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 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.
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.
When you live in a small house, every nook, cranny, and surface is valuable. If you don't want to build on an addition to increase your living space, maximizing the space you have is a must!
Our kitchen is tiny. We have one short strip of cabinets and countertop, most of which is taken up by our sink and stove. We've found it challenging to pull meals together with the limited space, and we certainly can't both be working in the kitchen at the same time.
One day it occurred to me that our stove top area had potential to be a work surface. So I made it into one! Here's how.
What you'll need:
I'll start by offering this disclaimer: This is NOT a cutting board! If you're interested in making this a cutting board work surface, research the correct wood types for that type of work.
OK, now back to business. After measuring your stove top and deciding how much you want the work surface to overlap your countertop, use your tape measurer and pencil to mark where you need to make your cuts on the edge glued board. I chose to have my work surface run the full depth of the stove top and overlap my countertop two inches on each side.
When marking your cuts, make two marks. One for the actual cut and another one inch in from the cut mark (or whatever the width is of the inner piece of your circular saw to the left of the blade). You'll be using the saw guide, so you need to account for the inner piece of your circular saw since the saw blade is not flush to the guide.
Once you have your marks in place, snap your saw guide onto the edge glued board, lined up with the mark to the left of your cut mark. I used a framing square to ensure my saw guide was straight, which I encourage you to do as well.
After the guide was in place, I made my cuts! I included a picture of the saw blade I used. It was pure magic. Cut through the wood like butter! I had been using two other blades that kept binding, but this one pulled through.
When I had the edge glued board cut, I moved on to the pieces that would act as "feet" for the bottom of the work surface. I added these because I didn't want the work surface to slide back and forth across the stove top. I wanted the bottom boards to catch against the edges of my countertop.
I placed the feet around 2 1/4 inches in from the outer edges of the work surface. I secured them to the bottom with wood glue and brad nails.
The final steps were to sand and stain! I lightly sanded the entire edge glued board and feet before staining. I also like to wipe down the wood with a damp cloth. I once heard this helps the stain soak in more effectively.
After applying two coats of stain and letting it dry for a few days, the work surface was ready for duty!
Now that I have this, I can't imagine what life was like before! It is so nice to have 34 more inches of usable space in our kitchen. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it has been a game changer.
I’m a big picture person. When it comes to envisioning a space, pulling everything together, and setting the wheels in motion, I’m your girl. But when it comes to the finishing work, the small steps needed to complete a project, I’m the biggest procrastinator! I want to see the big parts of a project DONE. I don’t have patience for the little things.
Case in point – our bathroom. Our beautiful bathroom that we completely gutted and redid just a little over a year and a half ago. Although at first glance it was wonderful and shiny and new, there were still things to do. Like trimming the tub/shower tile out with bullnose tile. And finding a solution to disguise the water marks that were appearing on our deep blue paint under our hanging bath towels and around the sink. Oh, and fixing the vanity drawer knob that fell off months ago.
I finally decided that I was not allowed to start another project until I finished the little things still looming over me in our house. Such a painful decision, but I didn’t want to be the girl who had a hundred partially finished projects to her name. I want to be the girl that gets it DONE!
We got moving on all of the lingering projects in the bathroom. Bullnose tile is ordered. Vanity drawer knob is fixed. And we found a solution to make visible water marks on our walls a thing of the past. In this post, I’ll show you how we installed wood planks in our bathroom to act as a rustic feature on the wall underneath our hanging bath towels and a backsplash for our sink.
What you’ll need:
You’ll start by measuring the surface area you want to cover to purchase the amount of wood planks you need. We bought over because we knew there would be a boo-boo here and there!
We had floor molding that needed to be removed from the area before we could start, so Joel took care of that with a screwdriver and hammer.
Next, you’ll plan how you want your planks to look. We started with a full plank in the bottom left corner of the wall, measured the gap left between the full plank and the tub, and cut a piece to fit that area. We used the rest of the plank we cut to start the next row, continuing to rotate full planks with cut planks to create a non-uniform look.
If we experienced any issues fitting the boards flush with the wall or each other, we either sanded them down just a tad or tapped them in with a hammer.
To secure the boards, we used an air brad nailer with 1 ¼ inch nails. This nail size worked well because the planks were less than 1/2 inch thick.
The circular saw blade we used worked perfectly, because again, the planks were pretty thin.
We chose to do the wall first because we could usually use at least one full plank in each row, which made it easier, and we didn’t exactly know what we were getting ourselves into! It was good practice for us. Around the sink was a little more intricate. Every piece needed cut, measuring had to be precise, and we had both a corner AND an outlet to figure in.
With come creative thinking and teamwork we figured it out and I’m so proud of Joel for his work around the outlet!
To finish everything off, I coated all planks with three layers of polyurethane to prevent any water damage. I chose a satin finish because I’m not a huge fan of high gloss and I wanted the planks to maintain their rustic look. I may eventually use some clear caulk around the edges to further protect the wood.
Here it is, in all its glory! Very proud of us because this is the first woodworking project we’ve attempted together and it went so well. It really was an easy project that made a huge difference in our bathroom. We both absolutely love how it turned out. Once the bullnose tile is installed (I won’t do a tutorial on that because I already did one on tiling here) the bathroom will be DONE and then I can pick something new to work on!
I've been obsessing over kraft paper scroll signs for a year or two now. I don't know why it never occurred to me to make one until this year...I continue to see them in the homes of some of my favorite home décor bloggers and just had to at least give it a try. I'm really glad I did.
Here's what you'll need:
First you'll want to measure the wall space where the scroll will hang. Figure for an extra two inches on both the top and the bottom where the paper will be rolled. I had 30 inches of wall space to work with: two inches for the top roll, 26 inches for the hand lettering area and two inches for the bottom roll.
Unroll a section of your paper, allowing the free end to roll up as desired. Measure and mark the area you will do hand lettering on.
Secure the free end of the paper with clothespins.
Determine how much rolled paper you want at the other end of the scroll and cut free from the whole roll of kraft paper. Secure this end with clothespins as well.
Once I had everything measured and the ends secured, I started hand lettering! I used my pencil to trace out the saying I chose. For the angled lettering, I used my tape measurer as a guide.
I'm really cheap, so I just used paint I already had. I wanted to do black lettering, so chose to use some leftover chalk board paint that seems to be a bottomless can!
I used a small paint brush to trace over my pencil lines. I mixed fonts and strokes to give it a playful look (and to disguise any mistakes I made!).
After the paint dried, I placed some glue under the rolled up paper to secure. I also added some staples later on to add extra reinforcement, because - gravity.
Next came the wrapping paper roll to hang the scroll from.
I tied my string to a pencil and looped it through the paper roll. I then inserted the paper roll into the top roll of the scroll.
Once the paper roll was through, I pulled the string to my desired length and tied/knotted the ends.
Here she is, in all of her glory! For being a beginner in hand lettering, I have to say I was pretty proud of myself. And just to give you an idea of what I was working from, here's the image that inspired me!
I went all out this year when it came to Christmas décor. I decked our halls inside and out in a day. I couldn't stop myself. I was that pumped to transition into the most wonderful time of the year! I felt a little silly though, because it was an abnormal 60 degree November day here in Iowa!
I splurged a little bit this season and purchased a few new items to add to the decorations we've had for years. Much of what we have we 1) bought when we got married, 2) inherited when we bought our first home, or 3) inherited when we bought our second home! A lot of really great pieces, but many had seen better days...
Although I bought some new items, some assembly was required. I rarely buy a completely ready-to-use piece. I normally buy the elements to make a ready-to-use piece.
Here are just a few of the items I made or curated to make our home feel magical this holiday season!
DIY Christmas Wreath
I forgot how expensive pre-made wreaths are - $50-$100 plus! I was not willing to pay that much because I wanted a wreath for both our front and back door. I ran across some plain wreaths that were in the $10-$20 range, and they were 50% off. More my style. I then browsed a Christmas accessory isle that had small, festive items that could easily be clipped into or twisted into a wreath. Three small accessories was all I needed to create a simple yet elegant wreath. After discounts, this wreath cost me under $10 to make! I plan to carry this wreath into other seasons by simply swapping out the accessories.
I don't want to be misleading - I did not make these stockings, I just added the letters! Stockings are another item that can be pretty pricey. I found these stockings at the dollar store. I picked up a single piece of gold, glittery scrapbook paper for the lettering. Using a Sharpie, I drew out the letters on the back of the scrapbook paper. I'm getting better at hand lettering, you could certainly use stencils if needed. I then cut out the letters and glued them to the stockings! Easy as that. And by the way, we don't have kids...these stockings are for...OUR DOGS - Homer and Madison!! You could say we love them a little bit.
I absolutely LOVE to shop my house. I shop my house before stepping a foot out the door to go to a store. I believe that if you can take a moment to look at what you have with fresh eyes, there are so many possibilities!
The space above and the vignettes below are mostly pulled together from items I had. The only new items are the Poinsettia floral bouquets and the red/gold ornaments.
I upcycled this sled last Christmas. See how here.
I also tried incorporating natural items from our property, like the branches and sticks in this planter.
Over the summer months we completed a really fun project at our family cabin - a fishing pole photo display showcasing the Miller side (my mom's side) of our family.
Here's what you'll need:
We started by marking out where we wanted to secure the pole on the wall. We used one screw between the handle and reel, and one screw at the tip of the pole after determining how far we wanted the pole to bend above the doorway.
From there, we added fishing line by tying it to the loops located on the pole itself. We cut the lines to various lengths depending on where we wanted the fishing lures and photo frames to fall.
Once the line was in place, we started attaching the fishing lures and photo frames. The fishing lures have small hooks that pop out of the top, so we were able to easily secure them to the lines. To make sure the photo frames stayed on the line, we placed one thin poster mounting square on the back of each photo - pinching the fishing line between the mounting square and the back of the frame - so they dangle freely vs. being stuck to the wall.
Here are some close ups of this project:
And here's my cute grandma with the finished project. We have her to thank for so many good memories at the cabin!