Posts tagged DIY
Posts tagged DIY
Guest Blog: Ashley English
We all know how powerful scents are in terms of memory. Who among us hasn’t caught a whiff of pumpkin pie and recalled our beloved grandmother, or a Fraser fir tree and thought of happy holidays long passed? The smell of tomato leaves can instantly transport us to the summertime tomato sandwiches of our childhood, while the aroma of freshly baked croissants takes us back to a bakery we once frequented. For those interested in the science of how smell and memory are in a perpetual dance, check out this link. In short, add a scent to the mix and you’re pretty much guaranteed memories for life.
My upbringing was characterized by very specific fragrances. To me, my youth will always smell like my mother’s signature scents, either Nina Ricci’s L’Air du Temps or Calvin Klein’s Eternity, my father’s Chanel for Men and my maternal grandmother’sYouth Dew by Estée Lauder. Those fragrances comfort me beyond description, even though they don’t speak to me for my own personal use. As a woman who is interested in making things and who has a profound love of natural scents (I’m always burning candles and incense and essential oils at home), I thought I’d try creating a signature scent of my own. Today I’m happy to share with you the results of my sleuthing. With a few simple ingredients, you’ll be whipping up bespoke blends of your own, creating enduring olfactory memories for years to come
To build your own fragrance, it’s essential to first understand the way they’re structured. Using either essential oils or fragrance oils (which may be synthetically or naturally derived), distinct scents are created by blending top, middle and base notes. These “notes” are essentially three different levels of scent, each with varying rates of evaporation.
Top notes are those scents you first notice, but they are also the most volatile oils, dispersing and disappearing the fastest. Middle notes are the moderators, linking the top and base notes together, determining which sort of fragrance family a scent becomes — earthy, floral, spicy, woodsy, etc. Lastly, base notes, or fixatives, impart the longest, fullest scent and are sourced from balsams, roots, resins and woods. An ideal ratio to aim for when creating custom blends is one containing 30% top notes, 50% middle notes and 20% base notes. Here are a few examples of scents from each note:
This list is hardly comprehensive. There are so many scents, each falling into different note categories. To see what note classification a specific scent falls into, check out this helpful link on Aroma Web. If you have a commercially prepared fragrance you particularly love, check out this link to see what notes are used, and then experiment with re-creating it.
Owing to their different rates of evaporation, it stands to reason that a perfume’s fragrance will change over time. The more it is exposed to light and air, the more quickly it will deteriorate, which is why proper storage is essential. Here are several suggestions for maintaining the integrity and quality of your essential oils and fragrance blends:
Now, let’s get down to brass tacks and start mixing your custom eau de perfume!
1. Begin by cleaning the bottles, either in your hottest setting in the dishwasher or with hot, soapy water.
2. Place the bottles on a rimmed baking pan and dry in an oven set to 110ºC. Remove from the oven once they are completely dry. Put a lid on one of the bottles (the one you’ll be using for storing) and set it aside until you’ll need it, which will be anywhere from 48 hours to 6 weeks later.
3. Place the carrier oil into one of the bottles.
4. Next, add the essential oils in the following order: the base notes, the middle notes and finally the top notes. The number of drops used for each note is up to you, so it’s time to play! Just remember the ideal ratio of 30% top, 50% middle and 20% base notes. Shoot for around 30 drops total given the amount of carrier oil and vodka called for here.
5. Add the vodka. Place the lid atop the bottle and shake it vigorously for several minutes.
6. Allow the bottle to sit for 48 hours to 6 weeks. The scent will change over time, becoming strongest around 6 weeks.
7. Check it regularly, and once you’re happy with it, add 2 tablespoons of spring water to the blend.
8. Give the bottle a good shake for one minute. Place a coffee filter into a funnel and transfer the contents from the curing bottle to the other bottle, which will become the storing bottle. Label your blend.
9. Your eau de perfume is now ready to wear. If you’d like to gift it, put some in a decorative bottle. Be sure to advise the recipient, however, to keep it out of direct heat or sunlight. Ideally, though, the best place for storing your creation is in a dark-colored bottle.
Here are three blends that I’ve created and just love:
What about you? Have any experiences mixing custom scents you’d like to share, or particularly powerful olfactory-based memories you recall with clarity? I’d love to hear about them. Otherwise, bespoke fragrances are fantastic concoctions for gifting or for making a little special sumpin’ sumpin’ for yourself. Either way, gifted or kept, fragrances will stay with you long after the scent wanes.
Photos and styling by Jen Altman.
Guest Blog: Simply Kierste
If you’re decorating for an indoor event, like a wedding or party, this would work really well. You’ll get the darling mason jar lantern look, while meeting the fire code at the same time. They’ll also be darling lining any table for an outdoor event as well!
You will see how simple this lantern—literally 3 minutes. LOVE that!
1. Set the mason jar lid upside down, and use a piece of double stick tape to attach the candle to the center.
I use double stick tape because it’s strong enough to make sure the candle doesn’t move, but not so strong that you can’t easily remove it when you need to switch it on and off.
2. Place the lid inside the ring, turn your mason jar upside down, and screw on the lid, so the candle is on the inside bottom.
3. Tie a piece of twine around the jar, and you’re set! You can color coordinate ribbon or fabric instead of the twine if you want it to match a certain theme or color scheme, i.e. wedding colors. That’s it!!! I told you it was so easy!!!
I have a super easy DIY project to share with you today. I love that these pinwheels can be adapted and used in so many different ways throughout your wedding. You can make pretty place settings, table decor and even adorable cake toppers from mini pinwheels!
Literary lovers could use old book pages. Musical couples could use sheet music, comic lovers could use comic book pages…you get the picture. Or why not create your pinwheels around your wedding color scheme?
If you want smaller pinwheels, you can cut your paper smaller. If you want larger, use a whole book page, folding lengthwise.
Materials you will need:
~ Begin folding pages like an accordion.
~ Once you have your paper folded. Fold in half.
~ Cut the end of the paper anyway you’d like. (The non-folded end) I rounded mine. Then, glue at the fold. One side to the other. See below.
~ You will have one piece of the pinwheel complete.
For my smaller pinwheels, I made 6 separate pieces. You can make fewer or more, depending on the gaps you want in your paper.
~ Begin gluing one individual pinwheel to the other. One at a time. Your circle will start to take shape.
~ Your last piece will be glued on each side to close the pinwheel.
You have a pinwheel!
* Many thanks to Karie Denny Photography for sharing this adorable DIY project with us
This paper garland takes a festive twist on an old favorite by creating cone shaped pennants attached to a strand of cafe lights. Strung in the trees or over outdoor tables, this is a wonderful way to light up an evening wedding. In this sample the couple’s names (“EVA & JACK”) are written out but feel free to punch any wording or design that you like.
Begin by printing out the template for the shape of the pennant. The template prints on two sheets of 8.5″x11″ paper so trim off the margin on one side, line up the edges and tape the two sheets together on both sides before cutting out the shape. This template will also serve as a guide for where make your fold creases (the dotted lines).
Trace the shape onto your desired paper and cut out. Next, refer to the template and use a bone folder to make your creases along the dotted line (try using a letter opener if you don’t have this tool). Fold the main creases so that you see the triangles form. This will help you find where to draw your design or letter on the other side before punching it out.
Turn the pennant over and draw your desired design or letter with pencil and then punch it out along the lines with a screw punch. Also, cut the slits in the top triangle of the pennant (guide shown on template).This is how you’ll pop the cafe light into the pennant.
Fold in the tabs, and working one at a time, apply glue and and attach to the opposite sides (note: if you don’t have good glue this stage will be very frustrating). Hold each side together until the glue sets.
Once the glue is dry gently pop the cafe bulb into the top of the pennant.
* Project created by Anna Bond of RIFLE design
Made with a fragrant Black Ceylon tea, this sparkling sweet tea cocktail whispers of picnics and bridal showers in lush gardens. The tea is infused into a simple syrup, creating a concentrated sweet tea flavor.
This recipe is for one drink, but I like to multiply by ten and make it in a big glass pitcher. Sitting outdoors with friends during a summer cocktail hour, it makes the perfect apéro (an alcoholic drink served before a meal as an appetizer).
Sparkling Sweet Tea
Makes 1 serving
• 1 oz tea-flavored simple syrup (see recipe below)
• 2 oz vodka
• 1/2 oz St. Germain liqueur
• juice of 1/2 lemon
• 2 oz club soda
• lemon slices for garnish
1. Make your tea-flavored simple syrup following the recipe below.
2. In a large mason jar (with a lid) or cocktail shaker, add simple syrup, vodka, St. Germain, and lemon juice. Add 4-5 ice cubes. Put the lid on and shake, shake, shake.
3. Strain into a little jar or glass and top with club soda. Add a few more ice cubes and lemon slice for garnish, and serve.
Tea-Flavored Simple Syrup
Feel free to use any black tea that makes you happy. I chose a pure Black Ceylon blend that has rose and lavender made by Bellocq Tea, but your favorite black tea will work just fine.
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2/3 cup water
• 2 teaspoons of your favorite black tea
1. Over medium heat, simmer the sugar and water in a pot until dissolved. Remove from the heat.
2. Add the tea to the still hot syrup and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and cool.
3. Use immediately or store in the fridge (covered) for up to 2 weeks.
*Hint: To make an easy cocktail where the tea flavor really shines, simply add 1 oz of the simple syrup to a flute, then top with chilled Champagne or sparkling wine and serve.
Striking, colorful, and fun these easy to make necklaces are perfect for summer. Would be great gifts for your bridesmaids and flower girls.
Start by cutting the utility rope into 8 32 inch pieces. Gather them together and slide the compression sleeves on, one at a time.
Continue to wrap the entire section. Before reaching the end of the section, place a bead of glue along the starter cord and finish wrapping.
Allow to dry before trimming any excess cord. Continue wrapping different sections of the necklace.
When all the sections have been wrapped, trim end ends. Squeeze a generous amount of glue into the cap and insert the end of the necklace into it. It may require some rotating to get the end of the necklace into the cap. Repeat the step on the other end.
Using pliers, attach a larger jump ring to one end and a clasp to the other.
And that’s it, your necklace is finished!
Make a couple more and layer them on top of each other. And most importantly, have fun!
* Special thanks to Honestly…WTF for this fun tutorial and the use of their photos.
Handmade anything adds such a personal touch to celebrations big and small, which makes me love this easy DIY project.
So sweet, and so simple! Andrea fashioned these as guest favors filled with treats, but they could also be darling as embellished drink holders for bridal party members at the reception. They could also be fun for a bridal shower, bridesmaids’ brunch, or girls’ weekend!
1. Cut an 8 x 8 inch piece of fabric and fold it as shown, first in half, and then in half again. Sew along the unfinished edge.
2. Rotate the seam to the middle. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and sew again along the short unfinished edge. Move the seam to the middle again.
3. Cut a small piece of fabric (mine was 2 x 4). This will become the middle of your bow tie. Fold it in half lengthwise and sew along the open edge, then move that seam to the middle as well.
4. Wrap your “middle” around the middle of the tie to see how tight you think it needs to be. Slip it off and sew it closed in that spot, making a small loop.
5. After sewing the middle piece closed, squeeze it back into place in the middle of the tie. It should be fairly tight. You now have your bow tie!
6. Adhere the burlap ribbon and bow tie to the Mason jar using your glue gun, and enjoy!
* All photos by the lovely Jade + Matthew Take Pictures!
This DIY glitter Mr. & Mrs. chair banner is a cute way to decorate the bride and groom chairs. For these banners you can use a very thin foam core so that you could easily glitter both sides of the letters. Just print out the template below onto an 11X17 paper and follow the tutorial below. Glitter on!
* Special thanks to Ellinee.com for this fun project
To add a pop of color to your next event simply tint your wooden skewers with food coloring.
Here is a cute little tutorial on how to fold a heart into an envelope : )
Guest Blog: Brittany
1. Clean the bottom of the glass plates with glass cleaner.
2. Trace around the plate on the scrapbook paper.
3. Cut out the circle.
4. Snip four slits into the circle but NOT all the way to the center.
5. Snip four more slits centered between the first set of slits. You should end up with eight cuts equally spaced.
6. Cover the bottom of your glass plate with mod podge
7. Center the cutout circle onto the bottom of the plate, pattern side down. Gently press the paper onto the plate allowing the paper to overlap slightly at each slit.
8. Liberally apply mod podge over the scrapbook paper.
9. Use your finger to smooth out the wrinkles in the paper. But, be gentle or the paper will tear.
10. Lay the plates upside down on the jars and cans until dry. Add more mod podge if needed to seal the scrapbook paper and glue it down.
Turn them over and enjoy your unique decorative plates.
Note: Do not fully submerse the plates in water, wipe them off and wash the tops so as not to mess up the paper side. Stack them with a paper towel in between so they don’t stick together.
The possibilities are endless with these plates. Think about personalizing them with photos or monograms. What are your ideas for making your own plates?
* Style & Photo Credit: Pretty Handy Girl
DIY clip-art candles are a fun way to personalize your wedding parties. They are also great for bridesmaids gifts, guest welcome bags, or hostess gifts.
What You Need:
Hints: When shopping for jar candles, look for ones with very straight sides, if they taper, you’ll need to make curved labels and that’s pretty tricky.
Unscented is best for burning candles in quantity and during a meal, but be sure to keep their wicks trimmed short to keep the flames low.
I use images from clip-art books that can easily be found at libraries and book stores. You can also use your own art or computer-generated text, copyright-free artwork found online, and even a copy of a cherished handwritten letter.
For this project, most images can be either scanned to your computer or copied straight from a clip-art book and printed to size using a graphic editing program (such as photoshop, Gimp) or at your local copy store.
Once I measure my candle for wrap size and place my artwork centered within the appropriate dimensions, I print the images on 8.5″ x 11″ white vellum.
Vellum is a frosty, translucent paper that easily feeds through a desktop printer or copy machine and can be found at most craft stores. This type of paper wrapped around the candle allows the flame’s glow to show through while burning for a great effect
Although color images work well, I love the look of black and white art. From one book, I chose images of old product brand graphics to use on the small white candles. Once the images were printed on the vellum and cut to size, I wrapped and secured the vellum with glue at the overlap.
Instead of wraps, for the pink candles, I printed decorative border frames on standard office paper, trimmed them out and wrote names on each before wrapping them around candle. With tall jar candles, a monogram, a typewritten name or a vintage image are just a few of the ideas for personalizing your guests’ place settings.
When giving candles as a gift, it’s also nice to give a little matchbook that can be used in the wrapping!
Caravan is a shop full of digital downloads created by Alma and Mike Loveland and Melanie Burk. And they’ve just made all of their printable stationery free! Find notecards for teachers, grads, birthdays, and more right here, including a bunch of chalkboard-style designs which are super trendy right now. Save yourself a trip to the store!
Step 1: I started off at a local flower shop. I didn’t really have a good idea in mind and didn’t know how many flowers I needed to get. I just knew a general idea of color and kind of went from there. I picked out one central large flower to be my focus flower and color, a few accent flowers and some greenery.
Step 2: Once I got home, I trimmed off the excess leaves and stems that I didn’t want on my bouquet and quickly saw what I felt was enough flowers dwindle down to half the original size.
I have to say, I was quite pleased with the bouquet and it was quite refreshing to know that I would be capable of making one. Though I think if I were to make my own, I’d definitely get twice as many flowers. This was a wonderful learning experience that I’d recommend experimenting with prior to your wedding if you’re planning to create your own bouquet. It really helped me visualize and plan!
I know it might be a little taboo to say that I love something that has been done a hundred times but I can’t help myself. I LOVE this ombre cake. It would be so cute for a bridal shower or even a birthday cake.
Covering cake with Fondant
When it comes to covering the cake with fondant, is was actually quite easy.
Hint: Buy premade fondant, don’t try to make it yourself!
ONE: roll out the fondant to about one eighth inch thickness using powdered sugar to keep the fondant from sticking to the rolling pin.
TWO: loosely roll the fondant up on the pin to carefully unroll it over the top of your cake.
THREE: very gently smooth the edges of the fondant. Your hands’ heat will help to relax and smooth the fondant.
FOUR: cut around the base of our cake with a sharp knife.
Now that you have a fondant covered cake, you’re ready to ombre!
I used icing dye by Wilton icing coloring in the ‘rose’ color. I just barely dipped my clean paint brush into the dye and the diluted it in water. You can use the fondant scraps to test the color prior to painting on the cake. I started with the most diluted color on the top, and then worked my way down with less and less diluted coloring.
If there is any mess- up, you can just stick your brush into the water and lightly even out the dye. It was quite easy!
* Design & Photo Credit: House of Ernest