Free and Easy Valentine Banner

Valentine’s day… such a quick little holiday. To decorate or not? To be honest in the past I have put out a little candy dish and that’s about all. Now that I have a kid in the house, I want to be more festive, but I don’t really want to spend a lot of money. Ok, I never want to spend a lot of money.

So as I was Pinteresting the other day… (I can use that as a verb right? Even though only my two fingers are moving as I scroll down through the pins?) Anyway, here are the pins that were inspiring me. (Click here for the links: 1, 2, 3, 4)banner CollageI loved the natural colors and deep red. Also oved the burlap and especially the sewn hearts! But, let’s be honest, I don’t have a sewing machine and I was trying NOT to buy supplies. The book pages were so clever, and they had me wishing I had picked up some old books while at St. Vincent DePaul for the Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge. I was not about to rip up my books for Valentine’s Day. We heart books here at Schraeradise (#seewhatididthere). So, to stay on my budget of $0, I thought I might try to fashion something similar.

I started with newspaper. photoI cut out a shape that I thought would work for the banner.  I really just eye-balled it, figuring that I had a whole paper to work with if I messed it up. 
photoI did check the size with my mantle, tried to picture what it would look like… It had to hang high enough – higher than toddler hands could reach. The banner would stand no chnace against my Isaac George.

photoLooked good for me, so I cut out about 10 of these pennants and punched holes in them.

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Now, I just needed to figure out how to hang them. I had 2 options: A white ribbed ribbon leftover from gift wrap and a plastic pearly-ball chain like thing. I have no idea where I got the pearly chain, I have had it for years. After trying them both through the holes, I went for the pearls. It is like they found their Valentine Destiny (#friendsreference). I thought they added a little bling to the newspaper and some texture against our painted wood mantel.

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I strung up 8 of the pennants and this is how it looked!

photoNot bad at all. So this is where real life happens and  the baby wakes up; I have to pause. It did give me a little time to contemplate what I would put on the banner. My first thought was X’s and O’s maybe mixed in with hearts. Then I thought of Isaac… at 17 months I thought hearts would be best. So later that night, after he was tucked in and hubby was asleep in the Lazyboy at 8:30 on a Friday night, I finished her up. I did have plans with my galfriend, but we decided to cancel, and I was challenged to do some things for myself. (Read about that here). So, I enjoyed a decaf and biscotti, then back to the banner!

I originally was going to paint my hearts the newspaper, but because the paper was super thin, I thought it might make the paper buckle when it dried. So, I opted for the super easy answer!

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I had a few colors to chose from and ended up choosing the red crayon and magenta marker for the colors of the hearts. I layed the banner on the floor and used a cookie cutter to make some perfect hearts. I thought the exact same heart might make the banner a little nicer.

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Have I mentioned how easy this was? Time to hang it up.

photoCute right? I was please with how this little thing turned out. I thought the pearls were a great compliment to the paper. The colors on the hearts blended well with the other decor in the living room. I placed a few colorful books on the mantel to help the colors stand out.
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I liked it and thought I would use the newspaper in a couple other frames that were empty. Why not? This large frame is in our living room and needs our latest family pics. I added a simple love quote. True.

photoAnd, in our kitchen I used my crayon and marker again to draw an XO on newspaper in put in this frame. There sits my pineapple and hiding in the back is my next DIY adventure #photobomb. So excited about that one. photoAnd since we are talking decor, here is some decor that I already had, so that was free to. This “love” sign I found at TJMaxx a few years back for $.70! That has to be the cheapest item I have ever bought there. 
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In the dining room, some fabric from Isaac’s weekly pictures sits under a glass heart-shaped bowl. I’ve had the bowl for years; it was also a TJMaxx find. 

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On the bookshelf in this room are some items that I let Isaac get his hands on. He likes to carry the pig around and hug him saying “Awww”. I guess I say that when he hugs me. The “A You’re Adorable” book was a gift from his Philly friends. He LOVES this book, I actually can quote it form memory and I recite it to him in tune.

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We are more festive this Valentine week than we ever have been before. Lots of love to celebrate I guess. And, I have to admit I LOVE my banner. It is cute and it was free! Double win for sure. What are you DIYing for Valentine’s Day?

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YHL’s Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

I enjoy a good stroll through the thrift shop every now in then. And, by now and then, I mean more “then”. Since the little man came along I’ve cut back on real shopping. Shopping with a toddler consists of snack, songs, pointing, talking to strangers. I though I actually really enjoy being out with the baby… it’s harder with a kid. So when Young House Love encouraged me to get back out there, I took the challengeMy blogging bff HildaGotRocks was taking the challenge too.

So, there is this Thrift Shop song. Have you heard it? It’s silly. But, it is rather catchy. Consider yourself warned.

Oh and as you can see below, something about the challenge has me making weird-mouth-high-schooler-selfie pictures and throwing peace signs. I think that Sherdog’s RAP-piness is spreading like a virus. Got my dough, baby in tow, and ready to go.

thrift shop challengeStep #1. Go to a thrift shop with – just as the chorus of the song says – “$20 in your pocket”and take a picture. 

Step #2. Spend that $20 any way you’d like and photograph your spoils

Step #3. Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic.

I went to Mt. Washington St. Vincent DePaul and here are some of the things that got my attention…

A pokey little pineapple. Something about this reminded me of Sherry. It opens too.
photoLotso lamps just dying for makeovers. I felt bad for them all wanting a home.
photoThere had to be 5987 baskets which had me thinking about Easter. My boy will need a proper Easter Basket and I would like to fashion one up for less than the Pottery Barn cost. photophotoThis dollhouse has so much potential, but needed some deep DIY love.photoThese clean white trays were so pretty, I wanted to take home all 6.photoThese duck bookends would look great in a kids room painted a bright color! photoThough Isaac enjoyed the stroll down toy lane, most of the items were too dirty to stop the cart. The only possibility was this bead maze in great condition.photoSo, I piled all my maybes into the cart then took a minute to contemplate my purchase.photoBefore I tell you what I took home and if I succeeded in my first YHL challenge, we have a little unfinished business of Step #3. Oh Step number 3, you have me taking more selfies! And…here comes another peace sign peeps, right next to a CASIO keyboard. Oh yeah points scored for a picture with a broken keyboard. (Lyrics: “They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard”) 

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More points for… stealing your grandpa’s style…the velcros!  (Lyrics: I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s styleNo for real, ask your grandpa, can I have his hand-me-downs?…The sneaker heads would be like “Ah, he got the Velcros”)
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And Isaac wanted to get in on the fun but I wouldn’t let him listen to the song. He thought the glasses were cool. Even tried on 3 different pairs.
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OK, so let’s get down to business. Here are my spoils…

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1. Bead Maze Toy – $1 (half off from $2)
2. Large ‘Easter’ Basket – $4
3. Silver Pineapple – $4.50
4. Mini Purse – $2.50 (half off from $4.99)
5. White Dish – $1
6. Mini Orange Skillet – $2
Grand Total: $15 + tax

So I didn’t spend exactly $20 bucks, but that wasn’t really the point. Here is how I plan to use the items.

The little orange skillet (that is half tacky half adorable) is living on my kitchen window sill. When I saw it I knew it would match my kitchen accents and be the perfect drop spot for jewelry while I cook or do dishes.
photo See? Perf. photo  After a thorough Clorox wipe down, the bead maze made it to the dining room shelf. Isaac  likes to sit and play in this corner while Doug and I talk after dinner. I am sure, though, that it will make it’s way around to every room in the house. photo The mini purse was too cute. It was like a canvas on the outside and bright pink lining – very clean! Once I saw it I knew that it would make the perfect gift bag for a little girl gift I already had to give. It is for a 2 year old, so I knew that she would love her own little thing to carry around. Isaac does this all the time my his lunch bag.

photo Just had to fancy it up a little bit. The strawberry footie PJs rolled up perfectly inside. photoThe white dish is currently on my night stand as another jewelry holder. Can you tell I am worried about losing my wedding ring? photoI think the basket will be a perfect Easter Basket. I love how high the handle is. It is clean, sturdy, and still soft to the touch. I’d like to fashion some kind of removable lining for the inside. Here I show a folded yard of fabric on the inside. I see Pinterest research and a project on the horizon. I will make sure to tell you how it turns out. photo Last but not least is the pokey little pineapple. It is sitting in the kitchen right now so I can see it often. I am sure that it will bop around the house until I find a good home for it. Doug hates it by the way. I think his reaction was “WHAT is THAT?!” And later in the evening he said, “How many treasures do you have hiding around the house?” to which I responded, “just a couple more.” photo

So, there you go. Done. Accomplished. Winning!

The challenge made me realize how much I miss shopping alone, including thrifting. I love getting a lot for a little. I think I will be going back out really soon….without baby. And, without silly rap songs in my head.

My Shiny Angel Christmas Mantel (and more)!

I love the holidays and there is something that I’ve been looking forward to all month long… a decorated mantel! I blame Pinterest. I had hoped to DIY some things, but time got away from me. I ended up just winging it with what I already had in the house. So here is what I call – My Shiny Angel Christmas Mantel!

Below is what our mantel looks like normally. Simple and I admit kinda boring. Thus, my hopes to get some fun decor up on this bad boy. The mantel is one of the areas that my son cannot reach. So I can put pretty and delicate things up on my adult mantel and he cannot destroy it!  And that, my friend, it is a luxury that I should be taking more advantage of!!

BEFORE: 
photoSo, I started with a clean slate. This helps me focus on what could be as opposed to what was just there. I kinda had a little plan in my mind, similar to what I had up there last year.

photo I knew that the clock would go back up, we use it and would screw with our minds if it wasn’t there. Since I am lucky to have an outlet on top, I thought about laying lights the length of the mantel.  Unfortunately, the only lights I had were green wired icicle lights. I thought that would look just plain bad, but I wanted some evening ambiance. So I used the glass hurricanes that were on the mantel with candles in them. The lights fell down inside so I just used a few pieces of scotch tape to hold the lights up and the glass hurricane to make the lights a little higher inside. (This picture is pre-tape. Too clumpy and low, right?)

photoI like the stockings hung off the mantel. I used command hooks to hang them with ribbon. In years past, I took cues from off the deep red and hunter green colors for ideas for the rest of the mantel. I love my Nutcrackers. I danced in the Nutcracker Ballet for many years as a child and teen, so they are something that I love to pull out each year. The last few years they have been on the mantel, so that is where I started…. and got stuck. photoThen I found these gold branch and berries that I had picked up from Michael’s earlier in the week. I was not sure where they would end up in the house, but I think they were $1.30  per clump. I had the small green vases in the Living Room and just popped them up there. I really liked the glittery shimmer as the shine from the Christmas lights bounced off the gold glitter.  It needed some height, so I put the gold vases that are usually on the mantel back up there. Hmm, could I do something with the glass vases? I have tons of these in different shapes and sizes. Still a tad boring. I needed more gold or a theme…. thinking….

photo…That is when my son woke from his nap. I went in his room, changed his diaper, then saw this angel music box that sits in his room. I love it because it belonged to my grandmother; she passed away about 6 years ago and we were very close. This angel is very special to me. I loved the idea of bringing it out to the mantel. I had my theme! photoSo, I went digging in the Christmas decor for more gold and angels. I found this set of 4 angel ornaments given to me by a friend. Perfect!
photoThey are each unique, playing a different instrument. They added sweetness and individuality to the decor.photoI found another ceramic angel given to me by a girl I used to care for. She was 7 years old at the time and I am pretty sure that she bought it from her school Christmas sale. You know the kind… where you give a kid $10 and they come home with 10 gifts? It is special to me though, because she thought of me and wrapped it up. She is now 22 and probably has no idea that I still have it. I forgot to get a close up of it though, sorry!

I also found some simple gold ornament balls that I plopped into the glass vases.

photoSo here is the finished product. I really enjoyed how it turned out. Not only festive and free but angelic and sentimental. We also got rid of the baby gate and replaced it with a fire! We are living on the edge people.

AFTER:

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Decorating this year was harder than is has been. Isaac is now 15 months and into everything. He is so curious and smart and we cannot be with him every second. Below, you can see him in his daily activity of investigating the tree lights.

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So, we limited the decor we put out and even skipped ornaments on the tree. Counters and tabletops were safe!

Here are a few other easy decorations…

Ornaments in  glass bowl and star tablecloth on our Dining Room table.

photo Some kid friendly objects on the bottom shelves of this bookshelf in our Dining Room…photo…and, the other gold branch and berries found a home in a vase on our kitchen table.
photo This gifted reindeer basket has been the card catcher for the last few years, though I’d love to make something clever to display them next year. Check out that cutie in the card in the front – – easily my favorite card this year! (That is one of Isaac’s girlfriends. Her mommy blogs over at hildagotrocks.)photo…and I am sure you are wondering where my Nutcrackers ended up. They are on the Living Room buffet. You also might recognize that red velvet box of from the angel ornaments? I used it to add color and height to my disply. Use what you got, right?  (The candy dish was swapped out later). The frame usually hangs on the wall with a family picture, so I just emptied the frame and hung the wreath with ribbon. Easy. photo

Well, that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed as much as I did! Now it’s time to enjoy that fire.