December 22, 2012

Dried Orange Lantern

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After inheriting a food dehydrator from my aunt, I decided the first thing I would make would be something non-edible, but pretty. Dried oranges and grapefruit slices for decorating!

It's as easy cutting oranges into thin slices, placing them in your food dehydrator, (or oven at 200 degrees for about 2 1/2 hours on a cookie sheet) until they are completely dried out. It took about 12 hours in my food dehydrator.

I wedged my dried oranges in between a large glass vase and a small votive candle.

It casts a pretty orange glow inside my lantern and has been the talk of my Christmas gatherings. I love when people ask me "how did you make that?"

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There are so many other pretty uses for dried oranges I would love to try-like a wreath, garland or inside of a poured candle. I made another dried orange candle for a hand-made gift exchange this year by adding cinnamon sticks and lacing the oranges together on the outside of the glass with pretty yarn. I was told the warmed cinnamon sticks smell amazing. It's not to late to make this for a last-minute or neighbor gift idea, so easy and thrifty!
Have yourself a Merry Christmas!

December 4, 2012

Fireplace Facelift: Before & After

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On Black Friday this year, I wasn't in those crazy lines at the stores. No, I was at home, in my grungy painting clothes, ready to transform my fireplace!  I had decided that before we got our Christmas tree this year I HAD to do it. The heavy dark fireplace was overpowering the space for too long and was really bugging me.

The brown painted brick had been coated with a shiny poly finish and I had wanted to change to something brighter and softer ever since we moved here almost two years ago. I had painted other rooms first and put this off because I had never painted a fireplace before and it looked like a tedious project. But it actually turned out to be much easier than I thought and it was finished less than a day!

Here's what it looked like before and what I did to update the look:

Because of the shiny surface on the brick, I decided to use the same floor primer and paint I had used on the floor for my Boys' Bedroom Makeover.  I only used a brush, not a roller which went on really smoothly. I loved color, called "historic white"and how it softened up the space. 

And here's what my fireplace and mantle looked like when I was done: 

I am so happy with this transformation I feel like I could stare at it all day. I love the clean, modern look and how my mantle, tree and garland pop against the lighter colored brick and floor. Good riddance to my ugly fireplace!

Linking up with these parties.

December 2, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Last week we went to an evergreen farm to cut down our own Christmas tree for the first time! It was a fun experience going with friends and our three little boys. Yes, it was windy and cold but we didn't waste time picking out the perfect short, fat Fraser fir tree for our house. After the tree was cut, we loaded it on top of the van and headed into the warm decorated barn for hot chocolate and good food. We finished our afternoon by visiting and petting some cute barn animals. I loved this place and the memories we made here. I  think we'll make it a yearly tradition.

Instead of a tree skirt, we decided to go with a vintage feel and put the tree inside of our antique galvanized tub. I love our little tree and this time of year! Looking forward to sharing the rest of my decorated house for a Christmas tour coming soon...
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