Christmas decor on a budget

DIY Anthropologie Mason Jar Snowglobe

I'm in Texas! At least that's what I figured when I saw all the boots and cowboy hats coming off the plane. Yes, the stereotype is true my friends. Or maybe the airport is just that nostalgic. Anyway, we're going Christmas shopping today so I'm going to make this one short and sweet :) Inspired by the snow globes at Anthropologie and refusing to pay $30 for each, I came up with this tutorial.


I bought all of these little Christmas figurines (penguins, snowmen, trees), the Martha Stewart craft glue, glitter, and snow at Michael's (craft store). The figurines are only a couple of bucks for a bag of 5 in the Christmas craft section where they sell ornament crafts! You can find mason jars at thrift stores, but since I was making 9 (and they need a lid) -- I found a box of 12 at the grocery store.

Step 1 // Hot glue your wooden block to your mason jar lid. Then hot glue your Christmas figurines on top of that block.

This is basically serving as a base (and adding height) to your Christmas figurines. We happened to have 1x2 wood from Home Depot that Jose cut into little blocks. If you don't have (or want to buy) this, you can just use crumpled paper.

So glue your scene to this wooden block (or glue it to the crumbled paper that is securely glued to your jar lid).

Step 2 // Tear strips of notebook paper (or even better, white printer paper)

Step 3 // Hot glue the little strips around your wooden block to hide it

It'll look like this..

Step 4 // Cover your paper with a light coat of glue. Then add your frosty snow! It won't always stick perfectly, but that's okay! Tip: toothpicks are a great help when/if your fingers are covered with glue.

I also found these gold toned pine cones at Michaels. They're great for a more refined look. Just depends on how playful you want your snow globe to look :)

Step 5 // Drip your craft glue on to the bottom of your mason jar. Take a brush and make sure the entire bottom is coated along with some of the edges. Fortunately my hand was able to fit inside the mason jar so I used the same glue brush.

Step 6 //
Sprinkle your glitter and swivel your jar to make sure the entire bottom is coated.

Let it sit this way for a few hours along with your bottom lid. I made the mistake (due to an overdose of Christmas spirit) of immediately closing my jar. The next day when I opened it, the glue was insanely STRONG smelling. It's because I didn't let it air dry.

Plus, it helps to let the glue in your jar dry with the glitter instead of dumping out the excess immediately.

After a couple of hours (or the next day), flip it over, dust out the excess glitter, and screw on your lid!

I know, I didn't talk about the hanging pine cone. But it's ridiculous to get that thing on there and not really necessary :) I glued some fishing wire around the pine cones and squirted some hot glue at the base then literally STUCK MY HAND inside the jar to press the wire against the glue. I yelled many times in the process, burning myself 3 times at least. I made 9 of these for my party and I think I only put the hanging pine cones on 4 of them.

There's no need to be ridiculous. With or without the hanging pine cones, they'll add a kiss of whimsy to your Christmas either way ;)

Happy Holiday Monday! Hope you enjoyed the tutorial :)

Christmas at the Vidal's

So while this is going on, let me back track to the beginning of our first Vidal Christmas...

It all started with the Christmas tree. We had to scratch cutting down a fresh one because the idea was actually a lot better sounding than the available trees themselves. We even tried Craigslist. At one point Jose believed a 9 ft could fit into our place. Then we tried Home Depot.

Jose was losing his Christmas spirit because he had spent at least 2 weeks looking online for tree options. Just the right size and just the right price. Fortunately, a mix up at Home Depot left us with a beautiful tree for HALF the price -- new!

We actually got this V (a freaking HARD letter to find at stores!!) for my brother Vladimir who flew to Phoenix with me to celebrate the holidays with us :)

After all of the decorations... our tree!!!

YEAH -- did you see that star?! We call it the Macy's Christmas Star. When we were looking for one, we thought they were really overpriced until we found this one at Pier 1 imports. It's actually a lantern but hey... a star is a star to me.

That is hanging from the ceiling if you're wondering. I love it!!

There's gifts!

Then I made our Christmas wreath from Christmas balls I collected from thrift stores. First I cut out a wreath cardboard.

Prepped my Christmas balls and hot glue....

TONS of hot gluing later..



While collecting Christmas balls at thrift stores, I also collected some items to decorate the table with as a centerpiece....

I had the teal containers from my wedding, got the vases and candle holders from Goodwill, and the gift box at Michael's for a dollar.

We found this beautiful tablecloth on clearance at World Market...

Finally painted the little red table from the thrift store!

More Goodwill goodies...

Including this frame! Can't believe it was just $2!

Our IKEA entertainment center... (you can see the tree's reflection!)

Is that The Price is Right? Why yes it is.

I also found this creepy toy at Goodwill. Creepy to Jose, pretty cool to me. Ya know, difference of opinions...

Ok. It is creepy. But still cool because it's made out of scrap tin!

More fireplace photos...

And a pretty awesome candelabra I found at my favorite thrift store -- Zinnia's.

Is is bad that our nativity scene consists of 3 penguins as our wise men?

They didn't make the 10 Smartest Animals list... but in the Vidal home, they are wise!

Then we moved on to another ambitious project... Christmas stockings.

So, behind closed doors, you guys don't know how crafty Jose is. This boy used graph paper to create templates for his stocking! I just don't plan it out that much -- but he made me. And I have to admit, somehow the template (as annoying as it was to make at first) made everything else so much easier.

Jose stitched all of his pieces on to his stockings. Y'all thought I was the creative one in the relationship. I stuck to my good ole' handy glue gun...

Mine, my brother's, and Jose's...

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)

Finally, our last, and most recent project that incorporated my brother: making gingerbread houses. From a kit. No shame in that!

We had 4 penguins. It made sense one re-located to the gingerbread village while the others made their guest-roles as wise men.

And that's it! I have to admit... it's been pretty amazing. This will be the first year I don't celebrate Christmas with my entire family, but I was really blessed with the chance to fly home the beginning of this month. My brother is also here and though I absolutely miss my mom, it's been a lot of fun acting like big kids eating dessert (almost) every night and staying up late watching movies or playing video games.

Jose asked me if we could keep some traditions from my family since he knows how "big" we celebrate Christmas at home (his family doesn't really make a big fuss of Christmas). Luckily my Aunt doesn't read my blog, but I told him I had no food traditions because I'm not a fan of the Honduran tamales we make every Christmas. BUT, my only request was to keep a very cultural tradition -- and that is to open gifts at midnight on Christmas eve.

I know a lot of American families open them Christmas morning, but what would remind me most of my family's Christmas is staying up late, having coffee, watching movies, and counting down to midnight. A tradition I'd like to pass down to our kiddos one day :) I mean, just imagine a house full of kids counting down to midnight -- the one time they can stay up this late and open gifts on top of that! A mad house!!

So what will our Christmas feast look like? Mmmmm. Let's see!:

Layered Black Bean Dip

Spicy Mac & Cheese (minus chorizo)
Crash Hot Potatoes
Roasted Ricotta Roma Tomatoes

Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin w/Apricot Ginger Glaze

Icebox Key Lime Pie (with chocolate crust :)
Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding (using Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies instead of vanilla wafers!!!) by Paula Deen

We'll see which of these will be keepers for next year!

I don't know what food or activity we'll repeat next year or even consider a tradition -- but this is definitely a Christmas I'll always remember. Do you have any traditions with your family? Are you a Christmas morning or Eve gift opener? :P Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks for being a part of mine :)

I'm already talking Christmas...

I know some of you have problems with people who are already decorating for Christmas and it isn't even THANKSGIVING!

Ok -- it used to freak me out when CVS went from selling Halloween Candy one day to Christmas balls the very next day! But the issue isn't the decor itself... just how ridiculously fast time can pass. It scares me too, feeling like my kid will be 2 one day and celebrating her quinceañera the next. I don't have kids. See my point?

However, there are many firsts this year: I'm a newlywed (since May!), my first time living without roommates = complete access to home decor (apparently husband DOES have opinion, dang it), and finally decorating for a Holiday! I've never, ever, decorated for any Holidays because I would go home to Texas or celebrate with Jose's family in Alabama. And because crafting takes time, I have to start now!

Color palette:

Very necessary for those "ooooh, that's cute! I could probably make it work" shoppers (i.e. me).

Oh wait. I did say budget, didn't I? Dang. Budget: $130. That will definitely turn the "that could work" shopping to "will this REALLY work?"

That color palette probably looks strange BUT, it's working with my budget. As some of you may remember, my wedding colors were red & teal. You can imagine how MANY teal and red home accessories I have from the wedding. I will explain the other colors with pictures.

I love clustering whites and ivories (or champagne) colored items. Definitely adds to the "white" Christmas feel. I will probably do this with the dining table and use teal as an accent color.

Another example:

We have a fireplace!! Ok, can I just tell you how wack that is? When we first looked up places to live in Phoenix, EVERY unit, townhouse, and apartment had a fireplace in it! Oh well, I'm happy about it :)

I'm a fan of the whimsy..

Garlands are pretty popular for weddings, parties, and overall decor. I'm considering making a snow flake one.

A more sophisticated approach...

A quirky, Ale approach:

And let me tell you about the projects I'm going to take on. Clustering Christmas balls!!

How cool?! I'm going to hit up Goodwill and the dollar stores to collect as many to attempt making a wreath.

Orrrrr... a chandelier!

Probably not. That looks way intense. But it still makes me excited.

Mismatched plates for table setting. Again -- Goodwill, here I come.

And last, I'm not a fan of the plaid, but I'm a fan of the concept:

Fabric balls! Get some beautiful fabric, styrofoam balls, and they would make a cool coffee-table centerpiece, don't you think?!

Hope that gave you some inspiration and ideas! I'm actually really excited about decorating because not only is it our first Christmas, but my BROTHER is coming into town to celebrate with us!! Yay! I'll keep y'all updated on the actual progress.

I'm curious -- will you be having a real, fake, or no tree this Christmas? Apparently there's this thing here in Phoenix where you can get a license to cut down your OWN Christmas tree. And I'm not talking palm trees here!! REAL trees! We are thinking of doing it :) Happy Friday!