My daughter and I put the Christmas decorations away this weekend. Funny how it takes three hours to put all that stuff up and about 20 minutes to rip it down! Anyway, the house looks much cleaner without all that cutesie-Christmas stuff cluttering up the place, but Diva and I are feeling a little sad. The tree was just so darned bright and pretty! We've, therefore, decided to put up some very minimalistic Winter decorations befitting this lazy mom. There are only a few of them because 1) I don't need extra stuff to dust 2) my daughter and her friends like to touch everything 3) if I put up more than a few decorations, I'll forget to put them away and I detest finding Winter stuff out during the summer 4) I don't need reminders that there's 2 feet of snow outside with a wind chill of -23 degrees.
These decorations have a relatively long duration since they'll stay out until just before Easter. I don't adorn the house for Valentine's Day (am I the only one who equates red Valentine's lights in the window with the Police song “Roxanne” and, thus, prostitution?) or St. Paddy's Day. In addition, my Winter things will look nice with the few Chinese New Year pieces Diva and I will be making to display in a few weeks. (Stay tuned to this blog for instructions and/or links on making Chinese New Year decorations.)
|Igor, The Clearance Snowman|
The first item we dug out of the attic was Igor, a stuffed snowman I purchased on clearance from Michael's a few years ago. As much as Diva wanted this guy out during Christmas, I felt that that would lessen this guy's novelty value as a Winter decoration. Tip: this week and the next few will yield mega discounts on what retailers deem as “Christmas” decor. Think outside the box. Snow people and snowflakes are more Winter than Christmas.
|My pride and joy, Helga|
The next decoration we take out is Helga, a snow lady I made a few years ago when I was snowed in with the kids during one of the Northeast's many blizzards or “Nor'Easters” as the media now call them. I had had NO alone time and needed a craft that would keep them both busy, so I went to the recycling bin and grabbed a dishwasher detergent bottle, some newspaper, and a bunch of gauze leftover from a Halloween costume that never was (the concept of Mommy as a mummy was great, but scared Diva when I started to wrap myself). We made a gooey, oooey, delightful paste out of flour and as we wrapped the bottle, with the head made out of a ball of paper, realized that this creation could only be a snow person. Diva's desire to make a snow lady won out over Junior's desire for a traditional, male snowman. A few days later, when the model was dry, I grabbed a few buttons, skewers from the kitchen, and voila! Helga was born! She summers in the hot attic and because of that, the glue holding her arms on tends to melt, so every year or two I wind up re-gluing her arms on, otherwise, she's proven quite sturdy. Sometimes we'll even hang a decoration or two from her arm. For more paper mache crafts, visit dltk-kids.com (http://www.dltk-kids.com/type/papermache.htm).
Paper snowflakes are a staple in my house, especially since Diva learned how to make them. Her preschool teacher meticulously cut lovely, intricate ones but since I am spastic, I could never figure out how to do it until we watched this YouTube video a few times: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTnxZSL5IJw. We've now made snowflakes out of basic computer paper as well as paper towels, coffee filters, and rice paper, which works the best. The lacy creations adorn our window and are so low-budget that if the cat decimates them, as she's methodically doing, I don't care.
Filling a vase with greenery from outside is also nice. Sometimes Diva and I will gather a few sprigs of pine and place them in a vase. If the vase is clear and we can find pine cones, we'll add those to the arrangement as well, Spraying the branches with a little diluted lemon juice compromises the pine smell, but keeps the cat away. Another tip: greenery or even bare sticks from outside add a “natural” touch to the house, plus they're cheap and easy to use. If you can't find pine cones outside, head over to your local craft store where you should be able to find them.
Leaving up Winter-themed Christmas cards is the ultimate in low-budget decorating. I purged our Christmas cards, throwing away pictures of Santa and the Nativity, and we now have a line of doves and snow scenes running along a doorway. You could even slip a few in some cheap frames for easy-peasy wall or table art.
|Another clearance find|
Lastly, since we were missing the light of the Christmas tree, I made this sweet little snowman out of a candy container I bought on sale a few years ago. I simply cut holes in the back for the plug of the, again, clearance lights I bought.
Okay, so I'm no Martha Stewart; still, I do want my house to look nice in the Winter. Just a few, simple pieces achieves that without any great expenditure of cash. For more great, frugal, seasonal decorating ideas, visit:
- ProFlowers.com (http://www.proflowers.com/guide/cheap-decoration-ideas-for-christmas-winter-wonderland) – Who knew you could find cheap decorating ideas here, but they've got some good ones!
– Some of these look to be a bit more time-consuming than I'd
like, but some of the Winter ornaments look intriguing.
- MyWeddingFavors (http://myweddingfavors.hubpages.com/hub/The-Slow-Faster-and-Fastest-Ways-To-Make-Scented-Pine-Cones) – This site lists easy and slightly harder ways to make scented pine cones that will make you feel as if you're in a pine forest. Alternatively, you could just dab some pine cones with pine-scented oil, but the ones from this website might last longer.
Please check back in with me in a day or two for a a few recipes for do-it-yourself ice melt and some tips on how to make surviving the Winter easier.
Out into the -25 temps I go to pick up Diva! Ta-ta!