Top 10 DIY Projects in 2013

top 10

It has been almost a year since I started this blog and, considering the slow blogging pace during the first months this year, I never expected that I would complete enough projects to write a year in review post with my 10 top projects.

Well, I was wrong and, being inspired from other talented bloggers out there, and encouraged by the incoming traffic after each posting, I was motivated to start various projects and even undertake some challenging ones for which I have never thought I would accomplish successfully.

Considering my fist year of blogging adventure as a successful one, I would like to share with you my 10 Top Projects of 2013.

So, here are they in no particular order:

Small Bathroom Remodel

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Painted Wingback Chair

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Pom Pom Edged Blanket

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Fireplace Screen Makeover

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Magnolia Wreath
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Pumpkin Decor Idea

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Reupholstered Wingback Chair
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Magnolia Leaf Arrangement for Fall Mantel Decor

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Coffee Filter Wall Art

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Ballerina Stocking

happy holidays.

I want to thank all my followers and readers for stopping by my blog, and also great thanks to those blogsites that featured these projects in their blogs.

Linking to: Southern Hospitality; Decor Adventures; Craft-o-Maniac; A Stroll Thru Life; Savvy Southern Style; The Scoop; The Shabby Nest; One More Time Events
Happy New Year.

Besa

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New Year’s Eve Table Setting

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Have you made your New Year resolution yet? Aren’t there things that you need to change or goals you would like to achieve?
With New Year’s Day coming up, the question about the New Year’s resolution(s) is quite common. It is that time of year that we all tend to make decisions to either reform our old habits or achieve new goals.
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is very simple, realistic and attainable, so it would be embarrassing if I cannot keep it.
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I decided that every once a week no matter what, I will be making a dinner, set the table with fresh flowers and wine, and take time to enjoy the dinner and keep the happy conversation going on throughout the dinner.
I know that some of you out there do not have to make such a decision, because you have this thing ongoing on a regular basis, but I realized that I had departed from that routine for quite some time.
Lately, I have become kind of lazy and even though my husband and I cook and bake regularly, unfortunately I am not taking time to set my table in a manner which would allow us to enjoy our dinning time more, be it visually or conversation vise.
I will start my New Year’s resolution on the New Years Eve with this very simple, nature inspired and romantic dinner table setting.
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To achieve this look I used a white tablecloth on top of which I put a black and white wrapping paper as a runner. Very simple and informal, but it added a very festive, elegant, and chic look. When it comes to informal and fun dinner gatherings, using wrapping paper or other decorative paper products for table setting proves to be a very affordable option of achieving elegant and modern look in an instant.
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For a centerpiece I made these two pears to serve as candleholders. I placed the pear candleholders on a white porcelain tray and added some silver ornaments.
For layering and a fuller look, I placed a white place-mat under the charger and the striped black/white thick napkin on the plate. For some festive sparkle I added silver leaves on top of the napkin and tied the cutlery with fresh baby breath.
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I wanted my New Year’s table to include things that we love and enjoy all year around, so I collected some moss from our walking route and tied it around the black painted whisky bottles.I enjoy the mossy walking route with our dog, and my husband enjoys a glass of scotch on the rooks in the evening by the fire, so topped with my favorite red roses this floral arrangement became a very appealing and will add a romantic touch to our New Year’s Eve table setting.
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I already started loving my New Year’s resolution, and I will do whatever it takes to keep it alive. It is so easy, effortless and so much fun, and for now I do not see a reason which could prevent me of keeping it going.
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Have you decided to make any New Year’s resolution this year and, if so, what is yours?
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Happy New Year 2014
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Linking to: Tablescape Thursday; Make It Pretty Monday; Coastal Charm
Thank you for reading.
Besa

Square Holiday Wreath

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Even though I love and respect tradition, sometimes I like to put a modern twist on traditional things.

Few days ago I made this Holiday wreath and, as you may see, the wreath is not a roundly shaped traditional one. For a twist on a traditional round shaped wreath, I made this square shaped one using an old picture frame.

Moreover, for an extra twist, instead of hanging it on a door or on the windows, I decided to hang this wreath on my fridge door.
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I know, it is a bit of unusual place to hung a wreath, but as soon as I placed the finished wreath against the fridge door as a test, it seemed that my kitchen instantly cheered up and I also “instantly” decided that this is where the wreath is going to stay for the Holidays.
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So, I am glad that I made this unusual shaped wreath which, placed on even more unusual place, has added a very unique holiday touch to my very small kitchen.
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To make this wreath I used:
• an old picture frame
• florist foam
• craft glue
• florist wire
• fresh pine branches
• pine cones and hemp twine for decoration, and
1.5 m wide ribbon and a large bamboo skewer to hang the wreath.

I started by gluing the strips of florist foam onto the picture frame, and left the glue dry completely. Then I started inserting thin branches of greenery onto the foam. I started from the four corners and worked towards the center of the frame. I inserted the branches in a 30 degree angle, and after covering the frame with a thick layer of branches I secured them with a floral wire all the way around.
PicMonkey Collage
To hung the wreath on a fridge door I used a wide ribbon 1.5 m in length and stitched the ends together forming a loop in which I inserted a long bamboo skewer. I placed the bamboo skewer between the fridge door compartments as seen in the picture below.PicMonkey Collage It is holding like it was glued on the door, and it does not move when the fridge door opens or closes.
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I am loving my fridge holiday decor, and hope you will find it interesting too. Let me know your thoughts.

Thank you for reading.

Besa

Gingersnaps

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Whether you’re a gingersnap fan or not, the combination of spices in this recipe will for sure make you become a gingersnap lover. No store bought ginger cookie will ever satisfy you again once you have tried these spicy goodnesses.

After making these cookies last night I had to share them with you in an instant. They came out so tasty, crunchy and spicy and I am so happy that I found this great recipe by Jennifer Lindner McGlinn.
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As I was in search for a very spicy gingersnap recipe I was brave enough to add a bit of cardamom, which the original recipe lacks.
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I remember reading somewhere that adding cardamom to gingersnap recipe take gingersnaps to a whole new level, so I added a 1/4 teaspoon to a batch. Cardamom is somewhat peppery, and after trying I agree that it is a perfect addition to any gingerbread/snap/cookie recipe.
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So here is the recipe by Jennifer Lindner McGlinn, slightly adopted by me:

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
¾ cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar plus more for rolling
¼ cup molasses
1 large egg

Directions
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium bowl.

Combine the butter, sugar, and molasses in a large bowl and stir until combined. Drop in the egg, mixing until incorporated. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, mixing to form a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Shape the dough into walnut-size balls, roll in sugar, and arrange them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (If your kitchen is quite warm and the dough balls become soft, set them in the refrigerator until chilled and fairly firm.) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies have spread, are light golden brown, and the cracks still appear moist. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets set on wire racks for about 1 minute before removing them to the racks to cool completely.
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Store the cookies in an airtight container or in a zip-top bag for up to 4 days.
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Makes about 30 cookies.

Happy Holiday Baking

Besa

Budget-Friendly Holiday Table-Setting Ideas

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Few more days and many of us will be either hosting a dinner party or lending a hand at a party. Beside a good menu, every host likes to add stylish holiday sparkle to the dinner table, but not everyone, including me, is willing to spend a fortune, season after season, on a table decor.

In order to achieve a desired holiday look and still not spend a dime on table setting decor you may follow these budget-friendly table-setting ideas.

1. Use a white tablecloth. It is always classic, but you can add a layer of color and dimension to your table setting by choosing a runner cloth in a contrasting tone or design. Or you may leave a textured wood table bare and use a table runner in the center, or use various cloth or DIY placemats.
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In my case I turned a white linen curtain panel to a tablecloth. I had a curtain panel which I could not use anywhere, so it ended up serving as a tablecloth for the holidays.
I wanted to add some dark blue hues for my white holiday table setting so to achieve this palette I used a silk scarf in dark blue to serve as a table runner.

2. Use classic white dinnerware. They are versatile and can be used everyday and for entertaining. White dishes also show food to its best advantage— which is why the pros use them.
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I used my everyday Mikasa fine bone china set. To create contrasting layering, I placed them on the black inexpensive chargers purchased last year at a half price. This way in case I decide to change the color palette next year, which most probably I will, I can spray paint these chargers into a desired color and my white dishes will always match that color.
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3. Cloth napkins are inexpensive so buying a set or two is a good and inexpensive way to instantly dress up and add elegance to your table.

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I used these very inexpensive wrinkle free cloth napkins purchased years ago and I have been using them for almost every occasion. I used napkin rings, and to add an extra finish I “garnished” the napkins with lavender springs.

4. Make a on-hand centerpiece. Use serving pieces, vases, pitchers, or bowls from your everyday collection and fill them with flowers, fruits, pinecones, leaves, branches, or your favorite pieces from around the house.
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As a centerpiece I used my soup serving dish and filled it with white silk flowers. To add some holiday sparkle to the centerpiece, I dip-painted birch branches and placed them into the soup dish. I used a florist foam to make them stand in a vertical position.

5. Use candles as a low-cost way to add impact and atmosphere.
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I grouped candle holders of different heights around the centerpiece, and the glow from the candles make this DIY centerpiece look even more appealing.
For some more holiday sparkle I filled white ramekins with silver ornaments.
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Holiday table decorations can set a merry scene in no time, but as you can see there’s certainly no need to spend a fortune.

Small but strong points—such as a festive focal point, festive decor touches, can instantly update your tablescape and add seasonal sparkle.

I think that my holiday table looks pretty and elegant, and all this on a budged and with some power of DIY.

Are you still in search for the holiday table setting idea? I would love to hear from you.

Linking to: The Shabby Nest; Tablescape Thursday; The Cottage Market

Great thanks to the following blogsites for featuring this post: The Cottage Market; One More Time Event
Thank you for reading.

Besa

Raffaello

RAFFAELLO
Raffaello, originally produced by an Italian company called Ferrero, is a coconut cream candy, wrapped in a wafer shell and coated in coconut flakes and meringue with a roasted almond inside.
To say that they taste delicious is understatement. I could eat a whole box without making a pause between each candy. I love them that much that I make them at home very often, so I am constantly in search for a recipe that would get close to the taste of the original Ferrero Raffaello.
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The recipe that I am using lately calls for condensed milk. Previously, I had recipes that called for powder milk as a main ingredient.
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Even though the ones made with the powder milk come out nice and tasty, I did not like the powder milk aroma, so when I tried the recipe calling for condensed milk I was sure that I would be sticking to this one for a while.
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Homemade Raffaellos are softer though and they melt easily, so the best is to keep them refrigerated before serving.

So here is the recipe:

Ingredients

260 ml sweetened condensed milk
75 g skim milk powder (⅓ cup)
30 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
35 whole, blanched almonds
220 g + 130 g unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions

Mix the condensed milk, milk powder and butter until all ingredients are combined.
Add 220 g coconut flakes and mix well.
Chill for about 30 minutes, until firm enough to handle.
If the coconut mixture is too sticky and you cannot easily form balls just add more coconut flakes.
Take one teaspoon of the coconut mixture, place one almond in the middle and shape into small balls .
Roll each ball into coconut flakes.
Store them in a fridge and keep them refrigerated .
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They take less than 15 minutes to make and they will look pretty cool on your desert table during the Holiday Season.

They will make a perfect hostess or Christmas gift, or a dessert for any occasion.

Enjoy.

Perberesit:
260 ml qumesht i kondenzuar i embel(nje kanaqe)
75 gr qumesht pluhur
30 gr gjalpe
35 gr bajame te zbardhura
220 gr fluska kokosi
130 gr fluska kokosi per mbeshtjellje

Perpunimi:
Qumeshti i kondenzuar, qumeshti pluhur dhe gjalpa perzihen mire. Mases i shtohen fluskat e kokosit, perzihen mire dhe masa futet ne frigorifer dhe lihet te qendroj aty perafersisht 30 min. Nxjeret nga frigoriferi dhe fillohet perpunimi duke formesuar toptha te vegjel ne madhesi te ares se vogel. Nese masa ngjitet ne duar i shtoni kokos deri sa te behet mase e lehte per perpunim. Ne mes te topthit i fusni nje bajame, dhe e rumbullaksoni topthin perseri duke e kaluar pastaje topthin ne fluska kokosi. I vendosni ne frigorifer dhe i leni te qendrojne aty deri para se ti servoni.
Pergaditen brenda 15 minutave dhe dot e duken shume bukur ne tavolinen e deserteve per festat e fundvitit.

Great thanks to the following blogsite for featuring this post:Romance on a Dime
Thank you for reading.
Besa

Holiday Mantel – Silver & White with a Touch of Black

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I did not know how much fun seasonal styling can be until I started making my own ornaments, wreaths and list goes on.

For my mantel decor this year I made these delicate, starburst looking ornaments spray painted in silver. These ornaments served as a starting point for my mantel decor. I laid these ornaments on the bed of fresh cut pine branches which I spread sparingly over the mantel. I intentionally did not want a fuller greenery look, as I wanted the delicacy of these ornaments to show when placed on the thin pine branches.
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I added several silver candlesticks on both sides of the mantel, each holding tea light candles.
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On the right side of the mantel I placed two glass vases filled with silver leaves and silver tree ornaments. To add a touch of black, I added a black tape placing it three inches below the top of the vases.
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For a natural touch of the overall mantel decor I added some white painted branches placed in small white vases.
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In the fireplace I placed an ice bucket filled with silver ornaments. It pops out against the fireplace soot, and creates a feel of holiday glam.

On each side of the fireplace I placed black vases filled with evergreens.

On the mantel I proudly hung white, self made ballerina stockings, tutorial of which can be found here.
Above the mantel I placed the Magnolia Wreath spray painted in silver, so this way I created a tone-on-tone decor using all shades of silver.
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To do a tone-on-tone decor right is all about having a balance of texture, finish, shape, scale and proportion, and I think that my mantel fulfills, at least, most of those requirements.
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I am loving my mantel decor this year,and even though I am aware that the gold tones are quite trendy this year, I like the icy look and festive spirit created by this palette.

While doing holiday decoration over the years I learned that sticking to a palette of two to three colors makes decorating easy and the end result looks perfectly put together.

To achieve this look I reused all materials found around the house and tree ornaments from last year; so, the cost of this look was $ 0.00.

What is your holiday color palette this year?

Thank you for reading.

Liinking to: Coastal Charm; Give Me The Goods;A Stroll Thru Life; Amaze me Monday ; Tuesday’s Treasures; Stone Gable; The Scoop; The Charm of Home; Share Your Cup Thursday; Dwellings
Besa

Metallic Starburst Ornaments

URCHINA week ago I made these delicate metallic starburst like ornaments which I will be incorporating in the holiday decor.

They are simple and quick to make and you will only need a craft glue, styrofoam balls (different sizes), craft sticks or skewers and spray paint to end up with these lovely festive ornaments.

To make them I used styrofoam balls of different sizes, so in order to adjust the size of the ball and the craft stick I had to cut the craft sticks in half or in three pieces. I used garden sheers to cut the sticks and dipped the tip of the stick in glue prior to poking it in to the styrofoam ball.

As shown in the pictures in the collage, I started by poking the sticks all around the center of the ball and continued poking in circular motion until all the ball surface was filled with sticks.
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I spray painted all ornaments at once on both sides with silver spray paint. I only gave them one coat, as I realized that the styrofoam did not respond well to the paint. It started deteriorating a bit as soon as it got in contact with the paint.

I placed the unpainted ornaments on the bed of dried leaves as I wanted to protect the surface from the paint. Luckily, this had a double effect. The leaves which were supposed to protect the surface, turned beautiful after being spray painted, so I will be using those for decorating also.

After the paint dried out I ended up with a bunch of these very delicate looking ornaments which I will be showcasing at their fullest in my next post when I will be revealing my Holiday Mantel Decor.
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Until then enjoy a sneak peek of what is coming up soon.
Urchin Decor
Thank you for reading.
Besa

Ballerina Stocking With Tutorial

season grettings

There are so many beautiful stockings out there, and they are all affordable, but I decided to make my own this year. I found an elegant fabric at a local fabric store in the remnant bin. It was 0.50 m, and that was exactly what I was looking for. The price, if you were wondering, was $ 3.50 (happy dance). Getting hold of this beautiful fabric gave me the motivation to immediately start with a project.

Without any specific measurements I made the stocking pattern and traced it onto the fabric. Since my fabric was 2.45 m wide and 50 cm long, I was able to cut three stockings. To maximize the use of fabric, I placed the pattern as shown in the first picture of the collage.
Sewing
After cutting, I placed the cut stockings right sides together. I stitched around edges, leaving top open. I made a triangle stitch at the stocking heal to enhance the heal portion for a more natural look. Then, I turned stocking right side out. Four inches below the stocking top, I aded ruffles made out of coffee filters which were left overs from my previous coffee filter wall art project.
From a long piece of fabric, I made a cuff by folding right sides together then stitched across the short edge. I ended up with a cuff tube which I attached to the stocking.

With the stocking right side out, I covered the top edge with the cuff tube. I stitched around the bottom of the cuff tube to secure the cuff to the stocking and enclosed raw edges.

For the hanger piece, I folded a piece of ribbon in half and stitched it on at the top back of the stocking.

Using some greenery and leftover painted pine cones, from the Magnolia Leaf Wreath and Tea Light Centerpiece projects, I made these nice looking ornaments and attached them to the back of the stocking.
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I ended up with this gorgeous ballerina like stockings.
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The evergreens and pinecone ornament gives this stocking a natural and elegant feel, and it can be used not only as a stocking but as a decor piece throughout the house during the holiday season.
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Are you inspired to make one today? If so, start right now. You will love it.
happy holidays
Happy Holidays everyone, and thank you for reading.
Linking to: The Shabby Nest; Liz Marie Blog; Finding Silver Pennies

Great thanks to the following blogs for featuring this post: What Megan Makes; Cottage Market; One More Time Events
Besa

Eco-Friendly Holiday Decor

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The Holidays season is all about the family gathering, festive home decor, Christmas tree and ….list goes on and on. Since being friendly to the environment is a priority for me, I added my eco-friendly practices to my Holiday decor.
Decorating eco-friendly for me means finding more friendly alternatives available, so my decor choices do not add to landfills and pollution.
The idea is not to do away with decorating or turn the holiday into a drab affair, but to plan more responsibly and with a greater focus.
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My porch is the first corner that got decorated this year. In order to remain within the frame of the eco-friendly decor practices, I reused the old fake plastic tree. While they’re made using petroleum, a nonrenewable resource, the resources have already been used, the money’s been spent, and pitching it will just mean more junk for the landfill.
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I have donated almost all tree ornaments, and I am not buying new ones. Instead, I made these giant natural color bows from the repurposed material. Each of these pieces used to create these bows served as “a slipcover” for plastic vertical blinds in my condo. Some of you may giggle and call me crazy, but yes, I did make sheer slipcovers for those ugly plastic vertical blinds.
PicMonkey Collage

I handmade this very simple, yet beautiful, garland using natural materials: twine and cotton balls. Using a crochet needle I made chain loops and added a cotton ball on every 12 inch distance. The garland added an organic feel to the tree decor.
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For further styling of the tree corner, I used eco friendly led Christmas lights, and few thick branches of a birch tree. I collected these branches this fall when a huge branch fell onto our yard.
So the total cost of my eco-friendly porch decor was $ 0.00 dollars, and I am very pleased with the achieved look as my porch now has an organic holiday touch.
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Using this approach I wanted to show that simple, elegant, and responsibly made holiday décor is an attainable and viable option for everyone.

Are you a fan of the eco-friendly decor?

Happy Holidays everyone, and thank you for reading.

Linking to: The Dedicated House; Coastal Charm; Our Delightful Home; Give Me the Goods; Finding Silver Pennies; Be Betsy; A Stroll Thru Life; DIY Show Off; The Shabby Nest; The Cottage Market; Liz Marie Blog; THe Party Bunch
Great thanks to the following blogs for featuring this post:A Stroll Thru Life; The Cottage Market
Besa