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 The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors.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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Christmas, Craft Projects, Holiday

Cookie Cutter framed art

Do you and your family make Christmas cookies every year? We do — in fact, it’s a big to-do in our family. We set aside an entire day dedicated to making our famous sugar cookies before our extended family joins us for the holidays.

Last year, we went through our cookie cutters to weed out the ones we never use, and my mom pulled out a set that used to be her mom’s. We never use them because they are a bit of a pain to use, but she didn’t want to throw them away. So, she gave them to me to make Christmas artwork for her. I turned them into a pretty and festive framed piece of art that she displays in her kitchen — how perfect!

To make the frame, I bought a ruby-red fabric with gold diamonds on it, as well as some spray adhesive. I also grabbed a shadow box frame since the cookie cutters aren’t flat.

I sprayed the adhesive onto the black insert that came with the frame and tightly wrapped the fabric around the edges. I trimmed off the excess and let it dry. Don’t go overboard on the spray glue because it can seep through your fabric.

Once the fabric was secure, I figured out how I wanted to space my cookie cutters, then started to glue. The cookie cutters were hollow(ish) on the inside, so I had to glue something inside of them so the glue could reach the fabric. For one, I glued crumpled up paper, which worked great. For the remaining ones, I glued small magnets. Those also did the trick.

With the cookie cutters ready to be added, I piled up hot glue on top of the paper/magnets, then carefully placed them onto my fabric-covered cardboard.

After I had all four glued on, I wanted to add a little something extra. I had ribbon that matched the fabric perfectly, so I tied four bows to add to the frame.

Once they were all about equal size, I glued them onto each of the cookie cutters.

Then, I popped the cardboard back into the frame and secured the back. Voila!