Handmade Christmas Nativity Sign

Merry Christmas Welcome Sign

Welcome to another Christmas project that’s super easy.

This year decorating stayed simple because there’s no big plans.  That’s right no plans, our empty nest is kicking back and walking hand in hand.

But you know when Christmas season hits, I get this itch to create handmade decorations.

So, before I cleaned the paint brushes, I turned a few more pieces of scrap wood into a handmade Christmas nativity sign.

My Christmas Color Pallet

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint Click here to read site terms.

The Nativity Paint Palette

Paint colors included my favorite three for Christmas this year, evergreen, pink champagne and coffee bean.  Well I think that coffee bean is my year-round go to treasure because it compliments many of the projects you see here on the blog.

Once I cut these three boards to an even size Dixie Belle evergreen was applied with a simple paint brush.  A thin layer was all that was necessary because the finish needed to appear light.

This time of year, temperatures which slowed down the drying time.  To speed that along the boards went outside to dry.

This little tip will have you stenciling in 10 minutes, this paint is amazing and just perfect for wood crafting.

To visit Dixie Belle’s Paint store just click hereOh, and you’ll love this, with orders $50 or more shipping is only $10.

Dixie Belle

How to Stencil Sign

Steps to Create this Nativity Sign

  1. Paint the three boards evergreen then connect from the back with wood using finishing nails.
  2. All stencils came from StudioR12 beginning with the buffalo check pattern using coffee bean.
  3. Merry Christmas Stencils were transferred with Champagne pink.
  4. Then the nativity stencil finished the sign using that same color.

Finished Sign

In a matter of minutes, I had a finished project but wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to hang it until after bringing it outdoors.

The front porch seemed like an inviting space so I ended up drilling two holes towards the top of each side then added burlap ribbon for a hanger.

Merry Christmas Welcome Sign

Finishing touches included more cedar and that green ribbon I found at Hobby Lobby in the fabric department. It almost matches that evergreen paint color perfectly.

I guess you could say this was my version of a Christmas wreath this year and no big surprise that I incorporated wood, paint and stenciling.

Comfort and Joy

Later I made this display for the outdoor table and if you can imagine we’ve actually had a few sunny afternoons where sitting here enjoying a cup of tea has been a great way to relish in the beauty of our lifestyle.

There really is no hustle and bustle at our home during the holidays, just a few homemade decorations that express what we love most about Christmas, the birth of Christ…

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you in 2019 – it’s going to be another amazing year!

Make a simple yet beautiful statement for Christmas with a nativity sign using reclaimed wood. #Nativity, #StenciledChristmasSign, #BuffaloCheck

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Easy To Make Wooden Christmas Tree

You Cut Tree Farm Sign

Decorating for Christmas and tiny living can sometimes be a challenge and that’s why I mostly focus on outdoor decorations instead of inside.   This is where we spend most of our time when the weather is nice so outside it is…

Nature inspires our theme, last year I focused on birds and this year my attention centered on trees by incorporating cedar.

To begin I made a wooden Christmas tree that incorporates some of my favorite colors and materials.

Christmas Tree Wood Pattern

Shaping and Cutting Scrap Wood

Scrap wood and a little bit of free hand drawing kicked this project in high gear.  I’m not focusing on measurements because this project can be made to any size.

I basically drew a triangle between three boards and skipped the tip at the top. Then I cut each piece of wood with a jig saw, a table saw would also work great.

Once I had all the shapes cut each one was sanded smooth prior to painting.

My Christmas Color Pallet

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint Click here to read site terms.

The Color Palette

My color palette came from Dixie Belle paint and let’s just assume that all my projects will include this paint because it’s easy to use and dries so fast.  Basically, this paint can keep up with my speed because I have this tendency to fly through projects.

I moved through this creation with great acceleration and the best part it was fun!   You know when you have a vision something about making it happen can really help me move forward because I want to see the finished piece.

Colors included Evergreen, Pink Champagne and Coffee Bean; together they turned our garden into Christmas.

That pink champagne is wonderful – it looks like white at first glance but has this glimpse of shimmer that’s perfect for holiday projects.

Learn more and shop on line for Dixie Belle paint here, on orders $50 or more shipping is only $10.

Dixie Belle

Painting The Boards

Buffalo Check Stencil

Each board was painted with one coat of Evergreen on all sides.

Then I used this buffalo check stencil from Studio R12 and transferred to the front of each board using the color, coffee bean.

This was a little time consuming so using a larger stencil brush will speed up the transfer.

How to stencil tips can be found here. 

Old Sign Christmas Stencils

Incorporating a Message

Sometimes a message is the most important part of a wood craft and I knew from the beginning of this project what I would use.

A few years ago, I purchased You Cut Tree Farm and Hot Cocoa Stencils from Funky Junk’s Old Sign Stencils. 

This year she has some new Christmas stencils so you may want to check them out here.  I actually cut my tree farm transfer in pieces so they would be easier to use and store.

Connecting the Tree

Tree Assembly

After stenciling with pink champagne, I grabbed some cedar leftover from a previous project and used it to finish the tree.

The small strips divided each board and then I added a little crisscross at top to resemble a star.

Everything was attached to one post from the back side and the thin cedar strips were attached from the front with a finishing nail.

The last thing to do was add a little green ribbon and place it in the garden.

The tree was placed in a raised bed by hammering the stake in ground surrounded by the cedar trees I transplanted last week.

This entire display sparked what’s coming next because I have one more Christmas project to share. What I love most about this tree was it was really simple and fun to make.

When you live tiny, simple and fun is what clicks our Christmas together; we love that!

A little Christmas music playing in the background helps too.

Create A Simple and Fun you Cut tree sign for the Christmas Season. #StencilSigns, #ChristmasTreeSign

5 garden tips for weed removal

How to Transplant Baby Cedar Trees

How to Transplant Cedar Trees

A few weeks ago, I was walking through the homestead and noticed several baby cedar trees.  They were hard to see because this area was thick, it needed clearing and I’ve been waiting for the right day to remove the underbrush.

Last week that day arrived and I dove in with gusto and even saved several little cedars.

Transplanting was easy because these seedlings have a good foundation and just need some light and space to grow into something amazing.

Where I found the trees

Transplanting Materials

When it comes to trees, I really don’t have a lot of experience but this hasn’t kept me from learning.  Trees remind me of strength because they multiply in so many areas of our life.

However, when they’re surrounded by a lot of underbrush this keeps them from growing properly.  Heavy brushwood can also become a fire hazard and why we’ve been working our way towards clearing this natural mess.

Somewhere during the process of clearance, we got worn out, had too many distractions and we stopped.

Then fast forward, things began to quiet down and the idea of clearing now sounds like fun; this is a good feeling.

I decided to begin with the underbrush so it’s easier for Robert to come through and thin out weak trees.  What’s left will then be able to grow into something amazing.

Between opening up space and burning I saved baby cedar trees with just a few materials.

  • Shovel
  • Plastic Buckets
  • Water and muscle followed by a positive attitude

Cedar Tree Root System

Digging Up Cedar Trees

The cedar root base is simplified because it doesn’t grow deep beneath the ground.

  • Begin by digging a foot away from the plant base.
  • Dig deep in a circular motion to loosen the dirt.
  • You may need to dig closer depending on the size of the tree.

These mini trees were anywhere from 2 – 4 ft. tall, removal wasn’t difficult because the soil was moist.

Once the plant is free shake off the dirt and let the roots soak in water before planting in buckets or in a new location.

I decided to plant in containers using the dirt from the ground because it was amazing.

My plan is to finish clearing this space before planting them back in the ground.  In the meantime, they’ll rest in the garden and keep that space pretty.

Garden Printables

Transplanted Cedar Trees

Types of Cedar

In Texas we have several native varieties of cedar and offend they’re considered weed trees.  They can make a neat natural privacy wall and I plan to use them along the fence.

Common Texas Native Cedar Trees include:

  • Rock cedar, Juniperus ashei, or referred to as mountain cedar, post cedar, break cedar.  It has a long list of names.
  • Oak bark cedar is also known as the alligator juniper because the thick bark on older trees sometimes resemble alligator scales.
  • The mountain red cedar, Juniperus scopulorum, is also referred to as Rocky Mountain juniper.
  •  Drooping cedar, Juniperus flaccid, is also called the weeping juniper, this is a pretty one.

Twenty-three species of native cedar trees can be found throughout Texas, that’s a lot!  They’re often referred to as junipers, some can be invasive if ignored because they can grow in all types of soil.

Which means when transplanting, offer them room to stretch because they will adapt with little effort and grow into beautiful trees.

Common Cedars in North America include: Atlantic White cedar, Norther white, Port Orford, Alaska, Eastern, Incense, and western red.

Now you can take these easy to use cedar transplanting tips and use for most seedling varieties growing on your land.

How to Transplant Baby Cedar Trees from land to bucket#CedarTrees, #TreeTransplant

5 garden tips for weed removal

How to Update a Chicken Coop

Fixed Up Chicken Coop

For years I’ve written about the benefits of mobile chicken coops and I still love them.  They worked great on the farm but when we moved to Quail Grove my instincts were saying things would be different here.

We’re further out in the country and the idea of moving a chicken coop at fifty on clay didn’t sound like fun anymore.

So, over the summer we took the  mobile coop we brought from the farm and turned it into a stationary chicken coop.

Then I recently decided it was time to update with paint and incorporate a small run for days when the weather isn’t great for free ranging.

Adding the Chicken Run

Updating with a Chicken Run

When the transfer went from mobile to stationary, I didn’t think about adding a chicken run.

This project was a real afterthought so figuring out how to connect the house and run wasn’t an easy task because the ground was still very wet and pretty uneven in areas.

The coop was positioned on legs and cross boards so moving it wasn’t going to happen either.

To incorporate a run another door was necessary, two actually and I ended up building a smaller run than originally planned.  This addition was attached to the house with screws and any gaps were fitted with wood pieces.

The frame was built using 2 x 4’s measuring 8 ft. x 3 ft. which is sufficient for a small flock that spends the majority of their day free ranging.

Before and After Chicken Coop

Improving with Paint

I guess you could say this chicken coop got a major make over.  It had a rustic appeal leftover from the farm until I decided to paint using the same colors as our Tiny House.

After being introduced to Sherman Williams paint and amazed at the finish well you could say I’ve been painting all sorts of things on the homestead.

Almost everything is getting an update and this paint really improved the look of our chicken coop.

Homestead Printables

Building Plans

If you like this chicken coop building plans are in my Homestead printables.  I used these plans but scaled them back for a smaller coop.

I also removed the exterior nesting boxes and placed the roosting bars to the left and nesting boxes to the right inside.

These building plans are easy to modify and can be found here.

Happy Chickens

What about those Chickens?

The chickens are almost full grown; they were pleased with the new run; I’m thinking I may add a couple more hens in February.  It’s been nice having them deplete the bug population and eat away at the weeds.

The least exciting phase of this project was adding the wire and while that was going on the chickens scattered.

I can’t express how much I dislike working with chicken wire. I found if you break the project into smaller steps and don’t hurry through it’s less frustrating.

I think these are things you learn as you get older because you have fewer things on your plate to manage.  It took me a couple afternoons in 2-hour intervals to add wire and make the door.

Another helpful tip is to paint the frame before the wire is applied.

Finished Chicken Coop

Here it is, our updated chicken coop that’s also easy to maintain.  Their droppings fall through the wire floor and I gather with a shovel to fertilize the garden.

The chickens come and go as they please and if we have to leave, we can lock them up for safety.

A chicken coop doesn’t need to be elaborate to be functional and I found when you keep things simple it makes maintaining a lot less difficult.  This is important when you have a lot of other things going on.

The final step will include dressing the coop with some cute signs, a few potted plants and rocks around the base of the run.

What’s your chicken coop look like?

DIscover this updated Chicken Coop using new paint and adding a fenced in run#ChickenCoop, #Chickenrun

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Three Creative Homemade Gift Ideas

Homemade Christmas Gifts

As a kid, homemade giving was always my focus because I never had my own money for shopping.  Giving beyond a homemade card seemed out of reach and as I grew up it was normal to seek opportunities to earn my own funds.

So, my grandma and mom showed me the true meaning of Christmas by giving from the heart… We were always making things, baking or canning months prior. These projects were stored for later and given to family and friends over the holidays.

Each gift had its own story, one that was never told because it transpired during the creative process.  Just spending time together making homemade presents was a gift all by itself.

Fast forward, I’m still making homemade Christmas gifts and this year I’m investing time in stenciled dish towels to compliment some boxes.

Homemade Gifts

Friends Sharing Homemade Gift Ideas

Holiday giving and spending time with friends is something that warms my heart and since the beginning of my blog I’ve been blessed with amazing friends.  Some come and go and then there’s that few that stick around and have a huge impact in my life.

Some of us have similar likes and dislikes but the support we have for one another is completely genuine.  These ladies are true friends from far away but at times it feels like their right next door.

Which is really because they have this zest for life and bring a lot of joy into my world.

So, if you’re visiting from Hearth and Vine and CD’s Country Living I want to welcome you to Garden Up Green, I’m honored to have you here.

Today we’re combining our gift ideas with hopes of inspiring you to follow our journey and give from a place of homemade.


Patti at Hearth and Vine

Patti and I met a long time ago through visiting each other’s blog.  Our friendship began by leaving comments and overtime a sweet friendship blossomed.

I’m constantly inviting myself for dinner even though she’s hours away because everything she makes including food is superb.

Working with dried flowers is one of her favorite creative elements; enjoy these beautiful, floral and herb candle holders. They’re truly one of a kind and I can bet really fun to make.   Click here to read more…

Homemade Christmas morning basket

Christine at CD’s Country Living

Christine and I met a few years ago through another blog friend, we instantly hit it off and it’s been fun connecting.

She’s another talented friend who lives in a sweet farmhouse that holds a lot of charm.  Christine is upbeat and encouraging and her homemade project is a Christmas morning gift basket.  This is a tradition and you can learn more right here. 

Enjoy both of their projects, they’re great ideas and perfect for Christmas giving.

Now, I want to share a little something with you.

Handmade Hand Towels

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint and Cutting Edge Stencils Click here to read site terms.

Carole’s Homemade Project

I’m placing my focus on these stenciled hand towels because they’re fun to make.  I’ve had a blast stenciling each hand towel and I know you will too.

The boxes are from previous projects; you can find them here.

The hand towels seem like a festive homemade gift idea which created some enthusiasm to share.  The supply list is pretty simple and it’s possible you may already have some of these materials.

Supply List

Getting Ready To Stencil Cloth

Prep to Stencil Fabric

First wash the towels and make sure they’re completely dry before applying paint.

Here’s the thing with Dixie Belle paint, it washes off your hands perfectly but you can forget about it washing off fabric so it makes the perfect product for fabric painting.

Best of all, it dries fast so you can make this project in an afternoon and be ready to give or ship the following day.  Pretty sweet!

  1. Place towel on flat surface.
  2. Place the flower sack on top of towel.
  3. Attach stencil to fabric using painters’ tape.
  4. Lightly dot fabric with stencil brush and transfer your design.
  5. Then let air dry and it’s done!

It’s that simple, can you believe it?

Finished Homemade Gifts

So, get your supplies and just have fun because now you can make your own towels not just for Christmas but for each season. Flour sack towels are the best ever, very old school and they last almost forever.

I hope you enjoyed our three creative homemade Christmas Gift ideas.  This was a real treat and a neat way to share our ideas with all of you.

Enjoy the holiday season and give from the heart…

Three fun and Creative Homemade gift ideas you will want to make. #Homemadegifts, #DIYGifts


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Make a Box Style Serving Tray

Make a Fun box Style Serving Tray

We’ve been accumulating scrap wood so I decided to make a box style serving tray to serve drinks.  I made this project twice and found it was the smaller tray that turned out the best.

All together this was pretty easy and it was the stencil detail that slowed things down.

It took a couple hours to complete before I took a moment to say, “what a wonderful world…”  Don’t you just love that song?

Scrap wood and Dixie Belle Paint

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint Click here to read site terms.

Building and Base Painting Supplies

Cutting dimensions are your own, just remember the bottom of the tray was three boards wide at equal height. The exterior end boards were the same width as the bottom ends and the additional two exterior boards close in the entire base.

Any type of wood will work and it’s possible to just go with a single flat board for the bottom; that would make assembly a breeze and speed things up.

  • Gather or purchase wood for the entire tray.
  • Measuring tape and pencil.
  • Table saw to cut wood.
  • Drill for Pilot Holes.  Learn more here.
  • Finishing nails and hammer.
  • Dixie Belle Paint – Champagne pink and Bunker Hill Blue
  • Paint Brush and rag

To get started cut and sand each piece of wood.  Those small pieces of wood were going to be used for handles but later changed my mind because the tray didn’t need handles.

Dry brush painted the bottom boards with the champagne pink.  This is a wonderful color and the pink is very faint but offers this nice lift of color to help accent the stencil transfer.

The frame boards were paint stained with Bunker Hill blue, this is another neat color that has a lot of character.  Paint techniques can be found here and how to paint stain is here. 

Stencils used to Make Tray

Stencils Options

Stencils options are endless and my plan was to incorporate a little natural beauty with a positive message.

The hydrangea Stencil came from Dixie Belle paint and the “wonderful world” is a product of Studio R12. 

Both are easy to use and will clean up is fast when using Dixie Belle paint.  Don’t let the stencils sit for very long because they’re always easier to clean right after each use.  Get my cleaning tips here.

Stenciling with many Colors

Begin Stenciling

I used a combination of colors for the hydrangea stencil and there was a lot of taping involved to get a colorful transfer.  If you’re new to stenciling you can get my stencil instructions here.

  1. First fill in the leaves – I used Evergreen and then went over with Palmetto.
  2. Then I filled in the stems with Coffee Bean
  3. Finished the flower with Blueberry and Bunker Hill Blue.

Working with Dixie Belle paint is an absolute joy because it’s so easy to use for home decor projects.  It dries fast, transfers beautifully and it’s very easy to clean up.

I’d like to encourage you to give it a try because it’s truly an amazing paint for small and large projects. Purchase Dixie Belle paint here.

Dixie Belle

Stenciling Completed

When it came time to transfer a “Wonderful World” I used Coffee bean and I also stretched out the letters so they wouldn’t be close together.  I even left off some of the stencil off because there was a lot going on and things needed simplifying.

Once the transfer was finished it was time to gather boards and begin assembly.

Tray Assembly

  1. Drill three pilot holes on each end board.
  2. Attached to end boards with finishing nails and hammer.
  3. Take the long exterior boards and drill two holes on each end and one in the bottom center.
  4. Attach to each board and repeat to the opposite side.
  5. Add more finishing nails for a stronger tray.

Finishing Steps to Serving tray

The smaller box serving tray came together better than my first attempt and now I no longer have to juggle dishes when serving beverages, which is always a good thing.

When you’re not using the tray, they look nice sitting against a kitchen counter wall or set on a table as part of a display. Make your own tray and think to yourself, what a wonderful world….

How to make a Box Style Serving tray from reclaimed wood and decorative stencils. #ServingTray, #reclaimedwood

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