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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Day 2 of #WeddingWeek: Personalized Paper Products

Buying custom save the dates and invitations is super, I mean outrageously expensive, and it doesn’t need to be. So again, continuing with my theme, I took a very conservative, but personal approach. The save the date was in a digital format, and both the invites and ceremony programs I created in Publisher. This may seem rather basic and boring, not elaborate enough, but it was actually perfect. I was very hands-on, as with any DIY project, and I really enjoyed getting creative with it!

Save the Dates

Since most of our guests are on Facebook, we decided to save some dough and make a FB event for people to RSVP and get more info. This way we could keep track of who hadn’t responded and reach out to them a month or so before the Big Day. In addition, it allowed guests to post pictures at the event! And we used it to update everyone about the change in ceremony location – womp womp.

save the date

Cost: FREE!

Invitations

The invitations I did end up creating myself. These were easily accomplished in Microsoft Publisher – super simple, but really effective. I had a lot of freedom with the layout, wording, colors and size in this regard. I really just “winged it” so-to-speak, first finding a semi-workable template and then tweaking and going from there to customize it. The wording came from a little online inspiration and my own literary flair, ha!

Costs:

  • Design – free
  • Printing – $70 from OfficeMax
  • Envelopes – $11 from Amazon
  • Stamps – $110 (the ribbon made a bump, so each one needed a $0.66 stamp, blah) from USPS

Ceremony Programs

Again, the ceremony programs I made in Publisher. These were also fun to make – with the help of templates I found online, namely Pinterest, and personalization based on our structure and wedding party. We had lots of family involvement, so it was pretty cool to recognize them in the program. Of course, there were some last-minute issues with weather and people not being able to make it, but overall it gave our guests something to read while they waited. I also tried to carry over the theme from the invites into the programs – uniformity, consistency and all that. In addition, I bought a pack of paper that had four colors in the coral family, to fit our scheme, and had them printed on all four.

Costs:

Being creative with all the paper products for your wedding is a fun way to incorporate your individual style, with significantly lower costs than a professional printer. There are more sophisticated programs out there than Publisher I’m sure, but I suggest you go with whatever suits your comfort level and the vision you’re aiming towards. For more wedding planning tips see my first Wedding Week post.

Day 1 of Wedding Week: The DIY Strategy

When I began planning for my wedding, years in advance mind you, I knew that to afford everything it would need to be a budget, DIY venture. Meaning, my goal was to create as many things on my own and to find local wedding vendors that would cost significantly less than larger commercial entities. Needless-to-say, this took a lot of planning and consideration, but I made it happen!

DIY Projects

So basically, I created everything. Pinterest was a major launching off point, as were other wedding blogs that focused on DIY, vintage wedding ideas. And my family was really helpful in the process. However, if you want to take this on be prepared for major dedication and preparation. This was no easy feat – not for the faint of heart I tell you! Hobby Lobby was my go-to store and every Saturday during the two months leading up to it I was frantically running wedding errands and completing projects.

One other huge aid in the planning process was a tangible wedding planning book, courtesy of my mom, which I used to take notes, separate each aspect of the Big Day, plan out honeymoon details and most importantly, add pictures. It was basically a book version of my Pinterest board and all my lists. It is easy to get lost in all the details, so for me being able to see it all planned out gave me peace of mind and a sense of direction. You can see snippets from my wedding book below.

I will dive into more detail in later posts about specific projects, but here is a brief overview of major DIY areas. (I saved significantly by doing them myself.)

  • Save-the-Dates, invitations and ceremony programs
  • Reception and ceremony decor and flourishes
  • Cake stands
  • Sand ceremony essentials
  • Bridesmaid gifts – goodie bags
  • Bouquets
  • Wedding favors
  • Farewell sparklers (instead of bubbles, birdseed or rice)
  • Card box and guest book
  • Makeshift photo booth

The Knot was also a major help in keeping on track with wedding tasks and to-dos. In addition, it gave me a platform for my wedding website (for family and friends to visit prior to the wedding), I could look at other wedding pages for inspiration and the wedding store inspired my DIY direction as well.

Local Vendors

In addition to making most everything, for larger details that required professional help, I referred to friends and local businesses. Below is an outline of what each service was, the cost and what was included:

  1. Cupcakes: made by my friend Lauren – $350 (300 cupcakes, handmade liners and decor/setup)
  2. Photographer: Red Barn Photography, but my main photographer was my friend Rachel – $1,250 (all the high res images and full day of coverage)
  3. Jeweler: Hoppe Jewelers – $500 for my custom-made wedding band (complete with diamonds and 18K white gold) and $130 for my husband’s tungsten band and free engraving
  4. Wedding Dress: Formal Affairs – on sale for $99, originally $700+ (Casablanca Bridal gown)
  5. Reception Food: bought, prepared and served by my mom’s friend Deborah and her family – $500 at cost (buffet style dinner + BBQ from my brother-in-law’s good friend at cost for $360)
  6. Hair and Makeup: The Art of Hair – $90 for both plus a 30% tip
  7. Reception (and Ceremony) Venue: Central Christian Church – (originally the ceremony was going to be outdoors at my parent-in-laws’ house, but rain prevented my dream outdoor wedding), so in total $150 for the sanctuary and reception hall, use of the kitchen, sound equipment, etc.
  8. Chair Rental: L&H Rentals – $240 for 200 chairs + delivery and pick-up (rained-out ceremony meant not all the chairs were used, but some transferred to the reception for extra seating)

By looking local and utilizing your contacts, you can really save time and money in the long-run. Like anything, it may take some creativity and thought, but if you’re on a budget like I was, then YAY, added motivation to figure it all out as affordably as possible! To see more images of how my wedding turned out, you can visit my wedding gallery here.