DIY: Personalized Post

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My dad is British. He’s very dry, very quiet, and very proper — you may be thinking “Oh, cool story, bro, tell it again.” – rude, by the way! — but it really does explain a lot about me. A perfect example is that I was raised to always (ALWAYS) write hand written thank you notes. When presents are given, when favours are done, or when someone has you over for a weekend – you send a thank you note. Without fail. No exceptions. As a result, as his children, my siblings and I essentially keep the global stationary business going. Recently, after I picked up (and quickly put down) a set of 10 note cards that cost over $30, I decided that I could probably make my own stationary – So I did! I tried three different styles for my stationary – each very different and each very cheap and easy to produce.

What you’ll need:

– Plain white note cards (if they come in a kit with envelopes – bonus!)
Glitter glue (you know you miss it)
– Gold or Silver marker
– Ruler
– Printer

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Style 1: Metallic Markers

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Using your ruler and a marker, draw lines from edge to edge of your note card, creating an overlap in the corners. Ensure lines are equidistant from the edges on each side. Write a message, draw a picture, or leave it plain! This is a great, cheap way to make more formal note cards.

 

Style 2: Glitter Glue

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Use your glitter glue to write messages and draw pictures. Keep in mind: these ones take time to dry – so don’t do this if you are in a rush!  Alternatively, you can use loose glitter and a glue stick for that fresh out of kindergarten feel. (I won’t lie – it was exhilarating to write swear words in glitter glue!)

 

Style 3: Printed photos

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If you bought a notecard kit chances are it came with, or has access to, templates for printing. If this is the case, your life is easy as pie. Simply select your template, insert a photo, and print! You may need to use the feeding tray on the side of your machine if you are doing this from work (you are, aren’t you!?) or, on a smaller printer, you will just have to adjust the paper sizer inside the tray itself.

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DIY: Make A Banner Using Old Maps

I recently posted about my Best Party Purchase, a set of letters and images that can be strung and re-strung on a cord to make beautiful banners for any occasion. But what if you have a super specific theme and that look just doesn’t jive? Why not save a couple of bucks (and a boat load of your valuable time!) and try to make something instead? It shows that you are a committed host who genuinely cares about every detail going into the occasion. Take, for example, a retirement party hosted at my friend’s parents’ place this past weekend: the theme surrounded the couple’s desire to travel together in retirement. So, naturally, we made a banner out of old sailing maps I had lying around the apartment!

What You’ll Need:

– Maps – any kind from any place – the more specific the theme, the more specific the maps
– Elmer’s Repositionable Letters (or cut out/print off your own letters to use)
– 1 piece of card stock (for your flag stencil)
– Scissors
– Glue stick
– Ruler
– Twine
– Pencil

map tools

First, you will need to make your flag stencil. Decide how big you would like each flag to be and, using your trusty ruler, outline your flag shape. Cut it out. Mark two dots, equidistant from each side of your flag – this is where you will poke the holes for your twine.

with holes

Next, you’re going to want to saddle the top of your flag right up to the edge of your map. This way you guarantee a straight top to each flag and ensure that you are using your map supply efficiently. Using a pencil, trace your flag stencil onto the map, cut it out, and do it again!

maps

Using your glue stick (or repositionable adhesive letters) affix each letter to each section of your map.

After you have poked holes in each of your flags, feed the twine through the front portion of the flag, around the back, and out the other hole. To ensure your flags hang evenly in line, you can try alternating the way the twine is fed through each flag- See below for example.

close up

And that’s it!  Make sure you have enough slack on each side of your banner, before you cut it (!), for hanging purposes. Affix your banner to walls and other areas using adhesive clips or hooks. You can also try tying the ends of extra twine into lovely little bows for an added touch.

final copy

DIY: Photo Booth Fun

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Everyone I speak to tells me that I won’t remember my wedding day (awesome – why am I working this hard, again?!) So how do you make sure you have the most complete record of the best day you will ever forget? Hire a kick-ass photographer, obviously. (Which we totally did. Obviously) But beyond that, how do you capture those candid, and sometimes most beautiful, moments? A great, and at times hilarious, way to do this is by bringing in a photo booth. Your guests get to keep a copy of their photos and you get digital copies of every picture snapped that night. In my experience, looking around at weddings, despite the amazing addition of a photo booth, guests are still taking pictures with their cell phones. And everyone leaves their printed photos behind. Always.

For a spin on this idea, Bobby and I have decided that we will bring the photo booth to our tables! Each table of 8 will have about 12-15 home made props, situated in vases between the candles and the flowers.  Since we would hate to miss out on the outrageous pictures our friends will inevitably take, we will not only make our own Instagram #hashtag for the wedding, but we will also make an email address where full sized pictures can be sent; making our photo album a piece of cake!

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What You’ll Need:

– Multi-coloured foam sheets (purchase here)
– Wooden dowels (purchase here)
– Stencils printed on card stock – stick with a theme or find random ones
– Scissors
– Marker or pen

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Cut out your stencil and place it on your foam sheet – you can usually get two shapes on one sheet to maximize your supplies.

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Cut out your shape – try to cut inside the lines to avoid marks on the back of your finished props

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At the widest point and as close to one side as possible, fold your shape and cut two small slits equidistant from the edge.

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Weave your dowel through the holes, starting at the front of your shape, moving to the back, and out again.  If you have cut the holes too large, use a glue gun (or cheat with double sided tape!) to secure your shape to the dowel.

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Repeat these steps with as many different shapes as you’d like. If you create 12 standard shapes you can vary them easily throughout different arrangements. If you are making a lot of these, I found that stacking the foam sheets allowed for me to create 2-3 shapes at the same time.

The Best Party Purchase

I purchased this kit on a whim and have never been so happy with something so simple. It was New Years Eve and, after realizing none of our friends would bite the bullet, we decided to throw a party at the last minute. As a compulsively organized human this irked me, but I knew that with a couple of good lists and a bit of hustle we could pull it off. I farmed out the grocery shopping and LCBO run to the fiancée (he did have the car..and the muscles, after all!) and I set off in search of the ‘fussier’ items needed to throw a proper New Years Eve party. When I took off that day I had one goal in mind: most, if not all, of the items purchased were to be multi-seasonal and multi-purpose so that we could use them at any future do’s and in our every day life.

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On a mission for decorations, exploding table crackers, and (obviously) old timey noise makers, I found myself happily lost in one of my favourite stationery stores, The Papery. It was there, in a way back, perfectly lit and merchandized corner that I discovered the magical sorcery that is the Theatre of Dreams Garlands by Wendy Addison. (Available for purchase here.) At just $20, I knew that I had found a party accessory that would be well loved and well used in our house on many occasions for many years.

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The kit comes with an extremely long and reusable cord, 80 assorted cardboard tiles: 4 of each letter in the alphabet in 4 different fonts, several ballet dancers, jesters, and what appears to be a well dressed monk. There is also an amazing array of circus animals featuring words like “wondrous” and “fantastic” printed on scrolls. The colour scheme is mildly girly but mostly whimsical and gender neutral, which is great as it is not limiting in the types of events the set can decorate. This set is by far the best party accessory allowing for quickly crafted and beautifully personalized banners for any occasion – making you look like the tireless hostess every time!

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