3 DIY hostess gifts

juliet roses 3 DIY hostess gifts


Is there any guest faux pas worse than showing up to a large holiday party empty handed? I can think of a few, but they all involve one-too-many drinks or setting something on fire. The basic rule of thumb: if you’re a guest at someone’s house and aren’t contributing to the meal (aka brining a killer side dish to accompany the host’s short ribs), you should bring a little something, just to show your host that you appreciate her hospitality. These three easy ideas are perfect for holiday get togethers and—most importantly—you won’t waste a lot of time or money pulling them together.


Grocery Store Florals Get Stylish

hostess flowers DIY 3 DIY hostess gifts


Grocery store flowers can become instantly stylish with just five extra minutes of your time. Please (I beg you) start by removing that crinkly, tacky cellophane exterior and grooming the stems a bit—remove any leaves not around the bud, trim the stems at least two inches and arrange in an appealing cluster. Place them atop a slice of brown butcher paper—it’s crisp and classic and feels suddenly sophisticated when tied with a graphic black and white striped ribbon.


DIY Hot Chocolate Kit

hot chocolate hostess gift DIY 3 DIY hostess gifts

hot chocolate kit 3 DIY hostess gifts


This is perfect for the hostess who has kids—she may hate you for souping them up on chocolate, but it’s a sweet sentiment that you’re thinking of the whole family. Line a wood crate (mine is from a craft store) with a charming, seasonal towel. Place mugs and instant hot chocolate mix inside, alongside fun add-ons like candy canes and marshmallows.



Bread and Tea Towel Bundle

hostess gift DIY 3 DIY hostess gifts

bread and olive oil hostess gift DIY 3 DIY hostess gifts


I love this next gift for the food fan of your group—it’s even a great way to package up whatever appetizer or bite you said you would bring to the party. Select a playful tea towel (this one is from Crate and Barrel last year, but they always have great new holiday ones that come out around this time) and wrap it around two loaves of bread, securing multiple times with red and white baker’s twine. Place a good bottle of olive oil or balsamic atop the package and secure again with string before passing off to your happy hostess!




DIY clay jewelry dishes

DIY jewelry dishes DIY clay jewelry dishes



The other day, a minor home-goods tragedy struck my home: One of my favorite jewelry dishes from Anthropologie fell off my dresser and shattered into a million sad pieces. I love storing my jewelry out in the open and it was truly one of those little pieces that made me really happy every time I saw it, so I knew I needed a replacement ASAP.


I was looking for something that had the effect of gold leaf, but I couldn’t find anything at my usual go-to stores. Instead, I thought I’d try my hand at making my own jewelry dish–I mean hell, I took a pottery class in high school that produced one very ugly, retched green colored “vase”, so I could probably handle this, right? Surprisingly yes–but that’s only because it was a super easy DIY, and I guarantee you can handle it too.


sculpty clay dishes DIY clay jewelry dishes clay jewelry dish DIY DIY clay jewelry dishes


First, you’ll want to work polymer clay in your hands to get it warm and pliable–I used a brand called “Sculpty” from my local craft store, but any oven-bake brand will work fine!  Once the clay feels like it’s loosened up a bit, roll it out on a clean and dry surface until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut a circle of your desired diameter into the clay and remove the excess surrounding the shape.


clay jewelry dish DIY2 DIY clay jewelry dishes


Mold your clay circle around the base of a dish that will seemingly give you your desired size bowl for your jewelry dish (this may go without saying, but using wider dishes as a mold will result in jewelry dishes with less of a “lip” on them and a flatter base). Make sure whatever you choose to mold your clay over is oven safe, as you will be baking the clay on this and a tray. Cook your clay according to the package directions–most necessitate 15 minutes per 1/4 inch thickness (not how big of a piece you bake, just how thick), and mine called for an over of 275 degrees.


baking DIY jewelry dishes DIY clay jewelry dishes


Once your jewelry dishes have cooked and cooled, you can use an old nail file to smooth out the edges and eliminate any unsightly bumps or lumps. This will make a bit of a mess with the powdery clay that flakes off, so do it over a garbage!


DIY jewelry dishes from clay DIY clay jewelry dishes


Finally, the fun part–decorating! I opted to do one jewelry dish a deep midnight blue with copper leaf accents, one dish half copper leaf and one dish accented with copper leaf around the edges and in the middle (I originally was going to go for gold leaf, but the copper leaf was prettier and more rose-gold-y which I loved!). Allow the paint to dry completely before applying the copper leaf glue, and make sure to abide by the directions on the leafing packaging, otherwise it won’t stick!


diy gold leaf jewelry dishes DIY clay jewelry dishes


The end result? Pretty, eye-catching jewelry dishes that took just over an hour to make and provide a special landing spot for some of my favorite rings, necklaces and other pieces. Did they come out perfectly even and professional? Of course not–but I kind of love their unusual, untamed, natural-looking finish. These would make great handmade gift, and I’m seriously considering making them for my girlfriends for Christmas–so easy!





DIY washi tape holiday mantel

holiday tape mantel step 1 and 2 DIY washi tape holiday mantel


I’ve always wanted an apartment with a fire place. In reality, it actually seems like a pretty terrible idea–I mean me, unsupervised around flames? Not a great combo. Still, I grew up with one glowing in my house every winter and they exude a coziness that I just love. Plus, they give you the perfect space to hang your Christmas stockings.


Our apartment now has very little wall space that hasn’t already been taken up–we have an unused stair banister, but for some reason, hanging stocking on there just didn’t look right. So what’s a girl to do besides create a fake mantel, right? Right.


First things first: get your tape. Washi tape is expensive, so I recommend going with a fun colored painters tape for most of the big stuff–I love the bright yellow we found, and we didn’t even end up using a whole roll. Next? Pick your wall space. The unused space at the top of our stairwell was perfect. Now, we’re going to go step-by-step, but no worries…it’s super easy. You just need someone to help you eyeball if it’s straight or not!


holiday tape matel step 3 and 4 DIY washi tape holiday mantel

Step 1 (left): Tape two horizontal lines on top of each other, with about an inch and a half between the two. The bottom should be a few inches shorter on each end than the top. Connect with a diagonal piece of tape on each end.


Step 2 (right): Starting at the ends of the bottom horizontal piece, run two vertical pieces of tape down on each side.


holiday tape mantel step 5 and 6 DIY washi tape holiday mantel


Step 3 (left): Create the center detailing. You’ll need to find the center of your faux mantel and put a short piece of tape horizontally below that about 12 inches. Then, work your way up with two pieces diagonally to connect with the bottom of your mantel’s “ledge.”


Step 4 (right): Create the “hearth.” You’ll  need to run two pieces of tape horizontally from the right and left sides of your center detailing, each ending about a foot from the outer edges. Run a piece of tape vertically from the edge of each to the ground, parallel to the outer edges.


holiday tape mantel step 7 and 8 DIY washi tape holiday mantel

Steps 5 and 6: Now is the time to add some detailing! I used tape to create things that look like the panels of wood that you would find in a traditional fireplace, but really, you can do whatever you want! For these, I did cut the width of the tape in half–using the normal width just looked like too much.


washi tape mantel DIY washi tape holiday mantel


Finish it off with a few fun add ons, like the washi tape candle sticks I made. We love the way it turned out (we’re considering keeping it up all year ’round!), and we can’t wait to hang our stockings. Not a bad fix for a NYC apartment, huh?



a glossy charming twist: nautical frame DIY

nautical frame DIY a glossy charming twist: nautical frame DIY


Remember that fun DIY-off I did in May with the fab Emily from Isn’t That Charming and talented Brynn from Chartreuse & a Twist? Well, we’re back again–this time with a nautical theme!


I’ve been heavily into decorating lately, so I wanted to make something my beach-y obsessed roommate could use in her room. I saw this wooden frame at the craft store and it was pretty much a (very easy) no-brainer!


paint a nautical frame a glossy charming twist: nautical frame DIY


To make this, tape off stripes on the frame using painters tape (because really, what screams nautical more than stripes?!). Keeping with the theme, I chose navy and white paint, and slapped them on the frame, alternating the stripes.


nautical frame DIY 21 a glossy charming twist: nautical frame DIY


Once dried, remove the tape. To accent the frame (and cover up the little ‘oops’ you see on the righthand corner), I spray painted a few shells I picked up at the beach last summer gold, and glued them to the corner. Plop in a favorite beach-y picture (I chose one of Avalon, a favorite summer spot for our group of friends!) and there you have it: nautical-themed decor!


Check out Emily’s project here, and Brynn’s here! These ladies are so creative, you know you want to!


p.s. Thank you all so much for your sweet comments about our apartment yesterday. It was so fun to decorate, and hearing that you liked it made it even more special. If you asked a question about where we got something, hang tight–I’m hoping to answer them all at some point today! xo



a glossy charming twist: faux flower monograms

floralmonogram5 a glossy charming twist: faux flower monograms


It’s no secret that I love crafting up DIYs, so when the fab Emily from Isn’t That Charming suggested we pull together a monthy DIY-off (that’s now a thing, by the way) with Brynn from Chartreuse & a Twist, I was so game. Each month will have a theme and a budge–May’s theme was flowers, naturally!


floralmonogram2 a glossy charming twist: faux flower monograms


I’m really into decorative monograms lately, and I wanted to create a bright, summer-y option that varied from the usual tin ones. This project is super simple, and easy to customize–you could do the letters in all one shade or flower (white would be super pretty for a wedding or party!). Simply buy cardboard 3D letters and cut off the tops using a exacto knife (but please, be careful with your fingers!). You can paint the other sides of the letters if you’d like, or leave them the brown cardboard shade.


floralmonogram3 a glossy charming twist: faux flower monograms


Purchase a large block of floral foam, and cut pieces to fit within the letters–you might need to trim some of the thickness as well, because you don’t want the foam showing above the end of the cardboard.


floralmonogram4 a glossy charming twist: faux flower monograms


Do your best to fill all spaces of the letter–you’re going to want to make it as snug as possible! It should stay in letter by itself, but if not, you can use a little hot glue gun action to attached the foam to the inside of the letter.


floralmonogram1 a glossy charming twist: faux flower monograms


Next up? Grab your big bushel of flowers! Obviously, you’ll want them to be faux–fresh ones will not last more than a day. Pull or cut each bloom off of their stems–you’re going to want to leave about a half an inch of stem below the bloom to stick into the foam. Spreading out the flowers, poke each into the floral foam until the letters are completely filled.


floralmonogram6 a glossy charming twist: faux flower monograms


These make me so happy every time I look at them–so fun, right?



Check out Emily’s project here, and Brynn’s here! These ladies are so creative, you know you want to!


p.s. The sweet Luci featured me on her blog this past weekend. Pay her a visit and check it out!




DIY ombre serving spoons

spoons1 DIY ombre serving spoons


Often times, I’m inspired to create a DIY from something I see out on the world wide web. In this case, Etsy. I first caught a glimpse of these ombre serving spoons almost a year ago, and I’ve been smitten with them ever since. Eventually, I found a plain jane serving spoon set at Crate and Barrel and the makings of this DIY was born.


spoons2 DIY ombre serving spoons


Besides the spoons, you’ll need a few bottles of acrylic paint in descending colors–I chose variations of teal, yellow and coral (colors that go with my current kitchen chairs!)–and a few sponge brushes.


spoons3 DIY ombre serving spoons


It’s super easy to personalize the gradation of the ombre–you could do blocks of color, or more of a faded effect, like I went for. To achieve it, simply hap-hazardly paint on the darkest color on, ending in a jagged line, and immediately continuing with the second-lightest color–you want to do this all while the previous colors are still wet, so it’s as easy as possible to blend the shades together.


spoons4 DIY ombre serving spoons



DIY chalkboard cheese platter

IMG 2497 DIY chalkboard cheese platter


I mean, cheese. Do I really need to say more? I’m obsessed–and I’m pretty sure most of you probably are too. Cheese platters stole my heart when I was studying abroad in Florence (they. were. everywhere), and it’s been a torrid love affair ever since. I love pulling a quick one together when we have a few people over for drinks–everyone likes a good chunk of cheese (and for those that don’t, there are other options).


IMG 2055 DIY chalkboard cheese platter
















I’ve been wanting to create my own chalkboard cheese platter for a while–I love the ease (and charm!) of labeling the cheese with chalk. I found this little chunk of wood at Lee’s Artshop for super cheap ($5 dolla!) and already had some chalkboard paint laying around, so this project came together perfectly. Simply paint on two coats, “cure” with a stick of chalk (basically scribble all over the whole thing, then wipe clean with a damp cloth) and you’re good to go!


IMG 2073 DIY chalkboard cheese platter

















Now it’s time to choose the cheese! I typically go with four different types of cheese that vary in flavor and texture. For this platter, I used parmesan cheese, gouda, herbed goat cheese and cheddar. You’re going to want to include a few fruits, breads and meats on the platter as well to add variety–I went with grapes, sopressata and bread, but other great additions include figs, dried fruit, nuts and chutneys.


IMG 2488 DIY chalkboard cheese platter



You’re also going to need some dippers! I went with a thick balsamic syrup, extra virgin olive oil and a sweet honey. All of them compliment the various cheeses amazingly!


IMG 2505 DIY chalkboard cheese platter


Chalk in the cheese types and your good to go. Finger food at it’s most delicious!




jeweled lace collar DIY

IMG 0727 jeweled lace collar DIY


I love the style accent that peter pan collars lend anything and I’ve been searching a while for a necklace that I could add to blouses, sweaters and jackets that would mimic the look. Forever21 had a few cute options, but most of them seemed really flimsy and didn’t have the fabric base I was envisioning.


IMG 0675 jeweled lace collar DIY


Luckily, Etsy had some crazy-affordable versions that I didn’t feel guilty adding a few jewels to. Once mine came in the mail, I picked up an assortment of gems and studs from Michael’s (a.k.a my home-away-from-home), loaded up my glue gun and got to work.


IMG 0686 jeweled lace collar DIY

IMG 0689 jeweled lace collar DIY


I wanted a mix of colored and clear jewels, so painting half a pretty burgundy with nail polish was an easy solution. If you’ve never tried this with crystal jewelry before, you must! It’s so simple and only takes about fifteen minutes to transform a piece of jewelry into something that pops (I’ve done it with a lot of my Forever21 pieces)!


IMG 0697 jeweled lace collar DIY

IMG 0709 jeweled lace collar DIY

IMG 0710 jeweled lace collar DIY


Once the painted jewels dried, it was time to glue them on to the collar with the rest of the pieces. I used a glue gun (you could also use fabric glue), however I cannot stress this enough: always put something under your work surface. Otherwise, you’ll risk ruining your table, especially in with this project, where the glue might seep through the lace!


IMG 0721 jeweled lace collar DIY


It’s a little bling-y and maybe not for everyone, but I love the way it turned out. I’m looking forward to trying it out with a few outfits, so keep an eye out!


glitter ombre champagne glasses

IMG 0733 glitter ombre champagne glasses

Full disclosure: I totally had this post pegged for holiday time, but  I couldn’t fit it in. Then I realized, what better time than the new year for a little glittery DIY? I saw these champagne glasses on Pinterest, and they were so easy to make–all it took was a little Martha Stewart glitter craft paint, a sponge brush and a little patience.

IMG 0763 glitter ombre champagne glasses

IMG 0772 glitter ombre champagne glasses

Sponge the glitter onto the champagne glasses, concentrating the most at the bottom and slowly working your way up. A good ombre look will take two thick coats, but make sure you wait at least 20 minutes in between.

IMG 0779 glitter ombre champagne glasses

To set the paint on the champagne glass, place them in a cool* oven and then warm to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the oven off, letting the glasses cool inside the oven. *This is important! Otherwise, they’ll crack!

IMG 0789 glitter ombre champagne glasses

I happen to think this is the perfect time for sparkly champagne glasses–I plan on having a lot to toast to in 2013.

present wrapping 101

IMG 0893 Version 2 present wrapping 101

One of the best part of the holidays is gifting. I don’t know about you guys, but there is no better feeling than finding that perfect present for someone on your list. And better yet, wrapping it so that it’s almost too pretty to open. Almost.

I certainly wouldn’t call myself an expert but I love making things pretty and I did run a neighborhood wrapping service around age 13. I think I made about $12 dollars, so there’s always that. I’ve whipped up a few ways to make your packages pretty under the tree this year.

go natural present wrapping 101

IMG 0902 present wrapping 101

Turns out, Anthro has some really great specialty paper around the holiday season. To go natural, pick a simple color with an interesting texture–this one is a pretty silver with a mesh look. Tie on a simple burlap twine bow and let the simplicity speak for itself.

IMG 0904 present wrapping 101

IMG 0909 present wrapping 101


goneon present wrapping 101

IMG 0898 present wrapping 101

IMG 0900 present wrapping 101

There are no rules during the holidays, and that includes forgoing a “traditional” color palate. As you could see from my DIY decorations, I’m all about neon this Christmas, so this wrapping paper was a natural extension. If you buy one thing this year, buy kraft paper! You can use it for so many things, including polka dot wrapping paper. Simply buy the paint color of your choice, and stamp different sized polka dots onto the kraft paper. Let dry, then use on your packages.

IMG 0924 present wrapping 101

With smaller packages, use a little burlap and neon string to tie a cute package that will be the perfect accent to your polka dot paper.

IMG 0920 present wrapping 101

IMG 0923 present wrapping 101


go festive present wrapping 101

IMG 0916 present wrapping 101

Red, green, white and any combo of the three are a perfect choice for holiday packages, but the key to pretty presents is texture and dimension. Washi tape is so cute–it’s the perfect situation where you want your tape to be visible.

IMG 0911 present wrapping 101

For a cute, festive “flower,” use cupcake wrappers! Simply cut into wrappers of alternating colors and stack into one another, gluing the bases together.


Happy wrapping!


p.s. I’m over on the fab Mossypants spilling my beauty must-haves. Check it out here!