Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Glowing Snowflake Wreath


I have been dreaming up this wreath for awhile and was waiting for the moment when I'd have a chance to sneak away to my craft room and try it out. I wasn't sure if my idea to use a combination of snowflake ornaments and white lights for the wreath would work - but it did! I'm so excited about how it turned out and it couldn't have been easier to make.


The great part of this wreath is that it is made up of snowflake ornaments from the dollar store. All of the snowflakes used on this wreath were $1 or less each. Some you can purchase in a pack of 10 for a $1. I bought these over the last couple years to use on my Christmas tree, but this year I switched up the look of the tree and wanted to find a new use for the ornaments. 


This is my first experiment with a lighted wreath, and I love the soft glow it provides over our fireplace. Luckily it looks just as pretty and delicate during the daytime!


Supplies for Snowflake Wreath


  • Foam wreath form
  • White crepe paper streamer or ribbon
  • String of 100 white lights
  • Hot glue gun
  • Inexpensive snowflake ornaments in a variety of styles and sizes


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thrifty DIY: Retro Inspired Party Dishes

Give retro thrift store dishes a modern makeover with metallic paint! || www.designimprovised.com

Want some cool dishes for your holiday party? Then head to the thrift store!

By now you've probably figured out that I spend a lot of time at the Goodwill. I head there regularly for my monthly Thrifty DIY posts. Once in awhile, the same thing will catch my eye over multiple trips and a little voice will tell me that I need to buy it because there is untapped DIY potential, I just have to figure out what it is! That was the case with these retro glass snack dishes.

Give retro thrift store dishes a modern makeover with metallic paint! || www.designimprovised.com

Popular in the 1960's for ladies luncheons and bridal showers, these little glass plates were used to hold snacks or dessert along with a dainty tea cup. Well, I'm predicting they are going to make a big comeback! In fact, I recently spied a modern version of these sold by chic furnishings retailer CB2 for $6 each. 

No need to buy new - you are bound to find multiple versions of the real deal at your local thrift store for $1 a piece! You can leave them as is, or try my technique of painting the underside with different shades of metallic paint to give them a modern touch.

Give retro thrift store dishes a modern makeover with metallic paint! || www.designimprovised.com

Mixed metallics are all the rage right now, and I like how the paint plays up the pattern in the glass.

Give retro thrift store dishes a modern makeover with metallic paint! || www.designimprovised.com

Supplies for Metallic Party Dishes


  • Vintage glass snack trays - find at your local Goodwill or thrift store for $1 each
  • Martha Stewart mutli-surface metallic craft paint (or other glass paint)
  • Small paint brushes

Give retro thrift store dishes a modern makeover with metallic paint! || www.designimprovised.com

Friday, December 12, 2014

Gingerbread House Decorating Party!


My girls love to throw a good party (hmm, I wonder where they get that from?). They had been asking me to have their preschool friends over for a "party" ever since Halloween. Since that holiday has come and gone, we started scheming a Christmas get-together and decided a gingerbread decorating party would be just right. ;) 


Of course, once I started thinking about the potential cuteness of a gingerbread decorating party it was hard not to go all out with the decorating! I contacted my friends at Minted and asked if I could use some of their gorgeous new holiday decor to make the party extra special.


With the help of their beautiful glass candy jars, jadeite cake plate, and gold foil dipped trees, I turned our kitchen table into a candy land.


I filled the jars with marshmallows and gum drops, and hung shiny metallic ornaments from the light above the table.



I brought the girls' play table into the kitchen and designated it as house decorating central by rolling a length of gold speckled paper down the middle and having a house ready to go at each spot. To keep it easy, we found pre-baked gingerbread kits at the grocery store and Stella helped me assemble all the houses the day before. 

Note: this is an important step to do in advance of the party. The icing needs a few hours to set before the houses are stable enough to decorate!


Stella and I dressed up the plain cardboard bases that came with the houses by wrapping them in pretty metallic chevron paper. For the candy trays, we used inexpensive paint palettes from the craft store. 


For a personal touch, I created place cards using some colorful candies, a shipping tag, and a glue gun! I just traced the letter in pencil and then affixed the candies by adding a small dab of hot glue to the letter and pressing the candy into it. For the name below, I used letter stamps. You could also write freehand or use letter stickers. 

The kids were so excited to find their name at the table when they arrived!


I spent the morning while Stella and Hazel were at preschool setting up the party and when they came home they were so excited to show their friends and dive into decorating (and consuming massive amounts of candy)!


Continue on for more scenes from the party!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thrifty DIY: Holiday Card Holder

Turn an old CD rack into a modern holiday card display! || http://www.designimprovised.com

I've got holiday cards on my mind this week. Did you catch my Christmas tree holiday card display? Well, I have one more idea for you to showcase all those cards you'll be getting in the mail over the coming weeks. This rack keeps them organized and invites people to browse through them. 

Can you guess what it is? Hint: you are bound to find one of these at your local Goodwill!

Turn an old CD rack into a modern holiday card display! || http://www.designimprovised.com

It is an old school wire CD/DVD rack turned modern holiday card display!

Turn an old CD rack into a modern holiday card display! || http://www.designimprovised.com

All you need is a can of gold spray paint to give it a chic touch:

Turn an old CD rack into a modern holiday card display! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Just spray the rack with a couple coats and you have yourself a card holder!

Turn an old CD rack into a modern holiday card display! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Turn an old CD rack into a modern holiday card display! || http://www.designimprovised.com

This post was written in support of the Goodwill San Antonio. All content and opinions are my own.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Simple DIY Holiday Card Display

A simple way to display your holiday cards - you can make this tree as large as you want! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Have a blank wall? Have a roll of twine? Then you can whip up this Christmas tree holiday card display in minutes!

A simple way to display your holiday cards - you can make this tree as large as you want! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Holiday cards get more display worthy every year - especially these gorgeous photo cards from Minted. Don't just stuff them away on the counter, show them off! I put our card display in our foyer. Seeing the faces of family and friends when you walk through the front door is much more welcoming than a blank wall. ;)

If you look closely you can spy our family's holiday card among the other pretty card examples from Minted.

A simple way to display your holiday cards - you can make this tree as large as you want! || http://www.designimprovised.com

You can create one of these displays in 20 minutes and have fun adding to it throughout the season. The trick is using some handy 3M Command decorating clips. They hold the tree up great and keep your walls damage free. You can make the tree as big as you want and adorn it with a few pretty ornaments. Here is all you'll need:

Supplies for Holiday Card Display


  • 3M Command clear decorating clips
  • Small clothespins
  • Jute twine
  • Painter's tape
  • Cardstock (for star)
  • Holiday cards
  • Ornaments

A simple way to display your holiday cards - you can make this tree as large as you want! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Holiday Entryway and $150 Home Decorators Giveaway


It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! After a wonderful Thanksgiving with family visiting, I was ready to dive head first into Christmas decorating. I wasted no time swapping out the pumpkins on our front porch for some fresh holiday greenery from Home Decorators Collection

Make sure to enter through the Rafflecopter below to win a $150 Home Decorators gift card to get your own home holiday ready!


I have always loved giving a fresh greenery wreath as a gift during the holidays. These stunning wreaths start at $35, and who wouldn't be excited to receive one of these in the mail?  This year is the first time I'm using fresh greenery to decorate our front entry. The wreath paired with two matching garlands is so beautiful. 


I'm hoping the greenery continues to look this great over the coming weeks! The front porch is pretty well protected from rain and direct sun, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.


A bought a pair of poinsettias to compliment the fresh greenery and add some bold pops of red to the entry. To cover up their unattractive plastic pots, I put them in these woven canvas baskets. To prop them up, I turned an empty pot upside down inside the basket and then put the poinsettia pot on top. The baskets not only look pretty, but their handles make it easy to transport the poinsettias inside if the temps get too cold overnight. If you want to do something similar, just take the plants out of the baskets to water them so the baskets stay dry.


To decorate a bare corner on the porch,  I added this lantern with a red LED candle, a little more fresh greenery, and a tree made from a tomato cage and white lights! Such a simple project if you have a tomato cage left over from the summer. Just wrap lights around and stick a star tree topper on the top!


But this handsome guy is my favorite new addition! At almost 3 feet tall this resin deer can be seen easily from the street, and his little burlap and pinecone scarf is just too cute. I have a feeling he will be on our front stoop for many Christmases to come.


For a final touch of green I stole a wire basket from Ross's man cave (shhh, don't tell!) and filled it with some pinecones, logs, and nandina berries from our yard.



I hope this inspires you to incorporate some fresh greenery into your entryway decor this Christmas too!


Home Decorators Collection Giveaway - you have 7 chances to enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to join us for all 14 days of Holiday Love with a new giveaway starting daily and running for 3 days!

Nov. 28 Melissa Creates is giving away a Shop Melissa Creates Gift Set
Nov. 29 Make+Haus is giving away a $150 gift Blurb gift card
Nov. 30 Design Improvised is giving away $150 Home Decorators Gift Card
Dec. 1 Handmade Mood is giving away a Kate Spade New Year's Planning Pack
Dec. 2 Oleander and Palm is giving away a pair of Sven Clogs
Dec. 3 A Girl Named PJ is giving away a Nandi Necklace from Tulsi Project ($160 value)
Dec. 4 Frock Files is giving away a $100 gift card to Schoolhouse Electric
Dec. 5 Living on Love is giving away a luxury home throw and a toddler to teen blanket ($164 value) fromSaranoni
Dec. 6 Everyday Reading is giving away a Lily Jade bag
Dec. 7 Lia Griffith is giving away a $100 Michaels gift card
Dec. 8 Melissa Creates giving away 2 $50 gift cards (one for you and one for a friend) to Sassy Steals
Dec. 9 Dream Green DIY is giving away a $250 Minted gift card
Dec. 10 The Caterpillar Years is giving away a  2015 Calendar + $50 Gift Card to Design Life Kids
Dec. 11 Oleander and Palm is giving away a Cricut Explore Machine

This post is sponsored by Home Decorators Collection. All content and opinions are my own.

Friday, November 28, 2014

14 Days of Holiday Love is Here!!

It's back!! Once again, I've partnered with some of my favorite ladies in the blogosphere to let our readers know how much we love them through 14 days of amazing giveaways. From gift cards to jewelry to a Cricut Explore, we want to send some holiday cheer your way!

Make sure to like our Facebook page to stay on top of all the latest giveaways. I'll be back on Sunday with a $150 gift card to Home Decorators and a reveal of our front porch decorated for the holidays!




Nov. 28 Melissa Creates is giving away a Shop Melissa Creates Gift Set
Nov. 29 Make+Haus is giving away a $150 gift Blurb gift card
Nov. 30 Design Improvised is giving away $150 Home Decorators Gift Card
Dec. 1 Handmade Mood is giving away a Kate Spade New Year's Planning Pack
Dec. 2 Oleander and Palm is giving away a pair of Sven Clogs
Dec. 3 A Girl Named PJ is giving away a Nandi Necklace from Tulsi Project ($160 value)
Dec. 4 Frock Files is giving away a $100 gift card to Schoolhouse Electric
Dec. 5 Living on Love is giving away a luxury home throw and a toddler to teen blanket ($164 value) fromSaranoni
Dec. 6 Everyday Reading is giving away a Lily Jade bag
Dec. 7 Lia Griffith is giving away a $100 Michaels gift card
Dec. 8 Melissa Creates giving away 2 $50 gift cards (one for you and one for a friend) to Sassy Steals
Dec. 9 Dream Green DIY is giving away a $250 Minted gift card
Dec. 10 The Caterpillar Years is giving away a  2015 Calendar + $50 Gift Card to Design Life Kids
Dec. 11 Oleander and Palm is giving away a Cricut Explore Machine

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Perfect Gift For Your Crafty Friends and Family

You know that friend that spends hours a day on Pinterest - pinning her favorite crafts and recipes and dreaming up how she will make all of them…one day. Well, I have the perfect, unique holiday gift for her. I'm calling it the Pinterest Lover's Gift Box!

With the few items in the box, your friend will have the starting tools to tackle most of the craft projects she's pinned, so she can stop pinning and start making in 2015!!


These represent some of Design Improvised's craft supply staples. They are the ones I turn to most often for my projects. Even if your friend has many of these already, she will be more than happy to replenish her supply!

You can put a gift box of all these items together for around $50-$60. I've given you links below so you can buy them all online from Amazon and Target without having to head to the store. However, you can also get each of these items at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, and be sure to use their coupons to get 40-50% off!

1. Gold scissors ($17) - In my mind, you're more likely to craft if you are using gold scissors. ;) I love my Nate Berkus gold scissors sold at Target for only $16.99. If you really want to pamper your friend, go for 23 kt gold plated Casco scissors shown.

2. Martha Stewart Metallic Paint ($2 each) - Pinterest is overflowing with metallic projects, so your crafty friend should always have some of these paints on hand. I always seem to be out of the metallic gold, but the silver and rose gold are also great staples. In general, I am a huge fan of the Martha Stewart craft paints - they work on any surface and come in a rainbow of colors.

3. Circle paper punch ($8-$15)- a circle punch is a versatile tool that I find myself reaching for on a regular basis. I think a 2" circle punch is the perfect size to have on hand, but I also love this 1" layering punch which can make a circle, scalloped circle, and scalloped outline all in one punch!

4. Baker's twine ($10) - from garlands to gift wrapping, a crafter should always have a spool of baker's twine within reach.

5. Foam brushes (50 cents each) - these are inexpensive and so handy. I use them for almost all my painting and Mod Podge projects. If I forget to wash them right away afterwards I can just toss them. At 50 cents a piece, it is a nice convenience.

6. Washi tape ($6-$10) - it's likely your crafty friend loves washi tape. She might even collect it. I have mine proudly displayed on my desk. With all the patterns and colors the options are endless.

7. Mod Podge ($8) - I like this Martha Stewart version, but the original Mod Podge also works great. I go through a lot of this stuff!

Do you have a friend or family member who would love this for Christmas? What other craft essentials would you add to this box?

This post contains affiliate links.
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