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.
I really can’t tell you how excited I am for this. A few months ago, I was notified that “Apronology,” the newest magazine to join the Stampington & Company’s fabulous collection of magazines, had chosen one of my aprons to feature in their next issue which is set to come out in February 2014. I couldn’t believe it really; of course, I believed there was something special about my aprons, which is why I originally opened the shop, but to have an entire magazine agree with me blew me away. Aprons aren’t exactly a niche market, and take one quick search just around Etsy where the VMMV shop is centered and you quickly realize the apron field is pretty densely packed so I am incredibly honored that one of my babies will have it’s own spread in Apronology’s next issue.
The shop facet of the blog has always been something I’ve been hot and cold about. Initially it was too much: launching and managing the shop and the blog at the same time along with the rest of my life was overwhelming. I didn’t have time to make either site what I wanted them to be and it became frustrating and exasperating. For most of this year, the shop unfortunately took a backseat while I zeroed in on improving the aesthetics of the blog. When I met with my blog designer to redesign this site, I was even toying with the idea of completely eliminating the shop but she convinced me that it would be better to have a place for it and to eliminate later than to start slashing ties right from the beginning– and I’m so glad I listened to her!
I have no expectations from this article. The fact that I just have an article about one of my pieces is enough of a mountain-top experience even if nothing comes of it. Everyone’s Mt. Everest is different I’ve discovered: Some events could be the peak of Everest for certain people, while for others those events could just be the base camp from which they look ever higher and higher, looking for more, and pining after bigger things. For now though, this is the tip-top of my Everest for the shop: it’s validation they really are so adorably cute, it’s confidence that other people outside my immediate and wonderful support group think they’re something special, and it’s something to put on my desk and crack open to take a peek at the page with my apron smiling back at me whenever I begin to feel a little blue. It’s not for lack of ambition that I’m not necessarily hoping this is just the launching pad for bigger things for the shop, it’s more satisfaction that something did in fact come of sharing my pieces, and for 2013, that’s plenty of achievement for me. Whatever else comes of it will just be blessing heaped upon blessing.
***February 2014 sounds rather far away and I don’t mean to rush us all into the next year, but I couldn’t wait to share any longer. I will of course be sharing again once the issue is published and to remind all of you to dash out and buy a copy! For now though, the shop has a new “about” page and a bit of a new look so if you haven’t checked it out in awhile, humor me and give it another glance***
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.
Template. I used this image, but just do a simple google search of “fox outline” and you’ll get a bunch to choose from. The simpler the better.
Fabric. I used a thicker, almost felt-like grey fabric. You need something a little thick so your stitching won’t wrinkle and pucker the fabric, but color is your choice, a cranberry would be super cute for December.
Embroidery thread. Color is your choice!
Stuffing. It’s not pictured but you’ll need this or a pillow form to fill up your pillow!
Cut out your fabric into two rectangles (mine are 18″ wide by 22″ long).
Cut out whatever animal outline you chose and pin it to the center of one piece of your fabric.
Using the embroidery thread, stitch around the outline of the template. After I pulled my template off, I went back and added a few details like the tail, eye, and ear.
After you’ve finished outlining your animal, put the right sides of the fabric together and stitch around the edges to make your pillow. **Don’t forget to leave a little opening on one side to turn it right side out and stuff!**
Turn the pillow right side out, iron the edges to make it lay nicely, stuff it, sew up the open hole and you’re done!
I’m planning on doing a moose/reindeer on cranberry felt for December, maybe an owl for Winter and perhaps a bunny for Spring? You get the idea…they’re so easy and it actually turned out better than I imagined in my head. I was worried stitching around the paper outline would be difficult, but just make sure you pin your template down so it doesn’t move around and it will be super simple.
Happy Friday everyone! I can’t believe we’re two weeks from Thanksgiving. I’m planning Christmas posts so I’m already in the mood and I can’t wait for you to see them! I’m also planning on revealing my rather exciting news that I’ve been hinting at for a few weeks in December so get excited!!!
I know, it’s November today but my tradition is decorating/carving pumpkins Halloween night and they turned out so well I had to do one more October post before I embrace a new month. Ironically, last Halloween I actually carved a silhouette of a random woman, but this year I used my very own blog logo as my inspiration. What a difference a year makes! Last Halloween I was about three weeks into my blog adventure and now I’ve got a whole year behind me, a blog makeover, some wonderful ladies I met along the way, and something super exciting just around the corner I can’t wait to share!
thin sharpie + a very sharp pencil
black acrylic paint
clear spray paint
Cut out the silhouette and trace the outline with a pencil then go back over the pencil line with the thin sharpie so you’re sure you get all the little details and a clean edge. My silhouette had very tiny lips and eyelashes and the paint wouldn’t have picked that up. Fill in the outline with black paint, allow to dry and then spray paint the whole pumpkin with a clear coat to protect the black from chipping and make it shiny!
thin black sharpie + pencil
clear spray paint
I was too scared to attempt these letters free-hand with paint so I traced it on first with pencil and then back over it with the sharpie to get a clean line…and that’s it! Spray this one as well with the clear spray paint to make it shiny.
Carving is fun but if your tradition isn’t to decorate the night of Halloween, painting them will make them last so much longer. Also, after I did the letters and the silhouette and put them together, I thought how cute it would be to do everyone’s name and profile on pumpkins in your family and have a little, family tree pumpkin-farm. There’s always 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!
Draw out whatever pattern you want on a piece of paper so you have a concrete image to recreate on the wall.
Using twine, copy your pattern onto the wall and secure each corner with masking tape (the tape will be replaced by cup-hooks once you like your pattern).
Once you like the pattern you’ve made, screw small cup-hooks into every place you have secured with tape. Don’t cut your twine yet though!
Tie a knotted loop onto the beginning end of the twine and loop it over your hook. For all the other “corners,” a knot isn’t necessary, just pull it tight and the hooks will keep it in place. Make sure your twine is pretty taut before cutting and making another knotted loop for the other end of the twine.
Tie small pieces of the twine through the holes in each bullnose clip and then around the lines on your wall…wherever you like. The clips will be able to slide along whatever line you put it on so you can constantly (and easily) change it up!
I’m so excited at how well it turned out! It’s perfect for apartments, offices, or anywhere you need big impact for a few teeny tiny dollars. This is pretty much the perfect wall installation for the hopelessly indecisive too. In two seconds you can clip and unclip your art selections, slide the position of the entire picture, or add/remove an entire piece of art and get a whole new look…however modern or vintage you want it to be!
Happy Friday everyone! It’s finally chilly enough to wear a sweater for the first time in five months and I’m going to try making greek yogurt pumpkin bread to celebrate. Hope everyone has a great, last-of-September weekend!
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.