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heart mittens knit easy

I am not the kind of person to embellish things with hearts.  Let me start out by saying that.  It takes every fiber of my being to wear a color other than black, white, gray, or army green.  Although I’m certainly not a frivolous dresser, I have a soft spot for cute mittens, hats, and scarves… why?  Mostly because it’s winter, everything’s a bit drab, and something a little quirkier than my typical winter uniform makes me smile when all I really want to do is hop the next plane to southern California and live out the rest of my days in the sunshine.  Let’s notice, however, that the mittens are still gray and black, however.  A girl has her limits.

why i diy

A few weeks ago, the five year anniversary of this blog came and went and I discussed the reasons why I blog (because I find the need to re-affirm myself every so often), but blogging is just part of the story.  It’s getting work out into the world, it’s sharing, it’s the way I make my living.  But one can blog about a whole lot of things.  I could have chosen travel, fashion, cooking, or mini farming.  I got to thinking this weekend however, while making brownies from scratch, why it is that I DIY… that is, do things myself.

First, let’s evaluate DIY… because a lot of people get it wrong.  

diy mudcloth pillow

In recent months, I’ve seen mud cloth really taking off, replacing (or adding to) a lot of the shibori patterns we’ve been seeing everywhere for the last few years.  Although I certainly love the look of vintage mud cloth its ridiculously expensive.  I found one yard of mud cloth fabric at a Paris flea market last spring for $299 euro! Yikes!

What is so beautiful about the patterns is the raw textures and dying in super simple shapes.  It’s a very graphic, but organic addition to the rest of the patterns in our homes.  I’ve seen mud cloth in various shades of black, brown, tan, and cream – with the basic black and white being my favorite. I thought it was about time I gave this trend a little DIY treatment with my favorite go-to method. 

valentines heart wreath diy

I may not be the biggest fan of Valentine’s decor, but I AM a big fan of getting some greenery into my life by any means possible throughout the cold, dark winter months.   I thought it would be a cute little nod to the romantic holiday we have coming up to create a heart out of said greenery rather than just throwing them in a vase.  Also, the heart wreaths (yes, I made multiples) are able to go on the doors and mirrors throughout the house, cheering the whole place up significantly.  Plus (and I just had this thought), these would make adorable gifts for Valentines day, no?

It’s pretty easy and the materials you need are fairly simple,  Let’s get to it, shall we?

turned wood candlesticks

I’m always looking for a cool, casual set of candle holders for my dinners that aren’t imposing or fancy whatsoever. When I spotted these furniture feet (yes, from the hardware store) I immediately thought they’d make some modern, but pretty candle holders for a mantle or for my winter dinner table.

modern cross stitch pillow

I love a good modern take on a traditional project.  This idea had been brewing in my mind for a while now and this weekend I just grabbed a plain pillow cover out of the linen closet, threaded up my needle and went at it to create this modern cross stitched pillow.  As I was going, I kept getting more and more excited about how it was turning out.  It was fun and simple to do, but produced a pillow that I feel like you could snag in the hippest of minimal Scandinavian design shops.

top ten layout short

The numbers don’t lie, you guys!  There were some very very clear winners for the top posts you loved this year.  I took both stats and comments into account when tabulating this list of the top ten blog posts, projects, and tutorials that you devoured this year.  Since I know that not all of you have been around the entire year (welcome!!) I wanted to dig back through 2015 to showcase what you guys resonated most with this year. Ready? 

Some gifts are so hard to wrap, either because they're oddly shaped or because they're super small - like jewelry or gift cards.  I am

printed balsa wood gift tags

If you loved the printable gift wrap from last week, then you’re also going to love these adorable transfer print balsa gift tags.  Remember the Thanksgiving centerpiece?  Well, I had a fair amount of balsa wood on hand from that project (it was a temporary centerpiece), so I thought about the best way to use the balsa wood again for Christmas.  These tags are the perfect use… since one piece of balsa makes sixteen (!!) tags.  That’s about $0.14 each.  Nice, right? Especially in a world where a pack of 8 tags can cost you $10.

They’re easy as every too… Just a pair of scissors and a home printer is all you need.

buffalo check christmas stocking

Ok. So, this isn’t a DIY, but just a little makeover trick that I’ve employed in the past to save some cash and wanted to share with you today.  I’ve talked at length about how and why I use a theme each Christmas, but part of the challenge for me is to do everything I can to use what I have before buying anything new. This year, I used our existing stockings and put a little B&W spin on them with the ol’ cuff trick.  What’s the ol’ cuff trick, you ask?  Well, I’m about to show you.

diy christmas ornaments

Each year as my Christmas theme changes, I always make a few different types of DIY ornaments to layer onto the metallic and neutral base.  This really reinforces the christmas theme without a total overhaul each year which would be wasteful and expensive.  I love getting out my gold and silver glass ornaments that we bought early in our marriage and bring in the fun with some easy and inexpensive DIYs.  I find they go fairly well all working together.

This year, I’m adding a graphic touch with some message ornaments and a bold modern spin with color blocked wood ornaments.  See the process for each fun (and cheap!) DIY ornament below!

print it yourself giftwrap

I’m loving all of the black and white christmas we have going on!  Are you?!  It’s really simple, streamlined, and cozy looking – especially with the fun I have in store for you today! I was on the lookout for a big buffalo check paper and after searching far and wide, I came up empty handed.  So I took matters into my own (empty) hands and just made my own.

Although the DIY gift wrap ‘making’ started out totally different than how it ended up… Let me explain