No apologies

…for year-round Christmas decor.

Never.  No way.  No how.

It’s my favorite time of year, so why limit it to just one month??

That’s what I say.

Well, that’s the conclusion that I eventually came to, anyways.

Now don’t get me wrong…. I’ll never resort to leaving inflatable Santa sleighs in my yard.   Or utilizing overly bedazzled wreaths of joy during summertime.  Or even scattering brightly colored tinsel about.  Well, maybe the tinsel.  I’m not completely made of steel. ūüėČ

Heehee!  I kid, I kid….   What I’m actually referring to is this …..

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This print that I originally spoke about in this post about free Christmas printables.   If you’ll remember, I used it in the gallery wall in our old house’s living room….

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And then never took it down.

Time after time, I apologized for having a Christmas print hung beyond the holiday season to visitors who gazed upon my gallery wall.  I’d laugh and joke about my “forgetfulness”.   About how “lazy” I was for having left it..   But really, deep down in the chasm of my brain, I knew that I’d left it up because I secretly loved it.   I loved the simplicity of it.   The subtle nod toward my favorite holiday.  That little red dot after “Rudolph”.   Just looking at it made me happy.  Plus, I LOVED the contrast it added to the gallery wall.   I felt like it really completed the composition of it.

And I knew….. Unless I found a replacement that I loved just as much as the reindeer print, it would continue to take up residence on our wall.   No matter how long it took.

In all fairness, I did search for a non-holiday replacement.   I checked out Pinterest, Etsy, and completed many a google search…. It went on for several months (well, over a year, actually).   But, I never found anything that fit the bill.   Nothing that I felt compelled to pull the trigger on.   See, when it comes to art, I have to have a visceral response to it.   I know immediately whether I’m drawn to it.   If I don’t have that response, I don’t waste my time or money.   Which is why it’s taking me so long to adorn the walls of our new house.   I wanna do it right.  Thus, at this point, after six months into living here, I consider very few walls in our home final or complete.

So anyways, my search for a reindeer replacement continued until we sold our house last September.

Then, we moved and I stopped searching in favor of dealing with more pressing issues having to do with our new/old 1975 house.

Which brings us to a few weeks ago.   Remember where we left off with our pool bath??

I’d painted the room, built a pipe shelf, rustic towel hook and hung a neat New York print that I loved, but the room still didn’t feel right.   More specifically, the blank space next to the New York print bothered me.

It doesn’t seem as profound in photos as it was in person since this microscopic room is kind of hard to photograph.   But trust me, the wall felt… unfinished…  for lack of a better word.   I’ve known since hanging the NY print that I needed to hang something next to it.  And every time I thought about it, my mind automatically drifted to the reindeer print.   It was the right size, color, and composition.  It would look mighty fine up in there in my opinion.   But then, each and every time, convention would kick in and I’d find myself at war with myself…

“But, the reindeer print would be perfect there!”

“No, Christina, you will NOT be the crazy lady with Christmas decor up year round.” (Subconscious smacks wooden ruler against palm in consternation)

“But the typography!  The colors!!  The light, brightness of the piece!!!”

“NO.  No,no,no.   (Gasp!) …You can’t…. You mustn’t!”  (Consternation becomes distress as subconscious dons bonnet and channels every Jane Austen character)

“But, I love it!”

“NEVER!!  You will be shunned!  Banished!” (Jane Austen behavior morphs into overly dramatic Shakespeare with back of hand to forehead)

“But… I… LOVE… IT.”

(Subconscious finally grasps this as a solid point and quietly stares with no response)

Because really, shouldn’t your home be a reflection of you and what you love… even if it defies modern convention??  Do we not learn from all the movies and books that love conquers all??

Answer: Yes.  Sure we do.

So, I decided to take a page from the book of Nike and Just Do It.

Once I was at peace with this decision, I sprinted casually sauntered like a really cool person to my beloved print and hung it up on the wall.

Which left this….

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Now, this very teeny room boasts nods to two of my very favorite things.  New York (where I grew up) and Christmas.

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Which when it comes down to it, only seems right… I mean a big factor in us choosing this house to begin with was that there were multiple places to put the Christmas tree.  Well, maybe that was more of a concern of mine than Joey’s. ūüėČ

So, anyways, now you know the long and arduous tale of a tiny project that made a big impact on a tiny room (and my very dramatic psyche). You may not agree with my decision to hang a Christmas print, but it makes me smile.  And it’s quirky.  And anyone who knows me can attest that “quirky” is definitely a mainstay of my personality (and those of my family as well) and I think that it’s only appropriate that our home reflects that.

So, what do y’all think? Christmas decor year round? Do what you love?

TDC Before and After
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DIY rustic, modern towel hook

This is a super simple DIY project that’s inexpensive, easy, and functional (aka: the holy trifecta¬†of DIY projects). ¬† ¬†I’ve seen different versions of this all over the internet and decided to give it a go since I already had all of the materials on hand. ¬† The room in question for this project is our pool bath. ¬† I’ve wanted¬†to add a towel hook behind the door since we moved in as¬†I figured it’d be the perfect place to hang damp pool towels in the summer.

Now, if there’s one thing you may not know about me, it’s this: ¬†I’m a hoarder hooks. ¬†Allllll the hooks. ¬†Seriously, whenever I see them on clearance, I buy them. ¬† I literally have a drawer full of hooks still in their original packaging. ¬† I figure that they’ll all be used eventually somewhere. ¬†Ya know, if I’d just get on that already.

So, anyways, here are my hap-hazardly-placed materials for this project…

A piece of scrap wood that just happened to be the exact length I needed

2 – 3″ wood screws (not shown)

3 – Young House Love hooks that I found at Target for (drum roll please)….

$1.18 (Woot!)

To get started, I decided to determine placement of my hooks and pre-drill my holes prior to sanding.  This way, if any splinters were created by my drill, the sander would quickly bid them adios.

I began¬†by measuring three even distances across the board with my yardstick. ¬†I placed my hooks on the plank at these designated locations and marked the holes with a pen. ¬†Human note: I actually think this was the most time-consuming part. ¬†Not because it was hard, but because 1. I’m clumsy… several times,¬†I got the hook placement right, only to¬†accidentally nudge the board and shift everything, which resulted in overly-dramatic-fake-ugly-cry-face. ¬†Sorry, neighbors. ¬† B. I’m the parent of a 4-year-old… who¬†“helped” by “cleaning up my project mess”. #thanksbutnothanks #ugh

Once I finally managed to control both my child and my own appendages, I got my holes marked, and used a drill bit slightly smaller than my screws to drill pilot holes…

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As you can see in the shot above, I also drilled screw holes that would be used to attach my board to the wall. ¬† I don’t have pictures for this part, as the process took both hands to complete, but allow me to explain…

I wanted at least one of the wood screws to hit a stud, so I used my trusty stud-finder to locate said stud.   I held my board up and marked the stud placement on the board.   Then, I simply measured in the same distance on the other side of my board to determine where the second hole would be located.  This way, both screw holes would be evenly placed on the board.  I wanted a rustic flare, so the screw heads will be visible using this method.

Once all of my pilot holes were drilled, I used my orbital sander to remove any splinters and dirty spots.  Next, I stained my plank with the same grey stain that I used on my industrial pipe shelf

I used the same technique as I did on that project.  Wax-on/wax-off with zero time to allow the stain to penetrate, which left a nice, light grey tone with lots of sandy wood-grain showing through.

And then I accidentally took a random shot of the ground…

Which coincidentally is clearer and more artsy than the shots I mean to take most of the time.  #youarewelcome

Next, I screwed the board to the wall behind the door in our pool bath, using a level to verify correct placement…

As mentioned previously, one screw went into a stud and the other went into a drywall anchor. ¬† And, I attached my hooks…

Because I’d pre-drilled pilot holes for the hooks, attaching them to the board after the fact was a piece of cake. ¬† I find that when it comes to glossy hooks like this, it’s better to use a screwdriver than a drill to avoid accidental scrapes or marring of the hooks.

Now, for a wider shot…

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I have to say that I’m totally digging the contrast of the rustic wood next to the more graphic print…

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As well as the glossy hooks against¬†the rough, greyed wood…

Not too shabby for a project that literally cost me $3.54 (plus tax) (since I already owned the wood, stain, and screws).   Plus, now we have a place to hang our pool towels to dry once the warmer weather comes.  One small step towards a more functional home.  Music to my ears.

TDC Before and After