Category Archives: Crafts

Lighted Floral Vase

Finding big, fun-shaped vases is a great way to add a unique style to your party atmosphere.  My favorite place to treasure hunt is Marshall’s.  I found this 4ft tall vase for $12.00!!! What a buy.  During normal hours (non-party), I will just leave my big vases sitting in a corner as a great accent piece, sometimes with florals  or stems in them.  But when the party is near, I bring them to life with lights and LOTS of florals.  Here’s how:

  • Thread a 50-light strand down through the mouth of the vase.  I used white lights for this vase since it will not matter much with the deep red color of the vase.  However, don’t be afraid to play with different color lights for different party themes or Holiday themes.
  • Select your florals/pics.  I liked this vase for many reasons, but the small mouth was the selling point.  When you have a smaller mouth vase, you will need less florals and fillers…keeping your costs WAY down!
  • Don’t worry about having a long stem floral….the only thing you will find that will reach the bottom of a tall vase and still stick out of the top will be branches or stems.  I used a small piece of pine garland to close the mouth even more, and it helped to grab the stems and keep them nice and tight in place with NO glue or floral foam!  Color me a happy crafter!
  • Take your small piece of pine garland…wired garland a must….and wrap it around the outside of the vase’s mouth.  Take some of the pine stems and tuck them into the mouth to help close the size and to give the stems something to keep them tight and high.
  • I want this particular arrangement to be high/tall.  So I selected my biggest/fullest pic…my poinsettias.   I will have this vase against a wall, so I will only need three flowers:  One for the middle, one on the left, and one on the right.  Set the flower stems gently into the vase.  Don’t panic if they feel wobbly or they lean over.  We will fix that by adding more pics which will tighten up the mouth and allow for stability with the florals.
  • I select my second tallest pics to be inserted next.  I am using two because they are quite wide, and I don’t want it too cluttered as I build the arrangement upwards.  Slide the two middle pics behind the flowers.
    
  • My last row is my tallest pic.  It is wide and tall, so I am using only one.  Slip it behind all the florals in the back.
    
  • Once all of your florals are in place, you begin the “primping”!  Fluff it or scrunch it according to how you want it to look.  Florals are made of wire, so you can control almost every part of them and place them in the direction that you need them to go.  Don’t be afraid to bend things.  You don’t have to “settle” for how they look once you place them in the vase.  However, if you like it, then by all means, leave it be!

You are in charge of those flowers…make them move, bend, adjust to what you like.

If you have a cord from the lights that keeps popping out to the side and becomes an eye sore, then take some clear tape and take the cord to the back of the vase.

Plug it in, and you should have a beautiful piece of art that will create lighting for your party or just for you!

Glorious Garland Part 1: The Stairway

Decorating your stairway with garland is much easier than you may think, and you can have a most stunning entryway with minimal costs, or you can go all out and be totally extravagant.  Let your “decorative taste” determine if you will have a rustic, ornate, fun, Victorian, elegant, or simplistic stairway.  I have been fortunate enough to have a stairway in my last two houses.  If you have a stairway….dec it out!

Here is what you will need:

Garland

  • Artificial:  You can purchase artificial garland at Walmart, Target, Michaels, Joann Fabrics, or any other craft/floral store, or on-line (Tree Topia, my favorite)
  • Live:  I have purchased live garland from fundraisers (boy scouts); I have ordered it on-line and had it shipped; and many Christmas Tree roadside stands sell garland.

Ribbon

  • I like a thick ribbon with wired edges so I can have more control on the shape of the bows.  However, any ribbon will do.
  • Select a ribbon color that will go with your décor…either match it or select something that will work as an accent color.  You can never go wrong with red, gold, white, silver, or green!  Currently, I am using a lovely printed ribbon that I found at Costco!  Great price for a ginormous roll.

Lights

This can certainly be an option, but I do recommend lights.  Lighting for a party will create your mood.  I change up my light colors… I am using multi lights this year.  I was concerned that the printed ribbon with the multi light would clash.  I think it turned out just fine because my stairway is really large with a lot of “white walls”, so I can get away with “loud.”

OPTIONAL

Floral Pics

I go back and forth with putting anything extra on my banisters.  The past few years I have kept it just bows and lights; however, I use to always use florals on my previous house’s banister.  When I moved, my banisters doubled in length, so I could not use my old florals on the banister (though I still use them in other garland arrangements.)  I can’t find what I want in floral pics, so I am using a floral print ribbon which gives me a lot of color.  When I used florals, I had a solid red ribbon.  I will be showing you how to add florals to your banisters.

We are now ready to get busy!

The banister is ready.

 I have my ribbon cut into 60″ strips and my garland strand sized to fit the length of the banister.

 Starting at the top of the banister, loop the ribbon from under the banister to the top of the banister and tie a single knot (like you are tying your shoes) in the ribbon.  Leave some room for the garland.

 Slip an end of the garland under the ribbon and then pull the ribbon tight to secure the garland to the banister.  No need for a double knot.   You will only need to do this on the first ribbon.  Once the garland is secure from the top, you will just work your way down the banister.

 Decide how far apart you want your bows.  I do about 2 feet.

 Continue to work your way down the banister  as you go UNDER the banister and tie a single knot on top of  the garland which is resting on top of the banister.  NO NEED FOR GLUE, TAPE, ETC.

Now we are going to add the lights:

  Lay the lights on top of the garland and on top of the single knot of the ribbon.  Leave the ribbon strands hanging loose for now.

Once all of the lights are laid on top of the garland, it is now time to secure everything:

 Go back to the ribbon and finish tying the bows…just like you tie your shoes.  Once the bows are tied, you can be finished and leave the ribbon hanging down.  If you do this, I would make the ribbon a little shorter as I think this length is too long to hang.  I use this length because I am going to place the hanging ribbon up on the garland:

 Take each ribbon strand and lay it on top of the garland and lights.

Be creative and scrunch the ribbon to give it some wave effect.  This is why I suggest using a wire ribbon and you can bend the ribbon to help it to hold a wave look.  If you have a piece of ribbon that will not rest, take a small tip of one garland stem and bend the garland stem over the ribbon to hold it in place.  You may have to do this several times.
I have now added color to my banister without have the added expense of floral pics.

As you can see in the upper photo, there is an empty spot.  This is where adding florals can come in handy.  Below are several types of florals that I have that I could use:

           

You can use any size, color, shape, etc. for your florals.  These florals came from a variety of stores and some are brand new and some I have had for years.  You can even take a floral bush and cut each stem to make a floral pic…the second photo from the left is a poinsettia stem that I cut from a floral bush.

Adding the florals is easy.  Just slide the stem into the garland!  Be careful not to scratch your banister by jamming the pic into the garland…no need to be rough.  Some folks like to hot glue the pics into place.  This is a great idea if you have kids that will run up and down the steps and knock them off.  I don’t have that problem, and I like not having them glued so I have the option of changing my decorations without pulling glued florals off the garland.

 Select your pic.     Position it by sliding the stem into the garland.   You can lay fruits or bulbs on the garland, too!           

This is one more decoration ready for my Christmas Party!  I will be moving on to decorating with garland sprays and centerpieces.  If you have any length of the garland strands left, I will show you how to use them!  Stay tuned.

Table Decorating: Get Started with the Basics

Tips and Tricks to Table Decorating: “Table Decorating 101” mini class.  If you like to host parties or dinners, I recommend that you start to build a basic collection of:

  • Dinnerware= White
  • Table clothes = White then add black
  • Nice set of silverware
  • Folding 6ft table – as a food serving area.

You do not have to use white….but if you need to “purchase” new dishes, then I suggest white.

       

WHY WHITE DINNERWARE?

White is a very popular color right now, so availability and pricing is in your favor.  White allows you to  add to your dinnerware collection with almost any brand.  I have bowls, plates, serving plates, etc., from a variety of stores and they ALL look great together.  Only if you turn them over to read the bottom will you know they were not all bought as a set.  So, when you are at Marshals or Pier One, or any other store and you see any dinnerware that you may need or want, get it!  I have built a great collection of serving dishes this way and the cost was minimal.  Also, each year my party guests have increased in numbers.  I am now hosting 14 people instead of the 12 that I had last year for a sit-down dinner.  Because I went with white dinnerware two years ago, I only have to buy two more dinner plate settings, and not an entire set for 14!  HUGE COST SAVINGS!  EVERYTHING MATCHES And I LOVE my white dishes for their versatility and simplistic beauty!  However, this is just a suggestion!

Why White and Black Tablecloths?  

White goes with EVERYTHING, and you can use it for ANY occasion.  I use my white tablecloths at least 4 times a year, if not more.  White on white is stunning! Once you get comfortable playing with table accessories and color combinations, you will be glad that you selected white….no limitations!  And you can get fancy printed table runners to add more fun without the two clashing.

Black is another basic color that goes with almost anything.  I have used my black tablecloths at least 4 times this year, too! The only reason I would recommend white tablecloths as your first investment is that is goes with dark colors, too.  Brown on black is not as favorable as brown on white.  You can argue that white stains easier; hence why I suggest white and black for your basic starting collection.  I can only use my Holiday print tablecloth one time, which is fine, but I can do so much more with colors and decorations by staying with solid colors as the base.

OVERLAYS!  This is where you will LOVE table decorating, and they are not expensive if you shop around.  You can go  with a very expensive and decorative tablerunner from Pier 1 on your white tablecloth…..fabulous.  Or use organza…satin…pintuck overlays and runners.  (I will be talking more about these soon…)

Each year I try to add to my tablecloth collection.  Two years ago I started with my basic white in several sizes as I always have a food serving table, and I want all of my tablecloths to match.  Last year I invested in black.  This year for our Holiday parties, I am going to splurge a little more on table covers by getting gold crinkle taffeta tablecloth and red organza overlays.

One of my favorite websites this time of year is www.tabeclothsfactory.com.  They have an amazing selection of colors and fabrics for almost any size/shape of table.  For example, My gold crinkle taffeta  60 x 120  rectangle table cover is $13.00!  My 60” red organza overlays are $3.10 each!!  And my red crinkle taffeta table runner is $2.39!  SERIOUSLY!!!   If you shop on this site, you could have a minimal investment of about $20 to do one table!

Another great place to shop is Bed, Bath & Beyond.  They have round placemats in a variety of colors for about $2.00 each!  With a white or black tablecloth, you can have a lot of different theme colors by just changing place mats.  Use paper napkins from Walmart or any party store to match or accent the placemats, and your table/tables will pop with color!

If your table is small or you are squeezing in a lot of people, I recommend chargers.  They will add color to your table just as a place mat does….and I only use placemats for color!  I just bought red chargers at Michael’s for $2.50 each!  (Again, gearing up for my Holiday parties!)

Let’s get this Thanksgiving Table Decorated!

For Thanksgiving, I am using my black tablecloth from tableclothsfactory and my orange placemats from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Two years ago, I got a great deal on ceramic plates when Linens & Things went out of business.  I am going to use my brown and orange plates this year, but I used my white plates last year with these same decorations, and it was just as stunning!

I am adding more color with an orange organza runner from tableclothfactory.  $1.65 each!  My centerpiece is the fall glow stick that I made, (previous blog).  I like organza for the table runners and overlays as they pick up the candle lights with added sparkle.

And the final touch is the adorable pumpkin candle holders I recently made and also blogged about.  I have my candles lit before guests arrive.  You can place a little doily under the pumpkins, too.  Once it is dinner time, guests simply move their pumpkin to the center of the table, at they add to the beautiful centerpiece.  You can also place them in the center instead of on the plates.

Why I like my table arrangement:  

  • The glow stick centerpiece is low so it won’t block anyone’s view of other guests.
  • If you don’t have access to an outlet, then make the centerpiece without lights…the candles will give you enough mood lighting.
  • The pumpkin candle holders are very colorful and still not too high to get in the way of seeing other guests.  I am NOT a fan of high center pieces for that reason.
  • You still have room for serving dishes if you choose to user our eating area as your serving area, too.

You are the MASTER OF YOUR PARTY!  Do it your way and have fun!!!

Sweet Treat of an Idea

Candy Bar Arrangements  

Making and having a candy bar arrangement is so much fun.  They are so adorable that you may not want to “dig in”!  Party guests will admire your Candy Art, and you will have fun making it.  No matter what size candy arrangement you make, they are also a great gift for a birthday, house party hostess gift, get well gift, etc.

This is also a fun way that you can enjoy looking at the candy for your Trick-or-Treaters!  Enjoy the arrangement in your entry way or living room.  You can dismantle it right before the little goblins arrive.

I have made candy arrangements with the regular size candy bars, and now this one with the mini size bars.  The mini size is a little easier to have the candy bars stay glued to the skews.  Using regular size candy bars will give you a much larger arrangement.

Don’t be afraid to be creative with your choice of product!  If you need a gift for a health nut/non-candy bar eater, use granola bars/cereal bars snacks instead.

What you need:

candy bars (or healthy snack bars)
wooden skew sticks
vase or flower-pot
tissue paper
floral foam
glue gun
glue sticks
ribbon
Optional:  fall or Halloween floral picks or little balloon sticks for topper.

                                                           

Preparation:  Get your items ready to make the arrangement

Hot glue the floral foam to the base of the vase

Cut/snap the wooden skew sticks in half.  If you cut different lengths of skew sticks, you can easily add center height to the arrangement.

Hot glue one skew to each candy bar.  The top of the skew should be about ¾ to the top of the bar.  You do not want the skew to stick over the top.

Tie a ribbon around the skews at the base of each bar, or you can tie the ribbon around the bar and stick.

                                                                     

 Start Arranging:  Now we have some fun!

Start at the base with the shorter skews.  Work your way all the way around.

Start the next level of candy skews.  Continue until you have reached the top of the floral foam.

If you can see the floral foam at the bottom of the arrangement, add some more tissue or add some floral picks to cover it up.  Stuff colored tissue paper or shredded paper between the edges of the vase/pot and the floral foam.  Leave enough extending from the top of the vase/pot for a finishing touch of color.  Add balloon sticks or other floral sticks at the top to finish the arrangement.

  

All done!  You are ready to display your candy arrangement or give it as a wonderful gift!

Stay tuned for pumpkin table favors………..

Fall Glow Stick Centerpiece

Glow sticks, as we know them, are those gel-like things with neon colored lights
that you find wrapped around people’s heads, necks, wrists, etc.  I would like to introduce you to my “Glow Stick Centerpiece” – an easy and inexpensive decoration that will get you a “WOW’ from your party guests, and family too!  Easy to make…fun…inexpensive to make…beautiful.  What an awesome combination!

I needed a centerpiece for my kitchen island which is a little over 8 feet.  I love lights, and I have an outlet on each end of my island.  I also wanted some sort of flowers so I could get some beautiful fall colors that would get me through Halloween and Thanksgiving without having to re-decorate!  I also did not want to have a “wide” centerpiece as I use my island as my main eating
table when we have parties.  This centerpiece is long and thin, allowing me a
lot of room for big, fun place mats and dinnerware.

It took me a little bit of time (about two weeks) before this centerpiece idea
all came together.  I finally decided that I wanted a nice, thick stick/branch with orange lights wrapped all around it and topped with beautiful fall mums and fall leaves (artificial).

Items Needed:

Item

Where to Get It

Cost

Black Branch: cut to fit your table or windowsill Michael’s Crafts/Joann Fabrics $14.00 without coupon or sale.  This will get you several decorations!
Option B:   for Branch Woods $0
Option B:  Black Spray Paint Walmart/Home Depot $1.50
Artificial Fall Flowers Michael’s Crafts/Joann Fabrics $2.50 +.  WAIT for that sale or coupon if you can
lights (orange)  Any Craft store/drug store  $4.99
Glue sticks and Glue gun  Any Craft store/drug store  $3.99
Additional floral pics if desired  Any Craft store/drug store  $1.00 each and up

As noted on the Cost column for the black branch, if you buy your branch, chances are you will get enough to make a few decorations.  I made one for my kitchen island and one for the fireplace mantel!

Simple How-To Directions:

  1. Cut (size) your stick to fit in your centerpiece display area
  2. Wrap the lights around the stick, keeping the spacing even
  3. Pull/cut the leaves/flowers at the base of the stem…as close as you can get so you do not have a stem on the back side which will make it more difficult to glue.
  4. Hot glue the leaves on the branch.  I used several leaves to form little clusters along the branch.

You are done!  Plug it in and enjoy!

Tips:  I love orange lights for fall.  As the photos show, they produce a warm, soft glow that reminds me of a harvest moon.  Also, if you like a little more bling, find some florals that have a sparkle to them.

If you are feeling ambitious, make them for your windowsills!  Just select a length of lights appropriate for your project.  You will probably want 50 lights for a windowsill.  I don’t think you would want to put a 100 string set on a piece smaller than 5 ft.   You will be wrapping the lights around that stick for a long time, and then you will have to glue the florals to the wire.

Have fun with your fall glow stick centerpieces!  Stay tuned for more perfectly simple party ideas!

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