January 8, 2013

GIY (Gather It Yourself) To Save Money

You can save yourself so much money in decorating if
you have access to yards, woods, vacant lots even to
gather natural elements to make big impact in your decor.
Even greenery and branches that others are
throwing away can be a good resource. 

The December 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living had
a very twiggy wreath on the front cover that was pretty
in its simplicity.  An article in the magazine had the
cover wreath and more wreaths using natural elements

After seeing those wreaths, I wanted to try to incorporate
some of that look in my yard Christmas decorations 
along with the snowflake themed items that
 have been in the attic for a couple years now.

For the urns by the front door, I wanted really tall
 branch and foliage arrangements with lights and some
snowflakes (that were going to be repeated in the yard too).  
Lucky for me, a magnolia tree was in our yard when
 we bought our house.  It has been a good foliage resource.

These large branches were rescued from the curbside
and spray painted white as a primer coat then silver.
The white paint is cheaper than the silver and keeps
the silver from seeping into the wood as much.

It could be expensive to buy these 4' and 5' branches.
The magnolia leaves were also spray painted.  
I could have left the natural elements their natural color
but I thought they would go better with the snowflakes
if they were white and silver...and be a little more festive.

The magnolia leaves added some visual "weight"
 to the big arrangements.  I think it is hard to find really
 realistic faux greenery. I do keep my eyes open for the
 silvery faux foliage pieces on sale to use at holidays. 

I added the silver foliage I have collected to the urns also.
Lots of types of real foliage accept silver spray paint
if you like that look at the holidays (I do.)

  The lights that look branch-y are some that I had
gotten at Target in past years. Since nothing but the
 branches and magnolia was new, the only cost for
 the arrangements this year was for some spray paint. 

Now, the wreath IS new this year.
After telling you how much money you can save by
gathering your own branches, I have to admit the wreath
was all "store-bought"!  You know the saying,
"I have more time than money"?  Well, this year I 
was really short on time so I spent a little money.

These wreaths from Jo Ann's had that twiggy look I
was after for this year.  They were 2 for $28.

I had intended to put one on the front door and one on 
the back door but to get even "twiggier" I stacked them
on top of each other and wired them together. 
"But wait, there's MORE!"

The now-double decker wreath looked like it could 
stand to have even more twigs so I used a coupon at
Michael's and got a VERY twiggy wreath to put
under the two snowy wreaths.

Don't poke you eye out coming in the front door!
We just opened the door really wide when going in or out.
Here's how the wreath looked from the back:

So, altogether, the wreath was about $40.
The very twiggy wreath can be taken off of the 
snowy wreaths and it will be a pretty Spring wreath.
You certainly CAN make your own twiggy
The inside edge of the now-triple decker wreath looked
unfinished so I added some silver balls I already had.

What started me on my plastic snowflake "collection" were
a few really nice snowflakes that I got super cheap at a
Hobby Lobby after-Christmas clearance.

They are still my favorites but I have not seen them at HL
since then.  I supplement the snowflake look with ones 
from the Dollar Tree...which for a dollar are pretty good!

Some of the snowflakes were hot glued onto purchased dowels
but that got expensive.  As an alternative I now cut the 
straightest branches off my crepe myrtle trees, 
paint them silver and use them instead.

I used the "Buffalo Snow" from Jo Ann's to make my
patches of snow around the mail box and in a 
couple of flower beds.  Is that tacky or not?
Sometimes I wonder.  
Oh, well, the neighbors get a kick out of it.
(p.s. I live where it almost NEVER snows)


I put strands of white Christmas lights up under the
batting-like "snow" so that at night it is all twinkling.

Last Christmas, almost all my decorations were from 
gathered greenery (My Holly Jolly Christmas) but I gather
stuff all year long to save money.

  One of my best finds was discarded Springtime
 flowering pear branches (Roadside Rescue).

When I do wedding flowers, I try to gather most of the
greenery for those too (DIY Bouquets and Flowers For
A Small Wedding) to help the bride with costs. 

OK, now what follows is totally not about decorating...
it is a REAL tangent but I thought it was funny. 
Click away now if you are hip and understand internet
slang and acronyms...you will do a big eye roll if you stay.

When I was thinking of a title for this post, I thought
the "GIY" (gather it yourself) would be a play off of 
the popular and well-know acronym "DIY". 

 To be safe, I thought that I should find out if
 "GIY" meant something else...maybe not so innocent. 

What I found was that it commonly stands for "Grow It 
Yourself", "Gross Initial Yield", "Greatness In You",
and "Google It Yourself". 

 Hmmm....I looked further into the "Google It Yourself" 
and found  that if someone writes/texts "GIY" to you
that they think you have asked a stupid question and  
you should use the internet to find the answer yourself. 

A couple or variations on this are
"lmgtfy" means "Let Me Google That For You"
(for all those who find it more convenient to bother
 you with their question than taking time to "google"
 it themselves) and "giyf" or  "Google Is Your Friend"
("why are you asking me when you could
 look it up yourself"). 

There is even a website www.giyf.com .  If someone
directs you to that site, you will see a google search box
and Bart Simpson writing on a school board
"I will use Google before asking dumb questions".
So, just FYI, it's not a good thing when someone 
writes/texts you "GIY".


  1. Kitty, I love your urns and decorations. The white and silver is just beautiful. You really did a great job on the arrangements. I love doing some things myself but honestly it can be inexpensive to decorate when finding sale items. You have a beautiful home. Gorgeous trees and I love your snowflake scene.
    Happy New Year......

    The French Hutch

  2. I love your gathered pieces that you painted. I think the buffalo snow is kinda fun- I would love to send you more than your share of the real stuff...we have an abundance.

    I had no idea what GIY yourself meant...of course I don't know half of them...and now my sister-in-law (sil) is making up acronyms for cats...like MOL...mewing out loud and YOL- Yowling out loud. I guess I am TDDTGI.too darn dumb to get it....lol okay- I DO know that one-xo Diana

  3. Your urns are lovely and so is the twiggy wreath.
    From now on if I ask a dumb question I will at least know what GIY means. :)

  4. Those urns are beautiful and I love the layered wreath! I use wreaths over and over again and even the rattiest one can be gussied up with some GIY.

  5. The urns by your front door are to die for!
    I love Gather It Yourself.
    That is really how I decorate.
    I think you have hit upon something.
    And layering wreathes? Wow!

    White Spray Paint

  6. Beautiful! We had a snowstorm Christmas night here and so MANY downed trees and branches. My little boy gathered a bunch for me last week and I am painting them a soft pink for a Valentine's mantel...at least that's the plan in my head:)

    Hope you are well.

  7. I love decorating with winter colors. Your wreath is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful day!

  8. You had me at " don't poke your eye out coming in the door " lmho!
    As long as it looks good - that's my motto - and yours looks gorgeous beyond belief!!!
    Your newest follower - would love to have you come by and follow back when you have the time!

  9. LOVE your Urns!!
    You could keep this all up for Winter decorations!!


  10. Congratulations! You've been featured on Wicked Awesome Wednesday! Thanks for sharing your amazing decorations from nature! Feel free to stop by the website and grab your "I've been featured!" button.

  11. Nice decorations and making them is a fun way to spend time with family.

  12. beautiful! I do that also--anyway I can be creative, make something beautiful and spend little money. Thank you for inspiration!


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