Thursday, December 2, 2010

Custom Holiday Decorating on a Budget

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For those of you visiting for the first time, here's a little information on how I became enamored with the dollar store, of all places.

I remember the first time I ever walked into a dollar store. It was years ago, when I was trying to conceive. I had heard rumors that there were pregnancy tests there — for a dollar. Unbelievable! I had to check this out. Sure enough, there the tests were, tucked in among the band-aids and hemorrhoid creams.

Whenever I went, however, I had tunnel vision. I made a bee-line straight for the tests and got out of there as soon as I could. I felt like I was doing a misdeed; like I was cheating on Target; like I was slumming it, and everyone in there knew it. I never stopped to look around.

One day, I did take the time to look around. The things I found amazed me. My misconception of the dollar store being stocked with a bunch of junk was shattered. Sure, there IS junk in there, but there are some great finds, too. I started incorporating dollar store items into my decorating, like this picture frame border in my daughter's room.

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The beauty of the dollar store and holiday decorating is that the price allows me to be trendy on a budget. I can buy something that will be used for only one day, featuring the colors that will be out of style by the end of the month, and not lose sleep over the expense. And I can alter items without feeling like I’m destroying something of value.

On my latest trip to the dollar store I grabbed a bunch of random Christmas-themed items. I chose a variety of styles and sizes. My plan was to transform these nicknacks into something unique for Christmas, based on this fun Santa ornament.

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Then I took my inspiration ornament to the paint section of the home improvement store. I picked a couple of paint chips that coordinated with the look I wanted to achieve. The kind lady at the counter mixed up little sample paint cans for me, in my exact colors, for around three dollars each. These hand-picked accent colors are where the real customization happens.

I grabbed some silver and high gloss white spray paint as well. A note about the spray paint — it works great for projects like this, involving detailed, intricate items. Not only does it come in high gloss (the colored paint samples are generally eggshell at the glossiest), but it fills in the crevices with no effort. Trying to coat a figurine with wall paint, however, can get rather tedious. Also? The spray paint can is not kidding when it asks you to use the paint in a well-ventilated area. That stuff is potent!

Then I took everything home and got to work.

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I painted this clear plastic snowflake purple on one side only...

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then flipped it over to reveal a fabulous colored glass-like effect.

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Cool, no?

Here are my dollar store finds, all set up.

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Every item here, minus the ribbon and the inspiration ornament, was from the dollar store. You can find the details for making these white holiday wreaths for next to nothing using dollar store finds here.

The possibilities for this project are endless, and it can be expanded or contracted for any budget. And, this is so easy to do. I have plans to take a can of spray paint to the old holiday decor that is currently sitting in boxes in my garage, unused and unloved.

The hardest part of this whole project?

Convincing my husband to let me decorate the mantle with pink and purple!

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Go here for details on how to make these easy ribbon flowers, and other bows.

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86 comments:

SITSGirls said...

Hooray! Thanks for being such a fabulous featured blogger today, Katie. Adore this post...and your blog!

xo
Francesca

Jennifer C. Valerie said...

That's awesome Katie! You're very creative. I love the dollar store too. I wish there was one here on the island. I still get great finds though. Enjoy the holidays.

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

I always love your dollar store challenge. I am so going to try this myself once we get all moved in. Oh, and I cannot wait for the ribbon/flower example. I remember trying to tie all the bows on the centerpieces for my wedding. Lets just say BIG FAIL. I can't do bows. yet.

And Congrats on the SITS feature :)


Cabin Fever in Vermont

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

Happy SITS day!! Just wanted to thank you and your husband for the sacrifices you both make for the community. Don't know where we would be without firefighters, police, and our military!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Stopping by from SITS... what great tips... I go to the dollar store for bread... I found that they sell my favorite name-brand whole wheat bread at our $ store and when the kids were younger, I'd grab the educational activity books for stocking and Easter basket stuffers. I'll admit, though that I always gloss over the 'decorating' stuff with my nose in the air... I'm going to have to take another walk through soon!

Renee Ann said...

Love the picture frame border! I frequent the dollar store near my house. You never know what treasures you can make from their finds.

Quasi Serendipita said...

Wow, that looks fabulous. I really like the picture frame border (in fact, I may well do something similar in my house, thank you!) We have Poundland in the UK and I became a convert because they stock 35mm film for £1 a roll and I do still love shooting with film. Great SITSmas post :-)

Lynn said...

Congratulations on your SITS day! I can't believe that all of that stuff is from the dollar store...who knew? Not me!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Stopping from SITS! I could have purchased the items you mentioned, but I would need you to put them together. They look great!

Modern Gypsy said...

Congratulations on your SITS day! Love the way you transformed those items into such a beautiful looking mantle piece! Damn, I wished we stayed closer, I would have asked you for some help with my house too! ;)

bluecottonmemory said...

Beautiful mantle! COngrats on your SITS Day! Have a joyful Christmas!

Saucy B said...

That looks GREAT! You're so creative - it definitely takes having a vision to see what's in front of you and transform it like that.

Happy Holidays SITS'a! :-)

Holyoke Home said...

Congrats on your SITS featured blog day! Your ability to take dollar store finds and make them GORGEOUS is amazing! That mantle should be in a magazine!

Katie Vyktoriah said...

Absolutely in love with your craftiness! Incredible!

We have dollar store equivalents here in the UK, but I've not spent much time in them. Am definitely going to go have a look, though, and try to re-invent junk into treasure! :)

FireMom said...

Ah, the dollar store. I scored a firefighter Nutcracker the other day. Which, looking at it now, it's in a different place on the bookshelf, so little hands were looking at it today. I also got some great flowers for a centerpiece in the kitchen. I did the same for our fall decorations.

One tip: DON'T buy your Christmas lights there. I needed ONE strand of lights. Just one. Got home. Plugged them in. Half the strand works. Sigh. Back to the store.

LisaDay said...

Popping by from SITS. You are right, there are great finds to, well, find at dollar stores. But you need the eye and the imagination. You have both. Beautiful. Way to convince your husband to go purple and pink.

LisaDay

Marissa said...

Wow! This is truly amazing stuff. Now I want to dash to the Dollar Tree and get crafty. Thank you for making me want to dig through my closet and pull out all the wire edge ribbon I purchased on clearance!

somethingtolearn said...

Stopping by from SITS... Cute blog! Love your Etsy merchandise.

Sandy said...

Great finds! I love the Dollar Store!

Goodnight moon said...

Happy Happy SITS day to you!!!!!! I'm now your newest follower....although by now you've probably got a handful more.

Enjoy!!!!!

B said...

I wish I was imaginative and creative as you are! Some great finds and beautiful decorations!

Ashley said...

Amazing!

We decided on homemade gifts this year and it's been a bit of a pain as most of it turned out to be baking. But now you've given me some lovely other ideas.

Thanks!

Susie said...

Gorgeous!!!

Congratulations on your SITs feature! I hope you enjoy your day in the sun:-)

WhisperingWriter said...

Stopping by from SITS...

You have SUCH talent! I'm seriously amazed, I love everything.

Beth said...

Hmmm, think I am going by the dollar store today. Thank u for the inspiration. I will keep browsing your blog and will be back again.

Karen said...

What great ideas! Funny how I can let myself get in a box. When I saw this post I was thinking, how does she get all the colors and stuff she needs at the dollar store? PAINT IT! Your pictures are excellent as well! I am still working on that too! Congratulations!

Sara R. said...

Great post! I love the Dollar Store.... my friend has been making beautiful wreaths with stuff she is finding there.

Stopping by from SITS...have a great day!

Joy said...

Your mantle looks gorgeous! That clear plastic snowflake you transformed turned out beautiful. I may need to make a run to the Dollar Store before we decorate.

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

When I saw that you were decorating for Christmas with Dollar Store items I raced over from SITS to see for myself. (I write a blog about interior decorating on a budget.) Isn't spray paint a miracle in a can? Your mantle looks lovely.

Steph S. said...

Happy SITS day, girl! You were so creative with Dollar Store finds - awesome! Everything is super beautiful. Enjoy your special day (and your decor!)

Jean Has Been Shopping said...

Happy SITS Day.
I am very impressed at how you transformed these dollar store items! Very cool!

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

happy sits day.. the sunflowers.. silver and the angel.. rock... I have never thought to do this...

Grams said...

I am also a dollar store shopper. But I must confess, I never thought of using it the way you did. Gorgeous! I'm definitely stealing some of your ideas. And ... from now on I'm going to think of those dollar store finds in a whole new way. Thanks!

TaraBeara said...

Happy SITS day!

Jenn Erickson said...

Katie, I was so excited and happy when I saw your banner on the SITS site today! Congratulations! And what a wonderful introduction post! Of course, I'd expect nothing less ;-)

The picture frame border you created from dollar store frames is beautiful! Wow! And your mantle decor? Sophisticated and chic!

I hope your SITS day is a tremendous success! Warmest wishes and happy holidays, Jenn

Maggi said...

How cool, I love how the simple act of painting something can transform it, thanks for the tips! Happy SITS Day! :D

Ms Bibi said...

Your mantle looks so beautiful.

I love craft shopping in Dollar Store.You can get so many supplies and ideas and still stay on a budget.

Stopping by from SITs.

(Florida) Girl said...

Happy SITS Day. I am a huge fan of decorating on a budget and am no stranger to the dollar store.

You did a fantastic job.

Jackie said...

Stopping by from SITS! Congrats on be blogger of the day!

I love the Dollar Store too! But what you did was amazing!! I love it! I feel inspired now!

City Mom said...

Hello...visiting from SITS as well! Congrats on being featured.

I LOVE your work! I am so inspired! You are very creative and clever and I love your style. I may do something similar for my blog and of course will link to you to give credit where credit.

You have a new follower now!

I'm Jennifer. said...

Visiting from SITS. You've got to be one of the craftiest people I've ever known. Let me know when you're ready to come up and decorate my house :)

Kiki said...

Happy SITS day! I am a HUGE fan of the dollar store- and that purple thingie is absolutely inspired.

And uh, really? Preggo tests? Wicked good to know. My husband is lamenting the 20 dollar 3-pack. Maybe I'll put some in his stocking. Merry Christmas, indeed. ;)

love from Chicago,
Keely

ciara said...

happy sitsday! love your creativity & on a budget no less. i'll have to look around your blog more after school :o)

Kameron said...

I stopped by from SITS and I will be staying!! Love, love, LOVE your ideas! I'm going to the dollar store on Sat!!

CK said...

Wowwwwwwwwwww!!! I am super impressed! Good job. Love the colors that you chose to pain these Christmas decorations. Different, yet perfect!
-CK

Losing Brownies said...

Stopping by from SITS, and I seriously want to go to the dollar store and check out frames! I went back and read your entry on it, and I want to duplicate it! What chain of dollar stores do you go to?

Living in Taradise said...

Happy SITS day!!! This post is perfect! I love the dollar store but I NEVER thought of doing this! You are a genius! Dollar Store; watch out 'cause here I come!

Helena said...

I am in love with the dollar store. And those pregnancy tests? They make the best gift. Pair it with a condom and a bottle of wine (or sparkling cider), and give it to all of your girl friends for Christmas. Their reactions are SO funny!

Gamma Sharon said...

Just beautiful!!! Happy SITS day!!

Shell said...

Yay for your SITS day! :) Love your decorations!

Btw, I think your haircut looks great, but that is definitely a lot of hair they took off!

Kristy said...

Hey, you! Congrats on your SITS day! I love getting decorations at the dollar store too - hate to spend a lot of money on such a (what seems to be) a frivolous thing. But, you really can find cute stuff there!

Rachel said...

UH-MAZING! And I am thoroughly bummed that the local dollar stores have closed around here!

I was just about to ask... how did you make those ribbon flowers :) You read my mind!

Mommy to ♥Pickle and SugarPlum♥ said...

YAY! I'm so excited for you to be featured, Katie! I love your crafty knack! You are such an inspiration! You are inspiring me to do some holiday crafting this year! What simple yet elegant creations!

Jenn said...

Yay for SITS! I am looking forward to reading more of your blog!

Teisha said...

Visiting from SITS - such an inspirational blog! I just may have to try a couple of these things out.

shannonsshanonigins said...

Katie, I love this! Happy SITS day, you have a great blog.
Happy Holidays,
Shannon

LindaFaye said...

You have a great clean looking blog. Good for you! And you have great taste in decorating too. :) Happy SITS day.

Julie M. said...

Nice work! You got me wanting to hop in the car and head to the dollar store right this minute!

Enjoy your SITS day!

Christina said...

Wow, great finds! It's amazing what the silver paint does! Happy SITS day!

thesurpriselily.com said...

LOVE IT! I would have never thought of those sample cans of paint. My entire house is about to become adorned with custom painted things! Happy SITS day!

Christina said...

Your decorations look fabulous!! I have seen so many great dollar store crafts lately. I live overseas right now (my husband is in the Navy) so I don't have one anywhere even close to me. Once we move back, though, I'll be seeing the dollar store with different eyes. Thanks for the inspiration and Happy SITS day!

Cheryl D. said...

Happy SITS Day!

Have a good one!

Shileen @ The Wonder Woman Challenge said...

What a beautiful blog. Given that beauty is one of my core values I truly appreciate what you do in your home and the way you share it with us. Happy SITS Day! =)

Elaine said...

Wow...you've done an amazing job with dollar store finds...inspired me to go there for the rest of my decorations this year! ;)

The Vixen said...

Wow! I love your redo of the dollar store finds! Found you through SITS and loved the blog. Be back again!

Tiffany said...

Wow, dollar store?? I would have never thought! Everything looks amazing. Such a great idea.

SherilinR said...

here from sits...
what a great job you did on your mantle! isn't it cool when you get an inspiration & it actually works out & looks great when it's done?

a prairie girl in california said...

Hey Katie!!!yay for you that you got on SITS!!! great post too...(like always:D)

life in a pink fibro said...

Love your work! It's amazing what you can do with spray paint and $1.

Kita said...

Your mantle looks amazing! I hope that my holiday decorations come out half as good looking!! Congrats on your SiTs day!

Bella @ If This is Motherhood said...

Wow! I am not one for crafting and barely make it through the little crafts thst come with having kids, but you ROCK! Great blog, and great crafting!

Katherine said...

Congrats on being featured at SITS. I was so excited when I saw it was you!

I'm all excited to go and do a little of our own dollar store shopping.

Katie Lane said...

You make me want to pull the "Crafty Girl" out again (I threw her in the closet after too many failed attempts) -- love your creations!!

Katie Lane said...

You make me want to pull the "Crafty Girl" out again (I threw her in the closet after too many failed attempts) -- love your creations!!

Andrea D Jackson said...

Absolutely fabulous! End result? Fab find at the dollar store. Your reinvented dollar pieces are priceless!!

andreajackson304@annoitedtouch.info

firsttimetravel said...

Merry SITSmas greetings from the Philippines! We start decorating early on and how I wish we have a dollar store as well. You are very creative. ;-)

April said...

Awesome! I love seeing how people use dollar store stuff and make it fabulous! Merry SITSmas!

samsstuff said...

Great remakes of your Dollar Store finds! Everything looks beautiful.

Stopping by from SITS on your feature day to check out your blog & to wish you a great day!

kaybee said...

I love the purple glass effect that you got on that snowflake! I'm so impressed that you thought to do that, I never would have.

I also really love the cohesive look that you created with all of your finds. It very much reminds me of my mother's decorations. Feels very much like Christmas without being all red/green.

Alethea Noble said...

WOW! I would have never guessed that all that Christmas swag came from a dollar store! I'm so glad to have found you on SIST. Happy Holidays

Tiffany Ellis said...

That is very awesome!! Happy SITS Day

Carrie said...

I love the Dollar Store! You can find so many awesome things. Your mantle looks gorgeous!

Visiting from SITS

Mrs.Mayhem said...

Your decorations are amazing! Sadly, our fave dollar store was sold to new owners and they DO stock mostly junk! I was so disappointed!

Congrats on your SITS day!

gigi123 said...

Love your decoration and ideas! happy SITS to you!

ElizOF said...

Absolutely stunning crafty work Katie! You made some wonderful bows and I will try to recreate them; hopefully mine will be half as decent... Congratulations on your SITS day and pardon my late visit. :-)
Happy Holidays!
Elizabeth

Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

Glad I'm not the only one who digs the dollar store! :)

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