How-To: Hogwarts Inspired Floating Candles & Witch Hats

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw that my main decorating project for Halloween this year was hanging floating candles and witch hats in my entryway for a super magical, Harry Potter-esque effect. I absolutely loved the way it turned out and seemingly so did everyone else because I got a TON of questions asking how I did it, so I thought I’d share the how-to. Spoiler: It couldn’t be easier.

All you need is clear fishing line, a sewing needle, scissors, clear command strips if you’re renting (or staples if you own), witch hats, battery operated taper candles, and a ladder.

I started with the witch hats because they took up more space so I wanted to have their placement established before the candles. Cut pieces of fishing line in varying lengths so the hats hang at different heights, and then use the sewing needle to thread a piece of fishing line through the top of each hat. You want to thread the line through the top of the hat in a perpendicular direction to the hat itself, so that it eventually hangs straight. Pull the line through so each end is even and then tie it off in a double knot. Choose where you want to place each hat and either apply a command strip in each location or use a staple gun to adhere the string to the ceiling.

Then move on to the candles. Put batteries in each candle (it’s a pain in the butt to do this after the fact.) Again, cut pieces of fishing line in varying lengths so the candles also float at different heights. Tie the line around the taper candle – either you can wrap it around the lower half of the candle a few times or tie a knot around where the “flame” starts (I did the latter.) Tie off the string in a double knot and repeat the process of finding your preferred candle places & attaching them to the ceiling.

Viola! So simple, so magical, so much fun!

How To: A Statement-Making Entryway for Under $150

A big lesson I’ve learned in decorating (especially as a twenty-something on a budget!) is that sometimes putting in the work to do a simple DIY makes all the difference.

Think about how many times you’ve come across the perfect piece of furniture that just speaks to your soul, and then had your heart broken when you saw the price tag. Or, how many times you’ve seen something and thought, “that is so close to exactly what I want, but it’s just not the color”.

It’s happened to me a lot.

IMG_3259-2

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars or settle for something that isn’t perfect. If you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty, you can have the aesthetic you want at the price point you want.

A prime example of this? Back in L.A, I happened upon a cabinet outside of our apartment one night. It was poorly painted a streaky white, but it had a great shape, was clearly functional, and most importantly? It was free. Almost without thinking, I picked it up and took it inside. I slapped some green paint on it, added some gold hardware, and voilà, I had myself a pretty espresso station + place to store random belongings (you can see it here). It added so much personality and aesthetic appeal to that space, and it broke my heart to leave it behind when I moved!

IMG_3283-2.jpg

Since moving into this apartment, I knew I wanted an established entryway area. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing random piles of mail, keys, headphones, etc. all over my home. The chaos needs to be corralled, and since the entry way is typically the first thing you see when you enter your home, it’s extra important to me and my peace of mind to have that particular space well designed & organized.

My entry way is a teeny tiny little space, but I knew with some creativity and patience, I could have exactly what I wanted! The order was a tall one. I needed a table that fit the actual dimensions of the natural entryway, it had to be tall (not short like typical end tables), it needed drawers so I could hide unsightly items like lint rollers and earphones, and ideally it had to have some design appeal.

After scouring for months, I finally happened upon the almost perfect piece at Homegoods. It was under $90 (unheard of!) and fit all the above specs. Also, it had cute vintage details that I loved. Again, I took it home without thinking twice. The only issue? The color.

A8B67028-033C-4B11-A0C5-877DBB4D6FC9.JPG

So boring! Luckily, I’m now an old pro at the DIY now. As a little homage to my old coffee cabinet, I used the same green paint, spray painted the pulls the same gold, and suddenly I had a unique, eye-catching, and beautifully clutter-free entryway table. For this project, a sample container in matte finish from my local Home Depot was more than enough (it cost about $10 with the paintbrush, and I already had the spray paint I needed!) The painting project took under 24 hours. So worth it!

IMG_3276-2.jpg

IMG_3286-2.jpg

IMG_3297-2.jpg

To dress the area up a bit more, I added some neutral-colored books, a candle, a small dish to place my keys (all of which I already owned!), and a vase of fresh flowers. I bought an adorable little mirror and rug from H&M home, linked here and here, and that was it! So cute, no?!

IMG_3251-2

These kinds of posts are so fun to do. I hope you guys like them! Hopefully it inspires some of you who are designing your own spaces with budgets in mind!

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

I sometimes get a bad rap in my family as the one with expensive taste. Sorry for knowing what I like, amiright?! I often get comments like “when your father and I were your age, we got our furniture from the trash on the street!” Cool, enjoy your bedbugs, peasants! (jk)

But also I like to set the record straight every now and then and showcase how I use creativity to get the look I want while still being frugal.

IMG_1361-2.jpg

Since I was hosting Christmas this year, with my own real tree and everything, I knew I needed to decorate it accordingly. Luckily I had all the lights I needed, I was able to use gift cards to buy the stand and the star on top, and instead of buying a tree skirt that I didn’t love I just used a white blanket. When it came to ornaments, I decided that rush buying a bunch of ornaments that I didn’t love would just be a waste of money. I choose to accumulate them slowly, with each ornament having meaning to my life and being something I truly love.

But because I couldn’t just have an ornament-less tree, I decided to make some! It was so easy, a lot like baking sugar cookies (just less tedious) and SO cost effective. The whole project probably cost me…$2?! I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a pack of white acorns and clear spherical ornaments for future projects that I also added to the tree, but since those were 70% off, they cost under $5. So, you guys, I decorated my tree for $7.

IMG_1253-2.jpg

IMG_1266-2.jpg

IMG_1268-2.jpg

Here’s what you do!

DIY Cornstarch Clay Ornaments

ingredients/materials:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup water

ornament hooks

optional: acrylic paint, tree branches, lace, other materials for imprinting

directions:

combine all ingredients in a saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. stir constantly until a thick paste forms, so that it almost forms a ball by itself.

scrape the paste out onto a piece of parchment paper and form a ball (be careful, it will be hot!) let it rest and cool until luke-warm & comfortable enough to touch.

roll the dough out with a rolling pin, use cookie cutters to cut out your shapes, and set them on a cookie sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper.

use a straw (preferably paper/cardboard so you can just trash it when you’re done) to punch out the ornament hook holes.

*if you want to imprint some branches/patterns on the ornaments, now is the time!

preheat oven to 175 F, and bake the ornaments for 1 hour, flipping them halfway through!

*once baked and cooled, you can paint on them if you choose!

add ornament hooks and hang on your tree!

IMG_1316-2.jpg

IMG_1321-2.jpg

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!