Easiest Halloween Wreath Ever

Halloween is my favorite holiday. So in my book, it’s close enough to October now to hang the feather wreath I made:

Easy-to-make Halloween wreath

Spider lurking in a Halloween feather wreath

The wreath’s hard to photograph (thanks to a breeze that insisted on ruffling the feathers) but ridiculously easy to make.

Cute Halloween feather wreath

To make this Halloween feather wreath, just:

  1. Stretch a wire hanger into a circle (or use a wreath base)
  2. Wrap a black feather boa (two if you want it extra feathery) around the wire/base and tie the boa off (Special note: do not let your son’s puppy “help” with this part)
  3. Attach a toy spider or random spooky creature with thread
  4. Hang the wreath with an orange ribbon (a clear command hook on the back of the door works great)
  5. Stand back and enjoy the subtle creep factor

What about you? Is Halloween on your top holiday list?

Chalkboard Quote Wall

The room I spend the most time in is the room I dislike the most. (Anyone with me on that?)

I’ve ignored most of our computer room for years, because I haven’t been able to do much about it. But! I did gussy up the wall that’s immediately to the left of my desk with a chalkboard quote wall:

Chalkboard quote wall

I wanted to be inspired instead of irritated, and that did the trick. Here’s what it looks like with the door open to the room.

Easy chalkboard quote wall

And a closeup of some of the quotes, which are a combination of favorites I’ve written down over the years, song lyrics, and ones I searched for online.

Quotes on a chalkboard wall

Creating the wall

The process was simple. I bought some chalkboard paint, painted the wall with it, rubbed the whole thing with regular white chalk to condition it, and wiped it off. Then I started writing out the quotes using the same chalk.

Write quotes on a chalkboard wall

That’s me touching up the wall recently. (The chalk does come off if you rub it, but you can seal it that bothers you.)

Things I would have done differently

When I made the wall (years ago, *cough*) I figured it would be a temporary thing that we’d soon replace once we decided what to do with the room.

That meant I wasn’t too worried about getting it just right. If I were doing it over again I’d be a lot more precise and would work harder at keeping my letter sizes even and the lines straight.

But it serves its purpose because it makes me smile. And isn’t enjoying your home and doing what works for you the important thing?

Overcoming the Fear of DIY

“That’ll be $900 + tax, including parts and labor.” That’s the quote my son got a while back to have the water pump, serpentine belt, and thermostat replaced on his pickup.

Ouch, right?

But we did it ourselves for about $300 instead — the cost of parts, coolant, and a tow home.

We’re not mechanics

The most my son had ever done on a car before was replace a battery. And while I’d spent many hours “helping” my dad work on cars as a kid, all that meant was that I’m really good at handing people tools and pumping brakes.

But we got it done anyway (with the help of a manual, a YouTube video, and a really awesome neighbor.) We saved a ton of money and got the satisfaction of a job well done. That’s been my experience with many other house-related DIY projects as well.

But what if it hadn’t turned out that way?

What if we’d screwed up? What if we’d peered into the engine compartment and been unable to even find the water pump? (I’ll admit that we did spend a few minutes looking for it.) It’s easy to let questions like that (or other dramatic what-ifs…) keep you from even trying a DIY project.

But in most cases — so long as you take proper safety precautions — the worst that’s going to happen is that you may end up paying to have someone else come in and fix whatever you screwed up. Or you may need to get help, like we did from our experienced neighbor. Go ahead and imagine the worst possibility, and see if you could live with that. Chances are the worst possibility is not really all that bad, and the best possibility — successfully doing something yourself around the house — is pretty cool.

Overcoming the fear factor

It’s normal to be nervous when you’re thinking of tackling a new DIY project — especially if it’s something intimidating like working with plumbing, electricity, or cars. You know, things there are actual professions for. But you can overcoming that fear by doing three things:

  1. Making sure you’re going to be safe and aren’t going to cause damage (turn off the water, shut off the electricity, disconnect the battery, wear safety goggles, etc.)

  2. Spending a little time learning how to do it (by reading up on the project, watching videos, taking a class, or observing someone else doing something similar.)

  3. Having a backup plan in place.

Then give it a shot

Get those things taken care of, and all that’s left is jumping in and giving it a shot. If you’re willing to do that, are good at following instructions, and are not easily frustrated you can often save a bundle. Plus, many things that look intimidating aren’t actually all that hard. They just take time and elbow grease.

They only look intimidating because you’ve never done them before.

Start small (for example, by tackling painting a wall instead of your entire house) and see how you like doing things yourself. You can work up to other things as you gain confidence. Soon you’ll probably be diving in to all kinds of DIY projects and saving money in the process.