DIY Faux Fur Tree Skirt

Anthony and I got married a few weeks before Christmas in 2007 and so by the time we were back from our honeymoon and he had moved in, it was time to decorate our first house for Christmas…a.k.a. dole out $25 for a little Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and an extra $2 for a yard of Christmasy quilting fabric that we both picked out together at Walmart and that I wrapped around the base of our little tree.  It wasn’t a tree skirt by any means, just a piece of fabric that was strategically placed to look like one and that left a foot of floor visible at the back of the tree but nobody knew it but us!  Funny thing is, we’ve been wrapping that same piece of fabric around our tree every year since, partly because it has some sweet sentimental value and partly because we’re too cheap to buy a real skirt.  But all that’s changed this year and our new (to us) nine footer’s legs are covered from front to back!  Check it:

Here’s how I made it and how you can make one too! 

I found this faux fur at JoAnn Fabrics.
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There are lots of faux white fur(s?) out there but I wanted something that resembled shaggy bear fur vs. a curly or short fur.  Using a 50% off coupon got me two yards of this fur for under $20 (around $17).  The fabric itself is 60 inches wide.  I wanted to be able to bunch up my skirt (in the most modest way possibly) so I bought two yards so that I could use the whole width and make one 60 inches in diameter.  (I think the norm diameter for tree skirts is anywhere from 40-48 inches). 

So first I cut off the excess 12 inches to give me a 60’ x 60’ square.  (The plan is to use that extra 12 inches to make a few lumbar pillows!  Those should be fun!)  Fur cutting tip:  When cutting fur, cut with the backside facing up and cut as close as you can to the backing so that you don’t cut off loads of the fur.  Also, cutting little bits at a time instead of long chomps minimizes fur loss.  Ain’t no Rogaine gonna help if you cut too much so slow and steady does it! 
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Next, I went all geometric and cut my future tree skirt into an octagon instead of a circle.  I have a love for all things ‘agon so I went with my heart on this one.  To figure out what length each side of my octagon needed to be and how much to cut, I scrapped my rusty math skills (although I did sit and try to do the math for five minutes) and used the
handy tool from this website to do it for me.  Once I knew what each of my sides needed to measure, I simply folded over my corners until each side measured what I needed it to measure (I think it was 24.5 inches for a 60 inch skirt) and cut them off.
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If you want to go the traditional route and cut your skirt into a circle, Holly gives a good tutorial on how to cut your fabric to get that circle.

Then I cut a slit up one side and a small round hold in the middle in true tree skirt style. (Our tree is fake and our trunk is a skinny thing so the small hole works fine.  If you go real with your tree, you’ll probably need to cut a bigger hole.)
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Slit-cutting tip:  Decide which direction you want your fur to lay before you cut your slit!  For example, if you want the hair to flow forward towards the front of the tree, cut your slit on the side where the fur ‘grows’ away so that that part is at the back of the tree.  Does that make sense?

The last thing I did before dressing the tree was hem the new skirt.  Originally I was just going to leave it as is, with cut edges, but decided after folding under the edges that a hemmed edge looked a lot better.  To make things easy on myself and to eliminate any fur matting a sewing machine hem might make, I used hot glue.  All I did was run a line of hot glue around the edges of the skirt…
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…and then I folded each edge over onto the hot glue.
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I worked in small segments so that my glue didn’t have time to cool before I could hem.  In under five minutes, I had a perfect hem all the way around.
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We LOVE our new tree skirt!

The full monty:
(Tutorial on how to make a pipe cleaner tree topper like ours here on love Maegan.)

I mentioned this in last Friday’s post, but I invested $10 at Dollar Tree into a bit more Christmas decor this year.  Along with some new ornaments, I also bought three long strands of gold/silver tinsel garland and strung all three strands down the center of the tree.  It’s hard to see it in pictures but in real life it makes the trunk of our tree look like it’s made of glitter and adds lots of magic!  As much as I love the economical sense of a fake tree, their skinny metal trunks don’t hold a candle to the real thing so adding the garland does wonders!  You can see it in this picture, in between the silver and red ball ornaments:

I had high hopes of making more of this leaf garland to adorn our tree this year too but alas, I didn’t have the time and was antsy to get the ornaments on so we’ll tack that onto next year’s wish list.  :)

Are you a tree-skirter or do you prefer it bare?  Maybe presents are your tree skirt?  Or maybe we’re not the only ones who have done it wrap-style?  Or maybe you don’t even have your tree up yet so that’s the last thing on your mind?  :)

Oh and btdubbs, what’s a holiday without a party?!  I’m skirting into
All Kinds of Things Christmas Link-up and Remodelaholics Anonymous!

.           .           .

If you like it, put a pin in it!  :)
diy fur tree skirt

Ornament Decorating for the Tots

A bunch of my friends got together for an Advent ornament party this year – you’re assigned a day or two of Advent and given a list of supplies you’ll need to collect to be passed out at the party where you’ll walk away with a potential ornament for everyday of Advent.  It was such a great idea and I can’t wait to craft up the ornaments we got with the girls but I’m waiting until next year when handling glue and paint won’t be as chaotic.  If we didn’t have Sebastian roaming around I think it might be doable this year but as it is, I’d rather have him and wait a year to be on my guard with toddlers plus craft supplies.  :)

But, the idea of letting the girls create their own ornaments doesn’t have to wait until next year.  It would’ve though, if I hadn’t stumbled upon these nifty geometric, paper mache ornaments at Hobby Lobby last week.
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[They were $1 each, on sale.]

With a little bit of crayon, I thought they’d make for perfectly imperfect ornaments.  So, first I primed them with some white spray primer (Rustoleum).  It’s really not necessary to prime them.  I did because I figured the girls coloring would show up better on a white background vs. a tan one.  After the ornaments were completely dry, I handed the girls their crayons and let ‘em go to town on their ‘ormamens’.
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Last, in the spirit of experimenting, I took a blow dryer to the colored ornaments to melt the crayon wax.  I thought maybe it would branch out in spider-like branches, giving the ornaments a cool abstract look but such was not the case.  They didn’t look any different blow-dried.  So then I took my finger and swirled around the blow-dryer heated wax.  The result was a watercolor-ish look…or a mess, pick your thought.

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She’s very light-handed and delicate when it comes to coloring.  I had to get her to color on her ornament everyday for the last week in order for the coloring to be dark enough.  :)

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She loves dark colors as you can see and she colors with a vengeance – attacking her ornament with stabs and spurts of intense scribbling.  :)
Like I said, they’re perfectly imperfect.  :)  It was fun to watch the different ways the girls colored; it was like watching their personalities emanate out in color and art.

And speaking more of imperfection, in the best way, here’s our tree this year:
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I’ll put up some better pictures of the whole tree with an actual camera instead of my iPhone when I type up a tutorial on our new DIY tree skirt.  Look for it next week!

We sold our old 7’ tree on Varage Sale (a Craigslist meets Facebook type site) this year and bought a new 9’ tree off the same site.  Now our tree fits in with the peaked ceiling in our living room and its slimmer figure doesn’t invade the room as much.  However, it does require a few more ornaments to bedeck it’s branches, being bigger and all.  I had great luck at the Dollar Store!

I found and love these little scalloped ornaments:
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They were in a pack of three and came in red and gold.

I also got a few of these green, sparkling ornaments there too:
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They were a buck each but they’re four inches in diameter so it was well worth it.

This is the earliest we’ve gotten our tree up and decorated since we were married seven Decembers ago!  It’s been so fun lighting it up and hearing the whispered, powerful ‘woooowww’s from the girls each and every day the lights flicker on.  And amazingly, Sebastian yet hasn’t terrorized whatever branches he can reach…knock on the faux trunk. 

See you next week with more Christmasy DIY!   

Shut the Front Door…Literally

Because it’s looking a tad different these days.  The last time we left off in the entry way it looked like this:
[It’s (not) funny that I started working on the entry way in an attempt to work on one room until it was “finished” before I started on another.  Well, I started nine months ago.  Either I’m really, really slow these days, which is a huge possibility because of the kids, or I’m just really bad at sticking around in one place.  Or maybe both…]

You might also remember that I painted the outside of the door a bright reddish-orange (Red Hot by Behr):

Well we loved the color it added to the entry when it was open so I just took a dip in the leftover paint and painted the inside too.

Before I started painting, I removed the roman shade and filled in the holes left by its hardware with some spackle (the door is steel so the filled in holes don’t look perfect but unless you knew they were there, you probably wouldn’t notice them).  Then I taped off the windows and hardware and painted away.
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I didn’t prime first because I was just painting over the existing paint but I did sand it down a teensy bit.

The roman shade (tutorial here) is gone for good because it clashed with the red on the door.  My plan is to sew up a rectangle of fabric that can be attached to the door at night with some magnetic hooks we have.  It seems an easy project but I’m stuck on whether I want solid or patterned fabric.  The windows are pretty small and so it might seem that they might not need to be covered at all but when you’re standing at the front door, it’s not hard to peek inside and we like our privacy, so cover them at night we will.  Until I decide and execute the fabric rectangle plan, we’ve been using a white trash bag.
You never thought I’d stoop that low, did you?  ;)  Oh but I did and you can bet your bottom dollar that thing is off and out of sight when company is here because…uh, embarrassing!  ;)

The plan now is to paint the walls white in here and add a colorful something to the small empty wall to the left of the door.  I already have the white paint; it’s just a matter of when I’ll have a chance to slap it up. 

The entry way has come a long way since its brown days, no?
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And all for under $100! 

I’m itchin’ to see white walls in there but right now my sole focus is Christmas!  I’ve been decorating more than I ever have in years prior because the girls finally have a slight grasp on what’s going on and it makes it so much more fun!  This year I’m making us all stockings and I can’t wait to share!  We also sold our old seven foot tree and bought a new (to us) nine footer!  It’s been fun decorating it!  How are you coming with Christmas decorations?  Do you decorate a lot or a little?  I pulled the kids’ plastic manger scene out of the attic last night and it’s become the new favorite toy, causing lots of giggles and lots of fighting, pushing, and tug-of-warring over the “amals” (animals).  Such a$$es… ;)

Advent Calendar & DIY Leaf Garland

A couple of weeks ago I hauled the kids to our usual haunt, Tarjay, in search of many things; one of them being an Advent calendar.  We’ve never had one in our little family and my family never had one growing up but it’s a tradition I want to start with our rugrats.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t too excited about Target’s selection but imagine my joy and surprise when my friend from college, Kristen, asked me the very next day if I’d want one of the ones she’d designed.  I took one look at it and my excitement went through the roof!  It’s gorgeous!  Online it’s beautiful but in person it’s even more so.  It consists of 26 cards, one for each day of Advent (duh) and on the back of each card is the reading for that day and a short reflection.  On the front is a watercolor design (each day is different!) illustrated by Clarissa Krajewski.  You can either purchase it in printable form (you print) or you can purchase a pre-printed one and have it sent to you.  If you’re still looking for a calendar this year, I highly recommend this one!  During one nap time last week, I got ours all hung and ready.  See?
It’s hanging in our kitchen, where we’ll be able to pray with it around mealtimes when we’re all in one spot.  I got a little crafty with how I hung it after a long naptime and a dose of ambition called my name last week.  I used twine I had leftover from this soap dispenser project to hang the cards and along the twine I strung leaves that I picked off some tree branches Anthony had trimmed off of some trees in our front yard last weekend.  I’m not sure what kind of trees they are but the leaves are similar to magnolia leaves in that they’re thicker, a little waxy, and stiffer, making them perfect for this project.  After I cleaned them (I just swirled them around in some water + dish soap in the kitchen sink), I used our hole punch to punch a hole at each end of each leaf.
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Then I simply strung leaf after leaf onto the twine.  photo 1 (13)All of that probably took me 20 minutes…not long.  It was actually so refreshing even if it was a tad tedious because while I worked I listened to Bonnie’s podcast interview with Kristen on This Inspired Life.  If you haven’t heard, you should lend your ear.  Bonnie tells about her now-four-year-old son’s run-in with death at his birth.  You guys, he had no pulse for 61 minutes!!  But he’s now a happy, healthy, normal little boy thanks be to Jesus and the intercession of Blessed Fulton Sheen.  That’s all I’m going to give away…go listen when you get a chance!  (Pssst…If you don’t have a chance to listen right away but are dying to find out more about this miracle, you can read about it here on Bonnie’s blog.)

Back to the leaves…after I was finished stringing, I grabbed my favorite gold spray paint (Metallic Accents by Rustoleum), hung the strands on our swing set, and sprayed each down with a couple of coats.
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You can even make strands like this to serve as garland for your Christmas tree or mantle or anywhere that could use a little sprucing!  Silver, gold, red, blue, sparkled…oh the options!

It bears mentioning that…I hung two stands, as you can see in the first picture, and strung and painted one strand at a time.  The only reason I’m telling you that is because I realized, while stringing the leaves onto the second strand, that I had picked EXACTLY the right amount of leaves to fill both strands.  It was crazy.  Here I was listening to Bonnie’s miracle and stringing, stringing, stringing until I was done stringing and there were zero leaves left but I was done stringing anyway.  Here are the two ends of my second and final strand to serve as proof.
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I had even gone outside and grabbed more leaves before I started this strand because I didn’t think I was going to have enough.  I know I’m rambling about it and you probably think I’m nutso, but let me just tell you, it was crazy.  Enough said.  :)

The last thing I did before I hung each card was hand paint a little arrow design on each clothes pin.  I used a small test pot of the color Sonora Rose (by Valspar) I had on hand and a small paint brush and went to town.  It only took me about five minutes.
And that’s it!  I had everything I used on hand making this project 100% free and man, I love those kinds of projects!  I love how our calendar turned out and I can’t wait to start praying with it!
[P.S.  I have hanging 27 cards even though there are only 26 days in Advent.  The “instructions” card was too pretty not to hang and the way that I hung the cards, it looked better to have an odd number of cards on top and an even number on bottom, so I included it in the bunch.  Also, I hung the calendar over the frame collage but I’m thinking I might take the frames down because it looks a tad cluttered.  I’m not a huge fan of that collage anyway and have been itching to switch it up so after Advent might be my chance…]

Do you have an Advent calendar tradition?  What about Advent traditions in general?  I’m looking to expand ours so do tell!  I can’t believe it starts next weekend!


Southern Charm

Get a load of these guys:
Pinchable, no?

So let me tell you, I/we are anti-decorating for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving BUT this year we made two exceptions.  One – our tree.  We bought a new (to us) tree off of Varage Sale (sorta like a glorified Craigslist) and it’s currently in its spot in the living room because, hey, we have a week and a half and we’re not hauling the nine-footer to and from the attic twice in that span.  And two – our kids.
[Half-smile on the left and right…the only ones you’ll see in this whole post.  Happy children have we but you’d never know it in pictures.]

Feltman Brothers sweetly sent each of our tots his/her own holiday outfit (this dress and this suit).  The girls have three Feltman Brothers dresses from their infant days and so I was excited to receive more because, not only are they beautiful and a staple in Southern children’s wardrobes (smocking is BIG down here), but they are dresses that are timeless and that the girls can pass down to their own daughters someday (and Sebastian can suit up his son(s) too!)  They’re investment pieces that’ll be handed from generation to generation and if you love history as much as I do, that is really awesome!  (I have a nerdy side and you just witnessed it.)

Before all that happens though, we will get our use out of them while they fit and so Sunday Mass-goers with us will see them quite possibly every weekend for the next several weeks and of course, we’ll throw a couple of tiny cardigans over them on Christmas Day and, as much as Anthony might shake his head on this one, I might have to find Sebastian some knee-highs… ;)
Last Sunday we took advantage of the 70 degree weather and got some stills of our munchkins.   IMG_5451
[Nope, it’s not a dirt smudge on her cheek; it’s a bruise.  As sweet as she looks, rough and tough more closely describe this one.]

[Exactly two seconds before Seb made an attempted lunch of the acorns in his grasp.]


This one might be my favorite:


Go check out Feltman Brothers and “ooh” and “aww” over all of their adorable clothes!  Every outfit includes hand-embroidery and the quality is incredible!  I couldn’t get over the intricacy of the lace stripes in Sebastian’s suit!  And the fabric the girls’ dresses are made of is great!  Usually when you think white you think see-through, but these dresses were thick enough to hide tiny, colored undies but thin enough that they didn’t look or feel stuffy.  Besides the holiday garb on our kids, I am in love with these bubble rompers and their adorbable sweater sets!  Dressing the little humans never gets old, does it?  :)


Have a great weekend!  I’ll be back Monday with an Advent calendar idea for you using this beauty from Inspired Life Shop!  Kristin is a friend of mine from college and she and a friend designed it.  If you don’t have a calendar yet, I highly recommend this one!  It’s a printable so you can have it up and running by next Sunday!  :)