My $20 Christmas Tree

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house!
The tree is up and is everything I envisioned.
I set myself a budget of $20 for an entirely new 'themed' Christmas Tree this year.
I wanted it to be reflective of my home.
A simple down home country Christmas all around the house.
Remember my sneak peek photo?
These are the basic elements I used to design my tree.
First though you have to have LOTS of pine cones!
How do you get really pretty ones?
Down in the country...
You go Pine Cone Pickin' !
Yep, that is ME in the bucket of a tractor picking pine cones from the tree!
Wear gloves and matching outfit (coordinated with the tractor)
Be lifted up to scary heights, then simply twist off the pine cones.
Fuss just a tad at the driver trying to scare the wits outta ya.
Fill Walmart bags (recycle you know!) and head to the kitchen.
Since there are ants and spiders crawling around in the South...
Bake your pine cones for 20 minutes at 200 degrees to fry the little buggers.
Then grab a glue gun, some ribbon and make a mess in your living room floor.
I also made bird ornaments.
You can find an easy tutorial on how to make these ornaments,
(with a little help from Dollar Tree birdies)
Wednesday, December 4th at ReDeemed's 12 Days of Christmas.
I will be guest blogging for the 1st time ever!
I'm doing 4 Calling Birds.
I have to say that putting this tree together has been the MOST fun!
My mom stopped by and assisted in cutting burlap strips,
(which were leftovers from a Christmas gift I am making).
With pine cones, twigs and birdies ready, burlap cut and lights twinkling...
I went to work...
Mom even stayed and helped out.
See the twigs on top? Gathered from my yard.
I spotted this beautiful red bird at Target on Friday.
Didn't get it.
When the tree was 'done'; Mom decided it needed that bird.
So off to Target we ran.
I really really LOVE my new theme tree!
And you know what?
It cost me $21 for the ENTIRE tree.
Here's the breakdown:
Pine cones, twigs from yard - FREE
1 roll of ribbon - $1 (50% off at Hobby Lobby)
Burlap strips (leftover from a project, so the 'cost' is in the gift I am making)
12 small red birds (Dollar Tree) = $4
18 berry springs (Hobby Lobby on 50% off) - $9
Large Bird (Target) - $5
That is actually $19.00
However, I also bought one other item, the tree 'skirt'.
Actually it's not a tree skirt at all.
It's a curtain.
I purchased it at the Salvation Army last weekend, thinking I would use it to cover some pillows.
I walked past it after putting up my naked tree and a light bulb went off.
For a grand total of $21.  One dollar over budget.
However, I am THRILLED with the results!
And my teen daughter, who is sickly on the couch today said,
"Mom, the tree looks really good".
It doesn't have to cost a pretty penny to SHINE like one!
I am linking up with the following blog parties:

Christmas Tree Contest

A Tisket, A Tasket...a frugal Christmas Basket

From Thanksgiving, to Christmas.
It's finally time to deck the halls.  Or in my case...the living room, kitchen, front porch and maybe a few other touches here and there.  I picked up a little basket a few weeks ago at the Goodwill for $1.21.

I decided I would use it for the holidays.
So I whipped out my can of Colonial Red.

After it was dry I dropped in a few Dollar Tree huge jingle bells and red ornaments, pine cones, a jute ball (that I made myself!) and a few cinnamon sticks.

It matches the 'theme' I am using throughout the house this year.
Simple, country, down home Christmas.

My Christmas basket costs about $3; using some leftover Dollar Tree ornaments,
plus the cost of one package of jingle bells.
This is my afternoon snack today....

A leftover slice of Mom's Sweet potato pie with a cup of coffee topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.
That CUTE Snowman mug was picked up this week at the Goodwill for $1.01.  I purchased 2.
Wanna know what else I'm working on?

The tree is UP!  It's naked and unshapely at the moment.
I am working on the ornaments and such.
Making them.
Painting them.
Hot glue is involved.
I'll be sharing by Sunday evening.
Today I'm linking into...

and to Funky Junk Interiors: Sat Nite Special

On December 4th, you'll find me over at ReDeemed for a guest posting!
She is hosting a unique 12 Days of Christmas and I will be doing 4 Calling Birds.
You don't want to miss out on all the fun!

Happy Thanksgiving my Friends!

Where ever your feet may travel today...
Be it far from home
back home,
Or just around your own home
May you be mindful of all your blessings
great and small.

I am ever so grateful for each of you!
I am blessed that my family will be celebrating Thanksgiving
in my home this afternoon.
May your day be filled with an abundance of Love & Joy!
(photos made by my daughter)

A Quick Sweet Tater Recipe

Mom makes the best Sweet Potato Souffle.
The photo is from my phone.  Mom is making two of these this week.
Today she served this (and a heck of a lot more!) at her old folks apartment luncheon.
Mom asked if I wanted to stop by.  Well, of course!  Who wants to miss out on good cooking?
Thought I would share the recipe.  You still have time to serve this for Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Soufflé

Sweet potatoes, cooked  (6+ depends on size)
¾ stick of butter
2 eggs
1 small can pet evaporated milk
1 ½ cups sugar

Mix – put in a pyrex dish and cook 15-20 minutes

1 cup crushed corn flakes
½ cup chopped nuts
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ stick butter (melted)

Mix and put on top of sweet potatoes; brown in oven for a few minutes.

So what is one of your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?
Linking in to Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday.
Serenity Now Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

Thanksgiving Dinner, Menu & Craft

I didn't forget about Thanksgiving.
No really I didn't.
Even though, I have to admit I am into the magic Christmas excitement this year.
What's on the menu for this week and our Family Thanksgiving menu to share.
Sunday - Easy Chicken n Dumplings (with egg noodles)
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Vegetable Soup
Wednesday - Leftover Soup with Grilled Cheese/PBJ Sandwiches
Thursday - Thanksgiving (menu below)
Friday - Leftovers or dinner out!
Saturday - Hot dogs, chili, ranch potato wedges
For other great weekly menu's check out I'm an Organizing Junkie
A simple Thanksgiving Table is set.
That pretty green table runner? (Dollar Tree)
Our Thanksgiving menu will be:
Turkey and Ham (yes, we have to have both)
Mom's famous Chicken~n~Dressing
Sweet Potato Souffle (Mom's recipe!)
Corn, peas, cranberry sauce
Pistachio pudding (the kids LOVE this)
Cake & sweet potato pie for dessert
Banana bread for snacking
I don't know about you, but do you see anywhere for ALL that food?!?
Plans are to set up a folding table buffet.
It's about family, love and being together.
As my entire family will be here, 15 give or take an extra boyfriend or friend in the mix.
See the napkin rings?  Made them.
A toilet paper roll, cut in half (used these before here)
A bit of leftover burlap (from my monster frame project, posted yesterday)
With cute foam leaves from Hobby Lobby on clearance.
I just hot glued my fingers together it all together.
Kinda cute for cheap.
See that cute leaf plate under the napkin?
Here's a closer look
My weekend find at the junk store (88 cents each!).
Mom laughed when I told her she was bringing a sweet potato pie too!  We never have been pumpkin pie eaters in our family. So which is it for you?  Sweet potato or pumpkin?
Linking in to:
 Practice Hospitality 11-15-10

Just a little Christmas....

 It's Thanksgiving week and Christmas is really just around the corner.  As a child and a teen, our family had Thanksgiving lunch, then we decorated the Christmas Tree.  It was pretty much an every year tradition, because our Grandparents were there and we all got in on the fun.  Perry Como and Gene Autry albums played music, while we hung silver tinsel strand by strand.  No tossing in clumps at our house!  Does anyone still use tinsel?

Today I made up a quick frugal Christmas wreath. Why yes, I do realize Thanksgiving is this week and I am 'breaking' the tradition rules of my Mother.  I hung the wreath.  Do the "You can't put that up before Thanksgiving police show up?" 

Months ago I had this monster of a framed picture that I didn't really like, but loved the frame.  So one day I took out the print and just hung the empty frame on the wall.  Wire showing.  It became quite the conversation item in my living room.  Why is that there?  Where is the picture?  I kept looking for something to add to it; another frame, mirror ...anything.  Nadda happened.  Until the burlap craze took over decor blogs.  Voila!

I still felt it was missing something .... until now.

Wreath - Dollar Tree
Christmas Balls - Dollar Tree
Burlap 'ribbon' and 2 berry picks (bought on 50% off)
Total, less than $5

Now I am thinking I like the idea of changing my frame focus to something different with each season.
I still want a cute oval mirror to hang in it too, but until then...

I'm loving this inexpensive Christmas addition.
What about you?  Come on you can tell.  Got some Christmas peeking out at your house yet?
Linking to:
Red Writing's 12 weeks of Christmas wreath party.  For other beautiful and creative holiday wreaths.
Make it Monday at Cottage Instincts, for anything you made!
Met Monday with Between Naps on the Porch, tons of made over projects.
DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land with wonderful DIY projects!

$5 Christmas Decor Project

Target ain't got nothing on me! (My HS English teacher just moaned).  I teased you the other day with a photo of an unfinished project.  Here is my knock off of a pine cone Christmas Tree I saw in Target last week.

I started with this:

A cardboard tree cone from Hobby Lobby at 40% off ($2.49)
Sorry I'd already painted it brown when I took this photo!
I used leftover American Accents Expresso from my Hall Decor Project.
Gathered pines cones and a glue gun.

Careful holding the pine cones!  I ended up with a pointy tip in my finger.
Thankfully I have a friend that surgically  removed it with a needle and glasses.
Ok so it was tiny but it hurt!
I didn't cry though. *wink*

I just kept stacking on pine cones with hot glue.
I also cut the tip of the cardboard off for the top pine cone. 

I took raffia and made it into garland.
The pine cones held it into place.

One floral sprig of berries from Hobby Lobby (.99 cents @ 50% off)
I just pulled the berries off the sprig.

And stuck them around the pine cones.  The bendable wire on them helps.

Here was the inspiration I saw at Target
(sorry the photo is from my phone!)

Can you see that price? $14.99 for about the same size I made.
Again, here is mine...

I purchased the cardboard form ($2.49 and the berries $.99)
I had the paint, raffia and glue sticks.
Estimated cost around $5.
I love it!
A outdoorsy country feel for Christmas that didn't break the budget.
This is a huge hint to the theme I will be using for my big tree this year.
I can't wait to put it together and share it with you all!
I will be linking in to the following tons of Christmas and DIY blog parties, so be sure to check them out for more ideas:
Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Made it with what I had over at Cottage Instincts
DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land
12 weeks of Christmas at Red Writing
Proverbs 31 Living ~ A Handmade Christmas
The Inspired Room (Holiday Friday Link Love)

The DIY Show Off Holiday Highlights

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