Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easy-Peasy Centerpieces

A few weeks ago I created this installation piece at our neighborhood Starbucks, and the posted photo got so many comments I thought I'd share how easy it is to make this fun, springy four-step centerpiece for your table.

This is the finished one on display with 11 pieces...in the tutorial below, I'll be creating one with 7 peices to show you. (But somehow didn't get a finished photo!)

To create this display, you'll need a collection of small vases, some long stems of grass or straw, and flowers.


Step 1- Gather a collection of small-ish vases with narrower openings. I'm using an assortment of votive vases, but things like recycled wine bottles, shot glasses, bud vases, and such that you may have around the house are perfect!

Because of the "installation" nature of this centerpeice, you'll want to create it wherever you're going to display it, or set it up on a mirror that you feel comfortable picking up and moving within your house. Vary the levels of the vases so the flowers will hit at seperate heights & fill with water.

Step 2- Using some of the long stems of grass or straw, wrap them around your fingers to create "swirls". Put these swirls into the larger of the clear vases to add additional interest to your piece.

Step 3 - Add your flowers! Large, single blooms in each container are the best for this display. You can also use two or three large single blooms together for tall or wide-mouthed vases. Medium and small flowers, such as carnations or mums, can also be used to create masses in smaller vases.

Your centerpiece with the blooms will look something like this:

From above:

Step 4 - Add the finishing touches to your vases by connecting them with strands of grass or straw. The loops create interest and unify the piece. Just make sure the cut end is under water before you tuck the top in somewhere else!

And there you have it- a lovely spring centerpiece to add to your table!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wedding DIY

Hey crafters!!

I need your favorite ideas, patterns, thoughts and creative energies- because it's time for some serious Wedding DIY!!

Here's the scoop:

I am having a destination wedding next April in sunny Florida! We're excited to bring our families and closest friends down to celebrate with us, but as you can imagine, destination weddings = slightly higher costs = some areas need to be cut back.

Add that equation to the budget of a connsumate DIY-er, and you've got CRAFT PROJECTS!

I plan to tackle:

Save-the-Dates and Invites (I'm getting quotes as well, but there will likely be some aspect of DIY here)

Menu Cards, Escort Cards, Placecards (same as above)

Vintage bunting banners- or something like them- to hang around the reception site

My own centerpieces and bouquets (but that's just a given, because, ummmmmm....that's what I do for a living).

My birdcage veil??? If I can find a good pattern???

Decor details- we are thinking of a lovebirds theme, and I want to make tons of tiny little felt-and-fabric birds to adorn cake toppers, table numbers, ribbon wrapped around vases, and so forth. But I don't want them to be too childish. Thoughts?!?

Send me your ideas and let's get Wedding DIY-ing!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shabby Chic Birdfeeders

This craft is amazingly easy and fun to make, and could definitely be a collaborative project between multiple members of a household. Because I'm awesome like this, most of the photos I took of the step-by-step process were deleted, but I've included one of the finished product and half-finished.

Step 1) Purchase, acquire, salvage, or build a birdfeeder or birdhouse. Since I actually created this in conjunction with a neighborhood kids' project, I used one of the premade cedar houses purchased.

Step 2) Purchase, acquire, salvage or mix weather-resistant, waterproof paint in whatever colors you'd like to use. Many home supply stores (we bought at Lowe's) can mix sample-sized pots of paints in any color for you for under $4.

Step 3) Paint your birdfeeder with your base color and wait for it to dry thoroughly. Depending on how thick you apply the paint this may take a couple hours. You may also need or want a second coat. You can paint the sides any color(s) you want, or mix it up and choose a different shade for the roof, trim, etc. I picked green for my "walls" and orange for the roof and tray. Whatever works for you!

Step 4) Pencil on your design. I opted for a flowery branch design that had a little bit of whimsy with big blooms that could be easily seen from the sidewalk when I hung the feeder.

Step 5) Paint your design, being certain to let each color thoroughly dry before applying another coat on top. For my design, I started with painting all the green vine, then painted pink petals, then finished with blue centers for the flowers. I also added pink polka dots on the orange tray area and around the vines for no other reason than I liked how it looked. CRAZY, I tell you.

Step 6) Allow to dry (again) then fill with seed and hang outside! Be sure to follow the guidelines of bird feeder hanging- aka, make sure your birds can safely hang out in your feeder and no predators are going to be able to get them. Keep it high enough off the ground from the reach of cats, raccoons, and even kids if yours tend to be destructive.

Step 7) Watch your wild birds enjoy their trendy new feeder or home!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Shoe Fit

This weekend, my event floral company created these sweet pieces for a "The Shoe Fit"-themed bridal shower.

Because they're so unique, I thought I'd share how I created them with you...in the event that you'd ever want to make your own for that Manolo Blahnik shoe-loving bride in your life. So here's how!

1) Buy the shoes you'll use to create your base. I recommend hitting the nearest deep-discount shoe store if you're only creating one (you'll just need a pair) or the Internet if you're creating multiples. Get the largest size of a closed-toe high-heeled shoe that you can find, trying to find one with as large a "closure" at the front as you can. For obvious reasons, try to find one that's a little more stable than a 6-inch spike heel.

2) Gather your supplies - you'll need a block of floral foam, a roll of Saran Wrap, your flowers, a glue gun, and a stable base to mount the finished product on to.

3) Soak your floral foam taking care to let it absorb as much water as possible. While foam can absorb more at a later time, it's hard to water shoes!

4) Using Saran Wrap, take one extremely long piece and fold it in half horizontally. Use the folded end to create a "bowl" in the toe part. You are using this to catch any water that drips down, so be careful not to tear or leave gaps. Using two pieces of wrap stuck together is going to practically guarantee a leak, so don't cut corners here. Use the rest of the piece to line the inside of the shoe, leaving the ends overhanging the shoe.

5) Stuff the toe with floral foam for stability, then work your way up the inside. As much as possible, use continuous pieces of foam instead of lots of small pieces. Those can be used to jam into the sides for stability.

(Optional Step- Add some decorative ribbon! It's easiest to tie this now, instead of later. You can also use a pinch bow on a pik instead of tying one.)

6) Roll the extra Sarah Wrap around the inside of the shoe. You can pin it to the foam if you wish- just don't tuck it under and leave foam exposed to leak!

7) Starting with your greenery work around the shoe and cover the sides where foam and saran wrap show. Optional (I did) would be to use greenery to create a "cascade" effect on one side.

8) Add your flowers, berries, and so forth!

9) Glue or otherwise adhere your creation to a beveled mirror, photo frame, block of painted wood, or other heavy weight that will sit flat on your table. While it is tempting just to put the shoe out because they may seem quite steady, remember that it is delicately balanced at best!

(Optional step: Add loose flowers to the base, especially if it is a mirror and there is writing on the underside of the shoe!)

10)- Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Creating Flowers!

Remember when I said I made a living crafting?

Yeah, it's still awesome.

A few weeks ago uber-photog Larry Gindhart shot some photos of my work and made this video to showcase them! Check it out!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Knitting Group!

I've just been reminded that one of my lovely neighbors, Jennifer, has started a knitting group for knitters in downtown Indianapolis.

The group meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month at 6PM at the Herron-Morton Place Park (on Alabama between 19th and 20th). All are welcome. If you do not know how to knit, helpful neighbors will be on hand to assist and you can bring or purchase materials there.

Can't come? Not from Indy? Check out Jennifer's company, Alpaca with a Twist. They do lovely yarns, and they are available in just about every state. If you can't find a store near you, contact one in your state or the company and they might be able to ship!

After I finish Soon-To-Be-Born-Baby-Girl's blanket with Lambie Pie (and a couple other misc projects using synthetics) I am making the switch to all-natural alpaca!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Baby Blanket Progress!

It's been three months and I've been hard at work on the baby blanket for Soon-To-Be-Born Baby Girl (STBBBG). It's taken a little bit longer than I thought, namely because while Lambie Pie may be one of the cutest smooshiest yarns I've ever used, the stuff is DANGED HARD to knit with. It's basically a whole bunch of teased up fluff around a liiiiiiiittle strand that you've got to catch or your whole row slips. Oh, and by the way, when that happens it's best to just give up and retrace three rows back, because you're not getting anywhere fast.

Not to mention that with tiny yarn, you've got to make tiny stitches. Do you KNOW how many tiny stitches are in a blanket, however tiny that blanket may be? Thirty six stiches per row x about 100 rows in a block x 25 blocks x a border 20 stitches wide on all four sides x about 40 rows of that A BUTTLOAD. Hear that, STBBBG? So I don't want to hear about it when you're all cool and 15 years old and you want to go out with your friends and I need a babysitter for my future kids.

However, I am making progress, woohoo! I've got the entire bottom border done and most of the five blocks that will form the bottom layer. After working on those I got smart, and decided that instead of working on the WHOLE blanket at once (neccessitating switching of colors every 36 stitches) I'd do stripy-scarf rows and knit them all together when I'm done. That's been working much better, and I've got 1 1/2 of the three rows I'm going to do that way done. The other two rows will be done with the border on one side, and then I'll knit them all together at the top with one continuous border.

This might not be technically correct, but it's working for me, dang it.

Here's the progress! Mama of STBBBG, please don't look :)

If you like the yarn and want to try it (don't say I didn't warn you about it being a bit tough to work with) you can find it many places including Hobby Lobby. Just search for Lambie Pie. The colors I'm using, in case it's hard to tell, are 10 Angel, 40 Boo Pink, 80 Chocolate, and 120 Sweets for the border.

Happy knitting!