diy holiday wreath

holiday wreath header

Get your front door holiday ready with this easy diy holiday wreath!

I have this obsession with wreaths. I don’t know where it came from, except I probably do because growing up my grandmother always had the most ornate wreaths for every season. I have vivid memories of an Easter wreath that was made up of these pretty little pastel eggs the size of Cadbury Mini Eggs and I LOVED it. To this day. I should ask her where that is. Anyways, back at Easter 2014 I decided to try my hand at wreath making because all my neighbours had wreaths and I was jealous. And also they are adorable.

Of course the holidays are the next best occasion for wreath-ery (I suggested a Halloween wreath but Justin said no. Apparently it’s “disgusting” and “inappropriate” to have a wreath made out of plastic bones and fake blood. Weird.) so I was just DYING for November to come around to get my holiday wreath on.

holiday wreath materials needed

This diy is super simple because really all you need is glue and some imagination. You can get your supplies at any craft store, and I’m a big supporter of these branch looking wreaths from Michaels. I think they’re super pretty and they’re like $3! THREE DOLLARS PEOPLE! I also snagged this glittery faux branch + pinecones there too because they were (and I think maybe still are?) having a 50% off sale on their holiday decor. But you can get this stuff at the dollar store too, so do some digging! I picked up the bells at the dollar store because I felt like adding something extra, but you can do whatever you prefer! I toyed with using ornaments but then decided it looked perfect with just the bells and greenery.

holiday wreath greeneryFirst, wrap the end of your greenery around the wreath. You’re going to glue it but it helps to secure the whole thing, and it gives it some visual interest so it doesn’t LOOK like you just glued fake greenery onto a wreath base, you know?

holiday wreath step 1

Once you have the end tucked in, you can start to lay out your design. When I made the Easter wreath it worked to wrap my twigs around it, but I found for this one I liked the way it looked just sort of scattered on top. You can play around with it until you like the look. Using your hot glue gun, add dabs of glue to the thickest part of your greenery and then use the tip of your gun to press the greenery to the wreath and hold it. You can experiment with different gluing techniques, but I found, given the nature of my branch-wreath-base situation, it made sense to glue the greenery rather than the other way around (there was less surface on the base then the greenery after all).

holiday wreath step 2

holiday wreath step 3

Once you have your greenery assembled, you can add any accents you’d like! I used bells because they were so sweet and inexpensive, and I thought they seemed like they had a bit of a longer relevance (compared to ornaments which I can’t really justify keeping out after Christmas, but bells are so cheerful, why can’t I keep them up through cold February days!?). You can use anything though, like woodland animal figurines or ribbon.

holiday wreath step 4Easy right? And really, once you’ve made one there’s no reason why you can’t make a bunch! In my dream house we have a shelf just for wreaths. Justin doesn’t know about that one yet.

holiday wreath final image

holiday wreath table image

Merry holiday crafting!

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swirl cake

swirl cake header how to make a pink swirl cake

So on Tuesday you got to see how we made this sweet little flamingo cake topper, and now as a bonus we’re going to show you the crazy easy cake we made to showcase it. The best part about this cake (we’ll call it the swirl cake) is that it’s so easy I don’t even know what tip I used. If that bothers you, I can ballpark and say it’s similar to a Wilton 1M, but it came free with the icing gun I got at Target (amazing) and it’s a bit more spread out than the 1M. Either way, it doesn’t really matter as long as you have that rough star shape to give it some texture.

I like to this of this cake as a play on the rosette cake, but maybe a bit more edgy. Okay maybe not at all edgy, but if you aren’t into rosettes then this is a fun compromise, and equally pretty.

swirl cake step 1 crumb coat

First, crumb coat your cake. The beauty of this one is that you’re going to make pretty large swirls, so it takes you about 5 minutes to make this cake and the coverage is amazing, so don’t stress about your crumb coat. This is me justifying how crazy messed up mine looks in these pictures. Yikes.

swirl cake step 2 pink swirl method

Once your crumb coat has settled a little, you can start your swirls. Start on the bottom layer and, unlike the rosette cake, start on the outside of what will be your swirl. Slowly rotate your icing tip forming a circle. The trick is to keep it loose enough that it forms a bit of a loop and doesn’t leave a big gaping hole in the centre. I twisted the end a bit and guided it to where I wanted it so you couldn’t see my crumb coat.

swirl cake step 3 completing the icing design

If you don’t like the little holes in the centre, you can use the swirl as a “frame” for something decorative to fill that void. I know that Bulk Barn has those gorgeous little roses in a million colours you could probably press into it, or make the swirls tighter (maybe to circles around) so there isn’t a gap. I kept mine loose because I wanted to attention to be on the flamingo topper, but ironically every time I see that picture I’m just like “man that cake is adorable”.

I didn’t ice the top of my cake (because of the whole topper thing) but you could continue the swirls on top in a circle spiralling outwards from the centre. I think the swirls set the stage for a cute topper, so if you’re giving the flamingo a try, this cake should be on your to do list!

And that’s all! Easy tutorial for an easy (and pretty!) project!

swirl cake final

flamingo cake topper

flamingo cake topper diy header

Once upon a time I saw a picture of this BHLDN flamingo cake topper in a wedding shoot and fell in love. I love flamingos, and these were SO SWEET, but…they were also crazy expensive for just your everyday party, on like a zero budget. So I pined and I obsessed…and then decided I needed a way to make them myself. They seem pretty daunting, but I think I worked out the kinks enough to make them easy enough to DIY!

First of all, ignore how daunting this looks. You don’t really need half this stuff.

flamingo topper materials

What You Need:

  • large foam ball
  • wire (and wire cutters to save yourself)
  • Cloud Clay (I didn’t know what this was, but Victoria found it and it’s amazing. You can get it at the craft store, it looks like this.)
  • modelling clay (I bought a pack at the dollar store because I wanted the pink, but you could buy better stuff or dye your Cloud Clay)
  • pink paint (mine is from the dollar store)
  • faux flower petals in two shades (I chose a light and dark pink)
  • tissue paper
  • pink ribbon (this is optional, I used it for extra security but you could probably get away without it)
  • 2 skewers
  • glue gun & scissors

First of all, shape a length of wire into an ‘S’ shape, leaving the bottom part extra long. Poke that part through the foam ball and shove it through to form a small loop at the back (for the tail) and the ‘S’ shapes the neck.

flamingo topper step 1

Next, use your Cloud Clay to add some shape to the neck. Smooth the bottom of the clay over the foam ball so there is a base. The best part about this clay is that it stretches to pretty much whatever you need, so you don’t need a lot. I rolled and stretched mine into a tubular shape and then flattened it around the wire. For the head shape, create an oval shape and then pinch the end for a beak. You can manipulate the clay until it looks the way you want, it’s very forgiving and takes 24 hours to dry so you have time to work with it.

flamingo topper step 2

When it looks the way you like, set it aside for a day so you don’t risk smudging the clay while you work on the next part.

Once it’s completely dry (it will weigh considerably less and will be very foam-like to the touch) paint the whole thing. Don’t worry too much about it being perfect, you’ll cover everything up anyways, but it’s a good way to have any bald spots hidden later.

flamingo topper step 3This next step is optional, but I think if you find inexpensive ribbon (again, dollar store find for me) it’s worth it. It gives you a tighter shape for your next step, and it’s easier for the glue to adhere to. Add a dab of glue to the base of the neck and wrap the ribbon up the ‘S’ shape, adding glue as you go. Glue the top piece of the ribbon where the neck becomes the head.

flamingo topper step 4Next, cut your rose petals and tissue paper into fringe shapes. I cut them into rectangles first and then fringed them, but if you have thicker ribbon lying around that would work too. I didn’t, and wanted to cheap out a bit on materials.

flamingo topper step 5

I alternated gluing the fringe around the neck, with them lying in layers covering the top of the fringe below. This gave the neck a little “feathered” look without the cheapness of the feathers (don’t get me wrong, you COULD use feathers, I just didn’t like the look of any I found and the petals seemed so sweet).

flamingo topper step 6

flamingo topper step 7For the body, don’t worry about cutting the petals. Layering the two colours, add dots of glue around the base of the neck, moving towards the tail.

flamingo topper step 10

For the tail you can put some Cloud Clay on your loop of wire to form a base. I also used some to shape the head a bit more.

flamingo topper clay collageWhile your clay is drying, you can work on the legs. Paint your two skewers pink and use a little ball of pink modelling clay to form the knees. Stick the sharp ends into the foam ball.

flamingo topper flamingo legsPaint the head however you like, but I used pink paint with a small black eye and beak. You could add googley eyes or more ornate drawings if you prefer! Once your tail is dry you have this flat base for gluing your petals. I just layered mine in a relatively linear way to sort of resemble tail feathers. I covered the bottom of the tail too, but not in this picture so you could see what it looks like. Ignore that last petal, there was a minor Diet Coke problem. My bad.

flamingo topper step 13

And that’s it! It took a little while when you count drying times and stuff, but it wasn’t that difficult once I figured out how I wanted everything. And it looks so sweet, I have it on my desk in a little vase just for fun!

flamingo topper step 15

flamingo cake topper diy

homemade dog treats

dog treats header

Last weekend I promised to help my mom with a bake sale at a fundraising event her rescue does every year in Mississauga. It’s always hugely successful and pretty adorable so it seemed only fair to contribute to their first year introducing a bake sale element. I decided to make some little cupcakes with sugar cookie dog bone toppers, sugar cookie wiener dogs, and dog treats. Pause to reflect on the fact I individually packaged these things:

wiener dog treats

The moment I finished the doggies biscuits I knew I was on to something. Justin and I are always super careful about the ingredients we give Tucker (which is so neurotic and pointless, he eats dirt like really who are we kidding) in his food and treats, but ultimately you can never be 100% about what goes into the snacks you give your fur babies (or slip them casually at all times because you spoil your dog and it’s awful and he’s going to be fat and your brother and boyfriend make fun of you and you’re an enabler but anyways). That is, unless of course you make them yourself at home, with easy ingredients, at batch quantities you would be spending a fortune on at the pet store.

I did a little digging and found this recipe for dog treats that contains all good ingredients that are generally (you can’t please everybody!) agreed to be healthy and delicious for dogs and had to share.

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 2 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • *bonus item: a dog bone shaped cookie cutter (I got mine in the 100 piece set I got and Home Outfitters but they sell them at Bulk Barn for like $0.69)

dog treats materials

Some of the more culinary-orineted may have this stuff lying around the house. I didn’t even know what pumpkin puree was so I’m going to offer you a bonus round called “where can I find this stuff”? I got the dry ingredients (like whole wheat flour, wheat germ, and flax seed) at Bulk Barn. They had all of it and I was able to buy just what I needed, which meant no weird bags of unidentified powders in the spice cupboard 6 months later (we’ve all been there). I found the applesauce and pumpkin puree at Target (but any grocery store would work, I just happened to be at a Target). Make sure it’s all natural straight up from-the-apple sauce, not the school snack variety because there’s a lot of extra in that. Where is that mysterious pumpkin puree you ask? It is not, as Justin helpfully suggested, in the can food section. I guess because those are canned “meals”, and if you eat pumpkin puree straight out of the can you’re weird, because that stuff smells gross. It’s in the pie section. Which is in the baking aisle. Presumably because the number one use for pumpkin puree is, shockingly, PIE!

I don’t think you need advice on the other stuff, those were just the biggies.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350º
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ, and flax seed.
  3. In another bowl, combine the honey, eggs, oil, water, applesauce and pumpkin puree until everything is blended. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients bowl and stir until you have a consistent “batter”.
  4. Note: This batter is STICKY. You’re going to feel like you can’t possibly roll it out. It reminded me of the champagne cookies we made. You’re going to want a LOT of flour on your counter, and keep it at hand. There may be a way to adjust the recipe to avoid that, but this was my first time. I’ll keep you posted. I tried adding more flour to the mixture but it didn’t make much difference. Rolling it out on a well floured surface works fine though!
  5. Roll it out and use your cookie cutter to cut out bone shapes (or whatever you prefer!) You could also go old school and just do little balls like cookies. At this point you’re basically going for the same technique you use for sugar cookies. Keep the dough rolled out about 1/4″ thick, and use a spatula to pick it up. If your counter isn’t floured enough, the dough won’t want to come up, so keep it dry!
  6. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until they’re very dark and hard. This is where the opposite technique of cookies comes into play.
  7. I don’t think I should have to mention this, but the original recipe did so now I’m worried. Wait until these are cool before you offer them to your dog. OBVIOUSLY.

dog treats process

They actually are delicious though. Obviously I can’t say that with authority but I’m assuming they’re delicious because the recipe made about 3 dozen and Tucker is on a binge to destroy them all. Lucky dog.

These maybe won’t keep your party guests satisfied, but they’d be great as little favours for your pet-loving friends, or as a gift for that health-conscious pet owner friend you have (you can only buy them so many smoothie machines before it gets weird). Or, if you’re like Victoria, you could use them at a dog party (she’s obsessed).

Let us know what you think and if you have some time give it a try! Even your fur babies deserve some celebrating after all.

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woodland cake stand

woodland cake stand header

A few weeks ago I was walking Tucker outside and noticed some men with chainsaws cutting down this gorgeous old tree in front of our building. Like any normal person, I dragged my poor innocent golden retriever towards the chainsaws and charmed the maintenance workers into giving me my choice of some of the branches. You may be asking why. Well, once upon a time Fernanda found this pretty wood slice that I decided would be perfect for a cake stand to show off woodland themed cupcakes (my new obsession). But of course weeks went by and we couldn’t (by we I mean me. It was me. I’m picky.) find a base that would work. And I despaired of ever having a cake stand, until the chainsaws.

So, with some help from Tuck, who was committed to dragging the branch indoors for me, I lugged a big branch about three feet tall into our apartment…and hid it in the bathtub (because okay, bugs, right?). I let it dry out for a couple days. After finding some spray-can sealant in the storage room (I want to tell you what it was called but I threw the can out afterward. I know it was like a spray-paint glue) I sprayed the hell out of it in case there were bugs. But I got lucky and it was fine.

We used a mitre saw (I don’t know what that means, I just asked what it was called) to cut the branch down to a normal cake stand size. While we were at it I asked my dad (operating the saw) to cut some extra slices for coasters. Two birds, right?

woodland cake stand

Then I just used this wood glue to attach the base. I let it adhere for 24 hours with a heavy book on it, but that was likely overkill. It actually bonded incredibly well – it’s so strong!

woodland cake stand 2

This barely counts as a diy, but I wanted to share just to show you how easy it is to make your own cake stand, with zero money and sharp blades! You’re welcome 🙂

woodland cake stand final

diy cone tray

cone tray header

Okay so you may be asking, why would I ever make a cone tray. What exactly is the purpose of a cone tray? Where would you use a cone tray? These are valid questions. These are the same questions Justin asked when I informed him I wanted to make one. He still eyes it suspiciously, but I’m telling you once you have one it makes the world make sense.

In case you aren’t sold on why this diy is great, here are a few reasons why I think everybody needs a cone tray:

  1. If you ever are serving ice cream cones at a party or bbq and have to serve more than two. Actually more than one. What do you do with the first one while you scoop? Where should you put it? Where is the kid that asked for it? Where is the rest of the party helpers? Why are you alone hold a dripping ice cream cone and ruining your sundress by using your body as an extra hand while you scoop? This is a real life issue, and the cone tray solves everything. ca4395a57ebb51afd6526268d5a4a602
  2. Say you’re having a movie night and you want to serve popcorn. But you want everybody to have their own. But you don’t want to give everybody their own bowl (hello, who does those dishes after?) or make like 6 different bags of popcorn. It’s chaos. It’s anarchy. It’s why you need to learn how to make paper cones and serve popcorn in them – ON YOUR CONE TRAY.
  3. Say you want an adorable display of confetti throwing madness, so you make some pretty paper cones and put confetti in them but then want to serve them butler-style to your guests because everything is more fun that way – cone tray.4feea293e492e2c7d71df08ab6a3ba10
  4. Say you make better choices than I do and serve fruit in waffle cones like a grown up – how cute would those look on a special tray? 9951425228ee71eacb686137d413f14f
  5. Rose petals! 7a121e3d25cfc6571373745b01209037
  6. All of the above with different varieties of food because I’m incredibly creative and can play this game forever.

I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re convinced now. This is how you can make your own.

First, you need a piece of wood. I made mine very spontaneously. As in, imagine me sitting somewhere, thinking instantly I need a cone tray, and then insisting on making it that minute with no special supplies. I’m super fun to be around. Anyways because of that I used leftover floor hardwood. Honestly though any piece of wood would work.

cone tray step 4

You also need a hole saw. I didn’t know what this was, but it’s like a hole drill bit you put on the end of the saw. Make sure you pick one with a diameter the fits a standard size cone.

cone tray step 1

You can choose a design that works for you. I decided to make a bunch of holes on a relatively wide piece because I’m generally having groups of people over at a time. A more realistic number of holes would maybe be 4 or 5. I’ve never been a realistic person.

Anyways, have a grown up (haha) drill the holes for you if you aren’t familiar with a hole saw. I find them super confusing so Justin did it. That, and plus I’m not allowed to use power tools in our house after a minor infraction. So unfair.

cone tray step 2

cone tray step 3

After you drill the big holes, use a relatively large bit to make two holes on either side for your handles.

cone tray small holes

I used this pretty burlap-esque ribbon with polka dots because it was too sweet, and I painted my tray white because I figured it matched everything. But you can do whatever makes you happy.

cone tray handles

And that’s that! It really is a useful project, promise!

cone tray final 1

diy painted footed glass vase

painted vase header

One of my favourite parts about summer is bringing in some of the sunshine to my apartment. So of course when I saw these sunflowers on sale I bought three bunches, and then immediately realized they deserved a bit more fun than a boring old glass vase I had. And after I finished this super easy project, I was struck by how cheap and simple it was – perfect for tossing some last minute party decor together! If you need a centrepiece for your next party and a regular vase needs some diy magic, this is the trick for you!

materials vase

You can find most of these materials at the dollar store. I bought the little vase there. I found the footings at Michaels a little while ago when I first thought about doing this, and they have flat sides on them perfect for gluing to the bottom of your vase. We bought glass paint but honestly I wasn’t a huge fan of it. I think depending on how often you think you’ll be washing it/how carefully you’ll be while washing it, regular craft paint will work just as well. I also had white craft paint, tape, transfer paper, a printed design, and a glue gun.

I would say you could do the same project with about half the stuff, but I’ll show you how I did it anyways.

footings vase

First, paint your footings. I decided to paint them white because I liked the contrast, but you can do whatever you prefer. I used craft paint and it dried almost instantly.

warp vase

This is a step you could probably skip. I decided I couldn’t hand draw a perfect chevron, so I used some transfer paper I had left over from another project and a chevron pattern I printed off the Internet.

I wrapped the etching paper around the vase, securing it with tape. I repeated that with the design on top.

sketch etchings

Use a dowel or pencil eraser or something to trace your design. It will leave behind a mark on your etching paper.

etching marks

You can see the etching marks a bit here (I made extra to show you). I would suggest getting some painters tape, but I didn’t have any so I used washi tape. I think it was fine, but it was so pretty I hated to waste it on this. Still, I taped along my graphite lines just to be extra straight.

vase painted

My complaint about the paint was that when I peeled off the tape, even going super slow and giving it like two days to dry out, the paint seemed to stick to the tape, and stretched when I peeled off the tape. It was very elastic like paint, which was frustrating because it ruined a lot of my lines. I ended up free handing it and sort of casually drawing lines so it looked a little deliberately crooked.

I think if you give it a try, either free hand it and save yourself the trouble, or try craft paint and see if that’s better.

vase with footings

Once your paint is dry, flip over your vase and use a hot glue gun to stick your footings on.

vase final

And that’s that! It added such a cheerful vibe to the apartment, especially with those gorgeous flowers (locally grown in Ontario too, pretty cool!) to liven it up. With all the rain we’ve had this week it was nice to have a spot of sunshine inside.

Let us know what you think, and definitely give this project a try! It would make a great hostess gift with some blooms tucked inside already, or amend the idea and make some pretty coasters or candle holders.

Happy Thursday!