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

Skip the Salon: Nail Art With Bobby Pins

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A good manicure is hard to come by in this city. Not a manicure – those you can find anywhere – but a good, affordable, CLEAN, and pleasant experience is surprisingly tricky to find. Once you find your place you never stray. The thing is, nail technicians recommend getting a manicure every two weeks; once a week if you have the time and money. This helps to keep your nails long, strong, and looking great. However, If you are like me and you chip your nails as soon as you walk out of the salon, learning to do your own nails is probably a good call.

Doing your own nails (and doing them well!) can be a bit of a trick and, like everything, with practice you will master a no-mess-manicure. You want any sort of funky design? You can forget about it – that’s why there are professionals, right?! Wrong! I recently had a friend show me an amazing trick: use a bobby pin for easy art.

2014-07-16 14.15.28What you’ll need:

– 2 (or 3, or 4, or 5…) different nail polish colours
– Bobby Pin(s)
– Cuticle oil – every good manicure ends with this!

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Coat your nails in your favourite colour. Make sure your nails are super DRY before you start your art – you don’t want dented polish!

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Using the brush on your polish, dip the tip of your bobby pin, coating it with excessive amounts of lacquer.

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Polka Dots: Dip the pin and dot your dots – literally nothing could be easier than this!

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Chevrons: Dip the tip of the bobby pin and make 3 dots in a triangle. Connect the dots with straight lines. Make your chevron thick or do a double chevron with thinner lines.

Try other shapes like hearts or flowers with your pins and other polish colours. The great part about doing this on dry nails is that, if it’s truly terrible, you can wipe the wet polish off the top and start again!

 

 

Watermelon Cake: Prettier on Pinterest…

CAKEThe inspiration (photo used with permission)

Last week was my fiancé’s birthday and each year since we have been together I have made him something special for dessert. This year, with our wedding in September, my future mother-in-law has taken to reminding everyone that “we want to be wedding ready” – aka watch what you’re all eating so you don’t panic in August! While my family has always been a fruit for dessert – if anything – kind of bunch, Bobby’s has more of a sweet tooth. I was cruising around Pinterest in the weeks before, racking my brain for a delicious but healthy recipe that would allow him to literally have his birthday cake and eat it too. I saw the most beautiful cake made entirely from watermelon, berries, and icing – “how hard could it be?!” I said to myself, “quick and easy!” I said to myself, “you’re a genius!” I said to myself. Well…as it turns out: harder that I had originally thought but just as delicious as I had hoped. Below is my step by step process for how to make your very own Watermelon Cake – cautionary commentary and suggestions included!

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The beginning of your process is the same as that part from any cooking show you watched as a kid, when the host says “for this portion of the project you’re going to need an adult…”. I am clearly not an adult and sure as heck hate knives (again – what made you think this was a good idea?!) Enter Bobby.

To start, you (or your adult) are going to prepare your watermelon:

– Cut off two ends of your rind to form a *very* flat top and bottom for your cake. Trust me, you will need the stability when icing – she’s a slippery one.

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Next, you are going to skin your watermelon and decide on your cake’s shape. Feel free to keep it round or cut the sides down into more of a rectangular shape. Heck, get crazy, cut that rectangle in half, and you’ve got yourself two square cakes!

– Carefully cut the rind off in sections, pointing the knife away from you, in a downward motion (safety!)

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– Ensure that you are cutting off as much of the white rind as possible, maintaining the desired size and shape of your cake.

Once you’ve got your perfectly pink watermelon all ready to go, it is time to ice!

– Place your cake on a decorative plate or cake stand before beginning to ice
– Using a spatula, spread the icing over the top and sides of your cake, covering any pink areas completely

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Now…I’m going to be honest – this is where it all fell apart for me. I have two recommendations for you at this stage in the game: The first is to freeze your melon before you try and ice it. Fun fact: watermelons are juicy! Obviously. But that is legitimately something I didn’t even consider when I undertook this project (sigh) and is an uphill battle when it comes to this dessert.

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My second recommendation (although, it’s more of a shot in the dark that I’ve never tried but I assume it would help) is to try using Cool Whip instead of icing. I found that once the melon and icing began to warm to room temperature,  your sides become a bit of a shloopy mess – to use a technical term. Cool Whip, being lighter and having a different texture, could be the answer to icing the sides of your cake.

To finish your cake:
– Cover the iced sides of your cake with shaved almonds, sprinkles, or leave them plain
– Top your cake with berries or other sliced fruit for a bit of decoration
– Refrigerate your cake before serving, slice, and enjoy!

2014-06-15 19.41.01The result

Ta-daaaaaa! As you can tell, I was unable to keep the icing from sliding down the sides and resorted to simply piling the icing on top and hoping for the best. #fail

But, at the end of the day it was a hit with everyone at the table – and who doesn’t love a sweet treat in the summer!?

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.