Handmade Magnolia Garland

handmade holiday garland

Maybe it was my time in the south, or maybe it’s the fabulous smell, but I am obsessed with adding magnolia into my holiday decor.  This year, I found some magnolia branches at a local floral shop, so I wanted to make a garland for our mantle out of it.  Garland is one of those things that people don’t often make themselves, but it’s deceptively easy, so I’m gonna show you how it’s done.

homemade evergreen garland diy magnolia garland

You can also do the same steps using pine or any other greenery.  This is the same exact process I used when making the eucalyptus garland as well.  When it comes to buying greenery (or any flower for that matter) I always just pop into a floral shop that is near me and ask if I can buy from their coolers.  I figure, a sale is a sale and if they don’t have to do the arranging, then most florists are totally cool selling you bulk bunches. All this tutorial takes (aside from the branches) is wire and wire clippers!   [Read more…]

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Cozy Sweater Gift Bag with Kahlúa

sweater upcycle gift bag

First, I have to say that I’m obsessed with this project.  I had to tell myself to stop taking photos of it because they were getting out of control.  Does anyone need 40 pictures of a sweater gift bag?  I didn’t think so.

Gifting a bottle of something tasty to a hostess is a good standby, but it’s easy to get lost in the pack of gifts arriving at the party if yours doesn’t stand out. Instead of wine, think about gifting a fun liqueur, like Kahlúa, and to include a few recipes along with it.  The reason I love giving recipes is because it gives your hostess some creative ideas and shows her that you put more thought into your gift than swinging by the liquor store on the way to her house.

kahlua recipe cards and gift bag

sweater bottle gift bag

In addition to the recipes, a beautiful and handmade gift bag highlights the specialness of what’s inside.  This darling sweater gift bag cost me $1.50 to make.  No kidding.  That’s cheaper than the paper ones at the store. Here’s the full how-to!  [Read more…]

Handmade Holiday: Monogram Copper Candle

embossed monogram candle diy

I hope you’re as excited as I am! Today is the first day in our ‘Handmade Holiday’ series!  We’ll have five gifts which you can make, but look good enough to pass off as store bought.

Monogrammed things are absolutely perfect for this time of the year.  When giving someone a gift, a monogram says, “I thought about YOU”.  It also says, “I didn’t get this out of my gift stash.”  Not that I have a gift stash….

handmade holiday copper candle

I mentioned it in my gift guide, but I get so crazy about why some candles are so expensive.  I would imagine that I has to do with the quality of the ingredients, but some $200 candles just don’t seem worth it to me.  I felt that wrapping a great smelling mall-brand candle in a beautifully shiny monogram would do the trick to make a ho-hum gift seem so chic.

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Want the full how to?  It’s next!  [Read more…]

Dried Orange & Cinnamon Garland

dried orange garland

Yesterday, I shared the first post in my Christmas decor, my porch, with you all.  On the mini trees and strung throughout the green garland, I had a handmade dried orange and cinnamon garland that was a cinch to make.

Not only did the garland adhere closely to my colonial theme, but it is much less expensive than lots of the garlands out there on the market and it smells amazing (win – win – win).

Today, I’ll show you the easy steps so that you can make your own.

colonial tree with orange garland

dried orange slices christmas dried whole oranges

dried orange slices

Slice a few orange in 1/4″ – 1/2″ slices.  Arrange them on a non-stick surface or parchment paper.  Set them in a cool oven and turn the temperature onto the lowest setting your oven will allow.  Mine was 170° F.  Leave the slices in the oven for about 5 hours, then shut the oven off and leave the oranges in there overnight or until completely cool.  They will be fairly dry, but will continue to dry out over time.

whole dried oranges

Using a paring knife, slice the oranges vertically being careful to cut the majority of the way through the skin without cutting the fruit inside.  This will help the moisture of the oranges to escape while drying out and it looks pretty! Arrange the oranges on a non-stick surface and put the pans in a cool oven.  Set the oven temp as low as your oven will allow (again, mine was 170°).  Leave the oranges in the oven for 48 hours.  Yes, two whole days.  Turn the oven off after 48 hours and leave the oranges in there to completely cool down inside and out.  I left mine in the over for another 24 hours.

dried orange christmas garland

When your oranges are dry, you can use them anyway you’d like!  I strung some together using an upholstery needle and twine.  The twine helps the oranges stay put on the garland since it has a rough texture.  Alternate the oranges with large cinnamon sticks.  I found that the cheapest and best cinnamon sticks were at World Market or in the Mexican section of the grocery store (NOT in the baking aisle.

You’ll be happy to see that I’m using this garland throughout my decor and there is more in store to show you tomorrow in my entry way (and pomegranates too – watch out!)

 

Party Beverage Bucket DIY

diy champagne bucket

My favorite part of entertaining has always been finding my own way to do things that is cool and low cost.  This particular project is one that I’ve done a few times before for other parties and just love how customizable it is.  Beverage tubs and champagne buckets tend to be one of those things that are weirdly expensive.  I saw an iron one last year that I like and it was over $100! Really, it’s just a tub!

So, I have started using small (bathroom sized) trashcans as a stand-in to keep bottles cold during our parties.  They’re inexpensive enough to not be a big blow to your party budget and with a couple of drawer pulls or knobs from the hardware store and a quick customization they also turn out way more cute than the run of the mill version.

 

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It’s an easy three step process and rolls in at under $20.  Want to make your own?   [Read more…]