A Rit Dye 4th of July: DIY Patio Lights, Poms & Tags

Red, White & Blue Balls—This was the original title I wrote in the bar above. Oh. Wait just a moment. That may not be the best way to go with a title. Don't want it coming up in the wrong search engine results. I have to admit, writing a post about dying my balls reminded me that my sense of humor is stuck at that of an adolescent boy.

Awe, yes. An oldie but a goodie. 

I assure you I'll do my best to act my age from this point on, as I think you're going to enjoy this money-saving approach to outdoor (or indoor) 4th of July holiday/summer lighting.

Project Sponsor: Rit Dye. Thanks, Rit! I so enjoyed taking this dip with you!

This project was inspired by this blog post, which I happened upon via Pinterest, where This Journey created faux patio bulb lights using ping pong balls. Later, I was at Crate & Barrel, where I fell in love with this set of lights.

image credit: Crate & Barrel

I put two and two together, and, voila, I had an idea. I'll dye my balls in red and blue to create my own custom set at a less than half the cost of the beautiful C&B set.  Intrigued? Here's how you can...

Do It To It!
Beyond basic household supplies, all you need for this little project are:

* Rit Liquid Dye, 8 oz: Royal Blue  (or Navy, for a deeper blue)
* Rit Liquid Dye, 8 oz: Scarlet Red (or Cherry)
* Ping Pong Balls (Actual ping pong balls, not the generic version lacking texture [more on that soon].)
* White Strand of Holiday Lights

Optional Extras
* White Yarn
* Large, White Shipping Tags
* Roll of Extra Wide Washi Tape (I used a Fat Roll by Hazel & Ruby  and a chalk roll by Fancy Pants Designs)
* Clover Extra Small Pom Pom Maker

Step 1
Following instructions on dye bottle, prepare your dye in a large pot on the stovetop. Ideal temp: 140-degrees.

Step 2
Place balls in dye for 30 min (or more, depending on desired saturation).

Tip: The balls will float, which simply won't do. To keep them fully submerged, I placed a colander over them and used long-handled tongs to push them below the surface. Six balls seem to stay put. Seven caused too much resistance and pushed everything above the dye's surface.

Note: I dyed one package of red balls and one package of blue. It wasn't enough for my particular strand of lights. Count the number of lights on your strand to determine how many you'll need to dye in each color. Don't forget to factor in the white, un-dyed balls if you plan on including white in the mix.

Step 3
Remove balls from dye and immediately place them in a cold-water rinse and set aside to dry.

Note: Use a bowl you don't mind possibly dying. I used an inexpensive plastic bowl for my rinse. So glad I did, as it has a line of red dye around it now that doesn't seem to want to come off.

Step 4
Puncture balls with craft knife or sharp paper piercer (proceed with extreme caution) to create opening in ball.

Tip: To keep your lighting consistent, always puncture hole along ball's seem.

Tip: Place the ball on something stable when puncturing (vs holding it in your hand) to help avoid injury. Yeah. Learned this one the hard way. #ouch

Step 5
Position balls over lights in desired color pattern. Since I didn't dye enough colors, I placed a white ball over every other light—red, white, blue, white, repeat

Tip: Keep a paintbrush (or something long and thin with a rounded tip) handy so you can push out any areas that may cave in as you're trying to insert the lights.

Ta da! String lights!

Learn from my Mistakes
This was definitely a trial and error experience for me. Here are a couple of the what-not-to-dos:

1. Stick to the recommended 140-degree dye temp. I accidentally let my dye get hotter than this and my blue balls exploded. Eeep! THAT was a wild ride.

Tip: Use a food thermometer to gauge the dye temp.

2. Thought I'd save some money and dye the Dollar Store variety of "table tennis balls." Not a good idea. Their surface was smooth. Too smooth. And the dye would not adhere. Instead, I spent a whopping $1 more per package, bought the real deal, and it worked like a charm.


3. If you opt to do do Bonus Idea #1 below, use washi tape with an extra strong hold. Otherwise, the tape will come right off in the dye, which means no more mask.

4. Pay attention when the box of dye says to cover your work area, wear old clothing, and sport plastic or rubber gloves. This dye, while SO fun and easy to use, can get messy. Let's just say I now have a new pair of tie-dyed (minus the tie) pajama pants. Eep!

Bonus Idea #1
I thought it would be fun to create patterns on my lights, so I tried these little trick:

Step 1
Adhere washi tape to wax or freezer paper and punch star shapes. This creates star stickers/masks.

Step 2
Adhere stars to ball, rubbing thoroughly to ensure tape is secure, and dye balls.

It's subtle, and not as clean as I would have hoped. But it looks better when it's dark and the lights are fully lit.

large star
small stars

Bonus Idea #2
Create matching yarn for a more homespun look. Save money by investing in a single roll of white yarn, and simply dip and dye that yarn while you're waiting for your ball dye to set.

Step 1
Place yarn in dye for 2-5 minutes; follow dying steps above (cool rinse and dry) to finish.

Step 2
Gather three strands of yarn (one red, one white, and one blue) that are each 6"-12" longer than the length of your twinkle lights. Wrap yarn around light cording for added patriotic pizazz.

Bonus Idea #3
Inspired by fireworks, I wanted to create pom bundles to dangle from my lights. To do this, I simply followed the directions on my Clover Extra Small Pom Pom Maker.

Bonus Idea #4
Dip dye basic shipping tags to add to the light garland festivities. I did a few combinations.

Dip one portion of tag in red dye and let tag dry.

Next, time for a blue bath. 

Cory and I agree that my tags look a little more French-fancy than USA-awesome.

Washi tape masks worked wonderfully on my tags. I little leakage, but I have a solution for that below.

A little glitter glue to disguise the dye bleed and add some sparkle. 

Cheers and happy July 4th, friends!

Making Over Maggie's Room

I have had SO much fun putting my sweet girl's room together. And now, more than a year after her arrival, I'm finally ready to share a few pics of her space with you. If you can believe it, the room still isn't complete. I have one final element to embroider, frame and hang, but it's pretty close.

Before we get to the pretty, let's take a look at the way it once was.

It started as a beige guest room. Beige walls. Beige carpets. Beige energy. Not what I wanted for baby girl.

I knew color was in order, so I started by selecting a color  scheme. This was BY FAR the hardest part of the whole process for me. So many amazing colors to choose from. I finally landed on gray, yellow, teal, light pink, and deep pink. 

Room Colors
Once my colors were finally decided, I went to the paint store and selected paint swatches in those hues, which I then punched (in the shape of a bird for kicks and giggles) and added to a jump ring, which I carried with me so I could make sure I was color-matching correctly.

Punched paint swatches to carry with me as I shopped for room goodies.

I also put together a few swatch-type samples in my Smashbook, including a lovely shot of a room Maggie Holmes created in her home, which exactly matched the colors I was seeking!

A page from my pregnancy Smash Book. 

Above all else, I knew I wanted to take out the old carpet. It was bland, and it had doggie peep on it, which definitely wasn't going to work for my little love. After much research and trips to many flooring stores, it was determined a vinyl "wood" was best for dogs who peed. So we went with that and my AMAZING Pop and hubby went to work installing it. We got enough for our entire upstairs. But the rest of the house will have to wait for more funds to come in.

Pop and Cor worked like crazy to get the flooring in before baby arrived.

I had pinned a cool idea for DIY wainscoting, so Cory and I got to work on that by making trips to the hardware store for lumber and paint.

First, we measured the wall and marked where the boards would go.

Cory marking where the boards would go for the faux wainscoting. 

Naturally, Biff came out to help!

Biff steps up to lend a hand.

We then taped off at about 2/3 of the way up the wall to indicate where the white paint would end and the gray would begin.

The wall is taped at the 2/3 mark, with the bottom 2/3's to be white and the top 1/3 to be gray.

Time for paint. Cory channeled his inner Bob Ross (he's a big fan) and painted a happy little tree.
Just a happy little tree to get things started.

Wanting to mark this room as Maggie's, I started by painting her name across the wall. (That's an M.)

M for Maggie!

When the paint was dry, we removed the tape and grabbed the lumber so Cory could begin installing the wainscoting, only to find out I had mis measured on the center tape line and all of our white paint was too high. D'oh! We had to repaint. Not fun. :(

Take it from me--measure twice, paint once!

Several coats and a second paint job later (because I mis-measured), the walls were finally ready.

At last, the room was ready for the faux wainscoting. Cory added the lumber, and he and Pop added the additional white paint to create the effect.

On go the boards, the ledging along the top, and an additional layer of white paint.

Pop stopped in often to help. Together, he and Cory transformed the room from pooper to super!

Wow! This is really starting to look like a room. 

Once the base of the room was ready, we went to work on filling it with all things baby. It started with much reading on Consumer Reports. We finally landed on a Pottery Barn Kids crib that ranked well and fit with the look we were going for. Cory put it together in no time.

The first thing we brought in after the foundation of the room was complete was Maggie's crib. It originally had a net bumper, which is supposed to help with SIDS prevention.

For the bedding, I looked and looked and looked. There were so many I loved. Sadly, I had it in my head that I had to have everything by the time she arrived, and she was due in a couple of weeks at this point, so I went with one I liked that I could get in time instead of the one on Etsy that I really wanted. Lessoned learned for next time, I suppose. I like the bedding, which is from Carousel Designs, but it's too short for the length of the mattress, which has always bugged me.

Love the chevron print and the soft, cozy inside lining of the bumper.

Pretty bedding, but what you can't see is that it cuts off about 6" before the edge of the mattress. Probably a mistake on my part with the ordering. 

Fortunately for me, I received a few lovely handmade quilts as gifts, and they actually fit the crib. This one was made by our talented family friend, Edna.

Handmade details like this quilt are the best!

And this one was made by my awesome quilting cousin, Cynthia!

Another handmade quilt. And, my cousin even made a big one for me, which matches this one. LOVE!

Another area where I researched and researched was rugs. So many amazing options! I finally landed on this cutie from Pottery Barn Teen. Alas, when I opened it upon its arrival, it had grease (I think) stains on it, which I've never fully gotten out. Not sure what that was about, but I still love the pattern. But I may not order a rug there again.

Love the look of this rug; I only wish I would have come without the stains.

Naturally, the pups thought this meant a new bed for them.

Jack (Biff) trying out the rug.

Not wanting to be left out, Kisses also gives the rug a go. In fact, this is often where you can still find him. He likes to stay close to Mags!

Furtniture. Another area that required a great deal of research and shopping. I wanted something that would look lovely, stand the test of time, and fit within my budget. I must have been to every furniture shop in town. Multiple times. I found myself returning to Ashley Furniture over and over again over the course of several months. It was a bit out of my price range, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't take the plunge. So I... gulp ... bought it on credit with zero interest for 12 months, and I'm pleased to say I managed to get it paid off in time. Hooray!

The changing table is actually a media center, but I'm so tall (5'11") that it was just the right height for the changing table.
Love this media stand turned changing table. 

I found gray baskets at Jo-Ann that fit just right in the slots where the DVD player and/or gaming system would normally go. I keep diapers in three of the baskets and basic supplies (lotion, diaper cream, brush, etc.) in the fourth basket. This has worked out SO well for us.

The baskets are so helpful and right at arm's reach.

Each of the three drawers are perfect for holding other basic supplies. The bottom drawer contains parenting books, bath supplies, pacifiers (that she never used), etc. The middle drawer holds basic medical and cleansing stuff (extra shampoo, medicine, thermometer, etc.). The top drawer holds additional daily used supplies (wipes, Q-tips, her medicine, extra Diaper Genie cartridges, etc.).

I keep the drawers organized with different bins, baskets and tubs. 

I found the cutest little glass butter dish at Target (similar to this) that I use to hold Q-tips.

This glass butter dish is just the ticket when it comes to keeping the Q-tips clean and accessible. 

The lamp is one of the very first things I bought for the room after I finally decided on a color scheme. It's also from Target. And the little pink drawer unit is an antique that my cousin Teri found at a flea market in LA. She spray painted it pink and sent it to me for her room. It now holds Maggie's smaller hair accessories.
Thanks to my cousin for this lovely set of bitty drawers, which she painted pink. 

This piece is what made me fall in love with this set. I simply couldn't get enough of the shallow, pull-out drawers. As soon as I saw them the first time, I knew her bitty shoes, socks and other accessories were meant to go in them, and it has worked like a gem.

Oh, these little drawers! They're my favorite. They're why I couldn't let this piece go. As soon as I saw them, I knew they were meant to hold bitty shoes, socks, and hats!

See what I mean? Just right!

I keep clothes in the drawers on the left side, including pajamas, onesies, pants, and t-shirts. And I store bibs, burp cloths, extra crib bedding, blankets, and other linens in the shelves above the shallow pull-out drawers.

And all of the drawers in this piece are so nice to have.

Next item on my list of musts was a rocking chair. Cory and I had one, but it was in desperate need of a makeover. Paula, an amazingly talented friend of mine, offered to create new covers for the chair, which was no easy task. So we stripped the cushions off it, bought some fabric using the awesome 40% off coupon at Jo-Ann, and sent it her way.

Plain faux leather cushions once sat atop this chair frame, but they were in desperate need of a makeover.  

I love, love, love the way the chair turned out. Paula is a miracle worker. You can find her awesomeness in her Etsy shop. Yum!

Paula to the rescue with this a-freaking-mazing updo. The pockets look a little off, but that's because that's where I now keep the story books I read to Mags at night, so they get much use. 

Bitty baby in a big chair!

Paula also made the pillows that sit on the chair. Isn't she awesome? I use this chair every. single. day. It's our favorite place to sit and read stories. Speaking of stories, Maggie can't get enough of Bubbles, Bubbles, which was a Dollar Spot score at Target. She has so many fab books, but this is her go-to. Gotta love a deal!
Maggie's FAVORITE book.

You may have noticed the awesome clock above the rocking chair. That is another one of the handmade gifts that fills Maggie's nursery with such love. The incredible Holly Jones, a dear friend of mine, made it and gave it to me at my shower. She sells cut-outs in numerous styles and finishes, including wonderful wood designs. You should check her cute Say Hello Shop when you have a minute!

Love this lovely clock my friend Holly made for Miss Mags.

Before I get to all of the sugar on top (aka the decorations), I'll talk windows. This was hands down the most difficult thing to find for this space. In fact, it's still not complete. I'm waiting for a good deal on plantation shutters. If you hear of one, please let me know. Until then, I've at least finally found the curtains I adore. The sheer, lattice-print lining and the darker drapes are both from Z Gallerie. I searched high and low, and finally knew these were the ones when I stumbled upon them.

At last, the long journey to new window treatments was over. Z Gallerie to the rescue with this perfect pair. 

Here's a backlit shot so you can see the pattern better.

Isn't the pattern on the sheer liner cool?

The tie-backs are from Pottery Barn Kids. Love the big bulb on the end!

Take off, knob! This is just the tie-back this window needed!

That's it for the big stuff. Now, on to the finishing touches. I feel the star of this show are my frames that sit atop the little ledge shelf created by the faux wainscoting.

Love the frame-lined wall. The large prints and photos make such a statement.

The 12x12 frames are from IKEA. I filled them with photos, like this one taken by the talented Maggie Holmes...

This darling photo was taken by Maggie Holmes.

 ...and the ones visible in this image (on either side of the the "hello" printable), which were taken by another talented photo friend of mine, Elisha Snow.
The adorable image in this frame was taken by Elisha Snow.

I use the Epson Artisan 1430 printer to print my 12x12 images, and it rocks my socks. Best ever!

An incredible printer for adding 12x12 images to any space!

I filled one of the IKEA frames with a piece of scrapbook paper that I dressed up using the Fiskars flag punch and a few embellishments.

Scrapbook paper is sometimes the perfect piece of artwork.

Tiny details are just enough.

And I filled one of them with the sweet "hello" printable, which I purchased from this Etsy shop.

This "Hello" print was one of the very first things I bought for Maggie's room. I adore it.

On the opposite wall sits the BasicGrey frames spelling Maggie. For more on these, including a tutorial on putting them together, see this post.

Let's play the name game with these fabric-filled frames. 

From there, I mixed in smaller fames, like this one, which houses the info on Maggie's incredible arrival. I used paper from Pink Paislee and stickers from BasicGrey. I also painted a paper mache M from Jo-Ann and lined it with washi as part of my Washi Workshop for Studio Calico.

A few of the things I made for Maggie's space. The washi-covered M was part of my Washi Workshop for Studio Calico. So fun! 

For this frame, I glued scrapbook paper to the photo mat that came with the frame to complement the space.

Framed photo taken by Elisha Snow.

And on this one, I simply lined the mat with washi tape for a quick makeover.

Framed photo by Elisha Snow.

I wrapped a second, larger paper mache M with yarn.

Yarn-wrapped M, which was also featured in the Scrapbooking for Babies & Toddlers special issue by Creating Keepsakes magazine.

Using fat quarters of fabric, I cut triangles with my pinking sheers and strung them up on a strand of pom pom yarn. I made a second banner using lace as the topper in place of the pom yarn to mix up the look a bit.

A little banner bidnaz makes any room happier. 

I lined her light switch plate with washi, which was quick and made a big impact. Loved the outcome so much that I later added washi-covered plates to many of the rooms in our home.

Washi-covered light switch plate cover. So simple. So great.

For Mags many hair bows, I use a necklace holder and cute plastic basket (purchased at Target's Dollar Spot).

Hair bows, don't cha knows?

And I keep her toys in a set of barrels I received from the fine folks at BasicGrey.

BasicGrey barrels, just right for holding Mags' toys.

The closet isn't much to look at (beyond all of the darling outfits it contains), but I do like the little clothes dividers that I received as a shower gift.

Cool closet dividers.

And while this isn't anything decorative, my video monitor that my best friend Kirston and her mom gave me is one of the very best parts of this space. I HIGHLY recommend a video monitor to any new mom.

Love this video baby monitor. It allows me to be a peeping tom and look in on wonderful moments like this.

Also on my list of recommendations is a Diaper Genie. This little guy keeps the stank out, which is all right by me!

Not the cutest, but a definite necessity. 

Finally, the part of the nursery I love the most, besides the little lady living here, is this mirror, which once belonged to my dear Grandma Margaret. Maggie was named after her, making this addition all the more special and heartfelt.

This brilliant mirror once belonged to my incredible grandma. I love having it in Maggie's room now. Seems like the perfect spot. 

I think that about does it. Thanks for taking this looong room tour with me. I have a few final touches that are still coming together. As soon as they're ready, I'll be sure to share. In the meantime, you can check out a Studio 5 segment I did on Maggie's space here.

A peek inside.

Oilcloth Projects: Part 1

Oilcloth! It’s hip, it’s durable, it’s fun to work with, and it’s loaded with nostalgia! What’s not to love about this versatile fabric? 

What is Oilcloth?
If you aren't familiar, oilcloth is a laminated fabric that's been fused to a durable vinyl backing. Cotton laminate has a similar smooth finish, but it's lighter weight and a little less durable than oilcloth. Vinyl is another fabric option with a similar consistency. You can find these fabrics online and at some fabric shops. 

What's it Used For?
With it's smooth finish, oilcloth is great for outdoor decor, tablecloths, lunch bags...anything that runs the risk of getting wet or messy.

I used both oilcloth and cotton laminate to create today! Most of my supplies were purchased at Material Girls Quilts in South Jordan, UT. 

It totally reminds me of my grandma, as she used to have oilcloth tablecloths on her kitchen table. Believe it or not, this was the affordable option for her low-income family, at only $0.05-$0.15 a yard. Now adays, oilcloth averages about $15-$20 a yard. It’s worth every penny, if you ask me. Just look at all you can do with this sassy crafting supply!

Create a Cloth Banner
I’m super excited at how this one turned out. You see, the black pieces of the banner are actually made from chalkboard vinyl, which has similar durable properties to oilcloth.   I purchased this fantastic fabric at Bolt, an amazing fabric shop in Portland, OR. I love it, because it allows me to personalize my banner over and over again for different ocassions. Since I’m sharing this on Studio 5 this morning at 11:00 MT, I thought I’d dress it up accordingly using a bistro marker (chalkboard marker). 
Make your own banner in 4 easy steps:
  1. Cut fabric pieces to desired size.
  2. Sew two pieces of fabric back to back to create a double-sided banner. 
  3. Cut out around banner pieces with pinking shears or a decorative blade.
  4. Punch holes in top of each banner piece and thread onto twine. 

Banner Supplies
  1. Oilcloth and/or cotton laminate
  2. Chalkboard vinyl 
  3. Sewing machine
  4. Pinking shears
  5. Hole punch
  6. Twine
  7. Bistro marker or chalk
Try a Table Runner
Inspired by my sweet grandma’s tablecloths of yesteryear, I decided to create a modern take on an oilcloth table covering. To make this runner, simply measuer and cut the fabric to the length of your table, only covering a portion of the table’s width. Dress up the edges by sewing on some jumbo poms. Simple and cute!

  1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
  2. Jumbo pom pom trim
  3. Sewing machine

Cover a Tray
Transform a basic tray into a durable serving/storage piece by inserting a piece of oilcloth or laminate in the bottom. You can either glue it in place with a sturdy fabric glue (such as Fabritac by Beacon’s) or hot glue. Or, for a more finished look, try sealing the edges with book binding tape, as I’ve done here.
  1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
  2. Tray
  3. Book binding tape (mine is from Paper Source)
Cut Coasters
Oilcloth is water resistant, making it an excellent coaster option. Simply cut squares from fabric, and sew two squares back to back. Note: I used two different fabrics, making my coasters double-sided. Hey, you can also skip the sewing and use a single square for a slightly thinner coaster option. 
  1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
  2. Sewing machine
Add Oilcloth Details
Finish your party decor with oilcloth-wrapped bottles. It’s as easy as cutting your cloth to fit a bottle or vase (I used coke bottles that I’ve been saving for such a fun project), and secure it in place with fabric glue or hot glue. Wrap an oilcloth bow around in a different pattern to finish your design.
  1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
  2. Recycled bottles or vases
  3. Fabric glue (I used Fabric-tac by Beacon’s)
Play with Posies
In place of traditional flowers, try oilcloth creations. I made pinwheels following these instructions and cut a butterfly using my Slice Fabrique tool. For the stems, I simply punched the top of spoon strawes, and tied the buttons on my shapes through the holes. I added some glue to keep things extra secure. 
  1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
  2. Buttons and twine
  3. Hole punch
  4. Spoon strawes (snowcone straws)
For more oilcloth ideas, check out the baby bibs I made from this happy fabric here

And check my blog again later this week for part 2 of working with oilcloth, as well as my Studio 5 segment. Thanks for your visit! I hope these projects inspire you to create with oilcloth. You’ll make your grandma proud, and add a cool vintage vibe to your next celebration. 

Lovely Wrapped Wreaths

Wrap a little wreath love using different trims. I'm sharing these projects on Studio 5 today, and they're are so much fun to put together. All you need are the following supplies:

* Wreath Form: (available at your local store) Note: Floral wreaths can sometimes be found at the dollar store. 
* Rosette Trim: Search local fabric, trim, craft, or scrapbook stores for this trim. A few scrapbooking companies that sell this style of trim include: American Crafts, BoBunny, Maya Road, and Webster's Pages
* Straight Pins
* Yarn
* Toppings: Ideas include: beaded trim, pom pom trim, and tulle. 

Rosette Wreath
Inspired by this post on the amazing Maya Road blog, I started by making a few rosette-trim wreath (like the one above)s. Here’s how:
1. Pin your trim in place on the wreath. I used this stunning trim from Maya Road

2. Wrap the rosette trim around the wreath base. Note: For a fluffier wreath, wrap the wreath with two layers of trim.

3. Once your wreath is wrapped, you can top it with a second trim (beaded trim, pom poms, tulle, etc.) and/or other accents (rosette flowers, hearts, etc.)

    4. If you want to, you can also add a light misting of sparkle and/or color with spray ink. If you look closely you'll see pink ink has been applied to the creme rosettes. 

    Yarn Wreath
    Lately, I’ve seen several yarn-wrapped wreaths in the creative world, like this cute example. Yarn-wrapped wreaths take more time to create than the rosette variety, but they sure look cute. The steps are similar.
    1. Pin yarn in place.

    2. Wrap yarn around base. Note: You may want to start with a thicker or fuzzy yarn, which is easier to wrap as you’re practicing. 

    3. Dress up your yarn wrapped wreath. For this project, I used the Valentine’s Day garland I made here

    These are happy projects to try for any holiday or season. Do you hang wreaths for seasons beyond Christmas? If so, I’d love to know what holidays or seasons you find yourself all wrapped up in wreath fun. 

    I leave you with a few more wreath creations I've put together. Enjoy! 

    I topped this one with a smaller Rosette trim and some layered rose flowers, both from Maya Road. 

    You'll find some beaded trim and a large silk flower finishing this wrapped wreath, both of which I purchased at JoAnn crafts. 

    And this spring variation was created with colored rosette trim from Webster's Pages.


    P.S. To see more of my Studio 5 crafting segments, please check out the Creating Keepsakes website, where we have a complete archive. Thanks so much! 

    Valentine's Day Garland How-To

    I love creating Valentine's Day projects, and this garland was no exception. It's quick, easy, and lovey-dovey cute. Give it a try! Here's how:

    Supplies Needed

    You'll need twine (I used the baker's variety), pom poms (bitty and a bit bigger), felt hearts, and a needle.

    Step 1: Thread the first half of the heart.

    Step 2: Add bitty pom to center of heart and thread needle through remainder of heart.

    Step 3: Thread a bigger pom.

    Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 until garland is the length you want it.

    Love will really be in the air when you string up this puffy string of sweetness. :)


    This little Chuck Brown tree is a big blessing!

    I hate to admit this, but I started this season not wanting to celebrate Christmas. My heart just wasn’t in it. You see, we were supposed to have a Christmas baby this year, and since that didn’t happen it kind of left a sad spot over the entire holiday for me. I’m relieved to say that I eventually shook some of these sad feelings, thanks to the help of my loving family and friends. But, because of my delay in getting into the Christmas spirit, we were without our decorations. Our solution: a bitty tree. 

    We call this cutie our Chuck Brown tree, because it reminds us of Charlie Brown’s little tree. 

    It’s so small, in fact, that we put it on our coffee table and it still doesn’t reach our ceiling. 

    But it’s perfect. And it’s real. I haven’t had a real tree since I moved out of my parents’ home. I love the smell of a fresh tree. Our fake tree just doesn’t compare. 

    So, we put our little tree up, got out a handful of ornaments and couple of strands of lights, and we set to decorating (with the help of the pups, of course). 

    The result: the perfect little Christmas symbol. Our decor didn’t extend much beyond our little tree this year, but it was enough. It brought some much needed Christmas spirit into our home when it was needed the most. O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum, you fill my heart with music! 

    Halloween Happiness: A Card & a Banner

    My creative garden is full of accordion flowers right now. I just can’t seem to get enough of these fun-to-make paper pretties. Here's a spirited assortment!

    Another spooky goodie I can’t get enough of is this paper from Making Memories. I love the bitty playing cards. Aren’t they cute? That’s right, I’m calling Halloween ghosts and goblins “cute.”

    I recently sat down and made a few projects using accordion flowers and this freaky-fun paper. First, I cut out the bitty cards and strung them on black tinsel, creating a festive little banner, which I hung using a couple of my flowers.

    To string the cards, I simply punched two holes in the top of each card and threaded them on the tinsel.

    Whenever I pull out my camera, the pups automatically think it’s showtime. Here’s Jack posing with the banner.

    And even though Kisses is far too big to be jumping up on this bench, he too decided to get in on the fun! Silly old dog.

    It’s not too late to make and send a happy haunt of a greeting. I used the playing cards to make this p...p...p...poker card. I think it needs a little ‘splainin’. You see the black upside down V is supposed to be a carrot--a tool in editing that indicates you’re inserting a word. “Full Haunted House.” Get it? Yeah, it’s probably not the best card if it requires explanation, but I do like the play on words.

    The playing cards pull out of the paper-crimped pocket. I think it would be fun to write little notes on the back of them.

    And here’s a look at the inside, complete with a little spooky laughter!

    Halloween is coming! Such a fun time to paper craft and watch old-school cartoons. Which cartoon is your favorite? I think I’ll go watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and have a little more flower fun.


    Check this out! (Library card not required)

    Meet my newest housemate. Okay, so devoting an entire blog post to a piece of furniture is probably a bit odd, but I just can’t help myself. I’m so excited about this new addition. I got it at The Barn, an incredible antique store in Castle Rock, CO. It’s an old card catalog that 50 years ago spent its days in a library in Kansas, and now it sits in my family room!

    It still has its alphabet-marked cards in the slots in the drawers.

    Naturally, the pups have to check out the new addition and ensure it’s welcome. Like me, they think it’s pretty cool.

    Now the big question is this: What do I keep in all of these wonderful drawers? I got it with my craft supplies in mind. (I always need more craft storage.) I’m thinking my fat quarters of fabric might decide to call these long, shallow slots home.

    But there are so many drawers, and I’m not sure what I should put in the others. Any suggestions?



    Halloween Lighting and Prizes!

    It’s starting to look like my lantern decorating is becoming an annual Halloween tradition. Last year I had fun decorating the lanterns in this post and this post. And this year I’ve been at it again. Here are a couple of my creepy creations, each created with vinyl from Stampin' Up! and lanterns (and a vase) from IKEA:

    Gone Batty

    I was excited to see this blood red lanterns this year, just right for a little vampire bat decor. I vant to suck your blood!

    I love the shadow this style of lantern casts.

    Spider Style

    I couldn’t resist doing another spider lantern, but this time I used a jumbo-size lantern. It makes a freaky statement!

    Venomous Vase

    My vinyl fun didn’t stop at lanterns. I also adhered it to this tall, skinny vase.

    I added some Stickles (glitter glue) from Ranger to the letters for a sparkling finish.

    It looks like a spider has already moved into my vase. She appears to be a widow. Eep!

    I made this flower with a little crepe paper, a spray-misted doily, and a bitty spider cupcake liner from Martha Stewart Crafts.

    Note: Please keep in mind that these lanterns do get hot. Follow product instructions to ensure your safety. Thanks!

    Enter to Win

    Now’s your chance to bring a little vinyl boo-ty into your home. I’m giving away two sets of vinyl designs from Stampin’ Up! Simply leave me a comment here by Sunday, Oct. 17 and I’ll randomly select two winners to receive the following images:

    The Prizes Continue

    See another one of my lantern designs on the Creating Keepsakes blog and enter to win even more fabulous vinyl.

    See a Demo

    I’ll be on Studio 5 today at 11:00 AM sharing my lantern creations. If you’re in Utah, I hope you’ll tune in for the frightful fun! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!


    Folded-Paper Wreath DIY

    I’m loving these rolled paper wreaths right now. So when my pal P.K. asked me to come up with a card-group craft this month, I knew this was just the ticket. We had so much fun making them that I thought I’d share the steps here so you can make your own. Here's how!

    Step 1: Cut 26 6x6 squares and 20 3x3 squares from book paper. I used an old dictionary, but any book or sheet music will do (or you can use patterned paper for a completely different look).

    Note: You may not need this many sheets. It depends a great deal on high tightly you roll you cones (step 2).

    Step 2: Roll your cut squares into cones (with your paper positioned like a diamond, bring the sides in and form a point at the tip). Use a strong liquid glue (or a hot glue gun) to hold each cone in place. I used Fabri-Tac by Beacon.

    Step 3: Add glue along the sides of the cones to glue them together, forming a larger circle wreath with the 6x6 cones and a smaller circle wreath with the 3x3 cones.

    Step 4: Once glue is dry, color the wreaths with a little spray ink for a splash of color. I used Glimmer Mist by Tattered Angels.

    Note: For the larger back wreath, you may want to spray it in sections before adhering the entire thing together, depending on how large your box is that's catching the spray.

    Step 5: Color doily with spray ink. Once dry, adhere crepe paper to the back of the doily, pleating it for a more textured look.

    Step 6: Adhere cone wreaths to cardboard-circle back for stability.

    Step 7: Layer wreath components with glue, and your spooky sentiment, and hang your wreath for a splash of frightful fun. (Note: I glued a strip of tulle to the cardboard for a hanger.)

    These wreaths are extremely affordable and can be done in an hour or two. To make it even faster, skip the back wreath and go with the smaller wreath only. And try switching out the colors, the paper, or the center piece for different holidays and seasons.