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DIY Holiday Tassel Garland with The Forest Fern

I have a handful of Holiday decorations that I look forward to bringing out each year. (We’re big on Scandinavian traditions at this house.) That said, I do also try to add new pieces into the mix each year to keep things fresh and festive. Last year, the cedar archway garland was the main event, and this year, I’ve teamed up with incredibly talented fiber artist, Sara Banner of The Forest Fern, to share a fun and easy project for Holiday decorating.

DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree. DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree.

Sara is a devoted macrame + tapestry genius and a wealth of knowledge in all things fiber-related. I’ve been a fan of Sara’s beautiful work for over a year now and was lucky to meet and work with her while she was in Minneapolis last Summer. Together we created a modern tassel garland tutorial for draping across windows, the fireplace mantel and even the Christmas tree. Let’s get tasseling, shall we? Read on for the how-to on this smart, easy project!

DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree. DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree.

DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree.

Materials:

  • Single Strand Cotton String – we used 6mm Black Cotton from Niroma Studio
  • Scissors
  • Hair brush, pet brush or wide toothed comb
  • 3-4 various colors of yarn
  • Thin cotton string (such as baker’s twine)
  • Tapestry needle

1. Construct Tassels. Cut 6 pieces of cotton string roughly 20″ long. Divide the 6 strands into two groups of three. Tie one laynard knot via the video explanation. The video clip details the knot using just two pieces of yarn for demonstration purposes. You’ll use all 6 strands of cotton when tying the knot.

2. Gather the strings in your fist just below the laynard knot and start your first Wrapping Knot. Use a different color yarn of your choosing to form a “U” shape at the base of the knot leaving one tail end out at the top of the “U”. Place your thumb midway up the “U” shape to hold the yarn in place while you wrap the other end around the tassel in a clockwise motion, keeping your rows spaced next to one another.

3. Continue tightly wrapping the yarn around the base of the knot forming a band of color. Tie off the yarn by threading the end through the loop created in Step 2. Then while holding the yarn end with one hand, pull the upper yarn end that was formed in Step 2 with your other hand. As you pull the upper yarn, the loop will eventually disappear underneath the wrapped yarn band. Trim yarn ends close to the tassel.

4. Repeat Steps 2 & 3 to wrap additional color bands around the tassel.

5. Gather the tassel string ends in your fist and trim to a uniform length.

DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree.

6. Use a brush to separate string into individual yarns. Keep on brushing until the strings separate and are straight (yes, this can take some time!). Then give the yarns an additional trim for uniformity.

7. Repeat Steps 1-7 for additional tassels.

8. Measure the length of your window or fireplace mantle and double this measurement. Cut baker’s twine to this length, and thread the tapestry needle.

9. Thread tassels onto the baker’s twine through the center of the tassel head. Space them out evenly on the string, and hang up your garland!

Follow Sara on Instagram for loads more inspiration and info on her upcoming events + flash sales.

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DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree. DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree.

DIY an easy tassel garland with Sara of The Forest Fern for Holiday decorating. Great for hanging across windows, the fireplace mantle and the tree.

0 In DIY

DIY Holiday Card Moodboard (Video!)

OMG. I can’t believe I’m already writing this, but I’ve got HOLIDAYS on the brain!  Our Gold Foil Christmas cards from Mixbook arrived in the mail, and in the spirit of sending out cards, I’ve also been thinking about a way to display cards at our house.

Watch the short and sweet video on making a Holiday Card Moodboard for displaying season's greetings from friends and family. In partnership with Mixbook.

You see, I love giving + getting Holiday cards, but what I haven’t so much loved is hanging all of them up in my house. Until recently I couldn’t find a way to collectively hang them that fit cohesively with our seasonal decor. Usually we designate a basket for them on our dining room china cabinet, but let’s be honest, we rarely look in that basket once the cards are opened. So basically the cards just sit there collecting dust, and where’s the Holiday spirit in that??

This year? This year there will be more card enjoyment and less dust collection at this house. I’ve taken the idea behind the inspiration mood board (you know, the kind you hang at your desk and pin collected snippets to) and created a Holiday edition–a spot for corralling cards from loved ones, patterned paper that’s too pretty to toss, special ornaments, fresh greenery, etc.–all the little things that inspire you throughout the season. Check out this little video on how I made it.

Watch the short and sweet video on making a Holiday Card Moodboard for displaying season's greetings from friends and family. In partnership with Mixbook.   Watch the short and sweet video on making a Holiday Card Moodboard for displaying season's greetings from friends and family. In partnership with Mixbook. Watch the short and sweet video on making a Holiday Card Moodboard for displaying season's greetings from friends and family. In partnership with Mixbook.

What You Need:

Watch the short and sweet video on making a Holiday Card Moodboard for displaying season's greetings from friends and family. In partnership with Mixbook. Watch the short and sweet video on making a Holiday Card Moodboard for displaying season's greetings from friends and family. In partnership with Mixbook.

1.Hang the grid on the wall with two nails, or lean it on your tabletop against the wall.

Mood Board Styling 101: Create layers which add depth and interest to your board.

2. Start with a base layer of decorative paper and/or fabric with clothespins. Use larger than greeting card size paper/fabric so that it’s still slightly visible once cards are added.

3. Attach greenery for texture.

4. Begin hanging cards. To help curb the chaos, hang cards straight up and down and not at an angle.

5. Next tie on ornaments and feathers in open spaces or layer them on the cards for additional dimension.

6. Lastly, drape Christmas lights on one side of the board, and add additional Holiday cards as they arrive in the mail!

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Here’s a look at our family’s Holiday card from Mixbook we’re sending out this year. About a month ago, we set up a tripod with a timer on the side of our house, just before the sun was about to set, and snapped these pictures of the three of us. We tried alot of takes, and this was the ONLY one where Sylvia was actually looking at the camera. Ha!

Something new this year with Mixbook is their real foil cards. We chose the Holiday Glitter Frame Card, and the gold foil is SO pretty and tasteful in person. I’m really happy with how they turned out.

Not quite ready for Holiday stuff yet? Pin this project for later!

This post was created in partnership with Mixbook. They’re my go-to for Holiday and announcement cards (Remember these?). All ideas are my own.

 

8 In DIY/ Interiors

How to Style Your Media Console

I have a complex love/hate relationship with the TV. Netflix and of course, The Bachelor, are integral parts of the simple American life we lead, but that black hole of a rectangle throws a big ‘ol wrench in making your media console area look good, am I right? For years, while watching TV at night with my husband, I’ve secretly also been analyzing our media console trying to figure out the best configuration and way to style it out.

Since we all have TV’s, and they’re probably not going any where anytime soon, why not make the most of this area? Today, I’m teaming up with interior designer and vintage curator, Tasha Schultz, of Tchotchkes Design Studio to demystify the process and share concrete tips for creating a balanced composition around the TV.

Get interior designer Tasha Schultz's fast and friendly tips for styling your media console with a mix of thrifted and new accessories. Get interior designer Tasha Schultz's fast and friendly tips for styling your media console with a mix of thrifted and new accessories.

Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Here’s bare-bones look at my TV area. So sad and cold feeling. The media console is a two piece Besta cabinet from IKEA that we’ve mounted to the wall with a finished height of 31″. The TV is attached to the wall with a pivoting arm mount 11″ above the console. The designer in me wants the TV placed higher on the wall than it is, but the TV watcher in me (and my chiropractor too) want it placed at sitting eye level. We’ve mounted it about 6″ higher than “sitting eye level” as a compromise.

Since this 1936 house of ours has plaster walls in all it’s crumbly glory, we decided not to run the cables behind the wall and instead, run them down through a grommet on the top of the cabinet.

Get interior designer Tasha Schultz's fast and friendly tips for styling your media console with a mix of thrifted and new accessories.

 

Get interior designer Tasha Schultz's fast and friendly tips for styling your media console with a mix of thrifted and new accessories.

Get interior designer Tasha Schultz's fast and friendly tips for styling your media console with a mix of thrifted and new accessories.

Adding visual interest to your TV area doesn’t have to run you the big bucks. If you follow along on Instagram, you may remember Tasha and I venturing out to one of our favorite thrift stores in Minneapolis, The Salvation Army (North Loop) to look for accessories. With thrifting, you don’t always know what you’re going to find, so we didn’t have specific pieces we were necessarily looking for, we just knew we wanted to add height and texture on either side of the TV and something low slung to hide the Apple TV.

P.S. Are you not dying over Tasha’s vintage plaid dress?! BECAUSE I AM!

Back at my house, we used a combination of our thrifted finds, vintage pieces from Tasha’s Chairish shop, and a few new, store bought elements to turn this sad, naked TV corner into a happily dressed media center. Here are Tasha’s fast and friendly tips to pull everything together:

  • Start with Greenery for Height and Texture – On the right of the TV, we’ve used two low maintenance plants in matching plant stands that we found thifting. Plants add a wonderful organic texture and stands give the plants a nice height boost.
  • Use a Low Slung Piece Below the Mounted TV – If you have small electronics like an Apple TV that can’t be hidden within a cabinet, use a long and low decorative piece like our wooden horse to keep it out of plain sight.
  • Conceal Electronic Cords – Ikea cord covers are less than $10 and can be painted to match your wall color. Done and done.
  • Stack Pretty Books for Height and Layering – To the left of the TV we’ve used 2 hardcover books as a platform for grouping accessories.
  • Use a Range of Materials and Textures – Marble, wood, brass, terra cotta and greenery all work together to create visual interest and draw your attention away from the TV.
  • Get Creative with Unlikely Storage – If your media console is wall mounted or up on legs, capitalize on the space underneath with book storage. They don’t need to be “cool” design books either. Here we’re using a mix of Erin’s college textbooks and new mama books!

See a piece you likey?  Wooden Horse Box | Marble & Brass Lamp | Matisse Print | Mala Beads | Pyramid Object | Embroidered Pouf | Media ConsoleTV Wall Mount

 

 

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0 In DIY

DIY Crash Course Event – 15% Off!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever sorted through 1000 YouTube tutorials or read even more DIY blog posts just to figure out how to do a common household repair or improvement? Well pull yourself out of that internet black hole, and join us for a one night DIY Crash Course. I’m teaming up with several local DIY’ers to demystify a variety of home improvement skills IN PERSON. There are a few spots left, so sign up and take 15% off your ticket with promo code: CRASH !

Join us for a DIY Crash Course of hands on experience + tips and tricks with industry experts! Click through for details!

When: Wednesday, November 1st from 6-9pm
Where: Projects in Person in Hopkins, MN
What: 4 DIY stations with hands-on experience, tips + tricks led by Projects in Person, Construction2Style, Francois et Moi (Me!) and Rebuild MN:
  1. Drywall
  2. Tiling
  3. Wall Treatments
  4. Wallpaper (I’m heading up this station! We’ll cover recommended tools, installation, removal, and additional resources. Plus, a discount code for 20% off Milton & King wallpaper!)

PLUS:

  • Ask an Expert (plumber, electrician, handyman) ask your questions and see demos!
  • Test Drive Power Tools
  • Drinks and Apps
  • Giveaways & More!

Click Here for More Event Details & to Sign Up!

See you there!

 
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In DIY

DIY du Jour: Paper Leather Tote

Anyone else geek out over innovative materials–ones that make you stop and rethink the widely accepted use for a common item? I came across this paper product that’s WASHABLE. Yes, you read that right: Machine Washable. It has a resemblance to leather that ages and patinas with use, but it’s waaaaayyyy easier to sew on than actual leather. (Hint: no broken needles!) I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this stuff and make a grommeted paper leather tote for–you know–toting around town. I used two different colors of paper and added a little surface pattern with fabric paint. I think it came out kinda cool! Read on for more…

Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through...   Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through... Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through... Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through... Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through...

Find my full DIY tutorial over at Sugar & Cloth!

A couple things to note: A) Make sure to remove the handles/grommets before washing. B.) If you make it, tag me on Instagram so I can see your rockstar work!

Digging this project? Pin it for later!

Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through...

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In DIY

The Great Labor Day Honey Harvest + 4 Easy Ways to Help the Bees!

Over Labor Day, we spent the weekend at my husband, Ken’s family farm in Manchester, Iowa harvesting honey from my father-in-law’s bee hives. Every year it’s a collective effort gathering the hive frames, using heat to open up the wax honeycomb, spinning the honey from the frames, and bottling it up.

Being this close to the harvesting process, has given me such an appreciation for the honey bees. Their social hierarchy, the work they do pollinating flowers, and collecting nectar & turning it into honeycomb is just all around fascinating. And I was surprised to find over the years, that unlike wasps, the bees are actually incredibly gentle and unlikely to sting. My husband, Ken, even got a bee in his bee suit one year and wasn’t stung!

Bees make it possible for us to enjoy a variety of foods as they help with the reproduction of upwards of 75% of flowering plants and crops. Unfortunately, our honey bee numbers were down this year at the farm, and it’s part of a larger trend due to a combination of stress factors including loss of habitat, parasites and diseases, and pesticide exposure. Without the bees many of our crops and flowers would no longer be available.

Here a few things you can do to help the bees!

  • Plant native wildflowers for bees, a strategy that has been shown to reverse the decline of wild pollinators and improve the health of honey bees. The ultimate goal is to provide flowering plants from April to September. Some bee-friendly Minnesota native plants include sunflowers, oregano and clover. See a full list compiled by the U of M Bee Squad.
  • Avoid using pesticides, especially insecticides.
  • Create homes for bees, such as brush piles and bumble bee boxes.
  • Spread the word to bring more awareness to the health of our bees!

Learn More:

University of MN Bee Lab

The Xerces Society

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In DIY

Artist Spotlight: Marquin Designs + A GIVEAWAY

Last January, while I was very pregnant, sans baby and still had free time on my hands, I took a bit of time and studied some of my favorite interiors I had pinned on Pinterest. What I discovered was that one thing all those amazing spaces had in common was ORIGINAL ART,  emotion-evoking, dynamic art. After coming to this realization, I decided I wanted work towards bringing more original art into our home this year.
 
Over the summer, I had the pleasure of getting to e-know the lovely, Marquin Campbell, painter, entrepreneur and creative brains behind Marquin Designs. I adore her work and was excited to work with her on a custom piece for my dining room. I love the dream-like quality of her painting style and that she draws inspiration from landscapes near the charming city of Savannah, Georgia.
 
This was the first time I’d worked with an artist on a completely custom piece, and it was so much fun! Marquin had me send photos of my dining room, as well as asked me to peruse her previous works on Instagram to hone in on styles and color palettes I responded to. I gathered my thoughts and sent her a long, babbling email about my work-in-progress dining room (remember when the china cabinet was red?), a paint swatch, ideas for color palettes & styles, a rant on how I like “negative white space” and shimmery metallic gold, etc. Honestly, I rambled.
 
But Marquin kindly took all my thoughts and translated them into a stunning abstracted piece for our dining room china cabinet. I wish I could have you all over to see the depth it has in person. There are so many rich layers of earth tones that a camera cannot do justice! She got my requested “negative white space” just right, and her thick, textural brush strokes of metallic gold shimmer in the light as you walk by it. Ah–it’s the perfect bridge between the new cabinet color, brass lighting, and black dining chairs. Don’t you guys think?
 
If you love Marquin’s work as much as I do, and want some of her magic in your own home, then hop over to Instagram to enter our GIVEAWAY! Marquin is giving away a 16″ x 16″ print of the custom piece she created for my dining room! It’s SUUUPER easy to enter, so what do you have to lose?!
 
Marquin was generous enough to do a little Q&A and share a little about herself + let me pick her brain as to how she got started painting professionally and advice for budding artists. I hope you enjoy getting to know Marquin as much as I have this Summer!
 
1. Tell us about yourself and your creative business, Marquin Designs: 
I am married, a mother of two, and live in a very sweet little Southern town called Greenville, South Carolina. I have had this business since college and named it ‘Marquin Designs’ to give me flexibility because I did not quite know what creative direction I wanted to go: I’ve pursued a bunch of different areas in the arts.  
Currently I am painting originals, selling prints, wallpaper, fabric, and a few gift items (like acrylic trays) with my art reproduced onto the surfaces. 
 
2. How would you describe your painting style?
Ethereal and atmospheric: the last few years my pieces have largely been driven by abstracted landscapes inspired by the island I grew up on outside of Savannah, Georgia.  That scenery has caused a creative spark that lead to a series which has evolved over the past few years.  
If I had to categorize my work in ‘art terminology,’ it would fall into the ‘abstract expressionist’ classification. 
 
3. You recently launched a new painting series. Was there a particular influence or inspiration that steered the collection?
 My last body of work was inspired by color ways in vintage textiles and vintage Turkish rugs and abstracted lowcountry landscapes. 
I am currently working on a series of faces in collaboration with one of my favorite jewelry stores that is pushing me creatively.  I can not wait to launch the ‘Ladies.’ 
 
4. In addition to Marquin Designs, you also run the art school, Vino & van Gogh? Tell us about this component of your business.
 I started the concept seven years ago loosely based around the ‘Sip and Paint’ concept.  It has grown into a school in a very organic way: we now have a wide array of Children’s Art Classes, host Visiting Artists for multi-day workshops, and have one night classes that allow students to dabble in different creative areas.  It has provided the community with accessibility to very approachable art making. 
The studio also doubles as a place for my work to hang and to meet collectors.  This set up and overlap has worked out very nicely. 
 
5. How did you get into painting professionally? Did you go to school for fine art?
 I attended the University of Georgia and received two majors: Drawing and Painting and a minor in Art History.  I then went on to Parsons School of Design in New York City and obtained a degree in Fashion Studies which touched on everything from design to marketing.  
I think like most creatives, I could have found myself in a bunch of different artistic fields.  But the opportunities in Greenville lead me down the path of starting the art school and painting full time. 
 
6. What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer a budding artist, maker or designer?
Be organized. I think planning ahead and creating goals are very important. Coordinating planned release dates for work with collaborations or bloggers is important. By being organized, you can better forecast your money, social media campaigns, email marketing, and have a clearer head. I think it is very important to also be flexible when plans change, but to always have a clear direction you are moving.
 

GREENVILLE FAVORITES:

Favorite Gallery: There are oddly not a lot of galleries here, but they are coming.  Art and Light is airy, well curated, and filled with art made by with lovely people. 
Favorite Spot to Get Inspired: I love interior design and The Rock House Antiques is loaded with fabulous finds.  I am currently working on my master bedroom and they helped me redesign a pair of lamps I found in Savannah for a song.  I also purchased a pair of Faux Bois Garden stools from them that I could not live without. 
Favorite Dessert Place: I absolutely adore the dessert chef, Cynthia, at Augusta Grill, which is conveniently located right beside my studio.  If I’m working late, I love to pop next door and sip a glass of wine and nibble a slice of her Chocolate Sin Pie. 
 
Don’t forget to head over to Instagram to enter to win a Marquin Designs print! And if you don’t want to wait for the giveaway, you can also purchase an exact print of my painting here!
Photo credit for Marquin’s studio images: Angela Zion Photography
 
This post was created in partnership with Marquin Designs. I only partner with brands I personally use and love. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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In DIY

Global Style, Feel Good Design with Meridian

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

As my tastes refine and style evolves, I find myself increasingly more intentional about the pieces I choose for my home. As you guys know, I’m a big advocate for mindful design, which emphasizes understanding the social impact of our purchases and celebrating the story behind them: where they’re made, what they’re made of, and who makes them.

I get so excited when I find brands like Meridian who are making change for good around the world. Meridian collaborates with master artisans from Ghana to Peru bringing their story to the global stage, helping to preserve indigenous crafts, and empowering often disadvantaged communities.  Every purchase through Meridian directly supports the artisan who made the piece.

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

My exquisite Meridian bone inlay box comes from a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. The handmade box is adorned with intricately carved recycled and naturally occurring bone through methods that have been passed down through multiple generations.

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. IMG_5269

If you can imagine, it takes a entire team of individual artisans to make just one box. One artisan is responsible for hand carving each piece of bone into delicate leaf shapes. A second person affixes those pieces onto a wooden frame in the intricate botanical pattern. The third artisan fills the outline of the pattern with black resin to create the background. And finally, an additional person sands and seals the box to completion. Uffda–I need a nap just explaining the process! No doubt there is loads of love and skill that goes into each and every box.

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

We use our box for storing TV remote controls in our living room. I love having a pretty spot to tuck them away when we’re not using them, and also knowing exactly where they’ll be when Netflix calls. It’s equal parts form and function–just the way we like things around here! I’ve been trying the box in a few different spots around the living room, and I think the media console is my favorite spot for it. What do you guys think?

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

This post was created in partnership with Meridian. I only partner with brands I personally use and love. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Process photos courtesy of Meridian. Follow them on Instagram for more artisan stories and sneak peeks at their latest collaborations.

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