Hello Friends!  You know how I’ve mentioned before that I’m a genius but some of you don’t believe me?  Well here’s proof.  I made 3 large Birch Bark candles for less than $1.00!  I know, right?!  You’re thinking no way and I’m saying yes way!

It all started when I finally put away the ridiculous amount of Christmas decor we had and got a burst of energy to do some winter decorating.  Remember a couple of posts back when I gave you some great tips on winter decorating (you can find that post here)?

Birch Bark Candle supplies by County Road 407 blog

Well I saw that my fave craft store had candles at 50% off so I had to go.  But the candles I went to get looked so fake and yucky.  I put them in my basket even though I was disappointed.  I could have gotten these from Amazon but I had a Veruca Salt moment and wanted them right then.  Not a proud moment but even worse, at half off they were still over $10 each.

DIY Birch Bark Candles using scrap book paper from Countyroad407.com

Walking around checking out the rest of the sale stuff I just kept thinking it was ridiculous to spend $30 on something I didn’t like.  I know it’s not that expensive and I’ve definitely spent more on other decor items but these were down right ugly.  But that’s when my genius moment struck.

Making a Birch Bark Candle from paper with a DIY on CountyRoad407.com

I already had 3 candles at home so I pushed my little basket over to the paper section and picked up 2 – 12″ sheets of Birch Bark scrap book paper.    I also had tape and scissors which is all you need for this easy DIY.  Best of all, the 2 sheets were .59 cents each and on sale too!  Baahahaha



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Birch Bark Candle DIY from CountyRoad407.com

I used my two 6 inch tall candles and could wrap both of them with only one sheet by cutting it in half.  The other candle sitting in the lantern is 7-1/2″ tall which needed it’s own sheet.  Since I intend to use the candles again I didn’t want to glue the paper on.  Just use clear packing tape to hold it together.  I have to admit, with the fat 6 inch candles, the paper didn’t go all the way around.  It left about a 1/4 inch gap.  It doesn’t bother me and no one can see it when you turn the candles just right.  If that sort of thing keeps you up at night, use skinnier candles.  😉

Candles made with birch bark paper with a DIY on CountyRoad407.com

Genius, right?!  I think they turned out great and this is the start of some fabulous and super inexpensive winter decorating!  Oh yeah, the Mister said to mention they were only for decorative purposes and not to light them because the paper could catch on fire.  Okay, maybe safety isn’t my thing but all I have to do is use LED candles instead.  See there – still a genius.  😉

Most of us will leave the Christmas decor up until after the new year and some maybe up until the end of January.  Some of us have had our Christmas decor up since before the first official day of fall and have grown weary of it looking forward to a less cluttered, clean and spacious look.  I am definitely the latter and am raising my hands with glee, dancing the winter hokey pokey, waiting to put it all away.  Are you like that?  Are you sad because you don’t want your home to look bare after the Christmas decor is put away?  Well I’m here with inspiration and a few tips on how to decorate for Winter.

First I go room to room bringing everything that looks like Christmas to the dining room table for easy organizing and packing.  Like the red and green candles, the Santa’s, the cranberry wreaths, the red ribbon, etc.  With what’s left I try and use in my winter decor.  Things like the natural looking garland, other pieces of greenery, pinecones, and woodsy elements.

Tips on how to decorate for winter!

Tip #1:  Replace the red/green candles with cream or possibly these wonderful birch bark candles.  They are perfect for winter.

winter vignette by Dear Lillie

Winter vignette by Dear Lillie

Tip #2:  On the mantel I have greenery that looks wintery and even though I’ll not use it on the mantel, I can move it to the dining table instead.  For the mantel though, I may use pompom garland like this here.  I think it is so cute.

Tip #3:  Potted trees and wreaths are always nice.  I keep boxwood wreaths and topiaries around all year.  Check out this wreath here and this one here for inspiration.   Simply placing them around the room is enough.

Winter living room by Nested Bliss

Winter living room by Nested Bliss

Tip #4:  Keep the comfy throw blankets out like this one and this one but keep them in wintery colors instead of reds and greens.  They are so pretty and add just a touch of brightness on what could be gloomy days.

Tip #5:  Something that is classic and goes with almost any style is a cowhide rug .  I’ll add one over my popcorn jute rug for extra comfort.  Added layers are always nice.

Tip#6:  On your dining table, consider using metallic candle sticks with pinecones and natural garland for a centerpiece.

winter table top by Elizabeth Anne

Winter table top by Elizabeth Anne



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Tip #7:  If you have a tall vase, consider adding bare branches from the yard.  Ooh, adding a strand of lights to the cluster would be fun and cheery!

branches in vase for winter decor by Aesthetic Nest

Branches in vase for winter decor by Aesthetic Nest

Winter decor is usually neutral in color like the colors you see outside – creams, whites, grays, browns, etc.  But if you aren’t a person that likes all that neutral stuff, then bring in pops of green or ice blue.  You’re still decorating in a wintery mood with green and blue.  When you are finished, look around at your decor.  Does it make you feel cozy or cold?  If it’s cozy, curl up with a cup of cocoa and a book.  If you feel like it’s frosty and uninviting, try and add more warm wood tones.  Keep tweaking until it makes you smile.  Remember too, it doesn’t have to be done in a day. 😉

A DIY Flocked Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas Friends!  I’m so excited that it’s finally Christmas time.  I’ve been wanting to put up the tree for weeks but guilt, peer pressure and time have all kept me on the Fall season/Thanksgiving path.  Well yippy skippy – no more!  The day after Thanksgiving I flocked my tree and flocked it myself.  It was super easy.  So if I can do it, you can too!

A DIY Flocked Christmas Tree

First a little back history as to why I decided to finally flock.  Year before last we begged and basically drove the Mister crazy until he caved and got us a real tree.  I picked out my fave; a Noble Fir.  Cue the music… it was just so pretty and green, so luscious, so soft and it came with it’s own unique fresh forest smell.  And of course it was just the right amount of plumpness and height.  We loved it!  Okay, music off.

Tips for flocking your own Christmas Tree by Countyroad407.com

 

We hadn’t had a real tree in years and years so I needed to purchase a tree stand.  The tree was 9 foot so I bought the 8-9 foot tree stand and added the special ingredient packet to keep it as healthy as possible.  Yeah, no.  It didn’t work as planned.

Two weeks later and out of the blue, it fell over!  It crashed to the ground and so did the ornaments I’d been collecting for 25 years.  I couldn’t even blame one of the three dogs.  We just stood there with our mouths open not able to move for fear of stepping on glass.  It was awful.

Well we cleaned it up, propped it up and poofed up what ornaments we had left.  It didn’t look so bad.  A week later we were getting ready for a party and the tree fell over again!!!  By now the Mister was turning into Ebeneezer and the Grinch rolled into one.  And I was riding along with him in the side car!  I couldn’t believe it.  I still can’t believe it.

 

DIY tips for flocking your own Christmas Tree by Countyroad407.com

 

So after all that, the Mister hasn’t been keen on getting another real Christmas tree.  I’ll have to wait a few more years until he’s forgotten about the “Catastrophic Real Tree Fail x 2” before asking for another.

Now you know why I flocked our tree.  The one I’ve threatened to throw to the curb for like 5 years now.  The one that is so scratchy and itchy it gives us all hives when we put it together and the one that is so dusty you might think it was already flocked but isn’t.

 

I flocked my own tree! Easy tips to DIY by Countyroad407.com

 

Drum roll please, cue the music again and call Mr. Kringle because it looks fabulous now!  I haven’t found new ornaments yet but will do my best to dress her up but for now, I love it.  I’ll put the lights on after it sits 24 hours to dry and will show you the final tree next week because I’ve joined a few friends for a blog hop showing off our wonderful Christmas trees.

Here is the Sno-Bond flocking material I used.  I also got this strainer and besides a squirt bottle and plastic to cover the floor, that’s all you need.

 

Flock your own Christmas Tree hints and tips by CountyRoad407.com

 

11 Hints to make this a smooth DIY project:

1. Do it outside if possible.  It’s messy and even if you think you can cover the floor and other furniture, it will still get a powdery dust on everything.

2. We used a piece of cardboard so we could crimp it in the middle and “catch” the wasted snow and pour it back into the box for reuse.  This worked really well.  Our tree is 9-1/2 foot tall with about a 6 foot circumference and I used the entire box adding more at the end just to use it up.

3.  I did each branch individually.  You certainly don’t have to do this but it will make it easier for sure.

4.  Use a very large spray bottle.  I used a small one and was having to go back and forth to the sink about every 2 limbs.  Ugh.

5.  It will get on your fingers and arms but no worries, it washes right off.

6.  I suggest spraying the limb on both sides, sift the snow on the top side then spray the snow again.  Then sift again and spray lightly one more time for a good adhesion.  No need to sift snow on the bottom side.  It’s not realistic to have snow attached to the underside of limbs.  😉

7.  Add the limbs to the base as soon as you’ve added the snow.  Basically, start assembling the tree.

8.  Step back and look at it several times to check consistency.

9.  Clean yourself up as soon as you’re done.  It’s just easier that way.

10.  I would have gone way heavier on the snow but I only purchased one 5 pound box.  It’s enough to do the entire tree for sure but I wanted mine to look like the Texas Snow storm of 1980 so I’ll probably do another box on it next year.

11.  I also wanted it to look like it had clumps of fallen snow like it had piled on.  For that I still sprayed it but used my fingers.



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Very easy DIY flocked tree by CountyRoad407.com

Voila – A DIY Flocked Christmas Tree!

Send me a picture of your flocked tree if you try this.   It’s really a easy way to flock your Christmas tree AND it even brings new life to an old worn out itchy scratchy tree too!

Merry Christmas

A neighbor popped in the other day and noticed the candle ring I have hanging on a tray and she asked what it was.  This got me to thinking.  Maybe I have other friends that don’t do this – that don’t put candle rings all over to add touches of fall around the house.  So today I’m showing you what else you can do with candle rings.

I actually bought a package of 6 candle rings at First Monday Trade Days in Canton TX a few years ago for $2.00.  I loved them.  They are rustic and colorful and I’ve definitely gotten my $2.00 worth.

Other ways to use candle rings around the house by countyroad407.com

 

This one hangs in a frame in the guest bathroom.  Doesn’t this frame make a 33 cent candle ring look more sophisticated?

 

Add a candle ring to door knobs for fall interest. Countyroad407.com

 

This one hangs on the coat closet in the entry.  The door everyone sees and uses just about everyday.  Not from coats but shoes and backpacks.

 

How I use candle rings around the house for added touches of fall by Countyroad407.com

 

Just hanging them here and there simply adds a little more color and a little touch of fall in different areas.

 

Hang a candle ring on a lamp shade for a touch of fall. Countyroad407.com

 

Hanging one on a lamp shade is a little out of the ordinary.  🙂

 

Even adding a candle ring to a rooster makes it more festive for fall. CountyRoad407.com

 

I’ve even smooshed and squished one into a necklace for the rooster.

Now you know what else you can do with candle rings.  I know each of these decorating ideas probably aren’t in a magazine but I choose to think it’s because they haven’t thought about it, not because it’s weird or ridiculous.

Easy touches here and there show people you’re creative and it’s the little details that make a difference.  It’s a tiny thing that catches someone’s eye and makes them ask what it is.  Oh wait, maybe she was asking with a turned up nose?!  I didn’t think to look at her face when she said it.  :0

If you’d like to see the candle ring she was talking about it’s in the kitchen along with one more.  You can see them in this Fall Home Tour post.



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Yay, we are back in Navasota soaking up the country life and enjoying the little things that make this place special.  Well special to me, the Mister couldn’t care less about the “special” things.  He enjoys being outside with the animals and just piddling.  Okay, he’s usually having to fix something but at least he’s here.

I on the other hand, not being the outdoorsy type, need more.  I need little details that make me smile.  Niceties so I don’t feel as though I’m tolerating what the Mister’s great grandmother did when she lived here.  So while I’m here this week, I’ll show you what makes me feel more refined while hangin’ out in the farmhouse kitchen.

 

 10 Farmhouse kitchen details I need in my life.

 

Farmhouse kitchen details in Navasota, TX by CountyRoad407.com

I’ll show you the entire kitchen one day for but now, here is the left corner.  Yes it still has white laminate counter tops which do not bother me (yet) and an old microwave that takes up precious counter space but look beyond that.  Look at the walls.  It’s the real deal.  Real board on board shiplap.  Finding that behind the upper cabinets we ripped out was a glorious day.  Anyway, that’s detail #1 on the list.

Now for detail #2.  It’s the framed vintage coffee bean sack.  The frame was $10 and the sack only $7!  HAHAHAHA – I love a bargain and need nice things to look at.  Remember, I’m all into decorating?

Detail #3 and probably a favorite.  I use vintage teacups as scoops for the sugar and flour canisters.  The matching saucer to this one sits on the stove.  We use it as a spoon rest.  You might also notice, the purple coordinates with the purple mason jars we use.

For farmhouse kitchen details, use a vintage teacup as a sugar scoop

 

Detail #4.  I use a metal bowl/basket to house the paper plates.  They look so much prettier in there – don’t you think?

Decorating with farmhouse kitchen details like grain sacks and adding details like wire paper plate holders

 

Detail #5 is over at the sink area by the windows.  I made a dish towel holder and used one of our forks for the hook.  I also found a silver plated wine chiller at an antique store (for $9) and decided to use it for cooking utensils because we only have 3 drawers in the kitchen to hold things – Detail #6.

Farmhouse kitchen details like a handmade hand towel holder and a silver plated wine caddy for utensils

Handmade dish towel holder by CountyRoad407.com for added farmhouse kitchen details

 

For detail #7 I came across this cast iron table top bird feeder at Hobby Lobby (hello 50% off) and thought it would be so cute sitting in the window holding sponges and the drain stopper.

Using a cast iron bird feeder as a sponge holder for farmhouse kitchen details. By CountyRoad407.com

 

Oh yeah, another favorite and detail #8 is… Here in the “kuntry” we use actual silverware for everyday.  It’s a pain to wash and polish sometimes but the vintage pattern is so cute.  And of course it totally makes us me feel more sophisticated. 😉

Silver plated utensils used for everyday for a farmhouse kitchen detail by CountyRoad407.com

 

Look at this adorable milk bottle measuring cup which is detail #9. Macy (my daughter who has taken residency while attending college) found it on Amazon and I think it’s perfect for the farmhouse kitchen!

Ceramic measuring cup speaks to farmhouse kitchen details

 

Last but not least, detail #10 is a vintage cake plate that I use as a napkin holder.  It sits over by the Coffee Station that you can read about here if you missed it.  The lid keeps the napkins from flying away when we use them outside.  Of course it’s great for cupcakes and cookies too.

Vintage Cake Plate used as a napkin holder for a farmhouse look by CountryRoad407.com

 

All of these things make life here so much more pleasant.  I’m not sure if it’s really because we aren’t down here as much so the mundane everyday life isn’t as annoying or if it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

It could be because the Mister does everything in is power to make me happy and feel cherished.  He works hard to keep snakes and bugs away, to keep it cool inside while it’s super hot outside.  He keeps the well water from smelling like rotten eggs (mhmm it did, bleh), the internet running as fast as possible, and so many other things.

Either way, we make a good team.  He’ll keep making this old farmhouse better and better and I’ll keep making it cuter and cuter.

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