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Last Minute Christmas Cash Giveaway!

Have I told you all lately how much I love you?

Because it’s a lot.

I always said I’d blog even if no one ever read it, but here you are.  Reading it.

And you – sharing in this little hobby of mine – has turned it into something bigger than I ever could have imagined it would be.  You’re the reason my life looks so insanely different today than it did a year ago.  You’re the reason I get to work in my pajamas all day most days.  You’re the reason I’m so proud to say that I am now a full-time blogger.

You’re the reason my simple little dream of sitting down to a home cooked meal with my family at night has come true.

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

Now let me throw some money at you.

Christmas Cash Giveaway Square

In addition to being blessed in the reader department, I’m also blessed in the blogger friends department and a bunch of us have teamed up and decided our fabulous readers could use a little extra cash this holiday season.  Consider it a bribe, consider buying those last minute gifts, consider it an excuse to take a day off and spend it at the spa, or catch up on bills – whatever your wonderful little heart desires!

Most of all, consider me grateful to have you here, keeping my little dream alive.

Thank you, thank you, thank!

Now go win some money.

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win $325 in cash.  Winner must be 18 years or older and reside within the United States. Money will be sent via Paypal, and the winner MUST have a Paypal account (accounts are free and can be set up at www.paypal.com). Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on 12/21/14 and the winner will have 24 hours to respond with their Paypal email address to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen.  This 24 hour winner window allows us the opportunity to gift this cash before Christmas, so please check your email on 12/22!   Winner’s entry WILL be verified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Mommy’s Advent Calendar

Advent calendars – they’re not just for the little ones!

Mommy's Advent Calendar - a Christmas countdown for the wine lovers in all of us! | www.allthingsgd.com

I got such a laugh over creating this “Mommy’s Advent Calendar” for our holiday home – perfect for all the other wine-loving mamas (and papas) out there!

Mommy's Advent Calendar - a Christmas countdown for the wine lovers in all of us! | www.allthingsgd.com

As much as I’d love to say this idea was all mine, the truth is I’ve too busy drinking wine to think of something this clever. The idea came from a picture my friend Kelly shared with me (unsourced, unfortunately) and I knew I had to bring it to the G&D household.

Mommy's Advent Calendar - a Christmas countdown for the wine lovers in all of us! | www.allthingsgd.com

To make, I simply printed off “countdown” tags on my printer, cut them to look like tags, punched a hole at the top, threaded baker’s twine through the hole and hung them from each bottle.  I only have a 15 bottle wine rack, so instead of counting down the days until Christmas one by one, I doubled up on a few of them.

Above the wine rack is this great little nutcracker – who is now my “wine guy” – standing guard over my wine.

I’ve named him Chuck.

He means business.

Mommy's Advent Calendar - a Christmas countdown for the wine lovers in all of us! | www.allthingsgd.com

Hanging over Chuck is this great little holiday message with a wine-lover’s twist that I added to my chalkboard using this chalkboard lettering tutorial.

Mommy's Advent Calendar - a Christmas countdown for the wine lovers in all of us! | www.allthingsgd.com

How many of you plan on having your own little advent calendar next Christmas?

I highly recommend it.

See more of our holiday home in our 2014 Holiday Home Tour!

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

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DIY Pom Pom Garland

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

I’ve been having so much fun decorating with my DIY pom pom garland that I have to share the how-to so you can enjoy it, too!

I’ve used it in our window decorations:

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

On our Christmas tree:

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

And even on my colorful Christmas tablescape:

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

Making this super fun DIY pom pom garland is time-consuming, I’ll admit, but very easy to do.  All you need is yarn, a fork, scissors and a large needle.

Supplies
Yarn
Fork
Scissors
Needle

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

Directions

1.  Start by cutting a 6 inch piece of yarn and sliding it through the middle prongs of the fork.

2.  Pull it straight down toward the fork handle and hold it between your fingertips to keep it secure and prevent it from getting tangled with the yarn you’ll be wrapping above it.

3.  With your other hand, grab an end of yarn from the skein and begin wrapping it around the fork, perpendicular to the first strand your other hand is holding.

4.  Wrap the yarn around the fork 35-45 times.  The number of times you wrap the yarn around the fork determines how thick and full your pom pom will be.  I found that 35 times works great for standard yarn like the red yarn in the pictures below, however for some of the softer, speciality yarn I used (like the pink yarn pictured above) I needed to wrap it about 45 times to get the fullness I wanted because that yarn strand was thinner.  Start with one pom with each color of your yarn to determine how many times you’ll need to wrap it for that color/yarn to get the fullness you’d like before you continue to make more pom poms out of that color.

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

5. Once you’re done wrapping, bring that first 6″ strand of yarn up, center it around the middle of the bundle of yarn on your fork in both the front and the back.

6.  Tie once to secure it in place.

7.  With the first tie in place, slide all of your yarn off the fork entirely, and tighten your first tie as tightly as you can.

8.  Tie a second tie to knot it and secure your bundle of yarn together through the middle.

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

9.  Take a sharp pair of scissors with a pointy tip and cut the loops around the sides of your bundle of yarn.

10.  Continue cutting all the way around until all of the loops are snipped, and then roll the yarn ball between your palms to get it to splay out and give it the shape of a ball.

11.  You’ll have some ends of yarn that stick out more than others, likely giving your pom pom more of an oval shape than a circle shape, so once you’ve roughed it up between your hands give it a haircut, trimming ends as needed, to give your pom pom the shape of a circle.

12.  Last, thread a strand of yarn through a large needle and poke it through the center of your pom pom, and continue threading pom pons onto your yarn until your pom pom garland is its desired length.  There is no need to knot your yarn in between the pom poms; the pom poms will stay put and you can slide them around on your yarn as needed for proper placement.

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

And that’s all there is to it!  I used this DIY pom pom garland for our holiday decorations but they also make great decorations for a birthday party or baby shower, so be sure to pin this project to Pinterest and come back to it when you need it!

Create a festive garland for your holiday decor, birthday party or baby shower with this DIY Pom Pom Garland tutorial, complete with step by step pictures. | www.allthingsgd.com

Like this project? Check out the All Things G&D Entertaining Gallery for more!

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Colorful Christmas Tablescape

Today I’m joining the very lovely Jen Woodhouse from The House of Wood - along with some insanely talented bloggers (see them all below) - for Jen’s 12 Days of Christmas Tablescapes tour!  I have the honor of being Day 6 on the tour, and am so thrilled you’re stopping by!  I hope you brought your appetite for color and a love of wine, because today I’m serving up both.  Pull up a chair and enjoy!

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

If you checked out my 2014 Holiday Home Tour you may have noticed I’ve got a thing this year for yarn.  Since it’s already scattered throughout my holiday home I decided to bring it to our holiday table as well!

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

I started with these DIY yarn-wrapped Christmas trees, grouped together to make a centerpiece:

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

I propped them up on a white cake stand, and covered the base with my favorite bay leaf garland that I found at Pottery Barn a few years ago.

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

For the place settings, I started with chalkboard placemats that I found at Target and added my white crisscross china.  These dishes were a gift from my mom years ago and I love that they go with anything.  I added a crisp white napkin to match the tablecloth and topped it all with a whimsical place card:

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

For the place card holders, I started with chalkboard circles pulled off of a strand of chalkboard garland, and lettered them with each person’s name using this chalkboard lettering tutorial.  Next, I made some mini DIY pom pom garland out of yarn, and strung them on a strand of white yarn and through the loops of the chalkboard circle.  I love the fun little pops of color they add to the table!

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

To finish off my colorful Christmas tablescape, I wrapped the stems of each wine glass in colorful yarn.

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

Shortly after our daughter Kate was born we sold our formal dining table and turned that space into a play area for her, so now all of our dining happens in the eat-in section of our kitchen. Here’s a full look at that space:

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

To the left of our table is an IKEA dresser I “hacked” to turn into a kitchen sideboard. I decorated the top of it with some family photos from past Christmases and more bay leaf garland that matches the tablescape centerpiece. Lastly, I gave the lampshades a temporary holiday hue by wrapping them with red cable knit scarves.

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

I stood on my kitchen island to get this shot. #bloggerlifestyle

To the right of our table is another chalkboard that I lettered with the same font as our place cards. I added a fun, festive holiday greeting that all the wine lovers will enjoy! The sign hangs over “Mommy’s Advent Calendar” (a.k.a. my wine rack) with wine bottles labeled for a countdown to Christmas!

Bring color and whimsy to your holiday table with this colorful Christmas tablescape decorated with chalkboards and yarn! | www.allthingsgd.com

A grown up Christmas countdown for all the wine lovers! | www.allthingsgd.com

I hope you enjoyed this stop on the 12 Days of Christmas Tablescapes Tour!  There is seriously so much talent exploding from this tour that I can’t even believe I got asked to be a part of it!

(I’m pretty sure I only get invited to things because they know I’ll bring wine.)

Please take a few moments to check out tablescapes 1-5 that have been posted so far, and then continue clicking through tomorrow until December 23rd to visit stops 7-12 (links below)!

12 Days of Christmas Tablescapes Tour

12 Days of Christmas Tablescapes Tour Schedule:

Monday 12/8 – Rogue Engineer
Tuesday 12/9 – Her Toolbelt
Wednesday 12/10 – So Much Better With Age
Thursday 12/11 – Pneumatic Addict
Friday 12/12 – Pretty Handy Girl
Monday 12/15 – All Things G&D
Tuesday 12/16 – brittanyMakes
Wednesday 12/17 – House of Wood
Thursday 12/18 – Sawdust Girl
Friday 12/19 – My Altered State
Monday 12/22 – That’s My Letter
Tuesday 12/23 – Ana-White.com

 

Like this post? See more of our colorful Christmas home in my 2014 Holiday Home Tour!

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

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Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

Winter’s official start date is a week away and now is the perfect time to get your home ready for winter!  Just a few simple inspections and easy DIYs can make the difference between a budget-busting blustery season or a warm, cozy, and energy efficient home.

Want to know what you can do to protect your home, wallet, and health?  Check out my winter-ready tips and to-do’s in my latest article at Homes.com: Getting Your Home Ready for Winter!

Tips and to-do's for getting your home ready for winter from All Things G&D for Homes.com.

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2014 Holiday Home Tour

It’s holiday home tour time!

This year I was invited by Jen from Migonis Home to be a part of her Christmas Home Tour series, so I baked up a batch of cookies, grabbed a couple bottles of wine, and joined the party!

If this is your first time clicking to All Things G&D – welcome!  I’m Dusty (that’s my name…and my home’s Facebook status).  I live in Madison, Wisconsin with my handsome husband Greg (the G to my D) and our sweet daughter Kate.  We’re selling our house this spring and looking forward to moving to a “grown up house” (I have an update coming soon!), which means this will be our last Christmas in our current home.

Decorating for Christmas has always been one of my most favorite things to do, but this year threw me for a loop.  With a move on our horizon, G and I have been in packing up and getting rid of stuff mode, so it seemed counterproductive to haul out and unpack all my totes of glitter and good cheer.   Part of me wanted to be a scrooge for a year and not do any decorating, but luckily I spend my days with a four-year-old little girl bursting with excitement over the holiday season to get me back in the Christmas spirit.

I hope you enjoy our playful, colorful, handmade holiday home!

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

Let’s start in the living room!

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

The little snowman figurine in front of the pine tree below was a gift from one of G’s friends when I was pregnant with Kate. It was the first time I’d ever seen our three names together on something, and it made me so excited for the little family we were about to create.  This little snowman family makes me so happy, and always gets placed somewhere where I can see it often at Christmastime.

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

A look into the living room from the kitchen, and the IKEA Tarva dresser I “hacked” to turn it into a kitchen sideboard.  The lampshades are temporarily topped with cable knit scarves.

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

Some photos from past Christmases top the sideboard, including this one of Kate and I decorating the tree when she was almost two years old.

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

G doesn’t like real Christmas trees, so years ago I caved and switched to artificial ones.  I recently spotted this beautiful Norfolk Pine at Home Depot and had to have it.  It makes me happy to have some real pine in our home during the holidays and now all year long!

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

I made the holiday greetings hanging in the windows by spray painting cardboard letters and wrapping them in yarn. I then added some DIY pom-pom garland made from the same yarn.

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

Our living room tree is “Kate’s tree” and it was decorated entirely by her.  I learned my lesson from past Christmases whenKate plucked all of the colorful, sparkly, and/or personal ornaments from our big tree to put onto her tree that she cannot be contained.  This year I just opened up the ornament bin and let her have at it!

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

A view from the kitchen looking into the living room and the front room, with the Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar I made for Kate hanging on the wall:

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

A look into our front room which is currently used as a play area for Kate and my office:

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

With no chimney, we hang our stockings from the windowsill.  Santa knows what to do.

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

I love this old sled! I filled it up with some presents and DIY yarn-wrapped Christmas trees, and handmade pom-pom garland.

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

Our big tree in the front room is decorated entirely of yarn.  I wrapped it with DIY pom-pom yarn garland and added DIY yarn ball ornaments.  I topped it with a wreath made out of an old cable knit sweater freshly adorned with larger yarn pom-poms.

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

The kitchen – where the dinners are made and the wine is uncorked!

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

DIY marquis sign:

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

Advent calendars aren’t just for the little ones!  Here’s a version for the wine lovers (Mommy’s Advent Calendar):

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

Our nutcracker, Chuck, stands guard over my wine.

A playful, colorful, handmade holiday home! | www.allthingsgd.com

I hope you enjoyed this look inside our holiday home! There are 5 other bloggers showcasing their homes today that I’d love for you to visit, as well as all of the rest of the bloggers participating this week.  Click on the links below to check them out!

Holiday Home Tour | www.allthingsgd.com

Monday:

The Happy Housie | Everyday Enchanting | Maison de Pax | Life on Virginia Street | Unskinny Boppy | Setting for Four

Tuesday:

rooms FOR rent | Town and Country Living | On Sutton Place | Design, Dining and Diapers | At Home with The Barkers | Cottage in the Oaks

Wednesday:

House by Hoff | Jenna Sue Design | Love Grows Wild | Craftberry Bush | All Things G&D | DIY on the Cheap

Thursday:

Rain on a Tin Roof | Making Home Base | The Wood Grain Cottage | Capturing Joy | Making Lemonade

Friday:

Migonis Home | Just a Girl and Her Blog | Fox Hollow Cottage | City Farmhouse | Ciburbanity

Christmas Home Tour Graphic

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DIY Holiday Home Improvements

Some people live in a fun little town I like to visit often, called Crazy Town.

These are the people who – with only a few weeks to go until Christmas – decide it’s time to take on a major home renovation to spruce things up for their holiday guests.  Oh, you know…those little things like ripping out and completely remodeling the guest bathroom or replacing all of the flooring throughout their home.

Those of us doing our best to hang out in Sanityville for as long as possible during the month of December know that the last thing we should be adding to our holiday to-do list is turning the house upside down.  Instead, opt for some of these easier DIY holiday home improvements if you’re looking to give your home a little upgrade prior to the fruitcake (or fruitcakes?) arriving.

Visit my article DIY Home Improvements for the Holidays at Homes.com for some simple DIY’s that will have a big impact on your guests this holiday season!

DIY_Holiday_Home_Improvements

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