EVERGREEN BACKDROP DIY

Not only did this evergreen wall serve as a pretty backdrop for the food display, it also doubled as a fun photo booth later in the night.  Find the DIY below and continue on at the bottom of the post for some ridiculous photo booth snaps.

Holiday TableHoliday Party 2014-8Holiday Party 2014-7

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • Evergreen scraps (lots of them!)
  • Ribbon or twine (at least 10 yards)
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Nail + Hammer (to hang)

Garland Materials

DIRECTIONS:

Before you start, you’ll need to collect a lot of evergreen scraps. I found it easiest to just hit a group of Christmas tree lots to get scraps they had already cut that they were going to throw out.  If you don’t live in NYC and have access to nature, you’ll have a much easier time getting these than I did.  Perhaps you even have some evergreen branches you’ve been needing to trim in your backyard. Depending on how large you want your backdrop, that will determine the amount of greenery you’ll need.

Also, just wanted to note that I tried making this backdrop a few different ways – but with the weight of the greens I found it best to use hot glue and ribbon (instead of chicken wire or a mesh net).  I considered using floral wire to wire each section to the ribbon, but the hot glue made the process much quicker.

Step #1: Once you’ve collected your greenery, you want to cut the branches into relatively even sections (I kept mine about 8″ long).

Step #2: Next you’re going to cut long pieces of ribbon.  To figure out the necessary length, measure the width of your backdrop and add +1 foot – that’s how long you’ll will need each ribbon strand (leaving room to tie each end to the wall).  The backdrop is essentially a layer of garlands; for each garland you will need 2 strands of ribbon.  My backdrop required 10 garlands, so I cut 20 strands of ribbon. Get it? Got it. Good!

Step #3: To start your first garland, lay out 2 ribbon strands parallel to each other on a work surface.  Add a 6-inch section of hot glue, and immediately place the ends of greenery to the glue.  Then, add your second ribbon atop the glue and greenery to sandwich the greenery inside the two ribbons. Continue along your ribbon until you have 6 inches of ribbon left, then stop.  Now you have your first garland. Continue Step #3 however many times necessary until you have all of your needed garlands.

Evergreen Backdrop DIY

Step #4: For the installation of the backdrop I used small nails and secured each end of ribbon to a nail and then also added a nail to the center of the garland to keep it secure.  Begin hanging your garlands at the bottom, moving up along your wall.  Let the ends of the garland cover the ribbon of the garland you secured prior.

Step #5: I sprinkled in a touch of some other varieties of evergreen to my backdrop once I was finished just to add a bit of dimension.  To finish it off, I hung some fake garlands horizontally across the top to cover the ribbon from my top garland.

Step #6: Lastly, make sure your space is well lit, setup a camera and tripod, and start shooting!

And just so you all know, this backdrop takes a lot of time.  It would’ve been a bit easier with some help, but since this was a project I decided to do last minute, I only had my two hands…both of which were covered in sap and hot glue burns by the end.  Buuuut, it was worth it.  This was my favorite backdrop I’ve made to date – I still have it hung up in my kitchen and I will definitely be sad to see it go.

Click “more…” to see the photo booth shots.

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With Hanukkah here, I wanted to post an idea for a DIY menorah I came up with for my Craft On series.  With birch logs, a drill, and a little muscle, you’ll be able to put together this menorah in no time.  And for all those not celebrating Hanukkah, these birch log candles look beautiful displayed individually as well.  Head on over to ulive to watch the video tutorial HERE.

Birch Menorah

AJM Deer Cake

Using stencils on fondant cakes is a cinch, but when the cake is buttercream most think adding a stencil is not even an option.  Well folks, it sure is!  My friend Ed Roth of Stencil1 makes the coolest stencils…and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  As of recently, his line is carried in Michaels craft stores nationwide – so go and check them out!  When he showed me this stencil set full of forest vibes (you can buy them HERE), I knew I had to have it.  I used the deer stencil to decorate one of my recent buttercream cakes, and I photographed the process so I could share it with you all. Continue on below to find out how it’s done!

Stencil1_Stencils

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Holiday-Menu-DIY1 copy

I’ve always loved handwritten menus set out on display. I am personally not a huge fan of my own handwriting and because I typically don’t decide on a menu until the week of a party, I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to have one made for me by a calligrapher, so I thought one was out of the question for our holiday party…until a genius idea hit me.  After posting last week’s Avery DIY for the gift tags, I was putting away all the great products they had sent me and I was looking at the fabric transfers and thought waiiiiiit a minute – I can make one of those pretty menus myself!  It ended up being so easy and only took about 30 minutes.  Follow along to see how it’s done.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • Avery® Fabric Transfers
  • Your menu, typed up and ready to print
  • Scrap piece of fabric
  • Iron
  • Twig
  • Hot glue or fabric glue
  • 1 piece of string
  • Misc greenery for decor

Holiday Menu DIY Supplies

DIRECTIONS:

Put together your menu on the computer.  I wanted to achieve the handwritten look, so I went with a pretty script font.  Once you’ve finalized and edited your menu, flip text to reverse it for the print. Load one of your Avery® fabric transfer sheets into your printer and print.

Holiday Menu_Step 1

Place a pillowcase or tablecloth down on a surface suitable for ironing. Set iron to highest setting. Place fabric piece down on to the surface and iron it to get any wrinkles out. Place your transferred image face down onto your fabric. Applying pressure with both hands, iron the transfer, making slow 20 second passes from left to right and then top to bottom.  For a half page image, only 90 seconds of ironing is needed.  Note: Make sure to follow along with the specific instructions located inside your fabric transfer package, as some of the transfers have different ironing times.

After ironing, allow the transfer and fabric to cool for 2 minutes.  Once cooled, peel the backing off, starting at one corner of the transfer.

Holiday MenuI wanted a bit of a rough edge around my menu, so I gently ripped the fabric along the borders to achieve the gently frayed look.  You can just use scissors to cut yours if you prefer a cleaner edge.  To hang, use a twig and some string. Fold the top edge of menu over a twig, use hot glue to position menu in place, then tie a piece of string to the twig to create a hanger. Use hot glue to finish off the menu with some additional holiday greenery.

Menu

My boyfriend and I hosted our annual holiday party this past Friday. We kept this year’s gathering a bit more intimate, which was really nice since we always seem to end up with too many people in our not so large space.  I cooked up a full menu and made way too many cakes (per usual).  I ended up crafting a few of the main decor pieces, including a fresh greenery backdrop for the food (which turned into a photobooth backdrop later in the night) and a pretty menu to display alongside the food.  I’ll have DIY’s for both of those over the next two days, but first, here’s a little look at the party setup.

Holiday TableSanta MugsHoliday Party 2Holiday Party CakesHoliday Party LightsChristmas DecorChristmas Decor 2Christmas Decor 3Christmas RecordParty DecorOffice SnowflakesDrink TableParty Decor 2

Thrifty Christmas Trees

Looking for a little holiday decor on the cheap?! These three handmade trees can be whipped up in just a few minutes time and use items you’re sure to have around your home.  If you don’t have the base, just roll up a piece of heavy cardstock into a cone shape and use that in place of the paper maché form.  Head on over to my Craft On page HERE (or click on the photo above) to watch the how-to video.

As you get ready to get your gifting on this season, here’s a free printable to address those pretty packages you’ll be handing out.  Using Avery round labels (#22807) all you have to do is download the PDF below, load up your printer with one of the Avery sheets, and hit print. These labels look great atop all sized packages and add lots of cheer to those plain, non-wrapped boxes (like my individual cupcake packages shown below). Click on the link at the bottom of the post to download. Happy gifting!  Happy Holidays To You FontAvery Holiday LabelAvery Holiday LabelsCupcake with Labelclick here

I usually just buy a pretty wreath from the market for our home, but this year I’ve tasked myself with making one (as if there isn’t enough to do around here!).  I’ve been looking for some inspiration and thought I’d share a few favorites that I found.  While I’m going to stick to a classic evergreen base for my wreath, a succulent wreath would be perfect for those of you in warmer climates.

holiday-2amy merrrick winter wreathHoliday WreathMoon Canyon WreathSucculent Wreath WallSucculent Wreath Medium

1. Moon Canyon // 2. Amy Merrick // 3. Instagram: @brass__tacks // 4: Instagram: @mooncanyon // 5. + 6. DIY: Succulent Wreaths

Holiday Dog Sweater

If you’re looking for something to do with that tacky sweater you bought for a holiday party, here’s an idea!  You can upcycle one sweater into TWO dog sweaters in just a few easy steps. I used a large men’s sweater to make sweaters that fit my 20 – 25 pound dogs.   Follow along with the directions below and check out the video (made for my Craft On series) to see the steps in action!

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Note: Unless you’ve scored some XXL sweater from a thrift, these human –> dog sweaters will only work for dogs under 40 pounds.  Also, 100% wool sweaters are easiest as they don’t fray, but tight knit sweaters will work as well – just make sure to use a tight zig zag stitch when sewing.

  • Measuring tape
  • Large sweater – (washed + dryed in hot water, preferably 100% wool)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine + thread

DIRECTIONS:

Holiday Dog Sweater DIY
Step #1: Take the measurements for your dog’s length (from neck to tail), the neck diameter, and the distance between the front legs.

Step #2: Cut off the wrist cuff on the sweater, so this end comfortably fits your dog’s neck. Next, cut the sleeve close to the armpit of the sweater, fit to the length of your pup.

Step #3: Cut out holes on either side to accommodate the dog’s front legs, following your initial measurements.

Step #4: Using your sewing machine, make a zig-zag stitch around both arm holes, as well as the front and back openings.

To watch the video, just click on the play button below!

Holiday Dog Sweater Play

If you’re looking for some easy, last minute pie crust tips for tomorrow, I have 2 very easy crust tutorials for you.  Click on the play button below to watch the video.  Hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Holiday Pie CrustsLattice Crust Play