Easter Tree

spring table decor

I made an Easter Tree. My husband has never heard of an Easter Tree, and my son thinks that an Easter Tree should look a lot more like a Christmas Tree… but I forged ahead. When I grew up, we had an Easter Tree on the table at Easter breakfast. I remember putting all the tiny wooden ornaments on the white branches of the little tree. So when I was at a lunch over at The Pinning Mama‘s house, and saw that she had a branch that had been cut off her tree, ready to be thrown away, I did what any crafty blogger would do. I asked if I could have it.

I took it home and spray painted it white. I used Krylon Matte paint. My branch was large – it took a whole can.

spray paint branch

When you spray paint a branch, match your strokes so they are parallel to the branch. Going up and down to paint across a vertical branch wastes a lot of paint.

I supported my branch on a couple tomato cages so that it wasn’t in the dirt. I waited about 30 minutes for the paint to dry a little, flipped it over, then painted the other side.

To display my Easter Tree, I shoved a block of Styrofoam into a large yogurt container. Then I shoved the branch into the middle of the styrofoam. The yogurt container was put inside my large glass vase, then the shredded paper was packed firmly all around that. The tree is VERY top-heavy, so I needed a lot to support the base. Instead of shredded paper, stones or glass pebbles would be a great idea to add more weight.

Now I’m in the process of making ornaments to put on the tree. I’m looking forward to coming up with lots of fun ways to decorate it!

spring decor

Behind the tree you can see my Spring Banister decor.

Holiday Home Tour

Well hello there! I thought I’d take you on a little tour of the front room, decked out for the holidays. Not the entire house… because you don’t want to see my disaster of a wrapping station, or the front room that’s looking particularly lived-in after the entire family has come down with the flu (it was a rough weekend). But I’ll give you a little peek into the mostly-un-photoshopped parts of the house that have been decorated for the holidays.

If you want to see some other bloggers’ Holiday spaces, check out this post over at Denise Designed for details on the holiday home tour.

First, our front door. I made the Ornament Bricks this year. The wreath I made years and years ago – just a simple store-bought garland wreath that I wrapped with a string of bells. I love that it jingles whenever we open the door!

The Santa mat was a gift… I love that it adds a little extra holiday ho-ho-ho!

Holiday Doorway

view of the front room

Inside the door is our Christmas tree. We move around the couches at Christmastime to fit the tree. The two rockers belong to my kiddos – they were first birthday gifts from my in-laws. My MIL also made the Santa that stands to the right of the tree. Behind Santa is an Advent Calendar that I stitched up from a fabric panel years ago – but we’ve never actually used it to count down the days to Christmas! On the back of the door is the wreath I made this year.

tree and ornaments

At the top of the tree is a simple star (my 5-year old was super excited to put the star on top of the tree this year), and just below the star are my two turtle doves. I love my doves, I’ve had them as part of my holiday decor for years.

two turtle doves

You can also see the ornaments that hang from the valences. I have ornaments from all the downstairs valences. A simple way to add decor throughout the house.

holiday decor

Hanging from the mirror is the elongated wreath I made last year, and next to it a fun sign…

small table runner

On the coffee table between the tree and the sofa is a table runner that I made back in 2010. It is a simple quilt-as-you-go runner made with strips of holiday fabric. On the runner are my Santa Candlesticks.

dancing snowglobes

Also on the coffee table are my little dancing Hallmark snowless snowglobes. I’m not sure what these are called, but Hallmark sold them years ago, with a new one coming out every week or so. I wasn’t dedicated enough to get the whole collection, but someday need to go on Ebay to get more of the set. I love these guys, and so do my kids.

You can see on the couch is a Christmas Quilt, this one made by my husband’s Auntie. She’s an avid quilter, and made this flannel quilt for us years ago. I love snuggling under it during the holidays.

end table

Between the sofas is a little endtable. I have a beaded mat, some holiday coasters, my Mason Jar with Light-up tree, and this year’s photo of the kiddos with Santa. I’m loving Viv from the V Spot’s holiday tradition of framed holiday photos that come out every year, and want to start that tradition with my boys. Although I doubt I’ll be re-painting the frames each year.

living room

Next is the china hutch. We don’t have a fireplace, so the china hutch is where we hang our stockings. Before we had the hutch, we hung our stockings from the banister.

stockings on the china hutch

I hung my simple silver ball garland between the stockings.

stockings hanging

I made the stockings 4 years ago. The names are cross-stitched by hand. The snowman image and the cross-stiched name are machine appliqued onto the stocking, which has a furry cuff.

mom and dad stocking

Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie have stockings that match ours, because they joined us for Christmas that year. The baby’s stocking was made last year to match. The fabric is a white-on-white print that doesn’t show up in the photos, but gives some subtle contrast on the fabric.

banister

Past the dining room is the banister and a snowflake hanging from the stairs that holds Christmas cards. I have decor up in the rest of the house, but I’ll save that for another day… or maybe another year.

Most of the decor in the house is up-high, or very kid friendly. With two little guys, I want them to feel like they can touch, play with, and be part of the holiday decorations. Christmas is for the kids, after all, and they shouldn’t be afraid of interacting with it… right?

Make sure you check out Denise Designed for the list of home tours, and you can also check out the Everything Christmas Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

Christmas Home Tour 2013

Giant Classroom Wall Tree

One of the best things about having a school-aged kid is the fun projects. Yes, I’m going to be coming back to this post in a couple years, after drowning in school projects, and laughing at my former self who got excited when teachers asked for help. But right now, in this moment, it is pretty awesome. I love helping out in my son’s classroom, and this is one of those fun projects.

Little Moore’s teacher is a self-described non-crafty man. I offered to help out with some crafty projects, as needed. He wanted a big tree in the hallway that could be changed out for the seasons. Basically, just the trunk and branches. I told him that not only would I make it, but it would be awesome. Because I’m a lot of things… but humble is not one of them (however, awesome is totally one of them – ha!).

I’m not giving you a step-by-step here because I’m pretty sure that the demand for giant tree tutorials isn’t worth the time it’ll take me to edit the photos… but I’ll give you the highlights.

Classroom Tree with my Kindergartener

I prepped the trunk at home. I used Foamcore cut into the right shape. The “carving” on the tree is a piece of styrofoam. I carved the heart and the word “school” into the heart, then covered it in Smooth Finish. After the Smooth Finish hardened, I painted it brown, with the carving a lighter brown so it would really stand out.

Tree trunk with Styrofoam Smooth Finish Carving

At the top of the trunk, I put a piece of cork. This way the teacher can easily switch out things in the hole in the tree.

Classroom Tree Cork Board

I lined up my foam core, styrofoam, and cork pieces, and Duck Taped them together. I used some extra cardboard on the back to give some extra strength to the seams. Then I added on the bark.

The bark is crumpled up paper from a Fed Ex Box. It was already crumpled up, which was perfect. I just wrinkled it more, and used a TON of Mod Podge to secure it onto the tree trunk. Lots and lots of texture. Once that all dried, I used a sponge and some brown paint, lightly went over the whole trunk with the brown paint in spots (more texture!). Then gave the whole thing a thick coat of Mod Podge. So thick that it isn’t fully dry in these photos, and you can see some of the white!

The branches were fun to do.

Classroom Tree Branches

When I put the rest of the brown paper trunk on, I left 5 long pieces hanging off of the top, then took the trunk to school. I used a staple gun to secure the tree to the wall. Then I twisted the brown paper branches into place, using the staple gun to secure them. I tore off any extra, and added sub-branches off the 5 main branches. Once all the branches were up, they got a quick swipe of brown paint sponged on, and then a coat of Mod Podge.

It took about 5 hours at home, and about another 2-3 at the school… but this tree looks awesome.

Any volunteers to try to take it down at the end of the year?

Smooth Finish Styrofoam Eye Box

eyeball box

I got to play with Styrofoam’s Smooth Finish, and decided that with Halloween coming, it was the perfect chance to make an eyeball box. It took less than 30 minutes of hands-on time to put it together, and I’m loving the way it turned out! My kiddos think it is pretty awesome, too.

To make your own eyeball box you need:
Small tin (got mine in the discount section at Michael’s)
Styrofoam Ball
Smooth Finish
Sponge or paper towel
Water
Fine grit sandpaper
Paint & Paintbrushes
Glue

Start by cutting your foam ball in half, and putting on the Smooth Finish. Once you have it in all the nooks and crannies, wipe it down with a wet sponge or damp paper towel to smooth it.

wipe down the smooth finish

Let dry fully. Overnight. Or a couple days… whichever. Then use fine grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots.

sand smooth

Pick your paint colors. I chose 2 tones of green for the eye, in addition to red and black (not shown).

select paints

Start by painting the iris.

paint on iris

Use both colors to get a more realistic look. Then paint on red blood vessels with a fine-tipped paintbrush.

paint on veins

Add the black pupil in the middle.

glue on to tin

Lastly, glue the eyeball to the top of your tin, and you’re all done!

eyball box with smooth finish

Mod Podge Dinosaur Wreath

This Dinosaur wreath is so simple to make that I don’t have an official tutorial for it… but if you want to make your own, or something similar, here is what you need:

Tissue paper (I used the leftovers from my pennant banners)
Ribbon (I used rainbow colored)
Foam craft sheet
Extruded Foam ring (this smooth surface works great for Mod Podging)
Hot Glue
Scissors
Ballpoint pen
Mod Podge
Paintbrush
Google Eye

Use the Mod Podge to layer the tissue paper on the wreath. Make sure the wreath is fully covered. Adding multiple layers will increase the depth of color on the wreath.

Once the wreath is dry, tie a large bow on one side with the ribbon.

With a pen, draw your dinosaur shape on the craft foam, and then cut out.

Hot glue dinosaur on the bow of the wreath, attach the google eye, and hang the wreath.