1. Handmade Paper Lanterns – I have always loved the romantic, whimsical looks of paper lanterns hanging outside for twilight dinners and parties, but have never known how to recreate the look on my own. However, this post from Curbly has 5 fantastic options for making similar paper lanterns on your own, and they’re all adorable! I’m not sure which tutorial to try first…
2. Handmade Southern Wedding – Everything about this wedding seemed heartfelt, laid back, sentimental, and fantastically personal. With so many details from their flowers to the guest book could easily provide inspiration for your own wedding. And that dessert trunk; how cute can it get??
3. Hollywood – Summer movies have always been a family favorite, but they’re generally confined to the couch or the movie theater. However, after seeing this backyard movie party on design*sponge this week, I can’t get thoughts of hosting something like this out of my head. The great snacks and vintage-looking decor make this celebration one of the best I’ve seen this summer.
… make a striped tote bag? The look of a relaxed and well worn tote bag has always been so stylish to me, but I’ve never been able to find one to fit all my needs. Stripes are perfect for the summer months, so this tutorial for making your own tote bag seen on Momtastic is a definite must for a lazy weekend. Pairing it with a cute dress or bathing suit for the beach would look fantastic.
… make your own bouquets? Although this post from 100 Layer Cake is meant for making your own wedding bouquets, I think it provides great inspiration for making bouquets for the home as well. To add a pop of color to the home, these bouquets would be a lovely idea for achieving that.
Decorating the entire house for the holidays can be stressful, so instead of doing it all yourself, recruit the kids for help. This paper garland from Paper-Source is already cut and in pieces ready to assemble, all that’s needed is some double-stick tape or glue, so no mess and your time and advice won’t be needed. Another option is to get your own colored paper and help the kids cut out their own designs for a fun holiday craft.
Now that Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas music has filled up every shop and café, I’ve started to think about what Christmas gifts to get for friends and family. Ornaments always make for a great gift, but creating it yourself makes it all the more special. You don’t need to be artistic or even know how to draw, just find some plain clear ornaments, paint pens or glitter glue, and some ribbon and you can turn a plain ornament into a personalized gift for anyone. Write Christmas greetings, favorite memories, or even draw a simple design for a simple, low-budget, and meaningful present. For more inspiration, check out this blog post on Etsy: Drawing-Free Glass Ornament.
Although a rainy day can seem disheartening, find something fun to do indoors and take advantage of the excuse to relax. Curl up with a good book and make some peppermint cocoa, watch a movie with some buttery popcorn, or try a craft with the kids, such as rain sticks.
If you or anyone in your family is as big a coffee drinker as I am, then you’re in luck because there’s much more to coffee beans than a morning pick-me-up. Stop throwing out your coffee grinds and put them to use with one or more of these resourceful ideas:
- First, coffee grinds are a great soil for your garden. Wait until they cool off, then spread them on top or mix in with the soil around all of your plants.
- Still looking for a skin and hair treatment that won’t burn a hole in your pocket? Coffee grinds are a great exfoliant and conditioner; massage your face and wet hair with the grinds to leave your skin and locks looking radiant.
- Your pet’s fur could also use a coffee grind treatment. A plus: it’s known to help get rid of fleas, too.
- Unpleasant smell every time you open the fridge? Coffee grinds work like baking soda; just put a cup in the fridge and it absorbs the smell.
- There’s a lot of mess on you and your kitchen after preparing a huge meal; rub coffee grounds together or on surfaces to help get rid of the tough mess.
- Boil a pot of water and seep the coffee grounds to make a brown die to use on fabrics or cover up wood scratches.
Take part in a fun activity for you and the kids and put together this vibrant, charming wreath from Paper-Source. Not only is it a pretty creation that can be passed down from year to year, but it won’t wilt and you can keep it up the whole season!
What’s more romantic than receiving a handwritten, proper letter in the mail? Here to encourage charming old world letter etiquette, every Tuesday Vanessa or I will be highlighting a specific aspect of crafting letters. With any luck, we’ll inspire you to prepare yourself a steaming mug of Earl Grey tea, grab your favorite pen, and sit down to a quiet evening of letter writing. It’s not a lost art yet, and we want to keep it that way! You’ll thank us twenty years from now when you have a box full of letters, instead of forgotten emails, to look back on.
This week, I’m starting from the outside–how to craft the perfect envelope!
A dear friend of mine, a fellow English major, recently celebrated a birthday and I knew that he would appreciate an envelope formally crafted. I took my inspiration from Emily Post–lining the envelope with paper chosen specifically for him and addressing the letter properly (and neatly).
Here’s some tips I gleaned from Emily herself that helped me through the process.
On addressing the envelope:
- Married Women: Emily asserts that a widowed or married woman “should always continue to use her husband’s Christian name, or his name and another initial, engraved on her cards. She is Mrs. John Hunter Titherington Smith, or, to compromise, Mrs. J. H. Titherington Smith, but she is never Mrs. Sarah Smith; at least not anywhere in good society.” I’m not quite sure how I feel about this one. I’m all for preserving that old world charm, but perhaps this rule needs a little bit of a feminist updating, if only for the fact that many women (women who I’m sure meet Emily’s standards of “good society”) keep their last names nowadays.
- Miss: Miss is only appropriate for girls 16 or younger.
- Jr: Jr should never take the place of Mr. Instead, it should be addressed: Mr John Smith, Jr.
- Take care to use Dr., Judge, and The Rev. as appropriate
- While I’m not sure how well divorcees would take to this tip, Emily suggests that, “A woman who has divorced her husband retains the legal as well as the social right to use her husband’s full name, in New York State at least. Usually she prefers, if her name was Alice Green, to call herself Mrs. Green Smith; not Mrs. Alice Smith, and on no account Mrs. Alice Green—unless she wishes to give the impression that she was the guilty one in the divorce.” Use this tip with caution!
On lining the envelope:
Choosing which type of paper to line my envelope with proved to be a breeze! I was encouraged by Emily’s note that “colored linings to envelopes are at present in fashion,” but bored by her suggestion of that “thin white paper, with monogram or address stamped in gray to match gray tissue lining of the envelope is for instance, in very best taste.” I wasn’t going to all of this trouble just to line the envelope in boring gray! In the end I settled on a print I found at a local paper goods store that would probably be much too eccentric for Emily’s taste, but that I thought was pretty. Next time I line an envelope, I think I will make a point to use a pointed envelope, as I think they’re a bit more visually appealing.
My Lined Envelope
- Wrapping Paper
- Old Sheet Music
- Collaged Food Labels
- Magazine Advertisements
- Old or Recent Photographs
- Pages from Illustrated Children Books
- Or, my personal favorite, an outdated map like these envelopes featured at Penned and Pretty!
Look forward to more letter writing tips (and Emily Post wisdom) next Tuesday!
Need help lining an envelope by hand? Read this from Wedding Crafter.
Emily Post quotes from her book Etiquette, published in 1922.
I just stumbled across this wonderful DIY contest–the ‘This is Home’ Project. Contestants were to visually explore the concept of the ‘home’ for a chance of receiving their design on limited edition postcards. The projects were decorated with everything from Russian nesting dolls to sailboats, each with unique messages about what the home means to them.
And to my surprise, I saw one of the Cardstore.com artists featured on the blog…none other than Tori Higa! Check out her interpretation of what the home means (pictured above) and see some of the other amazing entries below.