Texas Longhorn Yarn & Felt Football Wreath

Yarn wreaths are my new favorite way to adorn my door. They’re quick, cheap and easy to make — the perfect recipe for a holiday wreath. I made my first yarn wreath last year, and have whipped out versions for Valentines Day, Independence Day and various other occasions since then. The technique is simple once you get it down an it’s a project you can whip out in a short evening (two episodes of Downton Abbey to be exact).

This fall I decided to kick off football season by crafting a Texas-inspired wreath for my favorite Longhorn. Since it was a gift for a guy, I decided to move away from the argyle and felt flower style wreath I’d done in the past. (I made this TCU wreath last year for my Horned Frog-loving little sister.) After a bit of searching on Pinterest, I found a Greenbay Packers wreath that would serve as my inspiration. I loved how the yarn mimicked the stripes on the team’s shoulder pads and thought it has a much more masculine feel than the argyle.

If you’re looking to recreate this project, I’ve got you covered. It’s is easy to accomplish and with a few quick supplies you can easily create your own! Here’s what you’ll need:

Supplies

  • Green Foam Wreath, 12-inch, $5.99 at Michaels (Tip: Use one of their ever available 40% off coupons to cut the cost!)
  • Yarn in your team colors, $2.99-$4.99 per skein at Michaels (for this one I used white and burnt orange)
  • Wide Satin or Grosgrain Ribbon, $2.99 at Michaels
  • Two colors of felt in your team colors, $0.29 per sheet at Michaels
  • Foam sticky letters, I forget how much these were at Michaels

Tools:

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Pen
  • Scissors

1. Choose your color palette - If you’re making a football or team inspired wreath, your team colors are an easy place to start. I had trouble finding burnt orange felt, so instead I decided to use burnt orange yarn. (There are many more color choices in yarn than in felt.) For the felt, I stuck to neutrals, grey and white.

2. Go shopping - Gather all your supplies. Another good part of this craft: it’s cheap. My total expenditure for this project was less than $10! (I happened to already have white felt, yarn and ribbon. The benefit to crafting a lot is you tend to have leftover things you can use for future projects!)

4. Measure & mark your wreath – Using a flexible tape measure, measure the circumference of your foam wreath. (Finally, a good use for that 9th grade geometry class!) Divide that number into three and mark your wreath using pen or marker in three even sections. Next, mark off where you want your white stripes. I put them just below the top third I marked off and made each section 3 inches wide.

4. Wrap your wreath in yarn - This is, by far, the most time consuming and tedious part of the project. Start by hot gluing the end of your yarn to the back of the wreath. Wrap the yarn around the wreath, pulling tightly until you cover the first third of your wreath. Again, hot glue the end then switch colors. Repeat until you make the pattern in the picture and the entire wreath is covered.

Tip: For faster wreath wrapping, wrap the yarn through the center of the wreath five to seven times before pulling it tight. Repeat and continue.

4. Add Your Team Logo - Use a sharpie or felt pen to trace the shape of your team logo or mascot onto the felt color of your choice. (I found a longhorn online, printed it in the size I want then cut it out so I could use it as a stencil.) Cut out your shape. (I’ve found it’s easier to use stiffened felt to make the cutting easier.) Next, hot glue your shape to another color of felt and cut around it leaving a quarter to half inch border. Hot glue your team logo to the wreath wherever you think it looks best.

5. Make the bunting  - Using leftover grey felt, cut out diamond-shaped pieces to use for the your bunting. I drew the first one free-hand and then used it as a stencil for the others. (Note: Stiffened felt is not best for this part.) Next, fold them over a piece of rope or ribbon to make little flags. (I had the white rope lying around from a previous project.) Next, adorn your bunting with foam sticky letters (they’re in a Varsity-looking font and all!), spelling out your team’s name or mascot. Finish by fastening the bunting to the back of the wreath with hot glue.

6. Tie it Up - A pretty bow is the perfect way to top off your new wreath. To tie the bow, make a slip knot around the wreath, then tie the ribbon to your wreath hanger. Tie a bow on the front of the wreath hanger.

Tip: I found it helpful to practice the knot and bow before cutting the ribbon so I’d know how much ribbon I was going to use before cutting it off the spool. 

And there you have it: a quick and easy project that’s full of team spirit! Have you attempted a yarn wreath before? If you have any tips, tricks or need any advice on making your own, share your questions and experiences in the comments below!

Filed in: Projects | 2 Comments »

DIY Texas Steak Rub

It’s long been a holiday tradition in the Shiffler family to make homemade gifts for friends, coworkers, teachers and neighbors during the holiday season. Last year, my mom inspired a new edible treat that I decided to make my signature holiday gift: Homemade Steak Rub.

I started by shopping at the Dollar Store and Walmart where I found I could buy the spices I needed in bulk for a fraction of the cost of regular grocery stores. If you are making large batches, I also suggest checking out Sam’s or CostCo for your bulk buying needs!

Next up was selecting the perfect spice jar. Finding and designing packaging that would suit my discerning tastes and limited budget was quite the project! I searched high and low, online and off for a suitable choice. I went between plastic and glass, big and small, round and square. I ended up finding two nice solutions at World Market. They didn’t have enough of each, so I got 12 of one and 10 of the other.

Stainless SteelWhite Lidded Spice Jars, $0.99 each or 6 for $5.95 at World Market

The jars were the perfect size and the right price! Truthfully, a dollar a jar seemed a bit steep, but I was able to use a $10 birthday coupon (yay for November birthdays!) that they emailed me, which made these much cheaper than any other option.

(Note: This year’s birthday coupon from World Market was not nearly as helpful! 15% off furniture, decor and more and 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages…I miss the $10 coupon with no restrictions!)

After selecting the packaging, it was time to actually make the steak rub. My mom found a recipe for Texas Steak Rub online that looked good so I went with it.

Texas Steak Rub

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Mix ingredients together stir well. Rub spice mixture on each side of steak at least 30 minutes before grilling. Can also be used on chicken, pork and hamburgers.

First, I measured and I mixed up all the spices in a bowl.

Next, I whisked them together so they would be well blended.

Lastly, I poured the mix into each of the spice jars using my trusty funnel. (Oh, I forgot to mention, I washed and dried all the spice jars by hand before filling them.)

The only task left was to design and print labels for the spices. I wanted something with a vintage yet Texas-like look. I was super inspired by Eat Drink Chic’s Vintage Apothecary Labels and decided to use those as inspiration for my packaging. Luckily, Amy was kind enough to share the fonts she used in the comments. I ended up using Mouse Deco, EcuyerDAX and Cheboygan, all available at dafont.com.

I designed two labels: one for the front, and one with directions and ingredients for the back. You can download an editable PDF to customize the city and state for yourself. Just make sure you have the Cheboygan font installed first!

Download Free Texas Steak Rub Labels

For the stainless steel lidded jars I printed the labels on a natural colored card stock, like this one available at Office Depot. For the white lidded jars, I used white cardstock.

Texas Steak Rub Gifts with White Lids

Cutting the labels was tedious but made easier by the help of my Fiskars straight edge cutter. I experimented with how to adhere my labels to the jars, and after failed attempts with hot glue, a glue stick and double sided tape, I hit up Google to see how other crafters had solved this problem. Luckily, I found the perfect solution! Xyron makes a product that allows you to make a sticker out of any shaped object. Since my labels were small, they fit perfectly into the 1.5 Inch Create-A-Sticker maker. Just run the labels through the x-shaped device and you get a perfectly sticky label!

I finished the gifts off with a raffia bow for a little extra holiday flare. I was so happy with how they turned out and my coworkers were very impressed! I got nice notes from a few friends commenting that the steak rub was delicious, so it’s a good bet that the recipe is worth trying again!

Filed in: Christmas, Freebies, Holidays, Projects | 2 Comments »

How To Vintage Marquee Arrow

Have you seen those adorable vintage marquee signs on Pinterest and Etsy? Well, today I’m going to tell you how to make one! This was a big learning process so bear with me through the details. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how to make this project easier, prettier or cheaper, I welcome your input!

When embarking on this project I searched the internet tirelessly for a good tutorial. Unfortunately, I could only find DIY and How-To articles for letters and symbols made of foam and cardboard. I knew I wanted something more durable, so I set out to figure out how to do it the old fashioned way: trial and error.

Luckily, I was able to recruit my boyfriend, Andrew, to help on the project and, honestly, I couldn’t have done it without him. His keep mathematical skills, well stocked toolset and patience would be vital to getting the wonderful final product that we did!

To start, I had to decide what sort of shape I wanted to take on. I easily decided on an arrow. Sticking with straight lines and a symmetrical shape seemed like a good idea for a first attempt, plus, I am a Pi Phi and so I love to decorate with arrows!

Next, I gathered all my supplies. Well, not all of them. If I’m being completely honest, this project took a good three trips to the Home Depot, one to Target and another shopping venture on Amazon.com. Here is the list of tools and supplies you’ll need to create your own vintage marquee arrow:

Supplies

  • 2 pieces poster board, $0.99 each at Walmart
  • Pre-cut Birchwood Board, Home Depot
  • Nickel Furniture Nails, Home Depot
  • Frosted Globe Lights, $9.49 on sale at Target
  • DAP Contact Stik 2-1/2 ft. Adhesive Repair Strips, $4.98 at Home Depot
  • 4×10″ Alumnium flashing, $3.23 on Amazon.com

Tools

  • Extra long ruler or straight edge, $0.69 at Home Depot
  • Drill and 1/4 inch drill bit
  • Circular Saw or Jigsaw
  • Hammer
  • Grinding Point Tree, $3.47 at Home Depot (optional)

1. Trace - Using your computer or free hand, create a template for your arrow. Copy it onto poster board and cut it out with scissors. Trace your shape in pencil onto the wood. I found using a long ruler to be helpful during this process.

2. Cut – Clamp the wood to your work table. Using a circular saw or jigsaw, trace the lines you just drew, cutting your arrow out of the wood. We used a circular saw so we could keep our lines straight.

3. Sand – Sand the edges of the arrow. You don’t want any splinters!

4. Draw – Using a ruler and/or your keen eyeballing skills, draw out where you want the holes for your lights to go. Be sure to measure distance between lights as well as distance from the edge to make sure things end up looking consistent. If you’re making an arrow, make sure your lights on the top and bottom are parallel. Ours ended up off a bit because we didn’t quite take our time with this step!

5. Drill – Clamp your shape to the table and using a drill bit a teeny bit bigger than the socket of your lights, drill holes where you marked them for your lights. We used a drill bit the same size as our lights, so we ended up having to buy a grinder and use the drill to widen each hole a little. Also, we learned that it’s better to drill from the front to the back. On a few of the holes, the drill splintered the wood on the back side — not something you want showing on the pretty face of your marquee!

6. Sand Again – Give your arrow a good sanding. Clean it with a wet cloth to prep it for painting.

7. Paint – Using spray paint, coat the front and sides of your arrow. You can do the back as well, but it’s not necessary since no one will really see it. Depending on your color, you might wish to add a second coat. Let the paint dry completely.

8. Edge - Starting at a less visible part of your shape (we chose the back side of the arrow), begin molding the aluminum to outline the edges. We ended up using sticky thingies that we found at Home Depot to adhere the metal to the wood before nailing them together. This helped us ensure the flashing was centered all the way around the shape. If you follow our process, you’d adhere the stickies on one edge, then go back and tack the wood aluminum together with upholstery nails, until you have gone around the entire shape.

9. Finish Edging – Using regular scissors, (we were happily surprised that the flashing cut really easily!) cut the remaining flashing off, leaving about two inches of extra. Bend the remaining flashing and tuck it under the starting point. Tack in place.

10. Light it Up! – Carefully stick the light sockets from your string lights into the back of the arrow. Screw the light bulbs into the front. (Note: you may have to remove some hanging clippy things from the lights to make sure they’ll fit through the holes.) Since we had 24 lights and only 16 holes, we started at the top of the string so we’d have extra cord to plug it in.

And there you have it! A retro-looking marquee sign that is actually brand new. I put mine above the cabinets in my new apartment. It is a total focal point in the kitchen that just about everyone comments one. It looks so nice, hardly anyone can believe that Andrew made it since it looks so professional!

Filed in: Projects | 3 Comments »

I love pinterest. It provides an endless supply of inspiration for just about anything and everything my heart desires! Lately I’ve been trying to stop pinning and start DOING, taking the inspiration I’ve found on pinterest and turning it into real DIY projects, outfits, etc.

My first pinterest project was easy, I admit. But you’ve got to start somewhere, right?!

Inspired by this pin, I transformed a swing-arm pants hanger into a ribbon organizer. I love ribbon and can hardly resist buying more every time I make a trip to the craft store. Instead of having it all raveled up in a box, I now have all my spools easily accessible, color coordinated, and ready for use! It fits perfectly in my craft closet (aka laundry closet) and can be grabbed for quick use at a moments notice. No more digging through a messy ribbon box!

Do you want to know the best part of this solution? My mom had an extra hanger that she brought for me to use, so my first project was absolutely free!

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