Pretty Front Porch: Round Up

I made it through a full week of posting every day! It was pretty fun but here’s the last installment. Nothing too new or exiting here. Just a round up off all the projects we did to the front porch/walkway area.

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First up was painting the front door navy blue.

Painting Front Door 12

Once the door was painted I had to update my yarn wreaths to something new for summer.

Summer Yarn Wreath 9

The last little update to the front door was adding the vinyl welcome sign.

Summer Yarn Wreath 10

A part of the front porch I never really showed you was this alcove.

Painting Front Door 10

Next up we moved off the porch and talked about the three cedar planters we made to go in the front flower bed.

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They took pretty much a full day just to build them but we love how great they look so I think it was worth it.

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I also think the addition of the pretty flowers is a fun pop of color.

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The last update was building and painting some custom tapered planters for next to the front door.

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I’m loving the way everything looks all together

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It’s a major upgrade from where we started. Here’s a shot from just before we moved in.

Front Exterior

This is a picture of the front door this fall in all it’s white(ish) glory and that lovely left over carpet triangle. Yep just keepin’ it classy over here.

Yarn Wreath Both Final Close

Lastly here’s a wider shot of the front porch. It was looking a little funky and blah last fall but is much improved now.

Before and After

I think that was pretty good update, at least for one summer. What do you think?

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Who else out there has been fixing up your outdoor entry area?

Don’t forget to check out all posts in the Pretty Front Porch Makeover Week:

Painting the Front Door
Yarn Wreaths and Welcome Decal
Cedar Planter Boxes
Tapered Planter Boxes

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Pretty Front Porch: DIY Painted Tapered Planter Boxes

Whew! It’s day 4 of my pretty porch makeover! Check out the painted front door, yarn wreath, welcome sign and cedar planter boxes.

After building the planter boxes for the front walk we talked about wanting to put two more plants on the porch for either side of the front door. Since I was tired of all the building and sanding from the first three I thought I just wanted to buy something. Of course I couldn’t find anything I liked that was big enough for our plants but wasn’t more than I was willing to spend.

After looking at Ana White’s website again I thought I would be clever and try to come up with something on my own that was a mix of two different plans. One was the tapered cedar boxes and the other was a square planter.

So let’s just skip to the end of the story. This is what I came up with:

Tapered Planter Boxes 22

To start off with here’s the materials I bought for two planter boxes:

2  2×2-8′
5  1×6-8′   (would probably need 3 for one box)
2  1×2-8′   (for cleats and bottom, we used scraps)
Spray Paint
1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
1 1/4″ Exterior Screws
Weed Block

Total: $22 each (Since we had some of it on hand)

Since it’s a tapered box I actually didn’t come up with a standard cut list so I’ll try to explain what I did.

First off I cut a 1×6 down to 13″ on the short side with a 10 degree angle on each side. (Making sure the angled ends were not parallel.)

After I cut the first one I lined the long side up against the bottom of the next board and marked the length as seen below.

Tapered Planter Boxes 1

Then just to make sure I cut the right direction and the right length I drew a line with a 10 degree angle from the mark I made using the speed square.

Tapered Planter Boxes 2

I did this one more time, using the second piece I cut to get a third even large row. You can see the stack of boards below. Since I cut them in sets of threes I numbered them so that I could ensure I kept each set together.

Next I cut a set of four legs for each planter out of the 2×2. Each board is 22″ long with 10 degree angles which are parallel to one another this time.

Tapered Planter Boxes 3

I figured out that cutting the legs such that I would be able to taper all four side like the tapered cedar box would be more work that it was worth. So for each box I cut two sides just out of straight boards. Each board was cut to 16″.

Tapered Planter Boxes 4

Next I assembled the sets of three side pieces together using pocket holes. We also drilled the pocket holes on the sides to use in the assembly of the sides to the legs.

Tapered Planter Boxes 5

Chris came up with the idea of painting the legs white and the boxes blue. Since I’m lazy I wanted to just spray paint the boxes instead of roll on the paint. To prep them we just sanded them a bit to smooth out the surface.

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We used Rustoleum spray paints in white and wildflower blue. It took only a few coats and we were pleasantly surprised that the grain was still rough enough to be visible. It gives a great texture to the boxes and they don’t look just like a sheet of plywood.

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While I was spray painting I thought it would be fun to try and make a swatch of the spray paint for my swatch book. Since I know that paint chips have actual paint on them I thought that would be my best choice to use to stand up to the spray paint. I grabbed a swatch I wasn’t using in my pile.

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Then I just sprayed over the top. I’m pretty happy with how it worked out. Now I know in the future I can do this with other rooms or decor.

Tapered Planter Boxes 8

Once all the pieces were dried we to started to assemble the boxes similar to the cedar planters we built.

Tapered Planter Boxes 10

We used two scrap 1×4’s to hold up the panels so the legs would be flush with the back of the sides. When we did this we also had to make sure the legs were turned such that they would sit flat on the ground.

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We also measured up from the bottom of the leg 3 1/4″ so that all the legs would be even.

Tapered Planter Boxes 12

We attached all the legs to the tapered sides first and then attached the square sides to those to create a box also just like we did with the cedar planters.

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Here they are all assembled! The one on the right shows the tapered sides and the one on the left has the square side facing forward.

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Then on the inside we cut two cleats out of 1×2 to sit on the two tapered sides.

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Once the cleats were in we cut five slats out of 1×2’s to use as a base. Then we covered the inside of the planter with weed block to hold in all the soil.

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Last step was to plant our boxwoods! I really do love the way the plants flank the front door.

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I was really worried that the color would be way to bright and that the white would be too much of a contrast.

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Once they are up on the shaded deck they weren’t as bright as I first thought. They are really growing on me and I’m starting to like the color more and more.

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From the front you can really see the tapered look.

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It’s only when you’re looking straight onto the side do you notice that they aren’t tapered all the way around.

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I’m glad that we did another diy project. It’s so satisfying to improve your house with your own hands. I would rather build than shop any day.

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So that’s it; My tapered planter boxes. It’s probably a little hard to follow but they are a great little planter that can easily be scaled to any size you want. All you need to do is change the length of the legs, the straight sides and the length of the bottom tapered board.

Has anyone else been updating their front porch?

Pretty Front Porch: DIY Large Cedar Planter Boxes

It’s day 3 of my pretty front porch makeover. Don’t forget to check out painting the front door, my summer yarn wreaths and new welcome sign.

Today we are actually moving off the porch and down to the front walkway.

I found this plan for a planter on Ana White’s website and I thought it would be a nice addition to our front walk area.

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We ended up deciding to make three boxes since we already had some plants in mind to put in them. Instead of making them all at once we finished the first one all the way through to see how it went. Then we started from the beginning to make the last two at the same time.

First we cut all legs and boards for the sides to size.

Planter Boxes 1

Then we sanded. Since the cedar fence boards are so rough they take a long time to sand down. I’m pretty sure the sanding was the longest step of the process. It was worth it however since it made the boards look so much nicer.

Planter Boxes 2

Then we just followed the rest of Ana White’s plan and we started assembling all the sides. To make sure that they were all the same height we used two squares to line up the 1×3 boards for the top and bottom.

Planter Boxes 3

We don’t always use glue when we build but this time around we decided to for the added strength.

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Then we just centered the cedar fence boards on the top and bottom boards. We pre-drilled and screwed everything together using a 1-1/4″ exterior screw.

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You can really tell the difference between the non-sand side above and the sanded side below. Here’s a pile of a bunch of the sides assembled and ready to go.

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Once the sides were assembled Chris used the Kreg to drill two pocket holes on each side of the top and bottom into the ends of the 1×3 boards.

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Then using the pocket holes we attached the 2×2 corner legs to half of the sides that were already built.

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Once we were down half the of the sides panels now looked like this.

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We lined up the leg boards so that the were flush with the top and bottom 1×3 from the front.

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With half of the sides attached to the corners we then attached the remaining sides to them to create a box.

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It’s a little tight attaching the last side but it’s not too bad.

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Since we figured out what we were doing the first time around the last two planters went together pretty fast.

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From here we deviated from the plans just a little and followed one of the brag posts instead. We decided we liked the more finished look of the planters that had a 1×3 topper on them instead of the legs just sticking out of the top. We measured the planters individually for the topper boards. The toppers were then glued and nailed in place with our nail gun.

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At first we were going to miter the corners but we have a really hard time getting a good miter with our miter saw. Ultimately we thought it looked better to just use straight cuts.

Once the topper was on we measured our plants and chose were to screw in our cleats in the middle of the boxes.

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Then we used some scrap wood to create rails for the bottom to support the plants and all the soil.

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Here’s the boxes all ready to go. Don’t they look pretty?

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Of course we were too excited at this point to not see what the plants would look like inside the pots.

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I forgot to take pictures of the next step but we actually used Thompson Water Seal to seal the planters because we were worried about all the weather and water and we wanted them to last. We thought that it would be a clear seal but it actually did make the boxes a bit darker. I think we liked them better before but they don’t look bad now, just a little darker.

After the sealer dried for 48 hours we moved on to actually planting. To keep the soil from falling out of all the cracks we stapled weed block on the inside of the pots.

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Once the boxes were covered with the weed block we dropped in the soil and started planting.

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The boxes ended up being bigger then we expected so we bought a few little bright flowers to put in around the edges for fun and a little more color.

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I love the way they turned out. They look so expensive and fancy.

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Even though they look expensive they actually ended up being pretty inexpensive, especially compared to buying a box this size at a garden center.

Here’s a breakdown of our costs for all three 20″x20″ planters (soil and plants not included):

3  2×2-8′: 6.21
5  1×2-8′: 6.25
9  1×3-8′: 19.08
9  cedar fence pickets: 16.92
Weed Block: 9.97
Screws: 8.97
Wood Glue: On Hand
Thompson Water Seal: On Hand
Disposable Paint Brushes: 2.30

Total: $69.70

That’s just $23.23 for each box!

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They are a nice little addition to our walkway. Finally the front is looking a lot less bare and a lot more finished.

Has anyone else been making diy planters for your yard this summer?

Pretty Front Porch: Wreath and Welcome Sign

It’s day 2 of my Pretty Front Porch Makeover week. Check out the process of painting the front door here.

After the door was painted I decided to fix up my yarn wreaths to something a little more fitting for summer. I kept it pretty simple and spent a few dollars on  some reversible card stock papers in bright colors.

Summer Yarn Wreath 1

I picked out three different 3D flowers from the silhouette site and cut them out in different sizes and various colors. If you want to download the shapes they are here, here and here.

Summer Yarn Wreath 2

I know the wreaths aren’t amazing or super creative but I like the bright colors and they were simple to make. I just stacked up the layers of paper and stuck a small pin through them and in to the wreath.

Summer Yarn Wreath 3

With the wreaths done I had one more little thing I wanted to do with the front door. I had seen all over Etsy that you can buy vinyl letters that say welcome to put on your front door. I thought that was such a cute idea and I wanted to do it for my door. I used my silhouette again and cut out letters using the font Impregnable I found online.

Summer Yarn Wreath 4

Then I used the transfer paper to line up were I wanted the sign.

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Once I had the letters were I wanted them I smoothed them down and pulled off the transfer paper.

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I think the welcome sign is such a cute addition to the front door and they should be easy to remove if I ever get tired of them.

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With the sign and the wreath up the front looks a little more complete.

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Anyone else add some vinyl lettering to their front door?

Pretty Front Porch: Painting the Front Door

*We’ve done a number of fixes to our front walk and porch so I’ve decided to take a week to talk about them all. Check back each day this week for all the changes we made. 

It’s amazing how much other bloggers influence the project I feel inspired to complete. Even though I’ve wanted to paint my front door pretty much since we moved in I know that the recent door paintings of Young House Love, Bower Power Blog and I Heart Organizing played a part in my choice to jump on the train now.

Here’s a shot of our front door from this spring. Not horrible but it’s definitely a plain boring white door and the yellowish trim around the windows wasn’t really helping at all.

Painting Front Door 1

When Jen at I Heart Organizing prepped her fiberglass door she used deglosser to rough up the surface. After doing that she realized deglosser isn’t meant for fiberglass doors. Now I didn’t think my door was fiberglass but I assumed the same would be true for what I think is a vinyl door. Armed with that information I did a little online research and came up with how I thought I should prep the door.

On Saturday night I grabbed a bucket with water and soap and scrubbed the door down as best as I could. Then I used a steel wool pad in “000” grit to try and get whatever was left off as well as potentially rough up the surface a little. The last prepping step I did was to rub on some mineral spirits to get the last of the grit off the door.

Painting Front Door 2

After the cleanup the door actually looked a little better than before. I chose to prep it the night before so that it would be ready and dry first thing in the morning.

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The next morning I headed out to start the painting! Since I don’t enjoy cutting in or scrapping paint off of windows I taped around the windows as well as around the seals and weather stripping on the door. Chris also pulled off the hardware so I didn’t have to paint around that.

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To paint with I bought a quart of Martha Stewart’s Azurite in Glidden Exterior since that’s the paint that Martha Stewart colors are meant to be mixed in. As far as I can tell it’s actually a darker version of the Darkening Sky that we used in our kitchen.

Painting Front Door 5

During my limited searching online I didn’t see anyone else that primed their door first so I decided to just jump right in. The first coat went on pretty blotchy which surprised Chris, although I had kind of expected that. Since Chris was worried about the paint he started googling how to paint a vinyl door. Everything he was finding said you needed to sand and prime or the paint would flake off. By the time I finished the first door I was starting to freak out. I thought that I had made a huge mistake, that it would look horrible and it would be a ton of work to fix.

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See the great thing about the internet is that there’s a ton of information out there about almost anything. The bad thing is that you don’t always get that personal experience or knowledge from someone who has done things the way you are.

So I called someone I knew would have experience and know what to do; my mom. She assured me that it should be fine and that she had painted doors in the past without primer and they were fine. She also thought that since our door is really sheltered it shouldn’t make a difference anyway. So, that being said if you’re painting a vinyl door that gets a lot of weather you might consider lightly sanding and priming just to avoid the potential stress.

After talking to my mom I  calmed down and painted the second door.

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As we had hoped the second coat went on a lot more opaque. It wasn’t perfect but it did look a lot better than the first.

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I was only able to get in three coats in one day since I had to wait 4 hours in between coats. Chris put the hardware back on and we closed the door. The next afternoon I came back with just a small craft paint brush and touched up a few lighter spots. It was just enough to finish it out.

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After a little stress I think the door turned out great. It’s nice to finally have a little pop of color on our beige and white house. I think it’s the perfect color to go with our house. It’s not so bright that it sticks out like crazy but bright enough to not be boring.

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Even with the freak out painting the front door was really worth it and I’m so glad I finally got on it.

Anyone else attempted to paint there front door and had a momentary freak out?

Bring on the Spring (Wreath) Please

A few weeks back I saw this wreath on Pinterest and it inspired me to update my yarn wreath to something that’s ready for spring.

Source: blog.silhouetteamerica.com viaKaity on Pinterest

The ironic part of this project was that I was working on a spring wreath on the same day that we woke up to snow all over the ground in March. I guess that’s true wishful thinking for you.

Instagram Snowfall

The first thing I had to do was take down my wreaths, which still happened to be decorated for fall. I kept meaning to change them for winter but never got around to it. As I was pulling them down and trying to keep the cats from escaping I dropped one and it broke right in half. Apparently styrofoam is more fragile than I expected. I was able to hot glue it back together and wrap the yarn around it again so it worked out ok.

Spring Wreath 1

Now I have a little confession to make. Back a few weeks ago when they were doing a promotional I ordered a Silhouette Portrait cutting machine. I know that they are completely frivolous but I am already really enjoying my new crafty machine.

Spring Wreath 5

I pretty much made this whole project using my new pretty little machine or as Chris likes to call it my two axis router.

Spring Wreath 6

I used my free download card to buy one of the 3D flower patterns from Silhouette and resized it to cut out four different sizes of flowers. The I used papers which all came from a spring scrapbook paper stack that I purchased a a few years back for some other project.

Spring Wreath 2

I used the end of my silhouette spatula handle to curl the petals of the flowers up. Then I used a small silver pin through the centers to attach them to the wreath.

Spring Wreath 3

I kept cutting and pinning and I worked my way around the side of the wreath with the decreasing sizes of flowers.

Spring Wreath 4

Here’s one with all of it’s flowers attached.

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Since I wanted to add just a little something extra I created a banner that says “Welcome Spring”. Some of the letters had cut out centers so I cut another triangle to glue behind each patterned triangle.

Spring Wreath 8

Then I laid the banner out behind the wreath to figured out the placement before I started attaching them.

Spring Wreath 9

I used some glue dots to connect the triangles together and then pinned the banner to the wreath. The bunny and the bows came from the free pattern of the week from last week and I just couldn’t help but add them since they’re so cute.

Spring Wreath 10

Once I had the wreaths all together I hung them back up using the same grey ribbons and 3m hooks on the inside of the door. Since our porch is covered I’m not worried about the paper getting rained on. So far they seems to be doing ok with changes in temperature but I guess we will have to wait and see.

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I really love the way they turned out.

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They are so bright and happy and ready for spring, even if the weather isn’t.

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Now there may be snow on the ground but apparently our pansies think it’s time to bloom. I guess we had such a mild winter they didn’t die, hopefully this cold spring won’t kill them.

Spring Wreath 14

Anyone else working on some spring decor?

The Fall Yarn Wreath Remixed

During my post about my first yarn wreath I thought that the one wreath made the doors feel a little unbalanced and I thought I needed to add another wreath to the other door. Well, I guess posting about it was enough motivation to get on it and this time I snapped a few photos of the steps that I took along the way.

While I was at the craft store last week I picked up another foam wreath, more fake fall flowers and a wooden “W”. I gathered the rest of the grey yarn, blue and white yarn and some small straight pins.

I started by wrapping the grey yarn around the foam wreath. I used one of the small straight pins to secure the loose end of yarn.

This is the step that takes the longest. It’s tedious to wrap the ball around and around the wreath continually pulling and twisting it tight. I wanted to have a smooth polished look so I took care to pull the yarn as tightly as I could.

Next, I worked on the wooden letter that I wanted to put in the center of one of the wreaths. The letter that I bought wasn’t really made to hang from the center of the wreath like I wanted. So I found the smallest drill bit that we had on hand and drilled a small hole on each side of the “W”.

Then I just grabbed some left over white spray paint and gave good coat. (Don’t tell my husband that I painted some of his gravel. Oh wait I think I just may have!)

I finished the wreath by adding some of the white and blue yarn, attaching the flowers and the hanging the “W” using some wire.

I reconfigured the flowers on the first wreath to match the the new one and hung them both up.

I like the way they both turned out, I think that they do balance out the doors and look well together. Now the only problem I see is that they kind of look like eyes. Oh bother I just can’t get this right. Maybe I need to consider hanging them on the side of the doors on hooks? It does look a little better from a distance, but now all I can see is a face door.

Anyone else have an opinion on what I should do? Have you been trying trying do work on some decorations and they aren’t working out like you were hoping or expecting?

After finishing the wreaths I ended up having some fall flowers left over so I updated my floating shelf with a little splash of fall. Slowly the fall decorations are starting to work there way across the house.

Fall Yarn Wreath

*Update: Check out The Fall Yarn Wreath Remixed for a tutorial on how I made this and another one like it. 

I love the look of all the clever yarn wreaths. A month or so ago I finally caved in and bought a foam wreath to cover in yarn for our front door. At the time I figured I would just use whatever I had at home. I found some grey yarn that I had left over and then wrapped some multi-colored sock yarn in a pattern around that. Then I just stuck a bow on it made from ribbon that I already had. I never really liked the way it turned out. It always just seemed a little unfinished, like it needed something more.

The weather and the leaves are just starting to turn around here. It looks like fall is already coming and I guess there’s no way to stop it now. Instead of fighting against it I just decided to embrace it.

So while I was in Joann’s a couple of weeks ago I picked up an inexpensive sprig of fake fall flowers.  At another store I picked up a ball of yarn on clearance for a dollar to use as a new accent yarn.

It was a simple project and I liked the way it turned out. Since the wreath already had the plain grey background all I had to do was add the new yarn and wire on the flowers.

I attached the wreath to the door using ribbon and an upside down 3M hook. It looks a little funny from the inside but it looks pretty good outside.

I like that it adds a little bit of fun and nice pop of fall color to our front door. The only downside is that we have two front doors, so it still looks a little off balance. I think I need to consider making another wreath to go on the other door.

Anyone else already starting to get ready for fall? Have you created a fun yarn wreath too?