DIY

Rustic Christmas Wrapping

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One of my favorite things to do every christmas is wrap up my presents. I’ve never been a huge fan of using classic wrapping paper, so for the last few years I’ve opted for using just plain brown. This year, I decided to go with a natural, outdoors-y feel, and it may be one of my favorites yet! It’s easy to do, and only takes a few inexpensive supplies. Here’s a peek at what my presents will be looking like under my tree this year.

You can see last year’s wrapping here.

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A Green Home: Part I

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I have openly admitted to my serious obsession over many things – sweets, throw pillows, fall, and most of all, candles. I’m a sucker for buying the candles with the pretty jar, and then at the end of the week (because that’s how quickly I burn through them), I’m left with nothing but a pretty, empty glass container.

After committing to filling my new house with greenery that I hopefully can’t kill (you can see the post about my plans here), I decided it was time to put those empty candle jars to good use. I picked out some cacti and succulents at my local greenhouse to start my cacti garden – part one of my green home. The process is easy, and doesn’t necessarily require a tutorial, but I love the idea of recycling something I once loved, and letting it continue to be a part of my home. Here’s my final results!

P.S. You can find tips about cleaning out your old candle jars here, and tips on cacti care here.

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Textured Vase DIY

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I was having one of those days the other day where I wanted to do something to spruce up my space and give it a little refresh, but wasn’t willing to commit to a full week, or even day, to crafting. I discovered this project on one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess, and was instantly inspired to whip out my scissors and spray paint. It was a fairly quick project (other than watching the paint dry), and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I have always admired and loved Jonathan Adler vases, but was never a fan of the price tag – so this gives me the same quirky look to add to my space without having to pay a pretty penny for it (supplies for this project cost me under $10!).

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Gather supplies. You’ll need: adhesive white foam, scissors, fine sandpaper (optional), white gloss spray paint, clear vases

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Cut out shapes from foam. I chose to make faces on my vases, but any sort of geometric shapes/patterns could be really fun. Adhere to vase. If foam isn’t sticking, you can sand the surface down slightly to make it a little easier to grip.

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Apply several coats of spray paint. Make sure each coat is completely dry before applying the rest.

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Finish with a coat of gloss paint if you’d like more shine. Fill with fresh flowers or leave as is and enjoy your new one of a kind creation!

Wedding Details: Decor

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I talked a lot the last several months about the preparation process for my sister’s wedding. She had a vintage-chic wedding with literary elements. Many of her details at her reception were easy DIY projects (that in hindsight were fun to do), and are simple things that can be incorporated into any party or wedding. Although it would take way too long to recap everything we did for the big day, here’s a quick glimpse at some of the small things we put together to help make her day memorable.

All photographs for this post were taken by Three Little Birds Studio LLC (you can visit their site here) – they were so wonderful and instrumental in capturing these special little details.

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Instead of using a traditional cake stand, we created equal stacks of books (some wrapped in brown paper, some just with covers removed) wrapped in lace to use as a stand. To fill the gaps, we added in some baby’s breath and small white flowers.

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Single bud vases with roses, peonies, and baby’s breath helped create the vintage-chic feal on the tables. We placed about three per table with tea lights surrounding. It seems small, but it was really just enough to add some uniqueness to each table.

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Tables were assigned based on literary couples (Daisy + Gatsby, Romeo + Juliet, Hermoine + Ron, etc). Signs were made out of burlap and glued onto strips of wood to organize which table each guest was seated at. The place cards were designed on a word template, and individual pearls were glued on each.

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The centerpiece for each table consisted of a stack of about 5 books (some wrapped in brown paper) wrapped in either lace, burlap, twine, or a combination of all three. Lace doilies were either placed on top of or underneath the books for added texture on some tables. On each table, we placed two different quotes by the literary couple their table was assigned, in frames that we hand decorated, so that each was completely unique. Each stack of books was then topped off with a mason jar (wrapped with lace and twine), filled with baby’s breath, and finished off with a wooden heart on a stick, stained, with table number stickers placed on.

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For lobby decorations, we had a guestbook that held old library book slips for guests to write little notes to our happy couple. We had a bucket for sparkers, as well as micsalanious personal pictures and decorations scattered throughout the reception area.

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Teacup Saucers DIY

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I recently was given/borrowed from my parents their espresso maker, and have become completely into having a shot of espresso in the morning. I finally purchased little white espresso mugs (you can find them here), but the saucers that accompanied them were a little too plain. I wanted something I could switch them out for with a little bit more personality – so instead of hunting them down online, I figured out a way to make them. Here’s how you can create your own teacup saucers at home.

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Gather supplies. You’ll need: a block of white Sculpey clay, a cookie cutter in desired size, mugs you’ll be fitting saucers to, and Scupley glass glaze.

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Flatten out Sculpey until about 1/4″ thick. Make sure surface is flat with no cracks, and nice and clean.

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Stamp cookie cutter onto rolled out clay and tear off outside edges. Lift up cookie cutter carefully, making sure not to touch the molded clay. Stamp the cup down onto the middle of the saucer to create an imprint where the cup will sit. Make sure to press down evenly and firmly, so the ring will be the same depth all the way around. If the saucers don’t automatically pop up on the sides, very gently fold them up around the saucer using your hands. Smooth out any imperfections this step may have created.

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Bake at 275 degrees F for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely, and then cover both sides with glaze.

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Once covered with the glaze, saucers can get wet, but I suggest not submerging them in water. If beverage does spill onto them, simply wipe them off with a damp cloth to clean. Brew some espresso, and enjoy!

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Magazine Rack

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If you’re anything like me, and have an obsession with magazines, you probably also have a semi-obnoxious collection of them scattered all around your house. I looked around the other morning, and realized I had magazines on my desk, my bookshelf, my ottoman, in a basket, and beside my bed. I had remembered seeing a magazine rack design similar to this at a friend’s house last year, and decided to recreate it for myself. It was a fairly simple project that only took an afternoon to complete (thanks to my dad for lending a hand and his power tools), and it gives me a place to display my most current or favorite issues of magazines. Here’s how you can make one for yourself at home.

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You’ll need: two unfinished wooden frames (I got 16″x20″ from A.C. Moore, but any size will do), at least two colors of paint (I used a basic white acrylic, and Martha Stewart’s metallic gold), a foam brush for each paint color, eye hooks, invisible hanging wire, gold spray paint, and a drill.

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Paint your initial colors onto the front and sides of your frame. I used thinner coats because I liked the look of the unfinished wood showing through.

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Allow to dry completely.

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Once dry, paint your accent color on the inside rim of each of the frames. This is optional – but I like the extra dimension it gives. I used gold accented on white, and white accented on gold.

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While frames dry, spray paint all of the eye hooks gold on both sides. (If you can find gold ones the the store, buy those. I could only find silver, so spray painting was the alternative in order for it to match my color scheme).

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Measure out distance between each eye hook and lightly mark on frame. I used four rows of wire on my horizontal frame, and five on  my vertical (keep in mind the last row will be too low to the ground to use, so make sure you have enough hung higher).

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Drill holes on inside of frame where eye hooks will go.

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Begin to twist eye hook into pre-drilled holes with hands. Once it gets tougher to turn – a little secret to rotating it without scratching the paint of is to stick a screwdriver (or even a pen would work) inside the hook and rotate clockwise).

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Finish turning the hook until completely in and loop faces towards the front of the frame.

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Begin to tie a wire. To tie knot on first hook, loop wire through, double back over itself, and short wrap end of wire around the longer side 5 times. Then pull wire back through the first original hook and trim (knot instructions will most likely be located on the back of your package when purchased). From there, follow the diagram above, making sure to pull extra tight before tying off the wire at the end.

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Looping around eye hooks should look similar to this. Then all that is left to do is hang up your favorite issues and enjoy!

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Potato-Stamped Napkins

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I saw napkins like these in a shop the other day, and realized that they would probably be pretty easy to make at home. After some research, I quickly figured out that potato-stamping was the way to go. I had never heard of the technique before, but it was surprisingly easy and exactly what I wanted. It allowed me to carve the exact shape I wanted, and made my napkins truly one of a kind. Here’s how you can potato-stamp your own napkins at home.

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Gather supplies. You’ll need: A russet potato, sharp knife, set of napkins, fabric paint, and a foam brush.

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Cut the end off of your potato. Then begin to cut your shape – carve into the potato about 1/2″.

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Make sure your cuts are crisp and all excess potato is pulled off. Level off stamping surface as much as possible to avoid having big gaps in your stamp.

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Brush a thin layer of paint onto your stamp and press firmly onto the napkin.  Hold for a couple seconds, and lift off as smoothly as possible.

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Allow to dry for several hours before using. As long as you’ve used permanent fabric paint, your napkins should be completely machine washable. Enjoy!

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