Christmas, Craft Projects, DIY GIFT GUIDE, Gift Idea, Holiday, Pallet Projects, Quick and Easy Crafts

Wood Burning and Wooden Ornaments

My last holiday craft involving pallet wood also involved a new skill — wood burning!! I’d never successfully tried wood burning before, but I figured out what I’d been doing wrong and had a blast playing around with the new technique.

Before I got into the wood burning, I simply was making trees from the pallet wood. The first I made was a gift for my secret santa at work:

PalletTreeOrnament

I cut out the tree using my jigsaw, sanded it down, added a hole for the ribbon and colored the wood using the restor-a-finish product I always rave about. Cute, yes? My coworker loved it. I also gave him a Home Depot gift card — he and I love to chat about our ongoing projects. He’s my Home Depot buddy!

I made a similar tree for my godmother, but to girl it up a bit I painted gold dots all over it to look like ornaments.

Then I moved on to some simple wood burned ornaments. I tried it out on some scrap wood first:

Scrap Burning

After doing some research online, I learned that you can use a soldering iron as a wood burning tool. The only downside is the lack of interchangeable tips. I’d tried this before, but it turns out I didn’t let my iron get hot enough. This time I let it fully warm up — and that did the trick.

Once I’d tested it out on a few pieces of scrap wood, I started to make gifts for people. An “E” for the neighbors, an “S” for my mother-in-law and an “M” and “E” for Max and Eli, my friend’s sons.

Wood Burned LEtters

Let me back track for a sec — all of these are from scrap wood, which I liked a lot because pretty much none of my pallet went to waste. I sanded everything down before burning it.

OK, back to the burning… once I got designs I liked, I added holes for ribbon or wire. Some I stained, some I left natural.

MEandMax

My buddy Maz really liked his little “M.” OK, he obviously couldn’t care less about it… I just wanted to share our selfie 🙂

The letters I did were fairly easy (Minus the “S”) because they were all straight lines. Since my soldering iron was a longer flat tip, that was the only shape I could do. Lots of dashes, exes and straight lines.

I got the idea to use those shapes to make wood-burned Christmas tree ornaments. These were my favorite.

Small Tree

Large Tree

If you smell them, they smell like campfire! LOVE.

I gave my sister and her BF the larger ornament with the star. The other I selfishly kept for us. I added a lumberjack-esque ribbon to it, too.

Tree_Ribbon_Final

How adorable is that? It it cost me $0! The wood was scrap, the wire I add and the ribbon came off of a gift 🙂

Tree_Ribbon_On Tree

I love to make Christmas gifts and I think these were some of my favorites that I made this year.

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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.

Christmas, Craft Projects, Holiday, Quick and Easy Crafts, Wine Crafts

Wine cork grape ornaments

I think this craft is one of my all-time favorites. My neighbor and I did a craft night before my Trash to treasure fair and we made so many cool things out of corks!

Unfortunately, I only have photos of the finished project. It’s hard to remember to take photos when you are crafting with one of your best friends. It’s basically non-stop talking mixed with singing along to Christmas music.

Anyway, check these out!IMG_0020

To make a wine cork grape ornament, you will need 8 wine-stained corks, a thin piece of cork, wire, hot glue, ribbon and a leaf!

First, you will need to cut the tops of your corks off. We used sharp knives from my kitchen to cut through the cork. Err, correction, Allie used the sharp knives… I couldn’t stand the noise it made. Either way, cut about half an inch from the wine stained end. We didn’t care if ours we all the same length because the different sizes gave the ornament a nice depth to it. (Can an ornament have depth?)

IMG_0021

Once the cork tops were sliced off, I arranged them on a flat piece of cork that Allie got from TJ Maxx. It’s super thin and was meant to be a placemat. It worked great for this project, but you could use really anything to glue the corks onto. Cardboard, maybe.

Once the corks were arranged in a grape shape, we traced around them and cut out the cork. Then, we glued the leaf at the top (from a fake flower) and proceeded to glue each grape onto the cork.

IMG_0022

When the glue dried, I poked wire through the cork and made a hidden loop behind the leaf. Then I strung my ribbon through the top and hung it on our holiday garland!

I absolutely love these ornaments and will definitely be gifting a few this holiday season.