How to Create a DIY Holiday Wreath in 7 Easy Steps

I try to take inspiration from everywhere for new craft ideas, and this one came from my darling mother-in-law! She found a festive and easy way to create a fall wreath on Pinterest, which made me want one too! So after work the other day I stopped by Michaels and picked up the minimal essentials for my holiday wreath. And the beauty of it is that I can repurpose this wreath for every holiday, namely Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, etc. There is only one permanent aspect to the entire piece, so everything else can be switched out, saved and reassembled through each passing season. And let’s just say I am loving it – so nice to come home to a cheery door!

The Essentials

  1. Wreath: $4.99 from Michaels
  2. Wreath hanger: $2.99 from Michaels
  3. Bow: FREE, left over from my wedding
  4. Wooden initial: $2.99 from Michaels
  5. Decorative leaves: $1.99 from Michaels
  6. Spray paint: $1.97 with 40% off coupon from Michaels
  7. Hot glue gun: $3.99 with 50% off coupon from Michaels

All Your Materials

7 Easy Steps

Tie the Ribbon

First I tied the ribbon on. It has a wire twist-tie on the back that can be readjusted or removed. I’ll leave it on for the Christmas wreath though!

Spray Paint the Letter

Then I spray painted the initial. I wanted to allow ample time for it to dry, so I did this first and then came back to it after the next 2 steps.

Tuck in the Leaves

I then proceeded to tuck in all the leaves. I didn’t want them permanently in place, so utilizing all the twigs and crevices seemed my best bet. It worked well and gave me the flexibility I wanted for finding the right spots for each leaf.

LeavesandRibbon

After putting on all the leaves I tucked in a small gold piece of ribbon, also left over from my wedding. There wasn’t enough to go all the way around though, so it covers the left side – I quite like the asymmetry.

Apply the Hot Glue to the Letter

By this point the letter was dry, so I brought it back in from the patio and hot glued the back…all down the left side. (I love the gold color of the H because it fits every season!)

Attach the Letter with a Glue Gun

Then, no-brainer, I attached the letter to the wreath after positioning it in the perfect spot. This is now a permanent feature, which I love.

The Finished Look

And voila! The wreath is complete and now handing gorgeously on my door. And I’m already brainstorming an elaborate idea for Christmas…this first edition was more mellow, as a test run. Next year I may dress it up with pumpkins and who knows what else! If you love this idea, and would like to see other crafty posts, visit my DIY Projects page.

6 Wardrobe Essentials I’m Loving this Fall

It finally feels like fall, which makes me so excited to start wearing sweaters, scarves, boots…and all the other autumn-y pieces in my wardrobe! It has seemed like such a long time coming, which I’ll admit is weird because summer is typically my favorite time of year, but this year the allure of the upcoming holidays, the pumpkin spice craze, a longing for that chill in the air, sitting by the fire, hot apple cider and getting cozy with a good book make me rethink my favorite season. This year Fall is it! And, in the spirit of autumn, and the glorious change of seasons, I’ve compiled some of my favorite fall fashion finds.

Fall Fashion Favorites

  1. Pearl Earrings: FREE from Helzberg Diamonds since my husband bought a watch there recently
  2. Hipster Glasses: only $12.95 from Zenni Optical – and you can use an expired prescription too (shhh…just fyi for my fellow thrifters out there!)
  3. Eternity Scarf: on sale for $15 from Shoebuy.com with a $10 off coupon from Shutterfly
  4. Boyfriend Jeans: $34 from H&M with BOGO deal and 10% off student discount – love how slouchy and comfy these are!
  5. Plum Pants: $10 on sale from Forever21 – found them on the super clearance rack. The zippers are my fav.
  6. Geneva Watch: $18 from JewelMint with a special promotion. The face is see-through, which is a unique feature.

What Everyone Ought to Know About Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®

ReStyled BoutiqueAfter revamping one dresser, it was only fair to give the other a facelift as well! And actually, painting my dresser has been a long-term goal for a while. The dresser started out as a deeper brown color that clashed rather badly in our bedroom, and especially next to the new dresser, so when I heard my mother-in-law talking about Annie Sloan paint, I knew I needed some. And thankfully, there is a small boutique up in Carmel called ReStyled that sells it, which is close to my office.

So the day of my hubby’s birthday, back at the beginning of the month, my mother and father-in-law met me at the boutique and we each bought Chalk Paint® for our respective projects. It was an investment, but this paint goes so far, and it is absolutely phenomenal in that it can essentially paint over anything. Not to mention, it is really easy to apply, it dries quickly and it provides a “shabby chic” look that is oh so popular lately. Along with the Graphite color I chose, I also bought the soft, clear wax to seal in the paint color. Below I’ve outlined all the steps in the process.

Annie Sloan SuppliesThe Materials:

  • Paint tarp – less than $3 from Meijer
  • Chalk Paint® – $38.95 for a quart from ReStyled
  • Soft Clear Wax – $28.95 for a tin from ReStyled
  • Paint brush – $4 from ReStyled
  • Paint stirrer – free from ReStyled
  • Screwdriver

The Steps: Turning Drab Into Fab

1. The first step was to lug the massive dresser from my room into the living room and onto the tarp so I had more space to move. The hubbs was very helpful with this. [Note: in this picture I already completed step 3.]

Dresser on the Tarp

2. Then I took out all my supplies, opened the paint can and stirred the paint.

Stirring the Chalk Paint

3. After prepping the paint, I unscrewed and set aside the dresser knobs to ensure paint wouldn’t get all over them.

Knobs and Screwdriver

4. Then finally, it was time to get my paint on. And honestly, I kind of just went for it. That’s the beauty of this paint – there is no right or wrong way to do it. If you want brushstrokes or the original color underneath to show, then don’t go over each part as much. However, I wanted it to be fully covered, so I went over certain areas a few times and tried to be fairly thorough. I also made sure to go into the cracks and crevices, and painted only the fronts and upper lips of the dresser drawers. I also didn’t paint underneath the dresser or on the inside legs. Really it was only important to cover the areas that are visible. Meaning the back, which has faux wood backing, was also left unpainted. This whole painting process only took me about half an hour to 45 minutes. Then I let it dry.

Drying Paint

5. After it dried, I opened the can of soft wax and used an old, non-fuzz producing rag to apply it. So basically, I simply dipped the rag into the wax and softly rubbed it all over the dresser to seal in the paint.

Annie Sloan Soft Wax

6. The last step was to rinse out the paint brush and the stirrer, close both cans and put everything away while I waited for the wax to dry.

Rinsing the Supplies

7. After the dresser was fully dried, I screwed the knobs back on and we carried it back into my room very carefully. And that’s it – my dresser is completely transformed now, and I LOVE it! Oh, and it looks really nice next to the other dresser as well.

If you’d like to know more about Annie Sloan paint – what you can use it on, where to find a retailer, colors, more advanced application, etc. then you should really check out the official website here. Happy Chalk Painting®!

4 Easy Steps to Creating Personalized Name Art

The wall above my fireplace was until very recently a blank slate, and with my husband threatening to hang his bike above it, I decided we needed a fun statement piece. This got me thinking about the ever-popular last name photo frames, something fairly common in my friends’ homes. However, professionally done personalized name art is pricey. So…knowing me, and my innately thrifty nature, I set out to make one on my own. My thought process: “How difficult can it be anyway? I already have the perfect elongated frame, so all I need are pictures and a matte.” And it really was super simple!

4 Easy Steps

1. The Pictures: Well, I mentioned my idea to my fabulous mother-in-law, who is actually an aspiring photographer. And seeing as I now have the same last name as her, she took this as an opportunity to find all the letters outside in her garden and around the house. And let me tell you, they turned out so much better than I could have done on my own! And now she can make a frame too.

The Letter HThe Letter UThe Letter DThe Letter NThe Letter AThe Letter LThe Letter L

Once she edited all the pictures and passed them along to me, I printed them at CVS.

Hudnall Frame Photos

2. The Matte: The next step is to either buy or make a matte. My original idea was to lay out the photos on a piece of poster board and evenly space, measure and cut the slots. However, I couldn’t find any poster board long enough, so my next option was to have one specially made at Michaels – my go-to craft store. They were really accommodating and helpful, so I would definitely recommend the framing department at Michaels if you ever need a special ordered item. Not to mention, they are constantly doing promos, which I love!

Hudnall Frame Matte

3. The Frame: Once I finally had the matte, I dug out my elongated poster frame from the closet. (This was actually from Michaels too, not surprisingly). Let’s just say the hubs wasn’t too thrilled with the pink fashion poster I previously had in it – from my college years of course. [Oh, and side note: since the frame was from Michaels as well, it made the matte ordering process really easy because they knew the exact size it needed to be to fit perfectly.] So I took off the backing, laid the matte in it, and added each picture. I had to tape the pictures to the matte slightly to secure and prevent shifting.

Hudnall Frame

4. The Finished Look: Finally, I put the back on the frame, and voila, a finished and polished piece of art! All that was left to do was hang it on the wall above the fireplace. And with a nail and hammer this was the easiest part.

Finished Hudnall Frame

The whole project was really cost-effective considering the professional alternative. And it makes me so happy to think that all the pictures are from a sentimental place for both my husband and me – his childhood home. Here is the cost breakdown:

Photos: $1.42 – CVS

Matte: $27 – Michaels

Frame: $0 since it was already just lying around – Michaels

Total: $28.42

If this is a project you’ve been thinking about doing, it really is easy, so find your camera and get creative!

How to Add Flair to Your Dresser with Knobs

I am known for my massive wardrobe and obscene amount of clothing, so going into our first month of marriage, my husband and I realized that one dresser was simply not enough. So thankfully, Aaron’s parents generously gave us a dresser that they no longer needed. I absolutely love the color of the wood, but thought it may be fun to spruce it up with new chrome knobs. I had to borrow a few tools from my dad and make a trip to my local Target store, but this was probably one of the fastest and most satisfying projects I’ve accomplished in a while.

The Quick & Easy Process

1. First, I compiled all my supplies:

  • My dad let me borrow his drill and bits
  • The knobs came from Target for $9.99
  • Measuring tape and a pencil
  • Screwdriver

The Tools            Measuring Items

2. Then, I began measuring where the holes for the knobs would go. I decided on a standard width from the outside end of each side of the drawer and then measured that far in and made a mark. After that, I took the height of the drawer, divided it in half, and measured that amount in from the top and made a mark. The final result was a cross, with the center of both lines indicating where exactly to drill each hole, as seen below. [Note: I did this on both sides of each drawer, for a total of 10 knobs. And after making each mark I checked that the centers aligned for all the drawers.]

Measuring Process            Marking the Holes

3. After making the marks, I checked the back of the knob box to see if there was a suggested size for the drill bit, and thankfully there was, so I used the suggested size bit, put it in the drill, and mentally prepared myself for drilling. Sometimes I find myself being a tad girly! So after mustering up my confidence, I drilled away, one hole at a time. Easy as pie.

Knob Instructions

Drilling the Holes

4. Once the holes were drilled, I took the knobs and screws from their packaging, placed each screw into a hole and then used a screwdriver to tighten the knob in place.

Adding the Knob            Screwing in the Knob

The Finished LookAnd that’s it! Once you tighten all the knobs into place you’re finished. Like I said, this was a really quick and simple project, but the result makes such an impact. You should really consider this if you want to add a little flair and personality to your dresser. Oh, and dresser pulls or fancier knobs can also really make a statement – I just chose the simpler style to complement our other dresser’s knobs. See that project here.

Wedding Week Day 5: The Wedding Dress

It’s probably a no-brainer that I include at least one post about my wedding dress, so here you are! I absolutely adore my dress – honestly, I was so lucky to find it. Originally, my sister and I planned on re-doing my mom’s wedding dress and I was going to wear that down the aisle. However, last summer I went with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law (who was also married this past June to my hubby’s bro) to a local boutique for a $99 dress sale. Formal Affairs is known in Richmond for its designer gowns, so it was a wonder that they were having such an incredible blow-out special. I never expected to find my dress there, especially not the second one I tried on either, but I did, and it was magical!

For a long time, ever since the beginning of the wedding planning process – so forever basically – I decided my preferred style was v-neck, vintage and covered in lace. It was going to be a stretch to make my mom’s dress into my vision, but this $99 find took my breath away by matching all my criteria! The original size was rather large, but it was easily altered to fit perfectly.

Other Bride Essentials:

  • The veil: my mama’s since I didn’t wear her dress. It matched perfectly! Cost: FREE
  • The garter: 2-pack from Hobby Lobby – one to throw and one to keep. Ivory with lace. Cost: $12
  • The sash: I made with ribbon from Michaels and hairpin from Formal Affairs. Cost: $40
  • The shoes: flats from Payless – comfortable and didn’t make me look like an Amazon. Cost: $18
  • The accessories: gold hairpins, pearl necklace, earrings and bracelet polish it off. Cost: FREE

Through my wedding dress experience, I learned a few things:

  1. Determine your preferred style before shopping, or it could take ages to narrow down a favorite
  2. Don’t settle on a dress unless you’re 100% confident it’s the one – then “say yes to the dress”
  3. Be on the lookout for sales and specials going on at bridal boutiques in your local area
  4. End of summer is a good time to shop since it is the end of the busy bridal season
  5. Set a budget and don’t go over – it’s called a budget for a reason
  6. Don’t let size dissuade you, especially a bigger size – it can always be taken in to fit your body

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Day 4 of Wedding Week…and the quirky guest/gift table

The guest/gift table actually came together really nicely – perfectly welcoming guests to our reception. It all started out with wanting an atypical guest book – one that incorporates my love of photos and scrapbooking. This then evolved into creating a makeshift photo booth, explaining how to sign the book and finding other essential decorations to greet our friends and family upon entering the reception hall.

The Guest Book

I bought a small photo album from Michaels with lines underneath each photo slot for guests to write a note. The goal was to have each family write a note and take a few pictures at the photo booth area, then after the wedding I would print them off and add to the guest book. A lot of people caught on to this, but some of the older population may not have been so savvy. However, I framed instructions so everyone would know precisely what to do. I was quite giddy when I found this idea on Pinterest – I tweaked it somewhat though! [Note: I’ll go into further detail about the makeshift photo booth in a later post.]

The Gift Area

In addition to framing photo guest book instructions, I also had a gold picture frame to indicate where presents should go, with “Gifts” printed off in a cute design. However, the cards received special treatment – they were placed in an adorable old suitcase I borrowed from my sister. This is a family heirloom that she used at her wedding as well! To dress it up a little, I added a “cards” banner, crafted from scrapbooking  paper and markers. And then at the end of the night when hubby Aaron and I pranced through our sparkler-lit friends to bid farewell, I carried the card suitcase with me, symbolizing our honeymoon trip (and to be sure we gathered all the vaca moolah)!

HUDNALL_WEDDING_0200

Whimsical Decorations

After the essentials, I included some other finishing touches. First, by repurposing a birdcage with flowers, lace, greenery and of course, adorable feathery birds. I also added flowers from Goodwill to an antique vase. And lastly, I made sure the table included one of my prized tea trays, mentioned in a previous post, complete with teacups and all!

This is just another small example of how to keep costs low and produce a fabulous, yet affordable wedding. It all comes down to the details – so start making a list and pinning all your fav ideas early! If you have any fun DIY guest book or gift table ideas, I’d love to see them in the comment section below.