holiday touches in our home

holiday touches

I meant to post this yesterday but, well, I just couldn’t get it done. I’m trying to be ok with not getting everything done this holiday season or at least not done perfectly. And I may have to even break a few traditions in order to retain my sanity. Anyone with me?

I actually didn’t even unpack half of our decorations. And I spent zero dollars on anything new this year. Zero. My decorating this year is very simple and I used a lot of my year-round stuff and just added some holiday embellishments like ornaments, ribbon, burlap, evergreens, sticks and berries. The greens and berries can add a huge impact and cost zero dollars. I grabbed them from our yard {and my mom’s} and added them to pretty much everything – a shelf, a vase, a bowl, candles – instant holiday decor. 

This time of year should be spent enjoying the season not running ragged to get it all done. So, take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea, coffee, hot cocoa and relax. It will all get done. You may have to forgo some of the things you did last year but maybe you’ll make new traditions – and more meaningful ones. And in terms of decorating, it’s not about making things look pretty. It’s about surrounding yourself in a peaceful, warm place that makes you happy. Enjoy my simple holiday touches. And remember, zero dollars…

chalkboard

The sequin garland was my grandmother’s. Makes me smile everytime I look at it. In the background is a photo montage I made using our kids’ Santa pictures from over the years. Precious.

pitcher

I couldn’t live without this little cubby space which is part of our kitchen. A few years ago I took down the cabinets that were here and bought this Ikea shelf. Works perfectly for our family. And the chicken wire frame holds all our important notes and doodles. Greens and berries…. and this beautiful art print from jones design company.

bar

bar detail

This cabinet is my favorite roadside find that I refinished into a bar/liquor cabinet. The wine rack is an Etsy item and super fun to decorate. This area gets a lot of use, ahem. A miniature pedestal is the perfect place for a snowy scene. Those bottle brush trees are everywhere!!

stocking detail

These stockings are from Pottery Barn {several years ago}. But these are the backs. I turned them around because our daughter decided to write her name on her pretty velvet stocking… with a sharpie… when she was 3. She was waiting for me to get hers monogrammed and I guess she couldn’t wait any more. It’s pretty funny now. I might turn them back around next year. I added the pom-pom {homemade!! – post coming soon}, ribbons, branch and homemade initial.

tree

And our tree… not the prettiest one we’ve ever had but it works. And I’m grateful it hasn’t fallen over {which is a first}. As you can see no presents are under the tree yet. I haven’t wrapped anything. anything. But it will get done, especially with my new wrapping stationyeah!

stag

Check out the DIY post on this gold stag/reindeer. Already given a few out as hostess gifts. He gets greens too.

couch

Some pillows, greens, and a few of my holiday art prints.

advent

We’re having fun with our homemade advent calendar. Check out the original post here.

office

I usually don’t do much decorating for the holidays in my office because I don’t have much room and I’m always moving things around. But a small tree, a green Santa and a cozy throw and pillows warm up the space a bit.

cocoa & cups

Our own little hot cocoa station. I love this little spot. Stole the idea from here. Brilliant.

dining room

disco

Our dining room centerpiece also got some small tweeks. I kept most of the same pieces I’ve had there and just added a few ornaments, silver and natural pinecones, the JOY letters – and the disco ball. The silver, blue, black and white are very winter-y.

armoire

manger

This armoire is in our front hall and I just changed the artwork and added our manger. It was a wedding gift from a dear friend and I just love it. Must have been handmade and is just precious and different and simple. I draped “garland” over the half-opened armoire which is really just yarn, ribbon and burlap I had. It adds the right touch of whimsy.

truck

A little scene – or vignette. One of our boys’ old mini toy trucks carrying a sisal tree. And more berries. So sweet.

I hope you enjoyed some of my holiday decorations. And I hope this season you choose to slow down and cherish the moments. Things might not be perfect and you might have to break a few traditions so you have the time {and the energy} to truly celebrate. Truly.

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homemade holiday gift ideas

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I’m a sucker for a handmade gift. I think they mean so much more than the store bought kind. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the store bought gifts too but there’s just something extra special when someone makes something for you. The gifts don’t have to be anything fancy or expensive or difficult to do. So if you still have a few of those hard-to-buy-for people on your list or if you’re like me and you just haven’t finished your shopping yet, consider a handmade gift. You’re not crafty, you say? No worries, I’ve included seven of my favorite DIY projects that anyone – yes anyone – can do. Click on the links under each image to be directed to the full tutorial posts where you’ll get the step-by-step instructions.

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FOLDING CHAIR – Need extra seating for the holidays or do the kids need a chair for their room? These are super cute and would work for anyone on your list. You can make them holiday specific with a pretty winter plaid material too. Supplies needed: metal folding chair with removeable seat and back cushion, spray paint {if refinishing}, material, scissors, staple gun, screwdriver.

final jar lg&sm

JARS WITH DECORATIVE LIDS – Just add the holiday candy and you’re good to go. Of course, these are not just for holiday time or candy {my daughter puts her hair elastics in hers}. Bonus, these are used from recycled glass jars. Supplies needed: 1 glass jar with metal lid {spaghetti sauce and pickle jars work great}. 1 plastic bottle cap, 1 cabinet knob, 1 screw, power drill and drill bits, screwdriver, sandpaper.

finished 8

DECORATIVE LIGHT SWITCH COVERS – Use any lightweight scrapbook paper to decorate standard plastic lightswitch covers or plug outlet covers. Supplies needed: light switch or plug covers, scrapbook paper, xacto knife, Scotch Super 77 adhesive, decoupage glue.

runner-finish

BURLAP TABLE RUNNER – Make this for yourself or give one as a gift. Use holiday colored trim to make it the perfect gift to use this time of year. Or keep it neutral to use all year round. Supplies needed: burlap material, scissors, decorative trim, glue gun, thread & needle.

tray in office

WOODEN TRAYS – Trays are everywhere!! And can be used for anything. Use pretty scrapbook papers or print out a large initial or fun words to add a personal touch to any wooden tray. Throw in some cute mugs and hot cocoa ingredients and you just created a yummy and pretty gift. Supplies needed: wooden tray, scrapbook paper to fit bottom surface, computer printout with initial or fun words {if desired}, spray paint {less than a can}, decoupage glue, Scotch Super 77 adhesive.

mpad finish 1

MOUSE PAD – Super easy! Pair your creation with a coordinating stapler and tape dispenser and you’ve got a great gift for a teacher, student or anyone with a home office. Supplies needed: oil cloth {or laminated material} crafting foam, ruler, Xacto knife or scissors, Scotch Super 77 adhesive spray.

basket-hutch

STENCILED BASKET - Fill with holiday goodies and it looks like you went all out! I put numbers on my baskets but an initial would make these the perfect gift. Supplies needed: baskets of your choice {works best on a flat woven basket}, all-surface spray paint, X-Acto knife or scissors, double sided tape, drop cloth.

What do you think – have you made gifts before or have you received a handmade gift? Try it – I think you’ll be amazed at what you can create. And so will all those people on your list! Enjoy…

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holiday decorating favorites

Happy Friday everyone! I’m here with a Friday Favorites – holiday decoration edition. I finally finished decorating our home for Christmas but I haven’t had the time to take pictures and show you. This time of year is so crazy. I always know it’s going to be but I’m still never quite prepared for how much!

Take a few minutes out of your crazy day to look at these beautiful homes and get inspired. I always love looking at other people’s holiday home decor. These homes are all so different but what I love about them is that they are all decorated with such warmth and classic simplicity. They are all truly beautiful. But I’m sure they don’t look like this all day, everyday. Or maybe they do? Oh well, sit back and enjoy!

If you have the time, definitely click on the links under each picture to bring you to their original post. These photos are just a hint of more fabulous stuff.

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all the textures and natural elements are beautiful in this home // the inspired room

CHRISTMAS-DINING-ROOM-HUTCH

oooh that hutch… // AKA Design

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always such a warm, cozy feel from her home // the nester

rustic-christmas

I’m crushing on this tree… her color scheme is unexpected and works so well // white buffalo styling company

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finding a place for this hot cocoa station in my house // beneath my heart

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her use of color is just amazing and she gives a tutorial on the sign too // the handmade home

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also, great color… the chalkboard table, beautiful patterns, I just adore her whole house // inspired by charm

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simply beautiful – the frame is the perfect addition // ask anna moseley

Christmas-door

greens + robin’s egg blue = love // home stories A to Z

I hope you enjoyed my favorite picks of holiday home decorating. Have a fabulous weekend and check back on Monday. I’ll have some ideas on homemade holiday crafts and gifts. Get your glue guns ready!

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holiday prints | 20% off all shop items

holiday prints all

I don’t want to stress you out but there are only 15 more shopping days left until Christmas. yikes! I designed a few holiday prints that would make great gifts for teachers, co-workers, neighbors, or anyone on your list! These holiday prints, along with other gift items are available on my Etsy shop. And as a special holiday promotion, receive 20% off all items in my shop until December 19. See the link at the bottom of this post to visit my shop and receive the discount. But hurry!

wrapped

I’m putting some prints in a frame and wrapping them up for my kids’ teachers and also giving some as hostess gifts. The larger prints are great options for family and friends’ gifts. All the prints are created by yours truly. I first painted all the images with watercolors and I scanned them in to create a digital image of each. Then I used these images to design the prints on my computer. I’m really loving watercolors these days and I’ve been going a little watercolor crazy. I just bought a metallic set. I’m giddy.

stag

Here’s my favorite – the stag print. I just did a giveaway of this print and got an overwhelming response. side note: I’ve gotten to know the winner, Missy Roepnack, a little bit via email and she is a delight! If you get a chance check out her blog here. She’s got quite an inspiring story and outlook on life. I also did a custom blue and gray version of this print {also in my shop} for a friend who’s redesigning a room for her sons. I can’t wait to see it hanging on her walls.

holly

This print features a sweet quote about the holidays with the holly. Teachers, check.

JOY

This “Joy to the World” print is hanging in my hallway as part of my new gallery wall but I’m going to leave it up well after Christmas.

merry

A simple Merry Christmas with a watercolor tree. I love this typeface and it goes perfect with the image.

all prints detail

These are just a few of the items in my shop – I have lots more! Click on the link below to bring you to my shop. Remember – you’ll get 20% off ALL items until December 19. Use coupon code HOLIDAYGIFT at checkout. Happy shopping!

etsy holiday shop button

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craft party night

patch banner party image

A few weeks ago I hosted a make-your-own patch banner party. My good friend – and fellow soccer mom – suggested the idea for the party and I jumped at it!! I have actually been wanting to host one of these craft night parties and this was the perfect chance. I think these kind of get togethers are good for the soul. Even if you’re not artistic or creative, they’re a great way to express yourself and try new things. This craft night wasn’t fancy or elaborate but it was super fun and productive! We had {lots} of yummy treats and almost as much wine. I gathered the supplies and everyone brought a glue gun.

The great things about this party was that we were making a Christmas present for our daughters. They all play soccer and have collected lots of patches over the years so a banner was the perfect solution to display all these well-earned patches. You can check out my post on how to make your own patch banner here for the full step-by-step instructions. The girls will love these and I think they’ll love the fact that their moms made them. But we had to keep the reason for the party a secret. The party was easy. Keeping it a secret was hard.

kellie finished

There’s a little bit of prep work that needs to be done but not a lot of instruction was needed during the party. I think having others around while you work motivates people to be creative and gives them the support to try something they wouldn’t do on their own. So whether it’s a party on how to make your own patch banner – or any other craft of your choice – it’s a fun alternative to a night out. I encourage you to either host a craft party or attend one – whatever your skill level is. I guarantee you’ll have fun, learn a lot, and probably surprise yourself with what you can do.

If you want to host a party, here are some of the basics you’ll need to get it going:

  • Collect the supplies ahead of time. I wanted to make sure everyone had the correct materials. You can enlist the help of one of your friends for this task. The only item I asked everyone to bring was a glue gun. And everyone had one – I love it. I had the guests pay $10 for all the supplies – kinda like a class fee.

felt rolled

  • Clearly mark each guests’ materials {I made name tags} and also the shared materials. I put all the shared materials in one carry-all container.

table

  • Set up a few tables as work stations. I just used my kitchen table and dining room table as work areas and placed an instruction sheet on each. If you don’t have a lot of table space, don’t worry – the guests could do the craft in stages and learn from one another this way. Or they could be like my guests {7 of them} and all work together at one table. I thought it was so sweet that they all wanted to stay and work together! It was a little crowded but that made it more fun.

instructions

  • Make an instruction sheet. ok, this was was not really necessary for me since we all worked right next to each other and everyone just asked questions and helped each other along the way. But it would be helpful if you have a larger party or the guests are doing the craft in stages.

bar 2

  • Food & wine. And more wine. Ladies tend not be big party eaters {except for me}. So picky foods are best. And did I mention wine? I set up a small bar area and made a batch of my favorite sangria {check out that recipe here}. I added some fun straws and you could also add these super cute chalk labels if you’re feeling it.

pony package & stuff

  • I made a party favor {shocker}. You certainly don’t have to do this but it was something that just came to me and fit the party theme. I’m into themes. It was a DIY kit on how to make a soccer ponytail holder. I’ll write up a full post on this soon. Super cute. The favor/DIY project was something that could go in the girls’ stockings too.
  • And of course, clean your house – which is my least favorite part of having a party.

That was really all there was needed to put together a DIY party. The hard part would be to come up with an idea of what type of craft to do. I would keep it simple – a craft that doesn’t take too long or requires an extensive drying time is perfect. Here are a few ideas {click on the blue links to bring you to the project tutorials}:

So, I think we were successful in keeping this party a secret from our daughters so that these banners can be a little Christmas present for them. And us moms had a nice night out. Wine, crafts and shopping. win-win-win.

Would you host or attend a craft party night? Or do you have any other ideas for one? I’d love to hear your comments and maybe get a new idea for my next party. Enjoy!

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a tale of two wreaths

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Now doesn’t that just sum up the holidays??

Remember me saying that I want to give my holiday decorations a re-haul? You don’t remember? How do you not remember? Actually, I want all new decorations – but that’s not realistic. So work with what ya got. And I started my re-haul {is that even a word?} with two wreaths I’ve had for a few years now. Two very different wreaths.

red before

One is this wreath made from all red Christmas ball ornaments. Colorful and shiny, and probably from Target. It was looking a little worn. Plus all that red just looked a little boring. So I gave it a makeover.

red materials

Here are the materials I used. I had almost all the stuff and just got the mini star ornaments from, yup you guessed it, Target.

red after

And here’s how it looks now.

red detail

Very, very easy. Just get your glue gun and wrap the burlap banner around it and add any embellishments. I like how the rough, natural burlap contrasts with the shiny red ornaments.

green before

The other wreath I fancied up was this faux green wreath that has hung on my front door. It was also looking a little tired. Or maybe I was just tired of looking at it. I really wanted something different for my front door but I was running out of time so, again I used what I had.

green materials

Here are the materials I used {there’s that burlap banner again}.

green after

And here’s how it looks now.

green detail

I love the skates. I’ve had them hanging on my front door in past years with a pretty ribbon but I like this so much better. I sprayed the greens with a little white spray paint since my door is black and lighter colors show up better. But I didn’t want too much white as to look too fake. I cut squares of burlap and rolled them like a piece of paper then hot glued them on. I also added some silver ornament balls and a funky faux flower. I hate fake florals but this one isn’t trying to look real so I kinda like that. A few pinecones and that’s it.

So even if you aren’t a craft hoarder like me and you don’t have a burlap banner or a funky flower or white spray paint hanging around, these are all very inexpensive materials to get. Or be uber creative and use an old piece of material, or an old scarf instead of burlap. And use those ornaments that just don’t have a place anymore. Anything can be put on a wreath.

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Check out this trinket wreath. It’s so cheesy it’s cool – looks like a piece of art to me. Wish I thought of it. God knows I have enough trinkets to make a few wreaths. Maybe next year. Check out some other great wreaths I pinned on my pinterest page here. And have a wonderful weekend – only 3 left until Christmas, aargh!

a meaningful {but late} advent calendar

overview type

I know it’s Dec. 3rd already but I thought I’d share our homemade advent calendar with you. Better late than never, right. This is a little different than what we’ve done before and I’m really loving this version. This is a simple do-it-yourself project and it has served several purposes:

  • It’s a great way to get the family ready for Christmas {and helps my 9 year old to know how many days until Santa comes}
  • Each day has a small activity to go along with it. So it has forced us to take a moment and enjoy this crazy time of year and to also remember those who are less fortunate.
  • Bonus – it’s a super cheap holiday decoration!

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Each day has a card or tag that’s numbered with a simple activity on the back. The cards are all hung on a no-frills garland that I hung in our family room. When the day comes, we remove card from the garland and do the activity that’s listed on the back. Then we hang the card as a little ornament on a nearby tree {mini fake tree from Target}. You could also set up a vase with yard-cut branches, whatever you wish. I know it might be a little late to take on this project but if you’re feeling it, just grab 25 cards or gift tags – whatever you got – and write numbers on one side and a fun or helpful activity on the back. Remember to make the activity something that will help everyone enjoy and appreciate the holiday season a little bit more – and customize them for you and your family. Then use ornament hooks or string and attach them to a garland, a wreath or maybe a holiday swag you have already hung. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Then start counting down and have fun with the activities.

cards 1

So far it’s been really nice to see everyone get involved in the countdown to Christmas. It’s very easy to get wrapped up {pun intended} in the material aspect of the season and forget what it’s all about. I’m probably most guilty of that, and then there’s my teenage sons… and something that just takes a few minutes each day is a good reminder to us all. Some of the activities I included are fun stuff like, “make hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie” or “drive around town and look at the lights”, and then some are more serious like “say a prayer for someone who needs it”. Or “do a good deed for someone today”. Whether they’re fun or serious, they’re all intended to make us all slow down and enjoy the season and to think of those who need it this time of year.

tree with cards

And here are the materials I used {all from Target} if you want to try my version:

  • red bead garland {Target}
  • multi colored yarn {I had}
  • hole-punched gift tags- I made my own but can find at Target or any gift store
  • ornament hooks – I bought a slightly fancier version of the green wire ones at Target
  • mini fake tree {from Target a few years ago}
  • plaid scarf as tree skirt {I had}

 

overview 4

Besides an obvious trip to Target, this project didn’t require much shopping or spending. I love that. We have enough stuff to buy this time of year and I don’t like spending a lot on decorations that are up for only one month. I think you’ll love having this version of an advent calendar and if you don’t get around to making one, no worries – there’s always next year. But remember to take a few moments everyday to enjoy this holiday season. Now I’m off to finish my shopping!!

holiday card time!

Happy December! I can’t believe the holidays are almost here. I’ve started my shopping and we just put our tree up – but we’re a little slow on the decorations. I decided to do a complete rehaul of our holiday decorations so it will take me a little longer to get it all done. Hopefully I’ll have something to show you very soon of what our home looks like for the holidays. Hopefully. But right now, it’s just a mess!

The other big project to tackle this time of year is our holiday card. I love opening our mailbox and getting these fun little treats each day. I’m a little behind on getting our card done – or maybe I’m a lot behind. We always go with a photo card and I’ve been pretty good about taking pictures lately. Casual pictures work better for us than the posed option but we have tortured our kids with that too. So I have a good start and now I just have to decide on the design. I usually design and construct our cards myself but it takes a lot of time. For the past two years I’ve used Minted and Tiny Prints instead mainly because of the quick turnaround time they offer. Plus their cards are so pretty and unique that they almost look homemade.

So, this year I’m not sure which I’ll do – the homemade version or the pretty {and quick} online version. The fact that it’s December 1st makes me think I’ll go with the latter.

This was our card from last year.

old card

And here’s a few of our cards from years past {all homemade by yours truly}.

greco card 1

 And here’s a few of the designs I’m really loving from both Minted and Tiny Prints. Click on the links below to go the each of their sites. I’ve been very happy with both companies. They both have excellent quality, affordable prices and the cards arrive within days after you order them. Plus they have such fun new shapes and type – and even gold foil!

Minted Christmas cards

minted.com

tinyprints Christmas cards

tinyprints.com

Oh, so many choices – and there are tons more on their websites. Hopefully you have your holiday cards addressed and in the mail but if you don’t check out Minted or Tiny Prints. You’ll love them! Enjoy!

small business saturday & etsy

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and had some time to relax and reflect. I feel like that’s just what we all need before the holiday madness begins. Or maybe you went shopping this weekend and the madness has already begun for you! I’m not shopping on Black Friday but I am going to shop this Saturday {Nov. 29} because it’s Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. I encourage you all to do the same and support your local – or any – small business by shopping small businesses this Saturday. The nice thing too is I’m going to do a lot of my Saturday shopping online at Etsy.com.

Etsy is an e-commerce website  – and one of my favorites! Their purpose is to give small business owners the opportunity to promote and sell their products. There are over 30 million registered users and it is projected that there are currently over of one million sellers. Most of these being small businesses who specialize in handmade, unique products. And most – if not all sellers – do not make mass-produced items. Several of the products are made from recycled and upcycled materials. And these are all great qualities for holiday gift giving. I have bought lots of items from all different businesses on Etsy and they have all been high-end, reasonable priced, unique products. And they all came with a hand-written note from the sellers. So classy.

arrow collage

I opened a shop on Etsy a few months ago – with just a few items for sale right now. It’s been pretty successful and I get lots of feedback and support from potential buyers and also Etsy support staff. I just added a new set of products too – arrow drawings on wood. These handmade items were fun to make and I have one hanging in my foyer. I can add type to them whether it’s personalization or just a simple phrase like “be brave.” I also have a fun watercolor calendar that I painted along with some of my art prints on my Etsy shop. I hope to add more products soon and I’d love to get your feedback on my products.

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I encourage you to shop small businesses this Saturday and also be sure to check out Etsy.com if you haven’t already. Even though some of the sellers might not be local – they do make you feel like they know you and are so grateful for your support. That’s a nice feeling for the holiday season. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and think small!

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DIY gold reindeer | Ballard Designs hack

gold reindeer type

Here’s a very simple DIY project that takes an inexpensive item and makes it look trendy and high-end – just like an item from an expensive design store {AKA, a hack}.

  cvs reindeer detail type

I was at CVS the other day getting stuff to try and make my oh-so-awful nails look somewhat pretty. I ventured over to the Christmas aisle and saw this reindeer statue for $12.99 – with a 20% off tag. And it reminded me of these wooden reindeer from Ballard Designs that are $99 for a set of 2.

ballard reindeer type

Add a can of gold spray paint and you got a pretty good Ballard Designs look alike.

reindeer equasion

Both versions are about the same size (13″ high) and have similar expressions and detail. BD’s is made from carved wood and CVS’s version is, well, not. Now maybe the antlers will break off come January. Or maybe the gold spray paint will chip. But I’m willing to take my chances. This revamped reindeer looks so sweet and I can just picture it on a beautiful, holiday-decorated mantle or shelf. I bought up all the reindeer at our local CVS {with my coupons} and the can of spray paint should cover all of them. After keeping two for myself, I think I’ll tie ribbons around the others and give them as hostess gifts this holiday.

gold reindeer with tag

Now I just need the 99 other gifts on my list. Be on the lookout for ways you can save money on holiday decorations this year. Sometimes there’s hidden treasures out there waiting for a little TLC – or a can of gold spray paint. CVS might be a good place to start. Enjoy!

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