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Entries in DIY (28)

Tuesday
Aug282018

diy myrtle topiary

I love, love, LOVE myrtle topiary; I think they may, quite possibly, be the chicest house plant, as much for the texture as the shape and pop of green, but despite my best efforts (or the $$$ I've spent buying them in the first place), I've never been able to keep one alive for more than a month.  While I've never really been one for fake plants or flowers, I just couldn't justify spending more money on another live topiary, only to have it up and die on me shortly after, so I have been on the hunt for a pretty good fake myrtle topiary for a while now (no judging).  I always came up empty-handed, so I figured...how hard could it be to make one myself?  The answer, as it turns out, is much easier than I thought! 

The hardest part was finding legit-looking greenery.  I ended up using these from Hobby Lobby; I like how the pieces kind of fall down and hide the top of the stick and the wire I used to adhere it.  All I did was use wire cutters to cut individual pieces and then wrapped the pieces with green floral wire tightly around a stick from my yard.  Stick it into a piece of floral styrofoam in a pot, cover the base with moss and you're set! 

I got a lot of questions about the pot I used for this when I posted a snap on my Instagram stories and it's another quick project that couldn't be easier!  I spray painted an inexpensive terra cotta pot with gray spray paint in a satin finish.  Once it was dry, I whitewashed a little watered down white paint and then wiped it back with a clean cloth.  Once that step was dry, I dry brushed a little white paint.  You can see a step-by-step tutorial for this with furniture here; it's the exact same process I used this time, too. 

I still love fresh greenery, house plants and flowers (we all know I can't live without hydrangeas all over the house!) but I think a faux project like this one works here because it isn't over the top (and no one gets close enough to be able to tell that it's not real).  If anyone stumbles across a very convincing fake, pretty please share!  In the meantime, this will do!

Tuesday
Aug072018

5 favorite (and easy!) summer-inspired diy's

My idea of the perfect DIY is one that is easy, inexpensive, relatively quick to execute and doesn't look like something you actually made yourself.  (Had to add that last part because it's so true!!)  If you're in the mood for some easy, summer-inspired DIY's to try, I've got a few for you that will have your friends and guests wanting to know your secrets!  I've blogged about these before, but I thought it would be fun to update the list and add a couple new favorites:

This rope-wrapped vase is one of my favorite diy's, as much for the fact that it's INCREDIBLY easy as it is because it looks so beautiful with simple summer blooms! I made a bunch of these for the centerpieces at my cousin's wedding in Newport, Rhode Island, a couple years ago and they looked absolutely AMAZING  filled to the brim with blue and white hydrangea! 

Turn 12 feet of rope from Lowe's or Home Depot into a nautical addition to a bookshelf or coffee table in minutes, or, impress your friends with mini versions of these monkey's fist knots to take home as favors from your next barbeque or get together!  I made a few of these to give away as prizes for the games at my baby shower a few years ago and I'm still getting compliments and comments on them!

Two quick, light coats of liquid gold leaf turn these oyster shells into chic salt and pepper shakers that will have everyone raving at your next dinner party!  I found the mini spoons on clearance at Sur la Table and sprayed the shells with a coat of food safe poly before filling them with salt and pepper.

Give your gallery wall a little refresh and add some texture and softness to your favorite photos or artwork by gluing linen fabric to plain white mats.  These were the perfect addition to a few favorite pieces of art on the gallery wall in Lydia's nursery; I spray painted the frames high gloss white and love the contrast!

My hubby made the oversize Versailles planters that flank my front door for Mother's Day a couple years back and they are still one of my favorite gifts ever.  While this isn't exactly something you could just whip up in less than a half hour like the rest of my picks here today, it's one of my favorite diy's for the fact that these are HUGE and bring so much drama and interest to my front porch (and they look amazing with bright green ferns), but the cost to make these is a fraction of what it would cost to buy something of similar size. 

What are some of your favorite DIY's to do in summer? 

Wednesday
Feb142018

bird seed hearts for valentine's day

Valentine's Day has never really been that big of a deal in our house, but now that we have littles, it's become one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with the kids.  After all, what could be better than celebrating love?  This is Lydia's first year in preschool, so when it came to Valentine's for her classmates, the learning curve was a little steep.  I wanted to do something other than give out candy and when I saw heart shaped bird seed feeders on Pinterest, I thought it was perfect, since we already had about 300 pounds of seed in the garage (we like to feed our birds). 

The first recipe I tried called for corn syrup and flour and did not turn out well at all. I couldn't get the bird seed to stay together, so I ended up coming up with my own thing and they turned out great!  After having made panna cotta for years, I knew that unflavored gelatin would harden enough to get the bird seed to stay together and they were so, SO cute! Lydia even helped mix everything together and then poke the holes with a chopstick!  Here is the recipe and the steps for how I did it:

What you'll need:

4 cups bird seed

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold water, divided in half

chopstick (or pencil, to poke a hole in the top for string)

baker's twine or ribbon

heart-shaped cookie cutter

How to make:

1.  Sprinkle three packets of gelatin over 1/2 cup very cold water in a mixing bowl.  Let sit for ten minutes until it firms up.

2.  In a sauce pan, heat another 1/2 cup of water until it comes to a boil.  Add the gelatin mixture and mix until it dissolves.

3.  Add gelatin mixture to a large bowl of the bird seed and mix well.

4.  Let the bird seed mixture firm up and cool off a little before making your hearts. (I stuck ours in the fridge for a half hour).

5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your cookie cutter on top.  Spoon the mixture inside and gently push down to make sure it's really packed in. 

6.  With a chopstick or pencil, poke a hole in the top, then carefully remove the cookie cutter.

7.  Once you've finished all your hearts, I put the baking sheet in the fridge to let them firm up overnight.  The next morning, I used a paring knife to cut away the excess birdseed around the hearts and then tied ribbon through and put them in bags with Valentine's tags.  So easy and SO CUTE!!

Definitely chill the mixture before trying to fill the cookie cutters with it; it's so much easier to handle and it doesn't get all over the place!  Also, you can poke the chopstick in again the next morning if it didn't go all the way through when it was in the cutter.  These turned out so stinking cute, that I would definitely consider doing them for favors or even on a rainy day (we love to spread peanut butter on pinecones and roll them in peanut butter, too!).  Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Sunday
Dec102017

how to keep your christmas tree fresh until new year!

 

Picking out our Christmas tree is something we wait all year for!  In a perfect world, I'd get mine the day after Halloween, but living in the South, where it's warm and muggy until right about now, usually means our trees are extra crispy just in time for Christmas itself.  The last three years, though, and so far this year (knock on wood) we've had the best luck keeping ours fresh all the way until New Year - and I'm not just talking about keeping it alive, I mean soaking up water twice a day, smelling amazing and still soft to the touch!  I realize many people are ready to take their tree down the day after Christmas, but there isn't anything I love more than curling up on the sofa with a glass of wine and a movie under the soft glow of white twinkle lights for as long as I can push it!  The secret is two simple steps, but they make such a huge difference! 

First, make a fresh cut at the base.  (I do this even if the vendor says he just did it because I'm a tad OCD and also because I like to keep an inch cut off the base, mark it with the year and keep it with our Christmas stash!) 

Next, I use a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch drill bit to drill two or three holes in the base of the tree, depending on how big the bottom is.  This helps the tree guzzle water like you wouldn't believe!  I had a couple in my toolbox from when I made mini pumpkin taper candle holders; I found mine at Lowe's.

And that's it!  Seriously, it couldn't be any easier.  Just be prepared to check the water level on the tree a couple times a day at first; for the first week, I ended up adding water three times every day.  Now, I fill it up first thing in the morning and then again around dinner.  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are gearing up for a fabulous week! xx

Thursday
Jun082017

how to clean out your candles

I'm such a sucker for a beautifully scented candle and bonus points for one that looks pretty enough to use again after you've burned through it!  (After all, isn't that the only incentive to fork over the big bucks for Diptyque - so you can stick Q-tips and fresh blooms in them???) 

Park Hill Candles are some of my favorites for this reason; they aren't too pricey, they smell amazing and the wicker and glass they come in make for gorgeous little vases once I've burned through the candles!

I'm probably the last person on the planet to figure out how to get the residual wax out of the bottom of the candle, but I'm going to post it anyway just in case there are still a few of you who, like me, have tried busting it out with a butter knife or freezing it, etc.  It's super easy and takes no time at all.  Here's how I did it:

-Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

-Spread aluminum foil over a baking sheet and fold the edges up to prevent wax getting on the sheet.

-Place the candle upside down on the foil and bake for 5-7 minutes.  Watch carefully for the wick to fall out and take the whole thing out of the oven as soon as it does so it doesn't burn (trust me, you're kitchen will fill with smoke)

-Let it cool (I took mine outside on the deck) and then wash it out with soap and water and you're good to go!

How amazing are these "mermaid" alstromeria, by the way?  They've moved around the house more than I have the last three weeks, but they're the best five bucks I've ever spent on blooms, that's for sure!