Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Be mine, Valentine!

Valentine's Day is upon us once again. I love love! And I always feel it's best to use this holiday to show my love with cards, candy, or even text messages to people I care about. I'm fortunate to have not only my husband to share it with, but my parents, siblings, and plenty of friends I like to call my "Galentines." One of my Galentines hosted a brunch for us gals over the weekend, which was a lot of fun!

Another one of my very best Galentines, Julee, is known to many of you for her blog DIY Louisville. This year the two of us have decided to take our love of holidays, crafting, and party planning to the next level by collaborating on a new project called Party in Lou! I hope you'll check out our website and follow our Instagram page @PartyinLou!

My creation for this Valentine's "Smooch" party decor was an ombré pink pom-pom banner. I love making pom-poms with yarn. It's so relaxing, and which a plastic pom-pom maker it's super easy, too! All I did was buy one skein of the pink ombré yarn and made several pom-poms in varying sizes (from 3-4 inches) in diameter with the pom-pom maker. Then I trimmed the pom-poms down with scissors, which is how you get such a soft, fuzzy look for your pom-poms.

Using a large sewing needle, I threaded the pom-poms onto a length of yarn to turn them into a pom-pom banner. It is a great decoration, and easily customizable for your theme. Julee came up with the idea of a "Smooch" lips theme for a Valentine's Day party. With her crafted cake toppers, my pom-pom banner, and some simple red, pink, black, and white decor, we were all set to have the cutest party decor.

It didn't hurt that there was cake to match the theme as well! Julee and I agree that handmade items go a long way to make a party feel special. That's why we're so excited to be collaborators on Party in Lou. We hope you'll join us on Instagram and follow our website.

Not it's your turn: What is your favorite party decoration to handcraft? Or, what is the party decoration you would like to learn to make?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Kentucky State String Art

A few years ago I was able to do a community craft at BlockParty Handmade in downtown Louisville. The craft that we made was Kentucky state string art. We were lined up on the sidewalk with our hammers and nails, crafting away. It was so much fun that I wanted to share a tutorial on how to make this easy project. 

What you will need:
1 wooden board (from craft store or hardware store)
1 small box of nails
String in the color of your choice (should contrast in color to your background wooden board)
1 hammer
1 computer print out of your state shape (in this case, Kentucky)
tweezers (optional)

Start by selecting a surface to hammer on that won't cause any damage. Here, I've chosen a tile counter top but places a piece of cardboard between the surface and the wooden board to protect the counter.

Next, take your print out and begin to hammer nails along the outline of the state's shape.

Continue hammering around the outline until you are satisfied with the shape.

Slowly tear away the paper from the nails. (Tweezers can help pull out stubborn pieces of paper if needed.)

Once all the paper is removed, you are left with your state shape!

Now for the really fun part! Get comfortable on a couch watching your favorite show, and go to town running your string through the nails. Start by tying off a piece of the string to one nail and then tightly wind the string in a random way around the nails to create your string art.

Your string art can be woven through the nails as thick or thin as you like, it's up to you! 

When you are finished, tie off the string on one nail and clip the string from the spool leaving a tail. Weave the tail ends of the string through the string art (try the tweezers again if you need help).

Now you are finished! Look at the beautiful project that you created!

Feeling stressed in the New Year already? Try this satisfying project and hammer your frustrations away!

The Kentucky state string art piece can be displayed on a shelf or mounted to a wall. No matter how you display it, you can proudly tell everyone that you made it by yourself!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2018 Quilt Round-Up

One of the things I enjoy most about year-end is reflecting on the things I did that year. Of course, setting goals for the year ahead is always fun, too, but of all the crafts I made for 2018, I was really proud of myself for making and finishing four quilts! Three were baby gifts for my newest nieces and nephew, plus the Halloween Haberdashery quilt I made in October.

Halloween Haberdashery (Witch Hat) Quilt

Baby Girl Quilt #1

Baby Girl Quilt #2

Baby Boy Quilt

The best part about making quilts for me is picking out and piecing all of the different fabrics. The designs for the three baby quilts were all made up on my own, while I did use a pattern for the hat blocks on the Halloween quilt. I've learned a lot of new tips and tricks since starting my journey of self-taught quilt-making and am proud to say I conquered my fears of free-motion quilting! (YouTube really can teach you just about anything!) 

Now that it's 2019, I already have plans (and fabrics) for more quilt-making in the New Year. Plus, maybe I'll finally finish the quilt I started for my Mom years ago. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Emoji Birthday Party

As a crafter, I love to make things, and that's no different when it comes to planning parties. I love working on coordinating food and decor around a party theme. That's why I was excited to plan an emoji-themed birthday party for my nephew a while ago. 

At the time, his favorite emoji was the "cool dude" smiley face with the sunglasses, so I used that as inspiration for my emoji cake. I just used a boxed cake mix and white icing mixing with food coloring. Fondant probably would have made a neater presentation, but I went with what I had on hand. Yellow plates and napkins, paired with a pizza print tablecloth and emoji Pez party favors made for a fun tablescape.

An easy DIY project for an emoji party is hanging lanterns. All you have to do is cut out pieces of felt for faces and hot glue them to yellow paper lanterns.

*Tip: Use a stack of coffee filters to hold the lantern while you are gluing on the face pieces. That way, the round object won't roll away as you glue!

This lantern is one cool dude!

I also made the winking tongue-out smiley and heart-eyes smiley to hang over the table.

A homemade emoji banner would be easy to make but I chose to use a gold Happy Birthday banner that we already owned. Some emoji pillows doubled as decor (making great seating on a bench in the dining room) and gifts for the birthday boy.

Party games including emoji jewelry-making and a board game called "Googly Eyes."

Playing "Googly Eyes" the board game.

Here I am with the birthday boy!

Pizza, watermelon, and wings were on the menu as fun, finger-friendly foods.

Some black and white candles topped the sunglasses emoji cake when it was time to make a wish!

Angry pillow photo-ops aside, this emoji party was nothing but happiness and fun! With a combination of store-bought items and homemade touches, it's easy to tailor this party theme to the emoji fan in your life!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Three Simple Ways to Decorate Your Mantel

Mantel decorating (or in my case, shelf decorating) can be a lot of fun, especially if you use the seasons to switch it up and bring some fun and personality to your living space. Today I thought I would share photos of the same shelf, decorated three ways. I hope it helps to spark your own creative juices for decorating your space. One of the looks could work year-round, while the other two are timely for Autumn. (If you're curious about where I got any of the items on my shelf, just leave me a comment about it and I'll let you know!)

Mantelscape #1 - Books and Heirlooms

I love books. My husband loves books and writes books. Even our wedding reception involved books. It's safe to say, books are big in our house. I decided to grab some of our favorite books and some with the prettiest covers to create the first look. By centering our beloved books on the shelf and pairing the display with family heirlooms like my grandpa's camera and grandma's iron (used as a book end), I've added sentimentality to the look that is personal for us. I love playing with levels and height, and will swap things in and out until it feels "right." The candles and plants add some symmetry to complete the look.

Mantelscape # 2 - Fall Harvest

The second look reminds me of the Fall Harvest. The center pumpkin is propped on a bundt cake pan (another family item from my grandma). I've used the same candles from look #1 but also added a battery-powered white pillar this time. The "Happy Fall" chalkboard sign was a steal for $5 at Target. The other sign is made of tin to look like copper. I've used placemats with sunflowers and pumpkins on each side of the shelf. The plush pumpkins and sprig of faux lamb's ear add some lushness to the simple decor.


Mantelscape # 3 - Vintage Halloween

I just love Halloween! I've noticed over the years that I have a particular affinity for vintage and/or vintage-looking Halloween decorations. For festive decor this year I decided to pair some of my favorite vintage decorations for a spooky shelf in the best Halloween colors: orange and black! The cat and pumpkin wreath in the middle acts as "anchor," while the lantern and broomstick add some height on each side. Fun pieces are placed in between including two vintage ceramic ghosts and a pumpkin tealight holder.


I hope you've enjoyed this post on three simple ways to decorate your shelf/mantel. It makes me so happy to play around with the different decor items until I get a look that is just right for the season. Happy decorating!