J’aime les étoiles…

I love stars!

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I also love the natural and rustic design approach. So when I came upon wooden stars created from twigs and pieces of wood at Vosgesparis.blogspot.com, I knew I had to knock them off!

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This greyed wood star (above) originally created on Lekker Fris and featured on Vosgesparis, is a simple project incorporating leftover wood, wire and transparent white lights.

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White clay star pendants with black string at Jotte by Lekker Fris are simple, organic and minimalistic. Hanging them from bare branches adds that natural and rustic touch I love so much.

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As I said, J’aime les etoiles. I could go on and on showing you what wonderful and creative stars are out there, but on to creating my own…

From Comme un air de fete, comes my inspiration:  the simple twig star I love so much.

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My son Constantine and I went out into our rather large yard, which is mostly forest, and picked up several fallen branches. It’s getting cold and windy here in Princeton, New Jersey so we had no trouble finding fallen branches.

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Then, I laid out the stars in a “star” pattern.

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Using a hot glue gun, I glued the points where the twigs met (sorry, my glue gun is a bit dirty).

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I made a second one only a tiny bit smaller.

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Once I was finished, I stood them up against a wall with the smaller one in front of the larger one. I look forward to creating more and lining them with lights. Stay tuned for those!

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I hope you were inspired by my “J’aime les etoiles” diy wooden star project.

A Simple Christmas Door Hanger

I found a very basic Christmas door hanger at the Dollar store the other day for only $1.00. I knew I had burlap, pine cones and twine at home and wondered if I could take this no frills door hanger and somehow make it my own.

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Here’s the plain and basic door hanger…

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I took the twine I had and wrapped it around the circular part that was currently red and white.

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I left the red ribbon and bells on the door hanger. I then hung three pine cones with additional twine.

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Then I glued on a burlap bow I made. Voila! My own simple Christmas Door Hanger. I love it. And the best thing is… it only cost me $1.00!

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Easy, Elegant and Inexpensive Holiday Decor

Unfortunately, the holidays often seem to be all about money, money, money these days. Like most of us, we run ourselves ragged shopping for gifts for family and friends. If you’re like me, you end up spending loads of money not only on gifts but on food as well. (My husband is Greek. And he loves having all the Greek dishes served up when entertaining. The ingredients are expensive). So, I hesitate to buy any new holiday decorations. And I could buy the entire Pottery Barn Holiday catalog if you let me, mind you! In order to not feel guilty and not go over my budget, my holiday décor purchases have to be inexpensive. Here are some wonderful, unique, easy holiday decorating tips and diy ideas that are beautiful, unique and simple and will help keep you within your budget.

 Berries, Pine sprigs, and branches in ordinary containers

Go outside and clip a branch of berries or buy artificial ones and place them in a basket. Put firewood and pine sprigs in a container you already have. Or, clip a handful of barren branches, spray paint them white or a metallic silver and prop them up in a vase. Easy, elegant and simple holiday decorating. Below, is my very own holiday branch décor that I did last year. I added mini white lights! See my Branch Art diy project.

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Birch Branches and Candles

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From Ballard Designs

Have Firewood? An easy and different way to dress up the interior of your fireplace is to use branches as pedestals for candles. White birch with white votives can create a very elegant embience. Or, put smaller birch logs on the fireplace mantel. Rustic charm without the LL Bean pricetag!

Suspended Tree Branch

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From Ballard Designs

A great alternative to the ordinary Christmas tree is a suspended tree branch with ornaments. Keep the branches natural but hang pine cones from white ribbon for the rustic yet elegant combo. Stay monochromatic by using the same kind or same color ornaments. Or, spray paint the branch and hang colorful ornaments.

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Ballard Designs

diy-glitter-ornaments-www.curbly.com

For the more modern and fun approach, suspend an aluminum tree from the ceiling and hang colorful glitter ornaments like the ones above created on curbly.com.

White Candles with Evergreens

For the minimalist approach, try plain white candles with touches of evergreens. Easy and classic. Perfect for a New Year’s party.

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From Pottery Barn

grandinrodwhitecandles

From Grandinroad

Carboard Trees?

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Yes, cardboard. From Comme un air de fete comes a wonderful and easy diy Christmas tree project. Cut out pieces of cardboard into triangular Christmas tree shapes, drill holes and insert lights. Perfect for an entry hall or covered porch!

Modern Cone Trees

conetreesfromwww.curbly.com

From www.curbly.com comes a very easy and inexpensive diy holiday decoration using paper-mache cones. Just drill holes, sand down and insert battery operated LED lights. They can be an exquisite all-white display or a colorful one.

Advent Calendar Fun

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Create an advent calendar to commemorate the days leading up to Christmas. From C’est Bientot Noel comes a simple and easy idea of using an ordinary clothes hanger or a simple branch. Suspend small wrapped packages (she also uses Chinese food containers and envelopes) with string. Put the number of the day on the outside and have your kids open a package on the corresponding date. Great way to add suspense to the season. And so cute!

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 Newspaper Star Wreath

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Yes, simple and plain newspaper! Comme un air de fete creates a unique, edgy and hip twist on the conventional Christmas wreath. You could use a star cookie cutter as your guide.

String Art Christmas Tree

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From mypoppet.com:  A very unique yet creative way to have a Christmas tree and star on your wall. This is also a great idea for someone who has limited space. Hang your cards or photos or just decorate with colorful pom poms and bows. Adorable!

Chandelier Ornaments

ornamentsfromchandelier

From Ballard Designs

An inexpensive and very doable holiday decoration is the simple technique of hanging ornaments to a chandelier or light fixture. Stay monochromatic for a touch of elegance or mix it up for a lighter approach. I do this myself every year! Below is my chandelier decorating version using pinecones and twine.

globalknockoffs pineconechandelier

You can also add holiday greens and berries.

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From Ballard Designs

Wrapped wire ornaments

wirestarcommeunair

Another simple diy Christmas decoration is this ribbon wrapped wire star featured on Craft and Creativity. These would look great on an oversized tree or hanging in windows. I love the twine wrapped one. You could also use burlap! Or use a light blue ribbon for Hanukah.

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I hope you found these Easy, Elegant and Inexpensive Holiday Décor ideas to be an inspiration. I’m off to create my own easy diy knock offs. Stay tuned to see what I come up with!

My Pine Cone Garland

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I just love my simple pine cone garland that I “knocked off” from vechernie-posidelki.

feltedheartspineconegarland@CommeUnAirDeFeteI love this simple “felt hearts and pine cone” from Vechernie-posidelki.blogspot.com. The combination of natural elements and handmade ones elicits a simple and effortless elegance. So, I wanted to create something similar for my home that would capture this same essence (a natural and effortless elegance). But my garland has a little bit of a different twist.

First, I made my own star ornaments using the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1.5 cups of warm water

Add the water slowly as you mix the ingredients. You should end up with a bread dough-like ball.

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I rolled the dough out flat. Using a cookie cutter star, I then made as many stars as I could.

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Then, using a nail, the end of a pen or a skewer, make holes at the top of each star.

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Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees. Then, using a basic acrylic art paint, I painted each star red. Make sure to paint both sides.

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Then, using white acrylic paint, I made a stitch-like border.

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I then sprayed each star (both sides) with a clear gloss acrylic finish. Then I tied a piece of twine to each star.

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My kids and I collected a bunch of pine cones in our neighborhood. We are fortunate enough to have tons of pine trees. I tied twine to each pine cone making a loop at the top of each.

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Then, I laid out all the stars and pine cones and ran one piece of twine through each.

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Using a glue gun, I put a small dab of glue at the point where twine met twin to insure that everything would hang evenly.

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And there you have it. My pine cone garland. I just love it! You can use the dough recipe to create all kinds of unique Christmas tree ornaments as well.

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DO-IT-YOURSELF Mirror Frame

I recently made over my pre-teen’s bedroom. Because we switched out my grandmother’s antique dresser with a mirror to just a plain dresser without a mirror, I had to come up with a substitute. Of course, my daughter wouldn’t settle for just a plain plastic framed full length mirror from Wal-Mart or Target (she is her mother’s daughter after all). I remembered seeing a DIY mirror on shanty-2-chic. There she stained it. I wanted to add my own customized twist.

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What you’ll need:

  • Inexpensive floor-length mirror ($5 at Wal-Mart)
  • Two 1″ x 4″ wood boards
  • Gorilla wood glue
  • miter box with saw
  • clamps
  • staple gun (optional)
  • contact paper

So, I began with just a plain full-length Wal-Mart mirror.IMG_0941

I carefully pulled off the backing and frame from the mirror. I bought two 1″x4″ pieces of wood at Lowe’s. (Because of having 3 young kids and a very busy life, I didn’t get around to this project as quickly as I would have liked, so the wood ended up getting paint on it while sitting around in my basement – that’s called real life!)

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miterboxThen (3 months later) utilizing a hand saw and miter box (very inexpensive at any home improvement store) I cut the wood into the following sizes:

  • 2 pieces at 48″ long (tip to tip)
  • 2 pieces at 17.25″ long (tip to tip)

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I then glued the corners and held them together to dry with clamps. On shanty-2-chic she staples the wood together while they dried.

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IMG_1254I sanded down any remaining dry glue residue with a hand sander.

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Then, I stapled the corners to reinforce them.

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I grabbed the roll of contact paper my daughter chose from Target.

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I cut the contact paper to 52 inches long and then cut that piece in half.

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I carefully peeled the backing off slightly and laid the panels under each side. I carefully folded the corners first as you would a present and then peeled the remaining paper backing and proceeded to fold the sides.

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Smooth out the contact paper until all air bubbles are gone. You may need to glue a portion of the corners where paper meets paper to reinforce the adhesiveness. I then applied the Gorilla glue to the rim of the mirror-side of the mirror and carefully placed it onto the back of the frame. I once again put clamps at each corner and even laid a few very heavy books around the frame. I let this dry overnight.

And there you have it! My very custom DIY Mirror.

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If you love this project, feel free to PIN IT!

My Pre-Teen’s Bedroom Makeover

It has taken a few months, but I am finally finished with my daughter Julia’s bedroom makeover. When we first moved into our house, we painted her bedroom walls a green pool color. Good luck making that color work, right? Follow me through the very long process to the end result…

For the longest time, all we had on the windows were basic white shades and an old comforter set I bought before I was married (20 years ago?) on the bed. The furniture was comprised of my grandmother’s antique dresser and nightstand. I was desperate to remove these pieces from my daughter’s room seeing that they were getting more and more damaged every day. I took the headboard and footboard out a long time ago for that very reason.

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My grandmother's antique dresser

My grandmother’s antique dresser

I found a well-made, all-wood, dove-tail detail and all bedroom set on craigslist for only $80.00. It had a sleigh headboard, footboard and rails, dresser and nightstand.

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My daughter and I removed the hardware and sanded each piece.

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Then, using a gallon of white enamel paint that I already had, we painted each piece two coats.

Then, after the paint was thoroughly dry, we sealed the furniture with a polycrylic gloss sealer. We also gave it two coats.

My daughter wanted the knobs to be multi-colored, so using acrylic craft paint we painted each knob and sealed them with the polycrylic finish.

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The furniture came out beautifully. I love the bed most of all.

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We bought sheer pool and white colored (yes, pool – Same color as her walls!) curtain panels from PB Teen. They were only $12.00 a panel! Each curtain panel came in a little cotton bag. We stuffed the bags with tissue paper, bought cute vibrant artificial flowers at Michael’s and tied them to a white hanger. Our little art piece hangs on her bedroom door!

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I also found a pool-colored plastic Adirondack chair at our local grocery store for only $14.99. My daughter loves to sit back and read in it. It adds a touch of fun and youth to the room.

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Because I absolutely hate holes in the wall, it was a must to have bulletin boards! My daughter would put a thousand tack holes in the wall if I let her. I found large framed bulletin boards at Wal-Mart and spray painted the frames a green chartreuse color. I then framed the inside with a zig zag patterned duct tape my daughter picked out.

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During this past summer I found cute deck lights at my grocery store, of all places! And best of all, they were pool colored! I strung these up over her closet.

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I found both the furry white shag rugs and the multi-colored lamp at Target. The baskets were bought for 95 cents each some time ago at a thrift store. I spray painted those white. I splurged on the duvet cover and pillow sham. My daughter picked out the multi-colored zig zag pattern from PB Teen. The orange (yes, orange!) sheet set came from Bed, Bath & Beyond (love those coupons!).

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I had a plain plastic-framed full length mirror I think I bought at Wal-Mart some time ago. I took off the old frame, made a new one with 2x4s and covered the frame with an elegant patterned contact paper. See my DIY Mirror Frame project for the how-to.

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There you have it! A  pre-teen’s bedroom transformation.

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Decorating With Pine Cones

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J’aime des pommes de pin!  Translation:  “I love pine cones!” They are one of nature’s most exquisite yet simple design elements. In preparation for the holidays, I searched the globe for some of the most beautiful and unique decorating ideas using des pommes de pin.
Create a simple and organic look using a base of twine as featured on Carnets de Daniele. An oversized spool of thread would work just as well for that avid seamstress. I also love the use of twine in the garland with red felt hearts from Vechernie-posidelki. The rope and burlap bow (below), “toute simple, avec de la corde brute et des rubans ou de la dentelle dans des coloris assortis”  and the natural garland of pine cones, small birch branches and bleached wood is also from Comme Un Air de Fete. Very creative and yet a very easy diy project.
Large, oversized pine cones add punch to a centerpiece. Spraying them white and pairing them with white orchids, amaryllis bulbs or Aurelian Lilys Liliums adds elegance to any tablescape (as featured below). From The Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula Holiday House Tour.
Using a burlap runner and natural-colored pine cones keeps it clean, organic and a bit rustic. From The Natural Wedding Company. Je l’adore!
naturaltabledecor
Displaying pine cones in antique silver bowls, trays or mercury glass containers combines the simplisticness of nature with timeless elegance. Spraying them white or metallic adds to the splendor.

Want to keep it simple? By simply placing pine cones in a natural-looking container such as ordinary terra cotta planters, a wire basket, garden pots or wooden bowls (with or without mistletoe and pine needles) their innate beauty is revealed. Ou tout simplement….

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From Et a part ca

From etpartca.canalblog

 

The Farmhouse, Princeton NJ

The Farmhouse, Princeton NJ

Using pine cone pieces to create other objects adds a very unique and fun twist to the season. Here are some examples from one of my favorite stops, The Farmhouse Store in Princeton, New Jersey.

Farmhouse pine cone bear

Pine cone bear

Pine cone deer

Pine cone deer

Add a touch of elegance while keeping that rustic undertone with small pine cone snowflakes and ornaments suspended from twine on a Christmas tree. Or, incorporate a string of gems or beads with pine cones from your chandelier. Adding a clean white ribbon to a pine cone wreath definitely adds a feel of sophistication. Lace can add an accent of femininity or a relaxed homey feel.

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From Maisonsdumonde.com

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From La Maison d'Annick

From La Maison d’Annick

 

From Shelterness.com

From Shelterness.com

snowyminipineconewreath@bd

From Billard Designs

Pine cones can also be incorporated into a unique and personal Holiday gift. I love using them along with natural greens as an accent piece to wrapping paper. Mes Petites Mains Magazine features pine cones on winter wedding favors.

Mes Petites Mains Magazine

Mes Petites Mains Magazine

For the friend who loves nature, these pine cone candle holders are a unique and rustic gift. They aren’t too expensive either – only $20 USD for the pair from Ballard Designs.

Ballard Design

Ballard Designs

A unique gift you can make yourself (as featured on C’est bientot noel) are pine cone fire starters. Just add a personal label or place them in a small gift box or basket that can be placed on a fireplace hearth. Tres Cozy!

firestarterfromcestbientotnoel.com

From cestbientotnoel.com

From cestbientotnoel.com

You can also purchase an inexpensive glass hurricane, insert a candle or tea light and accent with twine and pine cones! Very cute. A gift any home décor lover would adore.

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From Comme Un Air de Fete

Another unique gift that my daughter and I want to try and make are pine cone earrings. Our neighborhood is full of tiny pine cones. We may even keep a pair for ourselves!

pineconeearrings A garland of pine cones hanging from a clean white ribbon, twine or  burlap is a beautiful and simple accent. Add a personal touch by painting the pine cones in colors to match your own décor.

From Twig and Thistle

From Twig and Thistle

CommeUnAirDeFete.com

CommeUnAirDeFete.com

Try creating a wreath with pine cones in an unusual shape (heart or star instead of just a circle) and incorporate mistletoe, berries, cinnamon sticks or evergreen branches.

From alittlemarket.com

From alittlemarket.com

I hope you enjoyed my collection of unique des pommes du pin creations. I am now globally inspired to tackle some knockoff pine cone projects for myself. Let me know what you think. I would love your input. J’aime des pommes du pin!