decorating + budget = possible

Let me just go off on a rant real quick.  I have been avoiding blogging because (as always) we are reaching the peak of our internet data limit before the end of the month.  Neither of us understand it, with our computers off, our phones not always connected to WiFi, how can we burn up data like it's going out of style?  I have bitter feelings towards Verizon because they will NOT allow us to get Verizon DSL where we are, even though the neighbors kitty corner behind us have it (they say that doesn't count because their street address is on a different road) AND the neighbors 2 houses up on the SAME road as us have it.  I don't think they have a good excuse for that one.  So frustrating, throttled internet is.  I have high hopes for finding something better at the new house.  I would seriously send Time Warner a Christmas present if they would just get on the ball and service the little area between Penn Yan and Dundee that they refuse to. I am.  I said " you know what dumb little blinking Verizon internet card that gets more than half our morgage some months? YOU will not stop me from blogging.  So THERE!"

Back to the root of this post. I speak truth people.  I know it can be tempting to run to Hobby Lobby (or Hobby Knobby as Grandmother Stoltzfus and I refer to it as) or Target or where ever it is that YOU go and decorations for each holiday season JUMP off the shelves and into YOUR cart.  Totally not your fault right??  That little money-wise voice in the back of your head is probably trrrrryying to remind you of the box(s) of decor you have from the same season in the attic/garage/closet.  No way dude. I NEEEEEEEEED this!!

Ok. I might be being a bit dramatic.  And I actually wouldn't say this is a huge battle that I fight, because I actually enjoy making decorations. But I will admit I tend to be a grab-any-strands-of-lights-for-sale-at-yardsales/salvo type of girl. :) I should probably stop that now, I think I could string up the white house quite nicely! Probably my bigger problem is I don't aaaalways remember exactly where I've put the decorations I used last year for this same season.  I guess I should get a bit more organized in my attic, but I'm hoping when we move I will get a handle on that. (You may snicker at me here and say it will only get worse in the throws of moving, but I remain optimistic!)

**insert huge gasp as my computer screen disappears and my computer "configures an update" I think angry thoughts about windows, ignore it for a few minutes and work on plugging numbers in on our monthly budget, glance at the computer screen and the post is back.  I'm sorry for those thoughts Windows!**

SO.  Our church had a little thanksgiving fellowship meal last week, and this lovely & I were asked to set up and decorate for said event.  We both agreed, chatted a little about it, but both had a busy week to finish out so we decided that we would get together the day before to really do the planning.  I am here to prove to you that you CAN decorate for an event of 50-60 people spending little to no money (we did buy paper supplies for the meal itself)

This was our dessert table and what we dubbed the "center focal point" since we wanted to keep the decor on each table lower so people could interact easier. The strands of lights came from my a fore mentioned collection.  the chalkboard sign was something Alicia already had. 

On Monday we went foraging for most of our naturey decorations.  The red berries were from a bush that is intertwined in our apple tree.  The white and gold sticks used to be old boring brown sticks, is true!  It's amazing what a little spray paint will do! And don't even get me started on the magic of gold spray paint...aaaahhh.  I love it. :]

That serving tray thing was something Alicia had, and the pinecones were picked out of my yard.  The little pumpkins were something that I snagged from my friend Grace after the secret engagement party (success!) that she planned for her sister.

(wrinkley doilies and all) We just scattered doilies (mostly from the collection of linens I found at my new house, so fun!) around on each tables to act as a center piece feel but not get in the way of conversation, and with plenty of room so the hot food could be set on the table (the meal was family style, not buffet). Alicia also supplied the candles.  Makes me feel like I should be keeping my eye out for those el-cheapo at yardsales, they make such nice soft light :) 

EEEEP.  Gold leaves.  We collected these from a raked leaf pile, and Alicia sprayed them with *GOLD* spraypaint.  I just loved them. Next year I may try to gather some leaves a little earlier, and maybe wax them do or something to prevent them from crinkling, and then paint them.  Or maybe I'll just go spray paint the trees when they still have the leaves on, cause that would be awesome sauce!! Anyways, at each place setting we set a gold leaf on top of the plate.  Here you could do as little or as much as you wanted.  We toyed with the idea of tying twine or something around each leaf and napkin, but decided that would be a bit much for the size of the crowd. 

The wooden block, another Alicia possession. Moral of the story, go raid her house if you need to have a party.  Just kidding.  She actually said a lot of those things were from decorations at her wedding.  Which that is legit, I have quite a few random things I usually throw in when decorating that I had picked up prior to my wedding as well. Those red berries were from a bush that LaReta told us about along the highway.  I went and got some muckboots, braved the 3 in deep ditch, and snipped some. :) Even got some catttails for my friendy on the way back!

Most of these vases came from the new house that we bought, but I think most people could find them around. I love how they looked with pinecones or pumpkins stacked in them.  So fall-y! Not to mention the gold leaves. Again. :)

These little flags I made out of washi tape and toothpicks.  Easy peasy!

Here was my attempt at the "whole room" picture.  We decorated in the morning, so obviously when the actual dinner was happening it was not this bright so the lights looked way cooler, plus candles lit on each table.  

So simple.  Woven basket, red berries.  Love it!

I cut up burlap coffee sacks in triangles (ish, don't look too close) and stitched all around the edge of each one, since the burlap tends to want to unravel. Then just wrote each letter with a black permanent marker, and strung them on hemp.  I've done these banners for other events to, I'm excited to be able to reuse this another year! 

That was it! I know everything did not come from nature, but most people have a few strands of lights and a vase or two around.  Think out of the box by thinking what a coat of paint could do to something (even a vase...I tried that once and didn't have the best luck but I think it could totally be done!).  Also keep your eyes out for cheap bargains - lace doilies at yardsales for $.25 , a cool little stump that is on your husband's wood pile, or you could make a banner out of felt.  Before you go to the nearest department store and get the latest and greatest, go into your very own attic or to your very own yard! You might be surprised :)

Well here I go to try to finish making my Christmas cards...that I started in October.  I knew I needed to start early or it would never happen. :) Hopefully the fact that I should immediately turn off the internet after publishing this post will keep me on task.  ;)

Happy Saturday!!


  1. i love this! Wow! and the gold leaves came out beautiful...
    what lovely decoration creations and i'm proud of you my daughter
    so very neat!
    i know you and Alicia had great fun too - it shows

  2. You forgot to mention that all of the cool, crafty ideas were YOURS, be-tee-dubs.