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Juju Hat DIY

I love juju hats. I love saying “juju hat.” They are those fabulous round feather pieces you may have seen around. They are actually African tribal headdresses. The texture and dimension and color make them a fabulous focal point! I have used them in this Moroccan themed bedroom as well as an amazing white one as part of an art gallery wall in this living room (post on this space coming soon!). They are dramatic and organic and can be any color under the sun. They run anywhere from$250-500, typically. While I bought the white one for the living room at an antique market, my client and I decided to get crafty and make our own for her bedroom.

You should know the feathers are not inexpensive. The project did not end up saving us a ton of money. We knew that going in. We were just up for the experience! We primarily used this tutorial although there are a bunch of others on Pinterest.

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What you’ll need to create your juju hat is feathers, a round object to glue them to (I used a woven charger), a harder object to give it strength and structure, and the almighty glue gun. It would be great if you could just hot glue a feather boa for this, but you can’t. We bought our feathers here. We went with the 9-12″ rooster coque tail feathers after looking at other tutorials. This company sent us a bunch of samples to make sure our colors were right and had great customer service. We used a pound of feathers for our 32″ completed juju hat.

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To start, lay out your feathers so they do not get tangled and so that you can see if you have enough or need to tweak before anything gets glued! Start with feather tips arching downwards. Glue in a circle, pushing the stems into the glue. When you have completed a circle, cut the excess. Do not spiral. The next circle should be with feathers arching upwards and alternating this way throughout the project to give maximum volume and dimension.

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When you’ve done this, you are almost done! At the end, take some of the ends you cut off in the process and glue a few of them in the center. We did about a dozen and used some of the samples the company had sent us earlier. We used white and orange to give a little color variety and, because of this, we tucked a few around the other strands as you can see Perri expertly doing here.

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And when you are done, you will be so happy with how easy it was and how gorgeous it is and what an amazing crafter you and your friend are, and you will put your juju hat on and you will dance.

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We just hung it with a 1.5 inch nail straight through the center. It could not have been easier, I promise! And we LOVE the result.

Give your house good juju with a juju hat. Or at least dance.

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Color Blocking

“Color Blocking” is a fancy term for painting a portion of something. It is a high-impact trend in fashion and home decor that could not be easier to pull off. Today I’m making gift bags for an upcoming party but the same technique can be used on everything from flower pots to legs on furniture to wall art.

How To:  Tape a straight or diagonal line and paint a great color on one or both sides. I used metallic acrylic paint. Done.

Warning:  You will find yourself walking around your house looking for things to paint.

Color block painted bags Step 1

Color Blocked Bags

Color Blocked Bag

I made each tag out of different papers and postcards and made these awesome tassels last week. So much fun!

Go on. Color block something! I’m going to color block note cards in coral and gold and another set in mint and silver. You might see that sometime soon.

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Rassel Tassel

I am a fan of a well-place tassel. No, not that kind (ladies, please)! If there is a tassel to be found on an accessory, I will likely purchase said item.

via Hammers and High Heels

via Hammers and High Heels

Tassels in home decor can very easily take themselves too seriously. They get awfully stuffy and pretentious. However, as Jonathan Adler said, “I believe tassels are the earrings of the home,” and who am I to question the master? I love the way they are used here in a chic, modern way. I’ll be making some soon in embroidery floss to go on a drawer or lamp or necklace.

via Hammers and High Heels

via Hammers and High Heels

Today you have caught me in the midst of party prep. I am making tassels to dress up a lowly gift bag. You’ve seen these babies before in my Merry Christmas Wrapping post, but they needed their own spotlight. 

The glorious tassels in all their tasseliness!

The glorious tassels in all their tasseliness!

Step 1:  Wrap yarn around a 4 inch piece of cardboard about 20 times. (Warning:  Cats will appear out of nowhere)

Step 1: Wrap yarn around a 4 inch piece of cardboard about 20 times. (Warning: Cats will appear out of nowhere)

Step 2:  Slide a 10 inch piece of yarn under yarn and tie a knot at top.

Step 2: Slide a 10 inch piece of yarn under yarn and tie a knot at top.

Step 3:  Cut yarn at bottom, trimming any unruly fellows.

Step 3: Cut yarn at bottom, trimming any unruly fellows.

Step 4:  Tie yarn snuggly together about 1/2 inch from top of tassel. Done!

Step 4: Tie yarn snuggly together about 1/2 inch from top of tassel. Done!

Optional:  Drive kittens crazy.

Optional: Drive kittens crazy.

From our Christmas Wrapping post, here Danny adorns her gift bag with a tassel which, she said, learning how to make, was life changing. Life changing!

From our Christmas Wrapping post, here Danny adorns her gift bag with a tassel which, she said, learning how to make, was life changing. Life changing, people! A total game changer. C’mon people. Make these!

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Rosemary Salt

My house smells insane. Every Christmas, I love to give a handmade offering to friends, colleagues and teachers that they will use long after the New Year. This year I made Rosemary Salt and I am a teensy obsessed. It is so good, I put it on everything! This is great as a gift idea because it is easily made in bulk. Here’s how…

Heat sea salt or kosher salt and a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary over medium heat for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times, being careful to not singe the salt. Take off the heat, cover and let sit for approximately 24 hours. You could be done there but you may want a more intense rosemary flavor. I did. I also wanted to see the rosemary. Now, some recipes call for fresh rosemary here but I would only do it this way if the salt were going to be used right away. Other recipes called for dried rosemary but I was afraid it would lack the intense flavor I was after.  I research online and decided to dry my own. In an oven, set to the lowest setting (mine was 170 degrees), lay several sprigs of fresh rosemary on a baking sheet for an hour. Once your dried rosemary is crisp and ready, blend with the salt in the food processor in small batches, stir with the remainder of the salt and package! I included a sprig of fresh rosemary in the jars.

rosemary salt heat over stove

Infusing rosemary flavor into the salt over medium heat for 15 minutes. Let sit 24 hours.

Rosemary Salt DIY recipe

The beautifully finished product, tied with twine and a handwritten tag.

It smells like the holidays and tastes delicious on meat, roasted vegetables, popcorn, eggs, french fries, soups and stews and anything you can imagine! I am interested to try it in a dessert application – maybe fudge? I’ll let you know how it turns out. What else do you think it would be tasty in?

Whatever you do, do it with love and make it with your hands!

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Merry Christmas Wrapping!

When someone says they have their gifts purchased and wrapped by September, I generally want to punch her in the face. Now, I love gift giving – the shopping, the wrapping, everything! – but I like to do it in the weeks just before Christmas, mostly on account of my procrastination and such. Even if I did get my act together early, I would not like it nearly as much if stores were not full of decorations, carols, and other people busily trying to get their gifts too. It’s the excitement, the hubbub of Christmas coming, that makes it fun! Often, buying gifts late can mean they will likely be thrown in a gift bag with a sticker tag on the outside. While there is nothing wrong with this, I love the look of a beautifully wrapped gift.

When I hosted our last craft night, we set out to find beautiful ways to wrap gifts that are fun to do, creative and mostly (because of those self-imposed time constraints) easy peasy. With a look in my craft box, an inexpensive trip to the craft store and a short walk around the neighborhood gathering leaves, pinecones and sticks and I was ready to do all of this!

I will go into more detail below about these individually, but I want to point out that most of what made these gifts beautiful was free and falling from trees. I even used magnolia leaves as gift tags. The leaves or sticks or pinecones  would be beautiful spray painted too!

Christmas Wrapping Ideas

For the gift on the left (picture below), I used scraps of craft paper and twine. The middle gift was wrapped with yarn and the tags I made (I love these!) by watercoloring heavy paper and cutting them out with a gift tag hole punch (get one! you will use it all the time). The gift on the bottom was decorated by stringing buttons on a thin piece of twine or thread. So cute and so easy to do!

Christmas Wrapping Gifts Tags

Tassels might be my new favorite thing to make. I used this easy tutorial but did them on my hand rather than the cardboard because I could not be bothered to find and cut a piece of cardboard…that’s how I roll, ladies. I used a gold Sharpie to draw on the bag. Done. For the other gift, I used the same gold Sharpie to make a long squiggly line and colored markers to draw Christmas lights all over them. This is a cute idea for kids to do, using their finger prints as the lights.

Christmas wrapping gifts bags gift bags paper

For this beauty, I used a stencil and watercolored that lovely dear and tied a eucalyptus twig on with ribbon and embroidery floss. The small gift on the bottom is adorned with a cute handmade bow. Now about that bow…

Christmas Wrapping Stencils and Eucalyptus

I love making these bows! I’ve made these for the past couple of years and I love them! They can be made with anything, but magazines, newspapers and kids drawings are my favorite materials. My friends especially loved making these. I believe the phrase “total game changer” was used. We’re not joking around here.

How to make bows

The trickiest part about these is figuring out how to fold the bow over. You will have to try it a couple of times to get the feel of it, but this is the motion.

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Yvonne is making gift tags by stamping book pages with the tag stamp and then cutting craft paper around them for some fun color and pattern.

Yvonne Druyeh Dodd is making gift tags

Danny was a tassel making fool. She admitted she was more likely to throw stuff in a bag than wrap gifts so she focused on stamping and stenciling bags….and making those tassels!

Danny Vincent makes tassels and gift bags

Here we are with what we were most proud of:  Marisa with her bows, Yvonne with her tags, Danny with her tassels and bags and me with my paper. Fun!

Marisa Graziano, Yvonne Dodd, Danny Vincent and Gina Rice Sims

I promise these projects were fun and EASY. Put on a Christmas movie and you’ll be done by the time the credits roll. Merry Christmas Wrapping!

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