Easy DIY Thanksgiving Table Decor

Happy Thanksgiving! Just put the finishing touches on our table, and I couldn't resist popping in to share some photos. Last year, I went super simple with some white pumpkins and my DIY "Give Thanks" printable banner. For this year, I went a little more layered, a little more colorful but kept the natural pumpkin theme. 

We're hosting 12 this year, so we also set up my office as a second dining room. One of the many benefits of having an extra large desk! Here's how I decorated our second table:

Alright, I've got to run! Dinner is in a couple of hours and Anthony and I have a few more things to get ready. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. This year, I'm thankful for so many things- including YOU! For rooting me on as I launched my design business full-time, and encouraging me as I tackle decorating our first home room by room. For all the likes, comments and shares. I couldn't do what I do without you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Easy DIY Hand Lettered Gift Wrap

I am a sucker for fancily wrapped gifts. However, I'm also super cheap and not great at planning ahead so I never seem to have the right wrapping paper for the occasion. Enter in my new favorite gift wrapping solution...

DIY Hand Lettered Gift Wrap - Stevie Storck Design Co.

All you need is some craft paper (I bought about 5 rolls for $1 each in Target clearance section a few weeks ago) and marker. I used a fancy brush marker I just bought to practice hand lettering, but a Sharpie or Crayola marker would work just as well. 

I had a trio of gifts for our youngest niece, Glory so I decided to draw 3 quick, complementary patterns. G's for Glory, 3's for her 3rd birthday and hearts because we love her! For this, I wrapped the gifts first so I could make sure my patterns lined up how I wanted them to. 

Instead of drawing your own pattern, you could also copy a quote or passage from the person's favorite book. For my friend Jess's birthday a few weeks ago, I lettered her name plus a bunch of different words to describe her all over the paper before wrapping up her gift. Should have taken a picture of that one! 

I love how simple, yet modern this DIY wrapping paper looks and it literally couldn't be easier to make yourself! You really can't mess it up, the more imperfect and hand drawn it looks, the better. Plus, you'll always have the right paper for the occasion with a little creativity and customization!

For more little DIYs like this that may or may not make the blog, be sure to connect with me on Instagram @steviestorck!

Comment on this photo letting me know you read this post and I'll DM you a pic of your name hand lettered by me! ;)

Reader Design Dilemma #2: Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony

I'm back with the next installment of my Reader Design Dilemma series! Jacqueline lives in Chicago with her partner, Jack and their sweet pup Ali. (Be sure to check out her new blog, Twenty & Dating!) They have this cute little balcony/back porch area off of their apartment, but haven't been sure how to use it. 

While this balcony isn't quite big enough for entertaining, Jacqueline wanted an outdoor space where she and Jack could hang out and enjoy the nice summer weather. She was looking for some inexpensive, DIY projects to decorate this space and make it more usable. 

Stevie Storck Design Co - RDD #2 Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony
Stevie Storck Design Co - RDD #2 Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony
Stevie Storck Design Co - RDD #2 Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony
Stevie Storck Design Co - RDD #2 Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony

Alright, Jacqueline! Here's what I'm suggesting for your balcony:

Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony.jpg

Outdoor Rug | Milk Crate | Fabric | String Lights | Succulents

Since this is such an open shared balcony, I know one of your hopes was to differentiate where YOUR space starts and ends. A great way to do that without creating physical barriers is by using an outdoor rug. This is a tried and true interior design trick when working with open concept spaces, both indoors and out! Adding a rug will help to break up the space and minimize the "bowling alley" effect that is has going on right now. 

Because this is a space that your neighbors will occasionally need to walk through, any seating you have out here needs to be lightweight and portable. I found this awesome DIY milk crate stool project from The Eager Teacher. I'm suggesting three to sit side by side in the 48" wide space underneath your window. To modify this project for outdoor use, I would purchase outdoor fabric to upholster the tops with and also add a layer of plastic between your foam cushion and your fabric. You can use inexpensive plastic drop cloths for this, which can be purchased at any hardware or paint store. Since your balcony is covered and they won't be directly exposed to the elements, this should be all you need. The bonus is you can bring them inside when you have company for extra seating! I'm picturing these black milk crates with a fun print fabric like this

Moving up to the ceiling, there's nothing that I love more than some twinkling string lights! Aside from giving some great mood lighting, hanging these across the ceiling will further help to define where your part of the balcony starts and stops. I would hang them perpendicular to your railing, like in this example from Bower Power. 

The last thing you need to finish off your space are some plants! I recently came across the project from Emily Henderson. I love the simple way she attached her pots, just by double (or triple) wrapping them with string. I think you could use this same method to attach some small pots to the inside of your railing. You could also put a couple of tension rods across the outside of your windows and hang pots from there! 

What's your favorite way to brighten up an outdoor space? Share your tips by commenting below! 

DIY Gold Alphabet Magnets

What's more fun than spelling out cute messages for your husband or kids using old-school refrigerator magnets? 

Spelling out cute messages for your husband or kids using these awesome GOLD refrigerator magnets, that's what! 

DIY Gold Alphabet Magnets - Stevie Storck Design Co.
DIY Gold Alphabet Magnets - Stevie Storck Design Co.
butt.jpg

They are much more stylish than the multicolored originals but just as nostalgic. If you have a free weeknight and a can of gold spray paint, then these babies can be yours!

For you seasoned spray painters out there, you go ahead and skip this next section and just pin the image below to your "DIY" Pinterest Board (...you know you want to!). But for anyone who is a spray painting newbie, read on for my 5 tips that will make your next spray painting project easier. 

DIY Tip: Use gold spray paint to transform alphabet refrigerator magnets from "Kindergarten" to "Chic"! These will definitely add a touch of luxury to your kitchen. See more photos and tips at Stevie Storck Design Co.!

1. Use an empty pizza box to contain overspray.

Hey, it's a great excuse to order pizza! (You deserve it, you crafty DIYing queen!) The added bonus: if you need to take your project inside to dry, just close the lid and you've got an excellent portable project carrier...

2. Don't forget to wear rubber gloves!

You'll thank me later when you are relaxing with your favorite TV show instead of scrubbing paint off of your fingers for days. You may think you can be careful with spray paint and not get any on you, but that is literally impossible. Especially on the finger you use to depress the nozzle. So unless you want a semi-permanent gold manicure, wear your rubber gloves!

DIY Gold Alphabet Magnets - Stevie Storck Design Co.

3. Buy good spray paint.

Spray painting doesn't take too long, but it's still not something you want to do twice. See what brands other people have used and had success with. I bought this Valspar spray paint after reading a review on A Beautiful Mess

4. Multiple thin coats > One heavy goopy coat.

You may be tempted to just finish the project with one thick coat of spray paint, but I can guarantee that you won't be happy with the result. Apply 3-4 thin coats of paint, allowing 5-10 minutes between coats for each layer to fully dry. If you don't let one coat dry completely before adding another, the bottom coat will never totally dry and your finish will feel soft and goopy no matter how long you let the top coat dry. 

If you are doing the Alphabet Magnet DIY, your letters should look like this after the first coat of gold -- lightly coated but still showing the original colors through:

DIY Gold Alphabet Magnets - Stevie Storck Design Co.

5. If you are going to be spray painting the backside of something, do that FIRST.    

On these magnets, I decided to spray paint the back as well to ensure that none of the original color would show through once I stick them to my white refrigerator. (As long as you keep the coats thin, the spray paint won't interfere with the magnet at all). My problem was that I thought of this after I had already painted the fronts. I let the magnets dry for a good 15 minutes before flipping them over, but even with that the spray paint on the front of the magnets stuck to the overspray on my pizza box and chipped off some of my finish when I flipped them back over. See? Even the "pros" make mistakes. So learn from mine, and spray paint the backside first! 

DIY Tip: Use gold spray paint to transform old-school alphabet refrigerator magnets from "Kindergarten" to "Chic"! - Stevie Storck Design Co.

It's crazy how a simple coat of paint can totally transform the look and feel of an object. These magnets went from "Kindergarten" to "chic" and it only took about $5 and 30 minutes of my Thursday night. 

Are you a spray painting newbie or a seasoned pro?

Tell me about the next project on your to-do list and/or share your painting tips by commenting below!



Winter Style | FREE Printable Gift Tags

There's something I've always loved about the look of brown paper packages. It could be the Sound of Music reference, but something about wrapping gifts in kraft paper seems so nostalgic. So this year I picked up a few rolls and designed some cute Christmas gift tags in my Winter 2014 color scheme! I finished off my wrapping with some cute green and white bakers twine that I found at Michaels. 

SSDC - Printable Gift Tags

As my gift to all of you, you can now download your FREE digital copy of my Christmas Gift Tag designs! Happy Wrapping!

Winter Style | Wooden Shim Wreath

I had so much fun making my Fall wreath this year, that I knew I wanted to try another DIY wreath for Winter. I started exploring Pinterest for inspiration and came across this tutorial from Anna K Originals. 

I loved the simplicity of just using overlapping shims, but I started thinking about how I could put my own spin on it. A trip to Lowe's, Michaels and Joann's later (because I can never remember to get everything I need at one craft store...) I was ready to tackle this DIY myself.

Read Anna's tutorial, here.

My shims were a good bit longer than the ones that Anna used, so it took me a second to figure out the placement I needed to get the right effect. My tip would be to think of the space between the inner and outer ends of each shim as a triangle shape. Try to recreate this same triangle proportion with each shim that you place. This helped me to keep the angles and spacing of each shim pretty even, but it will never be 100% perfect. That's the beauty of crafting though, it doesn't need to be perfect to be awesome!

StevieStorckWreath.gif

Anna finished her wreath with wood stain and a cute red scarf. To fit in with my Winter Color Scheme, I decided to make my own green stain using craft paint and water!

First I took a tip from Nicole Curtis of Rehab Addict, and wet down my shims with water before staining them. The soft wood of shims will absorb stain really well, but you can often get light and dark spots where it absorbs more or less stain. Wetting the wood first will open the pores to help it stain more evenly. I just used a piece of an old cotton t-shirt to apply the water. For the stain, I just combined about 8 drops of my Martha Stewart Craft Paint in Seaweed with about 1/2 cup of water, mixing thoroughly and then applying with another cotton rag.  

After the stain dried, I used hot glue to attach a couple of white silk poinsettias to finish off my wreath. What do you think of the finished product? Is this a DIY you could see yourself trying?

SSDC - Wooden Shim Wreath After

And, I'm trying something new! If you would love to have this wreath for your home but aren't the crafty type, I made a second wreath that is available for purchase through this website! Check out the listing by clicking, here!

DIY Wooden Doll Family

One of Anthony and my shared hobbies is going to yard sales in the summer. I admit, since we started living together in a tiny apartment (really, a series of tiny apartments) the excitement we used to feel pulling up to a yard sale has been tempered by the fact that we really don't have the space to bring home a bunch of new stuff. In our new spirit of minimalism, we take turns playing devil's advocate when one of us spots an item we want.  

"What are you going to do with that"

"Where would we put it?"

"Do you really think you'll have time to (insert DIY/makeover scheme I invented to justify purchasing some dilapidated piece of furniture)?"

"Would you buy this if it were full price at a store?".

Anthony and I probably love vintage and nostalgic things more than any other 20-something couple you know, but asking each other these types of questions has been super helpful in preventing us from becoming full on hoarders (aka "10 CENTS A PIECE?? I NEED ALL THE THINGS!!!"). However, this summer when we stumbled upon the yard sale of someone who was obviously either a serious crafter (or any elementary school art teacher), there were no time for questions! Through my own self-control, I manage to emerge with only these 4 unfinished wooden peg dolls. I knew I had the perfect DIY gift for my niece's birthday the next month!

SSDC - DIY Wooden Doll Family 1

Since wooden dolls are obviously a choking hazard, I approached this Doll Family as more of an art project that can be displayed (albeit on a high shelf) in my baby niece's room, until the day she no longer puts everything she touches straight into her mouth. 

I started off by SERIOUSLY planning how I was going to paint my doll family. I knew I only wanted to use 4-5 colors to keep the look cohesive, so this required some thought to make sure I had a good distribution of colors and patterns. I sketched examples of how I wanted the dolls to look and used letters to color code my drawing. I told you, serious business!

SSDC - DIY Wooden Doll Family 2

Then, I started painting one color at a time. I think I started with white, so I did the shirt on the Daddy doll, and then the skirts on the Mommy and Daughter dolls. I let the white dry completely before I went back and started with the mint, letting that dry before moving onto coral, and so on. The whole process probably took me 2 hours, including fixing mistakes and drying time. 

Once all of the paint was dry, I commenced with a full-on family portrait style photo shoot of my wooden doll family, which I have included below for your viewing pleasure!

The Barona Family, in Wooden Doll form.

The Barona Family, in Wooden Doll form.

These were so much fun to make, and I think they would be a great DIY Christmas present for a family on your list! 

Little Projects | Vintage End Tables Made New

A couple of weeks ago, I found a great pair of vintage tables on craigslist. The finish was wrecked, but I loved the details and the shape of them. I knew paint would be a quick and easy fix so after a little clean up and light sanding, I set to work!

SSDC- Little Projects | Vintage End Tables Made New

Since I was introduced to Farrow & Ball at the 2013 Toronto Interior Design Show, I have been absolutely enamored with their palette of classic and historic colors. This UK-based company only has about 130 colors in their palette (paltry compared to the thousands that big brands like Sherwin-Williams offer!) but they are all winners. The best word I can use to describe these colors is "complex". Even the brighter and pastel hues are created by using a mix of undertones, which add a level of depth and sophistication to the color. I strongly suggest that you order a Free Colour Card from their website! Someday, I want to try using their paints, but at $95+ per gallon, I'm fine with having the colors matched at Sherwin-Williams for now!

For this project, I chose Terre D'Egypte, a rich red-orange that complements the deeper terra cotta tones in our area rug. I topped them with ginger jar lamps (that I thrifted and spray painted white!) with black linen shades from the Nate Berkus line at Target. I've never been a "red" person before, but I love the way that these end tables brighten up our living room, which at the moment is very neutral.

SSDC - Little Projects | Vintage End Tables Made New 2
SSDC- Little Projects | Vintage End Tables Made New 3

Sources:

Wooden End Tables - Craigslist ($10 for the pair)

Paint - Sherwin William's Latex All Surface Enamel in Satin, tinted to F&B Terre d'Egypte

Lamps - Thrifted then sprayed white

Lampshades - Nate Berkus for Target (old), similar,

Square Basket - Christmas Tree Shops

Ceramic Dish -  Made by Me!

Fall Style | 7 Tips for DIY Wreath Making

If you only do one thing to decorate for the seasons, make it a wreath! Wreaths are a beautiful way to add a dose of festive spirit to your home's exterior. My love of wreaths is well documented; last Winter I rounded up my wreath picks in this post, and the Spring before, I experimented with making the DIY yarn wreaths that were all over Pinterest back then. I've always loved the look of grapevine and silk flower wreaths, but I thought they would be much harder as a DIY project. It turns out, they are not hard at all!

Stevie Storck Design Co - Fall Style | 7 Tips for DIY Wreath Making

I used my Seasonal Color Scheme as inspiration during my shopping trip at Joann's. One thing I love about seeing Christmas decorations in stores in August is that now we are only a couple of weeks into fall and Joann's stock of Fall florals and decor are all 50% off! I was glad that I went in with a color scheme in mind, because there were so many great options in the clearance bins that it was hard to choose! At the end of this post, you'll find a list of the materials I used, with links to what I could find online just in case you want to replicate my choices.

Since this was my first time making this type of wreath, I definitely had to do a bit of trial and error along the way. Read on to see my 7 tips for DIY wreath making.

Stevie Storck Design Co - 7 Tips for Wreath Making

1. For a foolproof color scheme, use my 3 + 1 rule : 3 colors plus 1 shade. For example, my main 3 colors are red, white and green, but to add depth to the arrangement I added a darker shade of red --burgundy. This scheme would work just as well if I would have used a darker shade of green as plus one or even a pretty champagne color to act as a darker shade of white. The plus one shade doesn't have to be darker either. Pink would also be a great plus one for this scheme, as long as your are using a shade of pink with the same undertones as the red color you are using. Using this formula will give you a balanced color scheme every time, which is the perfect jumping off point for any crafting or decorating project!

Stevie Storck Design Co - The 3+1 Rule

2. Vary textures when choosing silk flowers. You'll want to have a nice mix of stems (the word for single flower blossoms grouped together) and bushes (fuller flowers like hydrangeas or bunches of leafy foliage). You also want to vary flower sizes to add some visual interest. For my wreath, I used large hydrangeas, medium sized chrysanthemums and small red ranunculus. 

3. Cut silk flower bouquets into individual blooms. This makes creating a balanced arrangement MUCH easier, since you won't have large clumps of the same type of flower in one place. This seems like an obvious thing to do in hindsight, but I didn't start out doing this when I made my wreath. Save yourself from having to undo all of your wiring and start over like I did! I recommend cutting the wire stems about 2"-3" away from the bloom if you are using a grapevine wreath. If you are planning to wrap the stems around a wire wreath, you'll want to cut them a bit longer. 

4. You don't have to cover the entire wreath with flowers. This was another thing that I found out through trial and error. For my first arrangement, I  had the burgundy leaves wrapped all the way around the wreath and something just didn't look right about it. If you are using a grapevine wreath, don't be afraid to let a portion of the vines show. My arrangement is about 75% florals, 25% grapevine wreath, but I've seen beautiful wreaths that use the opposite ratio-- 75% grapevine wreath, 25% florals. Pick a focal point and work your way out from there, or create multiple clusters of flowers and arrange them symmetrically or asymmetrically around your wreath form. The options are endless, so just play around with it!

Stevie Storck Design Co - 7 Tips for DIY Wreath Making

5. Plan ahead. Definitely take the time to layout your arrangement BEFORE you start wiring things down. You may be tempted to just wing it, but believe me; undoing twisted floral wire in grapevine is a pain. If you are layering flowers, you also want to consider the order that you are going to wire your blooms down in. Which pieces do you want to be more in the background? Which pieces do you want to overlap, and which pieces do you want to be front and center?

6. Take a picture. If you are anything like me, you will probably get to a point (about 3/4 of the way through this project) where you cannot decide if you love or hate the way your wreath is looking. Do NOT start unwiring or changing anything until you pause for a moment to do this. Taking a picture is great because it takes your project from life size to miniature. You will get to see your wreath design more as a whole, instead of as a sum of its parts. For me, it is much easier to tell if a composition is balanced from a photo than it is in real life. The other benefit of taking a picture is that you'll get to see your wreath from a vertical position like it will be hanging instead of a horizontal position like it is on your work table, without having to worry about parts that aren't yet secured with wire yet falling off in the process. 

7. Know when to stop. I always struggle with this when I am doing any type of creative project. I'm also a perfectionist and pretty intense about my crafting, so hopefully you don't have this problem! Anyway, I remember telling Anthony the night I was making this, "Ok, I'm either done with this wreath OR I am going to keep tweaking it for the next 2 hours. I can't decide." This is the point where I take a break. For 5 minutes, I force myself not to look at whatever I'm working on. When the 5 minutes is up, I am able to look at my project with fresh eyes and 9 times out of 10 it looks so much better than what I remembered. This works similar to the take a picture thing as a way to make yourself see your creation as a whole instead of just focusing on the odd berry that will not lay right or the leaf that keeps getting crumpled. 

There you have it! My 7 tips for making your own wreath. Have you ever tried a hand at wreath making? I'd love to hear your tips in the comments below!


Materials I used:

1 grapevine wreath

Floral Wire

Wire cutters (I know the picture shows scissors, but I quickly realized trying to cut wire with scissors is a mistake and switched to wire cutters)

Rust Hydrangea Bush

Cream Mum Bush

1 Red Ranuncula Bush

Green Comb Fern Bush

Burgundy & Sage Eucal stems

1 Faux Berry Stem

1 Faux Stem of something I don't know the name of.... comment if you can identify it! It's the grayish stems, I only have a few in there.

DIY Regular Knit Scarf to Infinity Scarf

I've used this trick about a million times. With a pashminas or other fabric scarves, making an infinity scarf is as easy as one line of straight stitching. However, with chunkier knit fabrics, the process of becoming an infinity scarf is a little bit different. This scarf has probably been at my parent's house since the dawn of time (well, maybe more like 10 years). I love the fact that it's handmade, but it was a little too short to be worn as a traditional scarf, so I never wore it. But in less than 5 minutes, I turned this scarf into a piece I'm going to wear again and again this winter! Here's how---

You'll need:

  1. Knit Scarf of your choice

  2. Any size needle

  3. Matching thread

To start, fold your scarf in half lengthwise and pin the two finished edges together. Thread your needle using a length of thread about the same length as one of your arms. Once you have the thread through the eye of the needle, match the two ends of the thread and tie a knot. Next you'll need to start your stitch. The knot in the bottom of the thread will just pull through a chunkier knit, so this requires getting a little creative.

Start your stitch by inserting the needle through one edge of the pinned scarf ends, but do not pull the thread the whole way through. While holding the loose end, start another stitch with your needle. Once you've create the loop for the second stitch, pull the loose end through and tighten, forming a new knot. Depending on the size of the knit, you make have to do with twice to secure your thread. If you are using a matching thread color, you don't have to worry about hiding your knots-- my scarf was a bit of trial and error but all of the stitching is basically invisible since I stitched black on black. Continue stitching the two scarf ends together using a whipstitch. Once you get to the other end of the pinned scarf ends, recreate the knotting technique used in the beginning to finish your stitch.

Easy as pie!

Stevie