Pretty Holiday Inspiration~

It's no secret that I love buttons. Especially vintage buttons. So you can imagine the little squeal I let out when I saw this pretty button tree made by Sara of Sadie Olive.

Image from Sadie Olive

Oh yes, this is now on my to do list. (For next year of course!)
Have a great day~


Linky Love~

Holy Cow!!! How many creative, frugal readers can one girl have??? There are 92 Frugal Friday Linky Party entries and counting! I'm plowing my way through all the frugal goodness slowly because my computer is in transit (and I live in the dark ages without a laptop) so I can only view them on the Hubby's blackberry or when I can find a computer that I can use!

Image from A Lovely Place to Land

But I vow to read and each and every one!! Everything I have seen so far is amazing!

Check out this fabulous $10 Anthro-inspired bathroom at A Lovely Place to Land. You all know I'm going to be making myself one of those fabulous wreaths!!

And lest you think I just have a bunch of reposts coming your way...you're wrong. I actually did some new posts to keep you all visiting while I'm in transit!!

Have a great day~



What makes a mom smile like this? When she takes her boys to their semi-annual Dr. appointment to check on their Alpha-1 and their GI doc says they look healthy! Always good to hear.

And speaking of Alpha-1...I mentioned last week that I would let you all know when the Alpha-1 Awareness shirts by Melissa Biggs were available on-line. Well, I'm happy to say that they are now for sale. You can find them here. All proceeds go to benefit the Alpha-1 Community.

Image by PGD Style

Tomorrow is the Holiday edition of the Frugal Friday Linky Party here at The Shabby Nest. For you night owls, MckLinky will go up tonight at 12:01 AM EST. Can't wait to share in all the frugal holiday goodness around blogland!! Hope to see you there!


My Holiday Dining Room~

Lest any of you, my dear readers, are feeling a bit stressed out during this holiday season, let me present my holiday dining room.

The moving van is due to arrive on Saturday. We are in the midst of last minute packing. I am not stressed out. I am not stressed out. I am not stressed out.

As I sit and look at this picture, it reminds me of those "I Spy" board books that my kiddos have. Can you find...my well-read wreath? A vintage American flag? A rarely used crockpot? The flowers from The Princess' Nutcracker debut last Saturday?

It's interesting to see your life compressed into just a couple of rooms. Puts things in perspective. And packing up a house to move makes me realize just how blessed I am. I complain a lot as I pack box after box...but at least I have stuff to pack. Blessings. Lots of them. And that's what this season is all about.

Don't forget Friday is The Holiday Edition of the Frugal Friday Linky Party here at the Shabby Nest! Get those posts ready!! Can't wait to see what you all come up with this time!

Have a lovely day~


Another Ornament Project~

Here is an ornament project that many of you may have seen before, but it is still one of my very favorites.

Silhouette ornaments! The great thing about these is that you can create a new bunch every year. What a fun way to watch your family grow!

If you want to read about how I made these, go here.
Don't forget the Holiday version of The Frugal Friday Linky Party here at the Shabby Nest....this Friday! Come link up with your frugal Holiday ideas!! I just can't wait!


A Winner...An Ornament idea...Etc.~

It seems that everyone I know is trying to simplify this year. And I don't blame them. So this week I thought I'd share a few simple, easy and inexpensive ways to trim your tree...

First up...

Fruit. Oranges to be exact. I adore dried oranges on trees. Look at the light coming through that orange slice. It's luminescent...almost magical!

So how do you dry oranges? Very simple...

I dried mine in the oven.

1. Cut your oranges into 1/4" slices and place on a cookie sheet (some would recommend a wire rack, but I found that the cookie sheet worked better and helped maintain the shape of the slices).

2. I have also heard it suggested that you cover the oranges with a paper towel to absorb the juice. This is probably a good idea, but again, I didn't do it. (I'm such a rebel.)

3. Set the oven at 250 degrees and bake the oranges for an hour. Flip the slices at least once during this time.

4. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 225 degrees and bake for another two hours. Flip the slices about every half hour to maintain shape and help with optimum drying.

5. Remove the oranges slices from the oven and let cool. It is important to note that the slices will still be slightly moist in the center. THIS IS OKAY. They will dry out as they cool.

6. Then I just strung some raffia through holes in the center of each orange slice (if a hole doesn't occur naturally during the drying process, it is simply to punch a little hole in the membrane once the orange is entirely dry.)

7. Hang and enjoy.

The oranges do not need to have anything more done to them. I simply store mine in a ziploc bag. I have had them for five years and they have not needed any sort of chemical to maintain color or to keep them from rotting. The drying process did that for me.

The winner of the P.G.D. Style tee shirt is the fabulous Lulu from Lulu and Co. (If you've never been to Lulu's blog you are in for a treat! Hop over and pay her a visit!) Drop me an email Lulu, and we'll get you set up with your shirt!!

And don't forget....It's that time again....The Frugal Friday Linky Party is this Friday here at The Shabby Nest! Come and link up with your best frugal holiday ideas!! Hope to see you all there!

Have a great Monday~


Frugal Friday: A Tutorial~

Here is a simple, yet festive, idea for some last minute Christmas decorations or gifts. Yes, these are from last year, but I'm moving, remember? And besides that, I think it's such a fun idea that it bears repeating...

Christmas Tree Topiaries

Supplies you will need:

Cone floral forms – these can be found at most floral and craft stores.
Spray paint – the same color as the yarn or twine you choose.
Twine or yarn – If you choose yarn, you will want a type with more loft – I used chenille yarn for the version here.
Hot glue gun
Glue sticks
Straight pins with colored ends (optional)

Easy instructions:

1.Start by spray painting your cone the color of the yarn or twine you will be using.
2.Allow the cone to dry completely.
3.Starting at the bottom, use a dot of hot glue to attach the end of the yarn and wrap upwards.
4.Use dots of hot glue every once in a while to keep the yarn in place.
5.The top is the trickiest part. You will probably want to cover the top with hot glue as you coil your yarn or twine to the center.
6.I left my topiaries as is, simple and elegant, but you can also adorn them with little "ornaments." Straight pins with large brightly colored ends work best for this.

So for just a few minutes of time you have a lovely addition to your Christmas decor. Or by adding a plump candlestick to display the topiary, you can give a great last minute gift. Simple, elegant and festive.

And next Friday is the Holiday edition of the Frugal Friday Linky Party here at the Shabby Nest! Get your Frugal Holiday Ideas ready and link up here to share the fun!!

You still have time to enter the drawing for a P.G.D.Style tee shirt, just scroll down to the next post and enter! Drawing ends tonight at 11:59 EST

Have a great Friday~


Pretty, Repurposed Christmas Stockings~

It's no secret by now, that I love frugal decorating. So last year when I was looking to get new Christmas stockings for the family, I hit upon the idea of repurposing some items I wasn't using anymore into new stockings for the whole crew.

The Princess and I got pretty white quilted stockings made from an old baby quilt that I had honestly forgotten I had. It had such cute scalloped edges that I simply turned it over at the top to make the cuff!

The Hubby and the three boys got new stockings made from an old linen dress I couldn't bring myself to part with. It had long since gone out of style, but I loved the fabric sooo much, I knew I would be able to find a use for it. It isn't exactly your typical Christmas fabric, but that is what I loved about it. And this year I have seen linen and burlap stockings all over the place, so I guess a lot of other people love the idea too, huh?

Then to make sure Santa knew whose stockings were whose, I added buttons (also from the dress) to the cuff of each stocking and tied on nametags made from vellum and sparkly alphabet stickers!

And the moral of this story is...before you throw out that old blanket, or dress, or sweater or what have you....try to think outside the box. It may just be your next Christmas stocking! ;-)
And yes, these photos are from last year as well. I do have the stockings out this year, but they are hanging from a piece of twine. Just as cute really, but with all this packing going on, I couldn't pull out the old camera to take a pic. Hope y'all will forgive me.
Come back tomorrow for a fun giveaway~


7 Quick and Easy Ways to Create a Welcoming Holiday Home~

Image from Pottery Barn

The holidays are filled with family, friend and fun! And of course, we want our homes to create a feeling of welcome for our holiday visitors.

Here are seven sure-fire ways to create a welcoming holiday home...

1. Focus on First Impressions

Spend time fixing up what guests will see first: your doorway and it's surrounding area. Spruce it up by sweeping, cleaning cobwebs or debris from around the doorbell and in the corners. Shake off the doormat. Remove everyday clutter such as mail, toys and shoes by stashing them in a basket in the closet. Make sure your porch lights are working well.

2. Quickie Decorate

Resurrect a planter or two from the summer garden and fill it with evergreen clippings, greenery or ornaments that will survive outdoors. Add a festive wreath or a garland with twinkle lights.

3. Create Guest Space

Create extra space in your coat closet for your guest's outdoor wear. Temporarily move the bulk of your family's gear to a back bedroom. Add an extra doormat near the closet for wet or icy shoes. Consider bringing in an umbrella stand if it is rainy or snowy out - or just line a wastebasket with a plastic bag.

4. Gather 'round

Make conversation easy by arranging chairs in your living room so friends and family can talk instead of facing the TV. (Chairs are easy to rearrange if "It's A Wonderful Life" or other holiday classics are on!)

5. Be Superficial

Skip the heavy bathroom cleanup and focus on those things visitors will notice. Hurry and clean the toilet bowl. Set out fresh hand soaps and clean, festive guest towels. Wipe down the counter and sink. Easy-peasy!

6. Cool Off the House

If you are expecting a houseful of guests, turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees about two hours before they arrive.

7. Light Up - Safely

Candles are a wonderful way to add ambience, but if you have them in areas other than the dinner table - like on the mantel or in the bathroom - they will need careful monitoring. A great alternative is flameless votive candles. These create the ambience without the fear..(especially if, like me, you have curious little ones around!)

So go get those houses ready for your holiday entertaining! But, most of all, ENJOY!!

Ideas adapted from Better Homes and Gardens November 2007

Coming up this week on the Shabby Nest...
  • Pretty Homemade Christmas Stockings
  • A Great Giveaway

Have a good day~


This I love: Inspiring others~

A few weeks ago, I did a post about Restoration Hardware and their fabulous line of "green" furniture.

Photo from Restoration Hardware

Well, this last week, I received an email from one of my readers, Ana of Knock Off Wood. The subject line read "Look how you inspired me! Many thanks!". One of my favorite things about writing my blog, is sharing inspiration with others, so I hurried to see what Ana wrote. Here's what she had to say...

Thank you for your post back in November on the Restoration Hardware Catalog. I loved the post so much that I went out and found some scrap boards in my yard and bought $9.98 in screws and built a Farmhouse Table, very similar to Restoration Hardware's table, retailing for $2750. Thank you so much! You are greatly appreciated!

You know me and frugal decorating - after an email like that, I HAD to see that table, and fast! When I took a look at Ana's photos, I was amazed!

This is the table that inspired Ana...
Photo from Restoration Hardware

And this is the table that Ana made. This gorgeous table for $9.98!! And she even did a post that included the plans so that you can make one yourself !! I dragged the hubby over to the computer to take a look, and made him PROMISE on the spot, that once we are relocated, he will make me one of these babies. $9.98...sigh...perfection.

Photos from Knock Off Wood

Thanks for your email Ana!! So glad I inspired you...and so glad you paid it forward with this amazing tutorial!

Isn't blogland wonderful??

Have a great day~


Frugal Friday: How to decorate a Christmas Tree for under $5

Hello all my lovely readers!! Happy Friday!!

Let me start today's post by explaining a little bit about this year's Christmas at The Shabby Nest. As you may know, we are moving. Well, here's the kicker...we're moving out BEFORE Christmas. Yes. BEFORE Christmas. (note to self....never move at Christmas time again.) We will be spending the actual holiday with my in-laws which will be absolutely lovely, but in the meantime things are a bit, shall we say, chaotic. Still, I couldn't let a house with four kiddos go without a Christmas tree now could I?

So this past Tuesday, we made our annual trek with the Hubby's family to a Christmas tree farm about an hour away (the same place his family has been going for the last 37 years) to get our tree. I told the Hubby that since we are moving, I was not pulling out the regular Christmas decor, and I wanted a small tree. We found the perfect little tree.

Once we got it home and put the lights on it, I explained to the kiddos that we were going to do something a little different this year. They were fine with that as long as there were still Christmas lights involved...because to them, that's all that really mattered.

Inspired by these two trees in the PB catalog (yes, there's that old PB catalog again)...

Photo from Pottery  Barn
Photo from Pottery Barn

we created this sweet little tree. I'm calling it our Family Tree...

I printed out a bunch of black and white family photos (wallet sized) and simply punched holes in them and added twine to hang.

This is my favorite engagement photo outtake of me and the Hubby- notice "the Rachel" hairdo...circa 1995

That was the end of day one (and the tree was not done). The next day, the Toddler Demolition Team and I made a trip to Walm*rt and purchased a package of stencils. The kids thought I was a little nuts, but they humored me. I punched holes in the cards and added twine as well.

We used some snowflake ornaments purchased last year at the dollar store (I tried to avoid getting them out, but the kids spotted them in the box when I was getting out the lights, and hey, it's Christmas, and they're kids.)

Instead of a tree skirt, I just wrapped the base in some pretty black and white damask fabric that I had in my stash. It lends itself well to the color scheme and adds a bit of elegance as well.

Finally, to top it off, Mr. Two fell in love with this funny star (also at Walm*rt for $1) and had to have it for the tree. I wasn't too jazzed about it, but I bought it anyway. Then I hit upon the idea of combining the book wreath project with the star to make something fitting for our Family Tree. I just rolled up pages from an old book and hot glued them to the back of the star. I. LOVE. IT. Mr. Two couldn't figure out why I would glue "sticks" on the star, but when I told him that the "sticks" made the star extra special, he went along with it. :-)

It must be noted too that aside from putting on the lights, and the star, I let the kiddos decorate the tree by themselves (and I only moved a couple of things afterwards...I couldn't help myself...it's an illness, really.)

So here's the $$ rundown...

Lights............ free (already in our Christmas stash)

Tree skirt....... free (from my fabric stash)

Photos........... free (printed right off the computer)

Twine............. $1 (dollar spot at Tar-jay)

Stencils.......... $1.49 (Wally-world)

Star................ $1 (Also at Wally-world)

Snowflakes..... free (in our Christmas stash - but purchased at the dollar store initially)

Grand total....$3.49

There's some frugal decorating going on here, oh yeah! And you know, I think this may just be one of my favorite trees yet. Everyday I get to look at the faces of those I adore smiling back at me from a tree that celebrates the most wonderful season of the year. Isn't that what it's all about?

Have a great weekend~


A Well-Read Christmas Wreath~

When I saw this page in the Pottery Barn catalog, my heart skipped a beat. Yes, the bedding is lovely, and the windows are pretty, but it was those wreaths that I fell in love with. Amazing!! So, of course, I decided I had to make me one of those "bookish" wreaths.

Photo from Pottery Barn

They were so easy to make too...
I started by getting me a piece of heavy cardstock (in retrospect, I would actually recommend using heavy CARDBOARD for this project) and drew my wreath base using a plate and a glass for the pattern.

Then I simply cut it out.

I pulled out my trusty glue gun "Old Blue" and went to work.

After dismantling a book that I never read (and never intended to read) I rolled the pages into tight cones, and secured each one with a dot of hot glue, then I started gluing them to the base in a starburst pattern.
From there I kept gluing until the wreath was nice and full. I loved the shape, but the pages were too new looking. So I watered down some Raw Umber acrylic paint (when I say watered it down...I mean it was mostly water with a little paint in there) and brushed it over all the pages to create an aged look.

Then I added some pretty ribbon and hung it in my dining room window. I thought it looked beautiful...

...until I saw the sun shine through it. Oh. my goodness. It's stunning! And free! (Well, except for the ribbon, but I was buying that for Christmas gifts anyway, and it was 50% off at Michael's so that's almost as good as free, right? RIGHT?)

Want to see another PB knock-off book wreath? Brenda at Dragonflys and Stars shared her version during the last Frugal Friday Linky Party here at the Shabby Nest!
Have a great day~


A Glittering Christmas House~

This is my house last Christmas. This is the last Christmas we will be spending here. Since this little house is the first house the Hubby and I purchased, I am slightly melancholy about that.

After seeing all the glitter projects in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living, I was inspired to immortalize this little house in glitter.

First, I had to tweak the picture a little bit. I wanted it to look like it was taken on a snowy day. So I went to one of my favorite photo-editing websites, Picnik, and made her look like this...

Much better. Now, I must warn you, the rest of these pictures are horrible. Try as I might, I couldn't get them to turn out the way I wanted, but because I know that my fabulous readers have equally fabulous imaginations, you will all know how utterly fabulous this project really turned out to be. (fabulous.)

I started out by printing 4 copies of the photo. Then I cut them into pieces, because my goal was to give the finished project a 3D effect. So piece #1 is the entire photo. Piece #2 is just the house. Pieces #3 and #4 are the dormers and the lawn, stairs and trees/bushes in front of the house. And piece #5 is just the lawn.

Then I got to have some serious fun. I used a paintbrush and spread Mod Podge (because I like it better than glue for glitter projects) over the snow on each of the pieces and poured glitter over the Mod Podge to create glitter-y snow!

Here's where the pictures really don't do the project justice. I was trying to get a good photo where you can see the 3D effect, and you can kind of tell in these, but not really. What I did at this point was use those puffy adhesive squares that you can buy at any scrapbooking/craft store to layer each piece over the one below until I achieved an adorable 3D glitter-y version of my cute house all dolled up for Christmas.

You can kind of see the 3D effect in this photo better. But anyway, I put the whole project in a pretty white shadowbox frame, and now when I pull it out every year for Christmas, I'll remember our first house with fondness! Wouldn't it be fun to make one for each house we live in? With the rate at which we move, I'll have my own Christmas village in no time. ;-)

Have a great Wednesday~


Simplicity - A Guest Post by Kasey of Lola B's~

For those of you who have never met my dear friend Kasey, you are in for a treat. She is amazingly stylish with a FABULOUS home. And if you don't know already, you will soon find out that she has a hilarious tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. In fact, since I am not funny at all, you may read this post, visit her blog, and never come back. Please come back. Please.

Hello there. I'm the one in the picture above ....you might know me...you might not....

i am a married mother of three kids...

though sometimes i think they aren't really mine..or better yet...

i will pretend that they are not mine...and wait for someone to raise their hand to claim my


but that's never happened...

so here we are....

and i still have three children. Don't get me wrong though...i desperately love my

wee one's..

but a girl's got to admit...

life in my house is not full of cherries...

you end up with a lot of pits sitting around.

hold on....

wait a minute...

i don't even think i introduced myself properly...

and here i am...

totally opening up my can of worms to you...

and you might not even know who i am.

My name is Allison and i live outside of chicago...


you got me....my name isn't really Allison...

it's Kasey.....but the truth is...

my parents almost named me allison...

so i have every right to use that name...


once again i am so off track....

but that's me..

and wendy kindly asked me to pop over here and

do a little guest post.

I hope she approves...



i know the first names of her children...and they are definitely

not called #1, #2, #3, and #4 in her house.

The first thing i thought when wendy asked me to be a guest on her lovely blog..is what the heck am i going to chat about...

because wendy is the all knowing..

the all creative...

and she knows how to sew....

with a needle and thread...


not me...

i don't have an ounce of creativity in me..

let alone...

do i know how to thread a needle..

but..what i can do, is style my home.

that i know.

So, with the holidays right around the corner...i just thought i would share with you some really simple...

ways to freshen up a room with a minimalistic look.

One thing you won't find in my home are the ever popular

red and greens.


not here.

I love grey...i love cream...

and i love simple.

I also love the idea of simple ways to give a gift....especially if you are like me..

and on a total budget this season.

no wrapping paper in sight.

Use a simple brown kraft box....some twine...and a hand stamped tag to pull it all together.

I actually got these tags from Etsy....and you can find them {here }.

Right now i'm really into a clean natural look in my home....and a good way to bring

the word natural in...is by really bringing it in.


what you see is a branch....

and i am using it as a curtain rod...

and it hangs on some crown hooks.

You don't have to worry...

i did let my kids play with the stick first...

and once i made sure there were no

bugs or foreign creepy crawly things on it..

i brought it in and


a totally free curtain rod....


it made up for the price i paid for the french curtain.

And here is the twine again....

i used it to tie the curtain back....

so easy and once again...

a bargain.

which is my middle name in case you were wondering....

but don't get it confused with

the town in the south of france called


It's been a pleasure chatting with you...and letting you see just a few things i've done.


So didn't I tell you she has fabulous style? Thanks for stopping by today, Kasey!!

Coming up this week: A glittery Christmas project

A Christmas family tree

Have a great day~


My Home Office - The Built-in Desk~

Ever since we moved into the house 2 1/2 years ago, I have wanted to turn this strange closet in our library into a useful built-in desk. Well, as you may remember, our house is on the market, and since not everyone wants a built-in desk, we had to modify our original plan just a bit.

As I showed you in the slideshow yesterday, after removing the doors to the closet, we finished the interior and the Hubby built a shelf. We had planned on building the desk portion as well, but opted instead to use a fabulous $10 yard sale table that we found a couple of years back which just happens to fit perfectly in the closet. (Yes, that was just good fortune!)

I skirted the bottom to hide all my computer paraphenalia, because as you can see in the pictures, my computer is ancient-of-days and is about to wheeze it's last wheeze. But it still does the job, so I can't complain (or replace it just yet.)

To make the space my own, I added my pretty pinboards, a few of our vintage cameras (turns out HUGE computer monitors make good display shelves), some cute white baskets with little chalkboard tags, and bits of this and that to make me smile. If we were planning on staying in the house, I would add a permanent light fixture of some sort, but for now, the light clip does the trick - even if the cord is a little unsightly.
Some of you may know that I work from home as a part-time editorial assistant , so between that and blogging, I spend a lot of hours sitting in front of the computer. Now it makes me smile everytime I sit down. And the moral of this story is...persistence definitely pays off!

Just love my vintage printing block "H" and my cute damask stamp (found in the Dollar Spot at Tar-jay!)
I love the texture of the folded book, the twine and the starfish on linen. mmmmmmm.

I love this vignette...a photo of me and the l'il sis, a rubberband ball that the kiddos helped me make out of rubberbands my mother sent home with us this summer, and the hubby's birthday pixie.
A few of our vintage cameras.

And the winner of the Single Stone Studios $40 gift certificate is Mary Ellen (Megardengal) from Mary's Meanderings. Congratulations! Drop me an email and we'll get you set up!
Have a great day~