DIY Thanksgiving Bunting

It’s one week before Thanksgiving, but JUST in case you’re a last-minute DIY-er like me, here’s a quick Pinterest-inspired tutorial to spice up your living area for the quickly-approaching holiday!

PS: This is part of my 30 before 30 project (completing and posting 30 Pinterest projects before I turn 30). I used this pinthis pin, and this pin for inspiration.

Easy DIY Thanksgiving Bunting Flag Banner Picture

DIY Thanksgiving Bunting Banner

Materials Needed:

– Scrapbook Paper, 2 sheets in 2 separate designs/colors

  • Craft-Laminated Burlap

  • Jumbo-Sized Jute String

  • “Clipboard” Self-Adhesive Letters

  • Wooden Clothes Pins

  • Autumn-Themed Ribbon

  • Two Clear Push Pins

  • Scissors

 

Instructions:

1. Cut the scrapbook papers and burlap. Make a template stencil using scrap paper or cardboard. I used this blog post for guidance on the dimensions for the stencil. Cut enough flags for the saying you’d like to hang. Ex: mine was GIVE THANKS, so I cut 10 flags (3 orange, 3 white, and 4 burlap).

2. Attach letters to cut flags. If you’re able to find the self-adhesive “clipboard” scrapbooking letters, these will work best. Otherwise, find letters in lightweight material, and use adhesive spray to attach them to your flags. Keep in mind the color pattern you want when you hang them (Ex: mine was “burlap, orange white, burlap, orange, white…” and so on).

3. Measure and cut jute string. If you can recruit a friend, family member, or roommate, have them help you measure out how much jute you will need to string the flags across the wall. I left extra jute on each side to tie bows and let the excess hang down in a light spiral.

4. Clip flags to jute string using wooden clothes pins.  At this point, I laid the string across my living room floor, and got to work. I spread out the flags, pre-tied the autumn ribbon into a bow, and spaced it out to my liking. Then, one by one, I clipped the flags onto the string, using my feet to keep the string taut as I went along. I used a pin to attach the bow, as well (this way, I can take the bow off easily when I go to change out the bunting flags for the next season).

5. Hang banner on wall, using clear push pins to secure. Again, if you can recruit someone to help you, this will be easier. Use a tape measure to see where on the wall you will place the first push pin. Once the push pin is in the wall, tie one side of the banner around the push pin in a bow, double-knotting if necessary. Measure the next side so the flag hangs evenly. Adjust as needed.

 

And, voila! Easy-peasy, done in a few hours project for Thanksgiving. AND, it makes for a great backdrop for pictures!

Easy DIY Thanksgiving Bunting Flag Banner

Have you made bunting before? How did yours differ from mine?

Did you partake in any last-minute Thanksgiving holiday crafts this season?

 

Linking up with: Wow Us Wednesdays, And Sew We Craft, From Dream to Reality,

 

DIY Halloween Wine Bottles Decor

It’s that time of year, folks! As September crept by, I began to see the rollout of Halloween decor in all my favorite stores. Of course I made the annual grumble, thinking, “It’s still 100+ degrees out, how the hey can I get in the mood to buy halloween stuff right now?!” But, truth be told, I love Halloween and fall decor. Fall has become one of my FAVORITE times of the year, and I love the pretty colors that go along with this season.

So, during this time, I wanted to try out a new DIY project I had pinned a while back:

Decorative Halloween Wine Bottles

(It should also be mentioned that I’m a bit of a wine-o, and I admittedly indulge in a glass or two of red wine each night.) I took inspiration from here, here, and here, and got to work.

Materials Needed:

  • 7 wine bottles

  • Large pot for soaking bottles 2 at a time

  • Tempera paint in: red, green, white, orange, and black

  • Brushes for painting: a wide brush for base coats, a small brush for details

  • Halloween-themed ribbon (or black tulle if you opt for that look)

  • Krylon gloss finishing spray

 

Directions:

Step 1: Take off the wine labels.

Like an amateur, I attempted to just peel off the label on my first go. Yeah, that doesn’t work too well. So, I Googled some ideas and finally opted for soaking my bottles in a pot of hot (but not boiling) water for 15 minutes at a time. I noticed that adding some dish soap helped for the extra pesky labels.

After soaking, use a butter knife to scrape off the wet labels. It’s ok if some residue from the glue does not come off, but keep in mind this will keep your bottle from having a completely smooth finish.

Empty Wine Bottles for DIY Project Soak Wine Bottles to Remove Wine Labels Soak Wine Bottles to Remove Wine Labels Wine Bottle Removed from Wine Label

Step 2: Paint!

I noticed that the inspiration photos seemed to have a spray paint base, but let’s face it, I’m a college student, and if there’s a way to save money but have the same overall effect, you better believe I’ll find it!

I opted to paint both the base coat background and my designs for the Halloween wine bottles with Tempera paint. Plus sides: Super cheap, dries extra quickly to make coating to faster. Down sides: Goes on thin, so will need plenty of coats, dries with a chalky finish (I found the remedy for this downside, keep reading to find out), and can crack or get air bubbles if you don’t wait for the coat to dry completely before coating again.

painted halloween wine bottles

 

Step 3: Spray with Finish and Top with a Bow.

Because I wasn’t a fan of the chalky finish, and I wanted to make sure my bottles would last more than one season, I went out to the craft store and picked up some gloss finishing spray from Krylon. This stuff is great, since you can use it on practically any surface, and it leaves a clear shine to whatever project you’ve completed. Best part? The store was having a buy 2 deal, so I picked up some chalkboard paint spray from Krylon as well (to use on other projects as seen here and here and here!).

I decided on a cute small ribbon with Halloween colors that would go with all the bottles. I’ve seen some pins where people opted for black tulle, or even spray painted burlap black for a BOO-rific shabby chic look. This is a fun way to change up your halloween wine bottles decor look each season by simply swapping out the ribbon!

diy Halloween painted wine bottles

Halloween painted wine bottles diy project

(Please ignore the Christmas PJ Pants… I obviously have my holidays a bit mixed up! 😛 )

So, what do you think? Have you dabbled in any budget decor for Halloween season? What’s your favorite upcycling technique with wine bottles?

Until Next Time…

DIY Sock Bun Tutorial

I don’t know about you, but I try to wash my hair every other day because of its oily-ness. My roots get oily, but my ends stay dry and brittle, especially if I over-wash. Unfortunately, wearing my hair down isn’t always an option, whether it’s because I’m on-the-go, don’t have time to do my hair, or am experiencing a case of “second-day hair.” When this happens, I turn to the sock bun.

I love a well-made sock bun, because while it takes just minutes to complete, it looks chic all day, and is work, school, restaurant, gym, bar-ready. It’s one of the most adaptable hairstyles depending on the occasion, and is easily accomplished in just 3 easy steps. See for yourself and learn how to perfect the sock bun in my Step-by-Step video:

Step-by-Step Video Tutorial for a DIY Sock Bun

 

Pictures and Written Instructions

In order to create your sock bun, you will need the following items:

DIYsockbunneededitems

 

To create the sock bun cushion, follow the steps provided at the beginning of the video. You will want to cut your sock as shown in the following picture:

cuttingsockforbun

The sock bun is so versatile, and can be achieved in three easy steps:

3 step sock bun

Step 1

Step 1 Put Hair in Ponytail

Step 2

roll bun with sock cushion

Step 3

 secure sock bun with pins

The Final Result

After these three simple steps, you should be left with a donut-shaped bun like this!

diy sock bun tutorial result

 

 

Let me know how it turned out for you, and what other hairstyle tutorials you would like to see! Stay tuned for more DIY tutorials to come! 🙂

 

DIY Thrifty Gift

No one likes showing up to a birthday party without a gift. But at times there are reasons beyond your control for not being able to have one. Perhaps you couldn’t find the coveted jewelry they wanted, completely forgot about the party until day of and didn’t find anything gift-able, or, worse yet, didn’t have the money to get anything. But what if you could make a sentimental, heartfelt, and enjoyable gift for just under $10?

Back in November of 2011, I had just started seeing my boyfriend at the time, J.S. We were planning to celebrate his 25th birthday with a low-key dinner and bowling night, but of course I wanted to get him something special as his girlfriend. In late September, I took a trip back to California for family matters. At the airport, preparing to go back to Texas, I realized that both my debit card and driver’s license were missing. I was fortunate enough to have enough information on me to make the flight back home. However, my two cards were still missing. 

I got that all sorted out eventually, but in the meantime, I had NO idea how I was going to get a gift for J.S. with just $30 cash in my name for the next week or so. I decided that I wasn’t to spend more than $15 on his birthday (gift and bowling included), that way I saved the other half for gas, food, and other necessities until my replacement debit card came in the mail. I did the math and decided I needed to save at least $6 for the bowling alley. But what could I get for under $9 at such sort notice that really meant something?  

And so began the gift that actually impressed my boyfriend and showed him how thoughtful I can be:

 

The Thrifty Gift: Riddles and Rhymes

Total cost for this gift: $7.86

Total time spent: 1 day

Appreciation towards gift: Undoubted

 

The riddles and rhymes gift became a combination of Pinterest pins involving inexpensive gifts. I whipped them all together with a few of my own ideas for a 6-piece gift. Each piece had a numbered riddle attached. A note in the gift explained that he was to start with #1 and work his way to #6, trying to guess what each gift was based on the riddle before opening it. Each object inside was tailored towards a specific item he had mentioned liking in passing as we dated. It’s perfect for those celebrating their 6-month-iversary, 6 year anniversary, or a birthday with your significant other. (Please forgive the terribly unfocused pictures. As you can imagine, it was a pretty hectic week, and I hadn’t quite figured out my phone’s zoom and focus features just yet! But an out of focus example is better than no example,right?)

 

Wrapping paper: $1 at Dollar Tree

Ribbon: leftover ($1 at Dollar Tree)

Greeting card covers used as numbered riddle cards: leftover ($2.50 at Staples Center)

I noticed that a set of thank you cards I already had somewhat matched the polka dot pattern of my wrapping paper. So, I used scissors to cut off the decorative front and pasted the riddles on the back of it.

 

J.S. had told me that he doesn’t drink much soda pop, but when he does he prefers Coke Zero. So, using this information, I added the soda riddle to a wrapped up single bottle of Coke Zero. 

Coke Zero: $1.32 at gas station

Total so far: $2.32

 

J.S. had also mentioned his fondness of pistachio nuts over others. I thought the cheesy but cute riddle was a great touch to giving him that snack.

Pistachio Nuts: $1.25 at grocery store

Total so far: $3.57

 

The boyfriend never mentioned liking Rice Krispy Treats, but I couldn’t help but add this one in! 

One Rice Krispy Treat: $1 at gas station

Total so far: $4.57

 

I was always stealing his gum, so I thought this was a great way to repay him for all the times he attributed to my minty breath.

Orbit gum: $1.29 at gas station

Total so far: $5.86

 

Alright, to explain this one I have to let the cat out of the bag. J.S. and I actually met on Plenty of Fish, a free online dating site. I had just moved from California and was looking to meet new people, friends or otherwise. He had been in Dallas from Michigan for some time with no luck in meeting the right person. And there you have it. I threw in some Swedish Fish candy to the mix in order to add this clever, personal riddle.

Swedish fish: $1 at Dollar Tree

Total so far: $6.86

 

 

 

This last one was by far my favorite item of the bunch, and actually the most cost-efficient! I found out through a random Pinterest posting that it’s possible to create your own, printable subway art at Wordle. Using terms I knew about J.S. in the few months we dated and taking advantage of the extra Matte photo paper I had on hand from a previous photography course, I created a keepsake he still displays in his room. 

Photo paper: leftover ($4.99 at Amazon and eBay)

Picture frame: $1 at Dollar Tree

Total for gift: $7.86

 

The boyfriend was touched that I had put so much thought and effort into this gift; it didn’t matter the cost. I, personally, would be so appreciative if someone took the time to set up a gift like this for me. The ‘ole saying “It’s the thought that counts” really rings true in this case.

All of the riddles (save for #5 and #6) are available for print from The Dating Divas.

If you try this out, let me know how it works out for you! I’d love to see your completed gift sets! 🙂

 

DIY T-Shirt to Tank Tutorial

A Step-by-Step Guide to a New Workout Wardrobe Essential!

BEFORE: “Drab!”

 

AFTER: “Fab!”

Have a few old t-shirts laying around and don’t know what to do with them? If you’re a girl who likes to look good, work out, and not spend a fortune doing either, then this is a craft designed for you! These rugged-looking tanks are a hit at the gym, and can be made out of any jersey cotton t-shirt. They’re also a great bikini cover-up in the summer, as they cover you adequately but allow your body to breathe during that dreadful heat. Follow this step-by-step guide for a DIY (Do It Yourself) racerback tank, and turn that “DRAB” t-shirt into a “FAB” workout essential! Let’s get started:

For this craft you will need:

An old t-shirt to cut up
A pair of scissors

Step 1: Cut off the shirt’s collar. 

Follow the perimeter of the collar and cut just below the stitching. 

 

Step 2: Cut off the sleeves. 

How far in you go is up to you. Remember, the farther in you go, the smaller your tank’s straps will end up being. When you determine how far in you would like to cut, follow the curve of the sleeve’s stitching as an example.

When you finish cutting the first sleeve, fold the shirt in half and follow your first cut as a guide for the second sleeve in order to keep the tank symmetrical. 

Step 3: Cut off the t-shirts hem. 

Most t-shirts have a double hem at the bottom, giving them a clean finish. To achieve a more rugged look, cut off the hem completely, but be sure to save the scraps.

Step 4: Cut the loop. 

When you finish cutting the hem off, you should be left with a long, skinny loop. Using your scissors, cut the loop in order to create a long, ribbon-like string.

Step 5: Cut the stitches off the string. 

While stitches can give fabric a finished look, you will need to stretch this string later on, and the stitches will prevent you from doing so. Cut the string all the way down, being sure to cut closely to the stitch line. You can go ahead and put the stitched fabric in the scrap pile, but hang on to the folded fabric string.

Step 6: Stretch! 

This is a fun part. Using both hands, stretch out the string so it becomes thinner and begins to curl. Have fun with it! When you’re done you should end up with a long, slightly-rolled string. 

Step 7: Turn the back of the shirt into a “Racerback”. 

I love racerback tanks because they show off my shoulder blades, and essentially all of the hard work I’m doing to strengthen my upper-back muscles. To achieve this look, cut a “U” shape into the back, allowing it to expose more skin. Use your scrap from this as a guide to cut the other side the same way in order to keep your back symmetrical.

Step 8: Cut a V. 

In order to make skinny straps, you need to get rid of excess fabric. Cut a deep “V” into your racerback. The bigger your “V”, the skinnier your straps in the end. Try not to go past your mid back. 

Step 9: Wrap the V. 

Take the skinny, rolled rope you created earlier and tie a double knot around both of the “V” straps, about three fingers in from the top. Wrap the rope around the two straps over and over until you come to a few inches left of rope. You can double up on the wrapping in order to create a shorter “knot” in the back. When you finish wrapping, tie another double knot at the end. Cut off the excess rope strands at the top and bottom.

Step 10: Alterations. 

Do you prefer V-necks or U-necks? High-to-low hem, or hems with higher sides? Use this step to alter your shirt and give it your own flair. I created two shirts and gave them each a slightly different alter (finished products are down below on Step 12). In the example pictures below, I chose a high-sides hem. To do this, fold your shirt in half, and cut a diagonal line, starting low in the “middle” folds of the shirt and going higher as you get to the edges.

Step 11: Stretch some more! 

Take a look at your tank so far. It looks good, but it’s not finished just yet! Try on your tank, and let’s focus on getting those straps a little more long, lean, and loose. Pull down on your shirt from all sides in order to stretch it out a bit and add to the rugged, workout look. 

Step 12: Flaunt it. 

Do a happy dance, because you have just finished your DIY workout tank, and are now ready to go flaunt your thrifty attire at the nearest gym! Try your hand at a few more, and do something different each time. Try a different hemline, skinnier straps, a different neck cut, etc. Check out these two I completed in a matter of minutes!

Slightly lower U-neck line.
Medium-sized straps, high-sides hemline. 

 

Low U-neck line; High-to-low hemline.
Small straps, extra deep V-cut in back! Lookin’ good!

Hope you enjoy this 12-step guide! If you try it out, be sure to let me know! Post a picture link in a comment, or mention #ADashofSarah on a Twitter/Instagram pic! Good luck, stay healthy, and stay FABulous!

Is there anything else you’d like to see? Another DIY wardrobe guide? Another t-shirt alteration? Perhaps some home decor craft guides? Comment and let me know! 🙂

ADOSsig