Archive of ‘DIY & Crafting’ category

Handmade Fairy Garden Tour

Handmade fairy gardenHow to make a fairy garden

Let’s talk about making whimsical, adorable miniature gardens. Your house/yard/apartment balcony needs one of these. Ready? Let’s get started. This post contains some affiliate links for easy shopping, but you can also make a lot of things for a fairy garden for free using natural items! Whether you are ready to splurge or on a budget, if you want to DIY a handmade fairy garden or buy it ready made, we’ll explore all those options here.

Every picture in this post is from my very own fairy gardens, past and present, that were featured on Midwest Living and Minnesota Parent. 

Find the perfect place for a fairy garden

A front yard fairy garden runs the risk of garden accessories deciding to walk off in the middle of the night, but it also has potential to bring joy to people who pass by. I hand painted this door and added glass gems. Set against a rock, it’s an out of the way surprise for only the observant to discover.

Handmade fairy garden

Did you know people have been making fairy gardens out of rocks and twigs on the East Coast for decades? It’s a tradition I first read about in the book Fairy Gardens of the Maine Coast. I bought the book my senior year of college and was enchanted.

The rise of fairy gardening

Fairy Gardens grew in popularity in recent years. All you have to do is walk into a craft or garden store and buy ready-made houses, bridges, figurines, garden benches, etcetera for your little garden. Seriously, anything you want you can find. Do your fairies want to live in cottage? You can buy them one. Need a fairy-sized terrarium? Easy:

Fairy Garden Tour

After writing about the trend for multiple magazines, I wanted to start my own garden. It’s a mix of handmade things and store bought ornaments. I even found a rock path and a little house at an estate sale. Let me show you around.

Fairy Garden Design Ideas

Here I placed a marble in a miniature bird bath, with a little cottage in the background. A pine cone forest surrounds it, with ivy plants and upcycled tile steps leading up to the house.

Handmade fairy garden

Fairy Garden on a Budget

A store bought house, purchased on sale at a craft store, set on a mossy hill with stone steps. A miniature flower pot houses a petite plant. Want to save big on store bought miniatures? Late summer is the perfect time to score savings on end-of-season fairy items!

Handmade fairy garden

Handmade Fairy Garden

Of course, one of the best ways to save is by making your own items. A cardboard cutout creates the door in this fairy tree, with a broken ceramic piece as the knob! A handmade fairy garden can be highly whimsical and a great test of creativity.

handmade fairy garden

Do you have a fairy garden? Do you prefer handmade fairy decorations or store bought?

Handmade fairy garden

5 Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper Ideas

5 Ways to Make Recyclable Gift Wrap

This holiday season, you may be wondering: is wrapping paper recyclable? Before you wishcycle it, you should know that no, most gift wrap is NOT recyclable. But if you do want recyclable gift wrap, or to wrap gifts in something that’s reusable or reused, look at these five ideas.

Brown paper bags

Reuse parcel paper or paper shopping bags by wrapping your gifts in them. Add a sprig of greenery and scraps of ribbon if you’re craving something decorative. Here’s a closer look at how you can wrap packages with recycled paper.

Old maps

Reuse old maps by turning them into gift wrap. Yours will be the most unique one under the tree, guaranteed. I added scraps of yarn and sprigs of greenery for an extra touch. And just like brown paper bags, this gift wrap is recyclable and compostable.

Fabric bags

Reusable cloth bags are a gift unto themselves. I know some people sew their own to use as gift bags. I didn’t have the time or patience to fight with a sewing machine so bought a few at a craft fair. This is the most popular zero-waste way to wrap presents this season!

Newsprint and old books

Ok so you know how I found a source for free antique books, right? Well I got a few that were totally falling apart beyond repair. I thought the pictures might be good for collages, and it turned out that for small gifts the pages could be used for gift wrap! I absolutely love the look of these. If you don’t have any books beyond repair, try the pages of a newspaper or magazine for a similar look. Again, this gift wrap is recyclable.

Old wallpaper scraps

This one is at the end of the list because who even has old wallpaper scraps? But I did find some at the local ReUse center, so I guess I do. All the ribbon in the picture below came from the there too. Design studios donate all their old fabric and trims to keep it out of the landfill, and people like me can use it!

What are you doing this holiday season to live more sustainably? Check out ways to decorate with books to see my New Year’s Resolution!

Floral Arranging with Wildflowers

Using wildflowers as wedding florals

When my dear little cousin got married last year, she did a DIY farm wedding. Her florals were almost all made of wildflowers picked from the property. It was genius, and it looked so good! She saved $$$, and it fit the style of the wedding exactly. Here’s a photo recap of the wildflower wedding floral arrangements, taken by me and first published in Midwest Living.

How to make your own rustic chic wildflower wedding bouquets

Think about storage and how to keep the flowers fresh! The day before the wedding, a group of friends and family scoured the farm for the best wild blooms. After putting the cuttings in big 5-gallon buckets of water, we made bouquets and then stored them in a walk in refrigerator in the barn. Here’s what it looked like behind the scenes.

Rules of floral design

If you’re doing a DIY floral arrangement, don’t forget this rule of flower design. No matter which type of flowers you’re choosing, use a big, unique bloom as a thriller, one to create mass as a filler, and a drapey one to hang down as a spiller. Getting the style right for wildflower weddings is pretty easy if you keep this in mind.

wildflower wedding

Mix it up

In addition to farm wildflowers, the bride bought roses, lavender, eucalyptus and baby’s breath to mix into the decor. Putting them into re-used glass containers of various sizes added depth and variety to each table. This approach was thrifty and Eco-friendly but so rustic and beautiful!
wildflower weddings

Here you can see the simplicity of the idea behind the floral arrangements. The wildflowers are a seamless complement to the lavender and baby’s breath, don’t you think?

wildflower wedding

Wildflowers in floral arrangements are perfect for outdoor events. How flawless does this look on the outdoor bar?

rustic elegant floral design

Do it yourself floral design

This event totally changed any preconceived ideas I had about do-it-yourself flowers and wildflowers for weddings. It just looked good, and that’s all there is to it! Here’s the bride’s professional bouquet along with the bridesmaids’ wildflower bouquets.

wildflower weddings

Get a peek at the organic farm where the wedding was held, Trillium Wood Farm.

You don’t need a DSLR camera. Here’s why.

The perfect camera for bloggers

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “what camera do you use?” I’m asked about it a lot when I’m out shooting at events. It’s so small, it looks like a point and shoot. But it’s not–it’s an Olympus mirrorless micro four-thirds model. It has the functionality of a DSLR, but at a fraction of the size. I think it’s the perfect camera for bloggers (and many other photographers!).

What it’s like to use a mirrorless camera

Here’s what it’s really like to shoot with a mirrorless camera and why for the time being I’m truly happy with this choice. Whether you’re a blogger looking to upgrade your camera or just getting more into photography, here’s what you need to know.

The size.

For me, this is the number one reason why I go the mirrorless route. I just can’t lug around a DSLR and its gear without getting a major neck ache. But with my Olympus, I can throw it in my purse and go to any event. It’s so portable and light.

You know when you see someone with a full frame DSLR and you’re like, “they must be a photographer.” That’s just not going to happen when you’re shooting with a dinky thing that doesn’t even look like it can switch lenses. This can be good and bad depending on the situation. If you travel a lot, a lighter and less expensive-looking camera might be perfect for you. Just some things to think about!

The brand.

I’ve been pretty happy with the Olympus line, which includes a range of cameras from the lower end model I usually shoot with up to pricier camera bodies. Sony is also really well known for its mirrorless line, which one of my fashion photographers used in this shoot–take a look at how well it does!

Some of my other fashion photos are taken by an Olympus EP3 and an Olympus EM-1:

The price.

It seems like you’d be saving money by buying a smaller camera, but sadly this is not really the case. The cost is pretty similar to a starter level DSLR kit–or even a little bit more.

Performance.

Now it’s not a perfect camera. I’m not satisfied with how the Olympus performs in low light, but for many blogging related needs it’s great.

With a prime lens, I can get depth of field for close-up shots for my blog.

It’s also great for taking flat lays for Instagram.

Of course, DSLR cameras are still a great choice. My outfit posts shot by pro photographers are done with DSLR and I used one on my summer cross country road trip. The majority of bloggers I know shoot with the Canon line, and I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews. With DSLRs getting smaller and lighter, I may consider getting one down the road. I just want you to be aware that there is a viable alternative for both beginning bloggers and more advanced photographers that I recommend for its portability.

Camera style

Just for fun, here are some camera bags and camera-themed accessories worth checking out.

Which camera do you use? Let me know in the comments!

How to Create a Vision Statement and Change Your Life

One goal setting technique that WORKS.

Today I’m sharing how you can try the technique that helped one woman manifest the partner, children and job of her dreams in four years. Curious? I was too! You have to hear her story!

My friend Faith introduced me to her vision statement and powerful vision board techniques that can help you make changes in life and reach your goals, and I want to share them with you so you can make this the best year ever. It works by setting your sights on what’s possible. It’s all about intention.

Set your sights on what's possible. It's all about intention. Click To Tweet

create a vision statement

How to create a vision statement

Faith discovered this technique during a time of hopelessness.  “At the time, I was working in a dysfunctional workplace, was in a painful and unfulfilling relationship and was 35 with no hope of creating the family/children I barely dared to hope were possible,” she says.

Here’s the technique she used: write a statement about how your life is in the future, and date it with a future date. Make it as specific as possible with a focus on the feeling of gratitude you have for meeting your goals.

“It should be written in present tense, as if you have already achieved your goals and created your vision with an example of the specifics. It should also be reviewed and altered on a regular basis as your vision evolves, continuing to add details and change things as needed.”

This could be in addition to a vision board collage with images, or by itself.

Does this sound crazy? Read the rest of Faith’s story before you decide.

How a vision statement can help you change your life

Four years later, her life is completely different. She attributes it in part to this create a vision statement exercise which helped her focus on what was important to her. She’s moved across the country, found a life partner with whom she has two beautiful children, has a fulfilling career in an emergency room and is pursuing a medical degree. That’s a dramatic transformation for sure!

It was Faith and her story that encouraged me to try creating a vision board collage and vision statements at the start of every year. I started in 2016, and it helped me reach my professional goal of adding three new publications to my writing portfolio, as well as some personal life goals. You still need to put in the work, but putting the vision in a written or visual format can keep you focused. As Faith said, “Life still has its challenges but I feel better equipped to handle them.” I’m so grateful to her for sharing her story in hopes of inspiring others!

What do you think about this goal setting technique? Read more about how to transform you life with vision board exercises.

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