited about this event, but in the end I decided that succeeding in this challenge meant sacrificing stuff like this.  So I did the right thing and decided to stay home.  I already have Boney Bunch stuff from the past 2 years to decorate my house with, so I will be good.

I also heard that Dollar Tree put out their fall and Halloween stuff and that is KILLING me!  I so want to go check it out, but I won’t.  It doesn’t help that a bunch of my downtime this weekend was spent perusing blogs for fall decorating tips and craft ideas.  This challenge is NO FUN, I tell you!  I am going to be going NUTS with fall decor shopping on Sept 1st, no question.

I did come up with some no-spend projects that I want to get done around the house.  Hopefully we can work on some of it next weekend.  The main one I am looking forward to is moving the desk that is currently sitting in our loft collecting dust (because we never use our loft), into our living room.  I want to set up a laptop station for myself so I can blog at a proper desk, but still be in the middle of all the action in the house.  We are going to move it to that huge empty space that has been bugging me in our living room since we moved in.  This is one of those things that I’m really not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner.  But I can’t wait!  Hopefully it ends up the way I picture it in my head.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Before & After: Entry table transition.

Monday is DONE!  Yay!  Onto the rest of the work week.  Let’s hope it passes quickly!

Just thought I would do a quick little post to show you how I redecorated the entry table to transition from 4th of July decor to a more generic summer look.

This is how the entry table looked a few days ago, still dressed up for the 4th:

When we went to Ikea a couple weeks ago, one of the items I picked up was a tall skinny lamp for this table.  I think it was $6 or $7.  Added a $10 lampshade from Target for a clean, simple look.  Kept my favorite kitty sculptures and jar of lemons, and added some more silk flowers and a wedding pic of me and Tadd (printed on regular printer paper!) in a pretty glass frame.   The two little pots of silk daisies are from Dollar Tree!  I love how colorful and fun they are.  The bud vase behind them with another silk daisy was actually a leftover bridal shower favor from my own bridal shower over 7 years ago!  I still love it and bring it out every so often.

And there you have it!

I am linking this post up with Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After Party!