How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium

Whenever Spring comes around, I automatically want to fill the house with green plants. They make a space feel alive and as I mentioned when I put together my kitchen window plant (which is still going strong), I love the idea of bringing the outdoors inside. I have a tray on top of my coffee table where I put the remotes and photo/coffee table books so they’re tidy, and usually have a candle sitting on top. I decided to build a happy little tabletop terrarium (Bob Ross fan here) to take the place of the candle, but knew it had to be small because of where I was putting it. I have been seeing a lot of terrariums lately, and there are so many possibilities with how you set this up that you can really customize to fit your taste. Here’s the few easy steps it takes to build a tabletop terrarium no matter what jar you decide on.

First, you’ll need a container. I found my container at Home Goods which actually had a tag as being from their terrarium line, but you can really use any kind of clear glass container to house your little garden. I picked up my jar just yesterday which motivated me to get started ASAP, and here’s everything I used for my DIY tabletop terrarium.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium Supplies

I was worried I would make a mess because of the soil, so I went outside to put together the terrarium. I started by putting a layer of rocks or pebbles at the bottom of the jar to help with drainage, which I found at Lowe’s. You could probably use fish tank rocks if you prefer too. I thought the pebbles were pretty, so I put a little more than what was probably needed, filling about an inch or two in my jar. I specifically went a little pebble happy because I didn’t want them to get lost when I added everything else, which they almost did. If you’re like me and want to see the pebbles more in your bottom layer for aesthetic appeal and not just function, I recommend going a little heavier.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 3

Next, you’ll want to add a layer of activated charcoal. This helps filter the air and keep it fresh in a closed environment, since I planned on closing the lid to my terrarium when finished. I just did a light layer to where you couldn’t see the pebbles anymore, about a 1/2 inch or so. I surprisingly couldn’t find this at Lowe’s, but the nice cashier recommended I try a pet store since activated charcoal is often used for fish filters. She was correct! I found it at Petsmart for about $6.

After the charcoal, I added a very thin layer of moss. I just wanted a little bit to prevent the soil from falling into any cracks below. Next, you’ll add your soil and put in plants as desired.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 4I used a variety of succulents, including a cactus, so that I would have different heights and textures. I think ferns would have been pretty too, but succulents are supposedly very hard to kill and do no require a lot of attention or watering. In fact, they can die by over-watering them because they are desert plants and like dry, hot places. I purchased a water bottle which I’ll use to lightly spray my garden every few weeks. They also like sunlight, so put them in a spot where they can see the sun….I’m hoping my coffee table is sunny enough.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 5I actually wanted to go lighter on the soil layer so everything sat a little lower, but I wasn’t able to because of the size of the root base the plants had. Maybe that’s something you’ll want to consider when selecting your plants, container, and determining the thickness of your layers..

I found a few bigger rocks outside in my yard (free!) and placed them on top for decoration, along with a little more moss.

Finally, add the top and you’re done!

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 6

How to DIY a Terrarium

How to DIY a Terrarium 2So here’s my final mini garden.

Do you like the idea of bringing the outdoors inside? How are you embracing Spring?


True Blood Party Recap & Halloween Party Ideas!

Halloween party ideas style trials blood splatter cake

Yesterday was the season finale of True Blood (maybe you followed along at #RIPTrueBlood and #TrueToTheEnd ). After watching the series since the beginning, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to throw a themed watch party and say farewell in style! These ideas would work for any Halloween party too and were super easy to pull together. Whether you’re wanting to throw a spooky party or specifically vampire or blood theme, these ideas would work great!

food and drink party ideas halloween

style trials halloween food ideas true blood finale watch party #riptrueblood I obviously stuck with a red theme for food. Red Terra Chips and Coke cans were as easy as just buying and putting them out, and I also made up an easy and tasty treat of Ritz crackers, cream cheese, and pomegranate seeds. Sweet peppers laid around ranch dressing also added visual and yumminess appeal. Sticking with the Cajun theme of the show, Hubby made a delicious Bon Temps, Louisiana style gumbo and cornbread! And of course any red juice would do for the True Blood, but we used V8 fruit juice and put it in a carafe. The color was perfect. If I had more time I would have printed off a True Blood label to add to it. If that’s something you’d like to do, you can get a free printable True Blood label here, courtesy of PixelWorlds. And of course there was…dun, dun dunnnn….the cake….

diy splatter cake halloween party

diy blood splatter red velvet cake halloween party

I’m not really a baker, so I was quite proud of my blood splatter cake! It had to be red velvet of course, and I used traditional cream cheese frosting. To make the blood splatters I simply mixed the below as a starting point and adjusted for color and consistency as needed:


Blood Splatter Recipe

(courtesy of Yum and Yummer’s Slaughter Cake)

  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 1 or 2 drops of green food coloring (this will darken the red and make it look more realistic)
  • 1 tsp chocolate sauce
  • 1 tbsp water (or add more if too thick, it will splatter better)

 Before splattering, take the cake to a location that will not be a problem to get messy because you will end up getting food coloring everywhere which is difficult to remove and stains. Possibly outside on top of a protective covering somewhere.  I found this looks best when you have the cake on the platter it will be served on, so you can add drips to the platter too. You can use something like a basting brush to dip into the “blood,” and let it drip/splatter across the white frosting. I also added faux flowers (pre-washed) and splattered blood on those too.

Look how cool it looks when you cut into it!

red velvet splatter cake slaughter cake

diy splatter tablecloth and halloween decor

A lot of the decorations were bought at a local Dollar Store, and I was pleasantly surprised that they had Halloween decorations out already! I picked up some rubber spiders, rat, mouse, bat and utensils, and also bought a plain white plastic table cloth for $1. I used this tablecloth to create a bloody backdrop with watered down acrylic red paint. For an added effect, I mixed a tad of green to give it a more realistic deep blood red color (similar to the cake splatters), and also added a few bloody hand prints. I set the tablecloth outside when splattering so I wouldn’t get paint all over the house, although I somehow still managed to get red paint on my curtains. UGH! I tried a few methods but found the best blood splatter effect I got was by whipping the watery paint at the canvas and also simply holding the paint brush up high and letting it drip.

diy bloody table cloth halloween party

true blood vampire party decorationsI am sooo reusing that rat for Halloween time….or a practical joke. Lol.

dress the part

 Last, I’m a sucker for playing dress up. I actually had this Merlotte’s Sookie True Blood costume from a previous Halloween costume, so I had no excuse not to dress the part as hostess! If you want to really go all out, let guests know to dress up too!

true blood sookie costume party style trials

 Have you ever thrown a watch party for a popular TV show? What idea would you reuse for a Halloween party? Leave me a comment below!

 

 


How to Make a Brooch Bouquet

Recently, I stood by their side as one of my besties and one of my husband’s besties tied the knot. There’s nothing sweeter than having two of your best friends get married to each other! The bride had a vision of a rustic wedding themed with burlap, gold, lace and TOMS, and asked me to make her brooch bouquet. It went perfect with her theme, and would be a keepsake from the wedding – plus something the bride could pass down to other brides she loved, or maybe a future daughter! Of course I was honored to help her and wanted to share how I made this easy DIY bridal brooch bouquet!

how to make a brooch bouquetHere’s the main materials you need:

  • 1 bushel of faux hydrangeas (this can be found really inexpensive at your local craft store)
  • Approximately 40-60 brooches/pieces of jewelry/faux or real flowers to add-in (i.e. burlap flowers like this one). The more you put, the less of the faux hydrangea you will see. I used about 40 pieces.
  • 22-gauge florist wire (I used about 2 rolls and chose silver because it would blend in when looping through my brooches)
  • Green Corsage Tape (I used 1 1/2 rolls)
  • Scissors/Wire Cutters
  • Whatever you want to wrap around the handle – In this case, burlap, twine, and lace ribbon
  • Pearlized Ball Head Straight Pins
  • Hot glue gun

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial

The brooches are really the expensive part of the bouquet, but you can typically find sparkly items like jewelry on clearance to help fill in the space. And if you want to take a sentimental approach, I really loved how my friend Katie collected her brooches and would recommend it to anyone.

Katie asked the special women in her life to bring one brooch to her bridal shower to add to the bouquet, that way she would have a memory of each person as she walked down the aisle.

brooches at a bridal shower style trials

She received brooches with history such as her Grandmother’s brooch, and others that people thought reminded them of her or vice-versa. She put a piece of tape with that person’s name under each brooch so she would always remember who gave her what. Katie’s bouquet ended up being an eclectic mix of jewels, which I think turned out beautiful – I personally love mixing metals. However, if you’re wanting to stick to one color or metal, you could plan that out to best fit your style and theme.

Step 1: Creating Stems for Each Brooch

You’ll need to cut the wire into 24″ long pieces, which you’ll loop in half through the brooch (giving you about a 12″ stem). For each brooch, I used at least 2 wires, then you twist them all together. Don’t worry if the stems end up being slightly different lengths after this is done, you’ll fix that later.

How to make a brooch bouquet for a wedding

Next, you’ll wrap the green corsage tape around the metal stem, which helps hold all of the pieces together and camouflages the wire. It’s a little tricky to work with, but I found that the tighter I wound it while making sure to overlap the tape, the better it stuck. I kept it on the spool and simply twisted the stem around to quickly get this done.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 1

Step 2: Making the Stems a Bouquet

This next part was actually not as easy as I had imagined. You’ll now want to take the hydrangea to use as your base, then place each stem strategically  in the hydrangea making sure to keep it’s round shape. You’ll want to be extra careful as to where you place the brooches, because once they’re in the bushel it’s hard to rearrange because the wires may get tangled….especially towards the end when you have already placed a bunch of wire stems.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 2

It’s up to you whether you want to show any part of the hydrangea, because if you have enough brooches you can literally cover the entire thing. You’ll see we added burlap flowers to the bouquet as well to tie into Katie’s theme, so you really can customize it. It’s also up to you whether you want to remove the green leaves from the faux hydrangea all together, but I left a few to tie into our green bridesmaid dresses.

Next, cut the stems at the bottom to your desired length, which also makes sure the bouquet is one length.

Step 3: Wrapping the handle

This next part was pretty easy, and I just followed what a real florist typically does to wrap the handle. Here you can take ribbon, or burlap from a spool as I did here, and tightly wind it around the handle.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 3 burlap

With a brooch bouquet, it looks best if you wrap the entire handle rather than leaving exposed “stems” since they are really a bunch of wires. You could use a hot glue gun to hold together, but I used decorative push pins to lock everything into place. That way I could easily adjust things if needed, it added an extra design touch, and again this mimicked what florists do with real bouquets.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

I wanted to add a little something to finish the top of the handle, and the bride also had a personal touch to add as well. For the top handle part, I took a piece of lace ribbon, sewed across the top to create a stitch line, then cut a stitch at the end to pull. When the thread was “pulled,” it created a natural ruffle to the ribbon. This step isn’t necessary though, and I think the results would have looked just as good if I didn’t “ruffle” the ribbon. I just pay way too much attention to detail!

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 4 lace

Next, I personalized the handle by taking a spool of twine, winding the twine around itself and hot-gluing into place. I glued a “W” charm on top of the twine background because this would be the bride’s new last initial.

Brooch Bouquet with family member picturesThe bride added these adorable picture charms to the handle, and printed pictures of family members who were no longer with us as a type of memorial. These were simply pinned in place as well. Doesn’t she and the bouquet look gorgeous?!

Bride with Brooch Bouquet

What do you think of the results? Will you be making a brooch bouquet?

Please let me know what you think of this tutorial in the blog comments! 🙂


Bench Makeover & How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

My friend just moved into her new home, and is having a lot of fun making it her own. She luckily received some hand-me-down furniture (we all know how expensive it can be to furnish a new space), and wanted help revamping this bench for her guestroom! It had a really sturdy base, but the upholstered top was dirty and outdated. This fix took LESS THAN 1 HOUR – including going to the store and buying fabric! Here’s how we did it, including how to calculate fabric yardage. 

Style Trials Bench makeover no-sew hgtv chevron fabric - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

We proceeded to Jo-Ann Fabrics (which is 2 minutes from my house), and immediately started looking at their upholstery designer fabrics. I like to pair larger organic prints such as paisley or florals with hardlines such as stripes or a mini print. We fell in love with this grey HGTV chevron fabric which is part of the HGTV designer fabric collection. It offset her paisley bedspread and green walls quite nice, and is a trendy print that would immediately bring this bench back to life!

Grey chevron and printed paisley fabric Style Trials

Figuring out the yardage was pretty easy, so I’m going to quickly walk you through a little math lesson. Luckily I have an interior design degree and worked with custom fabric treatments (i.e. windows coverings, pillows, etc), but I know this can be the hardest part and potentially a costly mistake. Using these tips on how to calculate fabric yardage will hopefully help!

How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

First, we measured the area being recovered. This bench was only 45″ wide and the fabric bolt was 55″ wide, so we didn’t have to worry about seams or railroading (turning the bolt sideways) the fabric. 55 inches minus 45 inches = 10″ total of allowance (or 5″ per side) to wrap around the back of the bench and staple – perfect! Next I had to figure out the depth so I could determine how much fabric I needed cut from the bolt.

The bench was about 16″ deep, and I wanted to allow an extra 4″-5″ on either side for staple-gun allowance. 16 inches + 5 inches (allowance top) + 5 inches (allowance bottom) = 26″ total. That’s what I based my overall yardage on, since the 55″ width of the bolted fabric is a standard that stays the same as they simply unroll the bolt for how much fabric you need.

From here, you take the amount in inches (in this case 26″), and ALWAYS divide by 36 to convert inches into yardage of fabric needed. That gave me 0.72 yards of fabric needed. I typically round up to the nearest 1/4 yard because it doesn’t hurt to get just a little extra fabric in case your calculations are off. You can judge this yourself based on how much seam allowance you included and how far off from the next 1/4 yard you are. We ordered 0.75 or 3/4 of a yard.

How to Recover an Upholstered Bench No-Sew Technique

  1. We started by unscrewing the top of the upholstered bench from the base using a drill.
  2. We decided the new chevron fabric was thick enough that we could simply recover the bench over the existing fabric, that way we didn’t damage the padding or loose it’s shape. If you can do this, it makes the entire process SO much easier.
  3. We laid the face of the chevron fabric down so it was facing the ground. Then we put the board on top, front side down. Because this is a geometric print with a repeat, I wanted to measure to make sure it was evenly spaced out on the fabric. I measured the center of the board (where the purple pen is shown below) and lined it up with the center of a chevron point like this. I also eyeballed where I wanted it to hit on the sides. style trials Measuring fabric to recover seat - How to Calculate Fabric YardageIf you’re not sure, you can always wrap the fabric around the board with your hands and look at it real quick to make sure you like how it’s placed. It’s always better to double check!
  4. Next, we proceeded with stapling the fabric around all 4 sides before proceeding to the corners. Make sure to read my tutorial from when I recovered my kitchen chairs on exactly how to do this, and how to fold the corners which can be the trickiest part.Staple nosew recover fabric tutorial diy - How to Calculate Fabric Yardage
  5. From there, simply drill the seat back on the benchtop and you’re done!

Before & After Pics:

Before and After Bench Seat Recovered - How to Recover an Upholstered BenchStyle Trials Bench Recover Before And After - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

Style Trials Bench Makeover After Grey Chevron Print

Not too shabby for less than an hours worth of work, huh? She plans to eventually stain the piece darker and add new hardware, but at least now it looks fresh and part of this century! 🙂

What do you think of the finished piece and have you tried doing anything like this before? If so, let me know below…I’d love to see your before and after pictures!

 


Friday Freebie! Free Wedding Guest Book from Shutterfly ($29.99 Value)

Okay, you don’t have to use it as a wedding guest book, but what a great idea, huh?! I’ve seen photo books used in a variety of ways around weddings. From being part of the creative way a groom pops the question, to showcasing a couple’s engagement pictures with spaces for people to write their well wishes, it’s definitely a great way to personalize the “story of us.” This Friday Freebie is for a free 8X11 hardback 20-page custom photo book from Shutterfly. Hurry and claim promo code now as these things go quick…and the best part is you don’t have to actually make it until 3/16!Style Trials Free Wedding Guest Book Shutterfly Custom Photo Book

Simply click here, “like” Shutterfly on Facebook if you haven’t already, then click to claim your code. Once you get your code, go ahead and add it to your account by clicking “make guest book.” It will take you to the Shutterfly page, where you can either create a new account or log into your existing one. You must enter your promo code when you log in so your free book is stored until you make it. This freebie expires March 16th, so you’ll have to make it by then. This is a $29.99 freebie value, and shipping is $8.99 and not included in the deal.

What will you create with your book?


How to Make an Easy Tulle Tutu

 It’s almost Halloween! One of my favorite times of year, and I needed a tulle tutu skirt for a costume. Those things can be really expensive, but I found they’re super easy (and cheap) to make yourself. I wanted to share my easy DIY tulle tutu technique, which can be applied to a variety of things such as baby skirts, pet outfits, or even adult costumes!

How to Make an Easy Tulle Tutu:

tulle tutu skirt finished diy

Tools Needed:

  • Between 45 yards – 60 yards of Tulle Spool (approximately 6″ wide) needed for an adult skirt. Joann’s Fabric sold these for $2.50 each, and I used 3 but could have used 4 spools if I wanted an even fuller skirt.
  • Ribbon of choice (I got one to match the tulle color) or elastic band for the waistband. If you use a ribbon, you will be tying it around your waist instead of stretching it out to get into it.
  • Scissors
  • Tape Measure

Style Trials Orange Tulle Spool

Step 1: Measure out the tulle about 2 feet long for an adult skirt. If it’s a pet skirt or baby skirt, it may need to be about half of that.

Style Trials how to make a tulle tutu skirt 1

Step 2: This is probably the easiest and quickest way to get your tulle into 2 foot long strips. Weave the spool of tulle back and forth until the entire spool is stacked on top of each other in attached 2 foot length “strips.” The stacked ends should look like the picture below, and it’s okay if it’s not perfect. Some ends may be a little longer than others since the next step will even everything out.

Style Trials how to make a tulle tutu skirt 2

Step 3: Simply cut the ends off! Just cut them straight across, and this will ensure the ends are even and now separated. When you do this on both sides, you’ll then have completely separated tulle strips that are about 2 feet long. Repeat steps 1 – 3 for all spools of tulle.

Style Trials how to make a tulle tutu skirt 3

Step 4: Measure out how long your elastic or ribbon should be on your waist. If you’re using ribbon like me, allow an extra 1 1/2 feet on each end so you have excess ribbon to tie a bow and let it hang down in the back. Then tie one strip of tulle at each end of what will actually make the tutu, so you can mark it off and know what needs to be filled in.

Style Trials how to make a tulle tutu skirt 4

Step 5: Start tying individual strips of the pre-cut 2 ft. length tulle to fill in the skirt. You can just make a knot, and push it together to create fullness.

Style Trials how to make a tulle tutu skirt 5

Completed tulle tutu!

Style Trials orange diy how to make an easy tulle tutu skirt

What do you think of this project, and how will you use it?

UPDATE!

Here’s a picture of my total #diy costume that I used this tutu for. For all you social media fans, I’m “Blogger!”

Style Trials Halloween Blogger Costume DIY Tutu


My Kitchen Table Makeover – Easily Recover Chairs

Moving into my first house, I realized how little furniture we really had and how expensive it can be to furnish. Right now I’m trying to focus on buying things we don’t already own, and refreshing the hand-me-downs we do have. On my agenda today, our kitchen table!

Our total kitchen can only be described as BEIGE. As in beige walls, countertops, floors, and even appliances (until we eventually upgrade). I’m trying to bring in some color and life through prints, fabrics, and plants until I can add a little depth with the permanent surfaces.

We have a kitchen table which is in pretty good condition. It’s a hand-me-down, but the fabric on the chairs has definitely seen better days. I’m sure it could be cleaned to look better, but the dinginess and color (yep, beige), was a makeover project I was willing to take on.

It’s actually quite easy to give an old chair, bench, or ottoman a completely new look by simply recovering them with new fabric…and this method doesn’t require sewing because it’s just the seat! I admit this was my first attempt at recovering a chair using a staple gun, but seriously it was super easy. Even if you don’t have a DIY bone in your body, I’m sure you could pull this off. Here’s how….

First, figure out how much yardage you need and where you want the pattern to fall on the seat. I think I accounted for 1 yard per seat (taking the pattern into account), but I also found this handy pattern yardage calculator you could use.

Next, the tools to do the job. You can find a staple gun at any home improvement store, and the fabric I picked out was an HGTV Home fabric called Turtle Shell found at Joann Fabric. It’s on sale too! I know it’s a little loud, but I knew it would definitely liven up the space.

Style Trials Kitchen Chair Makeover Tools HGTV fabricHere’s the table before:

Style Trials Kitchen Table Before

First, unscrew the seats from the base. I ended up using a power drill to unscrew because the screwdriver wasn’t strong enough.

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 1

Next, place the seat upside down on top of the fabric, taking into account where you want the pattern to be centered on the seat. You can leave the existing fabric on the seat and work around it. Leave at least a 4″ border around the seat and cut out your square.

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 2

Pull the fabric tight around the edges, leaving the corners lose. I found it was easiest to start at the top (stapling multiple times across the length of the seat), then pull from the opposite side (bottom). The repeat the other sides until it looks like this….

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 4

Next is the trickest part. The corners. You want to make sure you pull these really tight to get a finished look. Start by pulling the fabric in closer from the edges towards the corner, and stapling in place. Then take the remaining fabric and fold like the picture below, and pull extremely tight. Then staple in place as well.

*Note, you may need to cut off some excess fabric to make this easier. If you have too much fabric, it will be bulky, harder to pull tight, and harder to staple.*

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 5

The finished back should look like this…

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 6

And the front like this!

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 7Next, screw the seats back on, and voilà! Checkout the before and afters!

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 8 before and after

Style Trials Recovering Chairs finished with hgtv fabric

What do you think of the finished results? Have you ever recovered anything using a staple gun?


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