Transitioning from Christmas Decor to Winter

I am probably the only person who will say this, but I miss my farmhouse Christmas decorations that I shared with you here. As January rolls around and we wind down from Christmas and New Years, our home looks so bare after we pack away the Christmas decor. This year I decided I wanted to keep some semblance of winter and the outdoors.

I tried to repurpose things for the sake of my budget, but I did add something new to our winter decor. Neutrals accessories are a great way to celebrate winter. Personalized pillows are great because you can use them year round. I decided to make this personalized pillow to celebrate my sweet marriage. We will be married exactly 23 1/2 years on Valentine’s Day! You can make one easily with materials for a pillow, a vinyl cutter like a Silhouette Cameo. You can also order one like this or request a custom design here.

pillow couple date watermarked

There’s nothing wrong with repurposing, so that’s what i did with my garlands, pinecones, and snowflakes from my Christmas decor.

Moving snowflakes from the tree to our china cabinet was easy. I simply tied them from some twine. I used a couple of the grapevine wreaths but removed the holly, berries and ribbon.

winter china cabinet decor

Making a snowflake garland took me less than ten minutes by simply stringing plastic snowflakes and crocheted snowflakes onto some jute twine.

winter snowflake garland mantle

Filling boxes and vases with the doorway and archway garlands was just as simple as moving them from one spot to the next. I added pinecones or dead branches to the centerpieces.

winter tablescape

winter entry foyer decor 2

winter centerpiece

I reluctantly put away my porch Christmas trees and filled our galvanized buckets with pinecones and kindling from the yard. I added some cute personalized decals. I decided I wanted to welcome my guests as well as honor our family with each of the decals.

winter buckets and decals

Investing in a grapevine wreath is one way to make decorating easier on you. I have a neutral bow at the top with a wooden initial hanging on mine. I add different seasonal items to it by winding them through the vine or attaching with floral wire, and then I change them out with the seasons. For winter, I added some dried boxwood and snowflake ornaments.

winter porch decor

I utilized the other side of the “Our Savior’s Birth” sign and created a “Let it Snow” design. I made this with my vinyl cutter as well. I’ve really enjoyed having my Silhouette Cameo, but more importantly I have been truly blessed by the way God is using our family’s small business. He has allowed me to help people gift so many custom and personalized gifts to their loved ones for all sorts of reasons and occasions. Their stories are so touching! He’s also developed our talents and gifts in ways that enable us to take clients’ ideas and create all sorts of custom treasures for them and their loved ones! This sign is definitely one of my favorites, but I sure would like to see some of God’s real snowflakes, too!

winter let it snow sign

It may not be snowing here, but we do get our share of cold weather. Curling up on the couch with my blanket and a cup of coffee or cocoa is one of my favorite winter pastimes. I didn’t have to think twice about leaving our cocoa and coffee bar out. It’s been a huge hit for our family and our guests this year.

winter cocoa bar decor

I added little touches of snowflake ornaments and confetti on our bar accessories, too.

winter utensil holder

I actually left the lighted garland on our screened back porch and also left the tabletop Christmas tree, but removed the bow and ornaments leaving it looking more like a simple plant on our table.

I know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but I think I’ll leave my snowflake and nature decor out and simply add some hearts and love scriptures throughout our home. These snowflake decorations may be the only snowflakes we see this year in SC. I think I’ll keep them up until spring!

Names of Jesus Ornaments with Christmas Devotions

christmas-ornaments-watermarkedIn years past we’ve used a Jesse Tree and devotions during the Christmas season.  A few years ago I was pinning some of my favorite Christmas crafts I came across a picture of some beautifully crafted glass ornaments with the names of Jesus on them.  I repinned the post and read later (like most of us do when we are short on time).  I really liked this idea, because I ADORE anything that reminds me of all of the names of my precious Jesus.  I also liked the idea that each of my children could make their own set of ornaments to celebrate the advent season.  Not only could they use them to decorate their own trees in their rooms, but they could also keep them over the years and share them with their children.

I began researching and found an awesome Names of Jesus unit study here from the Easy Fun School website.  It teaches 24 names of Jesus, scripture, handwriting pages, word searches, and activities for each subject which are tied to the lesson.  The study actually includes a list of all of the names of Jesus so you can study even more. We did this study and made these ornaments years ago, but my children still use these today and they plan to use their ornaments in their own home some day.

To create our Names of Jesus ornaments and Bible study, I went to my craft closet and gathered all of my supply bins.  I purchased sets of fillable glass ornaments for each child (and one for myself).  I would get extra in case some break.  You can also purchase acrylic ornaments, but they are more costly.

You could utilize paint pens in black, gold and silver to write the names of Jesus and the scripture reference on the outside of the ornaments or you could purchase vinyl decals here.

There are lots of options for decorating the ornaments:

  1. You could pour a small amount of paint into the inside of the ornament, cover the whole and shake. You can also swirl a few colors into the ornaments to give them a marbelized effect. Then be sure to turn the ornament upside down and put it into a bathroom sized paper or plastic cup to drain for a day or two.
  2. I love the look of glittered ornaments, but glitter on the outside is extremely messy. Polycrylic is a clean and beautiful way to glitter ornaments. Simply pour a little polycrylic into the ornament and immediately turn the ornament upside down into a cup to drain out the excess. Then sprinkle a little of your favorite color glitter into the ornament and slowly turn the ornament around in your hands to coat the entire inside with glitter. Add more if needed. Then turn the ornament upside down into another cup to allow the excess glitter to sprinkle out. Then you can immediately put your top back into your ornament. You can pour your excess glitter and polycrylic from your cups back into their respective containers. e of the ornaments, squirt small amounts of paint inside and shake.  You can swirl more than one color inside as well.
  3. Fill ornaments with trinkets that pertain to the scripture reference. For example, for “Bright and Morning Star” we filled our ornament with star confetti. We didn’t completely fill our ornaments with trinkets as sometimes that makes the label on the outside difficult to read. You can also see the trinkets better as well.

You can easily fill ornaments with sweet trinkets. However, I found that it could be quite pricey to fill them completely so I only fill ours half way to be thrify. It also makes it easier to see the trinkets when there is still room inside the ornament. Be creative with your trinkets. If you need some inspiration, here are some ideas:

1. Alpha & Omega–fill with cutouts of the Alpha & Omega symbol.
2. Wonderful Counselor–fill with paint or glitter or beads or filler.
3. Mighty God–fill with cutouts of barbels or gold ball filler or beads.
4. Everlasting Father–fill with artificial pine needles or paint green for evergreens.
5. Prince of Peace–fill with dove confetti or cutouts of doves or crowns or artificial snow filler.
6. The Firstborn of Every Creature– Fill ornament with birthday candles or birthday confetti.
7. The Unspeakable Gift–we made cutouts of gifts using small construction paper or gift-shaped confetti or little bows.
8. Lamb of God–fill with cotton or fiberfill.
9. The Good Shepherd-fill with cutouts of shepherd staffs or mini candy canes.
10. Bright & Morning Star-fill with star-shaped sequins.
11. Messiah–glitter or paint.
12. Immanuel–another filled with paint, glitter, sequins, or beads.
13. Holy–glitter or paint.
14. Light of the World–mini light ornaments or mini light bulbs (just be sure they will fit in the hole of the ornament).

15. Dayspring–glitter or gold, pink, orange paint to represent the colors of a sunrise.
16. The Word–In small font, I printed John 1:1 on paper, cut out multiple, curl, and put inside ornament or Bible confetti.
17. Servant–I printed a small picture of Jesus washing the disciples feet and put inside ornament or paint/glitter.
18. King–Fill with gems or crowns.
19. Rose of Sharon–Fill with real or silk rose petals.
20. Lily of the Valley–Fill with silk lily petals, paint or glitter.
21. Friend–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.
22. Savior–Fill with cutout crosses or cross shaped beads
23. Shiloh–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.
24. Ancient of Days–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.

When your ornaments are all dry you can store them in their box or put them in a bowl, etc.  You can begin utilizing them in whatever fashion works for your family.  We started on December 1st and will follow the study daily for 24 days as a family during our night time devotions, but this is a unit study so you could actually use it during your homeschool day.  During our devotions, we study the name and verse.  We have chosen activities from each day to do together as a family.  Then we close in prayer and each of us puts our ornament of the day on the tree.  Sometimes we put them on the tree. Other years we put them in a crystal bowl or wooden box on our table so we can reflect on the names each time we pass through or sit down to eat in the heart of our home.

If you need simplicity this Christmas season, you can purchase a set of 12 Names of Jesus ornaments here. They come with printed scripture reference and prayer focus. I pray your family is able to utilize this and other ways to enjoy celebrating Jesus throughout the Christmas season.

Frugal DIY – Screened Porch Makeover

Several years ago, my sweet husband built a screened porch on the back of our home. From this peaceful porch, I enjoy the songs of birds, the laughter of my children, the rippling of our pond and fountain, peace and tranquility.
DSCN2789

Unfortunately, it became a catchall for yard shoes, pool toys, gardening tools, and pet stuff. Turning it into a comfortable outdoor room was on my to-do list for the future when it fit into the budget. In fact, it’s still on my wish list for the future.DSCN2787It just isn’t in my budget to makeover my porch. However, with a little creativity and frugality, I was able to spruce it up a bit recently. Here are some of the simple and frugal things I did:

I found some old throw pillows and added them to a few of our corner chairs to make them more comfortable.Porch makeover 4

We had an area rug we weren’t using, so I utilized it under our patio table and chairs. It’s a little small, but it works.Porch Makeover 3

We save jars so I have a nice collection for crafting. I made some lanterns utilizing the jars and LED tea lights.Porch makeover jar lanterns

I made a cute chalkboard and sconces with more jars.

Porch Makeover Finished Cabinet

The biggest dilemma was was the shoe rack–it was such an eye sore. I knew I needed to get rid of it. I searched our home for a cabinet or a piece of furniture that we could use to store the shoes. We really didn’t have what I wanted–all I could find were a few old bookshelves. A low buffet style cabinet would have been the perfect fit, so I headed out to Goodwill to see if I could find one. There were no treasures for me that day.

Disappointed, I went back home to the pile of shoes and the shoe rack in the backyard. I really dreaded putting them back in the porch. Then I settled for one of the bookshelves.

With help from my sweet husband, the bookshelf was primed, repainted. Porch Makeover Shelf

Doors and hardware were added along with some distressing, and now we have an adorable little cabinet for shoes and outdoor games.porch cabinet makeover

Sprucing up my favorite place, cost just around $30. Sometimes we just don’t have the resources to bring our ideas to fruition completely, but that’s okay. My porch is lovely. It makes me smile and provides a peaceful atmosphere for me and my family. It’s might not look quite like my dreams, but it is a step in the right direction! Now to enjoy my hummingbirds (please excuse the screen in the picture)… 

porch makeover bird

DIY Boxwood Wreath

God’s creation is so beautiful, and what better way to decorate your home than His masterpieces? I enjoy using fresh flowers and greenery from my yard to decorate, not only because they are beautiful but also because it is inexpensive.

For a long time, I contemplated making my own boxwood wreath but I was a little intimidated. I decided to give it a try this weekend, and I’m so very glad I did. It was one of the easiest and cheapest wreaths I’ve every made, but looks expensive and classic.

To make your own DIY Boxwood wreath, you’ll need:

1 grapevine wreath

boxwood branches

ribbon

wooden letter for monogram

pruning shears

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of wreaths hanging up in my garage. So, I removed the silk flowers from one of the grapevine wreaths I already had. I pruned several branches from the shrubs. Then I decided what direction I wanted all of the branches to lay on the wreath. You want all of the branches to look like they are growing in the same direction. The next step is super simple. I inserted the bottom of the branches into the grapevine wreath working my way all the way around the outer edge of the wreath, then working my way all the way around again until the entire grapevine wreath is covered with boxwood.

Next, I made a bow and attached it to the top center of the wreath. The wooden letter was painted black, but I felt it needed a lighter color to make it stand out. So I painted the wooden letter ivory. Then I used a sanding block to distress the edges of the letter.  Next I attached the letter to the wreath with the streamers from the bow at the top of the wreath.

DIY boxwood wreath www.ruckusandrubies.com

That’s all there is to it! I couldn’t believe how it turned out. It’s a lovely and welcoming addition to our front door.

DIY #boxwood wreath www.ruckus

You may want to use your shears to trim branches on the wreath and make them look more even, but I prefer mine to look more natural so I did not trim it much. To keep the branches fresh, simply spritz them with a little water every couple of days. I hope you enjoy creating the easiest wreath you’ll ever make–this DIY Boxwood wreath!

One Essential Craft Tool – Endless Possibilities

 

Crafting reaps so very many benefits; it’s fun and therapeutic. The most important reason I craft is because I’m frugral (cheap!). You’d be surprised just how much money I can save by making things myself instead of purchasing them.

Even though God created all of us with imagination and abilities, I have to admit I’m no Martha Stewart. There is a limit to my creativity; sometimes I run out of ideas.  Pinterest is a wonderful resource for gaining inspiration. As of this moment, I have thousands and thousands of pins for craft ideas.

My abilities are also limited. No matter what I do, sometimes my craft projects are crooked, off center, and downright sloppy. I can’t cut straight. I have broken more than one sewing machine. I just don’t have an abundance of artistic ability.

My heart is in it–I ADORE making things. I just feel inadequate with limited ability, resources, storage space, money for supplies.

This Christmas, my precious son and my sweet husband surprised me with a Silhouette CAMEO. In my spare time, which is also limited, I’ve been learning how to use it. There are multitudes of tutorials online which has been very helpful. I’ve made some great projects so far; it’s been one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

There are endless possibilities with the Silhouette Cameo:

  • Words mean so much to me; I cherish lyrics to songs, Bible verses, inspirational quotes. No longer do I have to try to paint or write words free-handed. The Silhouette takes care of all of that for me:

sign

  • Instead of going out and purchasing holiday decorations, you can always make your own with the Silhouette. It cuts vinyl as well as paper and fabric so you can make just about any decoration your heart desires. Silhouette America has tons of inexpensive graphics. When you purchase a Silhouette Cameo it comes with free downloads, and if you get a bundle you usually get downloads with multiple items in the bundle. The graphic used in the plate below is from the Silhouette Store:

Valentine Plate

  • Not only can you make vinyl letters to go on anything imaginable, you can also use your Silhouette to make diecut pieces for scrapbooking, greeting cards, tags, and more:

gift-tags-1049334_1920

  • You can also use your Silhouette to draw pictures simply by replacing the cutting blade in the machine with Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit.
  • Monogramming is a Southern Belle thing, and something I have always loved. You can monogram walls, mailboxes, notebooks, stemware, mugs, anything your little heart desires:

monogram

pantry

  • My family loves graphic t-shirts. With Heat Transfer Vinyl you can design and make your own t-shirts like these:

tshirt

  • Since the Silhouette is multifunctional, I don’t have to have near the storage space for a ton of different craft tools. I am just getting started so I will need more vinyl storage eventually. For right now, this is my silhouette crafting space:

silhouette storage

I hate to point out my mistakes, but the inspiration box holding my vinyl was one of my first projects. The crooked lettering was completely my fault and part of my learning curve. I’ve gotten much better at it!

If you are thinking of purchasing a Silhouette Cameo, I would go with a bundle option. They are much more economical and you get all of the supplies you need to get started. This is one similar to the one I was gifted and I think my son and husband made an excellent choice, but this particular one comes with more than mine like glitter pens and two blades: Silhouette CAMEO Starter Bundle with Vinyl Kit.

I am enjoying the ability to personalize gifts for friends and family and decorating my home. It’s inspired me to pray about opening my own Etsy craft shop too! This is one amazing craft tool that delivers endless possibilities!

Fall Decorating on a Budget

fall decorating on a budget

Vivid colors, the rich, spicy scents, and pumpkin flavored everything… Fall is my very favorite season.  Decorating is one of my treasured pastimes all year round.  Unfortunately, I am on an extremely tight budget this fall.  We’ve just had so many circumstances lately that are squeezing our budget dry.  I was a little bummed about it and really wasn’t even in the decorating mood.  I put it off and then reluctantly asked my sweet husband to get the decorations from the attic.  I started going through the boxes, seeing the lovely colors, and dreaming about the romantic and lovely aspects of fall.  I decided to make the best of it and see what I could do with what I have.

One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to decorate on a budget is to use the foods of the season.  Most of us have glass bowls or dishes collecting dust in our cabinets. Displaying some shiny, red apples or other fall fruits on your counter is a beautiful way to decorate for fall.  The pops of color through the shiny glass add to the charm of your home, and I find it also reminds my kiddos to grab some fruit for snack time.

fall apples

It’s always a lovely idea to incorporate God’s creation by bringing the outdoord into your home.  I purchased a distressed wooden box from Hobby Lobby.  I painted some special and meaningful words on the outside.  It’s my go to decor for pretty much any season.  I just change the contents to items related to the season or holiday.  I had some old orange, yellow, and eggplant colored silk flowers, so I arranged them in the box with some burlap.  You could use real or silk flowers.  You could use real flowers from your yard, pinecones, etc.

fall box 2

Discount stores like Dollar Tree are great because they carry things like silk flowers and wired ribbon.  This fall printed wire ribbon adds a lovely touch to my dining room chairs.

fall bow

I couldn’t think of a tablescape for the dining room.  I usually struggle with the dining room trying to find a balance between casual and formal.  I like it to be big and bold, but sometimes less really is more and in this case that worked to my advantage.  I had a burlap runner and  silk fall garland, which I decided to use it to drape down the center of the table.  My sweet son and I searched the backyard for pinecones.  Magnolia leaves are beautiful all year long, so I gathered groups of leaves and filled in around the garland.   You could make your own all garland by stringing leaves and other natural items together.fall tablescape 2

fall tablescape

I already had some old rings of silk flowers most people use around hurricanes.  I decided to simply put them around my two wall candle sconces on either side of our window.

fall candle sconce

For decorating the outdoor of our home, I simply used the same fall garland I’ve had for years.  I also revamped an old grapevine wreath by adding silk flowers from the dollar store.

fall porch Fall Porch fall decorating on a budget www.ruckusandrubies.com

I have an old wooden crate that I use for all sorts of things.  I just turned it over and arranged some old artificial pumpkins.  You could use real pumpkins.  I’d prefer real, but I used artificial in keeping with our budget.

fall pumpkins 2

I kept my summer flowers on display as well.  I think they pair nicely with the fall colors. This also keeps my decorating costs low.

You don’t have to always use items for their intended purpose.  Get creative, be frugal, re-purpose, and decorate your lovely home for fall on a budget!

It’s Fall Y’all–Time to Decorate

Well, I finally finished decorating for one of my very favorite seasons: FALL!  In a previous post I shared with you some ideas I pinned from some awesome sites and Pinterest.  Now I’ll share with you some of my ideas or variations of other ideas:

Curb Appeal:

I absolutely LOVE garland!  Garland can range anywhere from $1 up to $100+.  I usually purchase garland from the dollar store for smaller projects as it tends to be sparse and short.  I usually pay a little more to get longer garland for my front door.  I believe I paid less than $10 for this garland a few years ago.  It is very simple with just leaves on it, but it is long enough to frame the door nicely.  I didn’t spring for the fuller, more detailed garland with berries, etc., because from the road you cannot see those types of details.  This is fine for the front door.  Be sure to store it properly when not in use, and it will last a long time.  I purchased the grapevine wreath a few years ago as well.  The elements and weather will fade and dirty the decorations on the wreath, so I usually go to the dollar store or craft store to pick up a few replacement pieces.

It wasn’t in our budget to purchase large pumpkins this year, so we decided on smaller ones.  As you can see, we painted one ivory and added our monogram.  We painted the other two with “autumn blessings” and decorated one with painted polka dots and the other with a few stripes made of black buttons.  Since the pumpkins are on the smaller side, I decided to elevate them by using our outdoor planter table.  Between the stacked pumpkins are a few candle rings made with silk leaves, which I purchased last year at the dollar store.

I have had this crate for years.  I can’t remember where or when I purchased it, but it is very versatile.  I’ve used it to hold books, to carry covered dishes to church dinners, and I usually use it in my fall decor.  I added a little southern charm with a plaque wired to the outside of the crate that originally came from an old wreath.

I purchased mums for less than a dollar and added them to my potted plant.  I purchased gourds and corn for a few dollars as well, and used them to decorate the table and crate.

Now for the inside:

I used a candle, dried red beans, split peas and corn to fill my hurricane and added this old garland.  I twisted it around the hurricane and in a few other places and then filled in with smaller scented votives and a few mini pumpkins.  This is a Martha Stewart tablecloth I purchased a few years ago.  It works well for Fall or Christmas.  I was going to make a table runner from burlap, but decided to fold the tablecloth and use it as a runner.

Filling up the china cabinet with fall colored plates, gourds, and a basket of fall flowers was simple and elegant!

 

I love to dress up my dining room chairs with wired ribbon.  I purchased this ribbon from the dollar store.  I store it carefully and it lasts a few years!

Then on our kitchen bar, I put my own spin on an idea I saw on Pinterest.  Instead of buying mason jars or votive holders, I utilized my collection of empty candle jars.  Choosing various sizes and shapes, I arranged them on the bar.  I filled them with some acorn and pumpkin shaped marbles I got from the dollar store.  Then dropped in an LED everlasting tealight .  Then I added leaves cut from a dollar store garland.  I painted letters to spell “THANKS” on the jars. I can easily remove the paint so I can reuse the jars for other projects.

I threw in some small fall pumpkins, candles and other decorations here and there:

 

As you can see, there are many ways to decorate your home for fall by re-purposing and reusing old objects.  This will save you time and money in the long run.  I hope you enjoy decorating your home for fall and that your season is full of God’s blessings!

Mandy