I think is going to be my first post where I claim the ‘holiday season is upon us’ — because I officially saw them rolling out the roasting pan displays and racks of Christmas decorations at Target last night!  I did a little DIY project a few weeks back to create a custom chalkboard and I think this idea is perfect for adding a little rustic touch to your holiday decorating. It’s as simple as this: I found the tree stump slices at Michael’s and painted them freehand with black chalkboard paint, leaving a little border around the edge to show some of the wood. I think they would be just perfect for writing out your holiday dinner menu on, sharing your signature cocktail recipe (like I did below) or even a thoughtful note about what you’re thankful for at Thanksgiving.

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Photography (Image 2) by Bring to Light Photography and Florals by Little Flower Cottage

Excuse the grainy iPhone pictures here, but in my fury of preparations for last weekend’s bachelorette party, this was the best shot I got of a fun little item I added into favor bags. I refuse to subject my gal-pals to the hot pink/zebra/glitter products of the bachelorette aisle at party stores and went with a DIY approach to favors. Among the contents were these mini envelopes filled with Advil for the after-after party. I got the bags and stickers at Gus & Ruby Letterpress, and drew a few silly sayings on the closure labels to let guests know that recovery was on the way – and from my personal experience, they came in handy come Sunday morning.

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I got such a rush of happiness this evening when I walked outside my office building and it was warm and still light outside! I popped on my sunglasses and might have actually skipped to the subway. Spring is in the air people, so I’m sharing a crafty little DIY to get you in the spirit. No drink is complete without a festive adornment so I whipped up some mini-pinwheel cocktail stirrers to have on hand for my weekend libations. Making them is super easy: first cut decorative paper into 2″ squares; next cut small incisions into the corner of the squares and roll the edges around a pencil. Finally, layer the four points towards the center and pin them (I use map-tacks) and tack the pinwheel onto a small stirrer. Voila! Now you just need to mix yourself a drink and cheers to spring!

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Sometimes there’s wrapping paper that’s too cute to rip into and discard. Such was the case with this absolutely adorable hot pink zebra paper that wrapped up one of my birthday gifts, I just had to do something with it to keep it around. I used the top of a wooden box to create a small tray and with some paint and a little decoupage I can enjoy the paper every day now.  (I liked the paper so much,  I even went back to the store to get some more! You can find it here: Paper-Source).

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A poor selection of flowers at my local Trader Joes this week inspired me to whip up a sparkly centerpiece for our annual New Year’s Eve party. I hit the Christmas sale section at the craft store and gathered up some tinsel garland and metallic tissue papers. With a hot glue gun in hand I wrapped some tinsel garlands around foam cones to create two tree-like pieces. With the silver and gold mylar tissue paper I layered strips of hand-cut fringe around the third cone. I topped all three with sparkly drink stirrers that I also found in the Christmas clearance bin at Target to finish them off!

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And of course I couldn’t pass up all of that discounted tinsel, so I used the extra pieces to outline some cardboard cut-outs of 2013 and strung them up on the wall — it’ll be a perfect backdrop for some festive photo-ops!

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I’m off to New York today to wrap up the year and head home for the holidays, so I have a festive little guest post to share with you from Navya of The Little Flower Cottage:

When Kate mentioned that she wanted to do a guest post on gift wrap styling,  I jumped at the chance to share what I’ve been whipping up in my own little workshop this season! I don’t know about you, but for me, receiving a beautifully wrapped package is almost as exciting as what’s inside.  This year I went with some simple polka dot kraft wrapping paper (a TJMaxx score!)  that I embellished with sprigs of pine, cinnamon sticks and gold glitter. I didn’t feel like the white dots were festive enough so I brushed on a thin layer of glue and dusted away with some Martha Stewart glitter. Presto!  An instant touch of glam to otherwise rustic packaging.  I can’t wait to hand them off to friends and family next week!

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Ready for the last installment of Handmade Holidays? There is no sweeter gift than homemade treats! 

Remember when I said this was the easiest DIY holiday present? I lied — it gets easier! Grab a package of Tollhouse chocolate chips from the grocery store and using the recipe on the back measure out all of the dry ingredients, layering them one by one in a mason jar. Next, write the recipe out on a pretty piece of paper and stick it on top of the jar, and finally, adorn the front with a personalized message and some ribbon (I printed my message out on Martha Stewart Avery Labels). How easy was that? Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Handmade Holidays Gift ideas here, here, here, and here!

Next up in the Handmade Holidays series is a set of glitter coated hangers, the perfect gift for a stylish friend!

In my opinion, you can’t go wrong when you coat something in glitter — am I right? I started this project with inexpensive wooden hangers, and painted them with a layer of mod podge. Quickly, before the glue dries, sprinkle glitter until you coat the wood.  After this layer dries, go back over with another layer of mod podge to coat the hangers and seal in the glitter — you might need more than one coat depending on the thickness of your application. And there you have it, some sparkly gifts for your favorite clothes horse! (I love these so much that I might save one to hang my wedding dress on this Spring!)

 

Next up in the Handmade Holidays series has a little bit of glitz — a decorative candle holder with gold polka dots!

I love the idea of using this handmade holiday gift for a little hostess treat when you’re visiting friends for the holidays. To start I used a craft punch to cut out circles on a piece of thick cardstock, then taped the cardstock around the candle holder to create a stencil. From there, it’s as simple as filling in your polka dots with a metallic sharpie — you can add-on an extra layer of metallic marker after the first layer dries if you’d like the color to be a bit more opaque. Then pair it was a pretty scented candle and some fun matches (I love these ones!).

 

Next up in the Handmade Holidays series is one of the easiest DIYs ever — monogrammed mugs!

I found some plain white oversized latte mugs for this project; you also need sharpie markers, and some fun treats to fill the mugs with. Draw your design on the mug with your Sharpie marker, I practiced free-hand on a piece of paper a couple of times before I started to draw on the mug or you could use a stencil. After you’re happy with your design or lettering, pop the mug in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to make set the ink. Then fill up the mug with some seasonal sweets — I chose peppermint ribbon candy– and tie it up with a ribbon, voila!