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.

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 3]: Piecing Together the Wedding Party

From the get-go I knew our wedding would not be traditional in any sense of the word, and with that, I wanted our bridal party to stand out in an impactful way. We didn’t ask them to wear cookie cutter dresses or tuxes, rather, each had general guidelines for how to dress and then they could jazz it up however they wanted.

Main benefits of having a mismatched, but coordinated wedding party:

  • Kept costs low, which made our friends very happy
  • Individuality shone through
  • Different body types call for different dresses
  • No time constraints – no fittings, tailoring or last-minute adjustments
  • Perfectly suited our theme by being DIY, unique and vintage
  • FUN – everyone loved being able to pick out what they wore
  • No hassle for the guys – most of them had everything already

The Blushing Bridesmaids

For all my ladies, I asked them to stick within the coral color family and I preferred above the knee with a summery, whimsical vibe. Everyone did a great job of finding their looks! And for several, I shopped with them to help pick out which dresses to wear.

Quick Tip: If this is something you have considered doing, then try to stick with one color palette so that all the dresses are on the same page. I made sure no one dress was glaringly different from the rest. The style and material also play into this. I was very strict about not wanting much pattern or color variation. However, I was partial to lace, so I tried to incorporate that in as many of the dresses as possible. All my friends were so good about checking with me before picking anything out though; I had the final say ultimately. But I never had to say no – talk about girls with good taste!

In regards to jewelry, I asked for all the girls to wear gold, and to top the looks off with nude-colored shoes. These two things were really the only stipulations in regards to accessories though. So again, they could get creative with what they wore. Professional hair and makeup was also optional, because I know some girls would rather not spend money when they could do it even better for themselves. Especially since a lot of them have voluptuous, curly hair, which I can totally relate to! (Four of us did go to the salon though.) Here is how we all turned out:

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The Dashing Groomsmen

The groomsmen were so much easier to coordinate than the bridesmaids, and naturally so! Basically, this is all their outfits entailed:

  1. White button-down dress shirt
  2. Black slacks
  3. Black suspenders
  4. Black dress shoes
  5. Optional: fun colored socks

And that was it! Most of them had these items in their wardrobes, with the exception of suspenders for some. Even though this wasn’t “mismatched” per say, it was a casual, yet formal look and it was easily put together and essentially free. I am so happy with how handsome they all were. Check them out…

If you’re considering this type of direction for your bridal party I would definitely recommend it! As per my intro, it will save you time, money and allow for some creativity. Plus, it is bound to make your friends really happy at how personalized, simple and inexpensive the whole “wedding attire” process can be.

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.

Birthday Food and DIY Decor Essentials

So I promised you two birthday extravaganza posts, and here is the first one! Preparing for my hubby’s surprise birthday dinner and night of jazz was rather tricky – he’s a clever one I tell you. My plan was to have his parents over for dinner – I made the shrimp scampi linguine and his mom brought the salad and dessert. It was too funny the three of us hiding in my tiny kitchen waiting for Aaron to come home from class. And then SURPRISE! Only to find out that my darling abuelo (Aaron’s grandpa) had already spilled the beans to him moments before during a birthday phone call. But, it was a fabulous time all the same!

I was quite proud of myself for keeping the surprise the night before as I frantically cleaned and prepared. See, I decided to set the table early, for four, not two as he had anticipated. Now, being a clever girl, I used the excuse that setting the dinner table for four was purely for the aesthetics of this blog post. Ha! And, thankfully he’s convinced I’m rather OCD anyway, so the veracious cleaning did not phase him.

Fabulous Fiesta Place Settings

Well, needless-to-say, this birthday dinner gave me the perfect opportunity to set the table with the new Fiesta ware we’ve begun accumulating thanks to wedding gifts and gift cards. In addition, with Kohl’s cash we were able to get the four round place mats for free, and the wine glasses added a nice touch – they were wedding gifts as well. Oh how fun it is to build a home and life together – married bliss is fabulous! To finish the look off entirely, I want to make napkins that perfectly compliment the colorful dishes, so that is another upcoming project.

Breakfast in Bed & a DIY Serving Tray

And…the birthday food surprises continued this morning when I made my hubby breakfast in bed. He absolutely loves his mama’s French Toast Casserole, so thanks to Pinterest in all its glory, I found a spin-off of french toast in the form of muffins. I woke up at 7:30 – true dedication for me considering it is a Saturday – and made muffins and coffee. I served his breakkie on a fabulous serving tray that one of my good friends made me as an apartment-warming gift.

And from what she’s said both trays were really easy to make. My understanding of the steps:

  • Pick up a wooden tray from your local craft store
  • Find pictures from magazines, old wallpaper, etc. and decide where to place them
  • Lay the pictures where you want them and cover over with Modge Podge
  • Then decorate the trays with stickers, gems, markers or whatever you’re feeling

One thing I realized from last night and this morning – it is so fun and easy to integrate DIY projects and crafts into your everyday life. Being a large part of the process for Aaron’s birthday surprises was a blast and it made it that much more special! Oh, and family is one of the greatest gifts in life. To see the final (jazzy) surprise I planned and coordinated last night, and the glamorous ensemble I wore, check out my next post here.