You can brighten any shelf by backing it with beautiful paper or fabric. We've all seen this a million times, but I wanted point what a difference this project can make. I bought my kitchen hutch about this time last year from craigslist. I had intended to paint it but then moving and life got in the way. Instead of trying to rush and get it painted before the holiday I decided to just change the back of the shelves using scrapbook paper.
Originally, I intended on using some scrapbook paper I already had but I found that I did not have enough of any single pattern to cover the entire area. I headed over to Hobby Lobby when they were having a sale on their scrapbook paper and bought 15 pieces of the same antique green pattern for $8.
I started at the top shelf in the center and worked out from there. The top shelf fit a whole sheet of paper perfectly top to bottom. I just had to trim the pieces on the ends to fit. I did match the pattern on the left and right from piece to piece. On the middle shelf I had to trim both the top and bottom of the paper to keep the pattern centered on the shelf. Then I repeated the same series of cuts for the bottom shelf. I attached the paper to the back of the shelves with double-sided tape. It took me about an hour to make all the cuts and hang the paper - it probably would have been quicker if I didn't have a 4-year-old who "needs" something every 10 minutes:)
After I finished hanging the paper I added my grandmother's crystal (I have 1/3 of the set in case you were wondering about the odd number of glasses) and my small collection of Christmas Spode to the shelves. The paper makes a great backdrop for the dishes. I am also loving how the paper looks compliments the new blue paint color in the kitchen and makes the hutch seem a little less heavy. You can also see how much better the crystal and dishes stand out against the paper versus the original dark wood.
Here is a closeup of the little sheep on the bottom. I've had them for a few years and they seemed the perfect finishing touch. The little one has a blanket that says Baa Humbug. It makes me chuckle every year. I also added a horseshoe and some leftover evergreen trimmings from our tree. So for $8 and less than an hour of my time, I created a lovely little Christmas display in the kitchen.
The next idea was very spontaneous and came out of a project that was meant to keep my daughter busy for a few hours. While I was at Hobby Lobby, I picked up an ornament making kit. It was marked $9.99 but was 50% off like all the rest of the Christmas stuff. It included a dozen Styrofoam balls in 3 different sizes, a bag of straight pins, a bag of tiny beads, and 5 bags of different colored sequins.
To make these you simply put a bead on the pin, then a sequin and then poke this into the ball. You repeat this combination over and over until the entire ball is covered. All 3 of my kids actually got into this, and it kept them occupied for a few hours over a number of days. I found I could make one in less than an hour - it was a good excuse to watch tv one evening. As we were completing the ornaments they were rolling all over the table so I grabbed an antique cut glass pedestal from my stash and put them inside. They looked so great we decided to leave them here for the rest of the season.
It's not a huge item but it does have a lot of sparkle and color and will stand out against a white or light colored background. They give a nice holiday sparkle to a shelf or tabletop and I love that the kids and I did it together. Easy and about $5. You could do this without the kit or you could just add extra ornaments from your stash to any pedestal for the same effect. I had picked this particular pedestal up at goodwill for $1 years ago and I use it for various things like candles, potpourri, and such.
The final thing I did this year was to add fresh poinsettias to an antique galvanized washtub that we inherited when we purchased our cottage years ago. I've used the washtub to hold firewood, party drinks and other assorted decorations, but I thought it would be perfect for the poinsettias.
I bought 3 poinsettia plants at Target (who knew) for $4 each. I used tree trimmings to fill the back and sides of the washtub, and I made a bow out of some burlap that I already had on hand. I hung the bow on the side of the washtub using an ornament hanger that I bent to fit.
It is sitting on top of our console table. Visitors see it right away as they enter the front door so I knew I wanted a big piece there.
The silver-gray color of the tub is a nice contrast to the black table. It bridges the gap between the table and the pictures above nicely.
Another easy way to add some holiday festiveness without breaking the bank. This arrangement only cost me the $12 for the poinsettias. You could easily replicate this with a large basket or a wooden crate.
Hope this gives you some last minute inspiration.
~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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