Sunday, December 19, 2010

merry and bright on a budget that's tight

I would like to share some of the ways I add holiday color inside and out without spending a lot of green. The top image is an empty spice jar, filled with a mix of quick oats and glitter. Voila: Reindeer food! A printed and punched tag hung with baker's twine completes the package.

A supermarket bunch of greens ($3.99) divided into buckets with a few snipped branches of berries makes a pretty (and hardy) winter mix for outdoors.

Click to enlarge

A set of gift tags (Cavallini & Co.) hung in an unexpected location adds to the anticipation of Christmas morning.

Cavallini tags are pre-glittered but any tag will work well . . . and what's more fun than adding glitter to something?

A broken ornament can still be part of the celebration when perched on a short stack of flower frogs.

An arrangement of real and artificial is tied together with pops of faux red berry sprigs from the gift wrap aisle, meant for embellishing wrapped packages.

An emptied jar filled with salt, glitter and a cupcake topper becomes part of a cheerful vignette.

This weekend, my guys have been getting crafty with me, too. Yesterday we all decorated mini gingerbread houses. Of course I had fun making gumdrop villagers (inspired by a Martha Stewart Kids magazine from Winter 2004; details available here).

Today I dazzled my boys by pulling out all of my Christmas craft stuff. My oldest crafted a clothespin Santa (still drying) and I made an elf from a spool. {I have a hunch I will be making many more of these.}

Still lots to get done but making the time for these small details is what keeps all the must-dos enjoyable for me. I plan to make time for a cup of hot cocoa with a cookie today. Sound good? Hope you will indulge a little, too.



{oc cottage} said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my! The greens in the buckets are DIVINE!!!! Love it!

m ^..^

lilybets said...

...i love colour around me,it's energy,what i like more is the second photo with nature and colour!!!.

Unknown said...

ELYSE!!! Oh my gosh, I LOVE this post more than I can even say, lol!! You are so inspiring to me with these wonderful budget friendly ideas. Amazing and everything looks soooo gorgeous and expensive! Wonderful job!!!!

Em said...

What a lovely post.
Hope you have a fab Christmas... Em x

stefanie said...

super cute ideas!!!!

Jill said...

Oh Elyse, you had me at the title of this post! I loved this entire post so much. I love every idea!

I love that you Christmas craft with your boys~ they will have so many wonderful memories made with you!

Okay, I'm addicted to the Cavallini & Co. products too! Have you seen the Vintage Christmas postcard set? (Darling!!) The glittered images are in random patterns, so I slice them into strips to make tags. So cute! It makes it a little easier to part with them, knowing I've made them stretch.


Pink Princess said...

LOVE the greens in the buckets, a wonderful idea I might copy ♥

GardenOfDaisies said...

I LOVE what you have done. Using fresh greens, and adding small touches of Christmas decor mean you don't waste your time on a huge upheaval of all your everyday items to make room for seasonal ones. And it means you don't have to worry about where to store everything for the rest of the year. Smart girl!! I am working on simplifying more and more.

Sal said...

I love ALL of those ideas!
A fabulous post! ;-)
Have a happy Christmas x

Theresa said...

WOWZA, You are a creative GENIUS! I can't even pick a favorite... I LOVE IT ALL!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing your brilliant creativeness with me Dear Elyse! Big HUGS!

Simple Home said...

Everything looks so pretty around your house elyse. I love all the homemade touches.
Have a wonderful Christmas!

Claudia said...

I have those same Cavalini tags. I've used them on presents for the past two years. They are so gorgeous, aren't they?

We are also decorating on a budget. In our case, that means nothing new - but we have enough decorations already.

The only thing I added was the coffee filter wreath which cost about $4.00. And I'm going keep that up all year.


Alyssa said...

Great ideas! I love those elves and the salt and glitter is great in the jar. Like your home office;) Alyssa

Rose Brier Studio said...

I like your cost-conscious decorating. I particularly like the bird on the flower frogs. I have a bunch of frogs, I love the architectural quality, but never thought to put them out like that. At Easter I can see a wonderful chenille birdy perching there!
Have fun crafting with your guys. It was my fav part of holidays past.

Jessica Rodarte said...

I love your thrifty decor! Great ideas. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the oatmeal and glitter idea:0

Sherri said...

The elf is ADORABLE! I am making a lot of my gifts. I just shared a post about slowing down, doing less and enjoying it so much more. It's been my theme this holiday season and I have to say it's working! And ya know what? I'm STILL enjoying it ALL! Oh and all on a tiny shiny budget.

Beedeebabee said...

All you ideas are so cute Elyse! I do the same with the greens and branches of red berries on my front porch during the winter!...Love that reindeer food! xo Paulette

Kelly Massman said...

Cute and pretty stuff! We're on a fairly tight budget, too. I just get out some of my stuff every year and move it around in different arrangements/places! TFS!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Hi Elyse, such lovely and simple ideas. I must say, I have been indulging quite a lot lately. :) Evening walks with hubby are certainly required. Have a happy day. Tammy

Cathy said...

Hi Elyse,

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment. I hope you and yours are having the best holiday season every.

Merry Merry,

Big Hugs,


Sherry from Alabama said...

I love colorful and frugal decorating! I especially love the little jar with the painted pink lid. What a wonderful idea! I made a cheerful outdoor wreath from nature-found items this year. It really brightens up my back yard. I posted about it here:

Thank you for all the beautiful and thrifty ideas!

Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

Katy Noelle said...

Bright and light! That's what you are! Cheery, cheery, cheery! It's so pretty and festive and MAGIC! Bloggers have the "magic of Christmas" part of it "in the bag" for sure! Oh, garsh! I want to say all sorts of things but I need to get going and decorate a little - I'm so inspired and I want to blog! ;)

Hugs and kisses! Katy

Anonymous said...

everything you touch turns to SWEET!

thanks for sharing..and for your recent visit to my blog!

Have fun crafting and creating!

ciao bella

creative carmelina

Michelle Palmer said...

Every little detail... so very sweet!

Anonymous said...

I treasure you, dearest Elyse! I love your witty writing and adore the spool elf especially.

Your baba

Unknown said...

Everything looks so enchanting. But then again everything that you do is lovely.

Wishing you and your family a beautiful Christmas.

Merry Christmas,

Alyssa said...

Thanks for visiting Boston Bee! ;) Isn't repainting theee best! I love what you've done as well! Alyssa

Little Pink Studio said...

I love the tree in the salt--that little display is darling.
Lots of pretties! I hope you're enjoying all the holiday festivities!
xo, Cerri

debi said...

Oh, everything has that sweet Elyse look! Love it all...and that little elf is just toooooo cute!

Rustique Gal said...

Elyse, I love your budget decorating. Everything I do this year is budget, and you have some great ideas here! I can use the gift tags I made, dressed up with glitter, to make ornaments. The bundles of greens & berries are especially lovely.
Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

koralee said...

So much JOY over here....sending you LOVE....PEACE ...and JOY for a blessed Christmas my sweet sweet friend. xoxoxoxoxo

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Elyse, that little elf is about the cutest little guy!! You have such a knack for decorating - so cute, so cute!!

Love the tins filled with greens! Very pretty and I am sure very fragrant, too.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!


Hearts Turned said...

What wonderfully festive (and frugal!) ideas, Elyse! You have a magic touch!

Love your crafting with your boys, too--adorable elves! I will definitely be indulging in cookies and hot cocoa today...enjoy every moment of this most wonderful Christmas week, dear friend!


Suz said...

Those are so wonderful. They make me smile. I have always wanted to try the Martha Stewart candy creatures. Maybe this Chrstmas!

I love your use of the Cavalinni tags. I always feel like mine are pure gold and I can't use them!!!!

Hugs and Happy Christmas!


Pansy Cottage Girl said...

Everything is just picture perfect.And doable on a budget, nothing could be better! This just goes to show a little imagination goes a long way.

Deb said...

I just love the greens in the buckets too simple and festive! Merry Christmas to you and your family! ~Deb~

birdie blue said...

love all of your clever ideas, elyse.

i hope you have the merriest of christmases!

Anonymous said...

I love it all, Elyse! So sweet, festive, and fun! :)
Wishing you all a merry one,
~ Zuzu

Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...

I see another magazine issue here! Everything looks so pretty! LOVE the reindeer food! xooxoxoxoxoxoxox

Diane Mars said...

What great ideas and such creative ideas, I love the idea of saving the greenHappy Holidays, Diane

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

Merry Merry Christmas! May your stocking be filled with blessings!

Hugs, Carrie

Mercedes Spencer @ Liberty Biberty said...

Hope you and your family are having a very Merry Christmas Elyse!
Love that little spool elf!

Unknown said...

Love the bird on the flower frogs...other than a date with the glue gun, I never knew what to do with my little birds when the springs fell off...great idea! I shall definitely become a Follower of your many clever ideas. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Bring Pretty Back said...

Merry Christmas Elyse!
Have a pretty day!

Cassandra said...

Just thought I would stop by to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

What a lovely post! SUCH BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS! Stunning as always!

Happy Holidays

Jen Kershner said...

Love all of your holiday touches but that jar really made me smile. Must make one!