Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Make a Cake Banner for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Cake TopperWant to be the hit of the party? Make this too-cute-for-words cake topper

I made this cake that’s free of gluten and refined sugar for a meeting last week. Absolutely no one who knew me was surprised when I brought out a white cake stand, pink cake and Valentine’s Day cake banner, because cutesy decoration is kinda my thing. However, I was a little surprised at how well it went over. My ultra-healthy treats aren’t always the hit of the party but this cake was definitely the exception. I read once that pink makes sweets look irresistible! I think this cake topper definitely proves that true. Everyone couldn’t wait to dig in, and I think the aesthetic presentation played a big part in that.

Make a cake bannerMake a Valentine’s cake topper

Ready to make a cake banner? The best part is that’s it’s really easy but looks totally impressive when it’s done.

Step 1: Cut four or five triangles of fabric. The fabric can be of your choice. If you have heaps of fabric scraps like I do, this is a perfect use for them. Upcycle those fabric scraps!

Valentine's day cake topper tutorialStep 2: Then I used tacky glue on the triangle’s edge to affix it to the string. I used If You Care cooking twine because I love their Eco-friendly, unbleached cooking products, but you can use any twine or yarn you like.

Valentine's Day Cake Banner tutorialStep 3: Then tie the ends of the string onto two chopsticks or bamboo barbecue skewers. After it’s dry it’s ready to place into the cake. I made the topper the same day and it was ready to go. The tacky glue dries quickly, but you could use hot glue if you want it ready even faster.

Valentine's Day cake decorationsI hope you enjoy this cake topper as much I did! It’s definitely an easy way to wow your guests at any event. There is always an occasion to celebrate with cake!

If you’re in the Valentines’ Day spirit, read on with Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.  If you need a laugh and aren’t easily offended, check out one of my most popular posts of all time, Vintage Valentines That Didn’t Age Well.

Valentine's Day Cake Topper banner

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Eco-friendly gift wrapEco-Friendly Wrapping Options

I love wrapping paper. Each year I love finding artistic paper options that aren’t typical Christmas designs (like the ones below!). But I definitely do not love throwing away the packaging after the gifts have been opened. For a few years now I’ve worked on my collection of pre-wrapped boxes that can be used year after year. There is a downside to those, and that’s storage space. This year, I experimented with the trend of minimalist, nature-inspired wrapping techniques. Here are my Eco-friendly gift wrap solutions to try.

Gift wrapBrown paper Packages, twine and greenery

They look elegant and well-designed, but these packages are covered with things you probably already have in the kitchen! All you need is brown paper, twine and greenery sprigs and you’re golden!

eco-friendly-gift-wrap-with-sprig-of-greenery“But where do you get these sprigs, Abbie?” You may be asking. Mine are taken floral arrangements. Greenery usually lasts longer than the blooms themselves, so you can  re-purpose it on your gifts. If you have a real Christmas tree you could also take a piece off of that in a place that’s not very noticeable…just throwing out ideas here!

eco-friendly gift wrappingFor the paper, I used a brown grocery bag, but you could also try newspaper or the beige paper than comes in shipping boxes. Eco-friendly twine and re-purposed ribbon tied them off. There’s something very personal about the appearance of these packages, don’t you think, like they’re designed with the recipient in mind.

Plaid and greenery: eco-friendly gift wrappingAnother option I discovered this year for re-usable gift wrap is a reusable shopping tote. They’re no more expensive than paper gift bags, and the recipient can use it again and again. I found a Minnesota-themed tote at Trader Joe’s this year and it was perfect for large gifts.

Want even more ideas? Another blogger has some for you – I especially like her idea of using last year’s Christmas cards to make tags!

What are you wrapping your gifts with this year?


Be Prepared for Winter Emergencies

make-your-winter-emergency-car-kitThis week in Minnesota, the temperatures dipped to -20 F. That’s dangerously cold (they actually close schools when it gets too cold!). Today it’s 20 degrees ABOVE zero which comparatively seems like spring. If that sounds even remotely like where you live, you’ll want to make sure your car winter survival kit is up to date. If you’re from a more temperate region, feel free to skip ahead to pet paw stockings and cookie baking and try not to gloat too much on your way out.

As much as I sometimes wish I could just stay home and make snowman cookies, life goes on in sub-zero temps. There are events that I have to get to for work, no matter what the road conditions are like. And while I hope I never have to use my car emergency kit, I know it’s something I have to have (at least until spring, when I can celebrate by eating the fruit and nut bars out of the tin).

winter-car-kitWhat to include in your winter car kit

In case your car breaks down in winter, stay as safe and comfortable as you can until help arrives (obviously call 911 with your cell phone while you wait).

  1. A tin to hold everything in. This is a great use for the cookie tins you’ll have left over after the holidays.
  2. Food. In case of emergency, you’ll want food to keep your blood sugar (and spirits) up. Wrapped foods that don’t perish easily such as beef jerky or energy bars are good choices.
  3. Candles and matches (could also be flares and/or flashlight).
  4. Blankets. I keep a fleece blanket in my car, as well as Mylar blankets which are made to keep your body heat in if you car breaks down.
  5. Hand and foot warmers. I used these when I worked outside at Ice Castles. These little packets heat up when you shake them and stay warm for a few hours. They are sized to fit into gloves or boots.

These are the bare minimum you should absolutely have on hand when driving in the winter. There are bigger things you should also probably have that won’t fit in a tin, such as a bag of sand or litter and snow shovel. The state of Wisconsin has a Winter Safety Checklist. The website recommends keeping your emergency kit in the main compartment of your car because the trunk can become frozen shut.

And one last piece of advice from a Midwesterner: every time you leave the house bring warm boots, warm coat and winter hat and gloves. If you’re dressed up really cute and don’t want to mess up your hair, take off your heels or look like the Michelin man, just throw them in the backseat. The important this is you have them if needed. Stay safe this winter!


A Mermaid Moment

handmade-mermaid-shellsHappy Halloween! Did you dress up (or dress the kids up) this year? After a lot of work, I finally realized my dream of becoming a mermaid! Despite the amount of effort it took to create, this is actually one of the more fun craft projects I’ve completed lately. Mermaids are mystical, mysterious and really fun to portray at a party. In the end, this costume and I mermaid for each other (I just HAD to use that line and I’m not sorry about it.)

Making the Mermaid Shell Top

mermaid-halloween-diyThe most important part of a mermaid costume: the shell top! This was easily the most enjoyable part of the project. I searched until I found a purple bra, but a nude one would do just as well. In the end I covered so much of it over that it hardly mattered what color I chose. The shells are real (get natural cooking shells), painted with acrylic paint and sprinkled with glitter. I’m sure E6000 adhesive provides a stronger bond, but I used hot glue and hand stitches to put the top together. I wore the top to two parties and didn’t have a problem. I circled the shells with lace trim, added plastic pearl strands and a starfish brooch I purchased at a fundraiser this summer. I haven’t found any inexpensive starfish pins since, but if I do I’ll update this post with a link.

Making the Mermaid Skirt

mermaid-halloween-diy-costumeOne of the things I’m most proud of about this costume is that I was able to upcycle some items I already had on hand to make it! I’m not personally comfortable creating a lot of waste with my costumes. The base of this skirt is actually a navy pencil skirt from my closet. I simply covered it with 5/8 yard of sequin material with hand sewn stitches. This was way easier for me than sewing a skirt from scratch. An added plus is that the skirt underneath provides a lining for the see-through sequin fabric. The fin part of the skirt is a child’s skirt sewed to the bottom of the sequin portion. You could gather and sew your own fin fabric, but the skirt came with built in elastic that made walking a little easier.

Making a mermaid hair clip

mermaid-halloween-hair-ornamentMermaids can be any color scheme. At one party I attended this weekend I met a beautiful mermaid with a handmade costume of her own in aqua and teal (even her hair). I wanted my costume to be very recognizable, so I went with coloring inspired by the iconic Little Mermaid Ariel: purple shells, green scale skirt, red hair and a little nod to her dinglehopper fork. This hair clip is made of 4 oval pieces of felt. The fork is a miniature plastic hors d’oeurve fork from a party store.

This whole project was super fun to create and I’m thrilled to share it with you all! Feel free to contact me with any questions about how this was made in the comments.


Violet Flower Crowns

Violet flower crownThere’s a little flower that’s in season right now in the upper Midwest, and it’s been a huge inspiration to me this week. I had a throwback to childhood moment and decided to make a flower crown with real woodland violets as I used to do as a kid. I made a slip knot with each stem, then closed the knot around the stem of the next flower, and so on. It was a lot harder than I remembered! I had to use sewing thread to bind the flowers together and even so it was delicate and short-lived. But I was able to wear it for this photo shoot and it was a good excuse to play barefoot in the woods.

Violet Flower Crowns

DIY real violet flower crownBesides being a lovely accessory inspiration, violets have many other uses too! I’ll be covering that in a post really soon.

Shop flower crowns

Flowers aren’t in season where you live? Get a ready made flower crown at a good price at the shops I’ve linked below. And don’t forget my personal favorite source for handmade goods: Etsy, where you can find every style of violet flower crown you can dream of.

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