Category Archives: DIY Projects

alternative christmas trees

okay. some of you might think i’m one of “those people” that cranks up my christmas music early (nope. can’t stand it for too long), starts posting pictures of my red starbucks holiday cups (well, i’m not necessarily above it), or starts posting christmas countdowns in august (listen, i barely know what year it is), but in reality, while I LOVE christmas and all it stands for and brings– i am not one who SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT TO PUT UP ALL MANNER OF CHRISTMAS DECOR. Go ahead and call me scrooge but something about storing lots of stuff and putting up knick knacks of every shape and size; whether it be snowmen, santa or snowglobes, just doesn’t get me jazzed about the christmas season. instead, i’d rather have a few season-y pieces that still get me in the holiday mood but doesn’t require lots of storage and time. Also, while we’re at it, let’s discuss something else…. the EXORBITANT PRICES OF FAKE CHRISTMAS TREES. first of all, no. and second of all, don’t talk to me about how they last for years and all that because come january 1st, when i have to pack that sucker up for days, i’m gona be mad it wasn’t a real one that i could just toss and sweep up the needles of.

so now that i have thoroughly convinced you that i am a sour scrooge, let me say this: decorating the christmas tree used to be one of my favorite pastimes. me and my three siblings all had about 200 christmas ornaments we had made over the years in various vbs-es and school projects. we all got to put all of ours up there and my mom didn’t worry too much about having a perfect tree because our handmade ornament is what made it special and meaningful. (also, real quick: saw a cheetah print themed tree and.. not okay, people) But, getting all the ornaments out and the tree put together when we only have a few days together around christmas has become a chore. and the trillions of store-bought ornaments starts to seem like money wasted and space taken up. I think recently i have tired of stuff and material items and the excess and so while i hope one day i get to have meaningful tree time with my own family, i’d much rather go easy on spending money and focus more on what the season is really about — family and friends and the grace that was born that day.

so, naturally, when i started seeing alternative christmas tree ideas, i thought “these are genius”. circle claps for the clever people that wanted to celebrate with a tree but didn’t necessarily have the funds, space, time, etc. to go traditional. i already have a fake baby tree (thus nullifying all my previous arguments) but i’m already dreaming of other ways to incorporate a tree without the real thing. let me know what you think!


which one is your favorite? any other ideas, you better send ’em this way!


fall DIY projects

Happy October! I am so excited for this new month. No worries, I already got a jump start on my fall baking this weekend. Hubs came home from work on Friday to find a pile of pumpkin cranberry cookies and pumpkin swirl brownies. We aren’t even going to try to pretend to be healthy, we are just going to embrace that fall means a whole lot of sweets and whole lot of extra calories.

Today, I am sharing with y’all my fall craft bucket list. It isn’t very long because 1) I have a tiny budget 2) I don’t have a lot of time and 3) if I have to choose between baking and crafting with my time I usually choose baking. Are you understanding how much I love pumpkin treats? I really do want to try to make these projects happen over the next few months. They all look simple (the only type of crafting I do), budget friendly, and adorable. Ok, lets get to it!

1. Sequin Sweater

a pair and a spare sequin sweater diy

A Pair and A Spare

2. Fall Chalkboard

Clarendon Lane DIY Autumn Chalkboard

Clarendon Lane

3. Glitter Banner


Lauren Conrad

That really is how simple my fall craft bucket list is. I know you must be thinking, “Is Meredith the only person who has a Pinterest account who doesn’t have a chalkboard in her home?” Yes. Yes, I am. However, this fall that is going to change. I can not wait to try these three projects! Let us know what your fall craft bucket list is, we would love to hear about the projects you are going to make.

Enjoy your first day of October & craft on!

diy prettyin’ up packages

This may be the easiest DIY post you ever see. When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I was almost offended at my own ignorance. OF COURSE I should buy some washi tape and OF COURSE I should decorate brown paper packages (tied up with string? anyone? Sound of Music? Carry on) with it. And then, THE DOTS. Someone out there is a genius and I want to say thank you on behalf of all us crafters who are dying for a way to avoid real wrapping paper, use our creativity, and look original all at the same time.

Here is what you need:

– plain brown craft packing paper — just made that term up. All I know is it’s in the packing section of Target and/or Wal-Mart. You will find it, I believe in you.

– some cutting device. I recommend scissors.

– washi tape, dots, some other item you can stick on that paper

– tape

All you’re going to need to do is; buy your friend a present (I count as your friend, right?). Wrap that sucker up in your craft paper. Tape it up nice and tight. Then do some sort of design with your decorative item. Voila! Easiest DIY done. Now ship that package, sisters, and nod and grin when the post office worker silently applauds your creativity.

PS. with a lack of sleep that is astronomical in my terms. ie: not 8 hours every night, I may have rambled a bit. I may have even had some lame jokes. This is due to that lack of sleep. Forgive me. And if it seems to happen every time I post? Well I have no answer for you.


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diy wedding tree

Want to know a secret? One of the best things about your wedding will be your guests. They are the ones who will cheer on your first kiss as man and wife, compliment the cake, and tear up the dance floor. Guests also have a lot of opinions, advice, and humor that they love to share. Seriously, give your guests a pen and a blank space to write and you will be blown away by what they come up with. An easy way to give your guests a way to share their thoughts and wishes is a guest book (obviously). We used a picture book that allowed people to have more space to write. The best little gem we found in our book was written by one of Hubs’ brothers. It said, “I was a better usher than Usher ever was.” That is gold.


Another really simple and cute way to get your guests in on the action is a wedding tree. People make these and ask their guests to write advice, favorite memories, wishes for the couple, date ideas, vacation spots, potential baby names (ok just kidding about the baby names), and so on. You get the idea. We used a tree but since we got married on NYE we had people share their New Years Resolutions. It was a simple activity our guests could do but it added a lot to our wedding. Plus, I loved getting to read all of the resolutions the next day!

These trees are SO easy to make. I am not a big fan of DIY projects for weddings because of the time and effort they take but this project is different. Here is a little run down on how to make one.

  1.  Find some branches. You can purchase them at a craft store, find them outside, or grow your own tree if you have a green thumb. I, on the other hand, can’t keep a single plant alive in our home.
  2. Spray paint the branches and add some awesome details. Our venue took care of the branches for us and made them look so glamourous. Loved it.
  3. Make some tags for guests to write on. I found little gift tags at Hobby Lobby that already had a hole punched in them. All I had to do was add a little ribbon through the hole so that the tags could be hung. That is it. My DIY project took a total of 30 minutes, maybe 1 hour if you include going to pick up ribbon. You can go grab ribbon and be home in time to string up cards while you watch the Bachelorette. SO SIMPLE.
  4. Put it out at the wedding with a few pens and enjoy what your guests come up with!

Here are some pictures of our gorgeous NYE resolution tree that Astin Mansion helped us create. All of our photos were taken by the amazingly talented Michelle Boyd.

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Even if you are craft challenged, hate DIY projects, or don’t think you have any time, I promise this is something you can do! Guests will love it, it will look great, and you will have so much fun reading what your guests wrote. Embrace your guests, learn from them, laugh with them, and let them write some awesome things.

Give your guests the power of the pen!

Craft on.

get inspired

hi friends! MadelineRanda here. i am completely joyful (and a tad bit nervous) to be writing this first post. however, i am sitting down with my power playlist, my starbucks coffee, and am ready to get this party started. so here we go.

inspire. it’s one of my favorite words. so is dream. i probably use the two way more than an average person. but then again, it has never been said of me to be average. it can get overwhelming when trying to find inspiration-there are so many places, people, pretty things around me to even know where to start. so throw off the bowlines of fear or intimidation. inspiration is uniquely you. we’re going to dive into how to find what makes your soul sing and once you know- what to do with it. having tangible inspiration around us propels us to make dreams into a concrete reality, so today we’re making an inspiration board/wall/room. dream big. don’t limit your creativity.

where to start? oh my we have pinterest and facebook and all our friends lives to analyze. but where was inspiration found before then? wait….Madeline, you’re telling me there was life before Pinterest? yes, my friends. it was much less organized and had way less workouts and easy recipes, but it did exist. so here’s where i encourage you to start: make a list of what fires you up. here’s mine:merryblog866

the importance of being earnest is on there, as is simple and creative designs, edgy fashion, quippy sayings, and travel. now that you have seen my list go make your own! Seriously. this part of the process is the hardest to start but once you get started you can’t seem to stop! it’s so fun to see what your brain will bring to mind-some of the things you love will be obvious, some will come as surprises. take a day to think about all the things that fire you up.

im assuming if you’ve made it to this paragraph you have done your homework and written your “things that make my soul sing list”. good for you! you’re on your way to an incredible inspiration board. so from here what do we do? THIS is where you get to play. start looking for the things you love all around you. you can’t go a day without reading a good quote? find your favorites and start collecting them. you realized that you swoon every time you see peonies- go to a farmers market and grab a few or find pictures of them in magazines. if travel is where your heart is, we will be best friends. get pictures of the places you WILL go one day. collect as many unique and tangible things as you can to fill up your inspiration board. search magazines- Darling, Southern Weddings, and Vogue are some good places to start. cut out anything that strikes your fancy. for me, i can’t get enough beautiful photos around me. i check my favorite photographers websites and work like it’s my day job. (i wish-can we make that a real thing?) so print the pictures that make you gush, cut out the clippings that get you fired up, assemble the beauty around you. i’d encourage you to write somewhere on your inspiration board this quote.  “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -eleanor roosevelt. it’s one of my favorites. your dreams are beautiful. they are unique and powerful and absolutely possible. dream big and make it happen!

there are so many ways you can do this next step. in the lovely office i work in (also in my room at home), the twine and clothespin method worked beautifully. Hang up everything to where you can see it all. layer in quotes with pictures, designs with a dreamcatcher. there is no right or wrong way. grab a corkboard if you don’t have a wall and get to pinning. anything is fair game. the main thing is to see this and know you are capable of accomplishing something of beauty just like that you see. this is the board i get to look at while editing photos at work. so encouraging!


(can we all swoon at Michelle Boyd’s inspiration wall? gushing.) there can be a point where it becomes too much. when you can’t distinguish one thing from another and all you feel is overwhelmed and discouraged. keep it simple and to your absolute favorites. so put out a candle, grab some fresh flowers, and set up your board in your dream space. this is a place where anything can happen. get to dreaming, and get some inspiration. make sure to upload picture of what you create and tag Merry!

diy american flag overalls


Originally I had planned an awesome t-shirt flag DIY idea which I surely will complete later and share but due to a few mishaps, it is not to be. Instead, I wanted to share a small, easy DIY and outfit post for 4th of July style.

But, first: People often compliment on my style and say “I could never pull that off”. And let me tell you — and this is coming from a girl who used to wear sweats and t-shirts for the better part of 5 years, YES YOU CAN. Style is all about rocking what you love and making it work. It’s not about spending lots of money on items you’ll wear once or wearing the biggest fad at the time (unless you happen to adore it), it’s about dressing to your personality and body. After many years of “never having anything to wear” and trying to fit in to a mold, I thought to heck with it and decided to try out different styles and options and somewhere along the way, I found my style. It varies and sometimes I get stuck in a rut but it has stretched me creatively to find new ways to use what I have and to let my clothes express a little piece of me instead of being defined by my clothes. It has been such a fun journey to try (and fail!) and learn what fits best and not feel pressured to buy every new trend as soon as it comes out (hi-lo dresses, chevron, crop tops, etc.) just to feel great about my wardrobe. Some of these are styles I eventually came to love and would buy but it’s great looking back at fashion fads that came and went that weren’t THAT great and not feel like I missed out on anything. As a bonafide thrifter, (and maybe later I will share a post on do and dont thrifting tips), I would encourage trying to find pieces that have come back in style (florals, for example) instead of spending lots of dough you could spend elsewhere. And it always feels like a treasure hunt when you find an awesome piece. This is why I may or may not be on hoarders one day, but it also accounts for about 90% of my wardrobe. So you decide which is the greater evil. I choose living in piles of crap later in life. All in the name of fashion, of course.

ANYWAYS, here is my DIY flag overalls. I’m going to rock these on the 4th and rock them hard. All I did was find a little flag (thrifting) and sew it onto some thicker backing. Then I just sewed them onto my (also thrifted) overalls. The rest of the outfit is up to you.

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Enjoy! And make sure to send us pictures of whatever great DIY project you did to show your 4th spirit! (I mean this less in a holy 4th spirit and more like cheerleading spirit. Carry on.)