The House of Requirement | This WONDERfilled Life

We’re pretty big Harry Potter fans so when we moved in it wasn’t lost on us that whenever we needed something random for a house project we could almost always suddenly find it.  The “drawers of requirement”, much like the “Room of Requirement” in the first Harry Potter book, was a collection of two older set of drawers that were filled with old tool, files, saws, clamps and an even bigger collection of nuts, bolts and washers.  One of the first projects we did on the house was install deadbolts…yah…there were zero deadbolts on any of the doors when we moved in.  I remember buying the hardware and the nifty hole saw but due to the age and size of the door I really need to just file a section down.  I literally said out loud, “I wish I had a file or something” and Super said,  “hey, I think there’s one in the drawers downstairs!”…and there was! Over the years the contents of the drawers have been moved, used and gone thru.  One dresser was sold and the other we refinished and decorated for our baby room but we still joke about how the house literally gives us what we need.  Now we refer to it as “shopping in the attic”.  I’m trying to purge so much of what we’ve collected over our 20+ years here in Chicago, but also all the things the previous owner left (she literally took her bed, couch and clothes and left everything else - she was in her 90’s), that I often go shopping in the attic before I buy anything new.  This was pretty helpful this winter when I wanted to make some newer outdoor decor but between the weather, people and COVID didn’t want to leave the house. 


One of the dressers left for us, filled with tools and supplies. (2009)


Installing deadbolts. Both tools were discovered in the magic dresser! (2009)


Pretty proud of ourselves. (2009)


Just for fun, a picture of the dresser after we refinished it for P’s arrival. (2013)

I used to hang a super cute sign that spelled “JOY” off our window box with a lit bough and some ornamental balls behind it but the lighting kept going out and it just got to be something I had to fuss with yearly, and in my mature age I’ve decided yearly upkeep really doesn’t work for me.  I don’t mind fixing small things every now and then…but I really love things that are simple, inexpensive (repurposed is even better) and EASY to store so I can literally decorate out side in less than an hour especially with our often fluctuating weather.


Our “JOY” sign, the first year we had it.  

I made these ornamental “sticks” a few years ago, and most of them came apart after the season, but I just grabbed my hot glue and reattached them…I think I got them for super steal at JoAnn’s the day after Christmas years ago.  The posts are the end cuts from the balusters from our back deck…I keep everything…and I’ve use the fake pine bough and lights year after year as well.  New this year was the fact that the JOY sign was toast, so I wanted something easy and classy, my plan was a simple lit pine bough, with our ornaments, pine cones and a pop of red.  






I had bought some scented pinecones on a random run to JoAnns for some holiday supplies, but they didn’t smell enough for us…funny as most people say the opposite…so I started thinking about how I could use them in my planters out front.  I love the look of the expensive greenery you can get at the home improvement stores this time of year but paying $30 for some birch tree cuts and mounted pine cones seemed excessive. I did a quick google search to see if I could make my own mounted pinecones and it was all fairly easy and very in expensive.  I think I bought the whole bag of cones for less that $5 and I had the drill and skewers already (of course). I used needle nose pliers to pry off the nubs from the bottom and then drilled a hole into each.  The plan was to add some glue to the skewers before I put them in but the holes were so snug I didn’t need to.  Almost two months out and I haven’t lost a single one! I did paint the skewers black real quick so that would disappear into the planters more easily. I contemplated adding some white “snow” (paint) to the cones themselves but decided I better finish the project with the time I had or none of it would actually get done.









Lastly I wanted a pop of red.  Ideally I would have had some RED ornaments, or large ribbons, or berries…but again, I was doing this on a limited budget and time.  I remembered that we had some old red wire clothes hangers upstairs and ran to get them (there’s that shopping in the attic theme).  Using my needle nose pliers/wire cutters I cut down the hangers and wrapped them around a wooden dowel to make some red swirls. 












For the circle planters on the stairs I grabbed an extra faux pine bought I had, used wire cutters to split it in half and made bough circled to fit just inside the planters circumference so everything matched.




It’s not enough of a pop of color for me…at all…but overall I like how it looks and when you walk by it looks like we TRIED to do something for the holidays. 

 
                     

I like how easy this was to put up, it all stores in a single bin kept in the garage, and its simple to add or change things in the coming years.  Next year I’d love permanently fix the JOY sign and add battery operated lights to the circle stair planters, now that they have timers, are led and have come down in price, and I’ll be on the look out for better pops of red, and loose tree branches on our walks in nature to use for a more dramatic impact…but overall this totally works.

How do you decorate for the holidays? Do you go all out? Are “inflatables” your thing? Do you keep it up all winter or are you a first of the year, take it all down grinch?? Hahahaha!



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