Thursday, April 6, 2017

Simple Solutions to Update Your Seasonal Decor (Part 2)

 
 Find Part 1 to this series here!
     I'm excited to share some more ideas on updating your seasonal decorations! These are pretty photo-heavy posts, but I think the concepts are easier to understand when you can see what I'm saying. Seasonal decorating doesn't have to be expensive, time-consuming or clutter-y. I'm eager to show you how adding one or two things to what you already have in your home will help to create a festive atmosphere without making you crazy!

4. Add one or two things that are distinctively seasonal.

     My kitchen colors are red, and I keep a red felt wreath in there and when it matches my holiday colors I just find something to stick on it that pulls it all together. For Christmas, I add an ornament or two in turquoise, usually a snowflake or Christmas tree. For 4th of July, I added this little bunting and anchor (Dollar Spot at Target) to make it go with my theme.

    Look again at the photo from my Easter decorations this year.
  The only item in this picture that I have to store is the eggs. (I'll tell you more about my system for printables in a minute.) I often use candy as one of my elements because it is consumable, so I don't have to store it! The Peeps never get eaten, but at around $1 (I get them on sale at Target) I don't feel guilty about tossing them at the end of the month. They shouldn't be eaten anyway, in my mind!
 I chose plain white eggs. The eggs are meant to be dye-able, but I leave them plain white because then they go with any color scheme!

5. Go "disposable"!
   If you have every paid any attention to my posts about decorating I use two things fairly frequently: candy and fresh flowers. In the Easter photo above, those are $4 bouquet from Trader Joe's. They will most likely last the week and a half until Easter, so definitely worth the money, in my opinion. And I don't have to store them!
    This is a great example of using candy. I bought a dollar's worth of red and white gummy bears from Winco, picked all the red Sour Patch kids out of a clearance bag of Christmas ones, and bought Sixlets at the Dollar Tree. I shamelessly pulled the skull sketch my cousin did for me because I loved the funky vibe it gave this vignette. Candy is also "disposable"-as in, if my family doesn't eat it (Over the span of time that I usually have decor up they will munch on it, and then once I pull everything down I put it in a designated spot where they know they can go whole-hog!) I have no problem tossing it-although I can often find friends who are willing to take it off my hands. 

   People will ask about the temptation of having all that candy around, and I have a few things that help in that department: I will often buy candy I personally won't eat (Sixlets? Peeps? GROSS!). I also use really small quantities (the Sour Patch kids, for example) so I'm not tempted because I don't want to ruin my display. Also, constantly having candy available actually encourages me personally *not* to eat it, as I know I can always have some later. I can usually keep putting it off so "later" never comes! Ha! 

6. Change up your chalkboards and frames!

 If you haven't noticed yet, I get my money's worth from this little chalkboard. It gets a makeover for every season. I paid $3 for it from Target's Dollar Spot. Best decorating purchase-EVER! I look up ideas on Pinterest and do my best "third grader imitating professional" art on them. The handmade look is in, right? Scripture is always my go-to choice for what to write on them. 

 I spent a little bit of time (a couple of hours on Pinterest looking at tutorials) and realized the easiest thing to making your chalk art look better is to emphasize the "down" strokes of your letter. Just that simple thing makes all your work look more artistic! Two tips: first ALWAYS season your new chalkboards by completely covering them with plain white chalk-actual chalk, not chalk markers or pencils! This will keep them from being ruined by having whatever you first write on them permanently stuck on them. I made that mistake with this one and I had to buy chalk paint to cover it and fix that. Now that I have seasoned it, I don't have that problem. Second recommendation: use real chalk on actual chalkboards. It gives it the most authentic look and erases better. I have a multi-colored pack of chalk from Target that was less than $2 and I use that all the time. If you have a metal chalkboard like the tiny one in the photo with the green books chalk markers are a better pic for that type. Also, if you don't plan on erasing it, chalk markers are more precise and long-lasting. I used those on the hanging chalkboard in the Valentine set-up. 


  The frame above is the equivalent of the chalkboard. It gets a new printable or something each season. That costs almost nothing-just the cost of ink. If you aren't into creating your own, I have lots available here on the blog (search "printable") or Pinterest has tons! The two sizes I use most frequently are 8x10 and 5x7. Here is my best tip for frames: keep your prints stored in them! I keep the cardboard insert that comes with most frames, or even just the stock photo that comes in them, and I file whatever isn't being "presented" behind that. In some frames I have as many as 4 or 5 different photos or printables in there at any given time.

Side note: The set-up above was a great example of using what I had on hand. I wanted a "back-to-school" theme so I just arranged my kids' school supplies in a cute way!

7. Use paper or washi tape to get your desired effect. 
       The garland above (from "The Grinch Christmas Party") is one of my favorites, but it was also one of the easiest. I simply used strips of paper, cut in a matter of minutes with my tiny little paper cutter, and chopped them to different lengths and then I hot glued them to the back of a ribbon. The whole thing took maybe 15 minutes but was so gratifying! No talent necessary. I have a whole post on how to whip up easy paper garlands you should check out if you need more ideas. 

    This entire wreath was made out of paper. I hoped to day share the tutorial, but suffice it to say it was practically free, as I backed it with cardboard I cut from a box, and used a few sheets of paper and some hot glue to put it together. Paper is one of the least expensive things, but it makes a big impact! (Side note: here are some more books, but this time they are contributing to a "back-to-school" theme! "Free" decor! And what is more appropriate for that then my old-fashioned school bell?) 
      I limit myself to the amount of paper that will fit in a 12x12 storage container from Michael's that is about 4 inches deep. It holds all my paper and felt, and I usually can dig through to find what I want. Otherwise, it is a good excuse to run to Hobby Lobby and buy a dollar's worth of paper to match! I try to stick with paper that is one or two colors and patterned, but not specifically holiday. The ones above were from a pack and I had them leftover from a wreath I made, so they are kind of an exception. 
   
   Washi tape is another easy way to make seasonal decorations. The piece above was all washi. (Find the tutorial here.)I don't keep 500 rolls, but I do keep a small shoebox full and trust me, it's totally worth it.
 I made the shamrock in the photo with the succulent out of washi, too. I did that one a little differently, I laid strips on cardstock and then cut them out with a paper punch. And see, the washi helped me out here, too. 
  This "tree" is a great example of how handy washi can be! This is actually decorator masking tape, but same idea. This was so cheap, but made such great impact!



8. When in doubt go with white (or glass).
    I've shared this tip in regards to party-planning, but it bears repeating here, too. When you are purchasing decorative elements or dishware, you can't really go wrong with buying classic white or glass. I don't have a huge amount of space to store things, but I get my money's worth out of a small collection of items. This isn't an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of my most used pieces. Amusingly, many of them are in the photo above!

They are:
-2 olive trays, one small and one larger
-several assorted (one cup volume or less) plastic and ceramic white dishes. I have a square one I am particularly fond of.
-cylindrical glass vases. Two sizes. I bought the 7 inch one at the dollar store. That's the one in the photo above filled with the eggs. I also have a larger one for bigger arrangements.
-small white cake plate. Mine is actually plastic and it is hilariously from the Halloween decor at Target. It was on mega clearance and I only paid like $0.50 for it. Pick one up at a yard sale or in the Dollar Spot for $3-$5.
-larger white cake plate. Having two coordinating cake plates allows me to stack them onto each other for a tiered effect. They don't have to match perfectly! My big one is square and ceramic, the smaller one round and plastic.
-various jars. I keep mason jars in both pint and quart sizes. I use these for food storage when they aren't serving decorative purposes. The container in the photo above with the silver lid is a favorite. You can get that style at Hobby Lobby for around $3. Choose things you can use for storage year-round so you aren't making space for empty containers for months! That defeats the purpose. Most of mine live in my pantry filled with boring things like fruit snacks and granola bars. When I want them for decorating, I unceremoniously dump them in a bowl or basket, wash them out and they are ready to go!

   Obviously, you can adjust these to suit your own decor style and colors. You could easily substitute metals (silver, gold, etc.) as those will go with most any color scheme. You can be a little more flexible with frames-I have a variety in both metal and black. I also have a couple of colored ones.

   This is such a tiny amount of stuff that if you *had* to store it it would all fit in a small storage container. However, find a place for it in your everyday decorating and you've made it work double duty!


    So that pretty much finishes up my broad-stroke tips for the best ways to decorate seasonally without spending a ton of time or money, or having a garage full of decorations. However, sometimes it is still hard to figure out to put those things into practice, so I have one final post in this series where I will break down the steps and show you a mock set-up. It may seem like I have the "right" colors or items to make these tips work, and you have different colors and you don't collect weird things like glass skulls, hand-held school bells and garden gnomes. But my tips will still work! I promise-you can do it.
 
Looking for the last post in this series? Find it here:
Part 3

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