After the Christmas and New Year holidays pass, I like to transition our décor to a winter theme. Normally, this simply means keeping everything out except for the Christmas tree, stockings, Santa figurines, and most of the sparkly items. Not too much work!
I realized last year I didn’t have a good winter wreath to hang, so thought ahead and made one this year! Using old clothing in my DIY projects is something I really enjoy and want to do more of, so I chose to get creative with some Goodwill sweaters in colors matching some of the exterior features of our home.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your very own cozy winter wreath:
I started by attaching the greenery to the frame. The greenery I used was a little unconventional. I found five felt placemats at Goodwill that worked great. I poked the greenery through the frame and attached each one to the wire of the frame with a twist tie, reinforcing the tie with some hot glue.
Then I planned out the placement of the ornaments. I only had small and large ornaments to use (I was trying my best to use leftover supplies from the basement), but I’d encourage you to use a medium size ornament as well. I think it would give the wreath more balance, transitioning from large to small a little less drastically!
Once I had a good idea of how many ornaments I would need, I began attaching the sweaters to the ornaments. I did this by simply gathering the sweater around the ornament, placing a twist tie around the top, twisting it tightly, and cutting away what I gathered from the sweater. Not very technical…but it worked really well without needing to measure and I had more than enough material to work with. Once the ornament was cut away from the sweater, I reinforced the twist tie all the way around the top of the ornament with hot glue.
Next was getting the ornaments on the frame. I chose to use safety pins to attach the twist tie end of the ornament to the wreath frame. I made sure to loop the pin through the fabric AND the wires of the frame to make sure they were secure. I attached the large ornaments first and proceeded around the frame with the small ornaments.
To secure the ornaments even more, and make them fall where I wanted them positioned, I went around the frame with jute. At the very top, I chose to loop the jute around the frame tightly to add a little open space. I dabbed the ends of the jute with hot glue so they would hold strong.
Because with this method you can see the bottoms/twist tie ends of some of the ornaments, I cut off a long strip from one of the sweaters and wove it like ribbon through the wreath. It worked perfectly in covering up what I didn’t want others to see! I attached the sweater ribbon with safety pins on the back side of the frame.
I’m a perfectionist that loves good balance, but there is something about the off balance look of this particular wreath that I really enjoy. Like I said earlier, if you have medium sized ornaments to incorporate, I think that would help with balancing this type of wreath out. Or you could use the same size ornament all the way around! Use what you have and get creative.
If you are interested in other projects I’ve done using old clothing, check out my no sew cloth pumpkins!
Since Fall is my favorite season I get extra inspired to do decor related DIY projects. I keep my eye out for the latest trends and like to try my hand at creating my own version.
This year, these caught my attention:
The variations are endless! I knew I had a couple of old metal items in our shed that would be perfect for this project. When I went searching for them, I found an old rusty metal canister and, believe it or not, an old muffler that I couldn’t wait to use!
Quick story about the muffler - it came off my husband’s truck. Nothing gets thrown away around here. Everything has potential to be used as something else. I couldn’t wait to show Joel what I had created with the hunk of metal he had tossed aside!
This upcycling project is quick and easy. Start by using painters’ tape to create your jack-o’-lantern’s face:
For the teeth, I liked the look of the ripped edges of the tape.
Next, I attached some paper towels (you could use newspaper, regular paper, plastic, more tape, etc.) to protect the rest of the surface area from overspray:
I then used some black spray paint I had in the basement. I’d recommend using spray paint for this, but regular exterior paint would probably work as well (assuming you’ll be putting these outside).
Spray away, let the paint dry, and then the fun part, pull off the tape and paper towels!
If you couldn’t tell, the jack-o’-lantern on the right is made from the muffler!
I also tried making a mini version out of a random piece of metal (I think it was a light bulb cover of some sort). The surface had ridges, so the facial features ran a little bit. He has a face only a mother could love, but he’s still a cutie!
Can’t wait to make more of these! If you try it out, send a picture to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me on Instagram @countrywrennest.
I have never had a pantry as an adult. Over the years, my food has taken up space in cabinets, a gutted antique stove, a counter top bread box, and shelving going down to a basement. Since moving to our new, smaller home, any overflow of canned goods has lived in a cardboard box in our basement. Yeah…not ideal, but we made it work. Even after admitting to this, having a pantry is still something I never thought I needed until I had the opportunity to create one and it has already brought me so much joy!
This post is less of a step-by-step DIY and more of a DIY challenge. Instead of expanding your space or buying storage to accommodate your needs, how can you use a current space in a completely unexpected way?
Enter, our old coal room. This sentence alone should give you a good idea as to how old our home is. Last Fall I had the genius idea of replacing the roof on this room as the old one was starting to cave in and we believed mice were getting into our house through it somehow. My quick and easy fix turned into my dad and I completely tearing it out!
To protect our basement from the elements, we placed plywood over the door opening that led into the coal room, securing 2x4s to the interior door frame to screw the plywood into (this detail is important). I then sealed over the plywood with tar on the exterior facing side and there it sat until this Fall when we were able to track down some free fill to put in the huge hole left behind.
It just so happens that at the same time we were filling the hole, we had started giving our basement a bit of a face lift. As I was painting the walls around the interior coal room double doors, I opened them up and took a good look at our handy work.
Here’s why the 2x4s are important. When screwing them in, we accidentally created THE PERFECT set of shelves…Instead of filling this space in and sealing it up, I knew I had to do something functional with it. After chatting with my dad (my DIY guru and consultant if you can’t already tell) and he thought it would work! That’s all I needed to hear!
After scrubbing it out, I painted the inside a serene green with paint I had bought a while ago but never used:
I then impatiently waited for the paint to dry so I could move every package and can of nonperishable food we had into the space:
You’ll see that the area around the pantry is still a work in progress, but trust me, it’s better than it was! I also chose to not paint the insides of the double doors because I still wanted to keep a rustic farmhouse look to it. Sometimes, you just can’t recreate years of imperfect layered paint and everyday wear.
I hope this little project inspires YOU to rethink your space and to think twice about the projects on your to-do list. The first plan might not always be the best plan. Try to consider all of the possibilities!
I love outdoor lighting. Solar lights. String lights. Tiki torches. Even campfires and fireworks if those count! There’s just something magical about it. I like the intimate vibe it adds to exterior spaces.
My in-laws just purchased a camper and have enjoyed a summer full of adventures. I wanted to make my mother-in-law something for their camper/campsite for her birthday. She also enjoys outdoor lights, so I thought a colorful LED camping light to set outside their camper would be a great gift!
Here’s what you need to make your very own:
Making this light is super easy and inexpensive. First, get your lights ready. The ones I purchased came with batteries and two large, double sided adhesive dots. Insert the batteries and stick an adhesive strip to the bottom of each light. Remove the lid of your container and secure the lights to the bottom.
Test your remote to make sure everything works! Try turning the lights on and off, changing colors, and changing themes. I ended up making two camping lights and the great thing about the puck lights I used was that one remote could control all four lights, even though each set of two came with their own remote.
Once you have the lights in place and you know they work, place the lid back on the container. You’re done! It’s time to enjoy. These would be perfect for camping, outdoor décor at home, and even indoor décor if you want to add lighting to a small nook or vignette.
I love decorating outdoors for Summer because it mostly entails lots of flowers!
Here are a few vignettes and flower arrangements I pulled together this season to make the exterior of our home warm, inviting, and colorful.
You can count on me to be the over prepared one in almost every situation. This trait is the one upside of being a super anxious, “What if?” type of person.
I was recently the Personal Attendant for my beautiful cousin, Maggie, at her wedding:
It was an honor to be asked and I took my role very seriously! Nothing was going to ruin her big day. Although I couldn’t control the weather or the lightning strike to their venue…I could make sure everything else ran smoothly. (BTW – all worked out, wedding proceeded as planned, there was just a brief moment of slight panic).
Having a bridal emergency kit on hand was essential. I’ve pulled these together for other weddings and it always comes in very handy for the bride and her bridesmaids, and in this wedding’s case, was a life saver when we needed to rework a groomsman’s bow tie that was too small!
Print out or take a screenshot of this handy checklist to create your own bridal emergency kit:
The top requested items I received at this wedding were the sewing kit, scissors, and safety pins! At one point, I just safety pinned the scissors to myself so they were easily accessible.
I kept all of the items (aside from the first aid kit, water, and food) in a multi-compartment make-up bag that rolls up into itself. Like this one. It has a hook at the top which was nice because I could hang the bag up so everyone could see what I had and use it as needed.
If there is a must have item you think is missing from the list, please let me know.
Happy wedding season – so much goodness and love to celebrate!
I've been daydreaming about having a hammock since we moved to the country. And today was the day! We hung up a hammock for me in the backyard.
The hammock I purchased is from Wish. I can't give a direct link because of how Wish is set-up, but it was called "Parachute Double Hammock Hanging Bed." There are tons of options to choose from. It appears to be very durable and came with two straps if you choose to hang your hammock in different locations.
Since I just plan to hang up the hammock at home for use, we chose a more permanent option by screwing hardware into our trees.
Here's what you need:
First, we measured how high up we wanted the hammock to hang. I read that five feet was a good place to start. Because I am short and we will have small nieces/nephews crawling up into it, we went just under five feet at 56.5 inches. I used the screw eye to make marks on the trees.
My strong husband was able to help me, so I did not need to drill a pilot hole for the screw eyes! He got the screw eye started and I finished it up by using the second screw eye for leverage.
Because the hammock I purchased had carabiners on each end, we simply clipped them into place on the screw eyes! If yours doesn't, you could use the rope at each end and connect to a heavy duty s-hook that you hook into the screw eye.
And there you have it! How to hang a hammock. There are a million different ways to do it, but this is our DIY solution.
Since Spring refuses to show its face outdoors here in Iowa, I decided to start my own Spring indoors by growing seedlings!
This is the first time I have ever attempted to grow my own seedlings indoors. I have tried starting seeds outdoors unsuccessfully because I couldn't keep them moist enough. Normally, I buy everything I need for my gardens from a nursery or hardware store. The plants are hardy and ready to get in the ground. This year I want to see if I can create a "full circle" garden by starting the seeds, planting the seedlings, harvesting veggies from the plants, and preserving the veggie seeds for seedlings next year. My fingers are crossed really hard that this will work - but we'll see!
Because I didn't know how successful I'd be with seedlings, I didn't want to spend a lot of money to get started. That's why I went the eggshell route. So far, it has been a good option for me.
Here's what I am using for my seedlings:
Step 1: Gather & Rinse Eggshells
I started three long trays of seeds. This required 4 1/2 dozen eggs. I was able to fit 1 1/2 egg cartons in each tray, equaling 36 pods for seeds.
Be sure to rinse out the eggshells. After rinsing, I placed each eggshell half back into the egg carton to dry and prepare for the next step.
Step 2: Add Dirt & Seeds
I filled each eggshell half about 3/4 full of soil, planted the seeds as directed on the packet, and sprinkled a little more soil over each eggshell. I then soaked the soil and seeds with water.
To identify what I was growing, I wrote with a Sharpie on clothespins and clipped them to the sides of the cartons.
Step 3: Fill Trays & Find Some Sunshine
You can get creative with whatever you choose (or choose not) to hold your egg cartons in. I purchased seed starter trays from Menards with a clear, domed lid for my cartons, but I read online you could simply cover your cartons with plastic wrap. You'd probably just want to set your cartons on something because if you're using a non-Styrofoam carton, it will get soggy.
Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you have something to help create humidity so the seeds can germinate.
Once you have the eggshells situated, find some sun! Or at least some good natural light. We don't have a lot of places in our house for this, so I had to do some rearranging to make it work. My grandma gifted me with my great grandma's grow light plant stand and I positioned it in the front/east side of our house in front of a large window. In the evening, I turn on the grow light for a little extra exposure.
Step 4: Rotate Trays & Water Occasionally
The way I'm growing my seedlings is based a little on online research and a lot on my own instincts when checking in on my trays. I rotate trays every other day to make sure they're getting equal light both through the window and from the grow light at night. I also turn them around once in a while so different sides of the sprouting seedlings are getting the light they need.
I soak the soil good once a week. I check in between watering to make sure the top layer of soil is wet. If it seems dry, I spritz with a spray bottle. You don’t want the soil to be too wet for too long, otherwise you are at risk for mold and root rot.
Step 5: Whisper Kind Words & Enjoy
I truly believe that speaking kindly to plants helps them grow. So when I'm checking on the seedlings or feeling proud of how they're progressing, you better believe I'm giving them words of encouragement!
I've seen some really promising results in the first week, with a good 50% of my seeds starting to sprout! Here's what my cucumbers looked like at the end of week one. As promised, I'll share more progress photos as the weeks go by!
End of week two and I’ve already had to move the green beans into larger containers because they’re getting too tall for the humidity domes!
It’s week three and some seedlings are strong while others haven’t come through. The cucumbers are looking good, I’m seeing a new type of leaf sprouting from them. The tomatoes are also coming along. Other items, like the lettuce and herbs have good days, then bad days. Trying to figure out the balance of water, sun, and airing out the trays (when they smell like they may be on the brink of molding).
Week four has been a tough one. Some of the little guys I thought would pull through shriveled up...I still haven't mastered the water/sun/airing out ratio. BUT - I did replant some lavender seeds and they're showing their pretty green sprouts!
In the middle of week five I planted the green beans outside and they're doing great.
My green beans ended up being the sole survivors from my first year dabbling in seedlings. Find out more in this blog post. I'm humbled by the experience and will try again next year! I am still proud of the green beans - they've produced their first few bean pods!
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our kitchen is small. I’m always thinking about how I can use the space we have more efficiently.
We had an undercabinet range hood over our stove that was really serving no purpose. You had to plug it in each time you wanted to use it, which required an ugly cord draping down to our countertop outlet. It was large and dark, making the kitchen look even smaller. We're also not huge cooks, so having a hood really wasn't necessary for us.
The hood was easy to remove, I just had to take out four screws from the top where the hood connected to our cabinets.
I luckily had just enough kitchen backsplash tile left to patch in the area where the hood was. In my opinion, it’s always smart to buy a little extra tile than you think you’ll need because they will come in really handy in situations like this one. I’ve found that tile styles change fast and it’s hard to find the same tile months down the road if you’re looking to purchase more. Click Here for a step-by-step tutorial I posted about tiling. Applying and grouting tile is one of my favorite projects!
As I was tiling, waiting for the adhesive to dry and then for the grout to dry, I was working on the shelf I planned to put in place of the hood. This is where things get exciting (to me anyway). I discovered “Value Wood” at Menards!
This wood is basically scrap wood - cut, dinged, imperfect – just my style. And best of all – it’s cheap! I ran across a piece of wood for $1.75 that had the best character. It had a sunken knot and was splitting. It was perfect. I applied three coats of stain and satin polyurethane to it, and ended up falling in love with it even more.
Once the stain and poly dried, I attached two shelf brackets to the bottom using short screws. I attached them in a non-traditional way because I wanted the arches of the brackets to show under the shelf and I knew I wouldn’t be putting anything heavy on it. I really just needed something to hold the shelf in place. I then secured the brackets to the cabinets by predrilling holes and inserting medium length screws.
Installing a shelf is a really small thing, so I feel kind of dumb for being so extremely excited about how it turned out. But I’m obsessed. It changed the look of the kitchen completely and gives me a functional shelf that I can use in a variety of different ways.
What is one small thing can you change up that has the potential to make a big difference in the way your home looks and/or functions?
From the moment I bought an old baby crib last year at an estate sale, I’ve been dreaming about the light fixture I’d make out of the mattress spring frame.
I used the sides of the crib right away as a cucumber trellis, I’ve now got the mattress spring frame hung, and still have a couple of pieces left to use for some home décor signs. One item, three different types of projects! Always consider the possibilities for what may appear to be “junk.”
Here’s what you need for this project:
First, I sanded down any bubbling rust spots and other imperfections on the mattress spring frame. I then wiped it down with a wet cloth and let it air dry. Once it was dry, I spray painted two coats over the entire frame. I didn’t hang the frame for a few days after I painted it, so it had more than enough time to dry.
While I thought through the ideas I had for the full light fixture, I installed the light pendant. Unfortunately, the existing light fixture was placed in a poor spot that is very off center in the dining room, but this light fixture idea ended up working out well for where it was placed.
Once I had a final plan in mind for where and how I’d hang the mattress frame, I measured out and marked where the swag light ceiling hooks would go. I determined where the marks would go by measuring the frame corner to corner. I didn’t have fancy tools like a laser level to guide me, so I did my best to eyeball my lines. My husband was there as a second set of eyes and we did pretty well!
When my lines were marked, I placed the ceiling hooks by simply twisting them into our ceiling panels.
From there I attached loops of wire to the corners of the mattress frame and placed each corner loop over the ceiling hooks. You could also use small link decorative chain in place of the wire for a different look. I was in a hurry to do this (because I was excited) and strong wire was the only thing our small town hardware store had. I may replace it down the road.
When the mattress frame was securely in place, I “styled” the light bulbs by stringing them through the frame.
The last step was to add Edison bulbs. I used three different styles of bulbs because I love Edison bulbs and couldn’t choose just one style when I had eight lights to fill!
I love how this light fixture looks industrial and rustic at the same time. I plan to completely redo the seating in the dining room which will make the space come together even more.