DIY Christmas Putz houses

I have always admired vintage putz houses so it was only a matter of time before I would realize that people actually sell these cardboard house kits that you can decorate yourself. 😬 I decided to give it a go after gathering some inspiration on Instagram. If you have no interest in crafting your own- you can purchase some beautiful putz houses from stores… Cody Foster makes some big beautiful ones (with a big price tag! $35- $100 each!). This Christmas you can find moderately priced ‘putz houses’ at Kohl’s (Lauren Conrad), And Pier 1. They’re all beautiful and I think gradually adding to your collection over the years would make it really fun and unique even if you never make your own!

So after looking at all the inspiration I started gathering my own supplies. First stop for me was amazon. This is where I found my little set of cardboard houses and also varying colors of mini bottle brush trees. I also purchased my snow and glitter from amazon.

Here is a picture of all the different glues and the ‘snow’ I used. I also used a hot glue gun!

I bought mini Christmas village embellishments at Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Some of what I got came out of the scrapbook section- including some sheets of velum paper for the windows. Velum is slightly transparent so if you decided to light up your putz houses – you can see the light through the little windows. ☺️ Some of what I purchased ended up being the wrong scale for these little houses but I had so much fun making these that I’m going to make some larger houses so I can use the bigger pieces I have.

So here is the process….

Paint your houses white first if you want your colors you choose to really pop. Think of this as your primer. I used the little cheap acrylic paints that are at all craft stores for all of the painting on these.

Then you get to pick your colors. 🀩

I painted mine like the next picture at first then after they dried I toned down a few of the colors by painting a new more muted color on top… I wanted mine to have a vintage and more mature look.

Okay here’s where the magic starts to happen- the SNOW. ❄️ I put the glitter snow stuff wherever I imagined snow would accumulate on the roofs of the houses – then on top of that once it hardened- I added a layer of modpodge and then the loose diamond dust glitter.

This particular house set came with the window trim and a small piece of velum paper that looked like stain glass. Not enough velum for all the windows so that’s why not all of the window colors match- because I had to buy my own… but I’m actually glad I did. It gave my houses a little more variety. The windows are slightly tedious but you just Elmer’s glue them on the velum. Then after that dries trim excess velum from around the frame with scissors.

I hot glued the windows on and burned the crap out of my fingers. πŸ₯΅ Then I hot glued the houses on the cardboard base that I had also painted white, modge podged, and poured diamond dust on. At this point I was already in love but I went ahead and added some other embellishments with hot glue. The finished product was way better than I thought I could do. I would have paid so much for these in a store and not been able to say I made them. Plus picking the colors and embellishments is so fun to do yourself!

Halloween bottle brush/ Moon face tutorials

I’ve been asked to do tutorials on two of my more recent Halloween crafts by several Instagram followers on @helloJolley so here ya go!

I’m going to start out with the bottle brush tree tutorial because it’s the easiest one. And I should mention first that I actually got the idea and tutorial to do this from the book Glitterville’s Handmade Christmas. Just an FYI for you crafty people- this is a great read. And there is also a Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween book too! πŸ˜‰

The awesome thing about this is you can do these in any color combinations you can think up – if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for out in stores you can make it yourself!

The tutorial in the book starts out with green trees so the first step is to bleach your trees. I have done this before to do dip-dye trees using Rit dye… but the great thing is hobby lobby makes these beige/ white bottle brush trees already. They’re huge and really inexpensive when the Christmas goes 40% off. So I didn’t have to bleach my trees.

After you have your trees picked out- you need to pick out your acrylic craft paint. This is the really cheap stuff that comes in hundreds of colors for less than $1 each at every craft store. I got mine at Michaels.

Also at Michaels I got a few Martha Stewart metallic and glitter paints which cost a little more but add that ‘extra’ to your trees in my opinion.

Before I started painting I bent the top of the trees into a more whimsical shape and trimmed the bristles at the top to exaggerate that bend a bit.

The second step is to add white paint to your tree. Doing the first coat in White helps whatever colors you choose to pop a little more than they would on the beige. Think of it as your primer. I just used a craft paint brush and went crazy painting both the base and bristles white. I also think you could do a light spray paint coat instead- it would be faster and have better coverage for sure.

After you let your white paint dry completely then it’s time to pick your colors and design. I wanted Halloween trees that were striped. I knew I wanted a black and white striped tree and I also wanted to try one that was a nod to candy corn but in non-traditional colors. To make them go together better I tied in the same colors on opposite bases.

For painting the bristles you can use a folded piece of card-stock paper to stick in the tree and divide them up where you want. It’s easy to get going with the paint brush and accidentally get the wrong color where you don’t want it so the card-stock helps protect from oops moments.

For painting the base I used a small detail paint brush to do careful narrow stripes. That’s pretty easy to eye ball and you don’t want these to be perfect – it just adds to the whimsy, right! 😜

After I let all the colored paint dry I decided to do a coat of glitter paint over the bristles and the block on the base. It just added that extra fun and finished touch for me. And the glitter paint is pretty cool because if I try to use loose glitter it just gets everywhere. This stuff is easier to control. But that’s all! Super simple and fun. I might do some more for Christmas this year. πŸŽ„

The moon face was a bit more tedious and complicated – but still doable for sure! I should start by saying I was inspired by @houseoflotsofpink on Instagram for this project. I have no idea how she made hers – she is probably much more talented than me and maybe she even freehanded hers but I’m not that patient so I did an acetone ink transfer for this. You can YouTube many ways to do a printer ink transfer but I used acetone because it’s what I had on hand at home. (Acetone = nail polish remover.)

First I googled ‘vintage moon face clip art’. I had my husband Bill blow up the image and print it for me- it took up 4 sheets of printer paper. He had to do that because me and technology are not usually friends. 😜 We lined up the image and taped it together.

I bought this wood circle on amazon and painted it with white chalk paint.

We did some test runs with the acetone and realized really quick that our printer ink wasn’t going to transfer well enough onto the wood alone so I needed to fill in the image with a black sharpie.

I flipped the sharpie image facedown on my painted circle and taped it on so it wouldn’t slide around when I used the nail polish remover. Then I used paper towels soaked in acetone on the back side of the image. I carefully lifted the paper periodically to see if I was getting enough of a transfer- as you can see from the next picture some areas did better than others. Some spots didn’t transfer at all and some bled too much.

Even though the transfer wasn’t perfect it was good enough for me to use a fine detail paint brush and fill in these areas with black paint. I did that first then I went back with white to clean up the bleeding areas.

I loved how it turned out so well on the first side that I decided I wanted to do a man in the moon face on the back side of my circle.

These are both fun projects. I’m sure I’ll make more trees and would use the acetone ink transfer technique again. If you do either of these projects tag me @helloJolley I’d love to see your spin on it!

Basement Bathroom Remodel

I am so happy to be FINALLY writing this one you guys. This basement bathroom has been years in the making at our house and I am SO happy with how it turned out!

So let me just show you what we started out with….

This room was pretty awful- it had a bathtub, and brown outdoor carpet on the floor originally. The flow didn’t work – we had to close up a wall. Basically it was a continuation of some bad remodeling that had been done in the rest of the basement – And this was the last area we needed to give a major makeover in the basement.

After: it’s still a basement bathroom meaning we have opted at least for now to leave the ceiling open and unfinished. We decided to do a shower down here instead of a tub and I LOVE the shiplap walls. Now I really want to do shiplap every where. 😬

This bathroom is officially our nicest and largest bathroom in our house now. I’m still looking for a cool chippy storage cabinet and the trim work needs finished but its usable! We did already do our half bathroom/laundry room shortly after we moved in. It looks like this…

But now that this basement bathroom is functional we can think about tackling our main final bathroom upstairs. This will involve saving up so we can hire out the whole thing. I may have already bought a super ugly old claw foot tub that needs a serious makeover for $50 for the space. πŸ˜‚

Baby Products You Will Actually Use

Now that I’m well into newborn baby life I thought it could be helpful to some of you to do a blog about baby products that are actually worth registering for. The best of the best- the items that I am using every day that are in my opinion – very worth the money. So here’s my list of faves divided into sub categories with the reasons/ honest reviews.

Diapering:

  • Keekaroo peanut changer – the whole reason I had to have this was because it can be wiped down! And in my opinion it is well worth the price because it can be wiped. I would be spending so much time washing changing pad covers if we didn’t have this thing because our little peanut loves to pee and sometimes poo while she’s getting her diaper changed- especially by her dad. πŸ˜‚
  • Ubbi diaper pail – I love this because it keeps the smell contained like a diaper genie but I can use my normal scented glad trash bags in it. Plus it comes in any color you could want.
  • Hello Bello diaper delivery – diaper and wipe monthly delivery is such a nice thing. Plus picking the patterns each month is actually fun. I feel like the price is decent too and you can add on extras if you need them. It’s convenient and I don’t ever have to worry about running out of wipes.
  • Baby bum diaper cream brush- ok we don’t use this everyday but when you need to apply diaper cream it’s pretty awesome. Plus you can wipe it off with a baby wipe after.

Breast feeding:

  • Hakka breast pump – I’ll admit I had to YouTube how to use this but trust me when I say you need this. You use this to passively collect milk from the other boob while your breast feeding your baby. It’s great. The only negative is my baby likes to kick it off my boob and then you can get milk everywhere if you’re not quick about grabbing it. πŸ˜‚ If you’re going to have to go back to work like me you will still need an electric breast pump at times. I also bought a Madela hand pump that I know I will use more once I go back to work and only have a few minutes to pump and no time to deal with the electric.
  • Boppy pillow – I use this everyday all day. It’s great to breastfeed with and also just to help hold her. Dad likes to use it to hold her and also be able to hold a video game controller. 😏 The cover sometimes gets messed up from spit up so I bought a really cute set of covers on Amazon so I don’t have to frantically wash any when they get messed up.
  • Swings, carriers, and pillows etc:
    • Snuggle me organic baby lounger – we use this all the time and she sleeps really well in it. I know we will have to wean her off it when she starts to roll over so it may become a negative for me depending on how hard that is to do. 😬
      Tula free-to-grow carrier – took some time to get the hang of it but it’s really the only carrier you need. It’s for babes 7-45 lbs. so you can obviously use it a longer time than most. I had also bought a Solly baby wrap and I can only get the hang of it when I have a mirror to use… so it’s not really great for on-the-go at least for me. A friend passed on a ring sling to me that I haven’t really dived into how to use yet but that may end up being awesome too.
      Graco simple sway swing -my baby loves this thing. She spends at least a few hours of every day in it.
      Graco pack n play – this is in our living room and she sleeps in it during the day and is where I can safely put her down when I need to step out of the room for a minute.

    Sound machines:

    • Baby shusher – I didn’t register for this but when I took Indie to her newborn pictures the photographer was using one of these. It’s different than the hatch because it’s portable. It has a 15 minute and 30 minute timer and when I’m having a hard time getting her to sleep it sometimes helps out.
    • Hatch sound machine – we use this every night all night. We use the cricket/ night sounds setting most often but there are a bunch of sound and light color options on this. It’s super cool. Plus when she gets older it can transition into an alarm clock that changes color when it’s OK for her to get out of bed in the morning.

    Pacifiers:

    • Wubba Nubba – not something I registered for but she really likes it. It’s easier for her to hold onto since it’s attached to this toy plus there are lots of cute animal options. We went with the pink duck. I was also a big fan of the cute lama option.
    • Cutie Pat Pacifiers – when she’s not in the mood for her wubba this is the winning paci option for her. The larger size and circle handle seems to make it easier for her to hold it in. We had one and then she liked it so much I decided to get a second.

    Bath time:

    • Cradle cap comb – We use this during every bath to get the skin flakes out of her hair.
    • Flower bath – I’m so glad we got this instead of a traditional baby tub. The best part is after you’re done using it you ring out the excess water and throw it in the dryer. Clean up is the easiest because of this.
  • I hope this list is helpful to someone if you’re pregnant and trying to figure out what you actually will use when baby arrives. And of course, just because this is my must have list doesn’t mean it will be yours. Everyone has things that work great for them- that may not work for someone else.
  • Newborn Life

    Officially halfway through my 8 week maternity leave and I cannot believe how fast time is flying. I didn’t know how much I would love being a mom but I’m so happy to be hers. πŸ’•

    In one month I’ve taken a lot of pictures and we have already started making some sweet memories.

    So excited to see her grow into her own little person and also trying to soak in the last few weeks of leave we have together. πŸ–€

    Baby Girl room part 2

    So I wrote a post a few months back with our girl nursery reveal. I decided that I’ve added to and changed it enough and tweaked things for practicality purposes that new ‘final photos’ were in order.

    I added some cute things to the walls mostly from hobby lobby. So we officially have no more wall space for anything! But we also added this ‘don’t worry, be happy’ sign from @theshedinteriors over the closet. 😍 Plus the closet is way more full now than it was a few months ago because #babyshowers and #imbroke πŸ˜‚.

    acs_0612

    My practical side meant the diaper changing area needed to be finalized. We got our keekaroo I had to have because you can wipe it down. πŸ™Œ

    This ubbi diaper pail was what I chose because it doesn’t require special bags like a diaper genie does.

    I also added this blue ikea cart we already had with all the wipes, diapers, bath supplies, thermometer, nose frida, nail clippers, cradle cap comb, diaper rash cream and this nifty tool I found on amazon for applying diaper cream without getting it stuck under your fingernails.

    Seems kindof stupid when I’m perfectly aware that I will have way worse things under my finger nails soon like poop but the reviews won me over. And we’ve got a good stash of wipes and diapers started too!

    On the advice of the internet I also set up a nursing/ pumping station in the room. I have a basket hid next to the rocker filled with all the ‘essentials’: Pump, water bottle, lanolin cream, boppy, small hand sanitizer, pacifier, wipes, burp cloths, breast pads/ shield, chap stick, hair ties etc. Just trying to make my life as smooth as possible after our girl gets here because literally EVERYONE has told me ‘nursing is the hardest thing you will EVER do.’ It made me worry enough about it that I bought a book and did some reading up and there was definitely a lot I didn’t know. I chose this book Latch by Robin Kaplan because it was one of the few options I could find out there that was written within the last couple years and it wasn’t one million pages long. Even though I know it will be hard and an adjustment I’m hoping everything I learned will come in handy. I know a lot of people take breast feeding classes but at my hospital they were expensive and only offered during my work hours on Tuesday nights.

    I’ve got our hospital bag packed and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. It will be nice to not be hot and pregnant anymore. I’m looking forward to the day when the temperatures are a little cooler and I can hang with my girl and fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans again. πŸ˜…

    Our Annual β€˜4th of Jolley’ πŸŽ‡

    We had the best, busiest 4th of July weekend with family. Today I’m in recovery and putting my feet up a bit before the work week starts. ❀️

    We went to fireworks in our town – which happen to be set off right around the corner from our house. This makes our house the central location for family to come and we walk over and set up our chairs and watch the show. πŸŽ‡

    Yesterday was our annual “4th of Jolley” bash at our house. We always have our family over and Bill cooks out and the kids have a blast in the pool and we eat and usually set off set off some fireworks at the end of the night. It’s a great time and we always have so much fun!

    It’s fun to look back over the years we’ve been doing this and see how everyone has changed. The older I get the more I realize time seriously flies. I know I sound like I’m a million years old when I say that but it’s true.

    Also Bill got my macrame swinging chair hung on our back porch 😍 and I love it.

    Annnnd this week was officially the 30 week milestone. Sometime within the next 10 weeks we will meet our baby girl. πŸ’• I can’t believe how close we are getting! πŸ€—