Christmas decor, pt. 1 ~ “NOEL” banner

Hello everyone! I hope your holiday season has been carrying on merrily.  We have these target stocking hooks that we put on our shelf/mantle every year, but unfortunately, they don’t really seem to hold any weight.  They work fine for empty stockings, but if you try to put anything in the stockings, they flip right off the shelf.  No good.  Anyway, I came up with another spot to hang the stockings, but I figured the hooks would work perfectly for hanging a banner on the shelf.

I enjoyed making my Thanksgiving banner, and with all the crafty materials I had laying around, including a lot of leftover twine from the last banner, I figured I’d try my hand at a christmas banner.  I might try something more involved in the coming Christmases, but for this year I thought I’d start with something short and simple – “NOEL”.  We also got a printer recently, so instead of stenciling letters, I took a much easier route…I made the banner on Adobe Illustrator and printed them on card stock.

(Sidenote:  Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator can be prohibitively expensive, at several hundred dollars a piece, but once you learn how to use them they are seemingly invaluable.  Luckily now you can get these programs and a bunch of others for a monthly subscription rate rather than paying the full amour for creative suite which is like, a couple thousand bucks….totally worth it in my opinion!).

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I didn’t want the outline to show through so I did a mirror image of the text.  I chose Gill Sans Ultra Bold as my font – I was trying to keep it simple with some thick, block letter text.

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My cutting mat is nowhere to be found so I used a stack of newspaper.  I cut out the letters with an X-acto knife.  Scissors would work, too, but the X-acto knife is MUCH easier.  BAM – there you have it…NOEL! 🙂

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Then, yes, I cannot seem to get away from glitter – I decided to try my hand at glitter once again.  I sprayed each letter with spray adhesive, let the adhesive get tacky for exactly 2 minutes, and then i covered the letter with glitter.  I tapped the bottom of the tray all over the place until the letter was evenly coated with glitter.  DO NOT touch it! It will totally make it smudged and horrible looking.  I learned this the hard way.

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After they dried, I flipped the letters over on some newspaper and lined them evenly with the twine.

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Then, I took a glue gun and put glue around the entirely of the twine to hold it on…

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IMG_3417There you have it!! I think the letters could use some dimension, and maybe next year I will do a different word/words, different font, or add some extra layers or other trim, but for now, this is a good first try! 🙂

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THE “Holiday Season” and Modern Halloween Decor

I am back!!! Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  Summer was fun and busy, yet devoid of any notable shopping purchases or interiors projects – so no posts.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Summer!

So first off let me start by telling you how special this “Holiday Season” is to me.  BTW, I defined “Holiday Season” as pretty much October 1 through January 1 – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve – we’ve also got Hanukkah, Kwanzaa….and if you’re silly and love Seinfeld like me, let’s go ahead and throw Festivus in there 🙂 OH and for my Italian family we cannot forget the Feast of Saint Martin (November 11th – a.k.a. Veteran’s Day) and my boyfriend and me will be celebrating our birthday on November 1 (four years!!).  Some shopping enthusiasts at this point may even consider Black Friday a holiday by its own rite.

To make a long story short, there are a lot of holidays and things to be celebrated during this period. What makes it even more special for me is that this is the first time in many years that it will be a relaxed, fun, and happy time for me.  2007 wasn’t fun for many reason. By 2008, I was in law school, so this time of year, every year, was marked by classes really ramping up, the beginning of buckling down on papers I had to write and exams I had to study for, and exams…this past year, none of December was a break, as I finished my class stuff by Thanksgiving (managed to schedule classes in the fall that didn’t have exams, only papers) and by the day after Thanksgiving I hit the ground running from then until the end of February with studying for the bar exam.  On Christmas Day last year, I went out for a brief period for dinner but ended up spending most of the day by myself studying. Since I was working full time in a situation where most people study for the bar exam full time, I needed all the free time I could get. It sucked!

Since I haven’t had a holiday season with no school or other big stressors since 2006 (7 years!!!), I am pretty excited about this one. This time of year in Ohio is time to switch to wearing scarves and boots and break out all the smelly candles I can handle – decorate the apartment and keep the Food Network running constantly. I don’t know why, but fall and winter make me want to cook and eat and think about cooking all the time.

I decided to celebrate my freedom this season by decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I’ve got my Holidays Board on Pinterest, and a Michael’s just opened by my house. Whoop!  Ideally some day I will have a fireplace with a mantel, but for now I do not.  My boyfriend hung an Ikea Lack floating wall shelf in our living room above the TV as the main focal point, and for the time being it’s our makeshift fireplace mantel. Since we’re 16 stories up, carving pumpkins to put outside wasn’t really a great idea, so I got some artificial pumpkins at Michael’s.  I don’t know who this “Michael” fellow is, but my god he loves glitter…I got a few shades of Martha Stewart glitter as well. Why? I wasn’t sure when I got it but I do love me some glitter.

I also got some black feather boa’s to use as Halloween “garland” and a few other items such as a ceramic owl (I AM OBSESSED WITH OWLS!!) and some resin skeleton parts.  I tried to stick with all reusable items so I can start to build a collection of Halloween decorations to use from year to year.  It doesn’t take more than one measly trip to Michael’s to realize you have only started to collect decor but have already spent $150 or more dollars.  I DID give in a little – I got some tiny pumpkins from Trader Joe’s for 69 cents a piece.

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New Year’s Eve 2010-2011 Decisions

So if it is 2010 and its going to be 2011, does that mean it’s New Year’s Eve 2010? Or New Year’s Eve 2011? Hmm. Anyway, my friends and I will be going to a familiar local nightspot to ring in the new year.  I have my dress nailed now, but I have some shoe and nail polish conflicts to resolve…

 

 

I am debating between those three nail polish colors – all OPI – Yodel Me On My Cell (blue), Screen Test (magenta), and Go With the Flow-er (pink).  I am leaning toward the pink polish.  I need something to brighten up the pewter and black color scheme, and what better place to wear glittery, hot pink Malibu Barbie colored nails, than at a New Year’s Eve party?

I also cannot decide between the Jessica Simpson Dereck peep toe pewter platforms and the Oh Deer! black sequin pumps. I am thinking the pewter shoes may go better with the pewter dress if I am looking for a more conservative look, but that isn’t really what I am going for. I want to get a chunky necklace, possibly like the black one shown.  We’ll see. It’ll be a “game time” decision 🙂  I am going to carry a black quilted clutch that I have.  Short strapless cocktail dresses are so simple, I don’t think the mix of textures will be overkill.

We JUST got an Ulta in our city.  When I was in junior high oh, about 15 years ago (where does the time go?) living in Chicago, I enjoyed going there.  I am really happy to see one nearby.  I am going to invest in a new 1.5″ Hot Tools curling iron and try to add some curls to my NYE ensemble. I have thick, wavy hair, and have sworn by a flat iron or air drying for years – 2011 is a good time to master another hair styling technique or few.