Friday, December 6, 2013

Outdoor Decor - It's All About Compromise

Now, Islanders.  I told you about the battle of the blow-ups.  Just check out my last post (here). 
After an evening of processing the painful realization that I live with lovers of all things tacky, I woke with the mission to make my family feel just as happy about OUR Christmas décor as I was.  We had nieces and nephews spend the night but they were picked up before 8:00 a.m. so I was straightening up the house and fluffing garland for my stairs when I heard Hubbs' two feet hit the ground.  He stepped into the hall and smiled saying, "let's go get this décor, girls.  Don't shower. Don't change... Just brush your teeth and let's go."
UH. Munch and I paused, looked at each other and she took off running almost excited that she wouldn't have to wash her hind parts.
10 minutes later we were ready to shop for Christmas décor.  THE RIGHT WAY!
1.  Take a picture.
Once we were dressed, I asked Hubbs to take a picture of the front of the house.   It's a must that you see the layout of the front yard.  While I might remember most details, it's really easy to forget the number of windows on the front or the size of a bush... It's best to take a picture.
2.  Know what works.
The brick on our home is a yellow/tan wash with a dark gray grout.  The shutters and front door are painted a brown (we're changing it eventually but not this year).  So, while I love the fun décor color schemes, I know they don't work for the front of my house.  I wanted the seasonal décor to compliment our landscape... enhance the curb appeal, if you will.
3.  Find inspiration.
It is very easy to become overwhelmed while shopping for Christmas décor.   These companies have created a collection for every taste.   Go online and find what you love so you can narrow your search.
4.  Set a budget.
Like I said, Christmas décor isn't cheap.  I wanted items I could reuse for years to come.  Things that would work if I changed my mind on colors.  Things that I won't think back on and say, "what the HECK were we thinking?!"  Bottomline, as always, I wanted to get the most bang for my buck.
5. Shop around.
Sales are a given this time of year.  Take the extra time to research the deals in your area.  The difference in price for typical Christmas décor varied from store-to-store.  We made a purchase at Big Lots that saved us nearly $100!  More on that soon enough...
With our game plan and an attitude of compromise, we were FINALLY ready to purchase our décor.   Hubbs really liked the lighted walkway candy canes from big lots.  They weren't cheesy-looking and had red ribbon so they look just as nice in the daylight.  We decided our color scheme would be red and white.
I let the man and child pick a wreath (aren't you proud of me?!).  Walmart had the nicest wreath selection in our opinion so I wasn't upset when they chose a candy cane mesh wreath.  For a second, I thought about DIY-ing it but reality hit that it would be one more thing to do and, for $20, it wasn't worth the level of effort it would've required.  I did, however, insist on added white lights to the wreath (and the battery-operated pack from Walmart has a timer setting which I love).
Sure, I wanted a green traditional wreath... well, I thought I did.  I really like this one.  It's fun and whimsy and still classy.  Kinda like someone else I know... hint-hint... YES, ME!
Who did you think it was???
Anyhoo... We purchased large red sparkle bows for the light fixtures and net lights to make the installation easier on the two large bushes closest to our front door.  Now, onto the real compromise...
I told you my roommates (ha!) wanted something like this:
The source has some hilarious tacky Christmas pics. Check it out!
Ok, maybe not that bad... but the man DID want the abominable snowman and a Rudolph:
O and the kid wanted the HUGE blow-up with santa and penguins.  I still have flashbacks of her begging for the penguins, "...because, wait for it Mommy, watch.  One opens the DOOR!  Did you see it. Wait, it's going to happen again-O, there he is again!"
I shall not.
Once it was time to purchase, they became more critical and realized the blow-up decorations didn't really fit our theme (without mommy having a tantrum).  They decided on reindeer.
... and I couldn't be mad.  They weren't bad at all. Plus, every store had them sold individually for $50/each.  Big Lots had a 3-pack for $35!  We were done!
We returned home, the man went to blow leaves (our home isn't visible on Google maps because of the amount of trees - FYI) and life was good.  UNTIL the leaf blower blew out so Munch and I were summoned. The man didn't mind raking, the kid was ALL about helping and I was -- well -- I was present.
Sweep the wet leaves off the driveway?  WHAT?!  They're *like* stuck down there.  Ugh. They've stained the pavement.  They're -- do you see how stuck they are?!  My arm hurts.  This broom is a pull broom. I need a push broom.
They kept working so I kept sweeping... and mumbling under my breath.
Then, I noticed my hosta plants were gone for the season and left behind soggy dead leaves. It was so easy to pull the dead leaves... as I got dirt under my nails, I felt content caring for my lawn... It went from work to a labor of love and I began to clean out the flower beds.  2 hours later, we were FINALLY ready to hang the décor.
Hubbs purchased this fancy timer thing and, after working so hard to hang the décor, we were ready for the big reveal.
You see it.  NOTHING.  After it didn't work, Hubbs sat outside pouting and reading the instructions.
He tapped some buttons...
I wanted the candles in each window but didn't realize how expensive the plug-in candles were.  They weren't in the budget... well, so I thought.  A few days later, on a visit to the thrift store, I discovered a section dedicated to the plug-in candles!  They were marked $.90/2 and, as if that wasn't awesome enough, it was HALF OFF OF THAT!
I got 12 candles for $2.70.  They completed the look and didn't break the bank!  YAY!
We have outdoor Christmas décor and couldn't be happier!
The other windows on the front of the home couldn't fit in the picture but you get the point, right?
Yes, we intentionally left room to expand next year... We're already plotting our end-of-season purchase so we can get a deal...  It was hard work but paid off in the end.  Our lights are shining as an outward celebration for our favorite holiday of the year!
I hope you aren't letting small things hinder your ability to enjoy this holiday season!
Shine on,

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Goodwill Finds: The Magnolia Wreath

Happy Friday, Islanders. I wanted to share a thrifty find from a while back.  Ugh, I love my local Goodwill Outlet.  Oh, and yes, you saw ...

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