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Decking the Halls… With Actual Boughs of Holly

So, in an effort to be super-frugal with our holiday budget this year, I asked Dan to bring home some branches from the many pine trees around his parents’ house for decorating purposes.

Then he did me one better. He snagged some real holly too!

I fa-la-la-love that guy!!

I started by using the holly to create a simple sprig that adds a punch of color to our front porch railing.

I also draped plain white string lights along both the top & bottom rail & wrapped the top rail with a silver-trimmed white ribbon.

But it still didn’t look… complete. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t feel done.

So I added some dangling silver ornaments for a little more pop.

Then I hung large jingle bells from the ceiling, using the hooks that held our jam jar lanterns this summer. (Original lantern post here.)

And created an outdoor centerpiece for our wicker table by wrapping a bare wreath with white lights & placing some candles in the middle. I just used a glass bowl, 3 pillar candles of different heights & some white craft sand.

(I dig the way the sand kinda looks like snow drifts.)

It’s not Clark Griswold-level, but I think our outdoor holiday decor looks nice.


And it pleased us here at RHR greatly that we were able to use natural greenery, rather than settling for that fake, plastic garland. Always a bonus!

And even better? Using so many repurposed items (string lights, jingle bells, wreaths, craft sand) and shopping the holiday sales/discount bin at the craft store for the rest (ribbon, candles) meant that our transformation was super affordable. All told, I spent about $10.

Not bad, if you ask me!

Perry Como was right  — The prettiest sight I see IS the holly on my own front door!

So, how about you? How’s your holiday decorating coming along? Have you been able to keep costs down by cleverly reusing stuff? Any cool centerpiece ideas? Let us know!

All In The Details

OK, so the wicker furniture makeover is going to take just a little while longer — we were abducted by family fun yesterday & instead of going to the Home Depot for more rope, we ended up at a nearby farm petting baby ducks!!

Ultimate Rental House Rule: Paint and pillows are fine, but your family is what makes your house a home.

So, we still have to hit the Depot. Then I have just a weeeeee bit more touching up on the table & chairs. And just generally futzing around to get the porch & yard ready for our BIG CURB APPEAL REVEAL!!!

But, I know I like a little light Sunday blog-reading, and I imagine you’re no different. It’s a lovely way to relax 🙂

So, I’m gonna throw up a quick little post about some of the “finishing touches” we’ve done on the porch.

‘Cause I’m easy like Sunday bloggin’…

Some of you might remember this post about how I added a large mail receptacle to the inside of our porch gate…

And how I promised to switch out the original pine cones for new and different items to turn what could be an awkward-looking, purely functional item into a unique visual draw?

Well, viola! Autumn gourds! Simple, cheap, big visual impact.

Also cheap & easy? Flower pot decor!

I spray painted a few flower pots in bright, solid colors. Now I can use them to house stray objects I need/want on the porch…

Like candles…

And pine cones to throw at a particularly brazen and pesky squirrel…


The cones are just for decor. But that squirrel IS a complete pain in the patootie.

I also tossed some leftover gourds into one of the flowerpots for a casual piece of fall decor. I also plan to use another flower pot to create a discreet outdoor ashtray. (I’ll do a full how-to on that one soon!)

Flower pots! They’re not just for flowers anymore!

The mums pictured above were a simple solution to an ugly old stump that was uglying up our yard.

I also placed a bright, eye-catching accent piece nearby — in this case a cobalt blue bird feeder — to further distract from the stump.

The flower bed was another place where I worked a little slight-of-the-eye magic to distract from a hole in my climbing vines…

Tip: Is your natural foliage looking a little wobbly or patchy? Use some potted plants or flowers to draw the eye to strong spots & “cover up” holes.

I chose a tall, leafy purple plant that contrasts nicely & has enough height to not look dwarfed next to the climbing vines.

So… there you go! Just a couple of quick visual fixes that anyone can accomplish.

Now we’re off to the Home Depot now for more rope. Yes, I said rope. You’ll see! (Wink!)


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