Picture Makeover for Holidays

I am constantly looking for ideas that provide functionality and decor options as we continue to settle into our smaller home. 

I’ve wanted something to put over the buffet that had a Christmas theme but haven’t come across the print, size or dollar amount I wanted.   Plus I didn’t want another picture to store.  Then  I got the idea of covering the existing picture that hangs in this area with holiday gift wrap to provide a blank slate.  I’m pretty happy with how this project came out.


This is the picture I removed from the wall.


I used a good quality wrapping paper and blue painters tape to adhere.


My goal was to be able to use the bow and letters over each year and also not damage the picture  underneath.  Using a piece of jute in the corner (I glued with a bit of hot glue on each end) allowed me to tie the bow onto the jute instead of gluing the bow directly onto the paper.


I purchased 3 wood letters from Hobby Lobby and a $1.99 bottle of red chalk paint.  

Two coats of red, then a clear wax and finally a dark wax layer and they were ready to be adhered.  


I chose this product to adhere the letters to the paper.  They worked great.


Bow and letters attached.

Why I love this idea?

  • The roll of wrapping paper can be used for many years to come.
  • The only storage will be the bow and letters.
  • The motif can be easily changed up,
  • JOY – Jesus Only You is perfect to sit above the manger scene I’ve had since childhood.
  • It’s easy and fast.
  • Can be used for other holidays
  • It’s frugal.
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Downsizing and Our Kitchen Makeover

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It took over a year to get our house of 25 years ready to sell.  There were children’s school work, report cards, mementos that needed to be sorted through, greeting cards I had kept, hard copy photos, etc.  Then add on what is being kept in all the other rooms – dishes, appliances, furniture, books, etc.  (and most importantly what is being sold or given away) and it can cause a few gray hairs and a rise in blood pressure. 

I look forward to sharing our kitchen makeover but first a few things I learned during my downsizing/moving journey.

 To prepare, I read books (Right Size,Right Now, Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less and Moving On, and A Practical Guide to Downsizing The Family Home  I listened to podcasts (Organization Station @Home and The Frugal House – Jenny Martin) and sought the advise of those that had been on the downsizing trail before me.  Here were a few of my takeaways..

  • Keep a few things to remember others by but not everything that has been handed down or given.  By the time we were emotionally and mentally ready to downsize –  I had 3 sets of china, one set was mine, one was my moms and a set my grandmother had handed down.  I couldn’t remember the last time we used any of it.  First I offered them to my my daughter and daughter-in-law.  My daughter passed; my daughter-in-law took my grandmothers set.  I packaged them up in the following storage chests…Foldable Storage Chests .. Jumbo Storage Boxes .. Quilted China Starter Kit.  I tried to consign my mom’s set – unfortunately, there is no interest in these items anymore.  I ended up donating to my favorite thrift store – Gracie’s Cottage.  I actually moved my set with us, thinking we’d keep our formal dining room and china hutch.  That didn’t happen – the furniture ended up being to0 large and we ended up donating to Goodwill along with all of my china except for 2 dessert plates.  I’ve decided that a nice set of white plates can take you anywhere and that a fold out 6-ft table and chairs will work nicely when we have holidays at our house.
  • Only keep books that mean something to you today.  Donate to someone else that can use all the others.
  • Keep only the clothes you feel good in and will fit in the space you have.  Jeff and I were going from each having a closet to sharing one.
  • When deciding what to do with an item – ask yourself if you were to see it today for the first time would you spend money on it, want to store it, have a use for it and does it delight your heart.  If the answer isn’t yes – you are basically storing something that you have no use for.
  • We keep our lives cluttered with things.  The item(s) may be in the closet, drawers and cupboards but they also take up precious space in our mind and life.

So back to our kitchen.  We went from a 2800 square foot home to a 1600 square foot home.  It’s funny when you are looking to buy a new home it doesn’t really register what you are starting with until you do the final walk-through and then move in.  Everyone has their own taste and I believe the people who owned the house before us loved their home.  But we were looking forward to giving the house a simple open decor and discovered we were going to be busy.

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Here is a picture of what the kitchen looked like when we moved in – the cabinets had seen better days and had chips that you can’t really see in the picture.  It was painted a mint green with rooster decals as a backsplash and had plaid maroon and green curtains – the small dining room area was painted blue with the same curtains.  There wasn’t a pantry and we needed to use what we considered the hall closet for our food.  After cooking scallops on the stove, we soon discovered there wasn’t any venting from stove to outside for cooking.  The garbage disposal could inhale a bowl when turned on because all the rubber in the sink drain was nonexistent.  The features we liked:  hardwood floors, decent wooden shades on all the windows, gas stove, and kitchen window.

When you first move in – the first step is to make the space functional so our time was spent unpacking boxes, buying groceries (because eating out soon loses it’s luster).  Then the dreaming starts and the realization that kitchens aren’t inexpensive.   The appliances were delivered and I want to share one the best things we spent money on was a new Kitchen-Aid dishwasher.  The family room is very close to the kitchen and the dishwasher that came with the house was LOUD.  Our new dishwasher is so quiet we sometimes have to check to make sure we turned it on.

I took all the curtains down from the windows and Jeff removed the rooster decals.  He also fixed the oven venting problem.   We then headed to Superior Stone and Cabinets and began planning.  We chose a gray toned cabinet, decided to extend our island by 18 inches to include garbage bins, and add a 18″ pantry.  I have to say that I’ve been surprised how much the pantry can hold.  We were very happy with the service we received – Superior  delivered on exactly what they promised and were in and out of our home in 3 days.  First day was demolition…2nd day was cabinets…and 3rd day was the granite.  

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This was our old formica countertop.

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This is the cabinet and granite samples we chose along with our flooring and paint color for the kitchen.  We were feeling pretty bold that day and took a chance of really making the kitchen ours.

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This was the old sink with the nonexistent rubber part of the drain.  Yuk!  I was counting the days until my deep double stainless sink went in.

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Once they demo’d the kitchen,  Jeff painted with our paint color of choice Sherman Williams Analytical Gray.  We decided to paint the entire house this color to give it a continuous flow of calm throughout the house.  It also would provide the benefit of not having to store several paint cans in the garage.  The new pantry would be placed to the left of the refrigerator.

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Then it was cabinet day.  We had a trash compactor for 25 years and thought we would get another one but this has actually been a better option for us.  It encourages us to recycle.

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The third day, the granite went in, as well as the stainless steel sink.  We decided to have the backsplashes done in the granite as well. They also installed the new handles on the drawers and cupboards which we had found at Home Depot.  This was so very fun to watch go in.  Time for the dishes and cookware to go into their new home.  Because I wanted to maximize my counter space, I purchased a collapsible over the sink drain

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Here is a picture of our pantry.

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By the next day – appliances were back in, new faucet, garbage disposal, reverse osmosis system, and soap dispenser.

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Recently Jeff has added under cupboard lighting which is amazing – a very inexpensive, easy project and of course, it comes with a remote control.  Don’t get me started on how many remote controls we have..ceiling fans, sprinklers, lights…oh my.  These lights make a huge difference and have a lot of different settings.

I’d love to hear your downsizing/moving advice or experience.

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