Decorating for the Holidays

I am not usually a person who decorates for Christmas until December 1st. I usually feel strange decorating for one holiday when the previous holiday hasn’t passed yet, but this year feels different and I know exactly why. Kids.

I only have one at the moment, but having this little person in my life has made me feel bad for shaming Wegman’s and my mom friends for decorating for Christmas the day after Halloween. I’ve even been playing Christmas music, which goes against all of my rules of the past. Having a child in the house reminds you to celebrate joy, and with so many negative things happening in our world, I am happy to do anything that will make my home feel safe, warm, and festive, even if Christmas is over a month away.


Here is one little Christmas corner, complete with my Grandma’s old skis (how on earth did she ski in them, or lift them for that matter?). The vases are from Hobby Lobby and they are usually perched on my mantle in the off-season as a great neutral space filler, but I filled them with faux cranberries and dried orange slices and put put some fake greens from Michael’s. I made the tags by grabbing plain tags from the scrapbook section of Michael’s. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to paint a little square on the tag and added my holiday wish in paint pen. It was super easy, and the red and white twine really adds something, I think. 

Here are a few more in other everyday vases that I use year-round. 

Here is my mantle! I made this banner a few years back and I love that it has a homemade feel and matches some of my MacKenzie-Childs decor in the living room. I bought the panels at Michael’s in the party decor section. Again, the red and white twine are making an appearance. 

 The Pom-poms are from HomeGoods!


My dining room is the next project on my mind. I love the wall color in the cold of winter but I hate it in the summer-time. I have been reminding my husband that the next project is painting the dining room (or is it retiling the backsplash, framing artwork, or purchasing a mirror for the bedroom over the dresser- there is more than one thing on my wish list). We just replaced a large window in our dining room with a sliding glass door, so now that the door is installed and painted, I want to paint the walls. Anyways, I digress. I found the awesome geometric vases at HomeGoods this spring and put candles and ornaments inside. Wegman’s has a great deal going, $6.99 for large “door swag” which I am laying flat on the table and hoping with a daily spritz of water, they make it to Christmas. I just picked up the relatively neutral tablecloth at HomeGoods and love that it isn’t super-bold. I tend to grab bold tablecloths and everything I put on them gets lost in the pattern, or doesn’t match. I tried to stay simple and I just love how it looks. 

I will post more about my holiday decorating once I put more up!

I also have a few great hand-outs for my art ed friends which I plan to post later this week! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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Paper Wreath

Two years ago, I made this paper wreath and it has stood to test of time (as in it hasn’t faded or been crushed in storage) and each Christmas season, I am so happy to see it again. It was super easy to make, you can totally do this!


I started with a simple cardboard ring that I probably cut out of an old Amazon box. I used acid free green paper in four different hues of green. The greens go from olive to Kelly green, I think you could stick to one type of green if you wanted, but I liked the variety. I drew almond shaped leaves in pencil (if you get one right, make it into a stencil and trace the rest!) and outlined them in Sharpie. I also added a line down the center and small lines drawn close together to add the visual texture or veins of the leaf.

I cut each leaf out and was careful to keep the Sharpie outline around the border of each leaf for consistency. I gently folded them down the center line to make them more 3-D and grabbed my hot glue gun and started glueing down. I made sure not to glue perfectly flat, to give the wreath some form and 3-dimensionality. I glued my ribbon to the back and it was done. It might look nice with a red paper ribbon or maybe I could even draw some brown pinecones for my next one! I love a good DIY project. 


I displayed mine in my entryway and hot glued (just the tiniest drop) it to the backside of the mirror. You could probably use a command strip or something but my hot glue gun was out, so why not.

(Here is is last year, I hung it on a window)

Greeting Card Refresh

A great Christmas idea for the organized and always prepared: a greeting card organizer. There are plenty on Amazon, and many come with starter cards, which is great. My mother bought me one of these many years ago and it is awesome to have, it often saves me a trip to the grocery store, which the week of Thanksgiving, is a wonderful thing! 


Every once in a while, when I am at TJMaxx, Marshall’s, or Homegoods, I grab a stack of their beautiful assortment of greeting cards. They have a pretty good assortment, with much of the focus on babies and birthdays, which are two things the people in my life seem to be currently celebrating! I also grabbed a sympathy card and a “promoted to grandparents” card for a friend’s parents. 

The cards are beautiful, think Papyrus or The Paper Source, but literally a quarter of the price. All of these cards were under two dollars. I hate standing in the aisle at the grocery store, looking at a lackluster card and turning it over to see it is 4.99. So expensive! 

These cards are gorgeous, and embellished, which usually come with a high price tag. Not here!

(A fun garland birthday greeting by Meri Meri, only $1.50)

(Lovely baby card by Punch Studio that reads, “So glad you’re here” on the inside was only $1.99 and comes with a foil sticker for the envelope)

Now that I have a handful of new cards for my organizer, I am going to file them away. Next time I have a birthday or shower to attend, I don’t have to put the greeting card on my grocery list. 

(P.S. I find the most amazing thank you notes at TJ, Marshall’s, and Homegoods as well)

Gold Spray Paint

I’m obsessed. With anything gold, guilded, or leafed. When I walk the aisles of thrift stores, I repeat to myself,

“What would look good dressed in gold?”

I found this darling little pineapple recently and just knew it could shine.

Here is the before and after, now it has a home on my built in bookshelves. $2.00 project.

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Mondrian Windows

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I have large windows in my classroom. They let in a lot of light and go from my waist to the ceiling. So lucky! One thing I don’t have is a lot of space to hang work or decorate (I don’t know what to do with myself!). I decided to take on a little window decoration before school started this year and combined Frank Lloyd Wright’s border windows with Piet Mondrian’s primary, geometric paintings. The result is a fun, eye-catching window that can be seen from the door of my classroom. We like to stand out as art teachers! No word yet if this is considered a window covering by the fire inspector. I will be so sad if it has to come down so soon!

I used electrical tape and tissue paper but would have used cellophane if I had it, but didn’t.

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile!

I hope my middle school and young high school students take this to heart everyday, their smiles are the best but they don’t show them enough!

I had seen this process on Pinterest but it really isn’t me to be super-crafty and this felt so crafty. When I spotted the perfect ugly paint-by-number in the thrift store, I noticed the nice wood frame and then remembered a spray paint craft I had seen popping up on my Pinterest feed all of the time. The painting was $2.99 so it was worth a shot.

This is the painting before.

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I found some great little post it notes at Target and then bought gold and white spray paint at Michael’s. I then had to think of a quote. Annie was always a favorite of mine and I’m pretty sure I have every line in the movie memorized, so this was a great go-to quote for me.

You’re never fully dressed without a smile

I had to perfectly space the lines and letter and when ready, used rubber cement to adhere to letters to the canvas. This was a little time consuming and I suppose letter stickers would work better, I just liked the size and font of the post-it’s I found.

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At last, the big reveal! I peeled off the letters and inserted the canvas into the newly gold frame (spray painted) and there you have it, a perfect, new, inspirational mantra for my high school art room.

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Kindergarten People Brainstorms

My little kindergarten friends came in today. I have done this project every year since learning about this activity when getting my MFA at Boston University. It is such a simple idea, but a challenge for these little ones. Kids at this age typically draw all people the same and with details to differentiate who is who. The project is simply an exercise in brainstorming people but thinking about adding details so that each person is different. We talk about height, age, clothing, and other details these kids probably haven’t thought to add before. Such wonderful stories come out of these narratives- I’ve had students draw their grandparents as angels and also have hear all about their imaginary friends, which is so much fun. They love talking about these drawings, which is such an important part of the art education process. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

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Facial Features

Here are some reference pages I made for my students today! We will be creating large scale portraits where students will paint each body part on a note card and the assemble them together on a large sheet of paper. Here is an example from last year- I didn’t include ears on the notecards last year but I’m thinking about doing it this year. I love drawing ears- the folds and shadows, they are so interesting, different, and are often overlooked.

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