DIY Valentine's Paper Straw Banner

Do you ever see something completely intended to be functional, but really only understand it as pretty? For me, watches are a big one. I know they obviously tell time (like duh Corin), but they make such beautiful accessories that that purpose seems totally secondary to me. Another thing that fell in that category for a long time was paper straws. Why would they need to be anything other than adorable, right? Well last weekend I published a cute little tutorial for sweet and sour variations on Shirley Temples, and in the background of those pics was a fun little straw banner made just for Valentine’s Day as well. This thing was so easy and inexpensive to make that I decided to do a tutorial for it too, so that those paper straws can shine in all their adorableness!

You will need:
Paper straws (I used 15, bought in the Target dollar section)
Needle (larger is better)

Step 1
Measure one straws and cut each into 3 pieces. You can cut the first one, then use one of those pieces as a reference for all the others to make things less fussy!

Step 2
With the string attached to the spool (cuz it’s hard to know exactly how much you need), thread the needle and string 3 straw pieces on. The weight of the needle will just make it easier for everything to thread through. Then feed the string back through the first straw piece in the same direction as before. This will create a triangle shape. Also, we are going to now call that double-strung piece the base!

Step 3
Slide the triangle down the string toward the spool by grasping the base and gently pulling—if you grip somewhere else, your triangle might not seem inclined to slide! Repeat again and again and again and… (I didn’t think it was necessary to say “again” 14 more times…)

Step 4
Unthread the needle and loop that end of the string around the corner of the last triangle and tie a knot as seen above. Cut off the string from the spool side, and slide the triangles toward the tied end until taut. Tie off the remaining end in the same fashion.

Step 5
Add a length of string to each end if necessary, for hanging purposes. Since I strung them together with green so you could follow, I added white to the ends to it would hang up discreetly.

Step 6
If you would like, bend each base in the center to create a nod to a little heart shape!

I know that is a lot of words for something “super easy” but hopefully you got this! (If you don’t, please ask!) Because about $4 and 20 minutes later you have a really cute banner! You can even make fancy drinks to match it, as well as the plethora of other cute V-Day crafts found in every nook and cranny of Pinterest.

All the fun little backdrop additions were crafted with glittered scrapbook paper (found at Hobby Lobby) and paper doilies left over from my Thanksgiving Table Runner! I kind of had to rapidly style this up during a lunch break, but I think it beautifully does the job.

Are you up to any Valentine’s Day crafting or busy admiring any sneakily functional cuteness?

Stay lovely,

Monday In Wonderland: Quotes + Mini Gallery

Well he we are, once again at the start of another week! (Well pretty much a whole day into it by now, but you know the drill.)

I was a little lost in terms of my own words this week, so I thought I would give some wiser people and a few positive affirmations a try, and ended up making some wall art while I was at it! Plus, wall art for me means free downloads for you too. Now don't be shy--click away!

"To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room."
-Marc Hack

"Everything is so beautiful when you stop looking for flaws."

"What most people don't understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it."
-Mark Manson

"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves."
-William Arthur Ward

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song."
-Maya Angelou

 In case you were wondering, the quotes were collected from either recent reading or really old pins that I just so happened to be feeling at the time I painted these! I honestly have no clue who any of the authors are, other than Maya Angelou, but that doesn't mean they can't say beautiful and wise things. I painted these on watercolor paper with black acrylic paint and Crayola watercolor paints (the 24 pack cuz I'm fancy), then hung them with gold washi tape!

Bonus: That little plaque was a gift from my parents and reads "Act like a lady, think like a boss!" How fantastic is that?!

What is your favorite quote right now? And yes, it is okay if it changes every day or less!

Stay lovely,

Valentine's Shirley Temples for the Sweet and Sour

In case the glittery pink chocolate boxes and copious amounts of conversation hearts didn’t give you a heads up, Valentine’s Day is coming very soon! And if we are being honest, nothing quite sparks DIY inspiration like a sparkly holiday. Better yet, today’s DIY is appropriate whether you are cynical about a day of Hallmark Cards and bouquets of roses, or if you just love a day dedicated to love, no matter how cheesy that may be. (You can count me in camp number 2 on that one!)

I wanted to give the classic Shirley temple a little remix by trying it out with some different flavors! Now although I had to forgo the maraschino cherries for reasons of “forget to get that at the grocery store,” I think these layered drinks are still super cute and fun!

For the sourpuss:

Rose water lemonade (we bought this brand)
Grenadine (you can make your own!)

To get the ombre effect in this one, pour in the lemonade to the desired level, then add a little grenadine. It will fall to the bottom, but not without leaving some beautiful and romantic gradation!

For the sweetheart:
Raspberry seltzer soda (we bought this!)
Grenadine, also

This time, add a little grenadine to the bottom of the glass, then add 6-7 ice cubes on top. Slowly pour in the soda. The ice barrier and slow pouring creates a more definite division of colors!

I think any lightly colored or clear soda would be just about fantastic for this, so obviously modify based on your color and taste preferences. We bought both our sodas at World Market, but I’ve seen similar products at the grocery store, and even something like Izzie might do the trick. And oh yeah, the cute paper straw with hearts is definitely a requirement. (Target dollar section say whaaaaat?)

What kind of fun beverages are you thinking ‘bout stirring up this Valentine’s Day?

Stay lovely,

DIY Bright Side/Monday Side Pillow

I am officially warning you to prepare yourself for lots of DIYs concerning pillows. When I decided to be a small child and go for a day bed in my college room, my dream included all the decorative throw pillows. And thanks to Christmas this past year, that dream is slowly being realized! But now that is has begun, the momentum is crazy and I am prepared to face my hatred of sewing in order to make my pillow dreams come true! Do you dare to face the beastly sewing machine with me? (Or maybe you don’t dislike sewing. Then, you are a better crafter than I.)

This pillow is reversible, and says “Bright Side” on one side, and “Monday side” on the other, because I sometimes have difficulty seeing both sides at once. But you know what they say—Look on the bright side! (Even on Mondays.)

You will need:
1/2 yard black cotton fabric
1/2 yard white cotton fabric
White glitter fabric sheets (2) (found at Hobby Lobby by the felt sheets & pompoms)
Computer (optional)
Fabric glue (I used Aleene’s Fabric Fusion because it doesn’t have to be ironed and comes in a nifty pen-type bottle)
Sewing machine, fabric scissors, a needle and thread

Step 1
In a word processing program, format your phrase so that one word fits each entire page width wise or use this premade template! Print on cardstock.

Step 2
Cut out the letters and trace each word IN REVERSE on the back side of the respective glitter sheet with a pencil (the words “bright side” in gold and “Monday Side” in white). Cut the letters out of the glitter sheets using regular scissors. This medium is bendable like fabric vinyl, so cutting around the letters and even in their centers is surprisingly easy. You can clean up the edges with a craft knife if you think you need to.

Step 3
Iron and cut a 17” square out of each color of fabric. Lay out the letters, and adhere with fabric glue, focusing on the pointy ends of the letters most. To match the spacing and placement of the letters, glue the white letters onto the black pillow first, cover with a piece of wax paper, and place the white piece of fabric on top. You should be able to see through the white fabric to space and glue the gold letters to it in a similar manner. Let dry completely.

Step 5
Pin the fabric right sides together, and sew up with a sewing machine or running stitch, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance, except for a small section on the bottom edge of the pillow. Snip the corners sthat they fold nicely inside. Turn the fabric right sides out, stuff liberally, and stich closed by hand with a slip stitch.

If you want an elephant pillow, try this tutorial and upsize the pattern! (My sister made it for me!)

In case you can’t tell, I really appreciate punny wordplay type-of-things, and this was a really fun way for me to incorporate that nerdy love! If you don’t want to go through cutting out the letters, you could also use iron-ons or paint instead, but I’m just a little too picky with my typefaces, sparkles, and formatting for that.

Are you convinced I’m obsessed with pillows yet? Anyone share that obsession?

Stay lovely,

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday in Wonderland: Savor the Good

Left click to download

Gooooood morning! I can’t believe I’m actually posting this before noon! That hasn’t happened in months! (Sorry for my laziness on that account by the way.)

This fine and sunny morn I am sitting in my pj’s under a super fuzzy blanket, enjoying a relaxing morning before I begin a day of crafting and blog post drafting! (Yeah, so I am basically Dr. Seuss now.) And after that concludes, classes resume again tomorrow and I head into semester two!

So with all that in mind, I thought it would be good to spend some time this morning taking in some final moments of a fantastic winter break and this lovely 3-day weekend before the college craziness ensues once again! My lazy side is totally bummed to have to do work again, but all good things must come to an end! Especially when those good things aren’t actually good for your physical or mental health... (Thanks, Netflix.)

That said, heading into this semester I want to take more deliberately relaxing moments in my days. To savor a well-lit morning and drink some tea or something! To take the time, even if it’s only 30 minutes, to actually cook a meal in the evenings. And no, microwave chicken nuggets and PB&J don’t count. Maybe even to open a book again, just for a chapter or two every evening, and sit down to read something. I need to indulge in my favorite ways to unwind just a little more, the idea being that I am doing something productive that also makes me happy. Sitting in front in the telly or exploring the realms of Pinterest is great for study breaks and the like, but often times I feel like it is delaying the stress rather than alleviating it. Instead, I need to aim for intentional rest and purposeful brain breaks in which I can think about the good little things in my life. Because there are so, so many of them. (Ok, and maybe just watch 1 episode of The Flash a day?)

Savoring the good could be anything for you—a book, a meal, a chat with a friend, or even an all-day shopping trip if that is your style! Whatever it is though, you and I should invest a little more time in those things. I’m planning to give it a try and I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Stay lovely,

PS: If you need a moment to savor today, here’s another post definitely worth reading, especially for young “adults” such as myself! (Adults—ha!) Finding good articles for you babes should totally be added to my purposeful relaxation. I really dig other people’s beautiful thoughts.

Feel-Good, Self-Love Playlist

Hello friends! While I am contentedly boycotting New Year’s resolutions this January, I know there are a lot of you out there going after some big changes in your lives! There are also many going back to school and work and the real world after the holidays, and that in itself is pretty tough!

With that in mind, I thought that now might just be the time to share a playlist I’ve been cultivating for quite some time now. It’s overflowing with positivity, self-love, and reminders that it’s okay to be strong and independent but, most importantly, completely human. Honestly, there are days when a playlist like this would drive me crazy with excess hype!

But then there are days where I need something like this. If you are feeling down in the rough and tumble of daily life and crazy pressures, this might be just the thing for you too.

I’m sure I will be adding to this list as time goes on, but for now, here is my feel-good, self-love playlist (on Spotify) with some of my very favorite artists and even a couple throwback tracks! (There’s even a J-Biebs song there… I know, I was shocked too!) You’ve probably heard a lot of these, but maybe there are a few new songs to make you smile!

Scars to Your Beautiful / Alessia Cara
Close Your Eyes / Meghan Trainor
human / Christina Perri
Human / Krewella
Try / Colbie Caillat
All Fall Down / OneRepublic
Fight Song / Rachel Platten
Love Myself / Hailee Steinfeld
Brave / Sara Bareilles
I’ll Show You / Justin Bieber
Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself / Jess Glynne
i believe / Christina Perri
Daydream / Tori Kelly

Stay lovely,

PS: Read this if you were disappointed by me not making New Year’s resolutions! Or even if you don’t care! I’m not defending my laziness. Rather, I’m just giving you someone else’s resolutions to read, and they are honestly fantastically written and words we could all take to heart.

DIY Mini Silhouette Corkboards

While window shopping in Estes Park this summer, me and my older sister (read: design and fashion consultant) stumbled into the most darling store with all manner of décor for kitchens, bedrooms, and your home office. Now although basically everything in the store was out of reach of our “broke college student” budget, we gathered all kinds of inspiration to create some décor for ourselves. One such item that I longed to put my own twist on was a set of darling cloud corkboards similar to these! I do love whimsical little clouds, but I wanted to find a way to get just any shape I wanted! The result was the cute cats above, which I procured for my darling younger sister, and a set of quirky bows, which you will see in the process pictures below.

Just as a disclaimer, cork is kind of a pain to work with, but I discovered a lovely little trick to handle it with this tutorial. So we got this guys! Let’s make a plethora of cute objects to pin our memos to!

You will need:
Roll or sheet of 3/32” thick cork
Sheet of 5 mm thick craft foam (AKA “Fun Foam” knockoffs, the thickest you can find!)
Permanent marker (not water based)
Pot of boiling water
Hot glue
Acrylic paint and/or other embellishments!

Step 1
Fill a small pot with water and get it going with your burner on high. (I know you probably understand this, but just in case.)

Step 2
In the meantime, print or draw a cute, simple silhouette onto cardstock and cut out to create a stencil. Now I know there are a million different cute things out there that you could make, but there is boiling water on the stove, so you better choose quickly! (Or decide ahead of time, unlike me.)

Step 3
Put your stencil face down on the cork and trace your shape using a permanent marker. Cut a chunk of the cork off the roll with a generous border around your shape so that you have less to fuss with. You may notice the edges of the cork crumbling when you cut a smaller piece of cork off the roll—don’t worry about this yet!

Step 4
I hope your water’s boiling now! Hold your piece of cork over the steam to soften it. I steamed it for about 2 minutes, flipping it over every 30 seconds so both sides got good and steamy. This will prevent the edges of the cork from crumbling as much when you cut it, but please watch your fingers or use tongs—that steam is hot! (While this step didn’t seem completely necessary, I think it’s one of those things that requires little effort for a little more finesse. Since my cork was in a roll, this also helped the piece soften so it could lie flat.)

Step 5
Cut out the shape while the cork is still warm and pliable. If you chose a larger or more detailed shape, you may have to place your cork over the steam again to avoid crumbling. My shape was about the size of a piece of computer paper and I steamed and cut it in 3 sections, but only for about a minute on the later steamings.

Step 6
Using the same stencil as before, cut out the same shape from your craft foam, this time cutting inside the lines so that the foam piece is slightly smaller than the cork one. This will serve as a stabilizing backing for your corkboard. It will also help prevent you from putting a bunch of holes in your wall—always a plus!

Step 7
Place your cork on top of your craft foam with the side you traced on towards the foam (just in case any marks were left behind). Check for fit, and cut the foam smaller if necessary. Then, using hot glue, adhere the foam backing to your cork shape. I started at the right edge and moved across in very small sections to avoid bumps. If you use this technique, try to bend only your craft foam so you don’t crack the cork.

Step 8
Paint your cork shape to your heart’s content! I love the natural look of cork, so I kept my embellishment pretty simple, but you could go as crazy as you’d like! You could even use fabric, cute buttons, scrapbooking supplies, or photos to personalize little corkboards for your space! I also found that adding a border to my shape and painting the edges of the cork and foam this same color gave the board a cleaner look overall and hid the foam better!

From there, all that’s left is to hang your adorable new corkboard! I used Command strips for easy removal. 

I would like to warn y’all though that with just the layer of cork and fun foam, an average pushpin barely pokes through the back of your board. Because I hung with Command strips, the board far enough for the wall that this wasn’t a problem. However, if you are concerned, just add another layer of foam.

As you can see, just about any simple shape will make the cut for these guys! (Pun maybe intended?) Now whether or not I actually cover wall décor this darling in a hundred memos is yet to be seen, but at least it looks functional, right?

I’d love to see what you guys make with this tutorial or if you have any other fun ways to use cork!

Stay lovely,