Most couples wake up the day after their wedding and say, “Man, I’m glad that’s over.”
Sherry and John Petersik, keepers of the popular “Young House Love” blog and authors of a book with the same title, looked at each other and said, “Now what do you want to do?”
“We’d been bit by the DIY bug,” Sherry said.
Their journey started when they moved from a cramped apartment in New York City to a palatial-by-comparison 1,300-square-foot house in Virginia.
They worked on the house and kept blogging. “We just wrote about what went wrong,” she said. “It was a big lament meant just for a few friends and family. We were completely surprised that people started following us.”
Five years later, the blog gets more than 5 million hits a month, thanks to their can-do-so-let’s-do attitude and complete candor.
Eventually, Sherry, 30, and John, 31, left their advertising jobs to feed the blog. First Sherry quit, then, after their baby arrived in 2010, John.
That year they sold their first home and bought another “old, seen-better-days house” that they are turning into “a holy-buckets-we-love-it” home all over again.
The design tricks are mostly downright cheap (some free), and many can be done in an afternoon.
I combed through the book with the holidays – and a limited budget – in mind. Then Sherry and I lit on a few decorating projects that could easily be tweaked for the season for under $20.
Here are some of my favorites:
Glam up a clear container: Get any clear glass vessel – jar, hurricane lamp, trifle bowl – and fill it with ornaments, pomegranates, apples or pine cones and holly berries. Set it on a scrunched piece of velvet runner. “I love this tip because it’s so easy, fast and low maintenance,” said Sherry, who, like me, worships speed.
Dress up a homely wreath: Get a cheap fake wreath or several of the same size. Spray-paint them the same high-gloss color. Silver, gold or high-shine red looks chic. (Hit them with several coats.) Let dry, then hang them in every window on matching satin ribbons.
Upgrade old coasters: Find the cork type at a thrift or import store. Pick out some festive holiday scrapbook paper. Buy several patterns you can mix. Trace the shape of your coaster onto the paper and cut it out. Glue it to the coaster, applying craft glue with a sponge brush so it goes on smoothly. When dry, coat with a few layers of Mod Podge (satin finish), a sealant that makes the coasters water resistant.
Make a branch candle holder: Find an old branch or rustic piece of wood. Spray-paint it gold or silver. Take clear votives and dip the rim in gold or silver paint to coat the top quarter-inch. Nest the votives along the branch. Pop in a tea candle for a centerpiece.