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!

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

diy blue sky umbrella

How to make some sunshine on even the rainiest days!

DIY a little rainy season sunshine!

Obviously if you live in Toronto you’ve noticed that “summer” (what? summer? when?) has made way for a pretty rainy fall. It SNOWED in places in Canada last week. SNOWED. And I mean like Canadian metropolises, not some obscure Arctic village in the territories, an URBAN CITY woke up to enough snow to break out the shovels. In September. It’s enough to break your heart – unless, of course you love fall. Which, full confession, I do.

Fall is my favourite season. I love everything about fall, the leaves, the outfits, the comfortable knits and the spicy candles at the store again, the baristas don’t judge you for ordering hot drinks, you aren’t too hot to make real meals anymore, the list goes on.

And I love rain. When I’m inside and reading a book and listening to 8tracks and burning a candle and rain is hitting the window it’s amazing. When I’m outside in what is essentially a hurricane and my ballet flats are ruined and I have to go to the mall for an emergency shopping spree to buy an entire new outfit because my clothes are soaked through and I have to work? Yeah, not so much.

That’s why we came up with this project to bring a little of that summer sunshine to those gray rainy days! Give that boring black umbrella a makeover so you can enjoy some blue sky – even when the rain gets you down.

diy blue sky umbrella and hunter boots graphic

Materials

  • blue paint
  • white paint
  • sponge brush
  • painting brush
  • umbrella (we got ours at Target for about $10 – it’s huge and inexpensive, perfect for crafting!)

The Process

There are a few different ways to go about this project, and we tried a couple different techniques. Using the trial and error method, we can narrow it down to two options:

1) Fabric paint – this is completed valid, but it didn’t have very good coverage on the vinyl black of the umbrella

2) Craft paint – amazing coverage, but doesn’t dry very flexibly which creates problems when you want to open and close the umbrella.

We settled for a combination of the two. We used the fabric paint first and realized it wasn’t going to cover the black solidly enough.

diy blue sky umbrella fabric paint

However it did create a flexible base that we could put craft paint on top of. I don’t know if the makers of fabric paint meant for it to act that way, but it totally works. Using white craft paint we “primed” the sections of the umbrella.

diy blue sky umbrella primer

After the white dried, we used the blue paint. It only took two coats to get this gorgeous sky blue.

diy blue sky umbrella sky blue paint

I think when you’re crafting you should always use the antique dining set your grandmother gave you. It’s a great size and clearly versatile for all kinds of projects. She maybe wouldn’t agree.

After your blue is dry, use the sponge brush to sponge on white clouds. I made some pretty big abstract clouds, but you could also do a bunch of small ones or go for a more patterned look with a stenciled pattern approach. I think it’s pretty no matter what you do (but maybe I’m biased).

Once everything is dry, give the whole thing a coat of waterproof clear spray paint. I don’t remember what mine was called, but it’s just from the hardware store. I’m sure craft stores have them too. Don’t underestimate this step: I’ve taken my umbrella out in some torrential downpours (see the header for this post, where I drag Justin and Tucker to the beach for what can only be described as “swimming in air – next level rain”) and I’ve never had an issue with the paint coming off. It cracks a little here and there (because of the craft paint) but nothing that noticeable, especially if you aren’t up super close. If you know of a high quality fabric paint then go ahead and use that instead!

umbrella diy final

I actually love the way it turned out. I’m so happy with it, and it definitely makes me smile every time I look up in the rain and see my own patch of blue sky!

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!

paper flower toppers

ImageSo today’s post is part one of a very fun (if we do say so ourselves) two part blog special just in time for spring. Why two parts, you ask? Well being generous we decided rather than shock your senses with the biggest post you’ve ever seen, involving some serious diy (we’re talking hot glue here people) and some baking, and totally overwhelming you in an already stressful season, we’re going to break it up into two, today and Thursday (we rest on Wednesdays haha) so you can fully appreciate the beauty. Holy run on sentence.

Anyways, so basically part one is how to make the decorative aspect of what will be the most show stopping dessert you can ever bring to a party. Plus being able to make paper flowers is a useful skill! Not only is it perfect for some dessert toppers to wow your guests, but you can also make bouquets and wreaths and who knows what else (we’ll work on that list another time!).

So let’s go Party Girls!

DIY Paper Flowers

Materials: 

  • coloured paper
  • glue
  • a pencil
  • a cup
  • toothpicks
  • tissue paper (optional)

Step 1

You’re going to need to grab yourself a paper cup or mug. I snagged one of these little coffee cups from my office kitchenette because they are unquestionably the widest cup you’ll ever see, which makes it easier to roll your flower later. It’ll work with any size though, and once you get good you’ll be able to see how different cups/sizes can change the way your flowers look.ImageFlip the cup upside down on your paper. Use a pencil to lightly trace around the rim. Keep it light so you can erase the pencil marks later.

Step 2

ImageYou want to make your shape sort of look like the type of flower a five year old draws. Keep your hand really loose, you can see how parts of my flower look sharp on the down strokes and that’s not what you want. You want it to me more wave-like than bubbles. Basically if you can get the shape above you’ll do fine though.

Step 3

ImageCut out your shape and continue the waves in a spiral as seen above. Don’t stress about how to end it in the middle (waves get really confusing when you’re going in a circle) you’re going to cut that part off later.

Step 4

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Use your scissors to make a bunch of cuts on the outside end (where you started cutting your spiral) about an inch or two long, making a fringe. This is going to be the middle of your flower. Holding the fringe facing up, start rolling tightly, twisting the spiral around as you go. This may sound confusing but as your start to roll you immediately see how it’s going to look like a flower and you instinctively start adjusting, it’s like your brain giving you a beautiful diy gift.

Step 5

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When you’re finished rolling your flower (this one was a rose because I left my outside a bit sharper like I showed you in step one, the looser you make your waves the different shapes your flowers will be), you’ll know because you will have a section from the middle that won’t twist properly. Cut that piece off. It’s different lengths depending on your size and shape of the flower. It’s weird but just trust me. Use glue on the outside to seal the roll. Add a dab of glue at the top to sort of seal together the different layers. Or skip this step if your flower seems secure, you’ll add glue for the toothpick later anyways.

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Step 6

ImageIf you added glue in step 5 you can just add a bit more to attach the toothpick. If you didn’t, you’ll want to spread your glue around more and then push the toothpick into it. I added another dab of hot glue on top of the toothpick, but depending on your glue that might not be an option. You want it to be secure enough to stand up vertically, and the flowers can have some weight to them, so consider that when choosing your glue. I used a glue gun and I didn’t lose a single flower.

I added some tissue paper leaves to my flowers because I had a pretty shade lying around and I thought, why not? I basically just cut long rectangles and impaled them on the toothpick, pinching the ends of each “leaf” to make them pointed. I didn’t add glue because the tissue paper just stayed there, but you could maybe use some little craft glue if you want to be safe.

And that’s all! Don’t they look sweet? I made about 12 of them in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and using different coloured paper. Make sure to check back on Thursday to get part two of this spring themed dessert!

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diy easter wreath

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I have always had a little obsession with Easter wreaths. My grandmother has had one for years that looks like the whole thing has been constructed with Cadbury mini eggs. As a kid I would simultaneously wonder why someone would waste such perfectly good chocolate, and also envy those pretty pastel colours that brightened up her door every April. This year, after finding some super cute sparkly foam eggs at Dollarama, I vowed to make my own wreath.

The best part about this wreath (aside from the fact it’s adorable and super fun for spring!) is that it cost about $8 total. Maybe $10 if you don’t already own a glue gun. I thought about buying a foam wreath (like the ones you use if you’re making floral arrangements) and then spent what I’m sure was a frustrating (for my boyfriend) ten minutes in the wreath aisle at Michaels before I stumbled upon this great wreath made out of branches for $3! What a steal!

I’d already found these foam eggs (on tacky branches, those were the first thing to go) and little vines of tiny pastel eggs at the Dollarstore, so I spent about $5 on getting a bunch. I didn’t end up using everything but I stuck the leftovers into flower pots around the apartment so it was worth it!

If you live in Canada then Dollarama is your source for eggs just like mine, but if for some reason you can’t find them you can get foam eggs and paint them yourselves, or make cardboard or wood eggs and hot glue those for the same look!

DIY Easter Wreath

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What Do You Need:

– 1 wreath (foam or branches or whatever you’d like, you can get some super inexpensive ones at Michaels, or even the dollar store and just cut off anything tacky)

– decorative eggs

– decorative greenery (mine came with eggs but you don’t need those unless you love it, like me!

– 1 glue gun + glue (obvs)

– strong scissors (for cutting wire if your greenery has wire inside, which it probably will)

** bonus round ** – if you want to add a banner like we did, just use black construction paper and some old kitchen twine with some chalk to create a chalk look like ours!

Step 1

twist

Depending on how you buy it, you might have some unwanted pieces on your greenery and eggs. We just cut off the stuff we didn’t like, such as the big tacky poison ivy-esque leaves and random vines with no eggs (what’s the point!). Use your scissors to get your pieces exactly the way you’d like.

Wrap your greenery around your wreath. I wove it in and out of the branches to secure it rather than use a lot of glue (it can get messy and tacky!) but if you don’t have branches and weaving doesn’t work, try using small dabs of hot glue to secure thicker pieces of greenery. I wrapped mine around the wreath first, then went back and wove each piece through and around to shape it.

Step 2

simple or wild

Do what you feel! I bought two sets of the greenery, one with small white eggs and small pink eggs. I thought about leaving it with just the white because it looked very simple and elegant, but then I decided Easter was for fun colours and just went crazy with the pink too. So it’s up to you! Customize it however 🙂

pink wrap

You can see the pink vines got a little crazy. I snipped off pieces that made it look too crowded, so have those good scissors handy!

Step 3

trim eggs

Get that glue gun ready! If your eggs come on branches, like mine did, you’re going to want to trim them. I left a little piece at the bottom (you can see it in the above photo) so I could get extra leverage when I was gluing, but for the larger eggs the piece was too visible so I cut it right off.

hot glue

 

Try to hot glue your egg rather than the wreath. The wreath as a lot of spaces for glue to trickle down and gravity won’t be your friend when you’re trying to get those eggs on there securely. If you put the glue directly on the egg you get contact exactly where you need it! I did a trial run before I glued and tried the eggs in different places. You can go all out or just add a few eggs. I tried both ways and settled on just a few, but I think another project (next year anyone!?) might be interesting just buying a foam mount and gluing all the eggs to it!

Step 4

making banner

If you like the idea, make a banner! I decided it tied it together, and I love the way chalkboard buntings look so friendly and fun, exactly like Easter! I just cut out little triangles (I didn’t even measure, just freestyled them all, nothing but excitement at the Party Girl!) and taped them onto some twine. I drew the letters on with chalk. You can customize the message all you’d like! I found that some of my letters wanted to flap around and not stay still. The control freak inside me insisted I add a dab of hot glue to the back to weigh the letters down, and they behaved after that!

So that’s that! This whole project was actually super easy, it took maybe half an hour and like I said was crazy affordable, but now my entry looks so festive! Definitely a fun craft to try out this week and wow your fam this weekend!

Happy Easter Party Girls!

final wreath

featured diy: gold leaf paper mache bowls

www.kelliemurray.com

With the holidays approaching there are so many DIY projects that make great gifts or decor options for hosting your holiday party. This gold leaf bowl DIY from kelliemurray.com is one of those examples. It’s gorgeous and super easy, and would make a beautiful gift or could be used on your holiday table!

Gold Leaf Paper Mache Bowls

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ImageFrom here you can paint your bowl any colour you want! For these ones, sticker dots were placed around the bowl and it was painted completely white. After the next step you could still see the stickers through the gold leaf, and removing them left white polka dots! How adorable is that? 

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And voila!

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For full DIY instructions go here!

Hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did! I’m seriously thinking about making a whole set of these and giving them as gifts for holding jewellery and keys at the front door. You could even make a really big one and put some ornaments inside for a table decor idea! I think I might try gold leaf with a regular bowl and see if you can master making your own (waterproof and thus food proof!) dish sets. I’ll have to keep you updated 🙂 

Happy holidays! Stay tuned for our gift guide coming up in a couple weeks, just in time for those last minute shoppers and don’t forget to submit your party ideas and crafts!

P.S-If you’ve never ventured into a craft store before, Michaels and DeSerres both have gold leaf and gold leaf adhesive available for a really reasonable price (I want to say you could get both for like $10 but don’t hold me to that). You’ll need both for the gold leaf portion of this DIY, so if you were wondering where to score those ingredients those are some for sure options. Any local craft store will likely have those products in stock though. You can call ahead if you aren’t sure and ask!