Yarn-Wrapped Vases

yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun

What to do with the leftover yarn from your Party Animals wire animal project? Pick up some cheap tin cans of varying sizes from your favorite discount store and turn them into coordinating centerpieces, that’s what! Flowers are a must for me at any type of event and when you can get them gorgeous and on the cheap from your local Trader Joe’s, this craft really is a no-brainer! We ended up using the smallest can as a utensil holder…another great way to add some texture and color to your table!

Here’s what you need:

yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun

  • leftover yarn
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • washed and dried tin cans (I went to Big Lots and bought the cheapest cans I could with the best size variation)
yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun

Here’s what you do:

  1. Remove outer paper label from tin can and thoroughly wash both inside and outside of can.
    yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun
  2. Once dry, use hot glue gun to tack end of yarn to edge of can.
  3. Wrap tin can 10-20 times or so, keeping some tension.
    yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun
  4. Scrunch yarn down to cover up any openings and to create the textured look.
    yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun
  5. Continue wrapping in sets of 10-20 until you reach the upper edge of can.
    yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun
  6. Cut yarn and glue down on edge.  Voila!  Gorgeous vase in less than 10 minutes!
    yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun

Cost: Under $4 for five vases.

yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun
yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun
yarn wrapped vases cheap craft ideas party decor hot glue gun


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Thanksmas Entertaining

Ever wanted to throw a fall dinner party that isn’t a full-on Thanksgiving or host something the weekend after Thanksgiving, when, in your mind, it is still a bit too early to decorate for Christmas?  If you’re like me, who celebrates the bountiful holiday at someone else’s home, you have all of these beautiful gourds and pumpkins that haven’t yet their moment in the spotlight.  So, what’s a girl to do for decor between major holidays?  Try mixing some silvers and purples into your existing fall color scheme and see what you get.  You might be pleasantly surprised!

This table setting was inspired by some clearance napkins I found at Cost Plus World Market in the summer (again, the key to entertaining thriftily is thinking ahead and always being on the lookout for deals!).  They have a gorgeous mix of plum, deep purple, natural white, burnt orange and woodsy browns:

fall thanksgiving centerpiece ideas crafts entertaining placemats tablescape place setting

When I saw the napkins, I immediately thought of the plum table runners I’d made for my wedding a few years earlier that were still sitting in storage at my in-law’s house.  Since I prefer to use placemats as opposed to runners, I thought, how easy would it be to convert a few of these gorgeous runners (that I’ll almost never use again) into placemats?  Even if you don’t have table runners that you no longer have a need for, it is quite easy to make your own placemats, since they are basically two rectangles sewn together!

What you’ll need:

fall thanksgiving centerpiece ideas crafts tablescapes place settings entertaining

  • 1.25 yards of interesting, textural fabric (I used a weave from Ikea)
  • 1.25 yards of plain backing fabric (I used a simple broadcloth from Joann’s)
  • matching thread
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • long ruler or measuring tape

Here’s what you do:

  1. Iron material prior to cutting.
  2. Pin fabric together.
  3. Cut out six 13×19 rectangular pieces out of pinned fabric (if your fabric is the standard 45″ you should be able to measure 19″ from the end, then cut out three 13″ pieces with ~6″ of  leftover scrap, repeat a second time for a total of six placemats).
  4. Thread machine with matching thread and sew 3 sides of rectangle with 1/4 – 1/2 inch margin.
  5. On fourth side, start from one end and stitch until left with a 3 inch unstitched area.
  6. Turn fabric out and iron edges.
  7. Turn unstitched area in and sew closed (you could also do this by hand with an invisible stitch, if you wanted, though it takes longer).

fall thanksgiving centerpieces craft ideas entertaining tablescapes place settings

Now for the centerpieces!  I was inspired to make something fun when I saw some Styrofoam balls that I found at Tuesday Morning for much less than craft store retail prices.  What I ended up doing was using a combination of things I had (excess muslin from previous craft projects, twine, and Indian corn husks) and new materials (preserved leaves and dried pinto beans) to create natural-looking, fall-into-winter centerpieces.  All of my materials incorporated colors that are in the napkins.

Here’s what you need:

  • two sizes of Styrofoam balls (Tuesday Morning or retail craft stores)
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • scissors
  • craft spray glue
  • preserved leaves (Michael’s)
  • jute twine (Big Lots or 99 Cent Store)
  • muslin (retail craft store or Walmart)
  • purple Indian corn husks (local grocery store in produce section)
  • 2 bags dried pinto beans (Big Lots $1 per bag)
  • galvanized or silver rectangular trays (I used my trusty tart pans again!)

Here’s what you do:

for leaves:

fall thanksgiving centerpieces craft ideas entertaining tablescapes place settings

  1. Remove leaves from their stems.
  2. Use hot glue gun to secure leaves to styrofoam ball in an overlapping fashion until ball is covered.  In my example, on one large and one small ball, I displayed the waxy side of the leaf and on another two, I displayed the underside.

for muslin:

fall thanksgiving centerpieces craft ideas entertaining tablescapes place settings

  1. Rip fabric into 1-inch strips
  2. Cut strips into 1×1 inch squares
  3. Use hot glue gun to secure fabric squares to ball in overlapping fashion until ball is covered.

for corn husks:

  1. Remove purple corn husks from Indian corn, being careful not to tear or rip the husks.
  2. To soften and use the inner, shiny side of the husk, heat some water to boiling in a tea kettle and lay husks over opening to relax leaves with steam.
  3. Use hot glue gun to apply corn husks to styrofoam ball in an overlapping fashion until ball is covered.

for twine:

fall thanksgiving centerpieces craft ideas entertaining tablescapes place settings

  1. Secure twine to one pole of styrofoam ball with hot glue.
  2. Apply craft spray glue in sections and wrap twine around styrofoam ball.
  3. Once ball is completely wrapped, secure end of twine to opposite pole with a spot of hot glue.

Note: As you move from a smaller diameter to a bigger one, this wrapping is easy.  However, as you hit the equator and start to move from a larger diameter to a smaller one, this craft can become frustrating as the twine will want to roll toward the smaller diameter pole.  Have patience, or if you don’t, you can always snip, glue end and start wrapping from the opposite pole and have your twine meet in the middle.  I prefer the uninterrupted look, myself.

Finally, pour pinto beans into trays and arrange your covered ball decorations to your liking!

all thanksgiving centerpeice ideas decorating entertaining tablescapes place settings

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An Eggs-quisite Easter

robin's egg blue easter decorations speckled egg tree tuesday morning crafts

I’ve always loved the robin’s egg blue, earthy brown and soft yellow speckled eggs you can find in the stores this time of year.  This Easter, I designed my decorations around these inspiring little symbols of the season and incorporated natural elements, like fresh willow branches and wheatgrass,  to capture the spirit of spring renewal.  Here are a couple of inexpensive and easy centerpieces ideas for your special gathering.

Egg Tree

easter egg tree centerpiece craft robin's egg blue milk glass vase decoration

Here’s what you need:

  • one bunch of pussy willow branches
  • tall vase
  • one package of speckled eggs

Here’s what you do:

Clip your branches to the proper height for your vase, removing any buds that would fall below the level of the water in your vase.  Artistically arrange your eggs along the branches.

egg hunt centerpiece easter decoration entertaining ideas wheatgrass galvanized metal planter

I found the pussy willow branches at Von’s for $4.99, the vintage milk glass vase is from a thrift store and the high quality speckled eggs (which are also used in the centerpiece below) were purchased at Tuesday Morning for $4.99 for 12 eggs (you can also easily find these at your local Michael’s or Joann’s craft stores).

Egg Hunt Centerpiece

egg hunt centerpiece easter decoration entertaining ideas wheatgrass galvanized metal planter

Here’s what you need:

  • two galvanized metal trays
  • six small pots of wheatgrass
  • one package of speckled eggs

Here’s what you do:

Place 3 wheatgrass plants into each galvanized planter.  Artistically arrange eggs among the blades of grass – I used a zigzag pattern with 4 eggs.

egg hunt centerpiece easter decoration entertaining ideas wheatgrass galvanized metal planter

I purchased my 13×4.5×5.5 galvanized metal planters from Joann’s on a 50% off sale for $3.99 each and found the wheatgrass at my local farmer’s market for $0.99 each.

Tips: Instead of purchasing your eggs pre-strung and pre-painted, you could make your own and it would probably be cheaper, just more time consuming and messy!

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got milk glass?

milk glass vase thrifty cheap decoration  decor flowers

Decorating with the pristine, pure white of milk glass is a refreshingly simple way to add some brightness to your home in the new year.  And the best part?  The vintage pieces are readily found at second-hand stores, which makes for a very thrifty decoration, indeed!  Cheery florals, like bright pink mini carnations clustered en masse,  provide a striking contrast with the chalky white and are a favorite of mine for bringing a splash of color into the home.

milk glass vase thrifty cheap decoration flowers decor

Hosting tip: Use this combination for a more modern twist on an upcoming bridal or baby shower, utilizing other brights like orange tulips, yellow ranunculus and lime green mums – each color in a different vessel – for a striking, yet simple, look.

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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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the littlest pumpkins

Tired of using flowers for dinner party table decor? Capture the essence of the fall season and All Hallows Eve with this creatively simple alternative.

pumpkin table decoration craft

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • low, metal trays
  • dried black beans
  • mini pumpkins, preferably in different colors

The trays I used are actually repurposed, rectangular tart pans from Williams-Sonoma which were the perfect dimension for my rectangular table.  Galvanized metal trays would also work well for a more rustic look.  Simply spread the dried beans into the bottom of the tray and place the pumpkins on top.  Using two different colors of pumpkins gives nice contrast and brings in more colors of the season.  If you want, you can glitter the pumpkins for a magical effect.

I found the dried black beans at Big Lots for a whopping $1.00 per bag.  The small pumpkins are sold at grocery stores.

Cost: less than $4 per tray (after using tart pans I already had in my cupboard)

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