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 The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors.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

Burlap Rosette Candles

I am excited to share that I’m participating in a craft fair in a little more than a month! On Nov. 10, I will be at the Watkins Nature Center partaking in their Fourth Annual Trash to Treasure Green Craft Fair! I’ve done this fair two times in the past, but missed it last year. I’m excited to go again — it’s the coolest fair I’ve ever been to and I am really looking forward to it.

Anyway, my new few weeks will be spent making crafts out of recycled goods, scraps, trash, etc. The goal is to repurpose things you might otherwise throw away into something neat and useful again.

For my first project, I made a set of candles using fabric scraps or burlap that were barely big enough for the task at hand. I also used old buttons and thrift store glasses. The only “new” supply I used was some pink ribbon.

My piece of fabric was about 9 inches by 7 inches, so just long enough to wrap around my candle. I cut out a strip and placed a dab of hot glue midway down the glass to secure one end of the fabric to the candle holder. Then, I placed Mod Podge beneath the fabric as I wrapped it around the glass. Once it was in place, I slathered on another layer of Mod Podge on top of the fabric.

I let this dry, then added a skinny pink ribbon through the middle of the fabric. For the ribbon, I secured it to the glass only with a few dabs or hot glue.

After the ribbon was on, I started to make a few rosettes out of the burlap fabric. (Note: It’s not actually burlap, but it looks close enough so that’s what I’m gonna call it.) To make the rosettes, I used skinny strips of fabric and Mod Podge.

To make the rosette, I twisted on end of the fabric in my fingers and added some Mod Podge. This is the center of the rosette.

I kept twisting the fabric, winding it around itself as I twisted and all the while adding Mod Podge. Once the fabric ran out, I was left with a cute rosette that I set aside to dry.

Fast forward: The glass is dry, the rosettes are dry — time to combine!

I pulled out my hot glue gun to add the rosettes to my candle holders, along with some buttons.

I glued two rosettes to one glass and on onto the other. Then, I added buttons in the center of each rose, and a few alongside each.

Ta daaaaa! Two candle holders made out of fabric scraps and buttons 🙂

What a cute pair!

Craft Projects, Thrift Store Finds

Bird Wall Sconce

Holy cow, this was an exhausting weekend. As you may know, our dishwasher has been broken for what seems like ages now. We finally got the go ahead from Samsung to return our dishwasher back to Best Buy, so we went there on Saturday to process a replacement. Turns out our dishwasher is already discontinued — guess everyone else thought it sucked, too — so we had to just return the dishwasher for a refund, wait for that to go through, and buy a new one. *sigh* As if that weren’t a hot enough mess, everything in our house seemed to leak this weekend… pipes, washing machine, sink, etc. Ahhhh the joys of being a homeowner. We are hoping to buy a new dishwasher tomorrow *fingers crossed*!!! I would love to fill the gaping hole underneath our cabinets with a working dishwasher and reattach the pipes underneath our sink. Can’t wait.

Luckily, that was the only bad/stressful part of our weekend. We went to a bonfire and I did lots of crafts. Lots!

On to the crafts!!!

I don’t even remember where I picked up these wall sconces, but they were in need of some l-o-v-e love.

I was originally going to spray paint them, but neglected to do so for real. So, I busted out some of my paint samples and got to painting. I went with a light teal and a light brown.

I took off the candle holder with a screwdriver, then painted the back of the sconce teal and the candle holder brown.

After several coats of each color, I painted the outer trim of the sconce a light brown, too.

Once everything was dry, I pulled out a stencil I’ve been wanting to try. This time, I used stencil adhesive. If you use a stencil, USE STENCIL ADHESIVE. It really does help keep the stencil in place while you paint.

I placed my stencil on the sconce exactly where I wanted it, dabbing on the adhesive around the cutouts right before.

Once the stencil was secure (I only waited about a minute after placing it on), I painted the tree brown, the leaves green and the bird blue.

I pulled off the stencil as soon as I was done painting. Once everything was dry, I screwed the candle holder back onto the sconce.

Now that’s an improvement, wouldn’t you say?

I love it!

I do have a confession, though. It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I remembered I have a second sconce somewhere around my house!! Should I make a second bird sconce since it turned out so well, or should I do something completely different?

I hope you all had a great weekend. And a special thanks to those of you who checked out my blog this past weekend — I had a record number of views on Saturday and was so very excited about it. You guys are awesome and I hope you keep coming back for more!