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Crafts, DIY, Home Accessories Ideas December 19, 2016

What a Bright Idea: Lantern-Wrapped Gifts

Who doesn’t love a bountiful gift basket? Nobody. What’s wrong with traditionally wrapped gifts? Nothing. But if you’re in the mood for something different: think lantern-wrapped gifts (as opposed to gift-wrapped lanterns!).

Whatever the occasion, be it the holidays, a housewarming, a birthday or wedding shower, shower them thoughtfulness and a touch of creativity with a delightful “stuffed lantern” filled with some of their favorite things.

For the Coffee Crazed:


Those who are jittery without their java will surely thank you for satisfying their fix. A pound of ground coffee, assorted creamers, a travel mug and a soothing coffee-scented candle are just a few ways to perk them up.

For the Sweet Tooth:

We all have one. The friend who loves that sugar rush. Indulge their obsession with a dreamy assortment of colorfully wrapped chocolates, cookies, taffies and other sweet nothings.

For the Bathroom Hog/Girly-Girly:


Make that girly-girl’s day with a bevy of beauty indulgences…from makeup brushes, nail polish and lipstick, to soaps, scrubs and creams. She’ll surely be looking and feeling her best thanks to you.
Best of all, decorative lanterns keep on giving, even when their gift contents are long gone. Whether filled with candles or ornaments during the holidays, sand and shells during the summer or succulents come spring, they’re a delightful touch—and a charming reminder of you.

 

 

 

Crafts, DIY, How To December 14, 2016

Easy, Inexpensive Gifts—DIY Christmas Baubles

Introduce a touch of magic into your gift-giving this year. With a little preparation and a dash of inspiration you can make a homemade keepsake ornament that’s a true original!

What Yule Need:

  • Glass or plastic ornaments

  • ¼ inch ribbon, yarn or twine

  • Miniature succulents or air plants

  • Pom-poms or cotton balls

  • Sequins or glitter

Get Creative!

Now that you have the materials, it’s time to get crafting! The beauty of this project is that you don’t have to have any special skills or tools, just a few simple doo-dads and a few minutes to assemble the baubles.

Carefully open the ornament and add the embellishments (craft sand, glitter, sequins, pom-poms, moss, dried rosebuds, etc.) through the opening. Be careful, the opening is easily cracked.

Thread ribbon, yarn or twine through the loop so you can hang your creation.

Note: After filling orb, if the weight causes the hanger to detach, a dab of hot glue secures the ornament for hanging.

Joy to the World (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

The baubles are hung by the chimney with care. Aren’t you glad you made a few extra to spare? A gift for a boss or a friend or a spouse—something you made yourself, right in your own house.

Crafts, How To November 28, 2016

Purr-fectly Easy DIY Cat Toys

The holidays are a time to give thanks, spend time with family and friends and eat your favorite holiday treats. But sometimes we forget the tiniest and fluffiest members of the family: our pets. This year we encourage you to get in touch with your crafty nature and create some toys your cat (and maybe Fido) will love.

Here’s how to get started on all your kitten caboodle.

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The cat wand is fast becoming the kitty craze of the season and will keep you and your cat entertained for days.

Supplies:

-Fabric Tape

-Stick

-Super Glue

-Scissors

-Fabric or Felt

-Feathers

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Instructions:

Step one: Using your scissors, cut mutiple strips of fabric. The more the merrier for kitty!

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Step two: Layer the strips on top of one another at various angles and lay the tip of the stick on the strips.

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Step three: Roll the strips around the stick and use the fabric tape to attach the strands.

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Step four: Finally, attach feathers to the ends of a few strips using the super glue.

Voila!

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The kitty cat wonder ball is easy to make and costs $0.

Supplies:

-Empty toilet paper roll

-Scissors

-Markers or colored pencils

-Cat treats

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Instructions:

Step one: Flatten the toilet roll and cut strips about finger width.

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Step two: Layer the strips into one another creating a ball shape.

Step three: Add designs to your kitty treat wonder ball using felt-tip markers.

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Step four: Slip your cat’s favorite treats into the center of the ball.

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Your cats won’t be able to take their paws off these toys.

Share your DIY pet toys with us on Instagram at #myashleyhome.

Crafts, DIY, Entertaining November 21, 2016

Turkey Platter: DIY Thanksgiving Project

There are three things that get me excited for the holiday season: family, food, and crafts (yes, in that order)!  While brainstorming DIY craft ideas, I kept my favorite things in mind to be sure that the end result would be something we could treasure forever, or at least until someone accidentally drops it. I really wanted to find a project that was easy enough for the kids to help with but stylish enough to use for years to come. So, considering the approaching fall holidays, I decided a DIY painted turkey platter would be both festive and fun.

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What you’ll need:

Enamel acrylic paint

Paint brushes

Ceramic platter 

Permanent marker

Cotton swabs and nail polish remover (for touch-ups)

Step 1: Pick your paint and platter.

For this project, you’ll want to use a water based, non-toxic enamel acrylic paint so that your creation will withstand normal wear and tear such as gentle use and washing.  Since this dish is Thanksgiving themed, I’ll be sticking to traditional falls colors like orange, brown, red, yellow, and green.  As for the platter itself, I opted for something with a large, flat surface, to give me plenty of room to be creative.

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Step 2: Get to it!

Clean the platter thoroughly to get rid of any dirt and oil, and make sure it’s completely dry.  Begin by painting the kids’ hands brown and placing them firmly in the center of the dish, these will become the turkey bodies and feathers.  If you’d like to add more color, rather than painting their entire hand brown, you can paint the fingers yellow, orange, and red.  Once the handprints have dried, add the wattle, beak, and eye using a paint brush.  When the entire turkey is dry and the kiddos’ hands have been washed, you can add leaves by painting the kids’ fingertips and having them press down around the border of the platter.  If they accidentally smudge or want to redo the paint, a cotton swab and some nail polish remover will take it off with ease. After this, you can add the children’s names under their turkey and any other desired text by using a paint pen.

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Step 3: Bake it and enjoy!

Bake the platter for the specified duration and at the appropriate temperature stated on the paint bottles.

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My favorite part of this platter is that it involves all of the things that I love about the holiday season—it’s something that I can do with the little ones, it’s the perfect amount of DIY effort, and it pairs with food. I’m not sure if it gets much better than that. It’s the ultimate Win-Win project!  Remember, you aren’t just creating a turkey platter, you’re making memories. Share your results with us at #MyAshleyHome.

Crafts, DIY, Home Accessories Ideas November 14, 2016

DIY Terrarium with Succulents

If you want to bring vibrant greenery indoors but are not looking forward to the upkeep, succulent terrariums are a great option. Not only do the plants require extremely little maintenance, but building the terrarium itself is a great way to exercise your creativity. Follow these easy steps to bring a touch of nature into your home!

To begin, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Glass container–this can be anything from a bowl or jar to a glass box (featured)
  • Pebbles or rocks
  • Activated charcoal
  • Soil
  • Variety of small, slow-growing succulents
  • Moss

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Step 1: Cover the bottom 1/4 of your glass container with a layer of rocks to provide drainage for the plants.

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Step 2: Fill in the pebbles with a layer of activated charcoal. Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, can be tricky to track down so check your local nurseries, online retailers or pet stores where it’s often used for filtration in fish tanks. Activated charcoal helps maintain the soil’s freshness, eliminate odors, remove toxins, and prevent the growth of bacteria.

Step 3: Top the charcoal with a layer of soil that extends halfway up your container. Be sure to buy the appropriate soil for the type of succulents you’re using. In our example, we used cactus soil.

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Step 4: Now for the fun part–you can finally begin arranging your succulents in the container. Start with the largest plants first, then fill in with smaller ones. Use care when pulling the plants from their original containers as succulents break easily. And remember to leave some empty (or negative) space so your plants have room to grow.

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Step 5: Once your succulents are arranged, top the soil with moss for a finished look.

Terrarium

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And voilà, you’re done! You created a stylish terrarium garden that brings the beauty and air-cleansing benefits of nature into your home. Keep your habitat healthy by storing it out of direct sunlight and watering as needed. Your plants will thank you!

 

Crafts, DIY, Fall Inspiration November 11, 2016

FALL AND HOLIDAY DOOR DECORATING 101

Think of your front door as a greeting card. First impressions start there, so decorate it and create a warm welcome for guests this holiday season. Here are some helpful tips to help you get started on a door that will impress.

FALL AND WINTER DOORS

Explore endless possibilities.

  • Use store-bought wreaths (live or artificial). Embellish them with additional decorations like colorful leaves, berries, ribbons and acorns for fall. For winter; bells, holly, pinecones, ornaments, berries, bows and poinsettias are all great options.

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Draw upon your creativity and make your own door decorations. For fall, ideas include: hanging a thin wicker flower holder filled with colorful leaf branches, flowers, dried colorful corn, small gourds, acorns and curly ting. If you want to create a unique fall wreath, learn how to make one HERE. For winter, rather than a wreath, get a swag made of fir tree branches and adorn it with holiday decorations of your choice.

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Take unusual things from around your home and embellish them with everything that’s fall or winter. For example, turn an ordinary straw hat into a scarecrow, turn the head of an old rake into a beautiful decoration or get a large first initial of your last name and attach decorations—great for family pride.

NOW YOU HAVE DECORATIONS—HOW DO YOU GET THEM ON THE DOOR?

  • If you have a wood door and plan to always have something hanging there, use a nail or cup hook. Put the nail/hook high enough on the door so whatever is hung won’t be too low.

Hint: the decorations themselves can be adjusted as you like.

  • Ribbon and thumbtacks can be used to create a hook. Simply cut the ribbon to desired length. Overlap the two ends of the ribbon and tack the ends to the top of the door.
  • If you have a steel or aluminum door, an over-the-door wreath hanger is a great option. A double hanger is even a better because it gives you the convenience of hanging decorations on both sides of the door.
  • Outdoor Command hooks are another great choice. They come in all sizes and shapes. Find hooks that are strong enough to handle the weight of your decorations. These provide flexibility to hang multiple decorations using different hooks wherever needed on the door. Remove them from the door without damaging it, per the instructions.

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Reminder: Don’t block the peephole when hanging decorations.

After decorating the door, frame the doorway using garland. Coordinate the garland with the door decorations. On either side of the door, add pots with corn stalks and flowers for fall, and for the holidays, add small trees and decorations. Hint: work with what you already have—put decorations or lights on the bench or porch swing for added charm.

Do you have any crafty ideas for decorating doors? We’d love to hear any decorating ideas you may have in the comments section.

Bedroom Ideas, Crafts, DIY November 11, 2016

Reading Between the Lines–DIY projects for Books and Nooks

Let’s get real here—it can be downright frustrating (and nearly impossible) to get your kids away from their tablets and apps. They seem to constantly have their heads glued to an electronic device of some sort or another. Too much screen time contributes to headaches, eye-strain and even sleep disorders. Maybe it’s time to get your children back to basics with some good old-fashioned reading. Try our easy and creative ways to update their bookcases and inspire some serious R&R (reading and relaxation)!

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Darling Decorative Tape

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Most craft stores carry a huge assortment of decorative tapes. Narrow your choice to 4-8 patterns in complementary colors so you can mix and match as we have done. Be sure to double-check the packaging to make sure the tape is removable, in case you ever want to swap it out for a whole new look.

To begin, lay the bookcase flat on its back and start your pattern on one side of each cubby. Next, measure and carefully cut the tape to the proper length, then smooth each strip in place as you work your way across the surface.  Finally, add your accessories and sit back and admire your handiwork.

Beautiful Book Covers

Does it bother you when the book covers don’t match the colors and design of the room you’re decorating? Don’t worry, be happy—these DIY wrapping paper book covers are a simple way to keep your color scheme pulled together while also protecting the books from damage.

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We created these beauties by first removing the covers from our favorite books and laying them flat on a piece of wrapping paper. Then we traced an outline around the cover and carefully cut it out. Now fold the cover back into the book for a sweet and stylish look.

Bonus: If you feel up to the task, try your hand at using a paint pen in a fun color to write the title of the book on the spine or the front cover!

How did your projects turn out? We’d love to see your book looks on our Instagram feed. Be sure to include #MyAshleyHome.

 

 

Crafts, DIY, How To October 16, 2016

Scary Easy No-Carve Pumpkins for Halloween

Between making or shopping for costumes and loading up on candy, there’s not always a lot of time for carving an intricate pumpkin. Instead of carving boring triangle eyes and a crooked smile, why not make a no-carve pumpkin that only looks like it took hours to make? You’ll not only impress trick-or-treaters but your uncut pumpkin will last all season long!

All That Glitters

For this simply chic look, start by choosing a pumpkin with a long stem.

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Next, paint the body of your pumpkin in your favorite color. You can also color match your decor or use a metallic paint for a more formal look.

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After your pumpkin dries, coat the stem in a thick layer of glue and cover in glitter.

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Paint it Black

Begin by painting your pumpkin with chalk paint. (Every brand of paint is different, so be sure to follow the instructions on the can.)

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Use a chalk marker to decorate your pumpkin. You can either draw on a jack-o-lantern face, try your hand at chalkboard lettering or do something a little more abstract. The best part? Mistakes simply wipe away! You can also change out your design as the season goes on.

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The Cover Up

Coat a small area of your pumpkin with decoupage (a thick glue that also works as a sealer) and cover that area with tissue paper or pages from an old book. Continue working in small sections until the whole pumpkin is covered.

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Add fall leaves (artificial or from the yard) and other embellishments to the top of the pumpkin.

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Picture Perfect

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How do you decorate your pumpkin for Halloween? Show us on Instagram or Facebook with the tag #myashleyhome.