Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

I’m so excited to share my Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes with you! We built the boxes a couple summers ago but this is the first year I’ve decked them out for Christmas.

It all started when I saw this garden flag at Lowe’s. You can’t see in this pic but “Team Nice” is on the back. Cute, right? I didn’t have a place in my yard that would show off both sides so I decided to buy two and use them as features in my window boxes. Of course they would require some modifications first. Here’s what I did.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

I started by shortening the stand so my flag would hang at the right height for the window box. I marked approximately where I wanted to cut.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Used a hacksaw to do the deed.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

And taped off the rough ends with electrical tape.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Then I was left with two pieces that looked like this.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

The last step was to put the two pieces back together with a few more strips of electrical tape. (I am a little worried about the tape holding up in the Chicago weather. I might go back to reinforce things with zip ties if I need to.)

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

With the stand finished it’s time to start filling the window boxes! Luckily I have neighbors on one side who let me cut branches from their evergreen tree and an abandoned house across the street where I can do some “volunteer pruning”.

Before I started putting in my live greens I lined the top of the boxes with this super cheap, super fake-looking artificial garland. This serves as a filler to hide any gaps or holes in my finished arrangement. Then I put in the flag – on it’s new, shortened stand.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

The next two layers are branches that hang over and spill down the front of the boxes. (Wish I knew enough to tell you what kind of tree these come from. Anyone?)

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

To hold everything in place I used these wood picks I bought at Michael’s.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

They come with floral wire already attached so all you have to do is wrap the other end around your branch and stake it in the dirt.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

After two layers of draping greens I added just a few straight, non-hanging branches for some height in the top of the box. These metal landscaping pins came in handy for this step.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

You might have noticed some tiny lights in the last photo. They’re actually part of a garland Josh bought at an after Christmas clearance sale last year. They aren’t super bright but they do add a sweet twinkle to all that green so I layered them on top, pushing them toward the front so they could be seen from the street.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Almost done! After walking out in the yard (in the rain) a dozen times to see how things were looking I decided to add a pop of color. I used ornaments because they’re cheap and easy to find. I attached them using the same wood picks as before.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

And with that last touch of color- they’re done!

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

I should point out that I had a third window box to fill. I used the exact same greenery, lighted garland, and ornaments but added a Santa hat in place of the flag. It’s held in place with more wood picks/floral wire that I simply threaded through safety pins.

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

Naughty And Nice Holiday Window Boxes | laughingabi.com

naughty and nice collage

I’m so far behind with my holiday decorating that I almost didn’t do this project at all. I’m really glad I did though. It makes a big impact and looks so cozy when I pull up to the house every day.

Do you have all your decorating done? All your presents bought? I’ve started but I’m soooo far from done.

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Advent Calendar Made From Upcycled Shoe Organizer

Advent Calendar Made From Upcycled Shoe Organizer

ALTERNATE TITLE: Holy Crap It’s December 1 and I Haven’t Made My Advent Calendar Yet!

A more organized, on-the-ball blogger would have shared this project a couple weeks ago. But the truth is, I just put it together this morning in a fit of last-minute panic. I was inspired by this idea I saw last year and decided better late than not at all.

The most appealing part of this calendar is it uses things I already had around the house – perfect for a procrastinator like me. First, an over-the-door shoe organizer, which was holding a bunch of random junk.

Advent Calendar Made From Upcycled Shoe Organizer

Next, some paper treat bags I had in my stash. If you don’t have these you can easily cut holiday wrapping paper or scrapbooking paper down to size. (These aren’t the exact ones I used but you get the idea.)

Advent Calendar Made From Upcycled Shoe Organizer

Grab some old-fashioned clothespins (or tape if you don’t have any), tissue paper, and your advent gifts, and you’re ready to put it together. (TIP: You don’t have to have all your gifts ready on December 1. I usually buy things throughout the month and add them as I go.)

Oh, I almost forgot my favorite part! These FREE advent countdown tags from SimpleAsThatBlog.com. They’re absolutely adorable and Rebecca has done all the work so all we have to do is download, print, and cut. Thank you Rebecca!

Advent Calendar Made From Upcycled Shoe Organizer

Assembly is pretty self-explanatory. The treat bags or wrapping paper serve as a decorative front in each pocket. Then the advent gifts are wrapped in the tissue and placed in next. Lastly, the clothespin holds your tag in place. (I added a piece of washi tape to mine – couldn’t resist a red chevron.) And you’re done!

Advent Calendar Made From Upcycled Shoe Organizer

Advent Calendar Made From Upcycled Shoe Organizer

I’m really happy with how it turned out. And the best news is both of my girls came home from school today and said, “I love it!”

DIY Painted Mugs That Won’t Wash Away

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

You’ve all heard or read how to draw your own designs on a coffee cup then bake it in the oven to make it permanent. And half of you have probably tried it only to see your beautiful masterpiece wash down the drain – literally – even though you followed all the directions, used an oil-based marker, and gently hand washed the darn thing.

Well I have the secret solution just in time for the Christmas gift-making season – these magical glass markers from DecoArt!

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

 

I know they don’t look like anything different but I promise they work miracles. I bought mine at Michael’s but you can find them at most craft supply stores or online.

I won’t bore you with a “draw-n-bake” tutorial since they’re all over the internet (this is one of my favorites although I don’t know anything about the markers they use) but I do want to share some tips I discovered when working on these mugs for a client. (My first custom project! Go me!)

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

TESTING

First things first. If you’ve been burned on a DIY marker mug before you might be a bit gun-shy to try another. I get it. I was too. I recommend doing a test draw then. Turn your mug upside-down and make a mark on the bottom. I wrote the year. Then bake it and wash it. Once you’re sure it’s really going to be permanent you can get down to serious creative business.

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

ERASING

Before you start drawing gather up a few items from around the house. These supplies, along with some warm soapy water for drastic cases, are your “erasers”.

  • rubbing alcohol
  • cotton balls
  • cotton swabs
  • paper towels (I cut mine into little squares so they’re easier to work with.)

Let’s say you’re writing “Merry Christmas Uncle Joe” on you mug and you accidentally end up with “Uncle Joo”. No worries. Simply dip a cotton swab in the rubbing alcohol and carefully wipe away the mistake. It may smear the ink and seem a mess at first but that’s ok. Just keep dipping and wiping until your mistake and any smears or haze are gone. Let it dry, then grab your marker and try again.

You can use the cotton balls and paper towels the same way. It all depends on the size and detail of your mistake.

What if you totally screw up and think it’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen? Just go to the sink and scrub your mug with warm soapy water. Voila! You’re back at square one with a new blank slate.

WAITING

So you’ve finished your masterpiece and now you’re itching to pop it in the oven and make it permanent. WAIT! The ink needs to cure for at least eight hours first. Set it aside, go to work, run your errands, drink a few pots of coffee – whatever you need to do – then come back and get your bake on.

BAKING

There are a few baking rules which are all printed on the back of the marker for easy reference.
1. Don’t preheat your oven. Put your piece in first then turn on the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Set your timer for 40 minutes AFTER the oven has come to temperature, not when you put the mug in.
3. Don’t take your mug out when the timer goes off. Instead, turn off the oven and open the door. Let the mug cool as the oven cools.

Again, all this info is on the back of the pen in case you forget. So convenient.

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

I hope you decide to give these markers a try. I’m so happy to finally find something that works although I will admit I haven’t tested any pieces in the dishwasher yet. I’m content to wash mine by hand just to be safe. I’m planning to try some plates next then glass canisters. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries

Creative blogger confession: I’m not feeling it people.

Halloween is just over a month away. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are steaming on every corner. And the trees in my yard are turning shades of red and yellow. But I cannot seem to get into the Fall decorating groove.

Normally I would go on a Pinterest binge, searching for inspiration. But instead I decided to take a look back at my own blog and check out some of the decorating ideas I’ve shared in the past. Here’s what I discovered: my holiday posts are an unorganized mess! How can I expect you lovelies to see my ideas if you can’t find them?

Fortunately the solution was easy. I created a Halloween and a Fall/Thanksgiving idea gallery! Hover over any thumbnail image to see the title and click on it to read the original post. I also created a “PROJECT GALLERY” link in the menu bar at the top of the page so you can get there without having to find this post again.

HALLOWEEN

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THANKSGVING/FALL

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Some of the oldest ideas are still my favorites like this witch toasting her favorite holiday with a martini . . .

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com. . . and this wicked Halloween chalkboard.

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com

I’m including this screen shot so there will be an image of the gallery if you’re trying to add it to your Pinterest board.

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com

Oh, I also set up a Christmas/Holiday gallery so when you find yourself humming Jingle Bells you can go check that out.

I hope this makes it easier to find inspiration when you need it. Take a look and let me know what you think. I always love hearing from you guys.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorations: Christmas Door Hanger

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorations: Christmas Door Hanger | laughingabi.com

THE GOOD NEWS: This project went together in about ten minutes and cost me $0.

THE BAD NEWS: I have no idea how I did it.

I honestly just grabbed some ribbon from my stash and started cutting and tying and looping it together. The frame and greenery/pine cone are held on with hot glue and duct tape – because that’s how I roll.

So if you’re looking for a tutorial, I’m sorry. This is more of an “idea” post.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorations: Christmas Door Hanger | laughingabi.com

My inspiration came from another blog called Nell Hill’s Blog. Her version is much fancier than mine but the concept is the same.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorations: Christmas Door Hanger | laughingabi.com

I filled the frame with a picture of my daughter but you could use your favorite Christmas wrapping paper or a monogram for the person staying in that room over the holiday. Or you could skip the frame altogether an use an ornament instead.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorations: Christmas Door Hanger | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorations: Christmas Door Hanger | laughingabi.com

Another idea from Nell Hill’s Blog is to hang small stockings filled with goodies on each of the doors so when your guests arrive there’s a treat waiting for them. How sweet is that? It almost makes me want to invite the whole family to my house for Christmas. Almost.

Are you hosting Christmas at your house this year? Will you have treats for your guests when they arrive? Or is letting them stay at your house treat enough?

This post is Day 12 in the series “12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating”. Click these gallery pics to see all the projects in the series.

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12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art | laughingabi.com

Have you ever noticed how gorgeous some of the Christmas gift bags are? They’re like miniature pieces of art. Really, really cheap pieces of art.

So why not cut them apart, pop them in a frame, and hang them on the wall? I used one bag from this set of two to finish off my mantle. It cost $1.50 for the pair.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art | laughingabi.com

After I cut out the “face” of the bag I flipped it over and carefully snipped the paper strip covering the handles. Then it was easy to peel the handles off and trim away any excess paper that was adding bulk.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art | laughingabi.com

I did a bit more trimming to get the size just right and then it was ready for framing.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art | laughingabi.com

For this piece I used a frame without any glass or backing because I wanted the wood to show. I used two t-pins and a rolled piece of painters tape to hold the art in place.

My favorite gift bag wall art is made from plain brown paper gift bags my sister-in-law, PiperEdison, drew specifically for each member of our family. (Some of you might recognize these from last year.)

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Gift Bag Wall Art | laughingabi.com

Yep, those all started as plain brown paper bags. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away so I trimmed, laminated, and framed them. Voila – handmade gift bag wall art.

Do you love gift bag designs? (I know I’m not the only one.) Do you save pretty bags? Have you repurposed them for something other than gift giving?

This post is Day 11 in the series “12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating”. Click these gallery pics to see all the projects in the series.

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12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Plate Wall

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

I have an addiction – a cocktail plate addiction. I don’t eat off them or entertain with them, I hang them on the wall. Sounds logical, right?

Before I go any further let me say I realize not everyone has enough cute little plates to fill a wall. You can use this idea if you only have a few Christmas dishes. Or maybe you have a big, beautiful platter that you’ve always coveted but never been able to show off. You could even use a plain plate and have the kids write or draw on it with a dry erase marker like this. It’s all about using what you have.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

Putting it together is simple. I used standard plate hangers and picture hangers. You could also try this kind. I haven’t used it before but have been wanting to.

Lay the plates out on the floor and arrange them to fit your space. Go symmetrical, random, in a circle —  whatever you like.

Then transfer your pattern to the wall (I use this) and hang them up.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

If you’re shopping for new plates I found the moose and snowflake at Target for less than $3.00 each, and the red birds at Crate & Barrel for $6.00.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

Do you display any collections at Christmastime? Any holiday addictions that you’re willing to share?

This post is Day 9 in the series “12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating”. Click these gallery pics to see all the projects in the series.

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12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Put Your Wrapping Paper On Display

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Put Your Wrapping Paper On Display | laughingabi.com

Today’s decorating idea is as simple as it gets.

  1. Take your Christmas wrapping paper out of the closet or from under the bed.
  2. Set it out in a pretty container.

If it’s festive enough to put under your Christmas tree why not use it to decorate before you wrap the gifts too?

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Put Your Wrapping Paper On Display | laughingabi.com

Did you ever notice this is how high-end retail stores display their wrapping paper? Here’s a shot I took with my phone at Crate and Barrel.

Displaying photo.JPG

Simple? Check.
Pretty? Check.
Functional? Check.

My repurposed laundry basket doesn’t look as nice as the Crate and Barrel version but it works.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Put Your Wrapping Paper On Display | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Put Your Wrapping Paper On Display | laughingabi.com

Do you mix form and function for your Christmas decorating? What things from you non-seasonal decor do your repurpose for the holidays?

This post is Day 7 in the series “12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating”. Click these gallery pics to see all the projects in the series.

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12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges | laughingabi.com

Clove studded oranges are cheap, simple, natural and will make your house smell yummy for the holidays. You only need four supplies.

  • Oranges
  • A citrus zester (this one is from Amazon but you can usually find them at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond.)
  • A toothpick
  • Whole cloves

Use the zester to “carve” patterns into your orange peel. You can make them as simple or as detailed as you want.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges | laughingabi.com

Use a toothpick to pierce holes in the orange skin. (Technically you could skip this. It just makes the next step easier.)

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges | laughingabi.com

All that’s left is to stick the cloves into the holes

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges | laughingabi.com

I spaced my cloves about a half inch apart but your design is totally up to you.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges | laughingabi.com

That’s all there is to it. Make one or make a bunch for a beautiful centerpiece like THIS. I’ve read some places that you can keep these on your counter for a couple weeks, others say they will last year-round. We’ll see.

OPTION: I saw the idea HERE  to roll your finished oranges in a mixture of spices. (1 tablespoon each of ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.) It does up the smell ante but changes the look a little too. To me it seems more rustic and less crisp so depending on your taste you might want to add this step.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges | laughingabi.com

If you’re like me and hate to throw things away you can save the scrap peels, toss them in spices, and set them out in a pretty bowl. Just another idea.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Clove Studded Oranges | laughingabi.com

Have you made these before? Are there other natural elements you use to decorate?

This post is Day 6 in the series “12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating”. Click these gallery pics to see all the projects in the series.

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12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

Welcome to day four! Today we’re taking it outside and adding a little Christmas to the front porch. I scored this old sled at a thrift shop forever ago.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

I don’t know the story behind it but this stamp on the back lets me fantasize that wee children in Paris once used it to fly gleefully down a hillside.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

I used to just hang a swag of greenery on it and prop it on the porch. Then somebody gave me these.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

They were supposed to be for my daughters but I was afraid they would get blisters and be cold and possibly fall on the ice and get permanent brain damage. So for the sake of the children, I took them for my holiday decorations. Best mom ever.

I also changed them up a little to make them more festive. A $4 investment transformed them into this.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

To attach them to the sled I just tied the laces together and hung them over the middle bracket.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

Then I dug through the Christmas boxes and came up with this little wreath that used to hang over my shed door. Looks much better here and finishes off the whole thing.

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating: Christmas Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

PLAN B:
Can’t find a sled? Any tall skinny piece would work. Maybe an old, recycled shutter. Or you could buy a few cedar fence pickets (about $3 each), screw them together and hit them with a coat of paint.

PLAN C: 
No spare ice skates floating around your house? (Or maybe you actually let your kids use theirs.) Try using a pair of mittens from the thrift shop.

What do you use to decorate your front porch? Do you use the same thing every year or are you making something new this time?

This post is Day 4 in the series “12 Days of Easy Christmas Decorating”. Click these gallery pics to see all the projects in the series.

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