Christmas, Holiday, Home Improvement, Paint

A mini fireplace renovation and Christmas decor

I love the winter holiday season and all of the decorating that comes with it. I was extra excited to decorate our mantel this year because I just completed a mini fireplace reno.

Do you remember this gem of a fireplace that we started with when we moved in?

Before fireplace

This is how we changed our fireplace after we did our family room reno.

fireplace

The difference in the brightness alone is nuts! But something was still missing. The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors. New doors are so expensive, so I decided to DIY the doors and the inside of the fireplace to complete the three-years-long reno.

Brass doors

To start, I removed the doors and cleaned out the fireplace. Then, I painted the inside of the fireplace black with heat-resistant paint.

Fireplace unpainted

I did two coats of paint on the inside to cover up the soot, and it turned out really nice! I actually contemplated not adding the doors back on, but Brian said he prefered doors to an open fireplace.

Fireplace Brick

Once that was dry, I started to work on the doors. At first, I sprayed the doors with heat-resistant black spray paint. I taped the glass, but didn’t cover all of the panes with newspaper. (Word to the wise — cover the glass! I had to later scrape off paint. Oops.)

Spray painted

The spray paint didn’t hold up so great, so I ended up painting the doors with the same paint I used for the inside of the fireplace. Once that dried, I was able to rehang the doors.

Ready for the big (small?) reveal?

TA DA! Oh, and Christmas decorations 🙂

fireplace3

Do you love the black doors? It’s taken me a while — I actually hated them at first — but I really like them. I’ll admit that I wish they were new and fancy and not spray painted, but considering we don’t use the fireplace and the doors are rarely opened, this little DIY will work just great for us. Buh-bye brass!

The only downside to the painted doors is the paint does scratch off if nicked in the right way. Other than that, I’m really happy with the new look. I don’t miss the old, dated color at all.

OK, enough reno talk. Check out my Christmas decor! I absolutely love my Christmas mantel.

fireplaceremmy

As you can see, Remmy loves it, too. Really, he just loves to sniff his stocking to see if there’s anything in it yet. Sometimes he cries because he can’t get it down. I think it is hilarious — does that make me a mean doggie mom?

santas

On my mantel I have my collection of Jim Shore Santas. We got one as a wedding gift, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. I can’t wait to see which new Santas I get this year as gifts.

Christmas is the one time of year we do seasonal decorating, so we take it pretty seriously. We have one real Christmas tree, a small fake tree I decorate with flamingo ornaments, a decorated mantel, a decorated TV shelf and a decorate console table. We even decorate by our bar. And, of course, we do lights outside.

How do you all decorate for Christmas? If you have a blog, I’d love to see what you’ve been up to this holiday season. And if you don’t have a blog, no worries… the rest of my house (outside of these photos) is messed up with wrapping paper shreds and stuff I had to move out of the picture frame. It isn’t quite as perfect as it may appear 🙂

Speaking of perfect, I have not been on the ball this year with holiday cards and gifts. I am looking to get holiday cards a.s.a.p. and I found the most adorable cards on Shutterfly that are in the cutest shapes (i.e. not just rectangles). Some have scalloped edges, some have rounded corners and some look like quatrefoils. They are such a fun twist on normal cards — now I just need a cute photo of me, B and Rem!

I also need to get a kickstart on my gifts. I’ve purchased quite a few things, but there are so many gifts I want to make that I haven’t even started on! Work, class and other life craziness has made this holiday season fly by so far. Where are my elves when I need them?! Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have time off before Christmas, so I’ll be my own elf and make my gifts then.

Are you making gifts this year or tackling any mini makeovers before your relatives come to town this holiday season? I’d love to see your holiday decor, renos and crafts! The holidays really do bring out the most creative and fun ideas.

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Craft Projects, Quick and Easy Crafts

Stuffed and sewn fabric pumpkins

Are you ready to see the cutest fall decorations yet? My girlfriends and I were browsing the interwebs for ideas for our upcoming craft night and stumbled upon the cutest fabric pumpkins that a woman bought online. I immediately thought they would make a great project for craft night, so when we gathered on Saturday night for fall crafts, we pulled out our fabric and got to pumpkin makin’!

Here’s what you need for this project:

  • Fabric (I used three different types for my trio of pumpkins)
  • Stuffing
  • Yarn
  • Wire twine/Floral Twine
  • Hot Glue
  • Needle & thread

I started by cutting a square out of my fabric and placing a good handful of stuffing into the middle of the square.

Then, I sewed a stitch into one corner of the fabric and knotted it. Once that corner was secure, I sewed through the opposite corner, and then through the remaining two corners. It made a bit of a floofy square.

To round out the pumpkin and make sure no stuffing could escape, I started gathering the outer edges of the pumpkin with stitches. Once all of the edges had disappeared and I could see no more stuffing, I knotted the thread in the center of the pumpkin and fluffed it a bunch.

With everything sewed up, it was time to add yard. I doubled up my yarn, then tied it in circles around the pumpkin. I didn’t do this for my small pumpkin, so I don’t have a photo of just this step — sorry! For my larger pumpkins, I did four circles of yarn. My friend Amy only did three and hers turned out great, too. It is totally up to you. When tying your yarn, make sure you tie it tight enough that the pumpkin fluff can ooze out — this will make the pumpkin look like it has the ridges of a natural pumpkin.

Now it is time to add your stem. For this, I used twine-wrapped wire that you can find in the floral and wreath section of any craft store. There are two ways you can add this to your pumpkin deciding on which side you choose to be the top. You can wrap the wire around the yarn and then twist it around itself to create a stem. Or, you can weave the wire through the fabric, then wrap it around itself. I tried both ways, and both work great.

I also added little spirals of twine to each pumpkin, along with a few fabric leaves. I hot glued these onto the pumpkins. With that, your pumpkins are done! I’d say each pumpkin took less than 10 minutes to make, making this a super fast and super adorable craft.

Here’s my set of three:

So cute! I just might have to make more.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Craft Projects

Revamped silver trays

As another fun project from Craft Day this past weekend, Amy, Carrie and I spiffed up some old, silver trays we found at the thrift store.

This project was quick and easy, and the finished product was super cute. First, we cleaned up our trays with silver polish.

Once they were all shiny and new, we cut out paper for the insides of the tray. Once the paper was cut out, we put thin layers of Mod Podge on our trays where we wanted the paper to stick.

Then, we placed the paper on top, smoothing out all of the bubbles. with the bubbles all M.I.A., we coated the paper with another layer of Mod Podge.

I did two coats on mine, trying to wipe the excess off the edges so it wouldn’t leave Mod Podgey residue on my trays.

Tip: Be really careful when smoothing our your Mod Podge. Carrie had a casualty on her tray, removing part of her map. Australia is now “Autralia” and what we yell when craft projects go awry.

Once the trays were dry, we added chalkboard contact paper embellishments to a few of our trays. Who knew chalkboard contact paper even existed (Answer: Carrie)?

How cute is Amy’s tray!? I love it and have total tray envy. She’s planning on hanging it up and using it as a Vacation Countdown for her and her hubby’s upcoming trips!

My trays turned out cute, too. They would make cute “His” and “hers” signs, but I’m not sure for what.

Carrie’s tray is very Carrie. I think she’s going to use it as a catch-all on her dresser.

And here’s my other tray. Can you tell we all like maps?!

As we were finishing up our project, our honorary crafter of the day walked, err, crawled in to see what we were up to.

Hi, Eli!

He was digging our sweet fabric. I can’t blame him.

What a cutie!