Tag Archives: holiday

Thursday, November 28 2013

DIY ideas for the last-minute holiday party

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Not everyone has a special stash of Christmas decor on reserve.

The tree, ornaments, lights and Santa’s nine inflatable reindeer take up valuable space that, in my case, is better used to store my bike safely indoors.

How then, does the urbanite throw a holiday party without holiday adornments? If you can’t convince a friend to host, the answer is through a resourceful use of dollar store paper, bows, bobbles and things you already had kicking around the house.

1. Mason jar genius

When in doubt, put it in a jar! I took dollar store berries and pinecones, plopped them in a Mason jar and sealed the lid. Done and done.

2. Fill-it-yourself ornaments

Customized Christmas ornaments are fantastic. This type comes in a clear set of six and they open up so you can fill them with whatever you want. Here I used ribbon, tinsel, bows and fabric, but the possibilities are endless!

3. Table present

The easiest way to holiday-up your house for a party is to WRAP EVERYTHING! Photos, artwork, the exercise bike and the coffee table (as seen here) dramatically Christmasify a room. And what’s more fun than being surrounded by giant presents? Added bonus: Built-in protection for spilly guests.

4. Oh, JOY!

Letters and words are still popular in decor, especially around Christmas, but wooden block letters are expensive! Circumventing spending extra cash at every opportunity, I made a paper stencil (tracing letters from my laptop screen) and then traced these onto cardboard. After cutting out the letters I wrapped wrapping paper around the face-up side of the letters as if I were upholstering. Using small bits of tape I slowly folded over paper at the back until they were all covered and then mounted them on the wall. Also, JOY is a Christmasy word, yet not exclusively holiday, so you could always reupholster with a neutral paper or fabric and hang in your room year-round.
Wrapping these tight was tedious, but not too difficult. You may note the ‘Y’ is backwards. I wrapped the whole thing and then realized I did the wrong side. Hopefully only the typographers notice…

5. I like gooooold (serving dishes)

Just add gold. Metallics are a surefire way to inject some holiday, particularly the gilded variety. I purchased gold spray paint ($5 on sale!) and these holiday dishes, (massively discounted to $2 each) and spray-painted them outside. Tip: Spray paint the bottom first, with dishes upside-down. (I did this backwards and got some ugliness on the top rim that I’ll need to sand and repaint). Also, don’t spray too much, too close, too fast, because that’s when you get drips.

6. Faux burlap, real art

This burlap art project was simple. I like the look of black drawings or text on burlap, so I purchased three dollar store frames ($1 each), and burlap scrapbook paper (on sale 4 sheets for $1), cut out pieces to size and scribbled a drawing in black pen. You could also print images on the faux burlap using a computer, or stencil art/text. I left the frames for now but I’ll likely re-paint after the holidays.

7. Mini cup paper lanterns

I first saw this idea from frankieemarilia.com and it was so smart in its simplicity. Find small paper cups, pierce a hole and put them over your LED Christmas lights. Warning, I’m sure electricity professionals would advise against putting anything over a light source, so this may just be good for a holiday party where you’re jazzing things up for a couple hours and you can keep on eye on things.

8. Name that cup

Name tags for glassware is popular, but my parties are still in the plastic cup stage, so I opted for these fuzzy snow-like letters from the dollar store that stick on to name people’s cups.

9. Burlap and candles can mix

If you’re like me and candles are just for show (i.e. not to be lit!), burlap wrapped in anything is a chic way to form a candle centrepiece. I wrapped burlap around a silver candle with some ribbon, but you could wrap berries around the burlap with chord or yarn — tons of options. If you actual want this to be a functioning candle, you could apply the same technique on a Mason jar. Wrap burlap around a Mason jar and then put your candle inside.


Thursday, October 24 2013

Halloween DIY: Jack up the jack-o’-lantern


Whether you’re interested in saving time or fingers, the no-cut pumpkin is becoming Halloween’s most bewitching decor.

If you leave the knife out of it, your creations are limited only to your spooky imagination.

The possibilities are endless in terms of materials, so you can Frankenstein whatever creepy jack-o’-lantern face you like, or abandon the scary aesthetics altogether (see heart and polka dots).

Here are just a few examples to get the crafty juices flowing.

Haute Halloween

Inject some unexpected drama into the traditional Jack O’ Lantern using decorative paper in fabric prints like leopard or lace to make the face.


  1. First, prime and paint the pumpkin, I used Martha Stewart Craft Paint in Mother of Pearl.
  2. Cut out facial features from paper and tape in place.
  3. After the party you can even remove the features for general seasonal decor or replace them with a different cutout, like say a moustache (Movember is coming).

Polka paper makeover

It’s almost a shame to make a pumpkin this pretty, only to have it rot, so enjoy it while it lasts or execute this look on a pumpkin-impersonating gourd that will keep well into the holiday season.I first saw the paper-stripping technique in the October issue of HGTV magazine and had to try it for myself.


  1. Cut the decorative paper of your choice into quarter-inch strips (use bigger strips for a bigger pumpkin) and Mod Podge around the pumpkin’s surface.
  2. Let this dry and Mod Podge overtop.
  3. Then take Martha Stewart Craft Paint in Mother of Pearl, or any metallic paint and roughly brush on the pumpkin’s stem for an antique look.

Black arts

The chalkboard paint pumpkin is perfect for the creative who likes to change their mind. Not happy with your Jack O’ face? Simply wipe off and re-chalk. This pumpkin is also great for parties, as guests will appreciate the opportunity to vandalize pumpkins with their own obscene messages and drawings.


  1. Paint at least two coats of blackboard paint and let dry in between.
  2. Cure by carefully rubbing chalk over surface.
  3. *Note: I found that the chalk chipped off some of the paint, so next time I will try priming it first. Learn from my mistakes!
Wednesday, June 26 2013

Patriotic pumps for Canada Day

diy canada day feat

Canadians aren’t known for being boastful people — but on Canada Day it’s a whole different hockey game. Across the country, citizens gather outdoors for fireworks, parades and barbecues wearing every loud-and-proud, fabulously mismatching Canadian thing they own — all visible skin not covered by red-and-white clothing is filled in with (polite) nationalist graffiti and maple leaf tattoos.

However, red isn’t everyone’s colour and more than a few find themselves scrambling last minute to come up with appropriately themed attire for the big day.

This is where DIY comes in, for with a single maple leaf stamp, you can turn old shirts, dollar-store hats or cheap tennis shoes into key patriotic pieces of any Canada Day outfit.

And if Canada’s birthday party is taking place at your house, stamps can even help theme up stationery, napkins, beer pong tables and accent plates for an all-out Canadian celebration.


  • tennis shoes (Payless $17)
  • maple leaf stamp (Michaels craft store $1.50)
  • red stamp pad (Michaels $5)


1. Use a stamp and a stamp pad (like I did) or fabric paint to add some Canadian to your shoes for Canada Day.

2. I broke apart a Michaels tri-leaf stamp and stuck it on top of a makeup container for easy stamping (Thanks MAC primer!)

3. If you can’t find a maple leaf stamp or Canadian stamp you want to use, you could potentially make your own and you can find a previous tutorial that shows you how to do that here.

4. Note: I used stamp ink to leaf up my shoes, but if you’re going to makeover T-shirts and other clothing items you may prefer using fabric paint.

More DIY

After the Canada Day partying is over, you may want to try and upcycle those liquor empties into gorgeous decor.

Saturday, October 27 2012

Halloween DIY: The bold and the boo-tiful


There really is no wrong way to accessorize pumpkins or gourds. I chose to girly up warty gourds with some metallic craft paint.


  • paint brush
  • Martha Stewart Crafts Mulit-surface Acrylic Paints in Light Gold and Yellow Gold
  • newsprint/drop cloth


  1. There’s nothing challenging or sophisticated about this painting project — in fact, the worse a painter you are the better they’ll look!
  2. Literally slop on your paint or lightly glaze gourds with your loaded paint brush (depending on the look you’re going for) and let dry.
  3. You’ll notice that the metallic paint glazes the surface but the gourd’s patterns will still show through. If you want something more opaque ,go for a solid acrylic colour versus the metallic. For Thanksgiving, Christmas holidays, darker solid paint jobs in fall colours could be a fun alternative.