Tag Archives: Do it yourself

DIY holiday ice lanterns

19 Dec


I love a simple, free projects. I have to be honest; this project was inspired largely by all the recycling we had piling up in the kitchen and the abundance of greens floating around from tree trimming and ONE bouquet of Christmassy flowers Brian bought for our December 4, engagement anniversary! (I make those suckers last.) I also have two annoyingly lid-less Camelbak water bottles floating around the kitchen waiting for me to Google whether you can buy just the lids. I’m too stubborn to throw them out until I know for sure!

Anyways, so I looked at the recycling, looked at the bottles, and looked at the greens and thought: ICE LANTERNS. Obviously. Because that is the first thing that springs to one’s mind, right? I thought they’d be perfect to welcome our Christmas party guests this weekend. Supplies were very basic. I didn’t snap any pics of the recyclables I used, but I’ll update with tomorrow’s batch of lanterns if you’re interested.


I recommend using a mixture of different textures and greens. These were a mix of clippings from our Christmas tree and some from that bouquet I mentioned. Make sure you incorporate bits of color too. I used some large berries (from the bouquet again!) as well as some smaller little bunches I gathered up off the ground after noticing them on a tree when we walked to downtown Kennebunkport from our hotel this weekend. Luckily I grabbed them right before all the snow.


A few tips if you want to try this yourself: While sourching your containers, picture a small votive or medium size pillar candle needing to fit inside. That’s how I selected my container “molds”. We only have one plastic pitcher but the size and depth is PERFECT if you have them. But I also had amazing luck with those coated plastic quart milk containers. The square shape gave a very modern, Crate-and-Barrel feel. I just sawed off the top 1/4 (just below where the milk cap is), gave it a good rinse, and then stuck my Camelbak bottle in. I used a giant sour cream container for a third one with a small Annie’s soup can in the middle, but didn’t have great results. I think I weighted the soup can down too much because the bottom broke away as I removed it. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE GLASS! Yikes.

Place the smaller inner container into the larger, use some rocks to keep it in place and fill JUST the outer container 1/2 way with water. I used a small bag of those river pebbles you can buy at Ikea for like 89 cents that I had laying around under the sink for my bamboo plants. The inner container should be floating a bit. You want a “bottom” to your lantern, remember. Then I just trimmed up the greens and stuffed them down the sides! I used the end of a long branch to move bits around and I focused the prettiest textures and colors toward the top, letting some poke above the water line. Don’t over-pack either. You want some candlelight to be able to shine through! Then I just stuck them outside, tucked into a snow back for 12 hours and that’s about it! I brought them onto the porch for a few hours, then gently loosed the outer container first, then the inner one. It’s a little warm out so they’re all chilling (hehe) in my freezer right now. (Brian will be so thrilled when he sees I’ve messed with his pride and joy. The man loves an organized freezer.) I’ll just pop a small battery-operated votive in it before guests start arriving and place them on our walkway.

Here we have the finished product:


Current project list

13 Nov

I recently read that having lots of unfinished projects can be a major energy drain … and I believe it. As much as I love creative expression, my endless “To Do” list is a drag. And it’s frustrating to stress out trying to find the time, and source supplies only to inevitably get inspired for other projects while I’m in the middle of current ones! Pinterest is my kryptonite.

Energy-draining list aside, I’m trying to be more mindful that it’s as much about the journey as the end result. When my determination falters, I peek at these projects I have completed.

And most of all, I remind myself of my latest mantra: Do it with joy or not at all.

Here is my working list of what’s up next:

Re-vive the wedding ivy topiaries
Plant paperwhites for Christmas
Instagram Coasters
Gallery Wall
Drop-zone entryway project
Wedding Photo Albums
Annual Shutterfly books
Shutterfly Calendars
Kitchen cookbook art
Cookbook holder project
Bow tie onesies
Wedding Scrapbook
Honeymoon Scrapbook
Birthday calendar project
“Quote” calendar project
Re-finish night stands
Re-finish Kid-Craft table and chair set
Quotes/Annual Baby Questions scrapbook printables
Graphic art of NYC, Italy, Boston
Sequin Table Runner
Gold polka dot burlap table runer
Baby receiving blankets
Lavender closet/drawer sachets
“Namaste, bitches” tote bag
“I like big books…” tote bag
Jewelery roll sewing project
Modern crosses quilt project – (1st quilt I’m attempting!)
Tabletop lighting studio
Memory journal for Skylar (on-going)
Summer 2013 photo album for Skylar
Pattern-making with Dores
Re-furb trash bin with “Recycle”
Baby details wall art
“C” photo art
Leaf art project
Instagram Print project
Fabric storage box project
“Love” pillow project
DIY sequin pillows
Gold leaf ampersand art
Re-furb head board
Re-furb desk
Re-upholster dining room set
Re-design wine-bar with wine glass holder
Magazine rack DIY
Distressed window-pane photo project
Quote chalk-board wine bottles
“Do it with Joy…” art print

DIY Halloween Banner

30 Oct


Since my wedding I’ve been kind of obsessed with fabric banners. But my sewing machine is on the fritz so I turned to my first love—paper. I wanted something that said “Happy Halloween” but wasn’t tied to a design beyond that. A few Google Image searches later, I found the above design and fell in love.*

Downloading and printing to some cardstock was easy but stringing it up was trickier so I wanted to share some tools and tips:

To string the banner I needed to create holes for the ribbon to pass through. There is actually a ribbon craft punch for this but I don’t have it so I grabbed my exacto knife and some quilting supplies: a Fiskars self-healing cutting mat (LOVE this thing!) and clear acrylic ruler. As long as you’re very careful about blade pressure, you should be OK cutting on the self-healing mat but I should warn that it’s not meant for this and you could damage yours if you’re not careful. So proceed gently.
IMG_9043I measured over roughly .24″ and cut a series of straight lines to form an elongated rectangle. I didn’t obsess over getting it perfectly measured, but I did use a ruler to guide me for the free-hand cutting. Test your ribbon width and length on the first few to make sure you’re allowing enough room for it to easily pass through.

IMG_9080Once the ribbon was strung, I laid out the entire banner on the floor to fix spacing. I decided not to glue the individual pennant pieces to the ribbon so I can change for spacing in the future if hanging on a mantel, larger doorway, or wall. But I wanted to make sure the same amount of ribbon was on each side of the end pieces, so I measured out about 12″ extra on each side for some wiggle room.

Since I’d measured the “extra” ribbon end pieces so carefully once I’d spaced out from the middle, I decided to subtly mark the spot where both the end pieces were aligned (as well as the centered, middle pennant piece) for future reference. I just used a Sharpie to blacken out some of the ribbon’s detailing—easy.

The final product:

Printable Happy Halloween banner

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It would have been so much easier to just glue it to some ribbon but I wanted to make it so it lasts for at least a few Halloweens. So I splurged on the cardstock printing and took the time to string the ribbon and I’m so glad I did! It hangs so nicely and has received tons of compliments.

* Cannot for the life of me track down the file now! So sorry for those who have asked for it. The search continues. In the meantime, here is a link to another Halloween banner we printed this year too, (below). It didn’t get the same treatment as the other banner, but it’s still cute I think. Happy-almost-Halloween!