Gobble Gobble DIY

As promised last week, we’re going to do a little time traveling here on SWS and travel back to the days of yore – holiday season so that I can recap some of my fabulously festive projects for you.  Today I’m sharing with you the little last-minute DIY burlap runner I whipped together in the few days before Thanksgiving.

Threshold Trellis Runner

This idea came to me when I realized that my new, lovely fall-themed Threshold runner from Target probably wouldn’t make it through Turkey Day unscathed.  It also didn’t look like it would hold up well through a cycle in the washer, so I decided that I needed an alternative runner option for our holiday table.  Enter free burlap fabric I had stashed in a drawer for the last year.

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I knew I wanted something Thanskgiving themed and after seeing more than my fair share of “Give Thanks” signs across Pinterest, I decided to make my own.  As my painting skills are seriously sub-par, I headed to Michael’s for some stencils provided by the god of craft, Martha.  Her stencils are pricey, so I searched for one with the highest likliehood of reuse, whipped out my coupon via iPhone, and dolled out $31 to the cashier (note: this was for ALL supplies purchased).  Now, I realize that this is $11 more than I paid for the finished runner I purchased at Target, but I really was looking for a one-of-a-kind piece that I made myself and the supplies I can reuse for many projects to come.

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Had there been more time this holiday season, I would have attempted to hand-make most of my gifts included a few of these bad boys for family members, but as we all know, December was a BLUR this year.

So, down to the nitty gritty.  First, I took one look at my burlap and knew it needed finished edges.  I used this tip (and overall DIY as a base) from Inspired By Charm and for the first time managed to cut a clean edge with the this type of fabric.

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Then I whipped out my handy no-sew hem type (who has room for a sewing machine anymore?!) and really cleaned up those edges.

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Half-way through I also realized I *might* want to iron the rest of the fabric – just keeping it real folks.

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And it wasn’t until I had already done 2 corners that I realized I should be paying a *bit* more attention to detail, and decided to neatly fold the ends to give them a more finished and professional look.  (Did I mention it was VERY late at night when I finished this?!)

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Once I had the finished edges, I decided on my stencil design which I didn’t want it to look like a stencil – I chose to use a small brush to connect any lines.  When planning the spacing, laying the stencils out side by side left too much space between the letters in particular.  So I traced them on to a piece of paper with the desired spacing and laid them out.

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The blue painters tape represents both the horizontal and vertical centers of the burlap.

With that done, it was time to pull out the paint.  I kept the pencil tracing versions for reference and moved VERY slowly.  We don’t want this looking like a craft project, now do we?

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Once I had the middle painted, I decided it needed just a little more punch, so I pulled out another stencil to finish the ends.

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(Ignore the pulled thread in the middle of the fabric.  A casualty discovered too late in the game to stop crafting…)

After a few hours dry time, I had myself a new table runner!

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On Thanksgiving Day, I was a bit preoccupied cooking an entire dinner for Jefe’s family to do much decorating, but I did manage to throw together an acceptable table setting.  At the time I was so busy and decided that ironing the table cloth was not worth the added fuss, but now that I see these pictures, I’m quickly regretting that.

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Kudos go to Momma Sny for the turkey place card holders courtesy of the Dollar Spot at Target.  Dishware is Ikea 365 (5+ years old) and the napkins and water glasses were new from World Market.

The menu included a brined, 16 lb.  turkey (World Market’s Turkey Brine has done me well twice now), Momma Sny’s sweet potatoes, some mashed potatoes with a touch of garlic, stuffing, Jenny Hobick’s Bacon Green Beans, homemade cranberry sauce, my grandmother’s secret recipe apple pie and 2 pumpkin pies from Magnolia Bakery.  We capped it off with some fabulous wine and some VERY tired feet on my part.

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(secret Snyder family recipe apple pie, before baking)

So naturally the next day I did what any sane person would do after spending the previous day on her feet, cooking a meal for hours on end: ventured to Disneyland for Black Friday!

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Christmas Come Early

Our Christmas Mantle 2011

The Christmas season is my happy place.  I’m not religious in any way, but there is something about the time of year, from the music, to the food (oh god, the FOOD!) to the glittery, sparkling, twinkling, jingle-y decor that gets me more excited than a fat kid in a candy store.  But when it comes to the holiday season, I have some firm rules:

  1. I force myself to wait until Nov 1 to cue up the Jingle Bells, Rudolph, and Mariah so as not to OD on it before Santa shows up.  (I may have caved a day early this year while driving home on Halloween after a particularly rough day at the office.)
  2. I won’t subject Jefe to the music until Black Friday.
  3. I’m not allowed to decorate until Black Friday (although I sometimes cheat if I get a second wind after the Thanksgiving meal).
  4. As of this year, I’m not allowed to buy any more holiday decor until I get rid of some of the things I already have.  I just have no extra space to store the 4-foot inflatable abominable snowman I may have scoped out at Home Depot yesterday:

So although I LOVE the season, I try to refrain from getting too engulfed in it earlier than necessary.  But I’ve noticed a growing trend – Christmas seems to have arrived in October this year.  From the glassy ornaments at World Market to the Target dog running amok in a snowy town in their latest commercial, it appears that the retailers of America have decided that the holiday festivities will now start in mid-October.  Poor Halloween is suddenly getting the short end of the stick.

I love fall almost as much as I love Christmas, but with all the red and green pressure, I don’t feel compelled to decorate for the season or get excited for Turkey Day (the 90 degree LA temperatures don’t exactly help).  I feel like I’m being peer-pressured into buying jingle bell vase filler and listening to Nat King Cole on constant repeat.  Is anyone else having this problem?  It could also be that I’m a tiny bit bummed that I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year.  It was a bit stressful cooking it all myself last year, but I kind of loved setting the table, having the house smelling amazing, and feeding the family a meal that I made that wasn’t just edible, but was actually pretty damn good.   I’m still amazed I successfully brined a 20 lb. turkey all by myself (with Jefe doing a bit of the heavy wet-turkey lifting.)  And I set a pretty mean table if I do say so myself.

Turkey Day 2011 table

Despite all of this though, I’m trying to power through my holiday confusion as I love the holiday season and everything that goes with it, be it Turkey Day, Christmas, Winter Solstice or Hanukkah (who doesn’t love a little dreidel spinning, am I right?!)  I’m still planning on making my Grandma’s infamous apple pie and Momma Sny’s sweet potatos (no marshmallows allowed!) to take with us to Thanksgiving at Jefe’s aunt’s house.  I’m also currently contemplating a few quick and easy spruce ups of the aparment with some fall-themed decor in addition to my sad little $1 mini pumpkins and a burlap runner.  But my stipulations are that it’s got to be something either a) reusable for next year or b) easily disposable.  Because we all know I’ll be busting out the snowmen and reindeer antlers in 3 weeks anyways.

This year’s sad fall display. Why can’t their just be a maple tree nearby that I could swipe a few branches and leaves from?! Ridiculously warm LA weather – that’s why.

All kidding aside, I’d be lying if I said my Christmas playlist wasn’t on constant repeat and is helping to get me through some tough times at the ‘ol 9-to-5.  (God, how I wish those were my hours).  There is just something about a little holly, jolly music that seems to make everything better.  But I get it honestly.  Momma Sny starts in September.  At least I have the decency to wait until October 31 November 1.