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 The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors.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, Jewelry, Quick and Easy Crafts

Gunmetal and mint necklace

How was everyone’s Easter? My weekend was filled with three different dinners, a birthday brunch and simply way too much delicious food. Basically, it was awesome. My older sister came into town, and it was the first Easter and birthday we’ve celebrated with her in a decade (or so it seems). My mom, little sister and I took her to brunch in Baltimore at Cafe Hon to celebrate her birthday. It was a ton of fun.

{A Smith of All Trades} Easter Pic

Sunday was dinner at my dad’s house with my stepmom’s family and her brother’s partner’s family. I’ll give you a second to figure out that relationship 🙂 We only get to see them at Easter, which makes the holiday even more enjoyable.

My Easter craft was pretty simple, and I’m only just sharing it now because the weekend was SO busy and yesterday I had a killer headache. I even missed trivia, so you know it was crummy.

Anywho… I needed a new necklace for Easter. Yes, needed.

I had this old chain that I’d been hanging onto. I liked its chunkiness, but the length was awkward. You know what I mean…. long enough to occasionally disappear  under your shirt and just the right length to get stuck in cleavage… basically, the worst length for a necklace!

{A Smith of All Trades} Gunmental and Mint Necklace1

I cut the necklace in half using really strong pliers, then added a new section to the necklace of bright mint beads.

The beads were a gift from my bestie, and were a totally sweet thrift store find. To add them to the chain, I used beading wire and a crimp bead. I looped one end of wire around the end of the chain, then flattened and crimped the crimp bead so no beads would fall off.

{A Smith of All Trades} Gunmental and Mint Necklace2

Then, I strung the beads with gunmetal spacers in between, closing the wire at the other end with a crimp bead.

In about four minutes, my boring, awkward-lengthed necklace was transformed into the perfect necklace. My sister really liked the whole thing hanging asymmetrically, too.

{A Smith of All Trades} Gunmental and Mint Necklace

AND, it is also the perfect length to wrap around my wrist to become a chunky bracelet. #Winning.

{A Smith of All Trades} Gunmental and Mint Necklace3

I hope you all had a great Easter. The weather is finally getting warmer in Maryland, so hopefully I can start to tackle a few larger projects I’ve been wanting to do.

Oh, and our doors are supposedly in! Joyyyyyyyy 🙂 I’ll make sure to show you when they are all installed and beautiful!

 

Craft Projects, Jewelry

Green mesh-like pendant

{A Smith of All Trades) Green necklace

I don’t really know what to call this necklace I made this past weekend, so let’s call it a mesh-like pendant. All in all, it was a little tricky to make, but I think it is pretty and very unique, so here goes!

For this project you’ll need elongated beads (pearls are optional), eye pins (a loop on one side, a pin on the other), and some chain.

To begin, stack one of your beads and a pearl on an eye pin, and close the other end into a loop. Make a second eye pin in the same way and connect the two where the pearls meet. I suggest using a jump ring in the middle (not seen in the photo below because I realize this a few eye pins into the pendant).

{A Smith of All Trades) Green necklace

Now, make an eye pin with one bead and no pearl — take this and connect it to the two green ends of the two eye pins that connect to the jump ring in the center.

{A Smith of All Trades) Green necklace

Continue this process (eye pin + jump ring + connect eye pins) until the pendant cannot go anymore.

With the beads that I used, I couldn’t go in a full circle, so at that point I stopped.

{A Smith of All Trades) Green necklace

At this point, I connected the three ends with chain, then added the entire pendant onto a silver necklace.

{A Smith of All Trades) Green necklace

Pretty, huh?

{A Smith of All Trades} Green Turquoise and Pearl Necklace

And, it doesn’t look half bad on either. Sorry… this was the best picture I could get of it haha. I’m not super used to my honkin’ camera yet!

{A Smith of All Trades) Green necklace

And a crappy iPhone one for good measure.

{A Smith of All Trades) Green necklace