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!

ruffle cake

ruffle cake header

Ruffle cakes are at the top of my list for things that I absolutely adore every time I see them. They are so sweet. They’re adorable. They are the dessert equivalent of summer dresses (that one is maybe relative). But man, they are HARD. The first time I tried to make a ruffle cake it looked like something my sister made. I think I told people she made it. I’m a horrible person. But when we had a birthday to celebrate at the office I decided I could only rock the rosettes (my go to decorating technique) for so long, and it was time to live on the edge. After some blood, sweat, and tears (just kidding it was all very hygienic and normal) I was so so so impressed with how it turned out, so I had to share!

One thing I will note is that if you are doing this maybe don’t do it in such a bright colour (like, ahem, yellow) because it catches the light so well the shadows don’t show up as well and it’s hard to tell there’s actual depth there. This is obviously only an issue if you’re photographing your cake in detail. I.e. if you’re doing a blog post and want to show people how to make this cake, don’t do it in yellow. Oops. Just trust me, the ruffles are there.

Like the rosette cake, a lot of the true work here is in the decorating tip you use. I experimented with a few (bakers everywhere will have a different preference, and it’s impossible to please them all, and everybody is different, and blah blah do what makes you happy) before I found the Wilton 104. It’s a good mix because the ruffles aren’t so big they fall on you but it also gives you enough to get a good angle.

Tip #2 for this one would be to decorate a tall-ish cake. We make a lot of mini cakes which are so cute and great, but they’re hard to get a lot of ruffles on. Make sure you trim your cardboard cakeplate so you can get right up to the side of the cake. You need to be able to hold your hand at a weird angle so once you get to the base that angle is a bit complicated. I would suggest a two-plate system, where you have one trimmed right to the bare minimum and another to put the finished product on. This all makes sense once you get started.

First step, crumb coat your cake. We’ve talked about that before, but basically you’re slathering icing on your cake to keep everything together. After you crumb coat, stick it in the fridge. You want it to be firm or the icing will sag under the weight of the ruffles. You can cool your icing bag as well, but if it’s too firm you can’t pipe a sticky enough icing to “stick” to your cake, so keep that in mind. A general rule would be maybe 5 minutes for your piping bag and 15 for your crumb coated cake.

ruffled cake step 1

To start your ruffle, I would suggest starting at the top. There is no scientific reason for this, except that if it starts to sag you can prop it up with another ruffle below, whereas starting from the bottom gives you less of a back up plan. That’s almost the same as science, right?

Holding your icing bag with the fat end of the tip facing down, angle your hand so the fat end (the bottom) of the tip is touching your cake, while the skinny end has space between it and the cake.

ruffled cake step 3

This is where the angle is super important, and why you need to be able to get right up beside your cake. If your cake is the same size as your decorating wheel (i.e. not the same size as mine) this will be easier for you. Gently squeeze the icing out as consistently as you can while slowly spinning the wheel to go all the way around your cake. You want to be as consistent as possible, but don’t stress too much; the different pressures will only create interest in the ruffles. You’ll see when you start squeezing the way the ruffles are going to sit. If you want tighter ruffles, angle your hand less, so it’s more horizontal. You can control the way they look with your angles so feel free to experiment. Make sure you keep the fat end against the cake, or your ruffles won’t have anything to adhere to!

ruffle cake step 4

Once you finish a ruffle, start the next one below. I tried to start and stop in the same place each time so there was a bit of a “seam” at the back of the cake. It just made it cleaner from the front. I’m also crazy. If you want your ruffles to be more spaced out, adjust your tip placement accordingly. I did these ones pretty loose, but when I do another one I’ll probably do more. Basically put the next ruffle right underneath the first one, so there is only a tiny little space between the edges of the ruffles.

ruffled cake step 2Depending on how clean you want your ruffles to look, you can go faster or slower, and work with a more/less liquid consistency on your icing. I feel like in these pictures they look a little messy, but they look normal in real life, honest. The best part about this technique is, like the rosette cake, you see how it’s supposed to look the moment you start. So once you do your first ruffle, you get the hint about how the rest need to look, and it helps you guide from there!

So that’s that! Give it a try yourself this weekend, it’s super cute!

ruffle cake final

 

friday faves: august 22

header friday favesHappy Friday my darlings. Can we side note briefly to address that as I wrote that my mind automatically went to this movie:

tumblr_naieyorgRN1sigdz3o1_500

I know why but also I don’t know why. I just wanted share.

ANYWAYS, here’s what we loved this week:

friday faves 1

 

 

friday faves 2

 

 

friday faves 3

1. This pretty (and personal!) diy confetti from Femme Fraiche

2. This adorable Fantastic Mr. Fox themed birthday for the sweetest little boy on 100 Layer Cakelet

3. These easy diy treat boxes from Make And Tell, perfect for sharing some goodies with your besties, and customizing for any party!

4. This stunning Mid-Summer Night’s Dream inspired wedding cake from Rosalind Miller

5. This gorgeous rustic wedding with the perfect touch of elegance from Rock My Wedding

 

I’m still swooning over these finds. I think Friday Faves is my new fave thing. Have a great week Party Girls!

 

 

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

friday faves: august 15

header friday faves

We spend our week surrounded by some amazing and talented social media peers, and it seems unfair to not share some of the projects we’ve found on our hunt for cool recipes, products, and events for inspiration. We get to showcase some of our favourite bloggers and party-planners on social media, but it’s so hard to showcase everybody, and they all deserve to be recognized for how beautiful they’re making every day!

That’s why we decided on a new special series called “Friday Faves”. Every Friday we’ll share a little round up of what inspired us all week, and give you the chance to head to their blogs to check them out. It’s only fair for you to be as in love with them as we are, after all.

So for the first faves post, here’s what we love this week:

friday faves 1

friday faves 2

friday fave 3

1. These crazy amazing delicious sinful Raspberry Peach Sorbet + Kombucha Floats from Edible Perspective

2. This adorable and mega-fun looking Banana Split Cake from an equally sweet photoshoot on Style Me Pretty

3. The pretty styling genius of this sorbet coloured dessert table at the anniversary party for Minted & Vintage

4. This delicious new breakfast bar idea that might need to be a feature in all my mornings ever, a bagel bar with tasty toppings from 100 Layer Cakelet

5. This super creative idea for serving some (healthy-ish!) summer treats in a pineapple boat from The House That Lars Built

 

Get inspired with some of these ideas and give one a try! Happy weekend!