I’m Baaack! DIY $10 Christmas Wreath

Hi there, friends! I do apologize for my absence the last few months. Summer brought about a LOT of traveling and events, and also gave us some exciting news: we are expecting a little boy due to arrive sometime mid-February! Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of napping, and not so much blogging. BUT! I am hopeful that the next few months will be a little more successful in terms of blog posts (at least until the little man arrives).

To start off, I am going to share a super easy DIY with you all. And the best part about this DIY is that it is also cheap!

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This Christmas/winter wreath cost me a total of $9.23. Granted, I did use a coupon or two, and I found the supplies on sale, but it was all from Jo-Ann’s, so more than likely you can score the exact same wreath supplies for an equivalent cost.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A grapevine wreath
  • One “leafy” faux branch
  • Two “twiggy” faux branches
  • Two pinecone “branches”
  • One faux needle branch with red berries

First off, find a section of the grapevine wreath that has a horizontal vine or two; you’ll need this to hold the “branches” in. Take your “leafy” branch and slip it in snugly.

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Stick the branch with the berries in slightly below the leafy branch, making sure that the leafy branch is still visible.

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Your next step is to add in the twiggy branches. I really like these because they have little bells in them, so every time you open the door (in theory) it’ll jingle. How’s that for festive? Layer them on top of the leafy branch, but make sure they stay behind the berry branch.

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The final step is to stick those pinecones in. I ended up putting one on the bottom next to the berries, and the other tucked in behind the leafy branch, but do whatever makes the wreath feel balanced.

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And that’s it! Easy-peasy. You could also add a ribbon if you want to dress up the wreath more, but for myself I like the bareness of the vines. I think it feels more wintery that way.

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Enjoy!

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How to Make Your Own DIY Driftwood Mason Jar Candelabra

Whew! That’s quite a longwinded title! But trust me, this little how to is far from difficult.

The dog days of Summer are fast approaching, and I’m sure you’re dreaming of long evenings outdoors as much as I am. Long evenings outside demand some dreamy lighting, so I’m here today with this fun craft:

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Cute, right? I have to confess, I didn’t come up with this entirely on my own, as the inspiration came from Pinterest (hello, fellow Pinterest addicts!), but the design is completely my own.

So, with that out of the way, here’s the how-to.

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What you’ll need for this project:

  • A piece of driftwood (at least 2.5-3ft long, longer if using larger Mason jars)
  • 3-5 small Mason jars (need not be actual Mason jars, as you can see)
  • Twine
  • Screw-on hooks
  • Picture hanging wire
  • Wire cutter
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Tea light candles  (preferably no-flame, battery powered ones; these ones from Amazon are nice, since they come with a  remote)
  • Ceiling mounted hook (not pictured)

All right, let’s get started.

Step one will be to cut down the twine. You’ll want a 2ft segment for each jar. More than likely you’ll end up cutting off some extra, but this length makes it easier to work with.

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Once your twine is all cut, you’ll need to tie one end to the jar. Wrap it under the bottom of the lid lines, so that it doesn’t slip off.

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Next, you’ll take the rest of the twine and wrap it a couple of times around the driftwood. Knot it if you wish, but that isn’t necessary. Leave about a foot of twine between the driftwood and the jar, so that it hangs down. You can make it longer or shorter depending on your preference. Also make sure to leave several inches free at the end, so you can screw the hooks in.

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After that, take the other end of the twine and tie it around the jar again, making sure that the knots are on opposite ends of each other. This ensures that the jar hangs evenly. You should be able to adjust this fairly easily, especially if your jars are tapered.

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Repeat the last three steps with all of the jars. You can leave the hanging lengths even so that your jars hang in a straight row, or stagger them like I did to make a pyramid shape. Also remember to leave some space in between the jars so that they don’t bump into each other; 2 inches or so should be enough.

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Your next step is to screw those hooks in. Leave an inch or two off the end.

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Then, tie the picture hanging wire onto the hooks. You can make the wire long or short, depending on how far down you want the driftwood to be from the ceiling.

Your last step is to put the candles in, and you’re done!

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Hook it onto a hook wherever your heart desires (I put ours on our porch).

Let the porch parties begin!

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DIY Garden Sign

Hi friends! I have another fun little project to share with all of you today.

I recently found this old 2×4 cutting in our shed. I think I’d set it aside at some point thinking it would make a good swing seat. Of course, without the right tree branch or power tools to turn it into one, it ended up just sitting there.

But when I rediscovered it, I realized it would make a perfect sign. Then it proceeded to sit in the dark again for a couple weeks more (please tell me I’m not the only one who does that).

So this afternoon, I finally went upstairs, got my can of spray paint, and decided to go for it. The result?

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Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

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  • a piece of 2×4 (preferably at least 1 foot long, and up to however long you want it)
  • a can of spray paint (I used red, since it was what I had, but a pink or blue would be fun too)
  • a marker (I have a silver pen in the photo, but ended up going with gold; you’ll forgive me, won’t you?)
  • a hook and nails (you should be able to find a picture hanger kit with these pretty easily at any craft or hardware store; not pictured)
  • a hammer (not pictured)
  • a towel (not pictured)
  • newspaper

Step one is to make sure that your board is clean. Wipe off any dirt or dust (or cobwebs), and make sure it’s dry.

Take that board, the spray paint, and your newspaper on outside. Lay the newspaper down, and if you happen to struggle with slight winds, you can use masking tape to hold the newspaper down (don’t do it on a super windy day, otherwise you’ll get paint all over you).

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Now shake up that can and get spraying.

Let the paint dry completely (the drying time will vary depending on your paint variety, and how much you put on). If you feel it needs another coat, go ahead and put on a second coat.

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Once it’s completely dry, take it back inside, and grab your marker. Now I did a terrible job at centering my letters, but a quick rule of thumb is to start with the middle letter (or letters if your word has an even number of words), and write those first, making sure to center them. Then write the remaining letters. If you feel that you have terrible handwriting, you could always use letter stickers, but bear in mind that they may not last as long.

Draw the arrow last.

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Once you’ve written the word(s) down, take the board off the table, and lay the towel down. This will keep your table and your board from getting scratched up while you hammer the hook on, as well as soften the sound (should you have sleeping babies or sensitive neighbors).

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Place your hook on the board as close to the center as you can.

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Then, hammer in one nail, just enough to hold it in place. Realign the hook to make sure it’s level. Hammer in the second nail, and then hammer in the first all the way.

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And you’re done!

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Yay! You could literally write whatever you want, but I love the invitation that a “garden” sign indoors makes, even if you don’t have a garden.

Now go have fun!

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P.S. If you’d like to know how I lined my shelf with fabric (like you can see in two photos above), you can find that tutorial here.

How to Plant Potatoes, and Other Things Like That

How is it April already? Seriously, didn’t 2016 just start? Spring is already here, and I am just now starting to think about our garden. So here’s my first garden update for 2016.

I was enjoying the lovely sunshine outside yesterday, when I realized that my blueberry plants were starting to get flower buds.

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Then I noticed that my pie cherry tree was starting to bloom.

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And then I saw strawberry blossoms…

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And so I promptly realized, it was high time I started working on my garden. When all the plants around you are acting like it’s Spring, then it’s probably time for me to start acting like it too.

So, today, I dug up my garden.

Digging up a garden that has sat dormant all winter is work. Not necessarily HARD work (I can think of things that are harder), but it is work regardless. But thinking ahead to the rewards that I hope to enjoy this Summer makes it all worth it.

So to help fuel that dream, before I picked up my shovel and hoe, I picked up my trowel, and started some seeds.

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Good potting soil is a must for seedlings. Certainly you can use soil from your garden box, but if you really want to help your starts along, go ahead and get the potting soil. I like using these starter pots because you can plant them right into the soil! That’s right, these pots are biodegradable.

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I started 4 pots each of beefsteak tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, and watermelon. (I’ll share more about the asparagus next time) YUM! Let’s see if I actually succeed in getting any watermelon this year; last year the bugs munched mine (insert sad face here). Anybody have any tips on keeping pests away from watermelon and cantaloupe?

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Once I was done with that, I put them all on a cookie sheet (#repurpose, anyone?) and brought them in. If you’re planting along with me, don’t forget to water them. Go ahead and soak them; a good initial watering is essential.

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And don’t forget to label them. If your seed packets are empty, you can certainly use them. However, if you are intending to keep the seeds for future planting, then you’ll need to put them in a dark, dry place to store. An easy way to label is with masking tape and a bright, colorful marker.

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Ta-da! Now set them next to a sunny window.

Then it was time to go back out to those garden boxes.

This is what they looked like to start with:

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I had already gone out a couple weeks ago to turn the box on the right, but the one on the left was virtually untouched since last fall (I had weeded it a few days ago, but nothing else).

During the process of shoveling the dirt, I discovered a few goodies:

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I wonder who put those there?… ; )

I also discovered that I had neglected to dig up my potato crop enough last year. A FEW (*cough* 6 *cough*) apparently had remained in the ground (oops), and were starting to produce shoots. So, rather than toss them, I decided I’d replant them. We’ll get back to them.

After giving it a good turning with my shovel, I took my hoe and chopped up those big pieces.

Now back to those potatoes. Planting potatoes really is quite simple. You need potato starts (with eyes on them), soil, a shovel, and patience.

Start with a trench about 6in deep. Potatoes will need a double covering (initial covering at planting, and a second covering several weeks in when they have decent foliage), so you need to give a little extra room for the soil.

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Drop in those potatoes, making sure the eyes are on top, and that they are at least 2 in apart from one another.

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Then, cover them with about 4in of soil.

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Don’t forget to water them! (I did, but thankfully remembered and went back out)

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Once that was done, I moved on to the second box and dug it up. I didn’t hoe it out today, since I want to give it a second turning (turning the soil allows the nutrients to blend together, and also helps kill off weeds).

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So that was all for today. My next garden update will probably be in a few weeks, when I get my compost. I may even have some first plantings to share! What fun!

What are you growing in your garden this year?

Just for fun, here are a couple more pictures from our backyard:

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Make Your Own DIY Spring Wreath

Spring is here! Spring is here! Spring is here! (Can you tell I’m excited?)

And now that Spring is officially here, I can share this post with you guilt free. If you’re anything like me, if you can stretch the use of your seasonal décor longer, you do. So my Christmas wreath hung around for quite a while. I won’t tell you when exactly it came down, but let’s just say that my door has been wreathless for only a few weeks. That Christmas wreath was going to be used for as long as I could.

But now it’s time to move onto better, brighter things, so yesterday, I sat down and made my Spring wreath, which I must confess, was easier and funner (that’s a word, right?) than I thought.

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

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  • A metal wreath frame (I actually saved this one from my Christmas wreath)
  • 8+ faux flower bouquets (Mine were from the dollar tree)
  • 2ft length of wide ribbon (not pictured)

One word about your choice for the flowers: try and stick with a one or two color scheme. My flowers were all white and yellow. If you want to go more for a wildflower feel, then you’re welcome to mix colors, but pay attention to the type of flowers you pick. The cohesiveness of this wreath really depends on the colors (or type) you go with.

This really doesn’t take much work. All you need to do is stick the stems into the prongs of the wreath frame. Start from the top of your wreath, and work your way down each side. Try and weave your stems into the prongs as much as you can, so that they end up either covered by the other flowers, or come to the bottom of the wreath (which you’ll wrap with the ribbon).

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At this point, if you have extra flowers, you can continue to put them in and make it flowers all around, or you can do what I did, and add in the ribbon.

Your last step is to wrap the exposed stems and wreath frame with the ribbon. If you choose a silkier ribbon, it will feel more formal; burlap will make it feel more rustic. Choose whichever you prefer.

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Tie a pretty bow, and you’re done!

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This project probably took me 20 min max, and that was with photo-taking and dinner prep happening at the same time! Super easy.

Hope you’re enjoying Spring where you live too!

Make a Seasonal Scrapbook Frame in 3 Easy Steps

Yay! Spring is finally here! Well, ok, technically it’s not for another few days, but here in the PNW, you need only look outside to know that it has arrived. Daffodils and cherry blossoms are EVERYWHERE (and that’s an awfully good thing).

To celebrate this momentous occasion (that happens every year, but hey, it’s still exciting!), I am going to share a fun little project with you, just in time for the weekend (again, I’m celebrating a bit early).

These scrapbook pages are the result of several years, mostly because I didn’t have always have time at the beginning of a season to put on together. The actual creation of one of these pages really only takes 5-10 min, but somehow, Spring was the last one that got made (Spring cleaning, anyone?).

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • A 12×12 picture frame
  • 12×12 Cardstock/scrapbook paper
  • Clippings of fun photos or illustrations
  • Double-sided tape (a glue stick works fine too)

A few words of advice on picking your cardstock and photo clippings: you can pick a patterned backdrop or one without for your cardstock, but if you choose a patterned one, try and pick one that will “frame” your work, like the one I picked. A patterned one will create movement and add color and life to your overall composition, but with the movement comes busyness. Keep that in mind when you’re picking out your photo clippings too; you don’t want your backdrop to clash with the images that are supposed to be the main event. As for the clippings themselves, pick photos or illustrations that speak to the season you’re going with (for example: fireworks are a perfect choice for Summer, but not so much for Winter. Unless you celebrate Chinese New Year).

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Your first step is to figure out which photo/illustration you want to have in the center. It should be one of the biggest ones that you have, to maintain a balanced look over all. Go ahead and adhere it to the paper.

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Next, arrange the remaining cuttings around the big one (but don’t adhere them yet – you may want to rearrange them). Play around with the layout until it looks balanced and feels right. Go ahead and layer your clippings on top of each other, but remember to only overlap slightly; you want to be able to still see the majority of the image.

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Once you’re happy with the layout, go ahead and adhere the remaining cuttings to the cardstock.

And you’re done! Stick that paper into the frame, and hang her up!

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Just for fun, I’ll share some of my other seasons with you:

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I really can’t decide which one is my favorite… it might be Summer. But I’ll have to wait a little longer for that one.

How to Update a Jar

Hi friends! Isn’t this weather glorious?? I’ve been waiting for just such a lovely, sunny day for this project, and I’m so excited to share it with you.

I shared with you a while back about the beautiful glass jars that I have in my pantry. They were given to me by my mother-in-law, who had collected them over many years for use in her own pantry. But in their recent kitchen update, they decided to switch to different containers that fit their new setup better, and she asked if I would like to have them. Would I ever!! There was no hesitation in my answer: yes.

I’ve loved using them ever since, but had always wanted to paint the lids so that they were all the same color. Also, the advertisement for pickles was kind of getting old. And so, I recently purchased a can of gold spray paint, and today was the day I stepped out and did some spraying.

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

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  • Jar lids
  • A can of spray paint
  • Newspaper
  • A sunny day (or a well ventilated room, such as your garage with the door open)

Your first step is to make sure that those lids are clean. Mine were in pretty decent shape, as I had washed them all recently, so I didn’t clean them again, but if they do have any dust on them, go ahead and suds up and get them clean.

Next, spread out the newspaper.

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Lay out the lids on top of the newspaper, and spray away!

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Now, I found out that these lids needed a lot more paint to totally cover them than I thought, so I actually ran out of spray paint, so make sure to get a large can if you have a lot of lids to paint.

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Next, let them soak up some sun for at least 30 minutes (check the label on your can; some spray paints may require more time to dry).

And you’re done!

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I’m so happy with how these turned out!

While I’m on the subject of the pantry, I’ve been wanting to change the liner that is currently in there, and I wanted to share a sneak peak of the options I’m looking at, and I would LOVE your feedback:

Option 1:

Isn’t this so bright and fun? And apparently it’s scented too; not quite sure how I feel about that, but it sounds somewhat attractive. (Here‘s the Amazon link for it)

Option 2:

Michel Design Works Scented Drawer Liners, Blue

I recently decided to change my kitchen colors to blue, white and gray, so this is an option that would match the kitchen. (Here‘s the Amazon link for it)

What do you guys think? Should I go with the bolder pink one? Or stick with the kitchen color scheme?

If any of you have a shelf liner that you love, and would be willing to share it with me, I’d love to see it! Feel free to leave a comment with a picture of what it looks like and where you got it.

How to Make a Necklace

Now I know that this how-to has nothing to do with interior design or home decor, but it was a fun little project I did this week that I simply had to share with you all.

Several months after our wedding, I lost one of the earrings that I wore for the ceremony. I was so bummed; they were my favorite pair that I owned at the time, and I was so disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to wear it any more. I held onto the leftover earring because I couldn’t bear to part with it, and I had hopes that I would be able to find a way to use it, or perhaps even find another identical one (or, miracle of miracles, find the lost earring).

Then, a few months ago, I had the idea to turn it into a pendant. I was so excited about the idea, but didn’t get around to doing it til this week, and I am so pleased with how it turned out.

Here is what you’ll need for this project:

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  • One earring (you may be able to use a post earring for this project, but I used a dangle earring)
  • Pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Wire cutter
  • Necklace chain

The whole process is really quite simple; all you need to do is to twist the earring post around the joint portion.

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Once you’ve finished wrapping it around and creating a loop, cut off the remaining wire with the write cutters.

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Then, string the chain through the loop, and put it on!

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I’m so happy to be able to wear my earring again!

How to Make and Style Your Bed

This post just seemed appropriate for the first Monday of the year. What’s the number one habit that everyone tells you to take on? Make your bed. EVERY. DAY. Which, is one habit that used to be a habit for me, but lately, well, not so much. Must have something to do with becoming a mother of two.

Well, anyway, I was thinking about this habit/not-habit of ours (is it ok if I say that?), and I was realizing that if you don’t know how to make a bed, or if you don’t know how to style a bed, then you won’t really know the joy that making your bed can bring. ‘Cause who cares, right? You’re going to mess it up at the end of the day anyway.

My hope is that this post will change that (for you, and for me). Making your bed is important, not just because it makes your bedroom look nicer, but because we all know that wonderful feeling of sliding into a bed that has been made.

So, let’s get to it.

Your first step is to start with clean sheets. Now, I get it, you’re not going to have clean sheets everyday, so this is more of a weekly step (apparently you’re suppose to wash your sheets AT LEAST once a week, for hygienic purposes).

Start with the base sheet. That’s the one with elastic on the edges. Tuck that sheet around the mattress nice and tight.

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Next, I place my pillows. I do this because I hate having to take off the pillows and put them under the top sheet every time I go to bed. It’s just not efficient. (Note: this step will only work with The Minimalist style I’ll discuss later.  You’ll need to skip this step for the other ones.)

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Third, spread that top sheet nice and tight over it all.

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Now, here’s the tricky part.

Most of you know how to tuck in a top sheet, but I’ll share the basics again,  just in case you’ve forgotten:

First, tuck in the bottom of the sheet under the mattress. Be sure to pull it tight and flat. No lumpy bedsheets allowed. You’re going for a cocoon feel here.

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Next, pull up the corner of the sheet until it’s parallel to the top of the mattress.

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Then, tuck in the edge of the sheet.

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Lastly, tuck that corner in.

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Voila! A nice, neat edge to your bed. Tuck the rest of the edge of the sheet all the way to the top, and repeat steps 1-4 on the other side.

Your bed should end up looking like this:

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Now that you’re all done with the sheets, it’s time to dress it up.

Styling a bed is all about color and theme. I’ll show you three basic styles that all use the same items, just so you get the basic ideas.

A quick note on colors; I like sticking with solid colored sheets. If you have patterned sheets, it can become harder to find a comforter/blanket to match, and personally, I would rather have the pattern showing on top than have it hidden under a blanket.

Spread your basic blanket down. This should be your cozy, thin blanket, the one that makes you want to cuddle. This step holds true for all three styles.

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Another quick note on bed styling: ALWAYS tuck your blankets behind the footboard, if your bedframe has one.

Ok, style no. 1 is The Minimalist. I LOVE this style, because it’s easy to do, and looks nice and sleek.

Fold your comforter in half, and lay it down at the foot of the bed. This accentuates the contrast between the base blanket, and the plushness of the comforter, making it look extra cozy.

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I’ll call the next style the AirBnB, because it’s a little cozier than The Minimalist, but not full on Bed and Breakfast (the third style I’ll show).

Keep the comforter at the bottom of the bed, and don’t put the pillows under the sheets (like I mentioned earlier). Stand them and another set of pillows along the headboard. For a fuller look, use king size pillows for the back two, or put three pillows instead. Put the patterned pillowcase pillows up front. Last, add a couple bed pillows on there. Make sure that these are smaller than your typical throw pillows, since that will overwhelm the whole thing.

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All right, now here’s the Bed and Breakfast. This one is all about comfort.

Go ahead and pull up the comforter, but make sure that the end is still tucked behind the footboard. Then, stand those pillows up at the top again, but flip them so that the patterned pillowcases are at the back. This is important for visual cohesiveness. If you want it to be extra cushy, add a third row of pillows. Add the bed pillows, and if you have one, put one of those tube shaped pillows in front (anybody know what those things are called?). Your last step is to add a throw blanket; you can spread it out at the foot of the bed, like I did, or just toss it on.

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And there you have it. Three different styles for your sleeping pleasure.

Before I sign off for today, I want to share one last tip. Obviously, you won’t be taking everything off everyday to make your bed. So a quick tip on freshening up your bed in the morning; Pull up the edge of your blanket so that you can see the top sheet, then pull that flat, both up to the top of your bed as well as down along the sides. Repeat the top sheet tucking as necessary. Then, pull the blankets back up and to the sides, and you’re all done!

Here’s to a year of freshly made beds.

How to Set a Table – Christmas Edition

Christmas is two days away, folks. Are you getting excited?

One of the funnest (yes, I said funnest) parts of Christmas is the food, and along with it, the table setting that decorates the table. But if you, like me, haven’t really even thought about what you want your table to look like, fear not, I’m here with some easy table settings for you.

I have three different styles of table settings for you today.

The first one is your naturalistic one. This one is great if you’re hosting brunch, or simply want a more casual table setting.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • Evergreen branches (I have three different kinds here, but ended up only using two. You really don’t need a lot; one or two branches should be plenty)
  • A white table runner
  • An oil lamp (if you don’t have one, a large pillar candle with a base would work)
  • Tea light candles with holders
Your first step will be to cut down those branches. Make short segments so they’ll lay flat.
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Next, lay down the table runner and place the oil lamp/pillar candle right in the middle.

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Lay the branches around the lamp/candle as if you were framing it. Spread them out so that they cover most, but not all of the table runner.

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Then “sprinkle” the tea light candles around, and you’re done!

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Voila! You can make the branches as thick or thin as you want, but personally I feel that less is more in this situation.

The next table is a little more formal, but is the easiest of the three. I call this one the Golden Holly.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • White round placemats (one for each place setting + one for the center)
  • Gold ornaments
  • Two candlesticks
  • Holly branch (pick one with lots of berries)
  • Your trusty salt and pepper shakers
Step one for this table is much like the first table: set out your placemats at each seat, and one right in the middle. Set your candlesticks an equidistance away from the placemat on either side.
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Next, place that holly branch on the placemat in the middle and sprinkle the ornaments around it.
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That’s it!
The third table is great for the kids table (or anyone who is a kid at heart). I call it the Nutcracker and His Friends.
Here’s what you’ll need:
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  • A nutcracker
  • A Christmasy tablecloth (stick with something monotone)
  • Fake snow
  • A small wood stump
  • Some ceramic animals
  • Any items that are foresty

You all know step one by now: lay out that tablecloth.

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Next, lay out the snow, making sure to keep a small section open for the nutcracker and the tree stump.

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Then, put out the “friends” in such a way that it looks like they’re playing in the snow.

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I love this little birdy, and how serene it looks in the snow. Just a happy little bird snoozing away.

There you have it. Which one do you like best?