Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bridal Shower DIY

I am the proud Maid of Honor for one of my best friend's (and coincidentally she is also my cousin) upcoming nuptials! And one of my duties is to plan an incredible bridal shower for her! I've been perusing etsy and pinterest and googling to my heart's delight to try to find the cheapest way to create a fantastic bridal shower that doesn't look like it's been done on a budget! The plans really started to take shape after I came up with the idea of doing a crepe bar (which I have since discovered was hardly an original thought!)! With the food decided I found the ideas for the decorations flowed right along. I've been folding circular fans for the decor in my free time, as well as designing and making the invitations, and attempting to organize some activities, favors, and the rest of the menu and decor. But this blog entry is actually going to be just about the cake stands I made for the crepes!

I've been wanting to get myself a cake stand for quite awhile now. Just a simple and elegant white one. And while debating when and where I should purchase one of these I realized that cake stands would be a really cute way to serve the crepes at the bridal shower. I wanted two, one for each side of the table. The only issue was that I couldn't afford to actually buy cake stands to use. Luckily it was pinterest to the rescue! Someone had posted a picture that had a short tutorial on how to make your own using dollar store dishes. So I hurried my butt over to my local Dollar Tree and purchased a couple simple glass candle candlesticks and some plates (I also bought a few bowls after I realized what a cheap place the dollar store is to get some vintage looking glass bowls for a DOLLAR! YES!). Then I raced over to the Home Depot. The helpful associate pointed me to the perfect primer and spray paint for the job. Guaranteed not to come off of anything. This point was emphasized a few times and I was encouraged to wear old clothes that completely covered my skin and to make sure and put down lots of plastic. I forget what type of spray paint it was but I'm sure the folks over at Home Depot can help you discover it for yourself! I bought the primer, and I also bought a can of white for the base of the cake stand (otherwise known as dollar store glass candlesticks) and a can of yellow for the top of the stand (or the dollar store plates). After all the purchased were made all that was needed was a little time to do some spray painting and then to glue the white candlestick to the yellow plate!

This was such a simple project to manage and the result looked like something that you would actually want to buy, so I was very pleased! I recommend that everyone try this! I plan on using white doilies between the plates and the stand, because I'm not sure if you can serve food on something that's been spray painted? But if that's an issue for some of you then a simple fix would be to purchase a plate with the color that you want, or I've even been wanting to make some out of vintage plates for a unique look! There are many options and there's sure to be a perfect one for you!

This is what the candlesticks originally looked like that I bought
 at the Dollar Tree. I don't have a picture of the plates, but I just
picked the ones that had the best size/shape since I knew that
 I would be covering them with paint anyway!

This is the final product! I love the way they turned out! I thought
that the yellow and white had a nice feminine/vintage feel that will
 work perfectly with the crepes and with the rest of the decor that
 I'm working on!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii!

I was so fortunate to be able to go visit my best friend, Jeanine (aka Juniper), this past March in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where she now lives! I've always wanted to visit Hawaii, and thanks in large part to my tax refund (okay, thanks COMPLETELY because of my tax refund--tickets to Hawaii are EXPENSIVE! Who knew?! Ha!) I was able to make the voyage over there! Hawaii is a beautiful place and I enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, the weather was a bit crazy while I was there (a little chilly and stormy). During my layover in Honolulu they were having (or at least this is what I was told) record storms. Nevertheless, I am not fazed by mere rain, I am from Portland after all.

The trip itself got off to a slightly rocky start (pardon the pun) with a near death experience! I got caught in a huge wave my first day in Hawaii, and was thrown between two large rocks (Everyone on the beach was freaking out and convinced that I was dead when I finally resurfaced). It wasn't until I got back to our towels that I realized (after a guy pointed it out) that I had blood running down my leg from three cuts that I have no recollection of getting. One of the cuts left a scar and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of it! It reminds me of how fortunate I am! And there's no better souvenir than a scar!

Jeanine got quite a few days off while I was there and because of that her and I were able to do a little exploring during my week-long visit. I got my fill of laying on beaches, drinking cold tropical drinks, snorkeling, and best of all I got lots of quality time with her, her boyfriend Paul, their 3 dogs, and their landlord's dog, who they were dog-sitting for. I got to see parrots, LOTS of geckos, wild goats, turtles, crab spiders, and plenty of fish! I also got to taste Rambutan, Dragonfruit, and Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) for the very first time. I visited a lava tube, did some dancing, and went night swimming. I was able to enjoy local mangoes, bananas, avocados and coconuts (and more that I cannot currently remember). Let's face it, I am one very lucky girl!

String Lanterns

Years ago, while working as a HR assistant temp in a call center, I saw the most amazing/easy/genius/cheap decoration being used for company parties. One of the managers was a fan of DIY and this was one of her creations (that I have since seen all over the place). It's a simple concept really. She used round balloons to make hers, but I was too lazy to look all over for round balloons (at the time I was living in a small town with barely more than a Walmart). I used regular balloons, and though she thought that using regular balloons made this decoration look too much like an egg, I felt that it turned out just fine with the right paint on it. I've hauled this decoration with me through two different moves and had countless compliments on them. I've also had a LOT of people ask me how to do it.

This is a very inexpensive project. The only things you really need are balloons (your choice as to to the balloon shape!), some sort-of recipe for paper mache glue (there are all kinds of recipes available online if you do a google search), and a thick string or yarn. And of course paint if you choose to customize the look a little bit (I painted these gold, then spray painted them with gold glitter. I then filled each of them with some brown and white vanilla-scented potpourri.). I recommend getting as creative as you can! Nothing is quite as freeing as coming up with something unique that you are creating for yourself and that is exactly what YOU want and are picturing in your mind!

Step 1: Blow up the balloon to the desired size and tie off.
Step 2: Mix up a batch of your paper mache glue.
Step 3: Dip your string/yarn in the glue until it is coated.
Step 4: Wrap the string/yarn around the balloon every which way until it has the look you want (you need to wrap it enough for it to have a strong framework).
Step 5: Let dry.
Step 6: Pop the balloon!
Step 7: Paint/decorate it to your heart's content! :)
Step 8: Hang or display where you want.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tin Can Candle Holders

I'm not sure if it's just me or not, but I always seem to have 5 or 6 cans of random canned goods that I never have, and never will, use. Currently I have a small stockpile of store bought canned peaches bought by my parents during a visit roughly 3 years ago. I'm not a fan of these. At. All. I've gotten quite spoiled by an aunt of mine that cans her own peaches and bestows upon me a few heavenly jars at a time. But, that's another story. The point is I keep forgetting to donate these canned goods to food drives (I feel like a terrible person) and they're just taking up my, fairly limited, kitchen cupboard space.

And then, out of nowhere, I was reminded of a project that I did during 2nd grade. Our teacher had us all bring in cans. We opened one end, washed out the cans, filled them with water and stuck them in the freezer. Once the water was frozen in the can we all marked designs on our cans. Anything we wanted with tiny dots of permanent marker. Then we were each presented with a hammer, a few nails, and an older student to help us. We then hammered the nail in a bit into each dot on the can. The ice prevented the can from denting in, and the nail and hammer created a pattern of holes all over the can. After we were done we let the ice melt out of the cans, dried out the insides and set small tea light candles inside. When lit the candlelight shines out of the holes producing a pretty pattern of light on the surrounding walls.

This project was a perfect way for me to use these canned peaches! It was fun and made me feel like a kid again. Plus it's literally a FREE diy project, that you're basically guaranteed to have supplies for! Unfortunately, I only had screws, no nails. But, It still worked just fine other than leaving a few blisters on my fingers!

**Update: I didn't think too far ahead by putting the holes all the way to the bottom of the can. You should leave the bottom bit unpunched, or else the melted wax will ooze out the bottom holes! Learn from my mistakes!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Orangina Bottles: Project 1

I am seriously addicted to Orangina. If you haven't tried it, it's basically carbonated orange juice. And it's amazing. There are a few different forms that Orangina is sold in, the run-of-the-mill plastic bottle, in a can (soda-style), and (my favorite) in gorgeous glass bottles. I buy these glass bottles of Orangina in six-packs at Trader Joes. Ever since I discovered these I've been trying to think of creative ways to re-use the bottles. I've come up with quite a list, but I'm just going to show you the first pr0ject I did using them. It's also definitely the easiest thing to do with them, other than the obvious vase option. But, I think we're all a little more creative than that, yes?

Step 1:
Buy Orangina and drink it (YUM.)

Step 2:
Remove the lid, the lid band (use sharp objects at your own risk as I did with my cuticle trimmers), and the label (it comes off very easily by peeling as much off as you can when it's dry, and then using warm water to scrub off the rest)

Step 3:
Find some sort-of cheap sconce . I bought mine a billion years ago at Walmart (I think) for next to nothing. They're not the fanciest, but they work.

Step 4:
Find something that you like the look of or that has some special meaning to you that will fit through the opening of the bottle. I have a soft spot for Maine so I used some sand from there as well as a collection of teeny tiny shells that I had collected.

Step 5:
Fill your bottles to your desired fullness. I didn't want them filled too much because I wanted the Orangina bottles to be as much of a star as the sand/shells.

Step 6:
Hang your sconces and set the Orangina bottles on them instead of candles. Voila. Wasn't that easy?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Painted Flower Pots

I have what some people refer to as a "black thumb". I absolutely, positively, kill any plant I come in contact with. Last summer I received a gorgeous plant for my birthday and proudly kept it alive for approximately 8 months before it withered into non-existence. This "black thumb" is especially problematic because I would genuinely like to grow some plants. I love flowers, and would adore some fresh grown herbs to cook with (especially since I received a ton of seed packets while I was volunteering a few months back). On my wish list is Dill weed (my favorite to cook with), Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Basil, and Oregano. I also wouldn't turn up my nose to some Lavender and maybe even an Aloe Vera plant! Anyways, after MUCH deliberation, I have decided that the best way to begin this endeavor would be to play to my strengths. So, I'm starting with the flower pots (or herb pots as the case may be). I've always had a things for trees with no leaves. I love the way the branches remind me of lace. So, therein lies my project. Flower pots with trees painted on them! I began by purchasing 4 (to start with) pots at Michaels for 2 dollar apiece. And luckily I already had some white spray paint lying around from a current project I'm working on--spray-painting 2 adirondack chairs that I recently bought on ebay (you'll get to see that project on here soon, as well). So all I really needed to do was make a quick trip to Home Depot to pick up some bronze metallic spray paint for the base and the rim of the pot and a little espresso colored regular paint to use to paint a simple tree design on the main part of the pot . Here is the end result, from the original pot, to the spray-painted pot, to the final product! The tree isn't the most spectacular painting in existence, (obviously) but I'm quite proud of the overall look! Now, I just need to get my butt in gear and grow some stuff!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wine Cork Pendant!

I've been wanting to do some projects using wine corks for quite some time, and finally I've found my inspiration! I have some friends who work at wineries in Walla Walla, Washington and after not too much convincing (No convincing needed at all, really. I have fantastic friends! Be jealous.) they agreed to help me get my hands on a ton of used corks! I started on my first project using said corks a couple of days ago. Unfortunately, this project is requiring FAR more corks than I could ever have imagined, resulting in my running out of them before finishing! Luckily, the very same friends are willing to continue collecting them for me, which is good since I have a few more d.i.y. cork items in mind! (Do yourself a favor and google wine cork bath mat-- Flipping GENIUS!)

For my current project I'm using a styrofoam ball, hot glue, and, obviously, used wine corks! I plan on hanging it from the ceiling, probably, in my living room. (I keep wanting to refer to this project as a wine cork pendant? But, is pendant the right word? It certainly sounds better than "Hanging Wine Cork Ball", doesn't it? I think I'll go with pendant!) I'm posting a picture of how it looks so far, though bare in mind that it's not finished! So, definitely ignore the flower pot that it's in--it's just how I'm storing it until I can collect enough wine corks to finish it! Also, ignore any white styrofoam that might be showing through, I'll be covering that up with paint once I'm done gluing on the corks! Once that's all done, I just need to figure out how best to hang it! I'm open to suggestions!