It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

I know just about everyone says they are surprised by how quickly Christmas comes each year, but this year it really snuck up on me. Especially considering the fact that it’s a few short days away and I don’t feel ready at all.

I may not have all my presents wrapped yet – heck, I just finished shopping today – but I do have one thing in order… Christmas decorations! Let me start off by saying my favorite thing about our decorations this year: I hardly paid for anything. Everything else was either decorations we already had, something that was given to us, or something I made and was therefore cheaper than what the store-bought equivalent would have cost me.

Where to start? The tree of course! This is the second year we’ve gone out to cut down our own tree, and this is the first year it did not go so well. Let’s just say we spent a lot of time walking in circles and not agreeing on a tree. I have a really difficult time making decisions and I was literally a field of hundreds of potential trees. But in the end, we got a tree and everything worked out fine, so my indecisiveness was for no good reason, as usual.

xmas tree

When it comes to choosing lights on the tree, I would really like all white lights one year, but Matt loves the multicolored lights. We compromised and the multicolored have gone on the tree, while the outdoor lights have stayed white. And in addition to the white icicle lights out front, we’ve got another pink feathered friend. We just keep taking in strays.


outdoor lights

flamingo

Inside, things are a little more festive looking. Since I wasn’t planning on buying anything new this year, there’s nothing over the top. You guys should already know Awreatha…

wreath2

And just inside the doorway is probably the most festive part of the house – the frame wall. The frame wall is still probably one of my favorite parts of the house, and I love decorating it whenever I can. On Halloween I covered it in fake cobwebs, spiders and bats and switched a lot of the pictures out for more spooky images. I also filled a tall, skinny vase with some real mini pumpkins.

halloween wall 2012

For Christmas, I decided to tackle the frame wall again. This time I simply wrapped all the frames with wrapping paper I had picked up on clearance last year after the holidays were over.

wrapped wallI also filled the same vase with some ornaments I also picked up last year. Those three wine bottle are also decorations – they’re filled with strings of white Christmas lights. My intention was to also use ribbons and bows on the wrapped frames, but after I was done with the first step, I realized it was pretty festive as is and was just easier to leave it as is.

Over on the bookshelf are a few more other festive touches. I used some of the same ornaments in one of my thrift store bowls and in the frog votive holder. I also draped the garland around the large framed picture. Again, I was planning on trying to make it a little prettier, or something, but in the end I decided it looked fine as is.

big picture garland

I also had some plans to make an advent calendar this year, buuuuut (are you sensing a theme here?) I went with something simpler. I just scribbled something on the chalkboard door and called it a day.

advent door

And finally, something we did this year that I haven’t done in years was to build a gingerbread house. We used one of the kits you can buy, because if we’ve learned anything from this post so far, it’s that we’re doing things the easy way this year.

gingerbread

So, with the Christmas decorations having been up for a while now, you would think I would have all my other Christmas stuff in order, but no. Gotta wait until the last minute!

How about everyone else – do you go minimal or all out when decorating? And are you all squared away for the holidays ahead of time, or do you wait until the last minute like me?

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Awreatha Franklin

Yes, I named my Christmas wreath. Why? Because it’s an awesome name. Moving on.

Pinterest struck once again. And various blogs I follow. And basically everywhere else I looked online. I kept seeing adorable little homemade wreaths and decided it seemed like a simple enough project to tackle. Plus, it’s Christmas and our front door did need something added to it to make it a little more festive.

On a recent trip to Michaels I picked up a wreath… form? frame? I’m not even sure what it’s called, but I got one. I also grabbed a roll of red yarn and a sheet of green felt. Overall, with some coupons, I think all of this was less than $10.

Photo 403

I started off by simply tying the yarn around the wreath form and gluing it into place a little bit so it wouldn’t slide around while I was working.

Then, I just started looping the yarn around the form. And around and around and around. I would suggest watching some TV or a movie while doing this part. I put on Love Actually to help get into the Christmas spirit.

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I stopped every once in a while to adjust the yarn and make sure it was coming out even. It was bunching a little in spots on the inside since there was less surface area to cover, but I like the way it looked so I didn’t fuss too much.

When I got to the end, I secured the yarn by tying it to the end I started with and gluing a little bit again for good measure.

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I really liked the plain red look, but I thought it was a little too plain, so I added some white yarn I found around the house. For this, I just very loosely looped it around the wreath diagonally, and then came back around the other way. I secured these the same way – a little bit of knotting, a little bit of glue.
wreath
After that, I simply cut some holly leaves from the green felt, made some berries from some of the leftover red yarn (I did this by first knotting a piece, then just wrapping the yarn around itself and gluing the back the secure it). I didn’t have a wreath hook and didn’t feel like going out to buy one, so the Awreatha is support by a simple plastic 3M hook and some gift wrap ribbon. It’s not the prettiest solution, but it works.
wreath2

Overall, it’s a very simple wreath. And maybe a little amateur, but I like it. I like her, and that’s why I named her Awreatha Franklin. (Just wanted to say it again.)

And that little stencil is another cute, recent addition to the front door. That wasn’t a DIY in any way, Matt just found the stencil on Etsy and slapped it up in under 5 minutes. Probably the easiest and one of our favorites additions to the house.

Are you guys getting into the holiday spirit yet?! Any other holiday crafts out there?