Super Easy Christmas Crafts

Easy Christmas Crafts

It’s that time of year again and while I know that many of you have been crafting for Christmas for weeks (or even months now), I just cannot get into the holiday mood until Thanksgiving dinner is done! There is something about sitting by the light of the fireplace, tree aglow and a few random Santas to keep me company, as I sing along with Doris Day, that puts me in the crafting mood. I love how the product enhances my home, but the process is half the fun and around here making the projects during the season is tradition!

I already have my ideas and supplies ready to go and I will be sure to share what I create over the next few weeks with you, but to get you started, I have put my favorites from last year together here. Rest assured, in true Exquisitely Unremarkable style, they can all be whipped up rather quickly, they won’t break the bank and you really don’t need any crafting experience to end up with fabulous looking results.

Ho-Ho-Ho…away we go!

Easy yarn table top Christmas trees

These super easy tabletop yarn Christmas trees are hands down my most popular holiday craft. They are easy to do with a few dollar store items!

puzzle-piece-wreath-ornament

I love to recycle old puzzle pieces ~ here’s a few festive ways to use them this season!

Merry Christmas Wooden Sign easy DIY

Are you a big fan of wooden signs, but hate the lettering? I have a trick to make you look like a pro!

Goody bag advent calendar

Dollar store treat bags make a great advent calendar and decorative garland all at once…and did I mention they were only a dollar?

Are wreaths your thing instead?

Triple evergreen wreath

Triple the impact on your front door in mere minutes with faux or real evergreens!

snowflake-wreath-ex

Are you a Frozen fan? This dollar store snowflake wreath will bring out your inner Elsa.

Red-Hydrangea-Wreath

While I didn’t make this hydrangea wreath with Christmas in mind, it sure does look festive this time of year! I usually add a few white lights to make it sparkle!

Christmas-Tour6

Keep your eyes peeled for a brand new batch of Christmas crafts coming soon and in the meantime, Happy Holidays to you!

Are you a December Christmas crafter?

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Blogging: Questioning Conventional Wisdom

Blogging advice

I am an excellent public speaker. It was my major in college and something I excel at; I have absolutely no problem getting up in front of a crowd, in fact, I like it. I disseminate information and thoroughly engage people in such a way, that when I am done, I have actually heard, “Do it again!” You know why? It’s not because I stroll up and down the aisles when I speak or because I make eye contact or even because I throw in a few jokes. It’s because I know my audience and I use the well researched and intimate knowledge I possess about them when I sit down at my computer to construct my speech. I write good, relevant content. Obviously, blogging is no different. Except.

Except that when I give a speech at PTA or church or at a community event, everyone in attendance is there, because they want to hear me speak on a particular topic. They came to see me out of their own need. They want to be entertained or learn something. I am obviously speaking about a subject that interests them and if they like what I say, if I helped or entertained them in some way, they will be excited to hear me speak again and come back ~ to me.

I do not go door to door asking people if they want to hear about (insert your topic here).  That would not be very efficient.

In addition, my audiences generally are not trying to sell me something in return. They do not offer a counter speech when I stop talking and I most certainly do not go back to their home to sit through a speech of their’s to thank them for showing up for mine.

And yet. As a blogger, I have read so many, many posts and articles prompting me to do just that. I have been told that to build my audience, I should go seek out other bloggers, read their content and comment, because then they will come back to my blog, read me and comment. Well, that works if I want to make friends (which I have) or if I am starting out.  Join the community, get exposure, put yourself in front of a larger blogger’s audience with your pithy comments, I get it, but honestly, I have to say, I think this idea stinks if you are really trying to build a blogging business. A little bit of this type of marketing is fine, but spending too much time marketing to the blogging community, as a blogger? I think not.

I have had so many people, who clearly have no interest whatsoever in home decor, follow me just so I will follow them in return. They never come back to read my posts, they never comment, they are not interested in me at all. They are interested in building a book of numbers and I am not. Plus many of these bloggers join the community and leave quickly. When they quit blogging, there goes my follower. I want people to read my stuff because they enjoy what I have to say or I am offering them a solution to a problem or I am providing them with inspiration or something they need. If you are reading my posts to be polite, that’s going to get really old, really fast.

I visit a lot of blogs each day. I don’t do it for business purposes or for return visits or reciprocal comments. I do it because I am a home decor and craft junkie and I am addicted to the pretty. I do it because I have met a lot of people that I now adore and I am genuinely interested in what they have to share.  I do it because I would rather read about a weekend trip to the mountains and see pretty Christmas decor, than hear about the latest homicide or DWI in my area. That is why I read blogs. I hope that is why other’s read mine.

Also, I have to say, that I have never, ever bought anything from a blog. You know why? Well, since I am a blogger, I am immune to the sales pitch. Most of the advertisements are repetitive. After I see them pop up on one or two blogs, they become white noise. As a blogger, I am not your best customer. I am jaded.  I was just offered that same sponsored post or free product. I don’t see it as a helpful public service announcement as much as an “Aha! So they were solicited by that company too!”

I know that blogging is huge and that networking with fellow bloggers is important for the business minded among us. Maybe there are bloggers making tons of money off of other bloggers. Maybe there are bloggers who can attribute their 100,000 monthly visitors mainly to bloggers, I just know that I can’t. After all, this is not a well researched piece, it’s just a newish blogger’s opinion based on my own (very limited) experience.

I know that there are tons of people making money telling bloggers how to blog, but there again, that is a service. Those bloggers have honed in on the fact that there are millions of people trying to make money off the their own sites and they’re going to show you how. Awesome. I say more power to them. They have a giant customer base and they are making it work for them, because some people, a large group actually, need to have a problem solved, i.e. the need to make money from their blogs, and they will seek those bloggers selling how to do out.

You know what my most popular post is? It’s my box pleat valance. Yup. Exactly. It’s a how to…people are looking for a solution to a specific problem…how do I make a box pleat valance myself without spending a fortune. They end up at me. That one post has generated more traffic than all of the link parties I have ever joined up at combined. It’s more than my posts that have been featured on major craft websites or in national magazines. The eyeballs come to me from Google search and most of those people actually have no idea what a blog is….so why am I constantly being told to market to other bloggers? It just doesn’t seem to make sense to me, but that’s just me and my little ole opinion.

Again, my blog is not monetized and I am not saying it never will be ~ the offers come in often, they are very tempting and I certainly don’t have an aversion to money. I am just saying that for those who do want to make money and grow their blog beyond an average ranking, I question conventional wisdom and I had to get it off my chest.

Ok, speech over, I’ll get off my soapbox now…although I must admit that I do like being up here. A lot. ;)

 

 

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Ring Clip Skirted Table: Easy DIY

 

skirted ikea desk

Several weeks ago, I updated my basement to make it a more livable space for our family at its current stage. One of the ongoing battles I have had with my kids, whenever I tried to organize this space, stemmed from their need to keep their treasured baby toys and my need to not see them anymore.

For a very long time they sat in bins underneath a mutipupose table in the corner of the room. The Calico Critter mansion and its residents were tucked away there, too. The stuff was out of the way and neatly contained, but I could still see it as soon as I walked into the room and that didn’t sit well with my design OCD.

skirted table before-2

What was a mother to do? Well, I didn’t want them to ditch their stuff. I mean, I am as sentimental about those toys as they are and besides, as an aunt of two little ones and a great aunt to two more, I wanted the toys to be accessible when little visitors came to town.

So, I went with the tried and true and made myself another skirted table. It was a quick, easy and inexpensive DIY that concealed the bins, kept them easy for even the littlest among them to get to and added a bit of flair to the room at the same time.

The skirt I made for my living room end table was basically several rod pocket curtain panels shirred on tension rods. That was the perfect solution upstairs where the panels remain fixed. There’s nothing hiding under there…except maybe a few dust bunnies.

However, in the basement, I wanted the panels to move easily, so they could be opened and closed quickly and by little hands. To facilitate this, I simply made rectangular panels and attached them to curtain ring clips. I used the same technique to make my rooster valances in my kitchen.

Since my panels would hang from rings, I set the tension rod and rings up first. Then to make sure I had the proper length I clipped the measuring tape on to the rings and measured from there to the floor.

skirted table measuremet

I cut my panels to a width one and a half times the opening under the table, so I would have enough material to create a pleasing gather. I also added about one half inch for seam allowance, since all the edges would need to be finished.

Now this was a very large piece of fabric. Whenever I have a piece that is longer than my yard stick and I need a straight edge, I take it to my kitchen, line the fabric up with my wood floor, lock one end of the scissors into the groove between boards and use it as a guide. Works like a charm and there’s not a scratch on my floor! Well, not from the scissors anyway.

Fabric cutting trick

I stitched up the sides to finish the edges and clipped my panel in place. Don’t sew? No problem, just use an iron tape and you will get the same result.

table skirt desk area

Now, I have a small confession to make. I cheated on the side of the table, behind the couch. That side really didn’t need to open. The toys are too big to be removed from that side anyway and frankly, I didn’t want to pay for another rod. So, I got out the one and only power tool I know how to use ~ my electric staple gun ~ and I tacked my finished panel directly to the inside of the table.

Table skirt staple gun

That’s it, that’s all it took! The best part was that I purchased this fabric on whim after finding it on the deep, deep discount table. I think I paid five dollars for it and it is gorgeous, heavyweight upholstery fabric.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I knew I loved the pattern. When I decided to skirt the table, I already had the fabric on hand.

basement after table skirt

Now, my view has improved dramatically and the kids have peace of mind knowing that their beloved babies are safe from the purging wrath of their design obsessed mother…

…and of course, it makes me happy, to know that they are happy!

But really I’m just happy that those buckets are out of my sight.

Shhhh.

As always, if you have any questions about the process, please feel free to email me or post a comment. I always respond!

 

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