The best way to store Christmas lights

WP_001096I love Christmas decorations!  So the first week of January is always sad for me – it’s when I have to take down the tree and the Christmas decorations. This year, I discovered an infinitely easier way to store Christmas lights.

Every year, we all have this same issue – all the Christmas lights are in a big tangled mess. It takes forever to untangle. And you know some don’t work, but you have to get them untangled to figure out which string is having the issues. Well, there is an easier way – and it’s cheap!

 

WP_001098WP_001099First, take a cardboard poster tube. It should be relatively stiff cardboard – a paper towel roll might work, but may also be too flimsy. A one and a half to two inch diameter poster tube is perfect. Note: for a 100-light string, you will need about a one-foot length of tube. Cut a 2-inch slice into each end of the tube. Slide the female end of the string (the side with the outlet holes) into the sliced opening. Tuck the end into the tube.

Start wrapping the light string around the tube. Keep the light bulbs sticking out away from the tube, rather than tucking them under the string. Continue wrapping around the tube, keeping the string pretty tight together.

When you’re done, tuck the female end of the string into the slice you cut on the other end of the tube. Repeat with all your lights. These tubes are easy to stick into a storage box and store until next year. And, even better, when you pull them out of storage next year, all you need to do is pull the plug out from the tube and plug it in to the wall to see if the lights are all still working. No untangling needed!

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Summer BBQs–Festive decorations for your parties!

IMG_3802Summer is finally upon us! Which means it is time for summer BBQs with friends! In Seattle, summer doesn’t really begin until the 4th of July, which is truly a perfect excuse for a party! Here are some fun, easy, and INEXPENSIVE ways to create festive decorations for your holiday party table.

One day, while home sick from work, I was watching the Nate Berkus show and was inspired by an episode on thrifting. He had a segment with a fantastic blogger, Mr. Kate, who created a beautiful holiday table with all thrift store finds. With a little bargain hunting and couple cans of spray paint, you can do the same.

Do a little shopping

Mr. Kate went into the thrift store imagining beyond just what she was seeing. Sure, that ceramic eagle figurine w/ the muted pastel colors and the weird eyes looks pretty creepy now, but spray painted white, it’s a great accent for a 4th of July table. Those slightly rusty metal bowls have great lines, and with a couple coats of navy blue and a cloth napkin liner, they could be the perfect bowl for your buns. And, at 30 cents a piece, you can spray paint the handles of thrift store silverware for a fun look. Whatever you can’t find at the thrift store, you can supplement at the dollar store. I found plates and napkins at the Dollar Tree – they fit in perfectly!

Here are my finds: Continue reading

DIY: Christmas Decorations–Rudolph the Soap Reindeer

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When I was a kid – no idea how old – we made these Rudolph decorations in my church youth group. For some reason, after all these years, I still have mine. It’s a little rough looking, but it still smells nice, and it makes me smile.

Making Rudolph is a very simple and fun (and cheap!) activity you can do at home with your kids, or some kids you’ve borrowed for the afternoon!

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DIY: Christmas Ornament Wreath

IMG_3372I found this great book at a thrift store called Making Classic Wreaths. There are some great ideas for wreaths for all seasons. The one that really stood out to me was the Christmas ornament wreath – but I wanted to put my own spin on it.

 

All the supplies can be found at JoAnn’s or Michael’s. Although, for the actual ornaments, you can often find fantastic deals on ornaments at Target, Walmart or Dollar Tree.

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