Elegant, Unique & Sorta Victorian Holiday Decorating (On the Cheap of Course), Part 1 of 4: the Entry

The Holiday decorating is finally done! It only took me 3 days this year 😉 I really didn’t add anything new, just a couple odds and ends I picked up at the thrift store since last season and some new glittered ribbons. I do like to change it up a bit every year, using things in different spaces and in different ways, leaving some things in storage, and finding new goodies from my “stash” of supplies to add to the mix. Moving things around is the key to keeping it fresh and fun.

Today for Part 1 I’ll share the Entry Way. (The Main Room, the Outside, and Other Spaces are coming to the blog soon!)

I actually toned it down considerably from last year, when I had the stairs done in ornament-packed multicolor garland (which is now outside, you’ll see it soon!) This year, I stuck with my jewel-toned decor and just made a few subtle changes. I still used my favorite decorating trick, peacock feathers (sooo cheap and what a great visual impact! Find them in bulk on Ebay), but added some dyed teal ostrich feathers left over from a big party decorating job I did a couple years ago, as well as a new wired purple glitter ribbon I fell in love with.

Instead of adding tons of feathers all up and down the garland like I usually do, I just used them in groupings at the newel posts and center point. They are simply tucked into the garland (this is the same garland I’ve been using for about 7 years now, purchased half-off at Target the day after Christmas.) At the bottom of the stairs I also added a couple of strings of big purple Mardi Gras beads from my supply stash that I acquired from a party years ago. The new purple glitter ribbon is simply added on top and held in place by the wired garland.


The view upon entering the front door.


A closer look at the stairs. That’s one of our Dogvacay guest dogs, Cleo the Weimeraner, towards the top of the steps.


Here’s a close-up of the newel post. Yes, that is a taxidermy peacock “Herman” to the right, one of my most prized possessions. He “lives” there year-round.



This is at the bottom of the stairs, just to the left of the front door. The big lamp is simply adorned with a bit of gold glittered ribbon (I used more of it in the main room) and a sprig of fresh pine. In the mirror is a “sneak-preview” of the Main Room, coming to the blog next!

Gettin’ Crazy with the Gift Wrap…Fun DIY Ideas for Creative Gifts from Stuff Already in the Craft Closet.

Gettin’ Crazy with the Gift Wrap…

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This year I decided to seriously get my gift on with some creative wrapping. I pulled out all sorts of funky things from my craft closet; leftover bits and odds and ends from other projects, feathers, end-of-spool ribbon pieces, washi tape, old greeting cards I couldn’t seem to part with, crafting bits from gifts I’ve received, etc. I laid everything out and played with putting different things together, and came up with some unusual gifts indeed…

Here are 8 unique ideas I hope will spark your creativity this holiday season! I’m assuming you already know how to wrap a box, so I’m focusing on the toppers.  (if you need help with the wrapping, It’s Martha Stewart to the Rescue) The first 6 are all with matching silver paper. (A new big fat roll, purchased from the thrift store of course, for $1.99) I like the gifts under my tree to match, I’m just anal like that. I got weird with the gifts I’m mailing out to family.

#1 Wrapsody in Blue

For this one I put together a couple blue feathers, a few vintage chenille wires twisted into tear-drop shapes (I think I got these in a grab bag of crafty stuff at a yard sale), a tree cut out from an old greeting card, a circle of textured card stock, and stick-on rhinestones sheet cut into strips from David Tutura (available at most craft stores)

The Ingredients:



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It’s all attached with simple Scotch tape. I also cut a gift tag out of the leftover card stock and edged it with more sticky rhinestones. Best part is, because it’s a gift for my man, I’ll get to save and reuse the feathers again 😉

#2 Arsty Fartsy

I’ve had this weird obsession with origami cranes lately (more on that in future posts) so I made one as part of a present topper from an art magazine page (great origami tutorials HERE) and added black feathers and crystals (I have a bag of old chandelier crystals), with some black and white washi tape wrapped around in place of ribbon.




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Again, everything is attached with Scotch tape, hidden under the crane. (and I can reuse it all again!)

#3 Furry Fun

I always a have bunch of faux fur scraps around (that’s just the kind of gal I am ;-)) I cut one into a circle (beware, cutting faux fur is crazy messy), and added simple loops cut out of the wrapping paper under it. Looking back I should have added more loops. I admit I got lazy, it was after midnight and my little wrapping fingers were sore…

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#4 Whimsical Pug

We have two pugs. If you know anyone with pugs, you know we get a pug-crazed and have pug stuff everywhere. Something about those smushy little faces makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do, like collect weird stuff with pugs on it…I cut this pug face out of a card from last year, it was just too damn cute. I added a bit of sparkly green sticky ribbon and another piece of grosgrain ribbon from an old gift.



By the way here’s the cards I cut out to use on gifts:




Again using only Scotch tape.

#5 Popping Up All Over

Here I used the pop-up inside a cute card I received last year. It was very easy to cut out of the card. Because the design is so large, I added only a simple bit of the sparkly green sticky ribbon.




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#6 Peacock Fantasy

This one is my favorite. I broke out the hot glue gun for this assemblage. I used a gorgeous piece of wired peacock feather on black ribbon as a base, and tied 2 black ostrich feathers together with a single peacock feather. I topped the tie point with a curl of the ribbon, glued a crystal into each end, and topped it with a short bit of Swarovski Crystals.




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#7 Mom Likes Purple

I used a bit of green and purple wrap for this one, along with a bit of purple silk flower, lavender textured card stock (cut in a circle and little strips), a couple purple floral crystals (usually used in bridal bouquets and what-not), more of that sparkly green sticky ribbon, and a piece of amethyst stone.




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I used the glue gun on this one as well.

And finally…

#8 Au Natural

This one was inspired by the lonely little owl I had in a box of craft supplies. He’d been there for ages awaiting a home, and now he has one. The box was wrapped in a clean brown paper bag, turned inside out and cut to size, and topped with the owl, a few vintage chenille wires, printed washi tape, raffia, a bit of the David Tutera sticky rhinestones in orange this time, a couple crystals, and a couple sticks of nice incense. I also used the hot glue gun on this one. I added a gift tag cut out of the paper bag and edged it with the sticky rhinestones.




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And all my holiday wrapping is DONE! Everything was done using bit and pieces I already had around, all I bought was the $1.99 wrapping paper. Now on to the holiday cards. A crafty woman’s work is never done 😉


Funky Glamor Easter Centerpiece with Beet-Dyed Eggs, Rhinestones, Faux Fur & Feathers


Happy Easter! Funky Glamor Easter Centerpiece…easter3

With the “Use-What-You’ve-Got” mentality, I gathered together some odd craft supplies I had lying around and created one of the funkiest Easter Centerpieces I’ve ever seen (If you’ve seen funkier, show me! I’d love to see it) Faux fur scraps, feathers, and rhinestones on beet-dyed eggs arranged in my vintage polka-dot bowl. I hope it sparks you to be creative with whatever crafty bits you have lying around the house…

This is the first time I’ve ever dyed eggs with beets. First off, fair warning. It WILL dye your hands, (though it wears off pretty quickly) so wear gloves unless pink fingers are your thing.

1. Hard boil the eggs. I used this method http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/eggsdairy/r/Hard-Boiled-Eggs.htm and it worked perfectly, no cracks or issues. Let them cool.

2. Cook up your beets. I used the recipe for beets on this page: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/04/how-to-dye-easter-eggs-naturally-without-a-box-onion-skins-beets-cabbage.html Of course, I used the boiled beets, which are now pickling in the fridge. (if you’re not into natural, just use Paas dye or food coloring. I won’t tell anyone.)

3. Dye your eggs. The longer you leave them in the juice, the darker they will be, just be sure and stir them around from time to time while they’re in there. Place them on paper towels (or a rag you don’t turning pink) to dry. I tried to get fancy with it by creating stripes. It is subtle but it worked. I just held the egg steady in the beet juice at one level, let it dry, then at another level, let it dry, and so on. NOTE: At first I tried to use beet juice from a can of beets. Epic Fail. Just made a mess. Don’t do it.

Decorating the eggs

1. After letting the eggs dry thoroughly, it was time to get funky. First I gathered all my goodies. I chose to use a sheet of David Tutera self-stick rhinestones on the eggs. This was very easy. I just cut them into strips, peeled off the back and stuck them on. Even eggs deserve some glitz. I must say I’m digging the sticky rhinestones, so many uses! I was lucky enough to get these in a gift bag, but you can find them at Joanne, Hobby Lobby, Micheal’s, and many places online such as Amazon. I plan to reuse the ones on the eggs after we eat them.easter3 (the eggs that is, not the rhinestones)

2. Arrange the display. I choose to use a cute vintage polka-dot bowl that usually sits on my kitchen counter. I put a white faux fur scrap in first, being sure to tuck all the edges under, then added a string of coque feathers tucked in around the fur, and then added the guinea feathers outside the coque feathers. (I keep a bunch of miscellaneous feathers around for decorating projects. They’re great to add to flower arrangements, just alone in a vase, in centerpieces, etc.) Lastly, the eggs went in the bowl on top of the faux fur, and I set the bowl on top of another faux fur scrap. That’s it! Quick, easy, and well, a little weird I know, but it suits my personality. Everything I used (except the eggs of course) can be reused again. The only things I bought were the beets and the eggs, which will all happily be eaten.

I hope you’ll be inspired to get funky and think outside the Easter box with your project. I’d love to see your funky creations! Please share them in the comments section below. Happy Easter!