Feel Like Makin’ Love Wreaths?

Williams-Sonoma Lavender Heart Wreath

I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, nor anything heart-shaped for that matter, but when I saw this gorgeous Lavender Heart Wreath in the winter Williams-Sonoma catalog, my opinion softened a little.  While the scent of a lavender wreath would be fabulous, the $60 price tag makes my purse strings want to snap.  Using this beautiful wreath for inspiration, I scoured my favorite discount and craft stores to create a more affordable, homemade version.

Tuesday Morning had lilac-colored dried phalaris for $1.49 a bunch – I purchased six bunches to cover the 12-inch grapevine heart wreath I picked up at Michael’s.

Here’s what you need:

heart shaped wreath valentine's craft

  • heart-shaped grapevine wreath
  • decorative foliage (I used dried phalaris  – a type of grass)
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • twill ribbon tape
  • scissors

Here’s what you do:

heart shaped wreath valentine's craftheart shaped wreath valentine's craft

  1. Use scissors to snip your decorative foliage as needed – my phalaris came on long stems, so I clipped the buds from the stems.
  2. Apply hot glue to the underside of your decoration and attach to wreath in a tightly woven, slightly overlapping fashion.  I started from the center and worked my way around the wreath (see picture) to ensure uniformity.
  3. Once wreath is covered, flip over and thread your twill ribbon through the grapevine branches, as shown.
  4. Use the ribbon to make a bow approximately 6 inches above the top of wreath.  Clip ends of ribbon tape on the diagonal so that the tips just brush the top of the wreath.  Hang and enjoy!

heart shaped wreath valentine's craft

Tips: Use your 40% off Michael’s coupon for the wreath if it isn’t already on sale.  The twill ribbon tape I used was free from J Crew when I purchased a gift for someone and requested a box.  Always keep things that could be of use to you later, even if you’re not sure what you’d use them for immediately!  Save-on-Crafts has dried lavender for $8.50 for a bunch of 60 stems if you want to try to replicate the WS wreath, though you’re on your own for how much you’d need to order!

Cost: $12!

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O (tabletop) Christmas Tree

This time of year holiday catalogs fill our mailboxes.  Unfortunately for a lot of us, decking the house for the holidays with gorgeous items from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate & Barrel and Williams- Sonoma just isn’t feasible.  What I try to do every year is browse through the catalogs and get inspired to create my own decorations and replicate the store’s classic style for much less than retail!

west elm david stark twine wrapped tree craft

Twine Wrapped Tree

If you browse through my other posts, you’ll see that I love to decorate with twine by wrapping it around things.  I love the texture it creates and the organic look of it.  Recently, I was flipping through a West Elm catalog and saw these modern trees (above) and thought, what a great thrifty craft!  And can be made for SO much less than the sticker price!

What you need:

  • craft spray glue
  • newspaper
  • styrofoam tree form
  • jute twine
  • hot glue gun

west elm twine wrapped tree christmas craft

Here’s what you do:

  1. Create a workspace with newspaper.
  2. Secure twine to the top of tree with a spot of hot glue.
  3. Apply spray glue in 2-3 inch sections and wrap twine around form of tree, making sure twine is taut and avoiding gaps between wraps.
  4. Finish by securing twine to bottom edge with hot glue.

Note: It is important to start wrapping from the top of the tree, as wrapping from a larger to smaller diameter direction can be frustrating – the twine will want to roll toward the smaller diameter area.  So, start from the top!

west elm twine wrapped tree christmas craft

Cost: $5! Twine was purchased from the 99 cent store and the styrofoam tree was purchased at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon for $4.  That’s a savings of $45 from the West Elm retail!

Red Berry Tree Topiaries

red berry tree tabletop tree topiary craft

Decorating with red berries during the holidays is one of my favorite looks.  Unfortunately, good quality topiaries can be hard to find, especially if you like to shop the after Christmas sales for your holiday decorations – oftentimes, berries are missing, chipped or scratched. Here’s a way to have a beautiful topiary, on the cheap, with little effort! Comparable topiaries (like the one on the left) can be found at Target for up to $29 per tree!

What you need:

  • wire cutters
  • tree topiaries
  • red berry picks
  • silver (or gold) spray paint
  • bright green reindeer moss
  • terra cotta pots
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks

red berry christmas tree topiary craftred berry christmas tree topiary craft

Here’s what you do:

  1. Use wire cutters to remove berries from their stems. Make sure to save one berry with a 3/4 inch of stem for the top of the tree.
  2. Place sole berry with stem in top of tree, leaving 1/3-1/2 of an inch visible.
  3. Secure first layer of berries below top berry with hot glue, making sure to place them as close together as possible, eliminating as much of the background as you can.
  4. In sections, starting at the edge of your most recently placed berries and working outward, cover rest of the tree with berries.
  5. Spread newspaper to create a large workspace.
  6. Use spray paint to coat terra cotta pots, using short strokes and spraying another layer (after first coat dries) until pot has a uniform coating.  Make sure to flip the pots after waiting for them to dry and spray the upper rim.
  7. Place berried topiary in newly painted, dry pot.
  8. Attach reindeer moss with hot glue in sections to exposed areas of base.
  9. Display and enjoy!

Cost: less than $10 per tree,  not bad! AND you have leftover silver spray paint for other holiday projects!

red berry christmas tree topiary craft

Tip: Michaels has wonderful sales throughout the month of December – most things holiday are often 40 -60% off!  I purchased my red berries at a 50% off sale, so each pick was only $0.49 (I used 17 picks total for two trees).  Spray paint and pots were cheapest at Home Depot – only $5 for everything.  An even less expensive, and less time consuming, way to do it would be to find silver pots that you like at discount stores like the Dollar Tree or 99 cent store.  And don’t forget your 40% off mailer coupons at Michaels for things that aren’t on sale!  My reindeer moss (which is the same color and look of the stuff they’re selling at Pottery Barn for $14 per bag!) was only $3 with my coupon.  Thrift and discount stores (like Tuesday Morning) are also wonderful places to find craft materials for pennies on the dollar – I actually found my topiaries at a thrift store for $1.99 each!

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Deck Your Halls with Simple Crafts!

apothecray jar glass ornaments craft

If you check out my Fall crafts posting, you’ll see that I love decorating with this apothecary jar!  It is such a great vessel for displaying pretty things and decorating with it is so simple! No instructions needed, simply fill and display!

What you’ll need:

  • glass apothecary jar
  • small, shiny, glass ornaments

Cost: $3 (+ cost of your reusable, versatile jar – mine was purchased at Ross for ~$8)

pinecones in glass bowl decorating craft

Everyone should have some type of decorative glass bowl in their decorating armamentarium.  Like the apothecray jar craft above, there is nothing easier than filling the vessel with simple and pretty things, like pinecones during the holidays.  Try to look for bags of pinecones in which some are spray painted gold or silver (or do it yourself!) for a more festive touch.

What you’ll need:

  • decorative glass bowl
  • cinnamon scented pinecones

Cost: $2! (+ cost of your reusable, decorative glass bowl – ours was a wedding gift and is from Crate and Barrel)

tree cuttings vase filler craft

Any vase of flowers can have a lovely holiday feel by adding one simple flourish – cuttings from your newly purchased Christmas tree!  Don’t throw those extra branches away when you trim your tree!

What you’ll need:

  • flowers
  • vase
  • cuttings from your tree

Cost: Free! (+ cost of your fresh flowers, of course!)

carnation bouquet christmas craft vellum wrapped vase

I saw a similar vellum-wrapped vase a few years ago in a Martha Stewart Magazine.  While she used gorgeous amaryllis to fill her vase, I opted for a flower that is less expensive and easier to find.   Here, I clustered mini white carnations and large red ones to create a lush focal point for my end table.

What you’ll need:

  • red & white flowers
  • tall, cylindrical glass vase
  • 1 sheet of 12×12 white vellum
  • red embroidery thread
  • vellum tape

Here’s what you do:

  1. Stand vellum paper against vase to determine proper height.  Cut.
  2. Apply vellum tape to one edge of vellum paper and secure to glass, wrap vellum around vase, and secure free edge with vellum tape, overlapping edges slightly.
  3. Find middle of string and, starting from the base of the vase,  wrap string around and up the vase, keeping thread taut and criss-crossing as pictured.  Use vellum tape to secure free edges of thread at lip of vase.
  4. Arrange cut flowers in vase and enjoy!

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Fall in Love with Fall

pottery barn vase filler craft projects

Its that time of year again when everywhere you look, the rich colors of autumn abound….if you live anywhere but Southern California, that is!  Unfortunately for us, palm trees stay green and lawns aren’t littered with gorgeous crimson,  rust or gold falling leaves.  So, what’s a girl to do to bring in the fall season?  Get crafting, that’s what!

After last holiday season, I picked up some clearance items from Pottery Barn in preparation for decorating this year.  Among my finds were life-like acorns and preserved leaves in gorgeous hues for only $2.97 a box!  There is so much you can do with these simple vase fillers!  Here are a couple of easy projects to get those creative cogs turning.

Leaf Coasters

photo coaster project pottery barn vase filler leaves

What you need:

  • a set of photo coasters
  • preserved, or artificial, leaves
  • tweezers
  • scotch tape

Here’s what you do:

photo coaster project pottery barn vase filler leavesphoto coaster project pottery barn vase filler leaves

  1. Choose  four different leaf shapes in four different colors, selecting leaves that are comparable in size to that of your photo coaster insert.
  2. Lay your selected leaf on the cardstock insert to position.  If your leaves extend beyond the edges of the cardstock, use scotch tape to wrap the tips around and secure to the backside.
  3. Using tweezers, gently slide the cardstock into the plastic insert, being careful not to wrinkle or damage the secured leaf.

Photo coasters can be found at many stores.  These have a very simple design and were given to us as a wedding gift.  They can be found at Crate and Barrel for $20 for a set of four.

Cost: $3 (with lots of leftover leaves for other projects)!

Golden Wheat and Leaf Wreath

golden wheat grapevine wreath leaf craft

What you need:

  • grapevine wreath
  • dried wheat stems
  • preserved, or artificial, leaves
  • fall foliage craft stems for colorful accents
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks

golden wheat grapevine wreath leaf craft

Here’s what you do:

  1. Pre-arrange wheat and leaves to ensure full coverage of your wreath
  2. Hot glue 10-12 leaves on wreath in a scattered, yet deliberate, way, as if they fell on the wreath naturally.  You still want some of the grapevine wreath peeking through between leaves.
  3. Cut your wheat stems to half their original length for ease of insertion.
  4. Insert wheat stems into grapevine wreath horizontally, as close to 180 degrees as you can.  This ensures the wheat lays flat against the wreath and does not stick out.  Use hot glue as necessary to secure rogue wheat stems.
  5. Cut buds off of your fall foliage stems, leaving a 2-3 inch stem. Insert into wreath at various points, making sure to even out the color distribution.
  6. Turn wreath over and snip any length of wheat stem that protrudes from the back or can be readily seen.
  7. Hang and admire your handiwork!

golden wheat grapevine wreath leaf craft

Wheat was purchased at a farmers market for $2 a bunch, wreath and foliage stems were purchased at Joann’s (foliage was 70% off after Halloween!).  Remember to check for coupons for your craft stores!  I was able to use a 10% off transaction coupon the day I bought these!

Cost: $12!

Flowers with Acorns and Lentils

pottery barn vase filler acorn craft projects

What you need:

  • 5″ square vase
  • one box of acorn filler
  • few handfuls of dried lentils
  • plastic water bottle
  • Exacto knife
  • autumn colored flowers

Here’s what you do:

pottery barn vase filler craft projects pottery barn vase filler acorn craft projects

  1. Place plastic water bottle inside square vase, centering it.  Fill square vase with acorns around water bottle to determine proper height, mark.
  2. Remove plastic bottle and use Exacto knife to cut water bottle to marked height.  Smooth cut edges with scissors, if need be.
  3. Center the cut bottle in square vase again, this time filling lower 1/2 inch or so of square vase with dried lentils to stabilize plastic container.  Fill acorns around plastic bottle, making sure there are no gaps where the plastic bottle can be seen.
  4. Fill bottle with water and arrange cut flowers.

Cost: $3 + the cost of flowers

Apothecary Jars with Fallen Leaves

glass apothecary jar leaf filler craft home decoration

What you need:

  • preserved, or artificial, leaves
  • glass apothecary jar

There isn’t an easier craft than this!  Simply take a handful of leaves and place into jar, making sure to fluff them so they are not crushed.  Put on display and enjoy!

Cost: $3 + cost of apothecary jar (check discount stores for deals on these…I found mine at Ross for $5.99!)

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Wicked Wreaths

feather wreath Halloween craft

Add some frightful fun to your home decor this Halloween with a couple of spooktacular wreaths!

bleached moss wreath Halloween craft

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • feather picks
  • bleached moss
  • plastic spiders
  • grapevine wreath
  • styrofoam wreath
  • hot glue gun with glue sticks

For the feather wreath, arrange your feathers prior to gluing to make sure you have enough material to cover the entire face of the wreath.  When arranged, insert the individual picks into the grapevine wreath, bend the ends that stick out of the back and secure them with glue.  You can buy more picks to cover the entire wreath, but I think it looks nice with the grapevine background.

feather wreath Halloween craft

For the mossy wreath (original idea from Martha Stewart), as for the feather wreath, lay out your moss prior to gluing to ensure you have enough to cover the styrofoam completely.  Once ready, apply glue to the styrofoam in 2-3 inch sections and press moss  gently against the hot glue to secure.  Adorn the finished wreath with black plastic spiders for an extra creepy effect.

bleached moss wreath Halloween craft

Tip: Make sure to use your 40% off Michael’s coupons for purchasing the wreaths if they aren’t already on sale.  For the feather project, make sure fall accessories are on sale – these were 50% off, so in total, I only spent $6 for 12 feather picks.  The bleached moss was a clearance item at Pottery Barn that I scored for $2.97/bag.  I ended up using two bags on a 12″ styrofoam wreath.

Cost: $10 per wreath!

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hand dyed napkin craft

Is it me, or is the trick to shopping the discount stores weeding out all of the tacky stuff?  For people like me, who have a simple design esthetic, I don’t want ghosts embroidered on my placemats or cheesy black, orange and white plaid napkins for Halloween.  I want a simple bright orange napkin paired with a simple black placemat.  I’ll make the tablescape interesting and fun with other adornments, but as a thrifty crafter and entertainer, I think your basic table linen pieces should be able to be mixed and matched with other linens throughout the year, not just for one specific holiday. While it was relatively easy to find plain black placemats (Big Lots, $1.00 each), I had a surprisingly difficult time finding those bright orange napkins.  So, I decided to stop searching and purchased clearance bamboo colored napkins for $0.99 each and dyed them orange with good, old-fashioned RIT.

hand dyed napkin crafthand dyed napkin craft

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a large bucket
  • a wooden spoon (or some other utensil to stir the bath with)
  • a disposable containter, like a 7-11 Big Gulp cup, to mix the RIT in
  • tea kettle or large pot to boil water in
  • gloves
  • salt
  • detergent

Basically, you’ll want to follow the directions on the RIT label for best results.  There was no way in heck I was going to dye napkins in my nice All-Clad stockpot, so I used water just off of a boil to fill a plastic tub that was placed in my sink.  Make sure you dye all articles at once for the same amount of time, otherwise discrepancies in color will occur.

hand dyed napkin craft

Cost: $9 for 6 napkins

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Creepy Candy

Need a crafty and inexpensive way to hold all that candy for the trick or treaters?  Try this super easy project to add a little spook to your serving bowl.

Here’s what you’ll need:

halloween candy bowl craft

  • craft spider web
  • wire fruit bowl (this one purchased from Target for the REGULAR price of $2.49!)
  • lotsa candy!

Any type of basket that has natural catches would work well for this project.  Even if your vessel doesn’t have ideal roughness, you can always use Zots to adhere the web to the bowl.  Spread out your webbing, and starting on the bottom of the bowl, use Zots or photo mounting squares to tack down your starting point.  Delicately thread the webbing through and around the wires of your bowl in a non-symmetrical, almost haphazard way, tacking to the bottom of the bowl as needed when you want to change direction.  Finish by tacking to the bottom of the bowl where you started (this doesn’t have to be pretty – no one will ever see the bottom!).

halloween candy bowl craft

Eh, voila!  A cute, easy and festive way to pass out candy this Halloween, with a reusable bowl, to boot!

Cost: less than $4!

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Green Go Bragh

The March 2009 issue of Martha Stewart got me all excited to host a St. Patrick’s Day gathering at our house this year. Not only does the issue have a recipe for what looks to be quite delicious Irish soda bread, it also has a recipe for brining your own corned beef! Too bad it takes 2 weeks to make – maybe next year?

decorative entertaining

While I love being in the kitchen, I get very excited to entertain and set the scene.  Especially when the color scheme is varying shades of green!  Hitting up my favorite bargain shopping havens for new green linens?  It really doesn’t get any better than this!

I started at the Crate and Barrel outlet and scored some fabulous green textural placemats  for $2.95 each. It is so hard to restrain oneself in that place! Everything is so much cheaper than in the retail stores. But I digress…

Green linen napkins were found at Ross for $2.99 for 4!  Go next door to Bed, Bath & Beyond and they cost $3.99 each! They are very similar in style to the Pottery Barn Linen Hemstitch napkins, but much less expensive!

To incorporate gold, I used basic gold chargers that I picked up at Big Lots.  Only $6 for a set of four.  They aren’t the best quality, but since most of the charger is covered with a plate and I really just wanted a *pop* of gold color, they worked out great.

To finish my place setting, I wanted some napkin rings but wasn’t really finding anything I liked. Then I thought, what better piece de resistance than a simple single shamrock placed at each setting? I had already purchased little shamrock pots at Trader Joe’s for decoration throughout the house, so simply snipped one for each setting.

bargain place setting

Here’s the final spirited, yet classy tablescape, for $5.25 per setting:

bargain table setting

Tip: Snip your shamrocks just before guests arrive.  Unfortunately, the shamrocks will wilt, so make sure everyone sees your creativity before they sit down to dinner.

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West Elm taste on a Goodwill budget

west elm

I heart west elm. In fact, I love the whole Williams-Sonoma/Pottery Barn/west elm family. Classic, yet modern, luxurious, yet casual…and oh, the quality!

My husband and I recently moved into a little beach shack and had purchased a silk dupioni blue duvet/bedskirt/shams set for our bedroom from Linens N’ Things during a “Store Closing” sale. So the style wasn’t quite what we were looking for but we didn’t want to spend a ton of money – $30 for the whole thing – what a deal! Well, in this instance, we got what we paid for. After two months, the underside of the duvet grew little nubs on it and everytime I got in bed, I screamed , “I hate this comforter!”.

I’d been dreaming of a soft and cozy west elm duvet/shams set, but my frugality kept me from splurging. One day I saw the perfect set in the perfect Glacier Blue color for the rock-bottom, clearance section price of $49 including tax and shipping! Deal!!! Only problem was, it was a king and we have a queen sized bed.

organic lattice duvet cover and shams west elm

Well, the thrifty crafter that I am, I thought, “How hard could it be to convert a king-sized duvet cover to a queen?“.

Turns out, it wasn’t hard at all! I looked up some measurements on About.com, then double checked by measuring my existing comforter and my existing duvet.

The king was 90 x 108 and I cropped it to 84 x 86.

Here’s what you do:

  • Turn the duvet inside out.
  • Measure 11 inches off of each side and 6 inches from the top (these measurements may differ depending on your actual comforter size).
  • Iron the edges to keep things flat, pin it and sew away!
  • Turn right side out and enjoy!
glacier blue

Tip: If you prefer, you can cut the excess material. I kept it intact for two reasons: 1.) in case we buy a king someday I can rip the seams and convert it back, and 2.) the extra material inside gives it a heavier, more enveloping feel that makes you yearn for more bed time!

The whole project took me about an hour to complete and I couldn’t be happier with the result!

Cost: $29.99 for duvet (marked down from $119!), $3.99 per sham (2) (marked down from $19 each!)

Savings: $130!!!!

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