When Life Gives You Tangerines, Make Pomanders

Too tired to blog? Basically, yeah. It’s the hell time at the work place. And it’s hard to believe that Christmas is in just four days. But we have been doing things recently, even Christmas-y, seasonally appropriate things in real life. We got the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving per usual, and decorated the house.

Money for a whole house worth of outdoor lighting wasn’t in the budget this year, so we’re winging it. I’m hoping to pick up some outdoor light sets and pieces at the post-Christmas sales this year, naturally. It was important to me to do some kind of outdoor-visible lighting this year though so I’m making magic with battery-operated candles. Low-key Scandinavian feel, let’s call it. I’ve got Dollar Tree faux tapers in all of the windows (which I totally forgot to photograph).

And my pride and joy items are these lovely little lanterns. I’ve got four in total; two on each street-facing porch. I actually scored these lanterns in the post-Halloween clearance for 50% off a Target. One of my favorite holiday clearance scores yet, since they’re plain black and can be used year-round. The only thing seasonal about them was the black and orange price tag! I got them for just $9.00 each. $72 worth of lanterns for just $36? Seriously, a major score. The second I saw them in the store I knew just how I wanted to trick them out for Christmas – with red jingle bells and ribbons!

lantern

Naturally, the ribbon and bells were deals as well – the ribbon I had in my stash, picked up in the post-Valentine’s Day clearance. If I recall correctly, I got it at Hobby Lobby for 70% off for just $1.20 for a whole spool. And the jingle bells I got for $3.50 a tube at 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I grabbed a tube for each lantern, so thinking in full price terms, I got two for free! So all in the lanterns ran me about $13 for the Christmas display, but I almost don’t even want to count the price of the lantern since I can literally use them all year.

We also picked up some greenery when we got the tree, so I made two door wreaths. The wreath hanger was another post-Halloween 50% off find – a heavy-duty black hanger for just $1.50, and all because it had that little black and orange tag. Love it. Post-Halloween clearance nets my best all-purpose scores of the year. I wanted to add something to the wreaths like battery-operated white lights. I thought I had some in my decorating supplies but apparently I don’t, and I didn’t find any at a good price. I did find  some more of red glittered “berries” on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $0.80 per stem last week, so I picked up a dozen and added some to the wreaths, as well as some indoor cedar arrangements I made up.

wreath

I also made a planter box with some of the greenery. The glittered “berries” I had from last year (a 50% Michaels deal – $1 each!) and the battery-operated candles I picked up at Target in last year’s post-Christmas clearance, for 70% definitely, though I might have scored those at 90%. Can’t remember the percentage exactly, or the price I paid, though I know it was super low because my price point thresh hold for stuff like overpriced battery-operated candles is rock bottom.

planter

And here’s a picture of the complete side porch. I think it turned out pretty nice overall –

porch

Lest you think we spent the entire weekend outdoors freezing in the cold, we did have some indoor pursuits as well. Little Man and I baked some cute little gingerbread houses using the Nordicware pan I picked up on – you guessed it – Target post-Christmas clearance last year. Believe I paid around $6 for that little gem, at 70% off. Little Man really got a kick out of the powdered sugar “snow”. They’re almost too cute to eat!

gingerbread

And last but not least, what do you do with an entire box of tangerines that a shall-remain-nameless toddler begs you to buy, eats three, and then rejects the rest? Friends, if life gives you tangerines, you make pomanders.

pomanders

Let that be a lesson to all of you. You can make the best out of a lot of things if you have too. And that is Christmas at Apartment (House!?) Farm so far this year.

DIY Winter Landscape Jars

I promised you some easy, affordable holiday crafts this season, so here we are. The nice thing about making winter landscape jars is they truly last through the entire winter season since they’re not specific to Christmas. And I love miniatures, so these are right up my alley. This year’s rendition –

snow jars

I’ve got them on my counter. Those jars usually hold fruit, or cookies but I found another spot for those things for the season because they’re just too perfect not to craft with. I’ve had them forever; I think I picked them at a yard sale years and years ago. When I was first starting out without much space or money, they held flour and sugar. Now I buy both in bulk and thus use much larger containers!

Recreating the look yourself is incredibly easy. If you don’t already have the jars, making two is going to set you back around $25. Not bad, especially since you can use the jars year-round for other things. If you already have the jars, you’re looking at less than $10, which is an especially good deal. As for me, I had the jars already and found two bags of Department 56 faux snow for $1 each at Goodwill, so I came in at $5.50 for two jars. So it all depends on the discounts and thrifting you can luck out on.

If you need to buy jars for this project, Hobby Lobby carries Anchor Hocking lidded cracker jars for $9 each –

jar

You can also get creative with the container you use – a large vase, mason jar, apothecary jar, glass bowl – whatever you want. So if you don’t have the cash to drop on a set of new jars, check out your cupboards; you might have something that will work just as well and be completely unique.

This is the Department 56 snow I was able to snag at Goodwill –

Snow

I was seriously so excited to find it – perfect for Christmas decorating. I always keep a sharp eye out in the crafts sections of thrift stores. There are usually goodies to be had. If you can’t make a thrift store score, Hobby Lobby sells similar powder snow for $6 –

Snow2

Next up, you need some figurines to put in your jar. I went with bottle brush trees and tiny dollhouse deer. Hobby Lobby does sell bottle brush trees, but this year so does Dollar Tree! A 4 pack of bottle brush trees costs just $1 and they have a few different kinds to choose from –

Trees

The miniature deer were a bit elusive to me at first, but I ended up finding them at Hobby Lobby in the dollhouse miniatures section. A package of six is just $1.50 –

Deer

Assembling the jars is easy – dump in the snow, plunk in the trees and arrange the deer.  In the jar on the right I created a hill by dumping the snow on one side of the jar while holding it tilted back, then carefully righting it so the snow stayed mounded on one side. And that’s it! A five minute craft at a halfway decent price – win!

Holiday Decorating with Quilt Panels

Until recently, I didn’t even know what quilt panels were. But now that I know, it seems far too good a secret to keep to myself. I was browsing the interwebs the other day for Halloween-themed fabric (yes, I spend time looking up fabric online – Pinterest is way cheaper than therapy) and stumbled across a skeleton quilt panel –

Skeleton

I always thought that when one wanted to make a quilt, hours cutting shapes out of fabric were required. It then had to be pieced, sewn together, sewn to a backing, quilted… quite the process. But apparently there is this cheater method out there where you buy a panel with a cool design on it, sew that to a backing and then quilt it. In my mind, that’s just a regular old blanket, but I digress. Probably if they were called blanket panels that would confuse everyone.

At any rate, I have no desire to make a skeleton quilt, at least at the current time. But I did think to myself – how cool would it be to make a wall hanging of that? All I would need to do would be to hem the edges to finish them nicely, and then maybe mount it in on a dowel, or maybe even just stretch it over a frame or canvas. And voila, interesting fabric wall art for a reasonable price!

So of course then I ended up down the rabbit hole of searching for interesting quilt panels, and came across quite a few holiday ones. The smaller ones would look really neat framed up individually and hung as a gallery wall, I think. Here are my personal favorites for Halloween and Christmas –

Black Cat

Green Grinch

Grinch

As the photos show, all of the panels are available at Fat Quarter Shop, which is my new favorite place for fabric on the web. The selection is amazing, and the prices are reasonable. And despite the name, they sell much more than fat quarters – panels, fabric by yard and all kinds of accessories and notions. The panels above are currently priced at $7.75 each – which is not a bad price at all for a unique piece of fun wall art.

So, what do you think? Would you make some DIY wall art with quilt panels? There are all kinds to be found – it would be really cute to do for a nursery or kid’s bedroom as well.