I haven’t had a moment to even think about blogging since the Reign of Spring Quarter Terror began showering down its projects, due dates, and never-ending processional of assignments, classes, forms, and tests. Its so frustrating screaming through these months because I love this time of year and want to do so many things that never make it on the YOU HAVE TO DO THIS TO SURVIVE list. Despite all the screaming though, I couldn’t escape the fact that it is April and full-blown wedding season. I was so excited to be forced back into some creativity by a client asking if I would make an apron for the future “Mrs. O.” I love it when there’s a special purpose for my pieces. Of course, each one is unique and special to make, but when I know a little about where its future home will be and what sort of girl will be wearing it, every stitch is just that much more exciting. This client was requesting the apron for a surprise gift for a bridal shower. She asked if I could embroider the bride’s wedding date and new last name initial on the waistband and I was so happy to oblige her.
Way back in December I mentioned that VMMV’s Etsy shop was going to be published and guess what? It’s here! I’m so excited to give everyone a little preview of my article in the beautiful new issue of Apronology. I got my own copy a few days before it officially hit the shelves but I was holding off from revealing my spread until everyone had the opportunity of buying it so I didn’t spill any secrets. I was so, SO incredibly surprised when I got my issue because people, I MADE THE FRONT COVER! I’m not the gorgeous pin-up apron on the front, but the “turn to page 86 for a 1 apron 2 styles” plug on the cover is…me!
I am so honored and so excited to have made it to the front. I hope you all go out and find this magazine; Barnes and Nobles should carry it and if they don’t, ask! It’s Stampington & Company’s newest magazine and it has so many beautiful aprons that some amazing sewers create, I can’t get over that I’m among them. The editors were so wonderful to work with, I can’t gush enough about the experience. My apron is just one of so, so many gorgeous ideas, please go support this new magazine and read about all the new and wonderful ways artists are updating aprons.
If you haven’t noticed, there’s a new little badge over on my sidebar under “features.” Take a minute to check out the issue and if you don’t feel like finding the magazine in a store, use the link and order online. This article is coming at the most perfect time. I’ve been so swamped with school that I haven’t had even an hour to spend on this space and it’s been a nagging sort of disappointment. This article forced me to make VMMV a priority just long enough to share and it feels good. I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to a new month. I’m hoping to be able to pop back in to share a valentine recipe for a sparkling wine cake that is super yummy so stay faithful please in my frequent absence! I so appreciate all of you. In the meantime though, go read about aprons!
It’s Christmas Sweater Week! I can’t tell you how excited I am for this week to finally share three DIY Christmas projects using sweaters. They’re all so simple, the most difficult part of each of them was deciding which to share first–they were all my favorites.
These cozy-corns had to be part one though, they were really too cute not to start off the week with. You will need acorn caps, an old sweater, pillow stuffing, and hot-glue:
Using small squares of fabric cut from an old cable-knit sweater, stuff a small amount of pillow stuffing into the center of each square.
Pinch the corners of the corners together to make a teardrop shape.
Dab a small amount of hot-glue to the inside of an acorn cap, add the teardrop and you’re done!
If you want to hang them as ornaments, just attach a piece of twine with another dab of glue to the top of the acorn cap and then hang them along with real acorns, or just set them out in a dish.
You know the projects you think you’ll bust out in 20 minutes and they end up boggling your mind and frustrating you by how in the world something simple turned into something so difficult? These stars turned into that. But no worries! I worked out all some of the kinks for you and after ten or so smashed stars, and candy bits stuck to every tile in my kitchen, I got it down:
I used Jolly Ranchers for my candy stars but you could use any hard, clear candy.
Using a cookie cutter, lay the cookie cutter on top of a piece of foil so the foil covers the bottom of the cookie cutter and then bring up the sides of the foil around all sides of the cookie cutter so the foil is tight and keeps the candy from running out the bottom.
Spray the foil and the entire cookie cutter with A LOT of nonstick cooking spray. I’m not kidding. A LOT. Otherwise you won’t be able to get the candy off the foil.
Crush up about three candies and pour them into your foil-lined shape.
Put the cookie cutter on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
Allow to cool for another 8 minutes and then pop the candy out of the shape. (It helped me to take a sharp knife and run it along the edges to make sure they all came off the cookie-cutter cleanly otherwise you’ll have a few maimed stars that aren’t very Christmas-y. Unfortunately a lot of stars lost a few limbs in the trial period. Oops.)
Hot glue ribbon or twine to the tip of one of the arms, hang them up, and you’re done! I wanted to try some apple green and blue stars as well as the red but after fighting with this project for longer than I anticipated, I cut my losses and stuck with the red. They look beautiful in a window with the sun running through them although, I will warn you, if your window gets too hot the candy will start to soften again so perhaps place in a window that gets only a touch of direct sun. Phew, see? I had a lot of kinks to get out, and I did it just for you. When your stars pop out perfectly, you can thank me, and when they don’t…add more cooking spray.
Unless you’re in fourth grade and still doing the hand-print-as-turkey-feathers-on-a-pinecone-craft for centerpieces, Thanksgiving is kinda rough for choosing a tablescape. This DIY candle branch turned out so cute though. I love how natural it is, how cheap it is, and how elegant it turned out! If you aren’t completely into all-natural, I think spray-painting the branch gold or even black would also be quite lovely. For this Thanksgiving centerpiece though, you will need only four things:
Try and find a fairly sturdy branch that will be stable when you lay it flat. One with different heights of smaller twigs/branches is nice so you can vary the height of the candles you’ll eventually be adding.
Using hot glue, glue the acorn caps to various places on the branch (leaving leaves on the caps is fine, i think it looks more natural and super cute!).
Put another dab of glue in the center of each cap and place a candle in each one.
Light your candles and you’re done!
I can’t wait to eat around this piece, I already know my Grandpa is going to be super excited about it. Oh how he loves natural DIY’s and I’m certain this is going to be his new fave from VMMV.
Thanksgiving usually gets over-shadowed by the impending Christmas decorating/celebrations that encroach a little closer over the last Thursday of November every year, but a simple and quick tribute to the day can’t hurt. It’s sort of a send-off celebration to the sweetest but shortest season in California: Autumn. I love you Fall, here’s a few candles to blow out before we celebrate you again next year.
Silver-dollar Oleander tree leaves painted black. Any roundish leaf would probably work but these turned out looking so much like feathers I don’t know if I would try another kind. I kept the leaves on the branches I trimmed until after I spray-painted and dried the leaves. Then, just pluck them off!
Using straight-pins, start overlapping and pinning the leaves onto a foam wreath also painted black. Initially, I wasn’t going to use the ripped/broken leaves but they actually looked more like real feathers so I alternated them in with the more solid leaves.
Attach your raven to the center of the wreath with some wire and add a ribbon for hanging and you’re done!
I’m so in love with this wreath. It’s spooky without being creepy/cheesy and as far as Halloween goes, I’d go as far as to say my raven in his wreath is quite chic! If you can find the oleander leaves, the whole thing only cost me about $10.00 for a can of black spray paint, the raven and the Styrofoam frame. Nevermore will I say this –after this– but this is honestly honestly my new favorite project.
Place: the leaves (ferns, Japanese maples, and geraniums work best, leaves that have detail that you will see once it’s hammered on the fabric) face-down on your fabric with a piece of wax-paper underneath the fabric.
Hammer: the leaf into the fabric by first placing another folded piece of wax paper over the leaf and then hammer across the leaf evenly. The folded paper gives a buffer so you don’t destroy the fabric as you hammer.
Peel: off the top piece of wax paper, the leaf should peel off as well, leaving behind it’s imprint in your fabric.
Dry: the leaves and then pick off any leaf-pieces left behind on the fabric with some tweezers. The older your fabric gets the darker the leaf imprint will appear, I have some from 10+ years ago and they still look fab.
Sew: if you want, the name of the leaf you imprinted.
Frame: or you could also sew the whole panel into a pillow!
I have quickly realized that when post-bac school and work get added to blogs, blogging gets more creative about time-management and my solution is simpler DIY’s. This only takes a few minutes and you get the cutest imprints you can frame, sew into a pillow, or use for (gasp) Thanksgiving napkins (it’s only about a month away, better be thinkin’!).
Happy hump day everyone. Yesterday kinda felt like Thursday and I’d be much happier if today was Friday but at least it’s now officially October!
Drape it: over a bust, around some Autumn fruit, and over a Fall vignette
Wrap it: make a smaller braided length just like I showed you and add one flower for a sweet, Fall wrapping “bow.”
Wind it: around a plain, white lampshade! It added an instant cozy feeling to the everyday, boring, white shade.
Hang it: along with some Japanese lanterns, it looks so cute and festive! Use it once for a party or leave it up through the season.
Lay it: as a runner down your table–on top of burlap or all by itself.
Pin it: attach to the back of a black frame and use clothespins to attach whatever is inspiring you to the garland for a Fall design board.
See what I was talking about!?? 8 feet of braided twine and colored twine-flowers and I got six, bold design-statements. Every one I tried made the entire room instantly feel different. The first day of autumn is Sunday: It’s not cool enough in Cali to break out the pumpkins for some hard-core fall decorating, but this garland gives just enough of a nod to a new season.
black spray paint (optional in case your seeds need to be painted)
straight pins, dowel, and styrofoam
large, black seeds (I used Wisteria seeds)
Put two straight pins about 2 inches apart in a piece of Styrofoam. Holding one end of the twine, start winding the other end around the pins.
Wind about four times around the pin. This is going to give the “flower” its “petals.” However many times you wind is the number of “petals” you’ll have.
Cut off your twine and bring the two ends across the center of the “petals.”
Tie a secure knot.
Pull the loops off the pin and spread the loops out. This is only one half of your flower: repeat steps 1 through 4.
Place your two flower-halves perpendicular across each other and glue together with a dab of glue.
Paint: I mixed white, yellow, orange and brown to get the color I wanted. **The easiest way I figured out to coat the flowers in paint was to simply dip my fingers in the bowl and apply the paint with my fingers. Dipping the twine got it too saturated with paint, and “painting” it on with a brush took too long so, get messy and use your fingers!**
Glue large seeds to the center of the flower. **I used wisteria vine seeds. They started out green because the pods weren’t dry yet so I ended up spray-painting them black. Any large seed would work though if you don’t have a wisteria vine. You could even do felt or paper but I wanted to keep the garland all-autumn-natural.**
Tie three pieces of twine each 9 feet long to a dowel stuck in the styrofoam.
Braid. **this is the trickiest part–keeping the long pieces untangled to get a tight braid! Go slow though, if your braid is messy, the garland won’t turn out as cute.
Secure both ends with a knot. The nine feet will give you about 8 feet of garland.
Sew the flowers onto the braided twine about every 8 inches. You’ll need about 12 flowers.
Done! It seems like there’s lots of steps but the flowers really whip up in no time once you get the method down. You could just glue the flowers onto the braided twine as well if you’re not much of a sewer, but I wanted to make sure they were super secure so I opted for a needle and thread: The hardest part for me about this DIY was getting the wisteria seed-pods away from Lola:
She very specifically mentioned she didn’t want any plucked from her vine, and if anyone was going to pluck them, she would be the one to do it.Once she saw how cute it was going to turn out though, she was ok with it… …and it really did turn out so, so cute. I figured out six ways to use the garland so stay tuned because I’m going to share later this week…it was just too much cuteness to squeeze into one post.
I have been itching to try the billions of crepe paper flower tutorials circumnavigating Pinterest. Flowers are so wonderfully cheerful and these little crepe ones have the added benefit of being well, wonderfully un-dying. I finally decided to try this version of the DIY flowers just in time for May Day except, instead of crepe paper, I used old rolls of leftover streamers.
you will need:
I followed the directions over at The Bride’s Cafe pretty much exactly except that I didn’t use the floral tape because you can’t really see that part of the flower anyway if you’re planning on making a whole bouquet. So I cheated and just used regular scotch tape. Other than that and my streamers though, it’s pretty much the same:
Cut a strip of streamer about 18″ long and fold in halves until you have a small square.
Cut one side of the folded streamer into a semi-circle.
Unfold the streamer and refold it not quite in half so your cuts will be offset. Then cut the opposite side of the square into another semi-circle.
Unfold the streamer and fold in half lengthwise then attach to the wire, looping the wire around one end of the streamer.
You have to play around a bit when you get to steps 5 and 6. Trust me, I had quite the pile of angrily torn streamers and hideous “flowers” before I was satisfied with my final ones. You can make different sizes by cutting the streamer length shorter, or, tape two strips of streamer together to get a wider streamer length and a larger flower.
If you want a little something more for your crepe flowers, add some beads to the center to make it look a bit more realistic:
And that’s it! I arranged mine in some floral styrofoam to keep them standing upright and added a few fabric leaves cut out of green seam-binding and hot-glued to more wire (an unnecessary but fun step) to make it look more like a real bouquet and add additional color.
May Day is sort of a forgotten celebration of spring/summer. But I’m all for bringing it back. How fun are anonymously left baskets of candy and flowers dropped on a friends porch? And if you doorbell ditch this whimsical bouquet, you’ll leave a never-dying memory of this May behind. Happy DIY Friday and happy weekend! You’ve got four whole days to crepe-flower away until May 1st!