Tag Archives: DIY

DIY BAR ART

diy-bar-art-1
Crafty is not a word I typically use to describe myself. I don’t often craft, and I don’t consider myself to be great at it when I do.

That being said, I love easy, homemade projects that look unique and save money!

So far I’ve been able to decorate most of our apartment with artwork (and unofficial artwork) that we already had. I was looking for a little something fun for our bar area, and I’m so pleased with the results! Here’s how to make your own:
diy-bar-art-2
Supplies
patterned 12” x 12” scrapbook paper or card stock (I got mine for $0.99 each at Joann Fabric)
adhesive vinyl letters (I used these*)
12” x 12” record frame (I used this one)
pencil & paper (post-its work great!)

*A quick note about the letter size: using the 4-inch letters that I did will only allow you to create 2 rows of text. I learned this the hard when when trying to write “Home Is Where the Gin Is” Tragic, I know. If the quote you want to put on your square will require 3 rows, I recommend you use these 3-inch letters.
diy-bar-art-3
Instructions
First, make sure you choose a color combination (letters and paper) that will be easy to read. Sketch your quote out on paper (post-it’s are great because they are square) and decide which words will go on which line. Keep in mind the size of the letters and don’t make the lines too long.

Start applying you letters in the bottom left corner. Complete the bottom line and then move up from there. Place in the frame and hang!
diy-bar-art-4
I love this project because it’s super easy. I found that these letters were actually able to be removed from the page (if done almost immediately) and repositioned if you accidentally misplace it. But I think some imperfections give it more charm!

This project is super customizable, take almost no time to complete, and can be done for less than $20. More money for booze and time to enjoy it!

FRAMED GIFT WRAP: WALL ART ON THE CHEAP

Framed-Gift-Wrap-4
If there’s one thing I can’t deal with, it’s being surrounded by white walls. It makes me feel like I am going in insane. I once worked in an office surrounded only by empty whites walls, without a window in sight. I waited everyday for them to bring me my straight jacket.

Having also just moved into a new apartment, I know first hand how expensive it can be decorate a new space! Like, crazy expensive!

One of my favorite solutions? Framed gift wrap! Many independent stationary shops, plus larger chains like Paper Source and Papyrus, carry some of the most beautiful gift wrap. It often comes in sheets perfectly sized to fit a standard frame. It can also be easy cut to fit multiple smaller frames, and is literally a fraction of the cost of most wall art prints.

Here are a few of my favorite choices for framed gift wrap that will look beautiful throughout your apartment:
Framed-Gift-Wrap-1
Cavallini Papers & Co. Vintage Maps, $3.95 per sheet (also pictured above): Cavallini Papers & Co. has an awesome collection of vintage map gift wrap that I don’t think I could ever intentionally let be torn up! They feature countries like Italy and the UK, cities like Paris and Venice, plus more!

I purchased the frame for the above map of Manhattan for about $20 at Michaels, making this whole 20”x28” hanging just about $25…not bad!
Framed-Gift-Wrap-2
Papyrus Femme Floral Wrap, $5.95 per roll, : I absolutely love this pattern and will likely be putting it up in our bathroom soon! Using square record frames and rotating the pattern with each hanging will make each panel look a little different.
Framed-Gift-Wrap-3
Cavallini Papers & Co. Donuts Wrap and Macarons Wrap, $2.95 per sheet: I love how colorful both of these prints are! They would look awesome side by side in a kitchen, office, or any other space that needs a little color!

What are you favorite solutions for low-budget decor?

HOW TO: WRITE YOUR OWN SECULAR WEDDING CEREMONY

secular-wedding-ceremony
When John and I got engaged we knew we wanted to have a secular wedding ceremony. We also decided that we would rather be married by a family friend who knew us both well rather than hiring an officiant we barely knew at all. That ultimately meant that, in addition to all the other planning, we were going to have to write our own ceremony.

This felt like a really daunting task at first, but in the end I think it was one of the best decisions we made. Our wedding day, and the ceremony especially, felt like such a blur in the moment that I’m not sure I would have remembered much of it had we not written it ourselves.

After researching a variety of different types of ceremonies, we found the easiest way to write the ceremony was to decide which pieces we wanted for ours, write an outline accordingly, and then fill in each part. Breaking it down into these little pieces made it feel so much easier to tackle and much easier to customize – omitting parts that didn’t feel right and inserting elements that did.
secular-wedding-ceremony-2
The general outline of our ceremony was:

Opening: This was a welcome read by the officiant prior to the processional. We chose to have an unplugged ceremony, so that was included in the opening as well.

Address: This is how the ceremony continued after the processional. For us, it included a little bit about love and how we came to find it in each other. But we did open it up with the “mawiage” quote from A Princess Bride to keep things on the lighter side!

Two Readings: Doing any readings is, of course, optional, but we loved the idea of being able to incorporate more family that wasn’t in our bridal party into the ceremony. My aunt read a fantastic poem by Taylor Mali called How Falling In Love Is Like Owning a Dog. If you and your partner are dog parents I highly recommend it! John’s grandmother read a lovely quote about soul mates by Richard Bach.

Blessing of the Hands: We came across a poem often referred to as the Blessing of the Hands and fell in love with it immediately. It originates from Celtic Hand-fasting ceremonies, read after the couple’s hand are wrapped in chords for each vow. We didn’t do a hand-fasting, but just held hands during this part. I think it’s a good example of how writing your own ceremony lets you incorporate whatever you want!

Rings & Vows: This is the most obvious and essential part of any ceremony, but there’s not rules to how you do it. Generally, you can choose to write your own vows, repeat traditional vows, or have them read in a “do you promise to…” format to which you simply answer, “I do!” We researched many different sets of traditional & non-traditional vows and did a bit of a vow-remix to get them to our liking. Neither of us felt confident we’d be able to get through reading or repeating, so we opted for the question and “I do!” way!

Closing: This is the standard pronouncement of marriage and call for a kiss!
secular-wedding-ceremony-3
Let me be clear that while maybe half of the address was written from scratch, most of the ceremony was not! We found A Practical Wedding to be an invaluable resource with tons of different types of ceremonies and vows to draw both inspiration and direct passages from. All in, our ceremony was probably about 15-20 minutes including the processional.

Have you written your own secular wedding ceremony before or helped someone do it? Attended one you absolutely loved? Tell me about it!

All photos by Matthew Bender

DIY FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS WITH LEAF TV

diy-flower-arrangements-1
I recently discovered Leaf TV, the brain child of lifestyle and fashion blogger Geri Hirsch and self development expert and blogger Erin Falconer. Have you heard about this? The concept is simple: the site is an archive of 30-90 second videos each demonstrating a simple how-to. The categories range from food to fashion to general lifestyle topics and each video includes written instructions below for clarity.

I’m still exploring everything they offer, but once I came it across it I immediately watched all of the floral arrangement videos. For me, putting flowers in a vase is something that always feels like it should be simple but very rarely comes out as I wanted. Watching a video of someone who actually knows what they’re doing was so helpful!
diy-flower-arrangements-4
If you are one of those people with a Pinterest board devoted to beautiful table scapes lined with beautiful flowers, you have to check out the Bud Vase Arrangements video. It’s gives a pretty good idea of how many flowers to buy for how many bud vases. I couldn’t believe how easy it is to get such a nice look.
diy-flower-arrangements-3
This Simple Tulips is a little less obvious. It shows how many you need to use for a decent arrangement and how to trim them to make them all fit but still look full. Tulips are everywhere this time of year but I always have a hard time making them look nice. Not this year!
diy-flower-arrangements-2
The Pretty in Peonies video opened my eyes to two things. First, that it is possible to use those short square vases in a way that actually looks nice and intentional – something I’ve never achieved. Second, apparently that weird green foam in the craft store can be used for REAL flowers, not just fake ones.

We’re still waiting for all of our stuff to arrive and are spending the week assembling new furniture for our new apartment. It’s going to take a little time to make this place feel like home, but I don’t think a fresh DIY flower arrangement will hurt!

All photos sourced from Leaf TV.

HOMEMADE INFUSED OILS

Infused-Oil
A few weeks ago I posted about non-wine hostess gifts, and these homemade infused oils should definitely be added to the list.

But first, make some for yourself.

I used small cork bottles that hold about 1 1/4 cup of liquid (similar here). I first filled the bottle with water and then poured that into a measuring cup to know exactly how much oil to use. The flavors of these oils are somewhat mild. If you are looking for something more potent, simply increase the flavor to oil ratio.

Thyme Oil
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
12 full sprigs fresh thyme

Add the oil and 6 sprigs of thyme to a small sauce pan and place over medium heat. Heat until the thyme starts to sizzle. Let the thyme sizzle for 3-5 minutes, making sure it does not burn. Remove the pan from heat and let cool without removing the thyme springs. Meanwhile, place the remaining 6 sprigs of thyme in your bottle. Once the oil has cooled, remove the cooked thyme. Use a funnel to pour the oil into the bottle. Let sit for at least 1 hour before corking.

Garlic Oil
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
6 whole cloves garlic

Add the oil and 6 cloves of garlic to a small sauce pan and place over medium heat. Heat until the garlic starts to sizzle. Let the garlic sizzle for 3-5 minutes, making sure it does not burn. Remove the pan from heat and let cool without removing the garlic. Once the oil has cooled, use tongs to place each garlic clove into the bottle. Use a funnel to pour the oil into the bottle. Let sit for at least 1 hour before corking.

Chile Oil
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
10 dried chilis (I used chiles de arbol)

Add the oil to a small sauce pan and place over medium heat. Crack the tops of 3 chiles open and pour the seeds into the oil. Heat until the seeds start to sizzle. Let the seeds sizzle for 3-5 minutes, removing the oil from heat once they start to brown. Let the oil cool. Meanwhile, place the remaining 7 whole chiles in your bottle. Once the oil has cooled, use a funnel to pour the oil into the bottle. Let sit for at least 1 hour before corking.

Homemade-Infused-Oils
These oils are an easy way to add an extra layer to just about anything. Use them to sauté vegetables or drizzle on top of hommus and soups. I made these oils with single flavors, but you could also combine multiple herbs and garlic in one oil. I especially like to use herbs that are tough to find where I live – that way I can still get their fresh flavor when they’re not in stock at the store.

Have you infused oils at home before? What are some of your favorite flavors?

PAINT DRIPPED TREE ORNAMENTS

Ornaments

I’ve been working on building our supply of Christmas decorations cause it’s my thang and we don’t have many as far as I’m concerned. We are especially lacking in the tree ornament department – no one likes a naked tree! Last week I shared the Christmas stockings I made in just a few simple steps. I’m so pumped about how they came out that I decided to make some tree ornaments to match!

These paint dripped tree ornaments are really simple to make. What I like most is that you can make them in any color you want! You can make these with glass or plastic globe ornaments – I chose to use plastic because my dog knows not what her tail is capable of. I recommend you do the same if you have animals or kids. I’m expecting it will also increase their longevity when packed away most of the year!

Continue reading

MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

Final

Christmas decorating is really my jam this time of year. It’s a bit of a ritual for me. A ritual that involves playing A Motown Christmas on loop for hours, and when my husband can’t take it any more just switching it to Christmas in the Heart by Bob Dylan.

Last year I pulled together a pretty cozy living room situation, but was mostly borrowing my sister’s decorations. I started looking to build up our own collection this year and was unimpressed. A lot of the Christmas stockings I found were expensive and felt kind of sterile. Once I found this awesome fabric on Etsy I knew I could make something way cuter for much cheaper.

I am a novice at best when it comes to sewing projects and had to relearn how to use my machine in creating these – but it still worked! I used about a yard of the red fabric and the quilt batting and half a yard of the blue patterned and green fabrics and that was enough to make 3 stockings. Be sure to wash and iron your fabric before you start this project (with the exception of the quilt batting).

Continue reading