Giverslog tutorials

birthday cake door mat
We just finished two birthdays in one week here. What a party.

I always try to deck out the house after my almost-birthday-child goes to bed the night before their big day, with balloon avalanches and other fun surprises. And of course I am always on the lookout for simple, festive decorations with a big impact—or even better—reusable decorations that become family birthday traditions.

We made a couple of the fun, reusable kind this year.

After a year or two of intending to do it, the kids and I finally put together a balloon wreath from this tutorial (FYI, I used a 16-inch foam wreath form and 4 bags of 72 balloons).
birthday balloon wreath DIY

And this year I came up with another new surprise that I made during one nap time, that’s right, just one, and that I plan to use for years to come.

Say hello to our new birthday door mat.
birthday cake mat by bedroom door

Very fun for placing outside to welcome party guests, or inside at the bedroom door of the birthday honoree, which is what we did this year.

Do you have any favorite birthday traditions?

Now, down to business.

For the mat,
I started with a blank door mat I picked up at Target last week for $10
and whatever bottles of spray paint I had in the garage.
I used a roll of painter’s tape (regular masking tape would have done the job just fine too!)
And I highly recommend a roll of painter’s paper.
birthday cake door mat DIY1

Masking off the cake layers was super simple. Even the more complex shapes took just a little extra manipulating. Then I just sprayed on the paint nice and heavy

birthday cake door mat DIY2
I had all kinds of fun layering paint colors. I found that if I wanted a color extra bright, like my pink stripe, I painted a layer of white first, followed by the final color.

DIY Birthday Cake Door Mat
What do you think? Not a bad way to be welcomed to the party, right? What other birthday traditions do you do?


DIY garden notebook plannerI am a sucker for graph paper. Few things make me happier than a whole notebook of graph paper just waiting for me to plan something in it.

Which is why I like to make sure I always have one of these on hand
moleskineThe square (graph) moleskine is a favorite. Particularly this size, the large. It is just big enough to fit some serious graphing or calendaring or planning and just small enough for tucking in a purse.

In fact, just linking to it I had to go buy another set of 3. I think I might have a compulsive graph paper problem.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been taking a moment at the beginning of the spring to draw out, on graph paper, the layout of my little garden. Very little, but still a garden.

garden notebookI’ve done only an herb garden for a couple of years, but would like to branch out a bit more this year.

(branch. ha. I totally didn’t even plan that.)

As I contemplated my new garden plans, I got to thinking I really needed a pretty place to dream out my garden.

And I got to thinking I really needed all of my years of garden plans in one place.

And I needed one place to keep all the great tips and plant favorites I hear from friends.

So I put together a printable label to make my own official garden planner, and am sharing it here so you can have a place for all your garden dreaming if you like.

GARDEN PLANNER :: Click to download here from Dropbox
Ore click to here: Garden Planner (3580)
(depending on your browser, after you click you may need to right click and Save Image As)

garden markers and printablePick up a couple square moleskines if graph paper is your thing. Or if you are more of a blank paper person (my other favorite) moleskine has something for you too. Or ruled. Or upcycle something pretty out of a cereal box. Stick on your label, and start drawing.
garden care package
printable spring labelgarden quotegarden plannerHappy garden dreaming.

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We got a head start on Valentines day here last month making our own fleet of valentine airplanes (you can get the printable for the banner right here).

We’ll be mailing out some valentine mail this weekend that I’ll share. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few lovey dovey favorites from the archives.

-classroom valentine-valentine 1-valentine 2-valentine 4-airplane valentinegold-border1


/// from the archives ///

valentine DIY

// flourless chocolate cake (most favorite cake ever.) //
// a tube of Burt’s in the mail // speaking of mail…fabric mailbox tutorial //
// Jr. Mints via mail // message macarons (plus a simple macaron recipe and how-to here) //

valentine cakes

// poetry cake // 10 places to proclaim your love (image via here) //
// a perfect souffle //

valentine dinner idea


 This is a little family tradition of ours. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was young enough to wear one-piece peter rabbit pajamas.

It is a tradition I decided to start for our kids after the first Halloween they came home and did this:
[ That pic was taken many long years ago. That little tubster of a baby
is now my 2nd grader. Watch out, mamas. They grow up fast!]

We let the kids go a little crazy on Halloween night. And we explain to them that crazy means, like, four pieces of candy. Okay maybe five. Okay one more tootsie roll and then you’re brushing your teeth and going to bed. I mean it!

Then the next day, we have them each count out 25 pieces of candy.

And we cut out a zillion little squares of wrapping paper.
Then we get wrapping.
This project would easily work with non-sugar goodies too. But we are guilty of always using our Halloween loot.

Once you have all your mini packages wrapped, you can number them or not number them. As a kid I used to always like to start small in early December and finish big.

Then you can either hang them from a bough, which was our old-school method.
This does require some knot tying, which my kids are still way slow at. So, out of sheer laziness, we discovered that our little packages looked great under a teeny tree.

And I don’t know about your house, but at our house this advent is accompanied by at least three or four or five other advents. The good news is that we will not ever accidentally overlook Christmas.


We held our first book exchange for my kiddos earlier this year. It was fantastic. We did it at a double birthday party for my son and daughter, in lieu of gifts, and I was really pleased with how well it went off.

I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that once the party was over, it was kind of a nice break not writing thank you notes. Does that sound just terrible?

We figured out a few logistics along the way, so I thought I’d share. We had guests bring new books, but it went so well that we are thinking we’d like to try a back-to-school used book exchange. I think it would be a great, simple excuse to round up a few kids for a fun afternoon.

How to Host a Book Exchange

1. Be clear on the invite. Mention on the invitation that the book needs to be wrapped, or if used books are okay, mention that.
2. Bring at least one extra book. Have your child bring a book of course, but have at least one extra (you’ll see why at the end). I had two extras, just in case I ended up with a bonus guest or in case one of our little guests forgot a book.
3. Get everyone settled. Have everyone sit in a circle and pile the books in the middle. I recommend double checking that every child sitting in the circle has a book in the middle. (We divided into two groups, one for my son and one for my daughter, and two of the books got scrambled, this took some sorting out.)
4. Explain in advance. I found it super helpful with a group of kiddos to explain how the exchange would work, to mention that we’d take the time to open each book and be happy and say thank you, and that once everyone had opened a book they were all welcomed to make trades at the end.
5. Start exchanging. Choose who will go first, in our case, it was the birthday girl and boy. That person chooses a book to open. Whomever brought the book chosen is the next to go, and so on. Each turn someone chooses a book to unwrap, and the next turn goes to the child who brought that book.
6. The final turn. When it comes to the last child, it’s nice for him or her to have options, so this is when I throw in the bonus book. Then he or she can choose between two. Whichever book is left unopened I just save for later.

p.s. gorgeous leather bound editions of children’s classics available here


A friend of mine in the East Bay had this fantastic giant bulletin board in her kitchen. It went the full length of the kitchen and was full of family mementos, notes, and other fun things. I was totally jealous.

I asked her how she did it, and she told me with ceiling tiles. I’ve been wanting my own since, and finally bought everything to give it a try. The entire cost for the project was $37. When I came home with a giant box of ceiling tiles (only $30!), Brent knew he was in for something fun.

I started with a long cut of fabric and decided to trace and paint my own map.

I did this several months back, and I’m sorry to say that it was dusk when I was tracing, with my giant map taped to my patio window with the fabric taped over it, as I tried to make out geographical lines. So this map may not be accurate enough to, say, make a flight plan by, but I loved the overall result.

Acrylic paint works great right on fabric, so I just went for it.

I picked up a case of ceiling tiles at Lowe’s (no luck at Home Depot). Each tile is about three-quarters of an inch thick.

While I was there I also picked out some lumber to make a frame, and had my handy Lowe’s associate cut it to shape for me.

I didn’t manage to snap pics of the rest of the process, but it was pretty straight forward.
1. We built the frame, then
2. Cut the ceiling tiles to fit inside.
3. We used drywall screws to screw the ceiling tiles right into the wall. Brent said we could have glued it for extra security, but I am a little of a commitment-phobe with my decorating.
4. Once the tiles were up, I stretched the fabric over the frame and stapled it down.
5. Then used a pair of frame hooks to hang the frame right over the ceiling tiles, and viola.

Now I’m wanting to pick out a pretty fabric to make one in my bedroom. I’m thinking a molding frame would be the perfect finish.


We are in complete back-to-school mode here. But summer is not officially over. Not yet.

The final day of summer is still a couple weeks away. So I’ve been thinking. We need one more bash to send summer off right.

It recently occurred to me, while I was packing away groceries, that I could fit a pinata

in the freezer.

Of course I immediately got to work on making a pinata. I pulled out my Elmer’s glue, an old Amazon box, and a stack of tissue paper and got to work.

It took me all of a half hour.

We picked out a few ice cream sundaes in a cup. How cool would it be, by the way, to do a grown-up pinata with Hagen Daaz?

And we picked out a few good fixings too to go along with them.  We poured them in Whisker Graphic’s sweet little Bitty Bags.

Now here comes the sneaky part.

We’ll invite a few little friends for homemade cookies.

And of course there will be homemade cookies.

But we’ll also sneak the pinata from the freezer to the tree when no one’s looking. So we get to suprise everyone when the ice cream and fixings come tumbling out.


I adore all things paper. And I adore flowers.

So this crepe paper flower pin has become a staple for me to give on all occasions that deserve a big to-do. And a little to-do (we gave one to my kids’ school secretary on secretary day). It is very fun to clip on a gift, and is a good grown up version of pulling a bow off the top of a gift and sticking it on top of your head. Don’t you think?

So here are a couple pics I’ve snapped of a few I’ve made, with an exact how to, now that I’ve gotten it down to a science.
2 lengths of crepe streamers, each about as tall as you (same or contrasting colors)
Needle and length of thread about as long as your arm
Masking tape (optional)
Hair pin or safety pin


  1. Thread and knot the needle. Thread the needle and knot the thread using the traditional method, or just use a small strip of masking tape and fold it over the end of the thread, sticky sides together, in place of a knot.
  2. Match up the streamers. Lay the streamers one on top of another, so you have a double-layer streamer.
  3. Stitch the streamer on one side to create a ruffle. Begin stitching the double layer streamer. Stitch all the way up one side, leaving a small margin on the side where you are stitching so the thread does not tear through. Use a basic running stitch, down from the top, up from the bottom. After sewing several stitches, compact the streamer down on the thread so it is folded into a ruffle. Your ruffle should be tight, but not too packed. The streamer will naturally begin to take a spiral shape that resembles a flower. The extra thread is going to want to tangle as you stitch, so be careful.
  4. Tie off the thread. Once you have sewn through the entire streamer and created a spiral ruffle, tie off the thread using the traditional method or using a small strip of masking tape.
  5. Fluff the layers of streamers, then knot the thread again. Use your fingers to slightly pull the two layers of streamers apart from each other, creating a fuller flower. Prepare the thread to sew again by tying off the end or folding a small strip of masking tape over the end.
  6. Arrange the ruffle into a flower and stitch the bottom together. Begin shaping the ruffle into a flower. The tight stitched sides of the ruffle will be the base of the flower and the unstitched sides will be the top of the petals. Create the center of the spiral by folding the end of the tight stitched side of the ruffle against itself. Push the needle through both sides of the ruffle, right about at the same point where you stitched to create the ruffle. Wrap the ruffle around to create another half loop and stitch through this second layer of the spiral. Continue wrapping half a loop at a time, and stitching the base together until you have created a flower.
  7. Stitch on a pin and finish. Stitch a few loops through the flower and around one leg of a hair pin or around the stationary side of a safety pin. Tie off the thread or secure with a couple small strips of masking tape.

And there you go. You have the perfect I-AM-Special hair piece. simple, festive, and pretty.


If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!
Are you ready for a peek at how my new stands turned out? I’m more than a little thrilled with them. It’s great fun transforming a set of thrifted candlesticks into bright summery treat stands for the next shindig. (See the first set I made right here).

Being able to take these apart to switch out plates is a big deal for me. Even though my kitchen now is roomier, much much roomier, than the apartment and condo kitchens I’ve somehow squeezed into through the years, space is still at a premium. Plus I like picking a melamine plate whenever I find one I like and being able to put it to use with the stands I already have.

Best of all, I figured out a new trick that will let you use any candlestick you fall in love with at the thrift store. Not just candlesticks that have a hole through the center.

The shopping is really the best part. (You can get glimpse here of the first set of these I put together.) But for this time around, here’s the list of what I picked up.

Supplies & equipment:
1. Set of thrifted candlesticks. I often find candlesticks at the thrift store that can be disassembled and have a hole all the way through the middle. To find out if a candlestick can do this, just pick one up at the thrift store and try to unscrew. But hole or no hole, any candlestick will work. On my last thrifting trip I fell in love with some sticks that did not have a hole through the middle, I discovered I could still make my stand interchangeable. Here’s my big trick. Are you ready for it? All you need to do is find a…
2. Cork that fits snugly into your candlestick. (You need this only if your candlestick does not have a hole all the way through the middle).
3. Drawer pull that lets you take out the screw. I picked up mine at Lowe’s this time around. Don’t you love the crystal knobs?
4. Allthread that fits your drawer pull. This just looks like a really long screw with no head or point. To make sure it fits my drawer pull, I try screwing it in right in the isles of Lowe’s.
5. Nuts and washers.
6. A few fun melamine plates. I picked up mine at Target.
7. Primer and paint, if you choose. I love Krylon.
6. A hack saw and drill. A wood bit works perfectly for drilling into melamine.

Here is a candlestick I took apart and found I could dissasemble and have two pieces with a hole all the way through the middle of each.

Yea for Krylon. So many possibilities with this stuff.

Now comes the easy part… Here is the how-to for putting it all together, whether your candlestick has a hole through the core or not.
1. Paint. If you’re planning to paint the candlestick, disassemble it, prime, and paint.
2. Drill. Tape the plate in the center and drill through your taped spot. Take it slow and easy, I’ve cracked a couple plates by being in too big of a rush.

3. Cut your allthread. If your candlestick has a hole through the center, use a hack saw to cut your all thread to the length you’ll need to go from the bottom of the candlestick to the top to screw into your drawer pull. Cut carefully so you don’t ruin the thread and are still able to screw a bolt or your drawer pull onto the end. If you are using a cork, cut a tiny piece of the allthread so it is just long enough to screw through the cork and into the allthread.
4. If your candlestick does not have a hole through the center, add a cork. Wedge in a cork where the candle would go. Make sure it is a super snug fit. Cut off any overhang. You want to make sure the plate will rest evenly against the top of the candlestick. Drill a small hole in the center of the cork where the drawer pull will screw in. Make the hole just smaller than the allthread, so it screws in snugly.

Here is a set I assembled by screwing an all thread through the center.

Here is a set I made by using a cork.
3. Assemble.
 Now you get to thread your whole creation together. If your candlestick has a hole down the middle, put the washer and screw at the bottom, then thread the allthread through your candlestick piece, then add the plate, and finally, screw on the drawer pull at the top. If you are using a cork, simply screw one end of the allthread into the drawer pull, then put the other end through the hole in the plate and screw it into the cork in the candlestick. That’s it. Now your stands are ready to party, or to fit neatly in your cupboard.Good luck! If you make a set, I’d love to hear how it goes.


mmmm. Summer evenings are my favorite. I am always looking for a good excuse to be outside when the sun goes down—s’mores, stargazing, or of course, the quintessential backyard movie night.

As the wife of a film fanatic and former Circuit City salesman (I used to visit Brent at work in college and admire him in his pinkish-maroon Circuit City shirt), I have been required come to appreciate a great backyard set up. So here, with the combined efforts of my techie husband and untechie self, are a few of the tips we’ve learned.
1. Find a good spot. If you have a couple spots to choose between, try them out. Issues you might not have thought about, like how far from the screen you’ll be sitting or street lights shining right by the screen may make one spot a top pick once you’ve tried it.

2. Your projector also needs a good spot. The higher you can mount the projector the better. Right now we just place ours on a table in the lawn. This works but no one can sit right in front of the screen. Getting the projector installed at the height of the screen is ideal, if you can swing it.

3. Set up the screen. I’ll let Brent take it away with 4 cheap DIY options we’ve tried or thought about trying:

Hi everyone, this is AmberLee’s techie husband, Brent. Here’s the thing about the screen. Part of the image quality is the type of screen you use. Being cheap, I have tried all kinds of DIY options over the last couple years that have given us pretty decent image quality:

The first screen that I made used pine wood as a frame with curtain backing that I purchased from JoAnne’s. I then added some backing and grommets to the fabric and stretched it onto the frame. This gave a nice lightweight screen that I could then remove when we were done, and fold up into a bag, which helped keep it clean. With my limited sewing ability, I was never able to make this strong enough (or baby proof), but if someone really knew what they were doing they could do a good job at creating something that can take the stress of the stretched fabric. The only limitation here is the size of the fabric. The last thing you want is a seam in your screen and so you are limited to about a 5′ high screen.

The second screen I used on the same frame. I went to Home Depot and picked up a panel of vinyl that is made for commercial bathrooms. I found one that had a clean smooth back. I then used heavy duty velcro to velcro it onto the frame. It made a great screen. It is a little more of a challenge to store but didn’t cost more than $40 all together. This screen is limited to about 4′ tall.

The third option we’ve tried is a white wall, actually an off-white wall. We’ve thought about painting it with reflective paint to add some reflectivity. This helps you start your movies sooner, like you could do with a more expensive projector. Of course, this may not be for everyone who wants a permanent wall dedicated to movie viewing.

A forth option is one roll of 53″ white seamless paper. This is the heavy roll paper that photographers use as backdrops for product photography, and it is available in camera supply stores. This is not great outdoors but could be an inexpensive option indoors.

UPDATE: We also like Leanne‘s idea of using a white shower curtain with a curtain rod taped to the bottom. Affordable, flat, and easy to roll up and keep clean. Thanks, Leanne!

4. Get the system. Ya, this is clearly Brent’s area of expertise:

PROJECTOR. When choosing a projector, remember this. The bigger the screen, the better the resolution you need to be able to see the image. A High Definition Projector is your best bet. Look for something that has an HDMI input and you should be in good shape. Beyond that, as you increase the price of the projector what you generally find is the brightness level of the projector increases. That will allow you to start your movies earlier in the evening, which may or may not be worth the extra money to you.

AUDIO. This is where most people skimp. But this is the part that makes the most difference. It doesn’t do you much good to create a giant image and then force your guests to guess what the people are saying. That said, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a great sound system. This is not a place where you need surround sound or high quality speakers, volume is more important than clarity. I live in a place where no one cares if I am blasting my system at 11pm while watching The Bourne Identity (or Pride and Prejudice) but even if you have neighbors that don’t appreciate the volume, you still need something that can project the sound to your guests. Without walls to reflect the sound you typically need more than you would indoors.

I would suggest that you get a stereo receiver or old sound system that is around. People want surround sound in their homes so this is something you can pick up cheap on craigslist. You then want to find some speakers. Again, these do not need to be high quality speakers that you would use in your home theater in your home. I looked on craigslist for DJ speakers and went with some of the cheapest I could find.

BLURAY. If you can show your movies in bluray, do it. As your screen gets bigger the image quality is stretched. DVD’s produce about 500 lines of resolution, bluray gives you 1080 lines of resolution. That is twice as much picture that you are going to stretch. If you can’t get your copy of Anne of Green Gables on Bluray (they don’t make it, I have looked for AmberLee’s sake), at least pull out your bluray player to project the DVD. Most Bluray players try to convert the image and double the lines that are produced. You will still see a difference between that and Bluray, but it will be much better than just playing the disc on a laptop or old DVD player.

5. Think about seating and lighting. The perfect seating for us has been a blanket for the kids in the front, and folding chairs for the grown ups in the back. But you can get creative (think hay bales). You’ll also want to think about having a little ambient lighting so guests can find their way to the bathroom or the snack table without tripping over things or other people. A string of lights at the snack table can be just enough.

6. Two words. Bug spray. Or citronella. Or incense. Or if the night is cool enough, piles of blankets are a nice alternative.

7. A good flick. Okay, what are your favorites for a get together? (Ever since seeing this movie map I’ve been wanting to host a 50-day film fest.) In the pic we’re watching one of our faves, Big Fish.

8. Good food. I adore a great. gourmet. popcorn. recipe. I also love prepping some cuisine from the movie we’ll be showing, if I have the time. But one of my all-time favorites is something our good friends showed us, and it is great for an impromptu movie night. Have everyone bring a bag of candy or snacks, hand out bowls or paper bags, and let everyone create their own custom movie mix. Simple. Perfect.


When I told my kids I had a couple sheets of tattoo paper on hand you would have thought I’d just told them they were each getting a new puppy. (We are not going there, by the way.)

We’ve been playing around with the endless possibilities of drawing some custom tats or picking out premade designs. While we were playing we discovered you can layer homemade tattoos. And that sealed the deal.

I drew out some cones, some ice cream flavors, some toppings. (You can see other custom Silhouette projects I did here and here.) When my daughter had her cute friend over, I let them go to town. And here is what they picked.

They’re both soft serve fans. I can respect a good soft serve, but I’d go for the scoop and hot fudge myself.

By the way, today is the last day to enter a certain giveaway I have going on. I’ll announce a winnetright here tonight.


If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!

A few months after discovering how to make this tiered cupcake stand, I walked into Pottery Barn and saw their awesome, summery, tiered stand and—being the incurable DIYer that I am—thought, I wonder if I could make that.

It is a serious condition sometimes. My husband claims he can’t take me anywhere without me wanting to try to build some part of something I saw when I get home.
I picked up the supplies a few months ago, when I was in Micheal’s with my half-off coupon, and have been waiting for an open Saturday to give it a shot. I ran across Lizard & Ladybug who had been thinking the same thing as me, and am glad I did. She made her stand with a length of conduit, and made it look so good that I returned the curtain rod I’d been planning to use.

This weekend I got to work and love the result. Though I have to admit, about half way through the process was wondering if I should have just shelled out for the Pottery Barn original. But hopefully I have a few tips that will make it simpler if you’re like me and love a good DIY.
tiered cake pans ($18 with my coupon)
drawer pull that lets you take out the screw (I found mine at Lowe’s, $3)
all thread that is compatible with your drawer pull (I try screwing it in right in the isles of Lowe’s, $2)
conduit ($3)
bolts and washers
melamine plate

hack saw, clamp, file (UPDATE: see below, you may not need these at all)
hammer and nail
Don’t forget to use your coupon when you go to pick up your tiered pans. I used my JoAnne’s coupon at Michaels (you knew you could do that, right?)
I opted for a thicker length of conduit to keep things sturdier. I cut three lengths that were just over six inches long. If I did it again I think I’d cut them right at six inches.

The most challenging part was cutting the conduit. Cuts need to be perfectly straight in order to avoid a leaning stand.

UPDATE: Thanks to Layne and Nicole, I now know you can skip this part, entirely. You can pick up a pipe cutter for just a few bucks (thanks, Layne!), or you can have your conduit cut right in the plumbing section (thanks for letting me in on that little secret, Nicole! )

I started by using my hack saw to score a dotted line all the way around the conduit, to make sure it was even and matched up all the way around. Clamp the conduit, saw a couple times just to score the surface, open the clamp and rotate the conduit just a little. Repeat.

Then I used the same technique to slowly saw around the conduit, sawing little by little, opening the clamp and rotating as I went, until I had a nice even cut.

I then used my file to finish evening off the end. Hold the conduit close to the file to make the work quicker. Just don’t file away your fingers.
Now all the hard work is over. If you can get through this part you’re practically finished.

I marked the center of the top pan and used a hammer and nail to pierce a hole. I then lined it up with the other pans to find the spot to pierce the last two holes.
For the base, I used a melamine plate I had left over from my DIY cupcake stand. Lizard and Ladybug uses the smallest pan from the nesting set for the base, which turned out great. I just wanted to save that pan for actual baking. I think it will turn out the perfect sized personal birthday cake.

Drilling a hole in the center is not too tough. Just use a wood bit in your drill and take your time so you don’t crack the plate.

Finally, the only thing left to do is assemble everything.
That’s it. Now all it needs is some cupcakes or cups full of strawberries.
I think one of my favorite parts is the storage. Mine is now stored away inconspicuously in the cupboard above my fridge, waiting for our first summer shindig.



This spring I have been a little in denial. I know the time is coming soon when I have to decide if I’m going to start a garden. But I just don’t know if I’m ready to commit! I dropped by a farmer’s market yesterday and was told, here in Cali, I have two weeks left to decide. I’ve been totally inspired by this hydroponic herb garden, and this DIY green house trick, but I just need something to push me over the edge, or pull me back.

(btw, if you’re thinking of starting an herb garden, don’t miss my 13 tips for starting an herb garden I picked up last year)

While I’m putting off the garden commitment, we did manage to pick out a few strands of seeds to plant a small caterpillar and butterfly garden. We stopped by our nursery and asked what plants might be good to attract local critters. We decided to make seed tape (see my seed tape tutorial here), because it is my kids’ favorite.
Seed tape is great for my kids, they love putting globs of paste on the strips of newspaper. And seed tape is also a great way to store seeds so they’re ready to plant in seconds.

Of course we had to make an extra to give away and add a few embellishments. Butterfly garden seeds on top, caterpillar seeds on bottom. All that’s left to do is lay the strips on soil, sprinkle with a little extra soil, water, and watch!


Lately I’ve been using all my fabric leftovers to make cloth wrap squares. It just occurred to me that this might be something worth sharing in a tutorial. It takes about 3 steps and 5 minutes. And zero sewing. Which is why it is totally my style. Plus it is so fun snipping up an old shirt or fabric scrap into beautiful wrap.

DIY Cloth Gift Wrap
Start with a square of fabric. My general rule for making cloth wrap is that the square of fabric should be four times as tall and wide as whatever it is you’re about to wrap. If you’re going to use two pieces of fabric as an inside and out, cut them together, just as you’ll wrap with them.

Side note. If you don’t have a rotary cutter and a cutting matt, you need to reconsider your values in life. I don’t even sew and I live by my rotary cutter and cutting mat. Go get a half off coupon and bring one home. It’s worth it. You will love it and it will love you.
Pick up your sponge roller and roll it either in fabric glue or this good stuff. It’s acrylic medium used for thinning acrylic paint. You can find it at any art store. Mine is leftover from high school art class. Good times.

Roll a thin even border around the edge to stop fraying. Allow it to dry, then snip off any loose threads.
That’s it. You are now ready to make pretty pretty packages and amaze all your friends.
p.s. You can get super awesome tutorials for wrapping with fabric here (and some beautiful fabric wrap) and here.