Monday, June 30, 2014

4th of July Kids Picnic with Minted

4th of July Party Ideas

The 4th of July is such a defining moment of your summer as a kid. I always remember it as the bittersweet halfway point - only a month and a half left until school would start up again in August. The 4th is all the best parts of summer packed in one day - picnics, parades, fireworks - what could be better?

This year I partnered with Minted and my friends at Handmade Mood to create the ultimate 4th of July kids picnic complete with red punch, patriotic popsicles, and cannonballs into the pool!

4th of July Party Ideas

4th of July Party Ideas

To make the party extra special, we used Minted's Patriot Party decor line to decorate the food table and picnic area and had fun putting our own DIY spin on the items, such as using Minted's large table confetti to make a fireworks cake topper by cutting some notches in them and taping to a skewer!

4th of July Party Ideas

There were red, white, and blue treats galore!

4th of July Party Ideas

Head over to Handmade Mood to see all the details of the food table and simple ideas for your own 4th of July picnic like dressing up a simple paper plate with a patriotic sticker!

4th of July Party Ideas

Read on to see how we made a magical picnic area for the kids featuring DIY star lanterns using Minted's gorgeous large paper globes


Sunday, June 29, 2014

DIY Picnic Blanket

DIY Picnic Blanket

I love using painter's drop cloths for table coverings - they are cheap, wash up great, and a blank canvas for all sorts of DIY touches. It turns out they also make perfect picnic blankets!

DIY Picnic Blanket

You can whip up this star-spangled picnic blanket easily in under an hour with just a few supplies. The Martha Stewart multi-surface paints will wash up again and again and still look great. Have fun trying out other stencils and color palettes using the same approach!

Supplies for DIY Picnic Blanket


  • Painter's drop cloth (I used a 5'x5' foot square, but they come in a variety of sizes)
  • Star stencils (I found a template online, printed it out in different sizes onto card stock, and then cut out the middle to make a stencil)
  • Martha Stewart multi-purpose craft paint (I used Habenero, Blue Sky, and Deep Sea colors)
  • Martha Stewart foam pouncers or foam brushes
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors

DIY Picnic Blanket

Thursday, June 26, 2014

4th of July Wreath

4th of July Wreath

Light up your front door with this patriotic fireworks wreath just in time for the 4th of July! It takes minutes to make with a few supplies from the 4th of July aisle at your local craft store.

4th of July Wreath

I love the scale of this wreath on our front door - it definitely catches your eye from the curb!

4th of July Wreath

I found these pre-made paper pinwheels, popsicle sticks, and star stickers at Hobby Lobby making the wreath super easy to pull together.

4th of July Wreath

Supplies for 4th of July Wreath


  • Foam wreath form (I used a curved one, but if you find a flat circle form those work even better!)
  • Paper pinwheels (I found pre-made ones at Hobby Lobby, but you can make your own using my easy tutorial and some red,white, and blue paper)
  • Patriotic popsicle sticks
  • Foam star stickers
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors


4th of July Wreath

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Creative Spaces Magazine Feature

It's official - Volume 3 of Creative Spaces is on newsstands! I was so honored to be part of this special issue from Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine. That's my office on the cover!


The issue features gorgeous photos of over 25 offices and craft rooms of fellow DIY bloggers and paper crafters. There are so many amazing decor and craft storage ideas, I just want to grab a cup of coffee and spend an hour slowly flipping through the pages and jotting down ideas! Check out this sneak peek of the magazine to see what I mean.

My office was a labor of love, with lots of DIY decor pieces. You can find links to each of them below, and check out the original office reveal on Design Improvised if you missed it!


Tutorials for each of the DIY projects in my office:


Monday, June 23, 2014

Floral Guest Bedroom Reveal

Guest Bedroom Ideas

When we moved to our new home in San Antonio almost one year ago this guest bedroom was one of the things I was most excited about. No more having our guests sleep on an air mattress or the couch - we could provide them with a real retreat!

Guest Bedroom Ideas

I wanted the room to have a special spa-like feel with lots of natural elements. When I saw this beautiful upholstered headboard at Home Decorators Collection I knew it was the perfect focal piece - its color palette and floral pattern served as inspiration for the rest of the room.

Guest Bedroom Ideas

I think an upholstered headboard is such a great alternative to a full bed - it's often considerably less expensive, but can be more unique. A headboard with a gorgeous pattern like this does double duty as a piece of art in the room. You can pair it with simple neutral bedding and accents. Home Decorators has nearly 50 fabric options for each of its upholstered headboards.

Guest Bedroom Ideas

The headboard and mattress were the only pieces of furniture we purchased for the guest room. We were able to repurpose other pieces from our Chicago condo in new ways, such as this rocking chair that used to be in the nursery and the little side table, which was one of my first post-college purchases over 10 years ago! 

Guest Bedroom Ideas

I gave the table a quick update with a fresh coat of blue spray paint on its previously wrought iron legs.

Guest Bedroom Ideas

Thursday, June 19, 2014

4th of July Balloons!

4th of July Balloons

The 4th of July is a time to get outside and celebrate - and you can't call it a celebration without some balloons can you? These balloons are as simple as peel and stick, so you'll have plenty of time to make these and enjoy your BBQ too!

4th of July Balloons

The balloons are made from inexpensive foam star stickers and a small piece of fringe garland that I wrapped around the bottom. Check the 4th of July selection at your local craft store and you are likely to find both of these items. I've also provided sources on Amazon below!

4th of July Balloons

Supplies for Patriotic Balloons


  • Clear helium-quality latex balloons (I used 17" balloons - the larger the balloon the more stickers it can hold without sinking under their weight)
  • Helium tank (I love Balloon Time personal tanks and have one on hand at all times!)
  • Foam glitter star stickers
  • Red white and blue fringe (sold as a long garland that you can cut up)
  • Baker's twine or string

4th of July Balloons

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summery Floral Clutch

flower-purse

Breaking news - artificial flowers have suddenly become cool! Most of you probably have images of dusty old floral arrangements at your grandmother's house when you think of silk flowers, but I've been seeing them used in some pretty hip ways lately - check out this floral wall art and this pretty monogram to see what I mean!

I used a bunch of faux flowers in my latest wreath project, and I turned to them once again to whip up this DIY floral clutch:

Flower Purse

Not too grandmotherly, right?! I made this for a garden party at Alt Summit this week. I think it would be cute for a shower, brunch, you name it. The best part about it - this was previously a $3.99 clutch from the Goodwill!

Flower Purse

You can improvise on this in so many ways by changing up the flowers and the type of purse. Here is what you'll need:

Supplies for Flower Purse



  • Old clutch or purse (thrift stores are a great source - I found mine at Goodwill for $3.99)
  • Silk flowers (I used two bunches of small silk flowers. Tip: wait until they are 50% off at the craft store. I purchased mine for $5 each on sale)
  • Hot glue (depending on the material of the purse you may want to use a more permanent glue like E6000)
  • Wire cutters (not shown)


Flower Purse

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Finds: Alt Summit Attire

What is this you say? A fashion post?! This will likely be the only fashion post you see on Design Improvised - I prefer to stick to the DIY projects that I'm good at. However, I'm headed to my 5th Alt Summit blogging conference next week, I thought it would be fun to do an Alt fashion version of Friday Finds.

The conference brings together hundreds of creatives, designers, and artists, so it is no surprise that expressing your creativity through your attire is a big part of Alt. I love mixing patterns and colors in my home and craft projects, so why not go nuts with color and pattern in my Alt outfits? I've had fun with the outfit planning and wanted to share!



The outfit above is what I plan to wear to the sponsor dinners the first night of Alt. Five of the pieces have been repurposed from past Alt Summits (which is really the only occasion I buy new clothes for and then reuse them for the rare night out the rest of the year!). Almost all the clothes and accessories in these outfits come from three of my favorite stores - Target, Banana Republic, and DSW.

Sources for above outfit: Skirt - Banana Republic (similar to shown), Scarf - Target (now on clearance!), Clutch - DSW (similar), Shoes - DSW (similar), Bow Cuff - Charming Charlie, Gold Headband - ban.do


I plan to wear this black and white dress during Day 1 of the conference. It contains all of my favorite things - polka dots, stripes, and a pop of color!

Sources: Dress - Banana Republic, Scarf - Target, Shoes - DSW, Bow Cuff - Charming Charlie



I bought this dress at Target last year and have worn it many times since. I plan to wear it for the casual outdoor party on Wed. night that apparently is going to have food trucks and street artists. Alt does parties very well! Everything here is a year or two old, so unfortunately no longer available, but I've found some similar options below.

Sources: Dress - Target (similar), Purse - Target (similar), Cuff - Forever 21 (similar), Ring - Banana Republic (similar), Shoes - DSW (similar), Belt - thrift store


I bought this bright orange dress from Banana Republic for my second day of the conference. I plan to get a bright colored belt like this one from Target and a pair of more comfortable shoes to pair with it than these heels!

Source: Dress - Banana Republic (similar), Necklace - Apricot Lane, Cuff - Chicago boutique, Heels - DSW (similar)



Lastly, I'm wearing the dress I wore for my Anthropologie Craft Night to the Thursday night garden party. I have a little DIY accessory in the works to pair with this.

Sources: Dress - Anthropologie, Shoes - DSW (similar), Ring - Banana Republic (similar), Cuff - Stella and Dot

I'll be in Salt Lake City for Alt Summit next Tuesday - Friday and will be Instagramming throughout so I hope you follow along @dimprovised!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fun Kids Photo Art

Photo Art

Summer is here!! This project is all about getting outside and climbing, jumping, and swinging. Stella and Hazel love the park so I thought this art project would be a fun way to add a little color to some of their favorite activities! 


I love the idea of enhancing photos with a DIY touch. I was inspired by last week's worldwide Etsy Craft Party where we transformed vintage photographs by embroidering and doodling on them. Check out some of the amazing examples!

Photo Art

I thought these colorful dots using Martha Stewart circle punches would be a cool way to capture motion - by showing the path of a climber, the spinning of a dizzying bucket chair, or the floating of bubbles.

Photo Art

You could apply this idea to any number of photos of kids in motion. This is the perfect summer craft project for the kiddos to do themselves too! Here's what you'll need.

Supplies for DIY Photo Art


  • Circle punches (I used Martha Stewart Crafts 1" Circle Punch, Scalloped Circle Layering Punch, and Heavy Duty 1/4" Circle Punch)
  • Colorful paper or card stock
  • Black and white photos (I just printed mine at home on white card stock)
  • Glue (I used the nifty Martha Stewart Glue Pen)

Photo Art

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stenciled Garden Stepping Stones

Stenciled Garden Stepping Stones

Don't ask me why, but I have a thing for stenciling concrete. Last summer I stenciled cinder blocks to turn them into outdoor vases. I had used a plaid stencil from Stencil1, and when they recently sent me some of their latest stencil designs with Plaid Crafts, I thought I would try them out on concrete again!

This time I made some pretty stepping stones for our backyard. I was inspired by a similar idea in the May issue of Country Living magazine and this fun honeycomb stencil.

Stenciled Garden Stepping Stones

These stones are in a little landscaped area that leads to a fountain. I can now walk in there barefoot to get to the fountain (or to fish out a stray ball from the bushes, which is often the case) without being scared about where I'm stepping! 

Stenciled Garden Stepping Stones

I love the little unexpected dose of color and fun that they add to the yard. If you have a garden or landscaped area in your yard why not add a few crafty stepping stones?! You can purchase the pavers for a little over $1 a piece and these can be made in a little over an hour each.

Supplies for Stenciled Stepping Stones


  • Stencil1 Honey Bee stencil
  • Concrete pavers (I purchased mine at Lowes for $1.30 each)
  • Weather-resistant acrylic craft paints (I tried out Plaid's FolkArt multi-surface paints for the first time and used the colors Teal, Parchment, Pink Melon, Pure Orange, and Ocean Blue)
  • Foam brushes
  • Painter's tape

Stenciled Garden Stepping Stones

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