My $15 Fall Mantel (Er, Bookcase)

On Monday I told you about the fall decorating challenge that has been organised by Jeanette at This Dusty House, and how I was a bad blogger and didn’t get my shopping and planning done on the weekend. Well, yesterday after work (because while I planned on going to the dollar store at lunch I had to go to a meeting instead – drat) I made a mad dash to the dollar store and tried to figure out what I was going to use to decorate my mantel/bookcase. It was HARD!!! It might be because Dollarama had a lot more Halloween items than ‘Fall’, but it’s more likely that I’m not great at trying to decorate on a deadline – I like to think and rethink my decor choices before making a decision (ahem – exhibit A, the chairs I bought over a year and a half ago and haven’t touched yet).

Anyways, I picked up a few things at Dollarama, and a few things at my local mom and pop grocer. The rest were items I had at home. Here are the items I used (and yes that’s a stuffed bear – I’m a kid at heart, and he’s cute): And here is my finished fall mantel/bookcase:

And the total cost of my foray into fall decorating? Here’s the breakdown:

  • Brown paper (to wrap the mums)– owned
  • Twine (to wrap the mums)– Dollarama – $1
  • Candles – Dollarama – $1
  • Candleholder – owned
  • White bowl – owned
  • Gourds – Local grocer – 2 for $1 = $3
  • Mums – Local Grocer – $3
  • Fall leaves – Dollarama – $1 x 2 strands = $2
  • Apothecary jar – Owned
  • Mirror – Owned
  • Bear with pumpkin – Dollarama – $1

I’m not quite sure how I managed to only spend $11 as I was absolutely positive I was going to blow my $15 budget. Maybe it helped that the surface I chose to decorate is fairly small so I couldn’t do a lot with it. What do you think? Was I somewhat successful in this challenge, or should I steer clear of all seasonal decorating from now on?

Don’t forget to see what the other bloggers participating in the challenge were able to do – click on the links below to visit their blogs.

Linked to: Beyond the Picket Fence, The Shabby Nest

DIY Dove Christmas Ornaments

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I’m having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t seem to get really excited about the holiday that is fast approaching. I own a little fake Christmas tree and a selection of ornaments and I fully intended to leave them in my storage locker for the holiday season until last week.

I was flipping through the November issue of Style At Home Magazine when I spotted this:

Style at Home – November 2011 – pg 108

I loved one little aspect of the shot, and my plan to not decorate this year went flying out the window. Can you guess what part of the picture above inspired me? Since it’s a little hard to tell from my scan here it is again:

Style at Home – Nov 2011 – White Dove

Can you see it? It’s the white felt dove Christmas ornament on the top right.

Once I spotted it, I knew I could make something similar, and all thoughts of being a complete Scrooge this Christmas went out the window. While they were a little time-consuming, they are very easy to make.

Here’s what I used:

  • White felt
  • Pearl beads
  • Silver tulle
  • White craft feathers
  • Silver string

    What you’ll need to make the doves

My first step was to find a pattern for a dove. that was easy enough using Google, and with it on my screen I free-handed the shape I wanted. There are three parts to the dove – the body, the wings, and the bottom.

My Dove Template

I cut out my pattern, and then pinned it to my fabric. I cut out two body shapes, two wing shapes and one bottom shape in the felt, and two wings in the tulle.

Once the pieces were cut out I sewed the body together using a blanket stitch and then I stuffed the dove a little with some off cuts from the felt I was using to make my dove more three-dimensional.

Dove Body Sewn Together

Once the bodies were put together I added the wings. I decided to add the piece of tulle over my felt wing to dress it up a little, but you could do it without. The wings are attached to the body with a couple of stitches at the top – this allows them to stand out from the body which I think looks more natural.

Dove with Wings Added

I sewed on two pearl beads to make eyes, but I’m sure you could just use a little dab of glue.

Dove with Pearl eyes

Next, I took the craft feathers and decided on what length I wanted the tail to be. Once that was done I cut them, and then removed a little of the down from the quill to allow me to insert it easily into the dove. I used a little dab of glue to hold the feather in place.

Making the feather tail

My last step was to add the silver string. It turned out my string was too fat for my regular needle, but luckily I happened to have an upholstery needle with a big enough eye. All I did was use the needle to pull the string thought the top of the dove’s body, and then tie a knot in the sting.

Here is the finished product:

My Christmas Dove

Here is what this project cost (everything came from dollar stores):

  • White felt: $0 (I had it on hand from my bookend project)
  • Silver tulle: $1
  • Silver sting: $1
  • Craft Feathers: $1
  • Pearl beads: $1
  • Total Cost: $4 for 6 dove ornaments

I was going to just hang the doves, but I thought there should be something else on my tree, so I came up with what was the easiest project ever – it took about 5 minutes to make 15 ornaments.

What you’ll need:

  • Small mirrors (I used round ones, but they also had squares and ovals)
  • some ribbon or string
  • some glue – I used a glue gun

    Mirror Decoration Parts

All I did was add a little dab of glue on the back of one mirror, stick in both ends of the small piece of string and lastly stick on the second piece of mirror.

Here is what they look like:

Mirror Ornaments

Cost:

  • 2 packages of 15 mirrors: $2
  • Small spool of silver ribbon: $1
  • Total cost: $3 for 15 ornaments

I was going to put all my new ornaments on my regular tree, but on the way home from work today I found a tree branch, so decided to try to replicate my inspiration image a little more.

My Christmas Tree

And here’s a close up of my dove:

Dove Close up

Felt Doves in My Christmas tree

I feel I have to apologize for the pictures in this post – I’m battling two difficulties – It’s now dark here when I leave for work, and when I get home, so there’s no opportunity to take pictures in natural light, and probably more importantly I have no photographic ability. Maybe Santa will be good to me and get me lessons;)

Linked to: The Shabby Nest, Domestically Speaking, Addicted 2 Decorating, Under the table and dreaming, Sumo’s Sweets Stuff, Polish the Stars, Coastal Charm, The Kurtz Corner, Thrifty Decor Chick, The CSI project

DIY – Dollarstore White Lion Bookends

Earlier this year I was exploring the aisles of my local Dollarama when I came across some rather interesting garden decorations in the form of lions. I liked the shape of them, but since I don’t have a garden where they could sit proudly amongst the flowers I left them where they sat on the shelf. On my way home from the store I had what I consider a rather brilliant idea, and a day later returned and purchased two.

Dollar Store Garden Lions

For some time I’d been eying all those white ceramic animal book ends which seem to be everywhere recently, but hadn’t yet managed to bite the bullet and buy some. In particular this owl set at Chapters had caught my eye.

Chapters Owl Bookends – $39.99

Anyway, my brilliant idea was to transform those somewhat regal dollar store garden decorations into a set of bookends.

My first step was to fill my garden statues with the river rock that I also got at Dollarama.

Filled with Dollar Store River Rock

Once all the rock was inside I discovered that the rocks moved around a bit if I moved the lion, so I used paper towel to fill in some of the gaps and reduce movement. I sealed up the hole on the bottom of the lion with some thin cardboard from a box of frozen pizza.

Cover the holes with cardboard

Next up was painting. I decided that spray paint would be the easiest to apply. I mounted the lion on the painters pyramids I used during my first spray painting project. This allowed me to easily spray around the base of the lions. I did three coats of glossy white spray paint, letting it dry completely between coats.

Getting Ready to Spraypaint

The last step was to glue some white felt to the base of the bookends. This serves two purposes – it covers the unsightly cardboard, and it will also protect any surface I place the bookends on. I traced the base of the lions and then cut inside my pen mark to get pieces of felt that were slightly smaller than the base. I affixed it to the bottom of the lions with my glue gun.

Tracing the base on felt

I have to say that I’m quite pleased with the way that these turned out.

The Finished Bookend

Here’s what this project cost:

  • Two dollar store garden decorations: $4 at Dollarama
  • Two bags of dollar store river rock: $2 at Dollarama
  • White glossy spray paint: $5.49 at Home Depot
  • White felt: $1.02 at Fabricland – the location was closing, so it was 60% off $17/yd and I only bought 6.5″.

For a total cost of $14.31 (tax. included) I think I made a really nice pair of DIY bookends.

Fred and George – the Lion BooKends

I’ve decided to name them Fred and George – I’m sure you can guess why.

linked to: The Shabby Nest, At the Picket Fence, Remodelaholic, Addicted 2 Decorating, Making the world cuter, Coastal Charm, Polish the stars, Home Stories A2Z, The Kurtz Corner, DIY by Design, Savvy Southern Style, Decor to Adore, Beyond the picket fence, Chic on a shoestring, Addicted 2 Decorating, The CSI Project

DIY – Dollarstore Easter Wreath

I made this wreath a few years ago using items found at my local Dollarama. As Easter is just around the corner I thought I’d share this exceeding simple, cheap and fast project.

You’ll need just a few items:

  1. Wreath form
  2. Glue gun and glue
  3. Dollar store Easter eggs in various sizes

Dollarama Easter eggs

Steps:

  1. Remove eggs from packaging. The eggs I found had sticks and ribbon attached to the base. I just pulled them out as I didn’t have wire clippers  (I’d suggest you clip them off if you can – pulling them out sometimes pulled some of the egg off as well).
  2. Lay your eggs out around your wreath to ensure you have even spacing.
  3. Start gluing.

Notes:

  1. I wanted a white Styrofoam wreath, but my dollar store only had vine ones. To ensure it wasn’t too noticeable below the eggs I first painted it white.
  2. I kept the smallest eggs for the end of the project and used them to cover any holes that remained after gluing on the other eggs.

The finished product:

Dollarama Eater Egg Wreath

The materials cost about $20, and it only took about an hour to make.

Looks pretty good for a DIY Easter wreath if I do say so myself – what do you think?

Linked to: Nesting place, Addicted 2 Decorating, Centsational Girl