A Creative Weekend- Our Rosie Wreath

If you come over for dinner or just to play at the Porter residence, you’ll notice a fun DIY project greeting you at the door. This is our new rosie little wreath, compliments of the Pretty Poppy and their super easy instructions. She spent less than $8 on her project, mine was more like $12. It was so easy and fun, I’m thinking about making more wreaths. I’m just running out of space to hang them.

Here are the step by steps (steps by step?), pulled straight from their fabulous blog. I thought about making my own instructions, but hers are too good to mess with. You could even do a fun orange or red for the holidays. I can hear the creative minds churning… enjoy!


18 inch wreath
1 yard of felt
glue gun
an old c.d.

Getting started:

To make the pretty little roses, begin by cutting out a whole bunch of circles from the felt, using the c.d. as a pattern. To speed up the process, I cut long strips of felt the width of the c.d., then folded it up accordion style so that I could cut out about 7 or 8 circles at a time.

Next, spiral cut each circle. I layered my circles three at a time when I did this. Start from the edge and spiral cut all the way around until you get to the middle. Then, take a spiral and roll it up. Starting with the middle, roll it so that the edge you cut is all lined up and even. Thus, the bottom will be flat and the top of your rose will have dimension.

Start out by making a bunch of roses. I made a smaller size as well by cutting the spiral of felt in half before rolling. I liked the added interest that two sizes of roses created.

When you are ready, heat up your glue gun and start attaching the flowers to your wreath. Before placing each rose on the wreath, be sure to put a dot of glue on the outer flap to hold it in place. Then, cover the bottom of the flower with glue and stick it on your wreath.

Keep it up, and soon your wreath will start looking like this:

I found it was easiest if I positioned three or four roses on the wreath first before gluing them. That way I was able to make sure everything fit the way I wanted it to. I also periodically held the wreath up and looked to make sure the roses were evenly circling the edges of the wreath.

Happy crafting!

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Things On My Desk This Week

Thanks to a few antique store visits this weekend and some new purchases, here are the projects on my desk this week.

1. I found these vintage 1980’s patterns at a thrift store in Stillwater. I paid a total of ten cents for the two of them.

In my mind, they translated into the dress I’ve had in my DIY sewing folder for several months. I’m thinking that between the two patterns, I can tweak them to look something like this dress below. I mean, the pattern says, “Ou! C’est Facile!” How hard can it be, right?

2. We have a bar stool we use at our extra tall computer desk that’s begging to be redone. I’ve been thinking of painting it for a long time with a detachable cushion, but found inspiration in a few places this weekend. One was this:

They used bottle caps, but I’m thinking buttons with a built in quilt top cushion.

3. Also on my desk are about 174 embroidery needles that I bought when I couldn’t find the ones I already had, 4 shirts waiting to be upcycled into something I like, and one spool of sequin-y ribbon that I wish was a cocktail dress. Today I think it will be a belt to go with my pajamas. Because what are pajamas without sequin belts?

Photo Attribution: Bar Stool | Desk


Painting With A Twist

I had so many doubts about moving here. As if God were usually wrong. But Dallas offers herself to me in a new light, yet again. Intro: Painting With a Twist.

One painting. Two hours. 35 dollars. Whatever friends you want to invite. And a unique piece of art to take home at the end of the night. It’s a brilliant business model, but an even better way to stretch your creative abilities and consider yourself an artist. They pick one painting, teach you to paint it step by step, and voila, you’re Van Gogh. Here is my finished product:

The Congress Bridge in Austin, bats and all. It will hang in our home and people will ask where we got it. I will then reply, “Oh I painted it, of course.” And then we’ll giggle to know secretly that it wasn’t nearly as hard as it looks. But it will live forever as something I created, with love, in Dallas.


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One Million Pillowcases

So we’ve all heard of Etsy. But you may not have heard about this: The One Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Want to be crafty and make new friends in the name of charity? Here’s the goal: Sew and donate one million pillowcases to local charities while having fun and meeting new people. I’m meeting up with a group in Dallas tonight and there are groups already meeting all over the world. Check out the current list of groups at Meetup.com, or start your own. Etsy has tons of ideas for throwing parties and lots of free patterns. So gather up those old fabric scraps and make them into something wonderful!

Don’t know how to sew? Invite someone who does and you can cut the patterns. You can even make some yourself and give them to the group to donate with all the others. But come on, who doesn’t want to make new craft friends?

I’m in love with the idea of craft parties and I’m pretty sure I’ll want to throw my own after tonight. Stay tuned and happy sewing!


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‘Tis a Gift to be Simple

Let me start by saying that we don’t have kids. So to those of you who do, I’m going to be that annoying kidless lady who has ideals about raising children that won’t ever get put into action because they’re not realistic. I realize that, and I’ll own it. But in this age of technological advances and Baby Einstein videos and expensive toys to teach your kids how to play, I really feel compelled to simplify. We played with pots and pans and dirt. We didn’t wear designer baby shoes and we still learned how to walk.

A married couple we know recently found out they’re having a baby. And this is what we sent them:

She loved the gift so much that it inspired her to write this post (watch out, she’s pregnant) about creativity and simplicity and adventure. At one point she says this:

It just takes a big cardboard box to build a princess a proper castle. A pillow case can turn any ordinary boy into a life-saving, high-flying, superhero. Daddies are so brave and strong they can hunt down and ward off any monster that lurks under the bed or in the closet. Curious George, Ferdinand the Bull, The Cat in the Hat, and The Three Little Pigs all have fame and heart and lessons that will stand the test of time. Mommies give the warmest, snuggliest hugs ever invented. And, an empty wrapping paper roll can quickly become a telescope that helps turn an ordinary night sky into a stargazer’s paradise.

Simplicity isn’t just for babies. Maybe it’s time we buy ourselves some alphabet blocks.

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Snug as a Bug

I feel a little guilty for letting everyone believe, from this post, that I made a rug in one day. The truth is, I made what looked like a rug in one day. Really I just chopped up fabric, made it into giant ropes, and swirled it into something that sort of resembled a rug. The hard part was yet to come.

People used to make these rugs from leftover rags, shirts, whatever they could find. I used actual fabric from JoAnn’s, and I made mine using this nice instructional video. It’s not perfect, but I love it. The difficult and dangerous part was stitching the braids together. I used an embroidery needle, and there were several times throughout the process that I wished I would have been wearing ten thimbles and sometimes full body armor. But the result was more than worth it:

I ended up using about 9 yards of fabric and 4 sets of embroidery thread. Putting it together took more time than I care to admit, but let’s just say it included at least 6 episodes of This American Life, one documentary, and 2 romantic comedies. And that’s how an accidental housewife measures time.

It looks amazing in our little bathroom, and there’s something really beautiful about being able to feel creativity under your feet. It just doesn’t get any better.

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A Stitch in Time

Because a few of you asked (and because I love to share) this is the project I was working on during the infamous Sports Mentor video. I’ve just started playing around with embroidery thread because I was inspired by Anthropologie’s kitchen towels. Every year, I try to convince my family to make handmade gifts for everyone at Christmas. They say no, but I do it anyway, so these are probably what they’re getting. i.e. Mom and sisters speak up now if you want something different. Love you.

I spent about $9 on the 3 tea towels, $14 on thread and needles (but I bought a large amount of both that will last me forever, so I don’t count that in the price) and spent about 12 hours total on the bottom towel. I was so excited at how they turned out, but now I understand why they’re so expensive. The first only took 2-3 hours and the second is still in the draft phase.

I’ll probably have some patterns available online soon if anyone wants to try their hand at embroidery. It’s fun and pretty and girly and Christmas gifty. Who wouldn’t want to try it?

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Wedding Decor: The Tables

The Tables: Where we some people ate

It’s almost comical, and anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows this, that you can spend every waking hour researching and coordinating your wedding, and yet it looks like it all came together in one flash of magic. Poof. Part of me was ecstatic at the thought, part of me wanted to stand on my pretty little table and yell, “You have NO idea how much work this took!!” But in the end I refrained, partly out of dignity, partly because I was wearing a short dress.

First things first: 5 years ago, the average cost for a wedding in America was close to $30,000. We’re bringing that average way down.  Here’s a little bit about how we did it:

I knew the flowers would be a big part of the décor, but I also knew how much flowers cost and how quickly they die. My self-efficacy is dangerously high, so I set out to play God and create the Garden of Eden in a little red barn. I found several websites with instructions on how to make crepe paper flowers, but it turns out Martha’s never really tried her own instructions (shocker). So I made my own version and commissioned my mom and sisters to create hundreds of them. (email me if you want instructions) In the end, it was exactly like I pictured. See below.

Our wedding tables with faux flowers

The rest of the table was pieced together over a few months. I wanted the tables to have the feel of an old quilt, so I went to the local quilt store and found colorful fat quarters for $1.25 each. The tulips (the only real flowers, picked up at Sam’s 2 days prior) are in 12 old wine bottles I found at Goodwill for $5. I found the large black vases at Big Lots for $10 each- see the before and after below- and the burlap table runner was $4 from Michaels and added the shabby to my chic.

My mom found the glass plates and hurricanes at her Salvation Army store, and paid around $5 for an entire box.  Oh, and the tablecloths? Flat sheets (yes, bedding) I encountered at WalMart and talked the customer service lady into giving me for $2 each.

So the table you’re looking at sat 36 people and cost about $95. Spread out over 6 months, it turns out to be about $8 per pay check. Yes, please.

Tomorrow: my love affair with flea markets and why they love me too.  Wedding décor, part duex.