Translate

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Christmas Decorating on a Shoestring at Southern Exposure, Part One

I skipped the last two years of Christmas Decorating on a Shoestring at Southern Exposure because the time just got away from me. But this past weekend, Miss Molly and I headed to Battle Creek to check out this year's edition!


Decorating on a shoestring does not include a project, like our other Southern Exposure visits. Instead, after our dinner we walk from one building to another, gloriously decorated for the holiday season. When you leave, you have a packet of about 100 tips for reasonably priced, fun decorating. (And are very full.)


But first you dine! And what a lovely dinner!


The menu reflected the season with an early "Thanksgiving" feast, starting with a cranberry spritzer cocktail and ending with a lemon Italian cream cake. And of course the table was beautifully set, as usual.


We started out getting our decorating on a shoestring ideas in the Milking Parlor of this old hog farm, now the main dining room.

The Southern Exposure team is very big on two guiding rules -- use what you have if you can and before you spend a lot of money at a decorating store for new things, check places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, yard sales throughout the year and discount stores like Dollar Tree and Big Lots.


I guess there's a third rule -- don't forget spray paint! For example, the photo below has the terracotta pots we may all have hanging in our garage or potting sheds sprayed gold and filled with inexpensive seasonal floral picks, which you might even have from last year.


And remember, where you put something matters. If it is higher up, for example, where people get the impression more than the six-inches away look, you can get away with picks that may be of lesser quality than those on a table centerpiece.


In the photo above, the trees on the mantle were made from scrap wood using a jigsaw and painted. The rule of thumb is that anything triangular could become a tree and anything round a wreath. Maybe you have an architectural medallion (the kind you see on a ceiling) or an old bicycle tire. With a little paint and glitz, they could make a great wreath.

Some of the other ideas we got here were using fleece scarves from the Dollar Store as chair decor (you can see them on the chairs in the photo below). I loved this idea and it's really cute on my Hitchcock chairs at home. Other tips included displaying wreaths inside metal scrollwork decorative pieces or empty frames (if you look at the photo of Molly above, you'll see a bit of the red berry wreath in a frame of scrollwork art); using chalkboard paint to spray those small "silver" trays from Dollar Tree to use for signage or other ways; wreaths made from old vintage books or music (I know lots of you have done this!), simply adding ribbons to lamp bases and much more.


Then we moved to the Hog House. This is my favorite of the public buildings and Angie was our guide here. Right off the bat I saw something I may do -- check out the chairs.


Those are cloth gift bags from the dollar store used as chair covers! (Actually, I bought some yesterday and they called them chair covers.) So, if I can't find the checked scarves, I'm still good to go!

Another tip that was a fun one involved a mirror. The one they featured here was one of those long back-of-the-door mirrors, bought for a song after the back-to-school dorm sales were over. It makes for a pretty tray for a buffet table, reflecting the lights from above or to display a Christmas village. You could paint the border if need be. And if your table isn't big enough for a long mirror, any framed mirror you might have could do. The more elaborate the frame, the better!


In the photo you will notice a little antique wooden tool box. Those baskets inside are simple berry baskets and a fun way to serve something like popcorn at a party. Or, you could put a few treats in the basket, along with a napkin and utensil if needed. Or, if you had take-away favors, like cookies or maybe a few trinkets, display them that way near your door. Using a child's chair or stool to elevate (maybe with plates tucked underneath) is an idea if you are using your mirror as a serving buffet.


Here's a case where you might want to upgrade your floral picks -- using a single hydrangea or blossom in a low vase with a seasonal pick tucked in for height. (These were not inexpensive picks and I'm still trying to decide if I want to get one or two when I return for my next workshop!)


A few other ideas here: put greens in cute shoes -- baby shoes, wooden shoes, Mary Janes -- and display on shelving or hang on the fireplace; use a tree branch or two anchored in a vase and hang Christmas cookie cutters with ribbons; don't forget that vases are pretty with lights inside. If using a lot or for extended periods of time, cord lights are less expensive -- run the cord down the back of a vase or conceal it with a ribbon.



This post is way too long! So please come back very soon for a look at the ideas from the main house!

Linking to: Share Your Style   Share Your Cup  Pink Saturday  

45 comments:

Joyful said...

Everything is so lovely. I always enjoy your Christmas posts.

Rita C. said...

Excellent ideas - all of them - and I'm to say many are tried and true in my book! Even without a take home project, this looked to be yet another great fete by Southern Exposure. Sounds like it got you in the mood too!

Stacey said...

Gosh I love Southern Exposure and I'm so glad you take us with you!

I'm going to pin this for sure. ;)

Joanne Huffman said...

Full of lovely ideas and pictures - not too long at all!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

So magical! I love the use what you have first ideas! I have so much Christmas but I'm always looking, can't help myself. Great ideas.

Erika N said...

Wow. They gave you some fantastic decorating ideas Jeanie. I think that must be a popular class since all of us can use on a shoestring decorating. Especially if you are like me and do up the house at Christmas. :) I am going to try the little crystals on the light and some greenery as I never quite know what to do with my lighting fixture over my table. And I will say your lunch table looks "delicious". Wow. I need to learn to set a nice table I think. Happy Tuesday. Hugs-Erika

The French Hutch said...

Oh Jeanie, this would have been so much fun! What a grand menu, must have been delicious. The cranberry spritzer looks like a wonderful way to begin. So many great tips and everything looks so beautiful. My takeaway is to get to the dollar store and look for the chair covers. This post, not to long and now I'll go back to get a second look, don't want to miss anything.

Valerie-Jael said...

What a yummy dinner you had, it always looks so good there. The decorating tips sound good, but I must confess to not decorating anything for any feasts or festivals, too much work when it's just for me. I am sure you will be making your home beautiful once again! Hugs, Valerie

Decor To Adore said...

What an event Jeanie! It all looks so fabulous. Enjoy this time of Thanksgiving.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the decorations are all so pretty. Wonderful tips and ideas for someone like me. I do not have a creative bone in my body. The dinner looks and sounds delicious. I am sure your home will be lovely when you are done.
Enjoy and have a happy day!

Pam Jackson said...

Oh I would love that place...so neat looking. I love Christmas decorations. Ms Molly is a pretty young lady. Next week I guess I will be pulling out the Christmas stuff.....be interesting to see how Lily is with all that and the Christmas tree.! haha

Wandering Wren said...

I'm getting excited for Christmas already! I love these ideas, I have not decorated the house in years as we have been away at the beach, and we have been super casual! This year we have a city Christmas - so I am inspired, I love the mirror idea!
Wren x

Marilyn Miller said...

How wonderful to get to share this event with Molly. I love all the ideas, now my mind is thinking as I am feeling the urge to decorate. Even the menu sounds totally delicious. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more. You always have such wonderful posts through the holidays with all your decorating too.

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Wow! What fun! So many options, creative ideas and colors! Eye candy!

Barb said...

I love those Santa hat chair covers! I also like the mirror idea which could be salvaged for any decorating theme. I happen to have a gilded mirror under a bed...hmmm???.

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

You always seem to have the most fun! I'm positive there are not so many activities in my neck of the woods. You always leave the nicest comments on my blog! Such a pleasure to have a visit from you. Carry on! I'm sure you have plenty more fun times up your sleeve.

Bella Rum said...

What great ideas, and so many. I love the Santa hat chair covers. So cute. That mantel is gorgeous. And that horse, beautiful.

Blondie's Journal said...

Amazing! I felt like I was right there with you! So many great ideas that we all could use!

Thanks for the great tour!

Jane

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I was blown away because I just gave away an architectural medallion a few weeks ago. IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN. I may have an old mirror I could use on my dining room table. I simply adore all the tips you shared with us, especially since I never have money to buy new things to make my home look Christmas-y. I DO think I'll add some greenery to my rocking horses, like the one on the mantle. Such amazing ideas, Jeanie. Thanks for taking us along to Southern Exposure.

thepaintedapron.com said...

What fun! That dinner wow! So many ideas and great tips! Bring on the decorating!

carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

Jeanie, Wow, such wonderful, inexpensive ideas for decorating. I love all your photos, but I know they were much better seeing it in person.

bj said...

I so envy you all the great places you go...the good wines you taste...the awesome and delicious foods you have...no wonder your personality is so sweet and bubbly...
This looks like an amazing time.

Sally Wessely said...

Loved it! What fun.

Red Rose Alley said...

The Christmas decorations are so charming, Jeanie. Love that big horse with the lights. And those goodies, YUM! I always ask myself what colors I'm going to use in decorating every year, and always end up with RED! It just says Christmas to me. Lemon Italian cream cake, oh my!

~Sheri

Naomi said...


Hi, Jeanie! Wow, this looks like a super fun place to go. My nephew lives in Battle Creek. Maybe I can get him to take me over there. Such great ideas and I am all about doing things on the cheap, but not cheap-looking, you know?

Thanks for the post. I'd never heard of this place before. I gotta go!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh Jeanie, it's so nice to have traditions, isn't it! I LOVE THAT HORSE! I have a few around the house and they are my favorite sort of animal to use in my holiday d├ęcor. What a gorgeous table to feast around with friends! Be well my friend!

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, I was waiting for this lovely post! The meal sounds fabulous! You have included so many wonderful tips from Southern Exposure! I love the chair cover ideas! Can’t wait for the main house!

Victoria Zigler said...

What fun ideas! Can't wait to read the rest.

Katie Clooney said...

You have so much fun. I wish I lived in your 'hood! I picked up plenty of tips from this post and sent it to my Sista and my girls. Enjoy your week, sweet Jeanie!!

La Table De Nana said...

It's NOT too long!
How nice for you and your DIL to experience this:) She is lovely and the ideas are so pretty too..I love that place LOL.

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Southern Exposure is my dream spot on this planet. Each and every moment spent there is a delight for all of the senses and so much fantastic inspiration! How I love this post!
Jemma

Sandi said...

Everything is so gorgeous!

Tammie Lee said...

It looks like you had a lovely time and meal! wow and yum.
I might have to get out for a stroll and see what holiday things are happening.

Deb said...

Lots to love here. And that meal...yum! I especially love the decorated mantel.

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

I have lots and lots of tubs full of Xmas decorations. I only purchased a few things for a new wreath.

Lots of great ideas. Thanks so much and looking forward to the next installment.

Hugs,
Mary

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

That whole post was amazing I'm always so impressed by very creative people who know just how to repurpose things. My sister is extremely creative and has such a good eye for things. The table set for your meal was also so beautiful! -Jenn

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I love that Southern Exposure does a workshop like this. I think many get overwhelmed by the cost of decorating so it's great that they give you ideas of how to use what you have - or use things that are inexpensive! I bet this was such a fun day for you and Molly!

Silver Willow said...

too soon! LOL

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

Lots of great ideas! I would love to be a part of that tour. Looks like a lot of fun.

Barbara Windle said...

I just love the ideas. The ceiling medallion is the best, or maybe the shoes on the fireplace, and the mirror, and scarves. It is hard to choose. What a great place. Thanks for sharing this.

Tracy said...

YUM--what a meal to get you started!! When I was home in America in Octore, I was at a Dollar Tree with my sister, and they had a LOT of pretty linens & things for Thanksgiving and Christmas decorating--and you can't beat the prices, either. So many great ideas at SE... love when you take us there Jeanie, and especially for Christmas inspiration! ((HUGS))

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I am so happy to have discovered your blog via Beverly's Pink Saturday Blog Hop.

Your holiday decorations are simply stunning - and an inspiration! Lots of clever ideas and a discerning eye has made some enchanting vignettes!

Thank you for sharing. I'll be back - regularly!

Carola Bartz said...

The Hog House? Great name - that alone would drag me to there. Beautiful decorations - now I just need some time to whip up something similar to this.

Barbara Fisher said...

Hello Jeanie, firstly, I must just say thank you for coming over to visit my blog and for your very sweet comment, I really appreciate it.

There are some beautiful ideas here, but I especially love the door mirror used on a table. I would never have thought of it had I not read about it on your blog. I also love the single hydrangea in a low vase, and I’m thinking some Holly from the garden with a few shiny things attached would add some height and cost nothing at all.

This post is not too long at all. I loved it! Happy Thanksgiving.

Jann Olson said...

Hi Jeanie, sounds like really a fun event! I also love that you get a delicious dinner before. It's always fun getting great inexpensive tips! I recently bought the cutest red wooden shoes at a thrift shop. I was wanting to use them in a Christmas vignette. Guess they'll get filled with greens. :) Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Popular Posts