11 Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas + Free Printable Gift Tags!

With Christmas quickly approaching, there is only a little time left to get our gifts wrapped and under the tree! I have always enjoyed wrapping gifts, though it sure does take some time. I will leave most of my gift wrapping for this weekend if I have the time.

I have come across lots of neat ways to dress up some gift wrapping, and thought I might share them with you! Below are some cute ideas. Some of them are simple, while others look a little more time consuming. Some of the ideas are just photos for inspiration, and some will lead you directly to a site for instructions. Enjoy!

1. Simple, yet elegant. I love the fresh branch tucked under the ribbon!

Because Nice Matters...

2. I love the clean and simple colors of the gifts below! Check out Miss Mustard Seed for more amazing interior decorating ideas!

3. Chalkboard gift wrap. Create a real chalkboard look with black kraft paper and a chalk marker! Click on the photo for more details on how to create the look.

Post image for How to Gift Wrap with a Chalkboard Look

4. How to tie the perfect bow. We all need this tutorial, right?!

5. Adorable gift wrapping with yarn and stars. I love this idea!

6. Dress up your gift wrapping to look like it is a parcel from the post office! This one would take some time working on, but the result is really cool.

 7. FREE printable gift tags! Tags can be so expensive to buy. Why not print them out? These are absolutely gorgeous. I would want them for all of my gifts!Printable_Chalkboard_Gift_Tags_Labels_Christmas

8. FREE printable gift tags, once again! These are meant to be embellishments for your gifts and have songs, movie quotes, and Bible verses on them. Below are only a couple of them. Check out Lindsey Bee for more beautiful tags!

9. Looking for something a little more glamorous? Try gold and black gift wrapping! A sure way to wow the recipient of the gift.

10. It doesn’t get much more simple than this! You can create this in minutes using yarn and a fresh sprig of rosemary. You could also use a fresh sprig of anything to replace the rosemary.

Simple White Christmas Gift Wrap Idea - Love That Party. www.lovethatparty.com.au

11. Brown paper packages tied up with string! Please check out One Good Thing by Jillee for her whole idea board on brown paper gift wrapping. You will love them all!

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There are just a few ideas to get the wheels turning in your head! I have done different gift wrapping each Christmas, and I have to say that the simpler, the better. I used Trader Joe’s bags one year, and loved the outcome. Bakers twine is easy to find anywhere these days, and really adds to a gift. The fresh branches and sprigs from outdoors are lovely too. It’s hard to choose what to do, so try a different idea each year!

I hope this helps give you some inspiration in the gift wrapping department this Christmas. :) Now I’d better get back to my handmade gift projects. Only 8 days left! Whew!

The Happy Homemaker

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DIY Pine Wreath Tutorial

Before I get started, let me just say that I am not a wreath making expert. In fact, I have never made a wreath before in my life! I didn’t read up on any wreath making tutorials. I didn’t get any special wreath making supplies. I just used what I had around my house! That’s what I loved about this project. And that’s what you are going to love about this project!

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I was given some fresh pine branches for decorating my house, and was trying to figure out how to use them. I love anything real and rustic, and these branches were just screaming WREATH to me! I could already picture the whimsical look of the long pine needles in a wreath. But bending the branches into a wreath was not working for me.

I came across some idea on Pinterest to use a wire hanger as a base for a wreath, so I went ahead and dug through my closet for a hanger.

Here is what you will need:
wire Hanger
Pine branches at least 2 feet long
3 evergreen branches from a juniper tree (optional)
string or wire
scissors
wide ribbon

Here is how I did it:

With all your strength and might, bend the hanger into a circle. It’s really not that hard. :) And it doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t fiddle with it for too long. Just circular works. The wreath will take a more circular shape as you add branches. Begin by weaving your branches around the hanger. Fasten the ends with your string or wire. I didn’t have wire, so I used yarn. But wire would work so much better if you have that!

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Secure the branches in the first round as tightly as possible. This will create a good base and the string will be covered after adding more branches.

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After you have tied the first few branches onto the hanger, begin weaving in more. Some of them will be fine just woven, but others you will need to tame by tying them down. From there on out, it’s just a matter of trial and error. Some branches work in certain places and some don’t. Try to keep the branches going in one direction, like clockwise, or counter clockwise as I did.

Tearing off a few of the “twigs” growing off the branch is a great way to fill in sparse places on your wreath without having to weave in a whole new branch.

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It starts to take shape and look really nice after a while of tucking in branches and twigs here and there. It does take a while to get it all fastened into place and looking up to snuff. I like the look of some of the woody part showing, but you can try to hide that if you wish.

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Here’s a closeup of some of the weaving. Who knew something as simple as pine branches could be so beautiful?!

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I bent the top hook of the hanger down to create circle so I could hang the wreath. Then I tied a very simple bow with some very beautiful ribbon I bought at Joann Fabrics. I will be using this ribbon on our tree! You can fasten it onto the hook in the back. Whatever works for you.

As you can see, I was left with a bit of a gap on the right side. I had collected some evergreen branches from some trees in my parent’s yard earlier this week. They made a pretty centerpiece on my dining room table! I looked it up and I believe they are called Spartan Juniper trees. Their leaves are gorgeous.

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So… I decided to use three sprigs for my wreath to fill some of the gaps. I just tucked them in securely.

Here it is on my front porch under our very ugly mailbox. :) The wreath makes it look pretty now!

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Very festive. Ready to greet our mail lady.

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And that was all I did! I love projects like this where I can use stuff I already have on hand. I am not big on buying a bunch of supplies for one project. But if you find a wreath base on sale or have one on hand, go ahead and use that!

I’m so excited to share this with you all. It is satisfying to create something using fresh supplies from nature and know that it hardly cost me anything to make. And it doesn’t have to stop there. You can use anything else you have on hand to make your wreath just what you want. Pinecones would be perfect, as well as other sprigs of evergreens. Mini ornaments will make it colorful, or some artificial embellishments from a craft store.

I’m counting down the days… it is truly “the most wonderful time of the year”, and I am enjoying it!

Enjoy your weekend!

The Happy Homemaker

Mini Crochet Christmas Tree | FREE PATTERN

It’s snowing! It has been so pretty all day, and I am really feeling in the Christmas mood. I’ve been wrapping gifts, listening to Christmas music and crafting up something to share with you all!

If you are into really embellishing your Christmas gifts, and you know how to crochet, then this is the project for you! I promise it will only take you about 5 minutes. Maybe 10 minutes if you are a newbie to crochet. This is the perfect project if you are just getting used to the whole crochet thing.   DSC_1070

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I decided I wanted to dress up my Christmas gifts that I will be giving out, so I created this pine tree and loved the simplicity of it. It is so cute and small, but you could definitely use a larger hook size to create a bigger tree. The great thing about this is you can dress it up however you’d like. Prefer it plain and rustic? Leave it the way it is. Want to add a bit of color? Figure a way to add some ornaments to your tree. This is a great project to use up yarn scraps, as I did. If you don’t have green and brown, you can always make a colored tree, or whatever you’d like!

I love the rustic look of the colors in my tree. Both yarns are from Red Heart Soft. The green is called Leaf Green and the brown is called Toast. I absolutely love the look and feel of the Red Heart soft yarn!

If you just love the look of this little tree for decorating your home, try stringing a bunch on some string/yarn for a garland, or hang them with string in front of your windows! There are so many possibilities for these little guys.

Here is the pattern FREE just for you! And just in time to get going before Christmas.

Mini Crochet Christmas Tree

Supplies:

Hook Size: E/4 – 3.50mm

Red Heart Soft yarn in Green and Brown (or any worsted weight yarn will do)

tapestry needle

The number at the end of each sentence shows how many stitches you should have in each row.

Sc = single crochet | St = stitch | Ch = chain | Sl st = slip stitch

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TREE TOPDSC_1069
– Ch 9
Row 1 – sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc 6 there will be 1 space left, ch 1 and turn (7)
Row 2 – skip 1st st, sc 5, ch 1 and turn (5)
Row 3 – skip 1st st, sc 4, ch 1 and turn (4)
Row 4 – skip 1st st, sc 3, ch 1 and turn (3)
Row 5 – sc in 1st st, sc all across, ch 1 and turn (3)
Row 6 – skip 1st st, sc 2, ch 1 and turn (2)
Row 7 – skip 1st st, sc 1 (1)
– chain 18, then sl st back into the top of the tree to make the loop, and tie off.
TRUNK
Row 1 – With the right side of your tree facing you, insert hook into 3rd st (counting from the right) at the bottom of your tree, Sl st and ch 1, sc into same ch 1 space, sc 2, ch 1 and turn
Row 2 – sc in all 3 st and tie off (3)*

Weave in ends.

*If you are using a larger hook, you can repeat Row 2 until you have the length you want.
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I have never written a pattern and published it before, so I really hope everything is as clear as possible! You may use the finished product however you like. If you will be selling this item, please give me the pattern credit and link back to me. The selling of this pattern is NOT permitted. Thank you!

The best part about this Christmas/Winter decoration? It is reusable! :)

Enjoy, and happy crafting!

The Happy Homemaker

Thanksgiving Party Set | FREE Printable Download

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I know, I know, it’s coming way too fast! Only a little over a month (37 days to be exact) to prepare for this day. Wow, where did summer go? And fall? The leaves here are fading so quickly! I just want it to stay for awhile! Well enough of my boo-hoo story. I have something better to tell you about!

Here is an absolutely gorgeous Thanksgiving set to make your home festive for the holiday. And guess what? It is FREE! All you need to do is download and print onto nice, sturdy paper. If you don’t have a printer, well, send it off to a store that will print it for you! 

This party collection is offered for free by Pizzazerie. There are so many fun pieces to this set, and I love that it features Psalm 107:1 on the large printable to frame.

The set includes:

Thanksgiving Food Tents
Thanksgiving Give Thanks Print
I’m Thankful Cards
Thanksgiving Invitation
Leaf Flags
Leftover Tags
Give Thanks Banner
Thanksgiving Menus
Thanksgiving Party Circle Logos
Thanksgiving Recipe Cards
Plaid Paper
Striped Paper

thanksgiving printable party set by pizzazzerie

What’s not to love? The colors are so beautiful and festive. I love the recipe cards! There’s always someone who wants the recipe to that ______ – you fill in the blank!

Free Thanksgiving GIVE THANKS Banner on Pizzazzerie.com

A pretty banner to hang anywhere in the house. There is just everything you need in this party set!

I am Thankful For Card Printables by Pizzazzerie

We always share what we are thankful for in my family around the Thanksgiving table. These cards are a wonderful way for your family and friends to share what they are thankful for. It leaves plenty of room for lots of blessings!

Thanksgiving leftover tags from pizzazzerie

Left-over tags? Don’t you just love that idea?! And the banners attached to vintage straws gets me. Such a great idea. You can find Thanksgiving Celebration Straws for a great deal on Amazon! In fact, I am going to have to order some myself. They are way too pretty to pass up. If you won’t be using a lot of them, you can always use what’s left for your drinks to match the decor.

Are you having a hard time believing this set is FREE? I am! Thanks to Pizzazzerie, our Thanksgiving tables will look gorgeous this year.

Download the file now, and don’t forget to print it out ahead of time so you can get to work on cutting the pieces out. Here is the direct link to the download: http://pizzazzerie.com/free-topic/free-thanksgiving-party-collection/

I’m counting down the days now…

Enjoy this Autumn day while it lasts!

The Happy Homemaker

Handmade Christmas Gifts

If you are anything like me, you enjoy making your own handmade Christmas gifts each year. While I do not exclusively make all the gifts we give out, I do make about half them if I am feeling ambitious. The key is planning ahead, and this year I feel like I am just a bit behind. Never fear though… we still have a little bit of time to get these crafts in motion! I have come up with a list of DIY projects that I thought were unique, yet some are traditional. Believe it or not, many people like to receive the traditional handmade scarf or hat. These days things like that are harder to come by! The fun with making your own gifts is also personalization. If you know the person well enough, you should have no problem picking colors or figuring out the style.

Craft stores already have Christmas items in stock, and many are having major sales. Now is the time to start planning so you can shop for what you need. If you are a knitter or like to crochet, these projects can tend to take time. Try to plan your projects so you get the most time-consuming ones done first. Seems like a no-brainer, but the longer projects can get boring, and many tend to want to do the quick, easy ones. Like me. :)

I am excited about some of these ideas! Some of them are so unique. So, here we go.

Plastic Canvas Ornaments.  These are meant to be ornaments, but I could see them as beverage coasters too! This would be a cheap project, especially if you used left-over yarn scraps.

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Jute Wrapped Monogram Wreath. This is so pretty! The receiver of this gift can keep the “wreath” up for long after Christmas.

GREAT handmade gift idea!

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Homemade Vanilla Extract. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic version. I have been wanting to make this for so long. One day I will! Give yourself some time with this one – it takes weeks to “brew”.

Making Homemade Vanilla Extract is so easy. Would make a wonderful homemade Christmas gift. #homemade

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How to make soy candles. It is actually rather simple! The lavender sounds wonderful.

EasyHandmadeGiftDIYSoyCandle thumb Handmade Gifts: How to Make DIY Soy Candles

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Sugar Cookie Sacks. This is one of my favorites! Perfect to give as a family gift, and so stinkin’ adorable!

Cookie sack trio

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These little handwarmers would be perfect for children and adults alike. This project would take very little time for all you who love to sew!

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Wood Slice & Burlap Wreath. I absolutely love this wreath! How different, yet gorgeous! I want to make one of these so badly, and even the Hubby thought it was cool. ;)

WoodSliceandBurlapChristmasWreathcopy thumb Wood slice & Burlap Christmas Wreath

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Ginger and Coconut Oil Scrub. I love sugar scrubs. In fact, I make them each year and love the effect it has on my skin. Making your own sugar scrub is so fun, and is a wonderful gift to give to the ladies! There are many more scrub “recipes” out there, so look around.

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Make this Christmas Countdown for your husband! This is more of a pre-Christmas gift, but it is soo special! I did this one year, and I think my husband appreciated getting a note each day. The Dating Divas have so many great ideas.

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I’m sure most of us have made or been given something from a mason jar before. Who wouldn’t love to receive a chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar?! So pretty, and the recipe is supposed to be OUTSTANDING. Comes with the free recipe and printable label. What’s not to love? Be traditional. I think this is going to be added to my list!

CUTE Cookies in a Jar Gift - free tags on { lilluna.com }

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Below are some of my own Christmas gifts I have made in years past. I will try to explain a little about each one, but if you would like more in-depth instructions, please let me know! I will make another post in the future on designing your own labels for gifts.

Homemade Pomegranate Vanilla Shea Butter Soap. This is basically made by melting a shea butter soap block, adding your scents and dyes and swirling to make a pretty design. Super simple!

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Pomegranate Splash Sugar Scrub. You can tell I was into pomegranate that year! This is made by combining two ingredients: Olay Dawn dish soap and sugar. Perfect for rough feet and hands.

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This project is a little more time consuming, but went over so well with my family members! If you have already canned jams, jellies, butters, sauces, etc., then this could go by quickly! In the basket (which was 50% off the week before Christmas at Michaels one year): Grape jam, apple butter, biscuit mix, peppermint oreo pops and handmade cotton dish cloths.

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There’s a lot of guys in my family. If you are into crocheting, then this hat is great! I started with someone else’s pattern and ended up making a ribbing along the bottom. Warm, and the guys love these hats! I have added the link for you to get the basic pattern.

I know figuring out handmade gifts for men can be hard. Yep, I understand! Here are some other ideas:

-Homemade spice rubs for grilling

-Handmade Shea Butter soap just like above, but with manly scents and colors

-Homemade trail mix

Paint dipped golf tees

Homemade rosemary mint shaving cream

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This post could last forever-n-ever, but I think these should last you for a while. Also check out Pinterest. There are always bloggers that make up a list of their most favorite DIY projects and make a Pin. Like me. :)

I realize I don’t have many children friendly DIY gifts above, but a few of these can always be made in children’s sizes and styles. Be creative! Kids always love what adults have, so if you have a father and son in the family, make them matching hats! Or a mother daughter duo – make them matching scarves! Or give the kids their own unique ornament. Or better yet, get them some supplies so they can make things themselves. I don’t know many kids that don’t like hands-on projects.

Have fun! And do let me know what you make. I love seeing handcrafted projects come together!

The Happy Homemaker

Apple Spice Room Scent

I don’t know about you, but I am all about spice when the leaves start to change and the cold sets in. There is something so comforting about the smell of cinnamon and other fellow spices as they mingle through the air. Want that apple pie scent, but don’t want to have to bake a pie to get it? Here’s a very easy way to get the smell of fall throughout your whole house. You may even have all the ingredients on hand!

I can smell the strong aroma of cinnamon and cloves as I sit to write this… mixed with apples and a touch of vanilla… oohhh, happiness! Want to know the best part? This is a chemical-free way to make your home smell divine! No pouring synthetic fragrances and chemicals into each room of your house. This is just all natural, right from your pantry ingredients that you can pronounce and know are safe!

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All you need is:

1 small apple

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. whole cloves

1 tsp. pure vanilla

1/3 to 1/2 cup water

Slice up your apple, keeping the skin and core. This is where you could use an apple with bruises or dents, something beyond eating. It would be perfect for this, but a good apple is great too. Add the rest of your ingredients, and turn your burner on to low. The goal is to get this heated and steaming, but not boiling. You can let this go for as long as you wish, but you want to watch the water level. If your water gets really low, your ingredients could burn, and that would not smell so good.

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Sit back and enjoy the comforting smell of apple spice! This would be perfect for prepping your house for guests, or while you throw a fall or winter party. I will share more blends here as time goes on.

Until then, enjoy!

The Happy Homemaker

Fall Decorating {DIY Ideas for Your Home}

I think the majority of the US is crazy about fall. Pumpkin this, pumpkin that, plaid scarves, fashion boots, apple picking, fairs, festivals, etc. You know what I mean! We are all Fall Crazy! I am included in this group. I can’t get enough of Fall before the winter hits. By now, everyone is picking up mum plants and pumpkins to decorate their homes for the season. Yet again, I am one of these people! As soon as pumpkin spice coffee hit coffee chains, I WAS THERE. You can probably relate with me, people.

How about decorating for Fall? Are you one of those people who has it down to a T and is one of those lovely homes I drive by and say, “Wow, I just love that house!”. Or are sort of like me, in need of a rejuvenation in the Fall decor category? Some items can be so expensive. I have a very limited supply of Fall decorations. It has taken me 3 1/2 years of marriage to accumulate these! But there are so many tutorials out there on how to make your own decorations, or how to use what you already might have.

I have collected a few ideas that caught my eye. These are off some excellent websites, so make sure to hop on by and take a look at what else they have to offer. Now lets make our homes look just as wonderful as Fall really feels! Just click on the photos and it will take you right to their site.

1. Over at BHG (Better Homes and Gardens) they have a wonderful collection of DIY ideas for fall, mostly using real flowers to make centerpieces. Some of them look so easy to create!

Fall Flowers in Gourd Vases

Fall Flowers in Gourd Vases

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2. I just discovered On Sutton Place while perusing Pinterest. Her site is lovely and has some real beautiful things. While this wreath seems a little more costly to make, you can always look out for special deals on the supplies. She mentions using Valspar Premium Enamel Finish spray to help keep it in tact. A great tip for DIY projects!

DIY Fall Wheat Wreath | A Tutorial from On Sutton Place

DIY Fall Wheat Wreath | A Tutorial from On Sutton Place

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3. I just love this front entrance! So simple, yet so gorgeous! Easily decorate your front steps with moms, pumpkins and candles!Fall Front Porch Decorating Ideas

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4. Isn’t that banner/garland awesome?! And guess what? It requires very little investment and time! Check out 6th Street Design School for a quick tutorial. I am so doing this one! :)

boxwood clippings_diy falling leaves garland

DIY Falling Leaves Garland | 6th Street Design School

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5. The photo below just takes my breath away. So simple and right from nature. There is no tutorial for making this wreath, but the flower or plant or whatever is called Bittersweet. You may even have some in your back yard! I love it.

Bittersweet

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6. I can’t get over how cute these pumpkins are! What an awesome idea. And it really doesn’t seem too difficult. She offers a great tutorial on A Night Owl Blog. I want to make some right now!

Painted Wood Slice Pumpkins | anightowlblog.com

Painted Wood Slice Pumpkins | anightowlblog.com

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7. Although I cannot find a tutorial for this (I got it off Pinterest and it takes me to her homepage), I know it came from a blog called Common Ground. This is made with items collected from a walk in the woods. How cool is that?! It looks like acorns, leaves, wild pears (I have two of those trees in my front yard) and other miscellaneous finds. Talk about cheap! But so lovely…

all gathered from a walk in the woods

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8. Here are some free printables off On Sutton Place, where she shares some of her own as well as links to others! Print a couple out, frame them and place them anywhere in your home. So easy!

20+ Free Printables ~ find all the links right here!

20+ Free Printables ~ find all the links right here!

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9. There are many tutorials out there on painting pumpkins. I loved the simplicity of the pumpkins below. Paint ’em white and add a plaid print fabric on top. Perfect! The Stone Gable blog has lots of great ideas just like this one.

Painting Pumpkins White | Stone Gable Blog

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10. Learn how to make a beautiful, inviting tablescape from All Things Heart and Home! She also shares a video on her site to make it even easier to see how it’s done. This is gorgeous.

fall table setting

Fall Table Setting | All Things Heart and Home

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There is just a small list of DIY ideas for your home. If you’d like to see more from these DIYers, click on the links below and that will take you to their site. Like, follow and get lots of good tips and ideas!

Enjoy!

The Happy Homemaker

Links:

http://www.onsuttonplace.com/

http://anightowlblog.com/

http://acountryfarmhouse.blogspot.com/

http://6thstreetdesignschool.blogspot.com/

http://www.shelterness.com/

http://www.bhg.com/

http://www.stonegableblog.com/

http://www.allthingsheartandhome.com/

<<Check out my Seasonal Decor & Recipes board on Pinterest for more ideas!>>