Archive for the ‘ Holidays ’ Category

Holidays – Vintage Christmas Postcards

A while back I mentioned a stack of vintage Christmas postcards I found while cleaning out at my grandmother’s house.  With Christmas approaching I’m trying to think of a way to include some of them in our decorations. 

So…my question is:  How would you suggest using these fun vintage postcards?

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Semi-DIY: Halloween Lanterns

While Halloween typically isn’t a big holiday in the Smurfy household, this year will be a little bit different.  We’ve been recruited by a family member to help out at their historic district home since they have over 200 kids visit, and to bring any decorations we might have.  Since we didn’t have decorations other than some orange string lights (from football season), I decided to try to whip a few up.  I think these little guys turned out quite well, and really like that I can use them again!

Supplies Needed:

  • paper lanterns
  • battery operated tea lights (1 or 2 per lantern)
  • black construction paper
  • glue stick
  • double sided tape or white glue

Tools Needed:

Pumpkin Lanterns:

  1. Print out your jack-o-lantern template, careful to trim around as much as possible.
  2. Fold construction paper in half so you can cut two faces at once.
  3. Use a washable glue stick in a few places on the back of the template to help hold it in place while you cut.
  4. Carefully cut out your  face with a craft knife and carefully separate the pieces from the template. (Hint: Save the cut-out templates and left over black paper and use this for carving your real jack-o-lanterns!)
  5. Using double sided tape or white school glue attach your face to the assembled lantern.
  6. Add battery operated tea lights.  I usually drop the tea lights in a sandwich bag and just drop them into the lantern.  The sandwich bag keeps it from falling out the bottom.  If you want them brighter you can always use 2 tea lights per lantern.
  7. Hang and enjoy!!

Ghost Lanterns:

  1. Print out your ghost template, careful to trim around as much as possible.
  2. Fold construction paper in half so you can cut two faces at once.  In this case since I wanted to cut out three, I added an additional piece in the middle of the stack.
  3. Use a washable glue stick in a few places on the back of the template to help hold it in place while you cut.
  4. Carefully cut out your jack-o-lantern face with a craft knife and carefully separate the pieces from the template.
  5. Using double sided tape or white school glue attach your face to the assembled lantern.
  6. Add battery operated tea lights.  I usually drop the tea lights in a sandwich bag and just drop them into the lantern.  The sandwich bag keeps it from falling out the bottom.  If you want them brighter you can always use 2 tea lights per lantern.
  7. Hang and enjoy!!

Reuse Information:
The great thing about using double-sided tape is that I am able to simply pop the cutouts off the lantern when we take them down (carefully as to not rip the paper lantern itself).  This means I can take the lanterns apart and store them to use again next year or use the plain orange & white lanterns for another party.

Cost Breakdown:
We already had most of the tools necessary for this quick Halloween decoration, so I just needed to pick up a couple of supplies.  I only made two stops, Michael’s where I had a 20% entire purchase coupon and the local dollar store, Dollar Tree.  If you don’t already have construction paper and glue you can easily pick those up at the Dollar Tree as well.  I refer to my local dollar store as my “small craft store”.

White Lanterns: $1.00 each with 40% total purchase coupon at Michael’s
Orange Lanterns:  $1.50 each minus 40%  fall decor sale at Michael’s
Battery Operated Tea Lights:  $1.00 for package of 2 at Dollar Tree
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Total for 6 Lanterns (including tax):  $8.02 or $1.33 each

Registry Review – Ona Pitcher

Several people have asked me recently what my favorite things from our wedding registry are.  It’s one of those things where I can’t just pick one…so between crafty fun I’m going to recap a few of our faves and why.

Today we made the trip to our local Crate and Barrel to exchange some extra glasses… but since the bath mat we had our hearts set on wasn’t in stock we left with a gift card instead.  Now, I’ve decided I’ll be using it on a couple of these Ona Pitchers.  They come in two sizes and are quite stylish too!

onapitcher(photo source: Crate and Barrel)

So, I know you’re thinking but how can you review something you’ve never used.  In April some of my best friends and their moms honored me with a bridal coffee and the local hostess-with-the-most  had 4 of these pitchers she used for water and OJ.  I fell in love with them then and there.  They are the perfect size, and I love how they can be both simple and elegant.  These beauties can make store bought lemonade look homemade 🙂

3654932454_03de020704(photo source:  personal photo)

 

Semi-DIY – Pumpkin seating cards

I saw some cute pumpkins sitting on place settings as I strolled through a cute little boutique near my house not too long ago and thought…hum, I could do something like that for Thanksgiving.  So I decided to give it a shot to see how “doable” and “economical” it would be for our family Thanksgiving dinner…and you know what I think it’s a real winner. 

Tools & Supplies Needed:

  • Mini Pumpkin or Squash for each place setting
  • Paper to use for leaf name tag
  • Green or Brown wire
  • Marker or Pen
  • Kraft Knife or Ice pick
  • Scissors
  • Leaf Template

Instructions:

  1. The first step is to cut out your leaves and label them.  For the first attempt (as shown in the photos) I simply printed out some leaves I found on good old Microsoft Clip Art on the back side of my green paper, and then cut them out with scissors.  Then used my trusty black calligraphy pen to write on the names. 

    Then I remembered something that would have worked MUCH better.  The Cuttlebug with the leaves dies.  I already owned them so it was a no brainer.  If you aren’t on the Cuttlebug bandwagon I wouldn’t advise buying one just for this project…unless you have 100’s to do.   In that case I’d recommend buying the dies (under $20)and trying to find someone who would either cut them with their machine or loan it to you for a day.  Heck, email me and if you provide the paper I might run them through it for you in exchange for gift cards 😉
                      (source for both machine & dies:  Provo Craft)

  2. Next it’s time to make the wire coils you’ll use to attach the leaves.  I picked up the wire I used in the little floral section at Dollar Tree.  You could make almost 20 little coils from one package.  Cut off a piece of wire approx 3.5 inches and wrap it around a pen or marker to shape it into the coil. 
  3. Use your Kraft knife or even an ice pick to poke a small hole in the pumpkin top near the stem.  It should be just a tad bit small than the wire’s diameter to hold it steady.  Have a towel handy to dry off the juice that will seep out when the hole is first made.
  4. Use the knife to make a small cut in the leaves and feed the bottom part of the wire coil through the slit, and place the wire into the hole you created in the pumpkin. 
  5. Push the leaf against the pumpkin and adjust the wire to your liking, then display on a fun fall napkin or onto of your place setting and enjoy.

Price Break Down:

  • Mini Pumpkins – purchased at Wal-Mart Super Center for $0.78 each
  • Green Aluminum Wire – purchased at Dollar Tree – $1.00 for 6 feet
  • Green Paper – Michael’s scrapbook paper – $0.50 per sheet/20 leaves
  • Template – free from MS Word
  • knife, pen, scissors – free already had

TOTAL:  For 20 placesettings = $17.60 so $0.88 each

Overall, I’m proud with how they turned out, especially for 88 cents each!  What do you think?  How will you set your Thanksgiving table?

Inspiration – French Wire for Fall

I keep drifting to fun pieces of “french wire” this fall.  I think they would be wonderful for a fall wedding or your Thanksgiving spread.  I also think they are timeless pieces you could use for years to come.

board_frenchwire

(source clockwise from top left:  Wire Sculpture Frames from Anthrpologie, Wire Pedestal from Crate & Barrel, French Wire Place card holders from Pottery Barn, Wire Tray from Crate & Barrel, French Wire 3-Tier Stand from Pottery Barn, French Wire Pillar Holders also from Pottery Barn, and French Wire Basket with Handle from Pierre Deux)

Why do I love french wire so?  First up, I posted about these Wire Sculpture Frame from Anthropologie weeks ago and I’ll admit that I’m debating ordering a few for our guest room.  Then I ran across this wire pedestal and tray from Crate & Barrel.  It will hold a 12 inch cake with style, and for $18.95 it’s a deal as far as pedestal’s go.  I could see it with a vintage lace doily on the pedestal with cupcakes stacked on top (or a yummy carrot cake).  And wouldn’t the tray be fun for holding cookies or other baked goodness?  It’s also only $18.95.  Then there are thesese place card holders from Pottery Barn.  They would not only make nice place card holders, but I could also see them holding table numbers, menus, food labels, and even photos on my mantle!  Then a simple search for French Wire on the Pottery Barn site yielded more goodness in the 3-Tier Stand, Pillar Holders, several baskets and even a French Wire Chandelier. And you can’t beat Pierre Deux for French Wire Baskets. 

What’s new out there right now that just screams fall decorating and parties to you?

DIY – Fall Napkin Wraps

Several of you have emailed me asking for a more fall themed napkin wrap template to use for fall receptions and thanksgiving …so tonight I put together a couple I really like.  Honestly, I’ve been a little shocked at the interest in my little last minute wedding DIY…but I’m so glad others are finding them useful.

Pumpkin Template
I ran across this adorable pumpkin clip on illustrator Tricia Rennea’s blog as a free download a few weeks ago and bookmarked it to use for something “fall related”.  So it was the first fall themed wrap.  I think they are really cute as a napkin wrap.

(csmurf_pumpkinnapkins)

Speaking of  Tricia Rennea if you haven’t already check her out, she does such great illustrations and has a storefront for purchasing some of them on shirts, etc.

Fall Leaves
This inspiration from this one came from good ‘ole Microsoft Clip art.  I think it might be making an appearance at our inaugural Smurfy Thanksgiving this year.

(csmurf_leavesnapkins)

Simple Acorn Template
Again this one came from Microsoft Clip art and then I converted it to a watermark to lighten it up again.  I actually like how well it matches our everyday napkins I used to take the photo!

csmurf_acornnapkins

And two more photos just to show you how creative you can be with this little guys.

For example this is what happens if you delete the graphics on the templates and instead use a simple paper punch.  This one is with Martha Stewart’s dove punch.  See how nice it looks that the color of the napkin pops through?

Wouldn’t this be fun with a snowflake punched out for a winter wedding?  Or an ornament for Christmas Dinner?  And for a little more color, what about adding a strip of colored paper behind the punch outs. (please ignore my paper quality… my home office is mid-remodel so I can’t find all the fun papers right now).

Hope this gives you a few more ideas to make this little DIY project work for you.  If you have questions….let me know!

DIY – Wedding Menus

While menus weren’t a must have for our wedding, I think having them gave the table-scape a little “something, something” tied in with the napkins.  Plus since we did a buffet it gave everyone an idea of what to expect when their table was dismissed to be served.  I created our menu template using good ole Microsoft Word with Feel Script font (but used a free substitute on the templates below).  Other than cutting the paper they were one of the easiest DIY projects I completed for the wedding.

Blue Napkins
(photo by Climie+Co, name blurring my me)

Tools Needed:

Supplies Needed:

  • 8.5 x 11 inches Ivory or White Cardstock – 1 sheet makes 3 menus  (I used cover stock from PaperSource in Luxe White but Cold Press watercolor paper would work well also)

Instructions:

  • If you don’t already have it loaded on your computer, download and install the font of your choice.  This project uses Copperplate Gothic (which came with MS Word) and Monterey-BT.
  • Download the Menu Template from above and update to your menu items of choice.    Verify that the paper size is set to a custom size with a width of 3.66 inches and a height of 8.5 inches.
  • Cut your standard sized paper into 3 menu sized pieces*.  Each menu is setup to be 3.66 inches wide, so a 1/3 of a standard sheet of paper’s width if in landscape mode.  Using your paper cutter cut each sheet into 3 equal pieces.  To make this process less tedious I constructed a “guard” of sorts using a post-it note placed in the correct cutting position.  Then I could just line my paper up against it’s edge and make a consistent sized cut each time.  In retrospect it would have been even easier if I’d used a piece of heavier cardstock taped to my cutting deck so I have more of a solid edge to line up against.  With my cutter and this easier method of alignment, I could easily cut through 2 pieces of coverstock at a time.

  • Load the menu paper into your printer and print only 2 or 3 menus to start with to ensure everything is working correctly.
  • Print your menus out in smaller sized groups to verify consistency in the printer feed. I did groups of 20 which worked well with my HP Deskjet D4160.

  • Have a glass to wine to celebrate a quick and painless DIY project.
  • Be sure to take a photo of the finished product and email it to me!  I love detail photos!!

*Because my printer works well with custom sized paper I cut my paper into the correct menu sized pieces before printing.  This meant not having to use a more time consuming program like Adobe Illustrator to create cut marks and spaces between each menu to allow for cutting, etc.  It also meant that once the printing was finished so were the menus.  I would suggest cutting a regular piece of copy paper into the correct size and verify your printer can handle the custom size before precutting all your paper.

**If you have hundreds of menus to create you could easily take your paper to Kinko’s or some similar place to have it precut.  You would need to pay for 2 cuts, so typically less than $4.00.