5 Easy Christmas Decorations (Ones I Love!)

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When decorating for the holidays, I like to keep it easy. I challenge myself to (mostly) decorate with only recycled items and items I already own. This year, I want to share my favorite items to decorate with for Christmas, and how I’ve used them in my home.

1. Greenery

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The trimmings from my real Christmas tree make the perfect decorating accompaniments for the rest of the house. I stick leftover boughs in vases and mason jars, and then place the “bouquets” throughout my house. This year, I used them to decorate my fake mantle (really just shelves above my couch.) They add greenery that lasts. You don’t have to water them or pay attention to them. Plus, they smell divine.

2. Finger knit garland

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Last year, I discovered the wonders of finger knitting while I was in bed with the flu for three days. It’s such a simple project, and it makes one long strand, like a garland. There are tons of tutorials out there that can show you how to finger knit far better than I can. Give it a try! It’s super easy. I made two strands from leftover yarn—one in red and one in white—to decorate the shelves in my living room.

3. Swappables

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“Swappables” is my made up term for decorations that you swap out with each season. I only use a few of these. I recently bought a bright red pillow cover from Ikea. I like the touch of holiday cheer it adds to my couch. And when the holidays are over, I’ll just remove it.

4. Mini Christmas trees

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I don’t know what it is this year, but I’ve been obsessed with mini bottle brush trees. I found two vintage ones at a local secondhand store. One is in this light green. The other is a rust color. They’ve been making their way around my house. I adore them so much; I can’t decide where to put them. They make a fun addition to a mantle or table display.

5. Wreaths

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You can’t go through the entire holiday season without putting a festive wreath on your door! I currently have three wreaths around my house. Pictured above is my DIY Fabric Wreath from two years ago. It’s made from a foam wreath and scraps of fabric. (I added that festive bow this year.) I also have my DIY Ornament Wreath from last year decorating a bookcase and a new Twig Wreath hanging over a window. (I’ll share a tutorial for the Twig Wreath soon!)


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5 Fun Storage Solutions for Your Desk

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When I moved into my new house, I had a problem. The two bedroom home with no basement didn’t have room for an office.

Before moving, I had said goodbye to my mid-century desk. So, at the new place, I didn’t need office space to hold a desk. What I needed was somewhere to put all of the books, office supplies, scrapbooking stuff, notebooks, stamps and other bits and pieces that had been living in my previous desk’s drawers.

What my new house does have is a dining room. We’ll call it a dining room because I think that’s what it’s intended to be, but in all reality it’s an 11 ft. x 7 ft. opening with two doorways, one door and two windows. Not a lot of room to put furniture.

Now, imagine a 7 ft. dining room table taking up most of that space. My boyfriend insisted on keeping his gigantic dining room table despite the fact that it’s way oversized for this house. (I’m actually fine with it—now!)

I certainly wasn’t going to waste all that table space for “dining” when I needed desk space. So, I decided to turn the dining room—dining room table and all—into my office.

The first step was to turn the dining room table into a desk. While that table offered tons of surface space, I had no drawer space, which meant there was nowhere to hide things like staples, paperclips, extra pens and paper.

For anyone out there who needs storage options that aren’t drawers, here are five desk storage solutions I found that work well and look good too!

1. Wooden boxes

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I pulled two amazing vintage wooden boxes out of my sister’s shed. They were dusty and filled with dead spiders. (You have to get over things like that if you’re looking for free goodies.) After a good cleaning, I knew they’d work perfectly on my dining room table…I mean desk. The divider in the middle of the box works perfectly to separate notebooks. And, it was almost like adding a shelf, because I could put stuff on the top of the box too!

2. Magazine file boxes

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Magazine file boxes are great for corralling extra paper and, of course, magazines. They look streamlined, and if you don’t want the magazines to show, just face the magazine file box backwards. I picked up this magazine file box at IKEA for $10.

3. Vintage file holders

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I love using this vintage wooden file holder to store mail. I usually toss mail in there after pulling it out of the mailbox. It’s an easy reminder that I need to go through the mail. Just don’t let too much paper pile up, or it will look messy.

4. Metal baskets

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I picked up several of these metal baskets from a secondhand store years ago. They’d also work well for mail, but I use mine to keep notebooks. They’re just another cute option to organize.

5. Mason jars mason_jar_pens

You have to put all of your pens, pencils, highlighters and markers somewhere, right? Why not in a mason jar? It’s a cute container and keeps all of your necessary writing utensils easily in reach.



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Decorating with Fall Leaves

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So, I might be a little cheap. I love buying a $4 bouquet of flowers from Trader Joe’s every once in a while, but during the in-between time I have another solution.

I head to my backyard with a pair of green pruning shears and snip away.

Fall is the best time to bring nature indoors. The reds, oranges and yellows only come once a year and I like to enjoy them outside—and inside. Here’s how I decorate with fall foliage.

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Stick a branch trimming from a tree with the leaves changing into a vase. You don’t need to add anything else to the display. All of those colorful leaves are just as good as any ol’ bouquet of spring flowers.

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Or, just sneak a few leafies randomly around the house. Here a couple of yellow leaves hang out in a potted plant in my kitchen.

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I love the look of this sparse branch with the pops of yellow. It worked well in the blue vase on my bar cart.

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Better hurry, those fall leaves won’t last long. Your trimmings will dry up within a day or two, but personally, I still like the crunchy look.


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Welcome Home

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I’ve been gone for a while. It wasn’t my usual procrastination or getting overly busy. I didn’t feel like blogging about home things because I didn’t really have a home.

Within two weeks of moving into a new rental house in August, our house was broken into. My laptop, where I’d lovingly written every blog post on Red Leaf Style, and where I kept all of my photos, was stolen. Poof. Gone.

For about a month I was in limbo. The place where I was living wasn’t my “home”. At least it wasn’t a place where I felt safe or happy.

I was a little lost.

This experience has reinforced more than ever that I’m a real homebody. I love home. I can’t wait to get home from work and make the space where I live comfy and inviting. I want to fill it with the smell of brewed coffee; I want to bake treats and cook dinner and sit on the floor with my doggie. I want to make a mess and start projects and decorate. Of course, decorate.

I couldn’t do any of those things after our house was broken into. And I didn’t want to.

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But there’s a happy ending to this story.

My boyfriend and I found a new rental house that’s perfect for us. And it makes me happy every time I walk through the front door.

The stress of moving twice in less than two months, packing up your life, unpacking it, and packing it up all over again was a bit intense.

But I’m home now. And I can’t wait to share it with you.

My Column in VintageKC Magazine Fall 2014

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Although I don’t usually talk about it here on Red Leaf Style, I’m a writer, not just a blogger. I write professionally to earn a living and because I love it.

For fun, I’ve been freelancing for VintageKC magazine, a local Kansas City magazine dedicated to decorating, DIY projects and fashion, all with a vintage focus.

The magazine completely fits my style. It’s vintage for the modern girl (or guy). From glamping to the best paint to distress furniture, the magazine has a lot of great ideas for today’s vintage lover.

I’m writing a regular column called Vintage Memories. Basically, every issue I interview someone interesting and build a story around a vintage photograph we dig up. It’s really fun. And I love how this issue’s column turned out. There’s Miracle Whip sandwiches and 50s dinner parties and a lot of other interesting tidbits from a lady who has lived in her childhood home for more than 60 years.

Since I talk alot about vintage here on Red Leaf Style, I wanted to invite you to check out this issue’s column. You can find it in the digital edition on page 46.

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