Need a quick and cheap gift idea?

Finished Christmas ornament

I gave these cute ornaments to my sisters-in-law last year for Christmas. They were well received and didn’t take long to make. Best of all, you probably have all the things you need already!

First Step

I used scrap pieces of wood from our wood pile and cut them using the miter saw. You want pieces that are about three inches in diameter. If you don’t feel comfortable using power tools, you can use a hand saw or just buy wood rounds at the craft store.

I didn’t sand them down much because I was going for a rustic look. But you could do many things with them like painting a message or a scene, decoupaging on an image, or whatever else you can come up with. I chose to transfer a Christmas saying, a different one for each ornament.

To make a transfer, make a mirror image of the image you want and then print it onto a sheet protector. The plastic keeps the ink from sticking to it, so you can flip it onto the wood and use an old gift card or credit card as a scraper to transfer the ink onto the wood. There are lots of ways to transfer images. Just look at Pinterest if you need ideas!

Making Christmas ornaments out of tree branches, step 1

Step 2

Not everything will transfer over clearly or as darkly as you would like. I took a fine-tipped marker and went over the lettering until it was more visible. Of all the steps, this one took the most time!

Making Christmas ornaments out of tree branches, step 2

Step 3

The last step is to attach a ribbon or cord to hang your ornament from. I drilled a hole and used a ribbon, but you could use hot glue or a super-sticky glue and use any kind of ribbon, cording, twine, or rope.

Making Christmas ornaments out of tree branches, step 3

It’s a sweet way to make a personalized gift that won’t cost you a lot of time or money.

Merry Christmas!

 

The Power of Paint and Prep

Painting!

I enjoy painting. Or, rather, I enjoy the results created by paint. Paint is the cheapest way to remodel your house and give it a fresh look.

And I don’t mind the actual painting itself. I find it soothing. However, I’ve learned over the years that I will be patently unhappy (read-obsessively) with the results if I don’t take the time to do the part I don’t care for all that much: the prep work.

Ugh.

So first, I take the before picture. I’ll want to remember how transforming paint can actually be. You might need this motivation to get through the prep part.

Then you need to do two things. Remove EVERYTHING. And clean EVERYTHING.

This is the boring part. So I usually do one section at a time. Right now, I took all the decorative objects and curtains down and removed the hardware. Then, I’m going to give it all a good cleaning. I personally like TSP (or a TSP substitute) because it’s a degreaser and deglosser and it really cuts any crud that would make your new paint not stick nicely. However, it is a chemical and you need to wear gloves with it. There is a probably a non-chemical alternative involving vinegar, but I just haven’t bothered to investigate that yet.

After I’ve washed the walls, I can go back and spackle any holes or dings or scratches in the parts of the walls that have dried. Sand down the high spots and bubbles from the last paint job. Wipe down again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

It helps to either listen to one (or several) of your favorite movies or your favorite music. Enlisting company helps, too!

Reward yourself after this step is done. It’s the least fun and it makes everything look worse before it looks better, but it’s sooooooo important. Did I make that clear enough?