DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter

On Monday I showed you how I sneakily geared up for fall by making these darling t-shirt flowers for my grapevine wreath.  Then I told you I would be back to tell you what I stuck in that empty space and how I did it.  So…I’m baaaaaaaaack!  Are you as super duper pumped for fall as I am??  I may or may not have taken a lap around the house yelling my excitement since the last time we talked.  I warned you it may happen.

But I know that you’re just dying to find out what I stuck in that empty spot and how I finished my wreath.  Ok, ok you twisted my arm.  I don’t always jump on the decorating bandwagon but when I do I jump on with both feet.  Right now I’m super in love with the teal craze sweeping Pinterest and mason jars have always been a favorite of mine.  What I love unexpectedly?  Burlap.  Never, ever in my life did I think I would enjoy the look of burlap.  Learn something new every day.

When I came across this poor little L at JoAnn’s the other week I politely asked the cashier if she would be able to give me a discount since it was damaged.  She agreed without hesitation and I was surprised that she gave me a whole 50%!  Thanks super nice cashier lady!

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

Since it was slightly smooshed I knew I had to cover it with something.  I took to Instagram and asked for your opinions.  I was looking for something that I could work with across all the seasons.  I didn’t want to have to cover and recover this every time I changed my wreath.  That’s not to say I might not be on the look out for another L in the future but right now one letter does it for me. The general consensus was twine!  But I didn’t have twine and I was on a spending freeze :(  So I picked up these burlap gift bags from Target using a gift card that I won from the wonderful Jen at Tatertots & Jello!

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

These were $4.99 for a 4 pack and were super easy to take apart and lay flat.  I cut off the little ties and those hems at the top of the bag because they were just getting in my way.

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

When I initially laid my L over the bag I did a mental happy dance!  Maybe some actually dancing, too.  I can’t recall.  Anyway, I thought, “Yay!  It fits and I won’t have to open up two bags!”  Except.  Duh.  I obviously needed two bags because it’s not big enough to wrap it around.  Slow moment.

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

I basically wrapped the letter like a present, making sure to pull it tightly, and secured everything with hot glue.  Let me just say thank goodness I’m an expert present wrapper.  Seriously, my friends and family are always asking me to wrap their presents for them around the holidays.  Because this would have been a lot harder without present-wrapping expertise.

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

It helped me keep the tops looking super spiffy and gave me a great idea to crease the L on the diagonal so I could add another piece without it looking haphazard and messy.

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

I think I actually like the way the crease looks better than if it was covered with one piece.  It gives it character and depth and some other fancy shmancy decorating word.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

Since the hot glue dried clear and I knew no one would be all up on this letter every single day I used a thin layer of hot glue to keep the back from fraying.  Worked like a charm.  And lastly I cut a pipe cleaner in half and attached it to the back at the top and bottom with hot glue so I could attach it to the wreath without seeing anything on the front.

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

Isn’t that just so stinkin’ cute??  I can already see a hazy vision of adding some black and white polka dotted ribbon for Halloween.  Maybe some candy corn {but not real candy corn!  We don’t waste that stuff around here!} or a pumpkin.  And you will almost certainly see a Turkey on this thing during November.

DIY Burlap-Wrapped Letter | DIYfaerie

I can even see this letter working with a deep red something something for Christmas.  Get excited y’all!

I’m hoping to get some more stuff and give the porch a little makeover this weekend {and a good scrubbing} and give you a little porch reveal next week!

What kind of decorating trends are you in love with this year?  Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. This is the first project I did entirely in my newly cleaned out craft room, which I’ll be revealing soon!  Picture quality isn’t too shabby since the room is basically a window-less cave but I’m still praying for a camera for my birthday!

Meaghan from DIYfaerie

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DIY T-Shirt Flowers

Every year about this time I have the overwhelming urge to run through my house yelling “Fall is coming!  Fall is coming!”  Fall is absolutely my favorite season and I could probably write an entire blog post about why I love it so much.  Maybe I will.  Lucky you.  For now I’ll just enrapture you with some fun and easy DIY fall projects.

No one else in my house quite understands my love of seasonal decorating.  If I left my mom to her own devices we might decorate for Christmas and that would be it.  It’s a travesty!  If I could {and one day I will} decorate for each and every holiday I’d figure out a way to make a Christopher Columbus pillow so that no holiday was left out.  It’s that intense.

After a year of living here I have finally convinced my family to let me do a little more decorating.  The key with this bunch, though, is to start small.  So I started with a couple of DIY projects for my grapevine wreath.  We don’t really ever use the porch or front door so it’s the perfect way to help me feel like I’m decorating without alerting the occupants to any actual decorating going on.  That’s the important part.  Allow them to live in their blissful decorating-free existence until one day…BAM…things are decorated.

I might eventually make them love decorating as much as I do but I won’t hold my breath.  Blue isn’t really my color.  So as long as I can decorate and they can pretend like decorating isn’t going on we’re pretty happy campers.

I saw this idea for t-shirt flowers forever ago and briefly considered doing them for the fourth of July but I was out of town so they got put on the back burner.  I tried making them with leftover scraps from my DIY Ottoman Slipcover but the fabric was too thick and heavy and they were an epic fail.  So they got put on hold again.  Until fall rolled around and I decided to actually try them with t-shirts.

I didn’t really want to go out and buy some brand new t-shirts just to cut them up so I raided my closet instead and pulled out an orange and a white t-shirt that were too small or had holes in them.  I haven’t decided how I’m going to Halloween it up yet but the orange and white are perfect for fall.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

These are SO easy to make and even if you’re going out and buying t-shirts it’s a pretty inexpensive way to decorate your wreath for any season.  You could also use these for table decorations, place markers, the ideas are endless!

What You’ll Need

T-shirt in the color of your choice
Scissors
Foam Core or Cardboard (to make your forms)
Box Cutter (to cut forms)
Pipe Cleaners (to attach to your wreath)

Directions

1. Decide how big you want your flowers to be and cut a form from your cardboard or foam core.  I used foam core and scissors so that’s why my edges are ragged.  It’s not that serious.  Cut a wedge out of each form so they’re identical.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

2. Cut the hem off your t-shirt and then cut just under the arm pits.  If you’re using an old t-shirt just make sure you cut it underneath any writing.  Cut into strips that are about half an inch to an inch wide.  If you’re using a larger form you’ll want bigger strips.  If you try and use large strips on a small form your flower won’t look as full.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

3. Lay one of your forms on the table and lay a strip of material over it so the ends point down.  Lay the other form on top, sandwiching the material between the two forms.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

4. Take your strips and wrap them around the form, adding a new strip until you have wrapped strips around in about 3 or 4 layers.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

5. Using your scissors cut the strips between the forms.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

6. Remove one form then wiggle the ends of the strip you sandwiched in step three and tie it, pulling tightly.  Remove the second form and tie again.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

7.  Adjust and fluff the ends of the flower, trimming with scissors where necessary.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

8. If you’re planning on using this on a wreath or in a vase as a flower arrangement then you’ll want to add the pipe cleaner.  I pushed a pipe cleaner under the tied strip on the back and twisted it around itself.

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

Aren’t they adorable?You can skip the pipe cleaner step if you want to use these for something else but the pipe cleaner allowed me to thread it through the branches of my wreath and keep the flowers secure.  If you’re going to use them in a vase I recommend using either a green pipe cleaner or wrapping it in floral tape.  Or both!

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

These really turned out super cute and I can’t wait for you to see the finished wreath!  On Wednesday I’ll show you what I stuck in that empty spot and how I did it.

Oh, and in case you needed some other ideas on how you can use these super easy flowers…

DIY T-Shirt Flowers | DIYfaerie

My sister saw me making these on the couch and decided to model one for you guys.  “Make sure you put that on the blog!” she said.  So, there she is.  And these really would be super cute to add to a headband.

How do you usually decorate your wreath for the fall?  Do you have any fall decorating must haves?  Let me know in the comments below!

Meaghan from DIYfaerie

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Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization

Welcome back, friends!  I hope everyone had a good week!  I’m finally over my sickness and so glad to be back in fighting decorating form so I can get to work putting up some fall decorations this weekend!  If you’re back with us for the third week I’m so happy to have you joining us again for our third chapter of the Couponing for Beginners Series!  If you’re new, welcome!  You may want to check out the Couponing 101 and What is a Coupon & Where Can I Find It posts before you dive into this organizational post!

I’m so excited to have my friend Regina here to help me with this post today!  She is an amazing woman and we have become good friends since meeting on Instagram even though we have never met in person.  You should definitely pop over to her Instagram and click that follow button because she posts some amaaaazing couponing hauls and breakdowns and she is the cream of the crop when it comes to Instagram coupon traders!

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Hey y’all, Regina, here!  I met Meaghan through Instagram, and we’ve been chatting and trading coupons for months now.  When she came up with this beginners couponing series and offered me the chance to write a guest post, I snatched up the “Couponing Organizing Methods” with a quickness!  This is a topic near and dear to my heart, since I go back and forth between the two methods about once a month.  I’d say 90% of all couponers use either the binder method or insert method or some combination of both like Meaghan and I do.  I’ll go through them both with you today.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | DIYfaerie

Using the Binder Method

The binder method is my personal favorite and I strongly recommend it if you’re new to couponing.  My personal binder is a purple Case-It brand binder.  They’re easy to find at Target, Wal-Mart, or office supply stores.  I recommend a zipped binder unless you’re a fan of your coupons flying everywhere every time you move it {not fun}.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | DIYfaerie

You will also need dividers and plastic playing card display sheets if you’re taking advantage of this method.  Organizing by binder involves clipping every single coupon you receive and putting them into your display sheets separated by your dividers.  You can make your categories specific to your personal needs but some ideas to get you started are “fruit/veggies”, “refrigerated”, “baby”, “cleaning”, etc.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | DIYfaerie

Once you have all your coupons organized into your binder it’s very easy to just flip to the category and find a coupon you need when you see a good deal.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Method | DIYfaerie

Pros: The biggest pro for the binder method compared to the insert method is that you always have every coupon with you.  This is a great advantage if you find clearance items or an unadvertised deal.
Cons: The biggest con is all this method entails.  You can spend hours clipping and organizing and for those with a busy life that might not be ideal for you.

Using the Insert Method

The insert method is ideal for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time clipping and organizing.  There are many ways you can organize your filed coupons.  I bought a file organizer at Target for about $12.  It’s large and holds about 15 weeks worth of coupon inserts.

Coupning for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert | DIYfaerie

I marked each section inside with the date the coupons came out and which insert they came from {RedPlum, SmartSource, and P&G} and voila!  An easy way to tell which coupons were where.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | DIYfaerie

You can also use magazine organizers, the tall stand up ones that fit on bookshelves, or a hanging file folder box to do the same job.

Using this method when you find a good deal all you have to do is find out what date the coupons came out {easily found on any coupon database}, locate it in your file, clip it, and you’re ready to shop!  You won’t be lugging a huge binder around the store as you can easily fit a few coupons in your wallet or in a small accordion organizer that will fit in your purse.

Pros: The biggest pro for the insert method is that it takes virtually no time at all!  You can easily take 15 minutes out of your Sunday to separate your coupon inserts into your files and mark the date, and you’re done!  The most time you’ll spend is finding the coupon after filing when you see a deal you want to grab.
Cons: The biggest con for this method is not having all your coupons with you at all times.  What if you find clearance items or unadvertised deals that you just know you have a coupon for at home?  You run the risk of missing out on some good deals this way, but you will also find spending less money, as you won’t feel the need to buy something just because you have a coupon for it.

Well, there you have it!  The two main methods for organizing your coupons!  I hope this post helps in your couponing journey.  Thanks for reading and a huge thanks to Meaghan for inviting me to guest write in this awesome series!  Please come on over and follow me on Instagram to see some of my own great couponing hauls and breakdowns!

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Isn’t she just as awesome as I said she would be?!  I started with the binder method but Regina is actually the reason I switched to the insert method and no longer waste hours every Sunday clipping every single coupon.  I would find myself tossing out coupons we probably wouldn’t use because I didn’t feel like clipping and organizing it.  Then it would be totally free in a week or two and I’d kick myself that I tossed it in the trash!

There is no right or wrong method.  Each couponer will swear by their favorite so whichever method you choose you just have to make sure it’s right for YOU and your family.  Chances are if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the time investment of the binder method you won’t stick with couponing very long.

Are you a couponer who uses a totally different method than the one Regina talked about today?  Let me know about it in the comments below!

Meaghan from DIYfaerie

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30 Days of Gratitude Challenge

If I’m being perfectly honest with you, and I want to be perfectly honest with you, I’ve been feeling totally blah lately.  Maybe I’m exhausted from all my fruitless job interviews, or I’m a little stressed about stretching my money until subbing jobs really pick up, or I’m just so ready for summer to be over.  Whatever it is, I’m stuck in a rut.  And I’m not a fan.  Like at all.

Anybody else ever feel like that?  Where basically ain’t nothin’ gonna make you happy?  Except maybe a private massage on a deserted island from a guy named Javier who looks like a Greek God.  I’m sorry…what was I saying?  Oh, right.  Rut.  My sister informed me the other night in her subtle-like-a-sledge-hammer way that I’ve been pretty negative lately.

It bums me out.  I mean, I don’t want to be negative.  I’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s constant negativity.  It exhausts me so I can only imagine how dead tired they must be at the end of the day.  So it got me thinking.  I even started to make a list about things I could do to be more positive.  But then I stopped.  I stopped making a list you guys, something must really be wrong with me!!

I just wasn’t feeling it.  Sure, I could sit down and write a dozen lists about things I should be am grateful for but I needed a little something extra.  A push, a pull, a cheer.  Something that wasn’t just me telling myself “what is wrong with you you have all these things to be grateful for!!”  Really, that route just seemed to turn the negativity inward.  Like I’m badgering myself for not being happy!  Definitely not the way I wanted to go.

And then I had it.  I was totally inspired.  A few weeks ago my mom did a 5 days of gratitude challenge.  Every day she posted 3 things she was grateful for on her Facebook page.  She invited me to do it after but I completely forgot about it.  Until now.  Thanks, Mom.

I didn’t want to do just 5 days though.  Knowing me, five days wouldn’t cut it.  It isn’t long enough to make it a habit.  To really help me change my way of thinking.  Because, let’s face it.  My life isn’t changing in the foreseeable future so if I can’t see the silver lining in my little cloud then I’m going to be a pretty miserable person.  And I’d rather not be on the receiving end of my sister’s brutal wisdom again anytime soon.

Partly motivated by fear of my sister and mostly motivated by a serious need to inject some joy back into my life I decided a gratitude challenge was in order.  But I was going to beef up my mom’s 5 day challenge with steroids and go for 30 days.  Now I have this weird visual of a body builder flexing his muscles with a bunch of positive words written on his body.  Is that just me?  It’s probably just me.  Moving on…

So now MY challenge is to challenge YOU to participate in my 30 days of gratitude challenge.  You have to do it now that I used the word challenge so many times in one sentence.  It’s like…a rule.  You don’t need to worry about how long it’s been a rule.  Just know that it is.

Of course you don’t have to take this challenge.  You can just mentally pat me on the head and move on to the next amazing blog post.  But, really, what do you have to lose?  Who wouldn’t benefit from finding one thing in their life to be grateful for every day for the next 30 days?  Besides, my birthday is coming up.  Consider it your birthday present to me.  {Yeah, I’m not above bribery.}

So pop on over to Instagram and click that follow button and keep up with my #gratefulthirty journey!  And use my hashtag, too.  ‘Cause I want to see what YOU’RE grateful for.  And also I’ve never created my own hashtag before so that would be pretty much awesome.  Not an Instagram user?  You can follow me on Facebook, too.

I’m pumped!  I’m excited!  I’m really hoping not to get another painfully honest lecture from my sister about being negative.

30 Days of Gratitude Challenge | DIYfaerie

30 days of gratitude.  Let’s do this thing.  #gratefulthirty

What’s one way you inspire some positivity in your life?  Share with me in the comments below!

Meaghan from DIYfaerie

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Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Happy Monday, y’all!  I hope everyone had a great weekend that I can live through vicariously because I was sick.  All.  Weekend.  Long.  Thanks, Mom.  I can deal with the stuffy nose and the scratchy throat its just the general blah feeling and pounding sinus headache I could certainly do without.  Plus my struggle between wanting to take medicine to make it all go away and my hippie I’ll let my own immune system take care of it is very real.  I’m about to suck it up and down some DayQuil though because being in front of a room full of kindergartners sick is never a good idea.  They can sense your weaknesses!  And nobody wants to end up tied to a chair by a bunch of 5 year olds on a Monday.

But back to this delicious dip.  I mentioned in my August Savings Update that several weeks ago my favorite grocery store had a “super savings” event where they double all coupons up to $2.  I know, I know.  Crazy right?  I live for these events and the week or two leading up to them is generally consumed with careful, crazy planning and organizing.  The sales go live on Wednesday morning at 7am and for the first time I wasn’t working.  I knew I HAD to go.  But I also knew I wanted to do more than one transaction.  {Don’t worry my friend Audrey will talk about what a “transaction” is in her upcoming post for the Couponing for Beginners Series ;)}

To do that I needed to take some extra bodies along with me.  Enter my brother and sister.  They’re 16 and 22 respectively and other than reaping the benefits and my sister occasionally going with me to entertain her shopping addiction neither of them much care about couponing.  My sister was sufficiently bribed with Starbucks.  But have you ever tried to peel a teenage boy out of bed at 5:45 in the morning during his last week of summer?  I knew I had to bring out the big guns.

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip | DIYfaerie

Spinach artichoke dip.  He’d been asking for this dip for a solid month at this point and I just hadn’t found any of the ingredients on sale.  Lucky for him this super savings event provides a LOT of overage {basically they pay you to take things out of the store.  Did I mention this is my favorite store ever??} so I used that to cover the ingredients I needed for the dip that weren’t on sale.

This dip is creamy and cheesy and fabulous.  This made enough for about 6 or 8 people so if you want to take it to a party I’d suggest doubling or tripling it!  Serve warm with crackers or crusty bread toasted lightly in the oven.  I know the way to my brother’s heart is with tortilla chips so I picked up some blue corn chips and they were really, really good with this.

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip | DIYfaerie

 

Ingredients

12 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonaise
3 Tbs sour cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese ({plus more for garnish}
1 15oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/8 tsp salt

Directions

1. Mix together your wet ingredients.
2. Add in the artichoke hearts, spinach, and salt and mix so it’s evenly coated
3. Top with parmesan cheese and mozzarella
4. Pour into an oven safe dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until cheese is browned on top

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip | DIYfaerie

 

This dip is so creamy and cheesy and ah-may-zing!  In my house you can NEVER have too much cheese and I never, ever measure it.  That browned cheesy goodness on top is seriously my favorite part.  I’ve seen lots of different recipes for this dip but since my brother doesn’t like sour cream {we still don’t know what’s wrong with him} I went for one that didn’t call for much.

Serve it hot or, as my brother likes it, room temperature with your favorite dipping medium and everyone at your upcoming holiday party will love you!

Do you have a favorite, go-to dip recipe you like to take to parties?  Share it below and maybe I’ll feature it on the blog!

Savings Tip: Even if you don’t have “super saver” events in your town like I do you can still save money on these ingredients by buying the items when they go on sale and waiting until you have them all.  All savings are good savings!

Meaghan from DIYfaerie

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