Tag Archives: Holiday decorations on a budget

2011 Holiday House Tour Continued

I figured I’d show you all around our house in all it’s tacky shimmering glory lol!  Here’s what the rest of Casa FSL is looking like these days…

Super Christmas-fied!

I added just a few touches to the kitchen…

The kids got at it before I snapped the picture, but you guys get the point right?  It was a snow globe attempt gone awry!  It looks more like a snow egg… whatev.

Silver reindeer and a rhinestone tree (what else did you expect?!) sittin on top of Simon.

Some snowmen soaps and a couple of silver and glitter votives sit by my sink to keep me happy while I wash the dishes.

Here’s our entryway area looking festive and a bit rustic. Please excuse the weird lighting.  I don’t know what’s up with it.

And a close up on a few little moments…

The gold glitter doesn’t stop there.  It’s in our bathroom also 🙂

And what bathroom is complete without feathers?!

Somebody stop me.  Really.

Our mancave downstairs already had the turquoise thing goin on, so I added some peacock feathers and disco balls to add some holiday jazzy-ness.

Merry Christmas to all of the Finding Silver Linings readers out there!  I hope you are all on the “Nice List” this year!!


Mindy & Mr. FSL

Gingerbread House Making With The Kiddos

Continuing on with yesterday’s gingerbread theme…

It’s becoming a little bit of a tradition around here.  For the past couple of years, we rally up the kids and decorate gingerbread houses.


Last year I learned that you need to assemble them about an hour or so before you plan on decorating them because the frosting holding it together needs to harden.  This year I remembered *insert smug grin here* .  It’s a rare thing that I remember something like that people.

Here are a few shots of the night.  Bitten, headless gingerbread men and all.

Um, I put the houses together.  Yeah.  Good thing I didn’t build our house that we live in, that’s all I’m sayin  😉

Here’s my 15 year old cousin’s iPhone, my best girl and my God daughter getting into some frosting action!

Mr. FSL looking exhausted ecstatic about all of this and our niece who actually was! LOL!

My cousin and her sugar induced smile.

Do you have any Christmastime traditions with the kids in your family?  Do you bite the heads off of your gingerbread men first? I wanna know.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I’m going to be honest. I should have posted this on like Thanksgiving. It has looked like Christmas here at Casa FSL for about a month! I couldn’t wait for it this year. Last year we were only living in our home for 2 months and didn’t have tons of decorations. This year, it looks like my house threw up Christmas. Glittery, flashy, silver, white, gold, even disco balls and peacock feathers! Since the halls are decked (and the bathroom, and the kitchen, and the yard…) I figured I’d do a little house tour to let you guys house crash at our place.

We moved all of the furniture out of the front room (formerly the dining room) and our tree lives in there, along with gifts, Rocco’s food & water dish, and two gold reindeer that Rocco goes nose to nose with and growls at is learning to live with.

Put on your shades people, brace yourself for the glitter 😀 .

Here’s our “mantle”. Also known as the weird ledge over our front doorway.

Here’s our other “mantle” also known as the giant Ikea buffet table that weighs a zillion pounds and is not moving until Mindy gets the fireplace that she really wants pigs fly.


Do you pick a “theme” color for your Christmas decorations? Do you pile it on? Do you keep it minimal?

Stay tuned for more Christmastime at FSL tomorrow!!

DIY Clothespin Christmas Card Display

Last December was our 2nd month in our first (and current) home.  In other words, we had nothing.  This included a place to display our Christmas cards.  This is what I came up with last year since the only things we had hanging on our walls were 2 really big screws.

*Hangs head in embarassment*

I literally didn’t even have thread or twine.  I was too lazy to go buy it, and I ended up using dental floss to hang my Christmas cards…DENTAL FLOSS! Not only was I not ashamed to post about the fact that I used it, I even make an attempt to justify it.  Shameless people, shameless.

See that dazzling post by clicking here.

Many things have changed since then, thankfully.  Most for the better.  This year’s Christmas card display also costed me nothing but a few minutes (and I still had my dignity afterward).  I’ve seen this project before and thought it was cute so I gave it a whirl since I had all of the materials.

I had the empty frame that I’ve been hoarding saving for the perfect project. I actually hid this because Mr. FSL wanted to throw it out so many times…shhh!

Next, I swiped a few thumbtacks from our cork board and the spool of jute twine that I used to make this wreath.

I tied a knot at the end of the twine and tacked it into the back.

I spaced the 5 rows pretty evenly, and was ready to display my cards & photos using old clothespins.

I made this the night before our Annual Ugly Sweater Party (which will be recapped next week) so instead of cards, I hung up photos from last year’s party.

When the party was over, I took most of those down and put up our cards.

Free & Easy!

For The Kids’ Table On Thanksgiving

When I was little, Thanksgiving day would go something like this:

Wake up ridiculously early.

Watch the parade.

Unravel the 20 braids in my hair so it would look crimped and gross like fancy mermaid hair because that’s what people do on special occasions 😉  .

Go to my grandmother’s house and eat at the kid’s table I had to eat enough real food to get me to the next round which was ice cream sandwiches that were somehow in the magical shape of turkeys.

Watch the women sit around the kitchen table and talk.

Watch the men watching football.

Long story short, I wished I had something fun to do while the grow ups did grown up things.

If you didn’t know this about me already, I’m an art teacher. Here’s a fun and cute activity for the little guys at the kids’ table this year. It’s a Native American inspired vest.  I do this project with my kindergarteners and 1st graders. They love it, and it’s virtually fool-proof.

You will need:
A large brown paper bag ( the kind from the grocery store, not Bloomingdales)
A hole puncher
A big piece of construction paper (optional)
Glue ( if you are using the optional paper above)


Draw a “U” shape on the bottom of the bag.

Flip the bag over.  Draw a “V” shape at the bottom of front of the bag (where there is a seam).

Cut out the “U” and “V” shapes out.  (I add 2 strips of packaging tape to the shoulder area so they don’t tear).


Cut down the front seam.

Cut 2 arm holes out.

Punch holes along each side of the seam.

Decorate with crayon at any time.  I’d do all of the above steps before the kids get there if they are small and can’t use scissors.  Nothing’s worse than feeling like a “baby” when you’re 4.

I had my students draw on a large brown paper that was glued to the back of the vest (in case they made a non-fixable mistake…we only had exactly enough bags for 1 per student).

Cut small snips along the bottom edges to create fringe if you like.

Tie a piece of yarn to the top hole on each side of the vest and lace it up!

I’ll post a photo of me playing dress up tomorrow.

Not Your Grandmother’s Wreath: A Tutorial

I hate wreaths.  There. I said it.  They remind me of old ladies.  Since I’ve been introduced to Pinterest, I’ve seen some that I actually -dare I say it- like! I’ve seen some pretty cool D-I-Y wreaths while surfing the net and I sort of filed the idea away in the “I’ll make it someday” category in my brain.  Plus I bought a styrofoam circle a few months back just in case the mood struck 😉

Today was the day.  We were having guests over for dinner, I bought some new stuff for our bathroom and the blank wall behind the toilet was driving me  crazy for quite some time.  I bought a shelf a while back, but the way that the lights are in that room, any type of shelf created too harsh of a shadow.  So I decided to make a quick wreath.  Go figure.

Here’s how I did it:

I started with the styrofoam circle that was stuffed in the craft room closet.

I opened the drawer to my hoarding station, AKA my craft desk, and pulled out a spool of jute twine.

I tacked the jute to the styrofoam

I used styrofoam glue because I was nervous that hot glue wouldn’t work at first, but I’m sure it would be okay after making it. 

I spread the glue about a quarter of the way around the circle with my finger and only on the back side of it. I did 1/4 of the circle just in case the glue dried too quickly.

I wrapped the jute around and around…

Glue another 1/4 and keep wrapping

Repeat gluing & wrapping until it’s covered.

Now you’ve got an earthy yet sleek & streamlined base for your wreath. 

Now comes the fun part.  Jazz it up with whatever you like!  Buttons or bottle caps would look quirky & home-made, fake lemons would look cool in a kitchen, feathers would add some oomph, but I had some satin flowers lying around from a failed Finding Silver Linings Boutique project that I dreamed up (see the projects that made the cut  here).

I hot glued it on

What have you D-I-Yed lately? Do you love wreaths?  Do they remind you of old ladies?  I want to know all about it.

How To Make Free Word Art

It’s not a surprise that I love art.  I love when I walk into my house and see artwork up on the walls that I created myself.  It puts such a personal stamp on your decor.  Here’s an example of one piece of artwork that’s hanging in my kitchen:

(Pssst, here’s the tutorial for that!)

Yesterday, while researching inspiration for some new artwork for our spare bedroom and one of our bathrooms,  I discovered WORDLE!!!

Wordle.com allows you to create free printable word art!!  It basically creates an interesting tag cloud using the words that you type in. 


If I was going to make some wall art for a little girl’s room, this is how to do it:

Go to wordle.net. Click the tab labeled “create”.


Type in as many words as you want.  Be sure to put a space between each word. 

 Click GO.

Now you can edit the colors, font, & layout. Play around with it until you come up with something you like.

Here’s what I came up with:

Print & pop this sucker into a cute frame, and there you have it!  Original, personalized artwork for free!  It makes for a perfect gift too!  I love this site!


Do you know any cool DIY artwork websites?  Please share!



Yankee Stadium Is In Our Kitchen! (part 2)

After I painted our kitchen wall with chalkboard paint, it was time to get ready for the surprise 40th birthday party we are hosting tomorrow.  I attempted to draw Yankee Stadium the new drawing surface.  I didn’t get very far Wednesday night.  I made a few mistakes, erased them, and ended up here:

Last night, I had some work to do.  I wanted it to be more personalized, so I decided to include the guest of honor in the drawing.  There’s too much pressure to get somebody’s face perfectly accurate when drawing a portrait, and I was too pressed for time. 

 I took the easy way out (hey!  At least I admit it!).  I drew him in the stands wearing a jersey with the number 40 on the back of it (he’s turning 40).  The birthday boy has a pretty distinct hairstyle (or lack-there-of).  His head is completely shaved.  I wrote his nickname on the back of the jersey.

I tried to make the grass appear like the signature checkerboard lawn at the baseball field, but didn’t really pull it off.  But at least it’s green & it resembles grass, LOL! 


It’s still not completed.  I have to add the bleacher seats and some fans.  I guess this post is going to have to be a 3-parter.  Sorry guys. 

What birthday message should I write on the scoreboard?  Any suggestions?

Yankee Stadium Is In Our Kitchen! (part 1)

Well, sort of.  If you’ve been following along around here, you know that I attempted to paint a chalkboard wall in our kitchen.  My nearly nonexistent patience was tested because chalkboard paint takes 3 days to dry & harden.  It was worth the wait! It dried a really deep matte black.  Perfect.

I read the reviews of this product on a few different websites, and decided not to “condition” it.  Conditioning the chalkboard meant I had to rub chalk all over the entire thing, then erase it.  No thanks. 

I skipped straight to the fun part, duh!  I am a 5-year-old.  I’m okay with knowing this about myself.

We are hosting a surprise 40th birthday party tomorrow.  The guest of honor is a huge NY Yankee fan.  I decided it would be a fun idea to draw Yankee Stadium at night (since the background is already black).  So, I gave it a shot.

I googled “Yankee Stadium scoreboard” and based the top part of the drawing off of this picture. 

I had to tweak the angle a bit because the wall is only 2 feet wide, and I wanted to squeeze in some words on the scoreboard. Chalk ain’t easy. I’m happy with it as long as people can tell what it is.

His favorite drink is Blue Moon beer.  I wanted to personalize it as much as I could, so I turned the moon into the beer’s logo.  I had “Happy 40th Birthday” then “Guess who’s 40” drawn in lights on the scoreboard, but both were crooked. I was really tired, so I erased it, and that was the project for Wednesday night. 

I tackled the bottom half last night.  Hear (and see) all about that fun stuff in the next post.

How To Add A Pop Of Color To Your Home For Cheap

I love flowers. I do.  I frikkin love them.  This is strange to me because I was the practical girl that said “Yeah, they’re pretty, but they’re gonna die in a week.  What a waste”. 

This is not the case anymore.  My father came by our house on Monday and gave me the annual Valentine’s Day flowers.  Usually they are the typical red roses *yawn*.  Red roses cost a ton in February. and are so cliché. This year was way cooler. I normally hate carnations.  But I am a total sucker for an interesting color scheme.  He chose  the most beautiful magenta, deep purple, and lavender blooms. 

I trimmed the stems, then put them in my favorite trusty “vases”  (see that post here).

I first placed them on the good ol impulse buy.  It didn’t have as much punch as I’d like. 

Onto the Wooden Wonderland (aka our dining room).  I have my sparkly tubes as a center piece, but it seemed like a better fit.  The flowers added a much-needed pop of color. 

This turned into a photo shoot before work.  Sorry.  I can’t get enough of the colors!

I think I need to buy colorful flowers once a week.  Seriously.  It makes me so happy when I see fresh flowers in my house!  A cheap, full flower can make me smile. I can’t explain why.

How do you add pops of color to your house without spending a ton of money?