There’s nothing like a beautiful fresh wreath alive with gorgeous pine needles and damp pinecones, that offers a wonderful holiday scent every time you walk through the door. I, for one, LOVE a fresh wreath for all those reasons I listed above… but I don’t really love the cost and I don’t really love the fallen pine needles all over my entryway by Christmas Day and I don’t really love having to toss it in the garbage at the end of the season either. It just seems wasteful. And most really pretty faux rustic wreath options are generally pretty expensive too and sometimes hard to find (especially up on the mountain), so I got a little crafty and came up with the perfect solution – for under $5!
I wanted to spruce up Dogwood Tavern a little for the holidays, so to save myself a trip down the mountain, I stopped by the local thrift shop first and was lucky enough to find an entire box of brand new faux wreaths and garland and I swooped it all up! I knew I had enough extra stuff at home in my holiday decor bins to turn my run of the mill wreaths into something a little more special. I cranked the volume on the music, grabbed a bottle of Yealands wine and poured a little glass of Sauvignon Blanc to make sure I was a little more mindful of the moment and having fun with my project instead of just crossing off another chore on my seemingly never-ending holiday to-do list.
Yealands is one of the world’s most sustainable wineries. From solar power to wind and vine energy, babydoll sheep and butterflies, wildflowers and even music vibrations, Yealands is doing the absolute most and the least at the same time while producing award-winning wines that taste great in complete and total partnership with nature.
I am completely astonished by their sustainability initiatives at both the Yealands Estate vineyard and at the winery as well and I’m completely on board with a brand that is working as hard on their product as they are on the way they produce their product while giving back to the natural habitat around them.
Their extensive range of energy efficient initiatives to reduce emissions include renewable energy, fuel reduction, using green SMART technology and environmentally friendly packaging. But they go the extra mile to ensure true quality as well.
During sunlight hours, they use solar power to play classical music to the vines. The music helps improve vine health but also keeps them happy when the team and animals are out and about on the vineyard. Studies have shown that the vines respond positively to the vibrations and sound waves, and their own studies have shown an unusual effect on their vineyard chickens, which act as a natural form of pest control and produce eggs for the team. The chickens closest to the music lay eggs that are around 16% larger than the chickens furthest from the music!
How beautiful is that!??!
If you have or haven’t tried Yealands wine yet, I encourage you to look through their beautiful site to see all of the amazing things they’re doing with their company to give back and include nature in every aspect of their wine producing. It’s truly inspiring me to think about how I can create more sustainable business practices, starting by carrying products that are working hard at being sustainable and giving back to nature… and of course, delicious!
I was thoroughly enjoying my Yealands Sauvignon Blanc while getting crafty with my holiday decor, wishing I was half as efficient at the brand, but happy enough with my second-hand purchase of holiday decor and my willingness to pull from nature to create something that feels a little more real and has a whole lot more texture and depth as well.
Obviously, there are pinecones galore up in the mountains where I live now, and each holiday season I collect a few more to use within my decor. I have a few very large ones, but this project calls for cute little pinecones, which are just as easy to find. Use them raw or paint the tips white for a snowcapped rustic look. For my rustic wreath project, I used both completely natural and painted pinecones as well.
You can also collect little twigs and branches, acorns if the wild animals haven’t gobbled them all up by now or fallen foliage as well.
It’s a simple DIY, using found objects or stuff you may already have in your holiday decorations boxes and really gives a boring and inexpensive wreath new life.
So let’s get to it!
Here’s What You Need…
* Simple wire wreath
* Found natural pinecones, bells, rope (or ribbon), real or faux twigs, branches or sprigs of greenery in various hues of green
* Pipe cleaners or jewelry making wire (and wire cutters or scissors)
You can really add anything to your wreath, so get creative! I was specifically looking for a rustic vibe, but glam ornaments and ribbons and glitters and sparkles or even pastels would all be fun. Anything’s acceptable as long as you love it!
Center your pipe cleaners or jewelry-making wire at the base of each of your pinecones and wrap it around the bottom area until it’s secure.
Separate your sprigs or faux greenery and add rope ribbons for extra rustic-ness.
Slide Christmas tree hooks through the tops of them. They can also be used as tree ornaments.
From the front side of your wreath, decide where you want to place your pinecones first. Spread them out evenly throughout the wreath for visual texture and use varying small sizes.
Find the wire circle backing your faux wreath is secured to and wrap your pipe cleaner wired pinecones to the backing.
Add the faux greenery (or real greenery) by twisting the metal hook around the backing as well OR secure it to random branches along the base… they’re so lightweight, they’ll stay secure.
Move your wired wreath branches around the pinecones and sprigs to help disguise any unwanted visuals and to help give the wreath more shape and dimension.
I added two large and one small bell to the bottom of the wreath with rustic brown rope instead of a bow and tied a few faux sprigs to it as well.
It’s really so simple and only takes minutes to finish and it doesn’t take much to really spruce a plain green wreath up! You can add as much or as little as you like. I just wanted hints of rustic on mine, but you can go glam or colorful or merry and bright!
Again, if you have or haven’t tried Yealands wine yet, I REALLY encourage you to look through their incredibly beautiful site to see all of the amazing things they’re doing to include nature in every aspect of their wine producing. It’s truly inspiring me to think about how I can create more sustainable business practices, starting by carrying products that are working hard at being sustainable and giving back to nature… and of course, absolutely delicious!
A few weeks ago I spied THIS AMAZING SHOE by Dolce & Gabbana and fell in love. I know there are a few other similar designs and on flats as well (I’ve linked them below) but the Dolce & Gabbana pumps are what truly inspired me to create something similar.
However, the DIY has got a one-up on the real deal (besides the cost) and that is that it’s completely REMOVABLE! And that means that you can use them WITH ANY SHOES… flats or heels and place them wherever you like! I also love that these can be worn with fancier holiday looks (like dresses or cocktail attire), work looks, as well as jeans and a blazer to add an edge or dress up a casual look.
I love a Mary Jane strap placed anywhere along the top of the foot, but just under the anklebone is SUPER flattering on the leg (it lengthens it!) especially compared to an ankle strap that hits just above the ankle bone and sometimes cuts off the leg and gives the illusion of larger calves.
I know this: They will make any shoe look like a million bucks AND give your legs and feet a pretty little boost as well. I can’t wait to wear them with ALL THE OUTFITS!
Anyway, here’s how I did it… it’s perfect for the holidays and even as gifts! Just remember, if you’re making them as gifts and don’t have exact measurements, use a material with a little stretch and give -like elastic- so they are adjustable and fit correctly and will stay put as well.
Here’s What You’ll Need…
This DIY is easiest with a pre-made crystal embellished trim (usually in the wedding section of your local fabric or craft store OR Amazon has tons of options as well). I cut up an old belt to create my sections and then added elastic and beaded the ends since I didn’t have enough trim HOWEVER, if you have the trim, this DIY will be super easy!
If you’d prefer a less sparkly look, you can use lace or ribbon or a pretty and simple trim instead.
You may also choose to glue stones onto a felt-like surface (as I did with my bejeweled hair combs) and then carefully cut around your shapes, creating a strap to measure, then adhering it with glue or by stitching if you have holes in your clips like I do, to your clips and allowing it to dry.
Once you determine what material you’re going to use, measure along the top of your foot (I used the actual beadwork appliqué to measure -it’s just easier) and decide where you want your strap to go.
I prefer it right under the ankle bone, but it’s also cute lower down on the foot too. If you use an elastic or material that stretches, you can wear it in both places and be fine.
If using lace or a pre-made trim, simply cut to desired length (unless it’s already the perfect length) and stitch onto your shoe clasps and voila! You’re done!
But here’s how I created mine…
1. Since my embellishments weren’t long enough, I cut 2 pieces of 1-1/2″ wide elastic about 4″ long and stitched them to the ends of each side.
2. Using matching sew-on crystals and beads, I beaded about 1/2″ of the elastic areas beginning at the ends of the appliqués.
3. When I was about halfway done, I folded the elastic in half (in back) and stitched the edges down and to the end of the appliqué as well. This not only strengthens the strap and gives it more resistance but also looks a lot cleaner by hiding the stiching on the back.
4. I then hand stitched my clasp on (upside down/backwards) so the spikes would clamp inside the shoe and not on the outside just in case— I wanted to prevent ruining the outer edge of my pumps. Make sure only the tip of it is visible from the front. You want your strap to look seamless with the shoe itself. (see the bottom photo above)
5. Once the clasp was in place, I finished the beading and crystals up to the edges.
NOTE: They don’t look AMAZING on the underside because I have a mix of black and grey because it’s all I had to work with. I COULD HAVE cut out a backing and glued or stitched it in place, but it wasn’t necessary since I’m the only one who will ever see it. IF you’re giving them as a gift though, you may want to consider lining the back with a soft but thin fabric to make them look finished and professional and be comfortable as well.
It seems as though scrunchies are pushing hard to make a comeback AND if you’re anything like me, you probably still have a few from the ’90s in an old box somewhere or shoved in the back of one of your hair accessory drawers in your bathroom… no? Then maybe your daughters are wearing them and conjuring up flashbacks of your youth or of that episode of Sex and the City we’ll never forget when Carrie and Burger get in a HUGE fight over them.
ANYWAY, I’m seeing scrunchies for sale for what I consider astronomical prices ($20-$40) for an item that is just about the easiest thing to make in the world. My first scrunchies I ever made were back when I was about twelve years old (I think), after hemming my Catholic school uniform skirt up (because damn they were so long) I’d take the excess material and make scrunchies out of them so that my hair accessories matched my uniforms (obviously). And I have to say that my handmade scrunchies were better than any I ever bought!
Let’s get started! This is so simple!
Here’s What You’ll Need…
* Fabric… any will work, but preferably easy-to-sew fabric like stiff cotton is the best but denim will work as well as fine leather as seen here
* Elastic… the thickness is up to you but I find the 3/4″ width works best.
* Matching thread and needle
* Sewing machine: Optional – though it will be far quicker if you use one, this is simple enough to do by hand.
Begin by cutting a piece of elastic about the width of it wrapped around your wrist, then add a half an inch.
Cut a piece of lace or fabric about 4″ in width by at least 20″ in length.
NOTE: Your width will determine how large it is. If you want a smaller/thinner scrunchie, cut it about 2.75-3.25″ in width.
Your length will determine how much it scrunches. The longer the length, the more it scrunches, the shorter the length = less scrunching (gathering).
Fold your fabric in half on the “wrong” side, lining up all the edges.
Using a simple running stitch (or a sewing machine) run a stitch from end to end about 1/4″ of the way from the edge to create a long tube.
Turn your tube right side out so the stitching is hidden on the inside and you only see a seam on the finished side.
Slide your elastic through your tube and stitch the ends together heavily.
NOTE: you’ll want to make sure it’s really sewn strong on this end.
For the ultimate paper-art-loving-DIY-enthusiast! These 3d paper taxidermy heads and wall art/decor by artist Éric François for EcogamiShop are just the cutest things ever… and guess what?!??! You make them yourself!
That’s right, you just buy the design you want and then download the digital pattern template with complete instructions and get to work!
I’m personally fond of the Frenchie (obvi) but Im also a little obsessed with the RELAX sign because it reminds me of the ’80s AND of Friends. Part of me wants to create a handful of the heads in solid white though and hang them at Dogwood because I love the modern twist of the faux taxidermy vs the real deal (which you find a lot in the mountains and somehow happens to be less ironic than in other decor/design spaces).
If you’re a little timid to jump into a project that seems our of your wheelhouse (like me) you can test out your skills on a free design like this heart which seems simple in comparison and practice… and then purchase the ones you really want. All of the designs as far as I can tell, are under $10 and then you just need the paper and tools to create your masterpiece.
PS. There’s an entire page of FAQs to guide you through the process and help you create your very own one-of-a-kind wall sculpture OR pendant orbs and lampshades… it’s such a fun way to add a little whimsy to your place and do it yourself!