s 2013 - The Kim Six Fix
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Most Popular Posts of 2013: Room Reveals, Recipes and Rustic Stuff!

Another year behind us.. and time to look back on the highlights of 2013.   I researched which posts were the most popular (based on total pageviews) and here they are.. in asending order.

#10:  How to upgrade Recessed Lights to LEDs
I think it is funny that this is my 10th most popular post since I almost didn't post it.  I thought it was too obvious. I guess a lot of people didn't know how easy it actually was!


#9 Mickey Mouse Bokeh
Who knew so many people were Disney fans?  I actually had forgotten I even posted this tute!


#8 Crock-Pot Tomato Basil Bisque
I see this recipe floating around on Pinterest all the time (only second to the Southern Style Smothered Pork Chops.)


#7 Oh Come Let Us Adore Him Lighted Sign and Mantle
This post would probably rank a lot higher, except that I only wrote it less than a month ago.  Considering it is competing against year old posts for pageviews, it is pretty impressive!


#6 Apple Pecan Bundt Cake
This *IS* a really really good recipe.  Low-fat it is not.


#5 Rustic Twig Leaf
This is one of my favorite crafts of 2013, I'm glad it is a fan favorite!


#4 Kitchen Update: 6 months later
Yes.. My kitchen makeover will probably be the number one post of all time on my blog.  I'm actaully pretty glad people still like it!


#3 How to Stain Oak Cabinetry
It appears I am not the only one who really really wants to get rid of honey oak.  My heart goes out to you all.. I only have one more room in my house with any more golden oak.  2014 promises to be that it disappears too!


#2 Nautical Nursery Reveal
I am so proud of J's nursery.  I still love every.single.thing I did in there.  And I haven't even posted all the details and tutorials yet.


 
You have NO IDEA how excited I was when I realized that this was the most popular post of 2013!  The master bathroom renovation was the biggest home improvement project I have ever undertaken.  I could not be prouder of it!



And of course, no roundup of 2013 would be complete without remembering back to my PERSONAL favorite project!  Baby J will be 8 months old this week! 


I can only hope 2014 is as wonderful as 2013.  

Today Is My 4 Year Bloggoversary!

image source
Holy crap. 

4 years?  I can't believe I have been writing about my home improvement endeavors for FOUR YEARS!!

Why isn't my house finished yet?  Kidding.. kidding..

This is actually house number three (four if you count our 6 month corporate rental) in the 4 years I've been blogging.

House 1: Where it all started (Durham NC):

House 2: Temporary Corporate Relo Apartment (Boston, MA): 

House 3: THE MONEY PIT (Boston, MA):

House 4: TheMoneyPit 2.0 (our current house!):

If you never read this post about how my whole "DIY blog" journey began (and an explanation of how we went from house to house to house), you totally should.

This blog all started almost as joke.. as I banged my head against the wall trying to sell one house and then trying to fix up the next horrible money pit.  I just wanted to share it with people I knew in real life. I used the standard blue blogspot background, slapped in some teenie-tiny poorly lit photos and called it day.  But then those people started sharing my posts with people they knew.. and soon STRANGERS were reading my blog! 

STRANGERS!!

I can keenly recall the first time someone told me that a friend of theirs (someone I didn't know) had mentioned something they saw on my blog. I just about peed my pants with excitement.
It was all downhill from there. I was hooked.  The fact that my blog was inspiring other people, and

Color Trend 2014: Radiant Orchid (15 Beautiful Exterior Doors)

Pantone has announced it's Color of the Year for 2014 and the winner is:
Radiant Orchid
I have to say that when they first announced it I was not thrilled with the idea with the color of a childhood dinosaur as the latest trendy color.   But now that I have had a chance to let it sink in, and after a little research on how to use it, I am convinced that ANYONE can incorporate this color into any style of home.   
A great example of how to use purple as high impact pop of color is on a front door. 

My Holiday Wishes for You This Christmas.

Merry Christmas from the entire Six family!

My wish for you this holiday season is that..

Exterior Christmas Decor Tour 2013!

I can't believe it is only 2 days until Christmas! Ack.  So this is my last chance to give you a short little tour of my house exterior.

I already shared my front door but I thought I would share the rest of the front of my house.  On my house, the front door is actually on the side of the house, and hidden from the street (bummer right?!)

So I have to decorate the front of the garage if I want most people to see my hard work.   This year I hung some swag lights I have used for a couple years now, and to beef it up I used a swag of I bought at Costco for $15.  (This was before I discovered how to make my own realistic looking garland for free.. so I won't do that ever again!)   And my kids love the little frosty inflatable so up he went!

I used my thrift store ice skates on my wreath again this year.
 

But my favorite part of my whole yard is my mailbox.  I shared the box itself on my last post about leftover tree trimmings, but I want to show you the whole vignette (I spilled the beans a little on Instagram):

Those are the 'faux' gifts I made last year.  They hold up great since they are wrapped in foil and can easily withstand the elements.  I used them last year on my front porch:

But like I said, nobody can see my porch, so this year they went out to the curb:

Now if I could just get the neighborhood kids to stop shaking them and trying to figure out what was inside!  
 

How to Make Fake Garlands Look Fuller and More Realistic (For Free!)

Today I am excited to share something I discovered this year on Pinterest! (Thanks to Kelly from View Along the Way): How to enhance your pine garlands (and make them more realistic) for NO MONEY!! 

Real mixed green garlands can run you upwards of $50 for an 8 ft. length.   I think I did a pretty good job of getting the "real" look.. for a lot less.  My front porch is an example of where I did it this year:
 

The garlands in that photo are 90% fake plastic garland.  In fact, here is what it looked like when I first hung it:

Not bad.. but not exactly "realistic" looking.   It is fuller than a single strand because it is actually doubled up.  (I twisted two strands together and then wrapped lights around the double strands.)

So how did I get it to look real?  Well.. I used REAL yard trimmings!   I asked my gardener to keep the evergreen trimmings he took off a couple of our redwoods and hemlocks.  I also was able to take my hand pruner and got a few branches off a cedar tree, which is my personal favorite. 
 
The berries are off some varietal of holly, but I also used some orangey red Pyracantha (Firethorn) berrries since those are abundent in our area (and from a distance they look just like holly berries.) 

Here is the exact same garland with that small pile of branches stuck into it: 
 

The key here is to work with what you have.  Almost all areas of the U.S. have at least some types of evergreen trees, and you only need 4-5 small sprigs for an 8-10 foot garland.  Plus you don't have to use only coniferous sprigs.  Holly,  And if you don't have ANY trees anywhere nearby that you can 'pillage' then make your way to a Christmas tree lot (or even your large home improvement stores).  They will give you all the branches they cut off trees they are selling.. most often.. for FREE!! 

I was super excited to find one longleaf pine branch in the pile of trimmings (no idea where it came from, since we don't have one of those trees in the neighborhood) but I used it to adorn the top of my mailbox:

I am so excited to do this from now on! You all know I am a garland junkie!  And I love the price tag on this version! 

The Nutcracker "Land Of Sweets" Christmas Mantle


This mantle was 100% inspired by the kids.  They wanted a "candy" themed mantle for Halloween (a cute idea actually, I just didn't have any cute Halloween candy at the time), so instead I told them we could do the playroom mantle in candy for Christmas.  


Like most all of my Christmas mantles here, here, here (maybe I should change it up a bit!) I draped the fireplace in lit garland (this is my first mantle using LEDs and these are little spheres which I thought were cuter than the mini-lights for this design) and then added some christmas candy floral picks I picked upon sale at a local craft store.

 

On one side I used my new dollar store hurricanes I shared yesterday along with a candy themed nutcracker and some silver taper candles.
 

The other side featured real candy canes and holiday M&Ms (these are actually the holiday mint ones!) I got the wooden gingerbread people from my mom a long long time ago. 

For height I used a silver bottle brush tree I had from last year which matched the silver bows on the garland.

It came out cute, and the hardest part about the whole thing is keeping the candy from being eaten! 
 

Sharing at my favorite parties.

Dollar Store Hurricane Vases (at Raising Memories)!

Today I am guest blogging over at Heather Lynne's blog Raising Memories. I'm doing a tutorial on how to make these fun Dollar Store Hurricane Vases with Faux Silverplate Stems:

Perfect for adding a height and color to a holiday vignette:
Be sure to stop by and check it out. 

A Traditional Christmas Front Porch

I'm excited to show you my porch this year.  It is very traditional, but I like it that way.
 
A simple garland around the door in greens with red berries and gold ribbons
 
The greens are actually a hybrid of real and fake greens, but the poinsettias are real.  Luckily we are in a moderate climate so they do really well outside. 
 
I used the kids' Radio Flyer filled with poinsettias and also draped it in greens to add a little whimsy.
 
I promise I will share my secrets for getting full and real-looking garlands in a future post. 

I think I like it best at night, when everything is lit up with tiny white lights...
  
 ...but it is still really pretty during the day:
What do you think? 
 
 
I wanted to take a minute and get something off my chest that has been bothering me and I felt like I needed to explain.  I have been really really really behind getting all my holiday posts out.  And I know in blog land, I am probably "too late" for most of these posts, but I'm still proud of them, and I am going to go ahead and share them anyways.  
 
We traveled for Thanksgiving this year and I admit I came back feeling overwhelmed and like I was drowning in the sea of Christmas "to-dos".  I have never really caught up, and it is showing in my blog content. 
 
I recently read a post on BlogHer where Gina talks about why she is "Hanging up her Blogging Stocking" for the holiday season.  A lot of it really resounded with me, since the holidays (at least for me) are all about my family and so I have found my blog has been suffering.  I can't spend huge chunks of my time hunched over my computer, while the holidays pass me by.  My kids will only be young for so long, and I want to spend as much time as I can making memories and building traditions.
 
I love sharing those traditions here on my blog, but I if I can only commit to one thing.. it is going to be my kids, not my blog.  So under those time constraints I would rather put out LESS content that is really GOOD, than A LOT of content that is only SO-SO.
 
 Hopefully my long term readers will understand.. and the rest of you can at least hang in there.
 
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