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The Kim Six Fix's Top 10 Posts from 2014


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I’m jumping on the bandwagon and sharing my top 10 posts of the year.  I ranked my posts based solely on page views.  How many people actually read the post.  Some posts were more popular on Pinterest or Facebook, but these were the ones that got people over here to my little ole’ blog.

So, without further ado… A Countdown of my 10 most popular posts: 

Warm Coats & Warm Hearts: Share the Warmth

Burlington Coat Drive.. Warm Hearts and Warm Coats
Something I love the most about the holidays is the spirit of giving that it brings out in most people. From Thanksgiving until New Years people just seem to be more aware of the needs of others and more able to be grateful for the many blessings we all have.

And now that that holidays are over it is easy to fall back into our old ways.  Charitable donations fall drastically after the holidays, but as winter approaches there are many people whose needs for warm clothing is just beginning.

That is why I was so happy when Burlington Stores asked me to join their Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Coat drive.  This is the 8th year that Burlington has run this campaign and so far more than 1.3 million coats have been donated.4d8a56e0 80bc 11e4 acca 22000af93a2d  1
Now that my kids have received new clothes and jackets for Christmas, it is the perfect time to go through the closets and donate the ones that don’t fit anymore.  Since we live in California, and the weather is pretty mild, our coats are practically new!  I love the idea that our coats could be keeping someone warm this winter.. someone who otherwise wouldn't have a new coat.

I made a short video of our donation adventure.  (It features some really cute kids if I do say so myself, I’d love it if you would take a minute and thirty seconds to watch it!)

The Best Christmas Gifts are the Ones You Give Away

Merry Christmas!  I know it is Christmas Eve, but I wanted to give you a quick update on all the charitable projects I’ve been working on.

This past weekend I finally installed the silver and gold Christmas tree for the Christmas in the Community campaign. I posted about the tree earlier, and the install was a wonderful experience. 
On behalf of ChristmasTreeMarket.com I donated the tree to the Mary Isaak Center, a shelter for homeless children and their families.  You can visit the COTS' website to learn more about the program and the people they serve.
COTS photo
image courtesy of COTS

Souvenir Wine Cork Ornaments: Remembering Good Times

Cork ornamentsI have been holding onto a bunch of wine corks since I always thought I would use them in a craft project...

But I also have a few souvenir corks that hold a more significant meaning.  Those from bottles of wine we drank on special occasions.  So this year I finally figured out what to do with them.   I used them inside some ornaments, so that every time I look at the tree I am reminded of all those great times.

Give Cookies And Give Back to Deserving Veterans

Give someone the gift of cookies while also sending cookies to a deserving veteran in their honor

If you are like me, you probably have people in your life that ‘have everything’ and tell you not to buy them anything during the holidays.  My grandparents live in retirement homes and have very little space for anything I gift to them, so I am always on the look out for ideas that are meaningful but practical.  I often send them food gifts (cookies, fruit baskets, candy) since those are appreciated and don’t take up space, but they seem a little impersonal. 

Love Grows Best In Small Houses

If you follow me on Twitter you KNOW I am a real estate reality TV junkie.  I cannot get enough of those houses that feature people shopping for their first homes, or fixing up the space they have.  There is something so personal about a person’s home. It says so much about them and taking a peek into the part of their lives that relates to their home really strikes a chord with me (obviously).

And recently I discovered a new show, Tiny House Nation (which airs on every Monday at 9pm ET/10pm PT on FYI Network) that isn’t like a lot of the other shows I watch.  What makes this show different is that it isn’t about an average renovation, ‘flip’ or house sale.  Instead, it is specifically focused on the tiny house movement and the emotional/financial challenges faced when living in what most people consider a minuscule number (under 500) of square feet.

To put that in perspective, that would mean fitting you’re entire house, into the footprint of a 2-stall garage. YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE.

2014 Christmas In the Community's Gold And Silver Tree

Gold christmas tree decorationsToday’s post is extra special because it has so much more meaning to me than just decorating my own home. I was so flattered when ChristmasTreeMarket.com gave me the opportunity to decorate a Christmas tree and donate it to a local charity of my choice.  As part of their Christmas in the Community campaign, they sent me this beautiful 7.5 foot Asheville Slim Pine to give away. (Seriously, this tree is beautiful.. It looks so real!!)
Gold and silver christmas tree
As part of the campaign, I personally got to select which charitable organization I thought was worthy. Originally I had hoped to donate it to our local Veteran’s center, but due to logistical issues it didn’t work out.

Garland 101: Everything You Need To Know To Make Garland Look Great


Because I’ve had so many inquiries into how I get my garlands to look the way I do, I have decided to do a thorough tutorial on making the most of your fake plastic garland.  It is really hard to find “off the shelf” garland that is full and beautiful (without paying an arm and a leg) but I’m going to teach you how to get that look without the huge price tag. You are basically going to assemble your own, which also let you control exactly the look you get.

I admit, I’ve become a garland snob and it makes me cringe when I see a sad thin wispy garland adorning someone’s front door.  When you see pine garlands in magazines and in high end hotels, they are usually really full and often filled with lights, like this:
Outdoor christmas decor garland
But in reality, most people end up with something that looks more like this:  (which just pitiful)

Make Your Guests Feel At Home with A Gift Basket

This post brought to you by BIC®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of http://thekimsixfix.com/.
Houseguest Welcome BasketI am so excited that my parents are coming for a visit this month and in order to make their stay more enjoyable I thought I would assemble a welcome basket of items they may need.  You often hear of wedding and hotel guests getting little collections of essentials when they stay for a visit, so why not do that for people who stay in your home?

For my welcome basket I collected a few things I thought my parents would enjoy or possibly need:

Burlap and Poinsettia Christmas Porch

Poinsettias and burlap porch
I’m not actually going to give a whole “Christmas Home Tour” this year, but I did want to share my front entry way since I do that every year and this year is no exception.

I personally think your front entry is one of the best places to decorate for the holidays since it sets up the rest of your house as you walk through the door.

Chalkboard Christmas Countdown Charger

Christmas chalkboard free downloadI know I already shared a great giveaway today.. but I have ANOTHER one!  Yes!  I know, I told you I was feeling like Oprah.  (Details on how you can win this awesome stuff are at the bottom of this post!)Decembergiveaway250

But first I have to show you my latest Silhouette project for this month’s Silhouette challenge.   A dollar store charger that I turned into a chalkboard countdown calendar! Christmas chalkboard plate
I am actually including the cut file for this design (already laid out for a standard sized plastic charger) so when you win the machine, you will already have your first project ready to go!

I Want To Give You My Favorite Things! (A Blog Hop Giveaway)

I am so excited to be doing my first ever "Favorite Things" Giveaway.   Not a sponsored giveaway, but a bunch of things I specifically went out and got because I love them and I want YOU to have them too.

22 amazing bloggers from 2 countries have gotten together to offer 22 prize packages for this year's Christmas Wish List Giveaway! Each blogger has gathered some of their favourite items from their own wish list and put together a gift for you!

Visit each blog to see what items are included in their prize.  Every blogger has a separate giveaway that you must enter on their own site, to win their prize package.  You might win more than one!

Here is what is included in MY gift package (all the other bloggers' giveaway packages are listed at the bottom of this post.. make you sure you go and enter there as well!)

So what am I loving so much right now I just had to give it away?  

Brown and Red Rustic Reindeer Mantel

Rustic christmas mantel
As promised, I am sharing my more rustic Christmas mantel.  I normally don’t post on Sundays but there are some HUGE things coming up next week (seriously, come back tomorrow** and check out the awesomeness!) and so I didn’t want to delay getting this post out.

Wood Slice Deer Head Silhouette Pallet Art

Pallet and wood deer silhouetteToday is one of those posts that I am just so excited about, I am sharing it with you less than 12 hours after I finished it.  I just can’t hold out!

Now that my first Christmas mantel is complete, I am moving on to the other side of the fireplace.  Since I just updated it with stacked stone, I wanted a really rustic look (similar to last year) and so I knew I was going to make another one of my (infamous) pallet signs.

Assembly was exactly like the previous versions, and once again I stained the wood dark brown so the design would show up well.
How to make pallet wood art
So far I’ve only stenciled and painted the previous designs so this time I wanted to do something more dimensional.  I had a couple bags of wood slice vase filler left over from my dollar store wood slice pumpkin project and I thought they would be easy to work with.

Christmas Mantel: The Stars Are Brightly Shining

Christmas mantel with stars in gold silver and red. BEAUTIFUL!My first Christmas Mantel of the season is finally complete!  This year I wanted to do a design that was a little more modern and stream lined vs my typically more rustic or kid friendly versions.  I decided on highly graphic stars and I love how they stand out.
Star christmas mantelI countered the non-traditional star grouping with the line “The Stars Are Brightly Shining” from the Christmas Hymn “O Holy Night."

Beautiful Handwritten Notes When Your Handwriting Stinks

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Beautiful handwritten notesIt is the season of giving thanks and telling the people around you how much they mean to you.  In the days of texts and emails, there is something extra special about expressing your feelings in a beautiful handwritten note.  BIC Mark-It® markers are a great choice for handwritten notes since they come in 36 beautiful colors, they are acid free and have virtually no odor.

But what do you do if you have terrible handwriting? Your heartfelt declarations may be hard to decipher if your handwriting looks like chicken scratches.  

In this case I wanted to put a little note in my daughters’ lunch boxes, and I wanted them to be as girly and ‘fancy’ as possible, but I don’t have ANY calligraphy skills.. Well, have no fear!  I have a super simple solution.  There is a way to have write with an actual BIC Mark-It® marker and still end with beautiful script text, even if you don’t have the skills!   It is possible!

I knew my die-cutting could cut out beautiful scripts, so why couldn’t it draw them for me?  I would just replace the blade with my BIC Mark-It® marker.

SnoBall Snowman Holiday Tablescape

Use Hostess SnoBalls and HoHos into these darling individual Snowmen. Perfect for your holiday party.
The girls have been off from school for the past week and so we’ve been doing lots of crafts and activities to fill the time.  So when Hostess sent me a box of Hostess SnoBalls and HoHoHos and asked me if I wanted to create a tablescape this year** I knew it would be another great project to work on with the kids.   

We are a Hostess snack cake loving family.. Twinkies, HoHos, DingDongs and Suzy Qs are all really popular in our lunch boxes and as a special treat, so I knew it would be a fun challenge to create a #HostessHoliday. Our holiday meals are NOT formal by any means. We’re a really casual family, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t bring a little whimsey and fun to the table with a SnoBall inspried tablescape.

To make this tablescape even sweeter..it can help you win $1000! You can find more details about that at the bottom of this post.
   
As soon as we took the SnoBalls out of the box, we immediately knew what theme we needed to use: SNOWMEN! The SnoBalls were the perfect shape for it.  And the HoHoHos were perfect for a top hat.

Brown Paper Bag Place Card and Napkin Holder

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC®. All opinions are 100% mine.
Place card utensil holder
I rarely set a formal table.. and by rarely I mean pretty much never. The one exception is Thanksgiving. I do drag out all the fine china an set a pretty tablescape for that one meal of the year.

Needless to say, I don't have a lot of table decor in my stash, so I have to be creative and think outside the box.  And using what I have on hand often leads to beautiful results. I think this project is a great example of that.

Dollar Store Hurricane Vases with Faux Silverplate Stems


I LOVE decorating for holidays and I am always trying to find vases and candlesticks that can add height and interest to vignettes and mantle arrangements.   I came across these candlesticks during a google search and I thought they would be perfect:
Image Source
I love how they are tall and thin, (perfect for a mantle), they vary in height, and the silver stems anchor them and add interest (instead of a regular hurricane vase which is completely transparent.) 

See? Perfect! Right?

Wellllll...

The problem was that (1) they were only available in Europe and (2) they were 68 Euros (or about $90!)  There goes that idea.   Now I was on a mission to knock them off.

First stop? The dollar store where I picked up these two candlesticks and tall vases for $4.

The shape was right, but now I needed to make the stems look like they were silverplate.  Enter metallic spray paint:

A couple coats later and things were looking really promising:
 

To attach the stems to the vases, I inverted them and used super glue to stick them together.

And once they were dry, they were good to go!

 For a Christmas display I decided to add some cheap plastic ornaments:

 I love how the finish came out:
 

Not bad for $2 each:

This post was originally shared over on Raising Memories in 2013. 

My Filler Post About Nothing Much Really..

Like today's post title?  Well, I am nothing if not honest. I've been working on a BUNCH of great content, but it just wasn't ready to post this morning, so I thought instead I'd just tell you about a few exciting things that have been happening with me lately.  Consider this like the preview before a movie you've been dying to see.  It may not be why you showed up, but it gets you in the mood for the main attraction.

So what 'exciting' things have I been doing lately? Hmm..

Airstone Stacked Stone Fireplace Update


Thanks for Airstone for sponsoring this post! 
Airstone fireplace makeover
I am so excited to finally share my big fireplace makeover.  It has been half-done for a while now, but today I finally finished it and took some quick photos.  But before I get to the full reveal, I wanted to remind you of the ‘before.’  This is what the fireplace looked like when we bought the house: Living room fireplace before

Silver and Gold Metallic Dollar Store Nutcrackers

Turn dollar store nutcrackers into modern shiny metallic silver and gold faux metal versions.This is one of those posts where you are going to say “Why didn’t I think of that!?!”  It isn’t exactly earth shattering, but it was too cute not to share.

You may not be aware of my slight nutcracker obsession. Every year I take the girls to see the Nutcracker ballet and they each get to pick out a nutcracker. When I get home I write on the Ballet name and the date.. (Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, San Jose Ballet, etc)  This was our collection from 2012.. it is a bit bigger now:

And if a nutcracker collection isn’t enough,  last year I even did a mantel that featured my favorite nutcracker theme “the Land of Sweets”So of course this year I couldn’t pass up the cheap $1 nutcrackers at the dollar store this year: Dollar store nutcrackers

Cut Your Winter Energy Bill By Making Your Home More Efficient


Make your house energy efficient
Now that colder weather is moving in most of us will typically see an increase in home energy usage (and energy bills.)  These increases are typically the result of things like the increased cost of heat (either electric, oil or natural gas), increased electricity usage (with decreasing daylight), and increased water usage (more clothing layers means more laundry!)

So, today I’m partnering with PG&E to share some quick tips on how I make my home more efficient and take some of the sting out of those huge winter energy bills.  I have read a LOT of lists for ways to make my home more efficient, but today I'm going to share with you what I have PERSONALLY done to save money during the winter.  I don't want to recommend something I'm not willing to do myself.

If you need a little motivation to get more efficient, you can win one (of seven) $100 Home Depot Gift Cards by entering the #PEGhome Instagram Photo Challenge on PG&E’s Instagram page (now through November 23rd.)

Blessings Box (Shadow Box Tutorial)

Blessings Box: Write down something you are thankful for every day.  Save them in a shadow box and re-read them at the end of the year.
You know how much I love the Ikea “as-is” section with it’s 50% off cabinet doors and scratch and dent furniture. Well, last time I was there I picked up a couple of shadow boxes for 50% off.  They were scratched, but I knew I could repaint them so they'd be good as new. Scratch and dent ikea frameUnder $5 for a 9x9 shadow box was a pretty good deal.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew I could come up with something.

Then, tonight a friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

Thanksgiving Mantel: Bringing In the Sheaves

Thanksgiving wheat mantel
Like previous years, I put together a Thanksgiving mantel in addition to my more generic Autumn Harvest version.  After my pallet art didn't work out, I actually had no idea what I was going to do this year until I went to Home Depot after Halloween and they had sheaves of wheat on sale for only 88 cents.  I knew immediately I could do so much with them (and I love the symbolism of harvesting sheaves of wheat at Thanksgiving.)
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
                                                       ~Psalm 126:6
To me that is exactly what Thanksgiving is about.  Be thankful and rejoicing over the abundance of what we have.. as a result of hard work, sacrifice or just blessing.
 
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