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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A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

Have you ever been on a garden walk that featured the grounds of only one garden? My friends and I went to one last weekend and it was so amazing I had to share it in this “garden crashers” post.

Before I hit you with the pics I have to mention the gracious home owner, Theresa Flamini, and the charitable work she and her family do. In 2004 the Flamini family decided that instead of purchasing gifts for each other they would pool their resources and purchase gifts for children that were spending the holidays in the hospital. This became a family tradition and over time grew into the creation of a non-profit organization, the Flamini Family Foundation. Through this holiday giving and other annual events, like the Summer Garden Walk, the foundation provides donations to over a dozen area hospitals and all of the Ronald McDonald houses of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Don’t you just love it when people with brains AND money put them together to help others? LOVE it!

So let’s take a walk, shall we? Here’s the end of the driveway where the garden starts.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

And this is the beautiful gate you walk through to enter this slice of paradise. Everything after this is in random order because I kind of lost track of all space and time in the real world. It was partly because of the gardens and partly because of the wine. Did I mention there was a wine booth? More on that in a minute.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

I could never capture all the details but here are some of my favorites.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

I loved the shape of this tree. If anyone knows what it’s called please let me know.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

Sometimes I would see something beautiful like this . . .

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

. . .  then look back after we had passed and see it in an entirely different way.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

This is the patio off the side of the house. So big. So beautiful.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

And I had to share this whimsical sculpture sniffing the flowers.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

At the back of the garden you follow these stepping stones to an opening that looks like it leaves the property. (Does that path look familiar to anyone? Yep, it’s the same style I used here, but on a much larger scale.)

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

But when you pass through the opening you find this.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

It was here that we decided we should sit and share a bottle of wine. Can you think of a better place? So we backtracked to the wine booth I mentioned earlier and Lisa of Aged 2 Perfection hooked us up with a couple bottles of deliciousness. I won’t admit how long we sat in that gazebo but I expected security to round the corner at any minute.

That was how we ended our day but I can’t finish this post without mentioning an incredible glass artist we met. Her name is Kim Jongsma from First Glass Gardens and she creates garden art from upcycled glassware. Here are a few samples of her work.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

Did you spot all the different pieces she puts together? My favorite is the salt shaker in the middle of the last photo. If you’re not into flowers she’s got a huge portfolio of other sculptures to choose from and can even create custom items from your old glassware. You can just see one of her birdbaths in the corner of this shot below. Sorry I didn’t get a better pic.

A Garden Walk With Friends And Wine | laughingabi.com

I was just amazed by her creativity. It’s the perfect mix of upcycling, DIY, and garden art. You can see more of her work here.

So that was my perfect Sunday afternoon. Good friends, creative surroundings, delicious wine, and all in support of a children’s charity. Just doesn’t get much better than that.

Cheap spring porch makeover with a DIY painted rug

Spring has finally arrived in Chicagoland and since we have a huge project coming up this summer in the back yard my top priority for the front porch makeover was CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Two things you should know before we go any further. One, this is what the porch looked like before I started.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Two, my house is very traditional on the outside – two story, box shaped, white with black shutters. It’s a pretty place but it doesn’t look much like the bizarro family living in it. So besides cheap, I wanted it to be more “us”. I wanted people to giggle a little when they stepped up to knock.

My first idea was to dig around the garage and see what I already had. I scored this chair, pillow, plant stand and concrete planter. I picked up a black plastic planter at Home Depot ($2.70) and filled it with a sweet potato vine ($3.60) and red petunia ($1.00). Total spent so far: $7.30 (The other petunia you see is included in the price. It was a three-pack I split up into different pots.)

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Now for the other side of the porch. Things I already owned: a bright green planter, a fake stone with a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote on it, and some cobblestones from another project. What I bought: another petunia plant ($3.60) and a “Be Happy” flag ($13.00). Total spent so far: $23.90. 

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

STOP. I have to take a minute to tell you how much I love that little flag. Usually these things fall into the cheesy-fru-fru category for me but this one has bright, modern colors and a message that’s perfect for our front door. And what a happy coincidence that the green color on the letters matches the planter I already owned.

With all those pieces in place I went searching for an outdoor rug to tie it all together. Holy crap. Do you guys know how much those things cost? I had no idea. The cheapest one I could find was $60 and it was ugly. So I was scrounging around Menard’s and found this number for $10. Total spent so far: $33.90.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Not much to look at but I had an idea. (Insert The Hubs rubbing his temples and shaking his head.) I could just cut the cheapo rug down to size, pick up one of those sample size cans of paint for $3, and paint my own design. Easy squeezy.

Confession time. This idea was an epic fail. Actually, I love the way it looks but the budget was a hot mess. The problem is the rug soaked up soooo much paint. Here’s how far the little $3 can of paint got me.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

I couldn’t even get all the way around the rug. So I went back and bought a quart of paint for $16.65. It was still cheaper than the $60 option. Right? Total spent so far: $50.55.

Here’s how far that quart of paint got me.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

One. Stripe. Left. I’m not gonna lie. I said some very inappropriate words at this point. Really, really bad ones. Then I went and bought another quart of paint. ($16.65) Total spent so far: $67.20.

And finally . . .

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

And a night shot, just for fun.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Some notes in case you want to give this a try.
1.If you’re working with a porous fabric like I was, buy more paint than you think you will need. I could have saved some money by buying a gallon of paint in the beginning but who knew 11 little stripes would take over a quart of paint?
2. Use green Frog Tape to tape off your design. It really does do a better job of sealing the edges and keeping the paint from seeping underneath.
3. Make sure you rub the edges of your tape down before you start painting.
4. PUT NEWSPAPER UNDER YOUR RUG FIRST. My paint bled through to the porch.

So altogether I spent just over $67. Not bad for a 3.5′ x 9′ porch but still $30 more than I planned to spend. Sigh. The good news is, I love the way it turned out. It is happy and fun and colorful and modern. It is not traditional or stuffy or fru-fru or boring. Mission accomplished.

This post is part of the Spring Pinterest Challenge going on over at Young House Love. Make sure you click over and see the amazing projects being linked up. Here are some of the pins that inspired me.

tatertots and jello cottage porch

What spring projects are you working on? Any that turned out different than you planned? Are you still happy with the results? Did you overspend?