I love treating myself to real fresh flowers, but sometimes, we all need the low-maintenance burst of color that comes from “silk” flowers. I have a few favorite tips to create arrangements that look almost as good as the real … Continue reading
Tag Archives: flowers
DIY Ribbon Leis
It’s graduation season! Somehow (well, I guess we know how), I ended up with boys graduating from middle school, elementary school, and Kindergarten all in one year. This calls for some crafting. I decided to make graduation leis for the boys and their friends using ribbon.
I researched a ton of ideas, which you can browse on my Pinterest page. Some of those ideas are definitely for the expert level lei-maker, and I am a humble beginner. However, I did find inspiration for something that is both easy and pretty over at Sakacon.com. These spiral ribbon leis don’t require advanced skills, but they do take some time. I modified the method a little, and I love how you can mix and match so many ribbons for infinite ideas!
- wide ribbon 7/8″ to 1.5″ (8-10 yards). This is the ruffle-edge ribbon I used.
- narrower accent ribbon(s) 3/16″ to 1/2″ (same yardage). This is the picot ribbon I used.
- embroidery floss to match the accent ribbon
- clear nail polish to finish the ends of the ribbon
- needle, scissors
First, go to your local craft store and go crazy! I actually feel like I have accomplished a project just by getting supplies (…but I realize this isn’t quite true). Since the design of the leis is simple, you can add a lot of detail by picking interesting ribbons. You can see i found some ribbons with ruffled edges and picot ribbon (apparently this is what you call the ribbon with the little loops in the side) that really make your “flowers” look more realistic. For fun, I bought some rainbow stripe ribbon, and the possibilities are really endless.
To make the lei, thread three strands of embroidery floss onto your needle. I used about 18″ of floss at a time. Tie a secure knot at the end of your floss.
The Sakacon version has a long tail you can use to tie the lei on with a bow. I decided to make a continuous round lei, because I thought it would be more comfortable for the boys. I still staggered the length of the wide and narrow ribbons – ie left a long tail of the wide ribbon before starting my lei – so there would not be an obvious join in the lei.
I lined up the narrow ribbon to one side of the wide ribbon, folding under the edge to avoid fraying, and sewed a few stitches in place to secure it. I then started doing a long running stitch, with stitches every centimeter (3/8″) or so.
Once you have sewn a few stitches, pull the thread to make the ruffles and guide them into a spiral shape to look like a chain of flowers. This really feels like magic!
You basically continue this for a long, long time. To make the lei a continuous loop, I cut off the wide ribbon first, and picked up the section of wide ribbon I had left as a “tail” at the beginning, continuing I until I reached the start of the narrow ribbon.
I bought spools of craft ribbon, which comes in 3-6 yard sections, so there are several joins in the lei. These aren’t visible, because the ribbons are staggered, and there are so many ruffles. At the ends of the ribbon, I used clear nail polish on the wide ribbon and just folded under the ends of the narrow ribbon. I also changed embroidery floss a few times, being sure to tie secure knots and hide the ends.
Behold! Here are the finished leis. I’m still making more and will add the pictures when they are done, to give you more ideas for ribbon combinations. I can’t wait to share them with my boys and their friends in a few more weeks!
DIY Gold-Painted Vases
One of my favorite partners in craft-crime recently hosted a bridal shower for one of our coworkers, and I offered to make some decorations. First, I made giant paper flowers for a photo backdrop, and next up were these gold-painted vases.
- Empty glass jars (pasta sauce, peanut butter, mustard, etc.)
- Goo gone
- Painters tape
- Gold spray paint
- Clean your jars thoroughly. I peel my labels as much as I can and then use Goo gone to remove the adhesive. Then, I run them through the dishwasher.
- Mask off the area you don’t want to paint. I did a few variations: simple horizontal stripes, uneven edges (tape some torn paper around the vase), elastic bands, and geometric angles. You could get creative with round stickers for polka dots, etc.
- Spray with gold spray paint and ta-da!
I love how this textured jar turned out. I think it was a sauerkraut jar.
At the shower, I grouped vases together, so these small arrangements made a big impact.
I gave most of the vases away as party favors, so the is the only picture I have of one of the diagonal geometric designs (far right).
Of course, now I am seeing beauty throughout my pantry and already have plans for another set of vases!
Bib and Onesie Bouquet
To quote our toddler, “Wow! Wow! Wow!” My very dear friends Nicola and Victor just welcomed their first baby, and I was thrilled to meet her. I didn’t have a lot of time to pull together a gift, but I wanted something special, so I made this “bouquet ” out of onesies, bibs, and receiving blankets. I also brought some fruit and pastries from Whole Foods – goodness knows anyone eating hospital food will appreciate something fresh.
I know, I know, I had just sworn off appliqued onesies, but I had to give in just one more time, since I finally learned that the baby is a girl! I had a few blank shirts left over from the DIY onesie party, so I quickly made some with a little girl in mind. “Quickly” is the key word here, and our toddler was “helping,” so I apologize for the cupcake, which looks a tad squashed. Hopefully, baby won’t mind. Everyone will be too busy looking at her sweet face, anyway.
Looking for beautiful onesies for your own bouquet? I have seen the most beautiful prints with big discounts on Zulily:
Materials for the “bouquet”
- onesies (above)
- receiving blankets
- popsicle sticks
- elastic bands
The technique for rolling the “flowers” is similar for the bibs, onesies, and blankets.
- Start by folding the bib or onesie in half. For the receiving blankets, fold into a small rectangle. (top picture below)
- For the bibs and onesies, I placed a popsicle stick in the center to make a “stem,” so the flower could be held in a bouquet. The blanket made a a big enough roll on its own. (middle picture below)
- Make a tight roll, with the center sticking out slightly more than the edges. For the bib, it’s easiest to start with the strap, and for the onesies, it’s easiest to start with the neck, so that the center is not too bulky. (bottom picture below)
- Put an elastic band around each flower, to hold it tight.
To wrap the bouquet
- Fold two receiving blankets into triangles, and laid them out with the edge of the top one slightly higher than the other. (top picture below)
- Make a pocket with the top blanket and lay the flowers inside. (bottom picture below)
- Roll the blankets around the flowers, and tie with a ribbon.
Here are some pictures of the finished bouquet. I think I could have fussed with it to make it a little neater, but I’m pretty happy with the overall result.
And most beautiful of all, here’s the tiny recipient of this big bouquet!
Welcome, little one! I look forward to watching you grow and sharing many “mommy moments” with Nicola.
New Entry – First Impressions Count!
When we bought our house last summer, the style did not suit us at all. I give a lot of credit to hubby for seeing past the pink and frills to appreciate that this could be our home. Now we’re updating this place bit by bit, and I’m happy to say that it feels like home! We started inside with a renovation upstairs that gave us our new master bath, laundry area, and nursery. More about the upstairs, when I finally get the rest of it cleaned up. We decided to put off a downstairs renovation, due to cost and convenience, but I did spruce up our powder room with some wallpaper and a new chair rail and vanity.
Once our upstairs bedrooms were comfortable, the next priority was painting the exterior, where the paint on the trim was peeling, and equally importantly, the house was pink!
- new paint
- a new house number sign (the old one was white plastic)
- our whimsical doggy statue
- and some old pots and flowers
Now, our entry is casual and pretty, which is much more our style. The dog our light-hearted take on more serious front door statuary. I found him in a flower shop in Toronto more than a decade ago, and he reminded me of our dog, Cooper, so I gave him to Steve for his birthday one year. Now that Cooper is no longer with us, it’s sweet to have him as our guardian angel.
I tried to hang up the house number sign, but the stucco was defeating my masonry bit and my adhesive, so I just propped it up, and I actually like it there! There’s lots more gardening that could be done to improve our curb appeal and functionality, but for now these little touches make it feel like home when you walk up to the door.