decorating tips

  • Carving Pumpkins

    Everybody knows that carving pumpkins is a solid, fall tradition. What used to be strictly a Halloween decoration has turned into a fun, and even competitive family and friends activity that lots of people are getting in on. Just take a look at Facebook and you'll undoubtedly have at least one friend who is hosting their own family-friendly competition!

    If you are already into this tradition or just hopping on board, I thought I'd show you some examples to get the ball rolling for this year's soiree. Of course there is no replacement for your own imagination, so use these "templates" as a starting point and branch out....have some wild with your pumpkins! Some have been known to even pull out the power tools!
































    I don't know about you, but I think we're heading to the pumpkin patch this year and having some fun!

    Photo credit:

  • A Few More Wreaths

    It's about that time of year....the kids are heading back to school, soon the temps will be dropping into the cooler zone, and we'll all be pulling out the sweaters and flannel sheets.  I feel this bittersweet push and pull about the autumn season ~ I love it but I always hate to see summer end! Still, there is nearly nothing better than the comfy feeling of jeans and a sweater, sipping hot cocoa or maybe a Pumpkin Spice Latte!

    fall wreathAutumn conjures up thoughts of beautifully colored leaves, pumpkins, bales of hay, crisp temperatures against blue skies, and even sunflowers...just like this cheerful wreath. Yes, Merry Stockings is proud to bring you a little fall decor despite the fact that we are largely a Christmas site....see, we just can't resist this lovely season!  Besides, it is the precursor, the warm up for what lies ahead.....Christmas!!

    This is the newly released Bucilla Fall Harvest Wreath, and will adorn your home while you are busy making gifts, shopping for gifts, planning holiday gatherings and parties, and even making  Christmas decorations. This lovely decoration can be proudly displayed from the early fall months all the way through Thanksgiving. That's 3 months! It's a very pretty and practical choice, don't you think?

    It's also a great value, because right now you can pick up this Bucilla kit for 29% off list price for just $24.99 on the Merry Stockings website. The kit, like most that Bucilla puts together, comes with everything you'll need to complete the wreath, and the finished size is 15" x 15".

    owl wreathIf you want something a little more spirited, how about the Bucilla Owl's Harvest Wreath Kit? It's pretty adorable! Same specs on this kit as the Fall Harvest Wreath, and you can pick it up for 20% off list price for just $27.99.

    Something tells me we aren't done with wreaths. :) They are the quintessential, universal decoration for the home!

  • Dangling Ornaments

    hanging ornamentsI love all things that dangle . . . beads, glass prisms, macrame, wire artwork, it's all good. There is something about a free floating object that finds its way into my heart nearly every time. And, at Christmas, we have the splendid opportunity to play with all kinds of dangling things!

    The other day while I was shopping at Target I saw giant ball ornaments, I think they were about the size of a dodge ball!  Intended to be hung in a window, or randomly from the ceiling for sure, but I started envisioning 6 of them suspended from the ceiling above the Christmas dinner table ~ all the same color with sparkly glitter or jewels, or the colors of the rainbow, whatever suits your fancy! Whoa, can you imagine what a dramatic center piece that would be?!

    I think this idea here comes in a close second. You can pick up a box of these kind of bulbs at most places for not that much money, throw in a roll of thin silky red ribbon and you are good to go. They're so easy to put together that you can give your hands something to do as you watch some of the Christmas specials on tv. This would make for a very stunning display in any window, at the corners of french doors, and of course over the Christmas dinner table.

    I bet if you try this idea, you'll start getting into the dangling thing too.

    Merry Dramatic Decorating!

    photo courtesy

  • Snowman Ornaments

    snowman ornamentsWe are continuing with our SNOW theme in honor of the first measurable snowfall that is due in the next few days here in Minneapolis. I don't think there's a single Minnesotan that really expects the snow to hold off for much longer. These cute li'l snowman head ornaments turned-diy-garland will make you smile even if the weather outside doesn't. Promise.

    What is so great about this idea is that you can get the kiddos involved. Picture it ~ they are happy, no, ecstatic that school was cancelled today and they've been out playing in it ever since . . . sliding down hills, throwing snowballs and building their first snowman of the season. They come in from the cold, and you've got tomato soup and grilled cheese ready to warm them up just like the quintessential soup commercial, right?!  With lunch over in a flash, now what? Thankfully you saw this post and picked up the supplies one day after work in preparation for this day. No wonder your kids think you're a are!

    • 10 small foam balls
    • air dry clay (5# tub is less than $10 at Target)
    • black beads
    • black paint
    • cosmetic blush
    • 1/4" ribbon
    • Florists wire
    1.  Cover the foam balls with the air dry clay, adding extra to form the nose.
    2. The clay will dry quickly, so go ahead and wet the areas where you want the eyes, then attach black beads.
    3. Using your imagination and a toothpick dipped in black paint, draw the mouth and other facial features.
    4. Apply rouge to the cheeks. Awww!
    5. Cut 10 2" pieces from the florist wire, bend each one at the center and push into ball
    6. String your ribbon through and hang wherever you want.....the tree, over a door, in the window, etc.


    Photo and Design courtesy:


  • Snowball Candle Holders

    snowball candel holdersI don't know about you, but I'm really drawn to the unique. I like to mix the traditional with the modern and come up with one-of-a-kind furnishings, decorations and gifts. Today's decoration idea starts with simple and humble items, and transforms them into a real thing of beauty. Whenever I see an idea like this, I think about that HGTV cooking show, Chopped, where the chefs are given a basket of ingredients. Their challenge is to take each one and transform it and somehow still come out with not just a meal that makes sense, but one that looks beautiful and tastes amazing.

    These candle holders are just like that. You start with the simple, clear glass votive candle holders from the craft store and end up with a sparkly, even elegant display that will make even a battery powered candle glow with romanticism and warmth. I love that.

    • Votive glass candle holders
    • Mod Podge
    • Epsom Salt (Seriously, I know, right?)
    • Tea Light candles (wax or battery powered)
    1. Paint the mod podge onto the outside of the candle holder and roll in a flat bed of Epsom salt.
    2. After it dries, repeat step one.
    3. Let it dry again, and that's it!

    Look at how they glow!

    snowball candle 1

  • Alternative Christmas Tree

    2009 Christmas TreeIt is true that I love my big and wide and real Christmas trees for the holidays. In fact I kind of love bringing the outdoors in all year long, and I bet many of you are like that too. If I could find a way to live outside all year long and stay warm, dry and comfortable, I'd be all over that. Okay, maybe not, but we are one of those families that does leave the window cracked open in the winter for the fresh air, so there's that. :)

    Today's post highlights just that...bringing the outdoors in and using a bit of creativity to do it. We just spent the afternoon putting our vegetable garden to bed for the winter, so now the garage is full of gardening paraphernalia. The tomato cages caught my eye as we were stacking them in the corner, and my imagination began twirling . . . hmm,  what could I do to transform those wiry things into something useful, pretty, festive. And, apparently I'm not the only one to have those thoughts.

    I love love LOVE this idea for decorating the deck and even the big window flower boxes we've got outside our living room window.  We had a stray cat last winter that decided to use those window boxes as her litter box, ugh! So we've got plans to put something in there this year, and this is just perfect! Simply invert those tomato cages, wrap with some weather-proof garland and lights, and wow, what a fabulous view both from the inside and out!

    But, that's not all! Bring 'em inside, put one in the corner of the bathroom, another in the kitchen, scatter them around the easy and so creative! And, honestly, what could be better than a tree in every single room? Nothing, I dare say, absolutely nothing.


    Photo credit:


  • Dressing Up Your Chairs For Christmas

    take a bowI don't know what your dining room chairs look like, maybe they are really really fancy to start with. But ours, well, they are just ordinary, comfortable dining room chairs. We like them, but they aren't really anything to write home about if you know what I mean.

    The holidays are such a great time to take something ordinary, like regular ol' dining room chairs, and transform them into something eye-catching, remarkable, showy. I bring to you this simple idea of the casually linen-wrapped chair with a bow.

    What you will need:

    • Square linen tableclothes (or just fabric)
    • Wide ribbon cut in 6 foot lengths
    • Safety pins

    ribboned chairDrap the fabric over the chair so that the back is gathered and flows. Then just wrap the ribbon around, tie in a bow and secure on the underside with safety pins. So elegant looking, so easy.

    Or consider an even simpler option. Pick your favorite ribbon in your favorite color, tie it around the top of the chair securing it with tape on the underside. When you attach a pretty ornament on the back, you have essentially remade your entire dining room look, all for a very small price!

    I am sooo doing this for Christmas this year!


    Photo Courtesy

  • Building a Christmas Notebook: Lists

    Makin' a list, checkin' it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice . . . I've been humming this the last couple of days as I thought about the list section of our Christmas notebooks. Does anyone else live their everyday lives by lists?  Some of the best-organized people do. When I have a huge project or an insane amount of work to get done in a short amount of time, lists are definitely my friend. And, yes, I have been known to put things ON my list just so I can check them off! Anybody relate?!

    We are in the middle of a series of posts about how to put together a Christmas Notebook, that one place where all things Christmas reside to make your holiday season less stressful and rushed. We've already picked up our supplies, and have started our books with an Ideas tab at the front. If you missed the last post that gave tips for saving and implementing all of your genius ideas, you can find it here. Today, let's work on our lists.

    Who do you want to give a Christmas gift to? What about Christmas cards and all those addresses? And, events, what events are traditional for you and what others would you include if you were better organized? There are dozens of possibilities for lists, all determined by your own traditions and tastes! Here are the ones that I am starting with:

    • Christmas card addresses -- even though you have these addresses in a separate address book or perhaps even stored online somewhere, take the time to gather those addresses for this notebook. Keep track of who sends you a card each year; these are your primary relationships! Don't leave it up to your memory as to who you sent a card to last year or who sent you one.
    • Gift recipients -- of course your family members and some close friends will be on this list, but also remember the service people that grace your lives every day. Some ideas that come to mind are the postman/UPS/FedEx drivers, the newspaper delivery person, cleaning help, garbage collector . . . anyone who makes your life a little easier throughout the year. The gift doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate; it's the sentiment and the thought that count the most.
    • Events -- Christmas programs, plays, concerts, parades, parties and open houses (yours, too!). As you are notified of these dates, you'll add them to your calendar (which we'll get to later). If you host an annual Christmas open house and have a different theme each year, keep track of that here. When your calendar gets too busy to include certain events you hear about during the holiday season, jot them down in this section to plan to attend next year. You get the idea.
    • Recipes -- Oh the treasured recipes that are passed down through the generations! Keep a list of them here, and what cookbook or recipe file you store them in. Keep track of what you made last year that was a big hit, new recipes you want to try, and those secret family heirloom delectables!
    • Decorating -- Throughout the year some of your family members will get married, couples will have babies or adopt, puppies and kittens will become family members, and they are all going to need a stocking. We've got your covered on this one! With ready-made stockings to personalize and kits that you put together yourself, these stockings will become treasured heirlooms! So, when life events take place that add new members to your circle, jot their names down in this section. Also, if you put out lawn decorations or have a light display, are there pieces that need replacing or updating? Keep track of what you need for the following season, and then hit up some of the post-season sales. It's a great way to save a lot of money!

    What other lists can you think of to include in our Christmas notebooks?


    Photo courtesy

  • Burlap Christmas Decorations

    You've probably noticed that burlap is hot in home decor. Perhaps because it can complement so many decorating styles, this simple fabric is showing up everywhere from do-it-yourself projects to chic home stores. Christmas decorating is certainly no exception. A quick perusal of Pinterest turned up a treasure trove of burlap items.

    One of the simplest ways to add burlap to your home is on the dining table. A simple length of fabric can serve as a runner to anchor your centerpiece and serving platters. Or take it to the next level by weaving together 2 colors of burlap, as shown by the gals at Six Sisters Stuff. Yes, that's right, you can buy colored burlap - just imagine the additional possibilities! :)

    Michelle at Sweet Something Designs layered burlap placemats over red plaid for a nice textural contrast. As she demonstrates with her outdoor tablescape, this look could easily be tweaked to work for any season or holiday.

    If you're interested in a little splash of burlap in the living room, a throw pillow is perfect. Etsy, the source for so much handmade loveliness, has several cute options for Christmas and winter. Or try making one yourself, using Amy's example at All In A Day.






    How about a little burlap on the front door? There are many different styles of  burlap wreaths, to suit any taste. Most use some type of embellishment.






    Allison, from A Glimpse Inside, wrapped the burlap around a form and added ribbon medallion flowers. Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous used strips of burlap, and Brooke created a ruffled look.

    Kathryn of NannyGoat wove a wire hanger through a long strip of burlap; you can't get much thriftier than that! She also attached her fabric rosettes with pins instead of glue, so that they easily can be switched out for different accent pieces in another season.

    Check out these adorable Christmas trees, made using burlap and other materials. Once again, the unique texture is what makes this fabric really stand out.

    Artsy Va Va added some metal stars to give her trees a more rustic look. The Shanty 2 Chic versions combine burlap and canvas fabrics for a clean, crisp wintry design - check out both tutorials, for the ruffled tree and the one covered with rosettes.


    In keeping with this trend, Merry Stockings is excited to present a new personalized burlap stocking. Choose red or green trim, the perfect look for your mantle this year.

    If this post has inspired you to try some burlap crafting, here are a few tips:

    • If you aren't able to find colored burlap, you can spray-paint it any color you want! (from Brooke at All Things Thrifty)
    • Burlap will dull your good fabric scissors, so use an old or inexpensive pair. (from Six Sisters' Stuff)

    Do you have any burlap decor items in your home? Anything you made yourself?


  • Holiday Decorating...

    One of the most exciting parts about preparing to celebrate Christmas is setting out the decorations. Living spaces are transformed from ordinary to festive and merry through beautiful garland, ornaments and decor. If you're ready to freshen up your holiday look, starting a decoration makeover can be daunting. Where to begin? Get inspired by these fantastic Christmas scenes featuring some of the little details that can make your holiday interior design great.

    Christmas Decorations, be inspired to revamp your decor'

    Thanks to an old friend for composing today's post.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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