Stress Free {Clean} Holidays

This time of year can be super stressful, Thanksgiving, Christmas, kids out of school, New Years, traveling, guests...you name it, it happens..all in a just a little less than a month & a half! How do you keep the house tidy and clean {and your sanity} when everything else is going crazy?

First I like to plan ahead..traveling, cooking for a group, mailing things out, decorating; whatever it is I try to plan what needs to be done and when! For example, this Thanksgiving we hosted dinner at our house. We had a total of 8 adults, 4 kids & a new born over! One family even drove over 350 miles to come for the weekend! I made a list of everything I was making, what needed to go in when, at what temp & how long. In between prepping I would clean out bowls, wipe down counters & the stove, clean up drips, spills & splatters as I went. The kids all had to stay downstairs & play. And they actually did! I went to the dollar store a couple weeks before and bought plenty of plates, napkins, cups, forks & metal trays & casserole dishes to have enough (and a couple extras) for everything I was making. The day went pretty smooth...even when it was time to get everything out of the oven & ready to eat! Clean up was pretty easy...aluminum foil on the trays and into the fridge! The guys were all really good about taking the trash out thru the day so we didn't have overflowing trash!

Having guests? Clean a room each day! Focus on one room at a time and move to the next the next day. Doing one at a time makes you feel like you have less to do and is a lot less overwhelming than thinking today I have to clean the bathrooms, kitchen, living rooms, guest room, kids rooms, organize the closet, straighten the garage, do laundry, decorate the tree, hang lights. That makes me anxious just looking at the list! Break it up!!! Give yourself a break and you won't have the temptation to just give up or put it off longer (then you'll have more to do in less time)!

Same with shopping! Don't try to shop, wrap & mail all in one day (or weekend even)! We get all of our "mailed" gifts done and ready to go. I take them to the post office during the week when most people are at work (benefit of getting off at 3!). Lets me avoid weekend and lunch or after work waits at the post office..which is always a good thing! If I have boxes to mail...print and pay online and have the mailman pick them up with the rest of the mail..trip to the post office saved!!

Just try to relax and take things slowly. Start ahead of time and get big things out of the way first and save the little stuff til the end. And if all else fails..there is always the option of a nice warm blanket, the tv and a big glass of your favorite beverage of choice ;)

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!

"I am sharing my holiday home decor and cleaning tips for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls and Great Cleaners."


I'm Dreaming of A {DIY} Black, Silver & White Christmas

This year I've been wanting to change our Christmas theme. Our first (actually 2nd) married Christmas I bought Red, White (Silver) & Blue ornaments & a big yellow ribbon to go on top to symbolize deployment...that was in 2005! Since then we have had 2 Christmas' that we didn't decorate because we weren't home..other than that we have had a combo of the colors since then. BORING!! Growing up my mom would change the themes pretty much every year! We used the same ornaments just different main colors...red, gold, silver, white, I think I remember purple and blue also at some point! I told the hub that I wanted to change things this year & he said 'don't buy new ornaments.' SOOOOOOOOOO I didn't! I made "new" ones..with the help of my virtual bff Pinterest!

Here's what I used to accomplish my DIY Christmas Makeover-

Ornaments - $12
50 Glass Ball Ornaments - FREE! ($2...6 years ago)
Fine Glitter (found it in the Scrapbooking section) Black, Silver & White - $2 each (about $4 each but used Michael's Coupons)
Bleach - $3 (maybe used half the bottle)
Floor Finish Polish - $3 (used maybe 1/4 cup)

Tree Topper Ribbon - $2.50 (30 Yards from Michael's 50% off sale)
Black Pipe Cleaner - FREE! had them left over from a Halloween craft

Tree Skirt - $10.50
Black Fabric - $7 from the thrift store
Gray Fabric - $3.50 from the thrift store (the back side of a gray microfiber bed skirt)

Coffee Filter Wreath - $2.50
Wreath Form - FREE! (Used the frame of a canvas that I messed up painting, took the canvas off!)
Coffee Filters - $1.50 (dollar store 160 count..ended up using about 180)
Ribbon & Bow - $1
Glue gun & a bunch of sticks!!!

DIY Christmas Makeover Total - $27.50..give or take!

First...the Ornaments -

I found pictures of 'Glitter Ornaments' all over the Internet, not to mention videos on YouTube! They looked super glittery, sparkly, and girly! The problem is with the girly! Hub wouldn't go for that very much so I had to think of a way to make it work! I didn't want something "usual" I found a Black & White theme but it wasn't enough! So I added silver to the mix & started looking for Black, White & Silver Christmas trees online and really only found one tree! SCORE!!! Now I had to figure out how to do the glitter ornaments...with my old balls! Thank goodness for Google...a bucket, bleach & balls! Soak the balls in the bucket of bleach overnight (or until they are clear). If you have difficulty getting the paint off add some uncooked rice and shake around in the bleach. It knocks the old paint off pretty easily!

I started with a box of blue & a box of silver glass ball ornaments. Took the caps & hooks off and submerged a few of them into a bucket of bleach. Almost instantly the paint (inside and out) started coming off! Let them soak awhile & cleaned them off to find gray spots :( Fast forward to Thanksgiving weekend & add in black, silver & white fine glitter, along with a HUGE bottle of bleach and floor finish. The stuff online says to use Future Polish...we used some in a white & green bottle and it worked just fine! Repeat the bleach process until they're all clear! Squirt some of the floor polish into the ball, swirl around so the entire ball is coated on the inside, pour out the extra into a cup (or the bottle), shake to get excess out. Pour in glitter and repeat the swirling process. Let dry and you have a new ornament!

Next..the Tree Topper -

A friend found this tutorial for a tree topper bow. I made 10 loops per side..so 20 loops total. I wanted tails for my tree and wanted more than 2! So I unrolled the rest of the ribbon and cut it in half, then folded the two strands in half and wrapped with a pipe cleaner. Attached that pipe cleaner onto the bows pipe cleaner and attached it to the tree! If you want the ^ at the bottom of the tails fold in half and cut from the middle (folded part) diagonally to the outside. I don't know how or why I didn't take more pictures than when it was already on the tree..but here it is!

Now the Wreath!

Get comfortable for this one..you'll be there awhile! There are lots of blogs that have the Coffee Filter Wreaths is used this one because it had a rectangle wreath which is what I wanted! Again I had to be different!! Pretty much you fold the coffee filter in half, and in half again. Glue the bottom, stick to the wreath & repeat...x180! I just did the back of the "wreath" and flipped over and started on the outside then did the inside of the rectangle and worked my way around and repeated the process until it was covered. Fluffed and pulled and filled in where needed. I added the hanger ribbon on the back...with hot glue. and made a bow with 3 loops on each side and 4 short tails (I really don't know why 2 doesn't do it for me but this is obviously a trend)!! Tied the bow with tails off with a pipe cleaner and hot glued onto the filters. I had to glue in multiple spots to make sure it wasn't sagging! Hang it on the door & BAM!! new wreath..just hope you don't have to chase it through the snow (in socks) during a wind storm like I did!!

& Last, but not least...(but the most time consuming)....The Tree Skirt!
Again..let's be different & must match theme! My round red & white "Santa" skirt just wouldn't cut it! I found this beauty from Crate & Barrel but for $100 my thought was *someone* must be drunk...or I obviously wasn't drunk enough to spend that much on a tree skirt! It's out for about a month out of the year...are you kidding me!!?? Off to the thrift store I went and came out with plain black fabric and a gray microfiber bed skirt. It wasn't until I got home that I realized the back of the bed skirt was even more amazing than the front!! It is silky and semi shiny! The hard part for the mathematically challenged (that would be me) is cutting out an octagon!! I know its 8 triangles..but the tricky part is how big is each one?!?! I found a calculator online (and of course can't find it now) that is meant for building gazebos and octagonal decks and got my measurements. Cut out the pieces. I did black triangles and cut the middle out of all for the gray piece. Then cut the gray fabric out. I sewed the outside ring first, then the inside ring, then the gray. Once I was done with each section I laid it out on the floor to make sure it fit and sewed together from the outside in, leaving one side open to fit the tree. I was too lazy to stitch the outside, the open side & the ring at the top so I trimmed them up and put fray block around the whole thing!

And here it is all lit & sparkly in the dark (at 4 in the afternoon)! I am absolutely in LOVE with the tree and am anxious to see what the hub thinks when he sees it!

& I'm not really sure why Blogger insists on mixing up my pictures but I'll try to get them in order soon!!

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