One of the ‘farmhouse-chic’ items I see a lot of on Pinterest and blogs is the wooden tote. They are also called a carpenters tote, a tool kit, and lots of other names. They have a very down-to-earth appeal; a little ‘farmhouse’, a little ‘cottage’, a little ‘vintage’. But what I especially like is that they are versatile enough to be decorated differently for each season.
I was still in the ‘admiring’ stage, not yet to the “I’ve got to have one NOW!” stage, when I actually found one at a craft fair. The price was an honest-to-goodness steal at $20. When I added up the cost of wood, paint, and time it would take to build one (like I carry that information around in my brain!), I didn’t hesitate to scoop it up.
This was in late October, so I didn’t really give it much attention until I started decorating for Christmas. In the meantime, I had been pinning totes in a variety colors, sizes, seasons, and settings. But I focused on Christmas images to generate some creative juice, and here is the result of my inspiration.
To get started, I used these items: glass marbles, empty salsa jars, dewdrop lights (from Target), pine cones and a variety of Christmas picks (some I already had, some new). These dewdrop lights are perfect in that they are a warm white, on a short string (about 7 feet), they run on a battery pack, and have a timer. Beauty and brains – all in one package!
I filled five salsa jars (the salsa brand is “Mrs. Renfro’s”) with glass marbles and placed them in the tote. (You don’t need to use glass marbles; dried beans or popcorn kernels would also work well.) These salsa jars are a lucky perfect fit; they sit right at the top of the side panels of the tote.
To begin, I placed 2 or 3 picks in each jar.
At this point, I stopped to insert the dewdrop lights, and do one pass of lights.
I continued to fill the salsa jars until I had the fullness and volume that I wanted. There really is no right or wrong way to do this. Keep playing with the position and height of the picks until you like it!
I then made a second pass with a string of dewdrop lights, nesting the lights into the foliage of the picks. (It was a bit of a challenge; the wire is bendable, but not easily, and the packaging warns against too much ‘bending’!)
You can add pine cones to fill up or cover any empty holes. But not too much. The marbles in the glass gar pick up the light from the dewdrop lights, adding an additional little sparkle and dimension. (I tried to capture this with the camera; utter failure.)
Did I mention how versatile these wooden totes are? For this Christmas, I placed the tote on our coffee table, on a double runner of a Christmas plaid fabric and burlap. Depending on the size of the wooden tote, they can be placed on shelves, countertops, or dining room tables.
I am excited to explore decorating this tote for upcoming seasons. But I’m not sure if I am in love with the paint color of this tote; so I am deciding on whether to paint it or not and if so, what color.
Let me know if you have any ideas!
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I love this and you make it look so easy! I actually like the color, but I can see where it might be a little intense for spring/summer. While I’m sure you could balance it with the colors and textures of the contents, I wonder if you might like it distressed a bit, so that the dark green has some hints of a more grayish green. Beautiful as is, though. Really clear instructions.
Thank you Cathy – my whole goal was to make the process as easy as possible!! And re-using the same ‘support items’, like this little tool tote, for different seasons, really helps keep the expenses down, and the storage minimal. I will think about maybe doing some distressing. As easy as THAT looks, I know it’s hard to make it look right.
I’m thinking that you just may have a very handy man around the house that could build you several totes so you could have a few in different colors. Just a suggestion…
I love the foliage and the lights – it looks great
Amber – thank you for your kind words! I love Christmas lights – it looks festive and cheerful! I think I will be using these little lights quite a bit in the coming months! Thank you for stopping by!
The lights are the perfect touch. These tool totes are so handy for decorating because they are so easy to move without disturbing your display. I love how you used the deep green colours it must look very nice with the lights on in the evening.
Leanna – I wanted a tool tote for the longest time,and I stumbled on that one at a crafts fair. I really want to focus on using it all year round–it’s just so easy to use at Christmas time. I love those little lights; dew drop lights or fairy lights. They seem to have a few different names. I have bought 3 more packages – so I can use them all the time! Thank you for stopping by!