DIY Christmas Bulb Wreath

The holidays are in full-swing, which means I am suffering minor burns from my glue gun pretty much daily. Few things make me more excited than wreath-making though, so it’s all worth it.

I’ve made this wreath a number of times in a few color combinations, mostly reds with silver and/or gold. The first bulb wreath I made is currently hanging on my front door. Sure, I’ve glued a few bulbs back in place over the years, but I’m proud to say it’s about 5 years old and going (mostly) strong.

I purchase foam wreaths from Michael’s when I have a 50% off coupon because these things are expensive for what they are. I also usually wait for the bulbs to go on clearance because otherwise the cost of this wreath gets really out of hand.

Materials needed for this tutorial:

  • Foam wreath
  • Glue gun with many, many glue sticks
  • Regular plastic bulbs
  • Small plastic bulbs, bells, etc for filler

The stem on plastic bulbs typically comes off pretty easily, which is convenient because for the base layer on this wreath you’re going to need to take the stems off in order to puncture the foam and glue the bulbs in place.

I take stems off as I go, that way I don’t remove too many. Often times the plastic stems break as they are coming off so I can’t count on them going back on nicely (if at all).

Next I heat up my glue gun. I use a mini glue gun because I find the size really comfortable for prolonged use. That said, I go through mini glue sticks like it’s nobody’s business. A tremendous amount of glue is used in the making of this wreath.

With the wreath laying flat on the floor I take a bulb that has the silver stem removed and puncture the foam. I do this to essentially make a pocket for the glue.

Next you can either fill the hole up with hot glue or you can put glue directly on the bulb before you push it in. I’ve not noticed a difference in either technique.

I leave a small gap between each bulb as I continue to add bulbs to the face of the wreath.

I do the entire face of the wreath, then I start the inside and outside rings. It’s important to be careful when you are doing this next step because you want the wreath to lay flat on your door, so if your bulbs are placed too low around the sides of the wreath it simply won’t lay flat. I very slightly angle the inner and outer bulbs upward.

I do my best to stagger the bulbs along the sides, however it’s not perfect.

Once the inside ring is done I move to the outside of the wreath. Same process – take off the silver stem, puncture the foam wreath, add glue, push ornament stem back into wreath. Also, the amount of glitter on my floor in this next picture is what nightmares are made of. (Pro tip: dry Swiffer cloths are amazing at cleaning up glitter)

Once you’ve covered the wreath with bulbs you will notice lots of gaps – there’s plenty of foam visible. Not to worry! First I use more regular sized bulbs to fill in space. Once you’ve filled with regular bulbs, you can fill smaller spaces with small bulbs, small ornaments, bells, etc.

I keep adding small filler ornaments until no more foam is visible. Then I take more glue (!!!) and add wherever it seems necessary. I would rather over-glue than have ornaments falling off every time the door shuts.

When gluing ornaments to other ornaments, I try to glue each item in 3 places. If it’s a star, for example, I want at least 3 pieces of the star to make contact with other bulbs.

This wreath takes me about 2-3 hours to make, but it’s SO worth it. It’s eye-catching and unique, and it can be made with whatever color combo you can dream up! I like to stay away from big contrasts (black and silver, for example) because bulb placement gets really tricky, as you don’t want to be too dark or light in areas. Balance is key. If you add a dark blue ornament to one side, try to add one to the other to balance it out.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. Happy holidays!

Heather

An Apron Pattern to Love

Friends, it has been TOO long since my last post. About 6 weeks ago I returned to work following a 14 month maternity leave. My husband was travelling for work and life has been nothing short of hectic.

I do have a big project on the go right now, but tonight I want to talk a bit about my very favorite apron pattern.

Aprons are my go-to gift for housewarming parties, bridal showers, Christmas and birthdays. I love gifting personalized items, and aprons are a fun and functional gift to give or receive. For bridal showers I often embroider the bride’s new last name (if applicable) onto the apron. I make aprons out of cotton or light/medium weight denim fabrics, and I add lace or ribbon to the pocket to make it stand out a bit.

My go-to pattern is by Simplicity and it’s #2555. This pattern comes in ladies and misses, and you can choose between a gathered skirt apron or a flat front apron. The apron is pretty much a blank slate – you can add in details but otherwise it’s very plain. It’s a solid pattern that allows you to use your imagination. I should note as well that this pattern makes an adjustable apron, which I love because if you have your hair done you don’t have to pull a tight apron strap over your head – just tug down on the apron bib and the neck opening becomes longer.

I estimate that I’ve made this pattern over 40 times. The instructions are clear, the design is beautiful, and the finished product is fantastic. I’ve made the gathered apron and the flat front apron, but the gathered is a pain so I just stick with the flat front now.

Over the years I’ve tailored the pattern to include extra detail around the top and the tail. I’ve used contrasting fabric for those pieces, as well as the pocket and tie. I typically make this with just 1 pocket but I have made it with 2 as well.

So for this apron I added a 6 inch section along the bottom of a contrasting fabric, and a roughly 2 inch (finished) section along the top. I used contrasting fabric for the tie and the pocket. A little lace detail finished the pocket, and now this is ready for gifting! This is made in size Medium.

This version was from Christmas 2017. I used a fabric with red and plaid deer for the body of the apron, and the trim is done from a complimentary fabric with small blue deer heads, snowflakes and trees. Again, I used it for the top section, bottom, ties and pocket. I didn’t use any ribbon or lace on the pocket for this apron, mostly because I felt the fabric was lively enough. This is made in size Large.

This is the basic pattern without any add-ons. The fabric shown here is from my stash and it really just needed to be put to good use. I think it’s perfect for an apron. Not sure what else I had in mind when I picked it up….story of my life! This is also a size Large.

I love the size of this apron and the fact that it’s adjustable just makes it perfect! No more messing up your hair when it’s time to take the apron off. Perfect if you’re having company for dinner.

In terms of sizing, the small is true to size, medium is definitely suitable for up to size 10 or 12, in my opinion. The large is generous, and the XL is as well.

I’ve made some more decorative aprons and some child-size aprons but tonight I really just wanted to talk a bit about Simplicity 2555 as it’s my go-to.

You could dress this up even further with a very decorative pocket, or with more pockets! If you’re really feeling adventurous perhaps a little applique! In fact, in a future post I hope to do an apron with teacup applique.

Thanks for checking out my post!

Heather

DIY Cloth Napkins

For years I have wanted to have the kind of house where guests walk in and see a beautiful dining table, all dressed with coordinating plates, cutlery, placemats and napkins. A design that looks stylish yet functional.

Our dining table often looks like a storage facility, housing books, toys, notepads, laptops and receipts.

I’ve decided we will never be people who always have their table “dressed”, and that’s okay, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could quickly set up your table for company and have it look put together? That was my mission over the last 12 months. But could I find placemats, napkins and napkin rings that I liked? Not a chance.

On a recent trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond I found placemats and napkin rings that I quite like, but the thought of spending a lot of money on cloth napkins just didn’t thrill me. We have 9 settings in our house so with most store-bought napkins ranging from $4- $12, I decided I should DIY it.

I looked up standard napkin sizes and it looks like anywhere from 12″ to 16″ is where I wanted to be.

I went to Fabricville and found some cute, summery fabric on clearance. I chose this fabric because it’s the same on both sides. As much as I love working with cotton, printed cotton always has a “wrong” side and it usually isn’t very pretty. This fabric almost feels a bit gauzy, and it has a little bit of stretch to it.

I came home and put this fabric through the washer (hot water) and dryer. If these are going to shrink, I want them to shrink now. And I figure cloth napkins are something I will probably need to wash in hot water because of the potential for stains, mostly from tacos.

I decided to go for 14″ napkins, so I started out by pressing my uncut fabric with the iron to get out any wrinkles. Because this fabric is striped, I needed to cut fairly straight along the stripes. I used my rotary cutter and cutting mat for this, but you can use scissors and a tape measure/ruler as well.

If you’re using scissors, an easy way to do this is to cut out a piece of cardboard in the proper dimension, and lay the cardboard on top of your fabric. Outline it with a pen or a Sharpie. Do that for each napkin, then remove the cardboard and simply cut out.

I wanted a nice, crisp sewn edge for these napkins so I actually cut 16″X16″ squares to account for a 1″ seam allowance.

Once cut, I folded in the edge 1″ all the way around, pinning as I went. I pressed the crease with a hot iron and let the fabric cool.

Once cooled, I took out the pins and tucked in the seam allowance so no raw edge was exposed. I pinned in place.

As this fabric does have stretch, I was sure not to stretch as I pinned. Doing so would leave the edges of the napkin “wavy” and that’s not the look I was going for.

I used a straight stitch and stitched near the crease, all the way around. Clipped the threads and pressed, once again, with a hot iron. I used the steam setting this time to try to get the edges nice and crisp.

Overall these turned out to be as easy as I expected, and probably even cuter!

Here they are against two different mats, with different rings. Quite easy to dress up or down. Even better, I’m sure, folded up in a picnic basket.

My personal favorite…………

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! The napkins, as I mentioned, were made from fabric on clearance, so I was able to do all 9 for $13. Quite a steal, if you ask me. Easy, affordable napkins that you can make for every season or occasion.

Thanks for following along today!

Heather