Welcome 2015!

29th December 2014

Hi!  I’m Maria.  We’ll get better acquainted in some future posts but for now, we have some business to attend to.  New Years’ Eve is right around the corner!  Now back in the day – way back – I’m talking early 2000’s – NYE was MY holiday.  I was spent every NYE traveling with my college girlfriends.  We were in grad school or just-out-of-school jobs, but always made room for Miami, Vegas, DC, NYC.  NYE was OUR night.

Fast forward 15 years.  I have two kids and a very sweet kind husband.  My money is no longer going to NYE bar covers.  Instead I’m using it to get extra insulation blown into the walls of my house.  I’m having breakfast with the Disney princesses soon – do you know how expensive those Disney princesses are!?  And there’s college tuition looming in the distant future.  Oh, and if we do anything really fun, I’ll need a sitter.  Ahh how things have changed.

(Oh and there’s something else you should know about me.  I’m kind of stingy when it comes to retail goods.  I don’t like it when high margins are being made off my money.  I’m always looking for ways to trick the system.  I’ll happily pay for quality when it’s necessary but when there’s a work around, I’m finding it. And I really love to make stuff.  Throughout this blog, you and I will play this game of “let’s get exactly what we want for not a lot of money and learn how to make stuff in the process.”  Worst case, we save a couple of dollars and are on our way.  Best case, we have a backup skill for the zombie apocalypse.  Oh yea, and a new passion. Whadya say, deal?)

But I digress.  Back to NYE.  Bottom line, I’m rapidly approaching “squarely in middle age.”  The age where NYE goes to die.  But there is a glimmer of hope.  You might think that the amount of sequins in a woman’s wardrobe should be inversely proportional to her age.  Errr – not if you love NYE and you’ve been ‘of age’ for at least 15 years.  The sequins just multiply.  (Like a beautiful shiny disease.)  Like I imagine it did for Cher.  The dream of NYE is still alive, people!

OK so we’re all pro-NYE here.  We’ve established that, right?  None of this ba-hum-bug, worst night of the year nonsense.  NYE is about taking your life by the horns and yelling “THIS YEAR IS GOING TO ROCK!”

Somehow, I wanted my living room to say that too.  I wanted decorations that wouldn’t break the bank or make me crazy because – I mean we just got finished doing Christmas, y’all.  Yet, we gotta honor New Years 2015.  Doing anything else sets a bad karmic tone for the year.

So here’s something I cooked up that I think might help you if you’re looking to do the same thing.  You’ll need:

  • 2 Large glass vases (I got mine for $8/ea at Ross Dress for Less)
  • 2 small glass vases (again, Ross Dress for less – about $3/ea)
  • 3 mini votive vases (Ikea, $.99 for 4)
  • 1 cloche (this is a staple for me – I like to put special found objects in there – acorns the kids have picked in the fall.  Flowers and Easter eggs in the spring.  Mini trees around Christmas.  Junk like that.  Bottom line, I’m willing to pay a little more for one of these.  I think I got mine at HomeGoods for $30.  There are some good ones on One Kings Lane for around the same price.  If you’re not going to use a cloche a lot, then skip it and just use a little vase.)
  • Some big branches – if you’re lucky enough to have some nice ones in your backyard, use those.  Or you can use these from Ikea, like I did.
  • 10 packages of dried Navy beans (about $1.25/ea at your grocery store)
  • Spray paint – 1 gold and 1 silver.  I really like the Design Master brand at Michael’s.  (These are about  $7/ea, but with all those 50% off Michael’s coupons, you’ll walk out paying $11 for both.)
  • 2 packages of inexpensive acrylic yarn (about $3.50/ea at Michael’s)  Pick your color combo.  I like something bright and fun for NYE.
  • 1 bunch of fresh sage ($1.25 at Whole Foods)
  • Clover pom pom maker ($5.95 at Amazon) – I used the green one for the pom pom garland.
  • Some string.  Don’t buy it!  Just find some around your house.  Embroidery floss, dental floss, string for tying up packages, fishing line.  Anything will do.
  • One piece of 10″ x 10″ glitter paper from Michaels ($1 – I chose silver)
  • A big party ball (Ikea, $12.99)

Step 1- You are a pom pom machine. 
Put on a Homeland marathon in your living room and go to town making some pom poms.  This youtube video will give you the step by step. You will be able to make these in your sleep.  I made about 100 which sounds batty.  But you’ll get going, your kids will want to help and next thing you know you’ll have a basket full of them at your feet.  Oh, and if you choose a Valentine’s Day friendly color combo, you’ll get a lot more mileage out of these.

Step 2 – String your pom pom garland.

I keep some eye hooks attached to the underside of my mantle.  I hung a sting on one end and started tying pom poms in place.  You can also thread them.  Personal preference.  if you tie them, be sure to trim the loose ends.

Step 3 – Cut out the year in glitter paper.
I really liked the font Hallandale deco.  I felt like it just belonged on a pair of NYE glasses on my face.  I downloaded that, opened up a word document and printed a mirror image of 2015 in that font at 500 pt.  I put it on the back of my glitter paper and just used a regular set of scissors and got to cutting.  I was dreading this part but it took a couple minutes.  Not as bad as you think.  I affixed it to the garland with a little masking tape.  You’ll also notice that I put some pink paper behind it.  Why?  The glitter numbers were fading into the white.  Chose a color that stands out or just tape some brightly colored paper behind your glitter numbers.  I stuck mine right to the fireplace with painter’s tape.

Step 4 – Make some magic beans.
Craftnado-4 Craftnado-6
The kids love this part.  Stick your navy beans in an old box, run out to the driveway and start spraying the heck out of them with your metallic gold or silver paint.

Backstory – A couple years ago, I remember looking at a design store for stones to fill a vase.  They were insanely expensive.  Something like $10 a package and I needed several packages to make the vases look half-way full.  I remember thinking, “Well that’s just dumb!  They are selling me dirt for $10 a pop.”  I kept my eyes open and found a solution at the grocery store.  Dried navy beans look like perfectly weathered, smooth little beach stones and they’re cheap.  With some metallic spray paint, they look like gold or silver nuggets.  After you’ve painted them, let them dry and then shake up that box until the white sides are showing and spray them again.  I did two bags at a time and it took 2-3 shake/coats of paint to cover them well.  Put those suckers in a vase and then add your branches or votive candles.  (I put my branches in a white ceramic vase I had lying around.  You can also just put them right in the beans.  Note that those votive candles are in mini votive holders.)

Step 5 – Tie the pom poms on the branches.
Be haphazard about it.  Just try to keep them looking like they have the same density.
Tie some on some champagne glasses while you’re at it.

Step 6 – Fill the cloche.
Here’s a little trick I discovered – herbs make really beautiful substitutes for flowers.  They have great texture and bonus – you get really rich earthy fragrance from them too.  I used rosemary and sage on our Christmas table with red roses.  I grabbed some of that leftover sage and plunked it in one of those 4 for $.99 votive holders.  I sprayed some cardstock with the metallic silver spray paint and taped it around the votive holder.  Then I raided the kids art supplies for some glittery mini poms poms.  If you don’t have these, improvise.  You just need a shot of color.  Put the cloche lid on.  Move on.

Step 7 – Hang that paper party ball.
A quick command strip on the ceiling does the job.


Now I will admit, I had a lot of supplies already for this – the vases, branches and cloche.  However, if you have a tree in your backyard and have gotten flowers delivered in the past 10 years, you probably already have this stuff too (or at least something to improvise it).  I ended up spending about $40 for everything and it gives a big pop to the room.

Even though it’s only December 29 tonight, I sat in front of the fire with a big glass of champagne and got in the NYE spirit.  If there existed an old fashioned gentleman’s smoking jacket – but for ladies –  in sequins – I would have been wearing that.

How are you spending NYE this year?  What are your last minute decorating tricks?

Happy 2015!  Here’s to getting to know each other better in the coming year!

Special thanks to Matt Charnitski who took all these pictures for me.  http://www.mattcharnitski.com/

4 thoughts on “Welcome 2015!

  1. Terri Charnitski

    These are fabulous ideas. You have renewed my NYE spirit! Happy New Year to you and I look forward to following your blog in 2015!!

  2. Kevin

    Maria –
    This is absolutely tremendous. Congrats on putting this out there in a blog – incredible achievement.

    Our best wishes to you, W- & the girls for 2015!



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