Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

May you have a happy and safe holiday season, and a Happy New Year to everyone.


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Easy Christmas tree to make

Easy Christmas tree to make

To me, Christmas crafts are one of the best things about this time of year. Get a bunch of kids together and have a Christmas tree making party. This little Christmas tree always comes out looking good and it costs almost nothing. It can be made in the traditional green or it could be white or pink or whatever suits your fancy.

If you want to make a more upscale version, you can buy a styrofoam cone and some thin green craft felt or fabric and cut it out into circles instead of squares and attach it to the cone with the sewing pins that have different coloured beads for heads or use a glue gun (I always manage burn my fingers and generally make messes with hot glue)

1. Materials needed

Materials needed


  • 1 small package of Dollar Store tissue paper
  • 1 sheet of construction paper, bristol board or cardstock
  • white glue
  • unsharpened pencil or pencil with unused eraser
  • ruler
  • pen
  • sissors
  • a bit of red and green coloured foil (I used foil Christmas wrap)

Choose a sheet of construction paper or some other heavy paper that is the same colour as the tissue paper that you have chosen. The size of the paper will dictate the size of the finished tree. The one shown was made from a 9×12 in sheet of construction paper from a pad of mixed colours. For a smaller tree just cut it off shorter, for a taller tree use a bigger sheet. Bristol board cut to an appropriate size would work best for a larger tree.

Make a cone

mark tissue for cutting

mark tissue for cutting

To make the cone, you take a sheet of construction paper from a standard pad and curl it into a cone. Tape the loose edge down and then cut off the bottom so that it stands up straight. (This is the hardest part of the whole project)

Next, take your package of tissue paper and unfold it so that it is about 6 tissues thick. With your pen, mark off a strip 4″ wide. Mark off three more strips beside the first one and then score across these strips every 4″ until you have a bunch of 4″ squares. Cut off a strip and cut the strip into squares. Repeat.

wrap the square over the pencil end

wrap the square over the pencil end

Now the fun begins. Take a small dish or a piece of plastic and squirt a small puddle of white glue on/in it.  Then take one of those squares and wrap it over the blunt end of the pencil, dip it lightly in the glue and press on the top of the cone. Place another folded square close to the first one. Go around the top, and then start moving down the cone, constantly filling in the gaps. Every so often wipe off the pencil as it starts to get sticky.

9. Work your way down the cone

Work your way to the bottom all at once or a bit at a time, like I did. (That gives the glue a chance to dry too)

Check it over carefully and fill in any gaps with a folded square.

Put two or three folded squares at the top to finish it nicely

You can enjoy your tree with or without decorations as shown below.

Finished tree (not decorated)

Finished tree (not decorated)

Easy Christmas tree to make

Easy Christmas tree to make

To decorate the tree, crumple up small bits of coloured foil or even coloured tissue paper and glue them randomly around the tree. For a more polished effect, use small coloured beads or little coloured baby’s buttons or anything that is the right size for your tree.

You could even make 3 in graduated sizes to make a pretty grouping.

Now you have a beautiful Christmas tree that you can use year after year.

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I did a whole new colour scheme for my Christmas decorations this year. After endlessly changing up red, gold, white, crystal and a touch of pink, into various themes and combinations, I went out and bought a tree full of blue and silver decorations for next to nothing at my favourite discount store, XS Cargo. Once the tree was up, I realized that the gold chunk of fabric that I have always wrapped around the base, since I started having an artificial tree, would not do at all. After going out specifically to get a hunk of suitable fabric, I got home and realized that I had forgotten to do that in the midst of all the other things that I decided to do once I was out.

So, rather than go back out, I got to thinking “What can I use?” and realized that I had a great source of nice fabrics, right in the dining room. I rooted around in my collection of tablecloths, (most of which, I never use) and found the perfect silver blue tablecloth and tossed it around the base of the tree. Voila, one very elegant and free tree skirt.

I think it looks pretty good!

For another low cost DIY Christmas decoration see Christmas Mantle Decoration under the category “Make it Yourself Decor Ideas”



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Renovating your flooring doesn’t have to be a big, expensive job if you do it yourself and you break the job down into bite sized pieces.

For both purchase price and installation cost, laminate flooring is the answer. It is inexpensive, and easy to install. If you take your time and follow all the sales at the big box stores, you can get a very good deal on a decent quality laminate. Just make sure that is a minimum of 10mm with a medium or high density backing. Buy the lowest cost underlayment unless you are covering a cement floor. The major savings with DIY laminate is that you do not pay for installation as you must do with hardwood or broadloom.

Installing it is easy. If the area is carpeted, remove it and the nailing strip. If it is going over sheet vinyl or vinyl tile, just lay it right over top. The low stress part is that you only have to do a few boards at a time. Figure out the best place to start and remove the baseboards, if necessary, and any furniture in that immediate area. Put down some underlayment and then fit and snap together 3 or 33 boards, whatever you feel like. When a length of wall is finished replace the baseboard and put back any furniture. Repeat until done. Do it at whatever pace works for you. If it takes a week or six months, it really doesn’t matter, because you are disrupting a minimum area each time you do a bit more.

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Why are my cushions always on the floor????

There is a real gender thing going on with the decor cushions! Try as I will, my carefully arranged  ‘decorator’ cushions  always end up on the back of the sofa,  on the floor beside the sofa, UNDER the bed, piled in a corner, dropped behind the intended chair, etc.  I have noticed that other people’s cushions can be found in places other than the intended ones too. Hmmmmm, do cushions have a secret society in which they rearrange themselves when they are alone?  What is going on here anyway?

Guys seem to find cushions really annoying. They remove them as soon as they sit down. I, on the other hand, like  a lot of women, am not comfortable without a cushion in the small of my back. I have come to the conclusion it is one of the many ways in which men and women are constructed differently. Men’s and women’s hips are built entirely differently so they sit entirely differently, it is the only explanation.

I guess this is why the decorator cushions always end up on the floor. Each to his own, it shouldn’t be a problem. But the next question is, why can’t guys put the cushions back where they came from, when they leave?

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Master bedroom before 3When ‘It Will Do’- Won’t

My bright yellow bedroom used to be really inviting. Then the usual sorts of things happened. The bedding set was faded and tired looking from too much washing and so it had to be replaced. The curtains didn’t go with the previous new stuff so they went too and were replaced ‘for the time being’ with an old set that although not right, at least didn’t fight with anything.  The yellow paint was now too bright and saturated and so no longer did its job of enhancing the room.

We had repurposed a huge solid oak entertainment unit that no longer fit the family TV and turned it into an armoire in the bedroom and put the bedroom TV on the top of it for easy viewing in bed. Entertainment units that have doors make really good armoires by the way.

The closets are separate and have separate full doors that swing into the room and are always in the way, so we took them off and have not yet replaced them.

The curtain rod needed to be replaced with a wooden one with rings to hang the new pinch pleated drapes that I was going to make and I just slid the old rod pockets panels onto the rod ‘for the time being’.

Then, the final undoing of the decor was replacing the beautiful, queen sleigh bed with a King Sleep Number. Oh, how we love that bed, so does the cat. The problem is of course that that great big bed dwarfed the nightstands and the swing arm wall lamps were no longer centred over the nightstands and we no longer had a headboard. It required all new king sized bedding, so this time I went neutral with a plain, ivory, washable duvet cover set, that I could use as a starting point for the decor. The draperies and accessories could be changed easily when I wanted something a little different. By the way -the cat is a permanent decor item since the purchase of the new bed! Her sleep number is 35.

So instead of a well co-ordinated, inviting room, we had an unco-ordinated mish-mash, waiting impatiently for a make-over.

I purchased some gorgeous fabrics for draperies and accessories and am on the lookout for a small dresser to become the new right hand dressing table. I finally decided on a specific paint colour.  The closet doors will be replaced. Crown moulding will be added. I will have to live with the flooring for now unfortunately, but you can’t have everything.

So let’s get at ‘er!

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scan0001Physician Heal Thyself!!

Shoemaker’s wives go barefoot and doctor’s wives die young, is an old saying. This to goes for decorator’s houses too!. Most of us do not live in homes that look like magazine shoots. The sad truth is that we are far too busy making other people’s homes look beautiful to spend the time on our own, so our own decorating dreams tend to get put on the back burner. Eventually we can’t stand a particular room any longer and start a project. Often the work  is just sporadically squeezed in, in bits and pieces, whenever and where ever we can, with minimal disruption to the room being decorated.  You can still comfortably use the room every day.

I thought it might be fun to chronicle my own projects and you might enjoy following along and seeing a decorator doing her own thing ‘warts and all’.

This fall, I am starting on my dreary, tired master bedroom. This is definitely a ‘I can’t stand it any longer’ room. If I have to look at that paint colour any longer, I may commit hari-kari. So join me for the fun and frustration of redecorating my bedroom as it happens.

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