DIY: How to Throw a Holiday Dinner Party on a Budget

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DIY Holiday Dinner Party

Martha Stewart is pretty much my spirit animal. I grew up watching her show and trying out all of her recipes and crafts with my mom. Not only did she create my absolute favorite cookie recipe, but she built an empire, went to jail (thus earning major street cred), and got to roast Justin Bieber. I mean, who else is that well-rounded?

Now that I am in my late twenties, I decided to pull a Martha Stewart and throw a holiday dinner party. It was a great time, and I wanted to share some of the tips I learned along the way on how to make a dinner party be super festive yet affordable.

Step 1: Find inspiration.

Pinterest is definitely your friend when it comes to planning parties. From the decor to the menu, Pinterest has everything you may need for inspiration. For our party, we decided to go with a glittery gold and red color scheme with some fresh green accents.

I made a Pinterest board for food and a board for decor. Feel free to check them out to get started!

Step 2: Make a budget.

Start budgeting for the decor as well as the food and decide where you want to allocate your funds based on importance. For our party, I wanted to use most of the budget for food because food. I put about 65% of my $300 budget towards the meal.

Step 3: Set the menu.

Holiday Dinner Party

Check out your local grocery ads and see what’s on sale. For our party, I made a prime rib roast (so much easier to make than you think!) which was on sale for $7.00/lb at Jewel compared to it’s normal price of $11.99/lb. If you’re doing a roast or a large piece of meat, be sure to call and place your order ahead. Even though my party was outside of the sale dates, I was able to call when it was on sale to pick up later and still get the sale price.

Holiday Dinner Party Appetizers

I also bought the value packs of garlic and onion since they were in most of the dishes I made. For the cheese plate, I found an amazing recipe for seasoned and roasted almonds instead of buying them pre-roasted.

Costco is also your friend if you are shopping for a crowd. We made yummy Holiday Mules with pomegranate juice instead of cranberry juice, and we were able to get a huge jug of pomegranate juice for way less than what it would have been at our local grocery store.

Our signature drink for the night - Holiday Mules

Since it’s usually just my fiance and I, we have no serving dishes or platters. I got those for free via borrowing from my mom. I highly recommend borrowing as much as you can, especially if you’re a once a year hostess like me. I also borrowed serving utensils and a big roasting pan for our prime rib.

We were also able to borrow tables and chairs from a meeting room that is in our condo building which helped cut down on costs.

Step 4: Save on the decor.

DIY Holiday Dinner Party Place Setting

If you’re shopping for holiday decor for your party, I recommend holding off until right before your party. The closer it gets to Christmas, the cheaper holiday decor gets. I got most of my decor from Michael’s and all of the holiday stuff was at least 40% off. Make sure you also search for printable coupons online for anything that is regular price. I used coupons on candles and glitter*.

Target is another one of my favorites. This whole season there have been sales on holiday decorations. That area where you first walk in with all of the little pick-me-ups is a great place to find small table decor. Make sure you download the Cartwheel app on your phone to get extra coupons in store too.

DIY Holiday Dinner Setting

Instead of real plates, we opted for nicer gold plastic plates because of the cheaper price and the ease of cleaning up. I got our gold plates and gold plastic cutlery from Amazon, and they were really great quality. We also got fabric napkins in a red and white checker print and white table cloths from Amazon. I tried to get linens that weren’t too Christmas-like so that I can use them year-round. Plus, you can’t beat Amazon Prime shipping.

If you’re looking for some fresh greenery, check out Home Depot or Lowe’s. I was able to get a bunch of assorted fresh pine branches from Home Depot for $7.00 which was more than enough for our table centerpiece.

The Dollar Tree is another great resource for candles, candle votives, and candle holders.

Step 5: Craft away

DIY Holiday Party Invitations

I love to DIY, so I hand made invitations to send out to our guests. I used watercolors to paint leaves as a background and then I printed them on the painted paper with my printer. I Googled “holiday party invitation” to find a template of what information needs to be included. I also found cheap envelopes on Amazon and printed addresses on them too. I’ll do a quick tutorial on the invitations in another post!

For the giant bows on the chairs, we used ribbon mesh that I purchased from Costco. A three pack was only $6.49, and we only used 2 rolls. We did a simple cinched bow and secured it with wire. We also secured the bows to the chairs with wire and a lot of tape.

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I also recently got a a FujiFilm Instax which is the new school Polaroid camera. It was super fun taking instant pics of all of our guests and hanging them with mini clothespins to add to the fun and decor.

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In the end, I had so much fun throwing our holiday party, and it was great to have all of our friends together to enjoy good food in a festive setting. It was so much fun, that we’re making this an annual party, so I’ll be able to use much of the same decor again.

Holiday Dinner Party on a Budget

I hope this helps you create a great budget friendly holiday dinner party. Let me know your favorite tips for throwing a holiday dinner party in the comments below!

*Glitter is amazing, but it was literally everywhere by the time we were done decorating. It was a huge pain to clean after the party too, so make sure you have a good vacuum handy if you decide to use a lot of glitter.

 

 

 

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DIY Button Cufflinks

Today, I am sharing a super simple DIY for cufflinks, and each pair only takes a minute to make! These button cufflinks are the perfect holiday present for the dapper gentleman in your life. Plus, the possibilities are endless, so you can gift these for all sorts of occasions!

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What you will need:

-Fabric (medium weight works best)
Button cover kit (3/4 in. buttons)
E600 Glue or another glue for metal
-Scissors
-Pliers
-Cufflink blanks that have a round, flat base that are slightly smaller than your buttons (I purchased mine through Etsy)

Instructions:

First you will need to start with making your buttons. You can use any type of fabric, but I would recommend using a medium weight fabric and to stay away from sheer fabric. You will only need about 2 sq. in. of fabric for each cuff link, so you could just use left over scrap fabric or you can go and buy fabric.

At Joann’s Fabrics, you can get fabric cut to as little as 2 inches which is great for this project. I ended up getting some flannel from Joann’s. I just got 1/4 of a yard of each fabric for $1.50 each. This is actually way more fabric than I need for the cuff links, but I plan on doing another DIY with the leftover fabric.

The button cover kit will come with instructions on the back, and they are very easy and simple to follow.

The button kit will come with a stencil of a circle that you can use to trace your fabric. Once your fabric is traced and cut out, you will align your fabric with the button mold, right side down.

Next, you will put the button blank on top of the fabric and use the little button pusher to push the blank into the mold which ends up wrapping the fabric around the button. You will need to make sure that the excess fabric is wrapped around the button and gathered inside the button.

Take the cap of the button and remove the button hole with your pliers by squeezing the wire and pulling it out. Once you have your flat button cap you will take that piece and push it into the mold with the the button. This may take a few pushes, but you will see when the backing of the button is snapped into the button.

Once your buttons are finished, you will need to glue them into the cuff link blanks. I recommend that you let these dry with the button facing down so that the cuff link blanks don’t move off center as they dry. You should let these dry for a few hours before any heavy handling.

The possibilities really are endless for this project. If your man has a favorite sports team, you can easily find patterned licensed fabric online for this project as well. I also love the idea of using his favorite old shirts to make these cuff links even more sentimental!
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I hope that this inspires you to DIY some gifts this holiday season, and I would love to see pictures of your finished cuff links! Just use #SSDDIY on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to share!

DIY: Making Inspirational Quote Prints with PowerPoint

I recently moved to a new apartment in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, and I have been trying to find cute yet economical ways to decorate my home office. I love the look of a gallery wall, but with the number of frames and art work you need it can get pretty pricey. I’ve been seeing some adorable inspirational quote prints online, and I thought I would try to make my own. With this easy DIY you can make your own prints for nearly nothing and then you can just frame them up for a fab gallery wall!

Here is the current state of my office with a few DIY quote prints

Here is the current state of my office with a few DIY quote prints

No Photoshop? No problem!  Since I studied business in college, I’ve learned to manipulate PowerPoint for all sorts of projects besides presentations. One of the most fun things I’ve learned is how to make fun and inspirational quote prints to decorate my walls. Most computers should have PowerPoint, and if you have Microsoft Word, you most likely have PowerPoint.

I’m using the PowerPoint for Microsoft Office 2010, but most of the menus should be the same for the earlier version as well.

Pick your favorite quote and open up PowerPoint. The best part about making these prints is that you have full range to customize whatever you would like. Depending on which way you want your print to hang, select if you want your layout to be portrait or landscape. In this case, I’m going to change it to portrait.

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To help keep everything aligned, go up to the View menu, and check whichever options will help you most. I’m going to check ruler and gridlines.

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Now all you have to do is type out your quote. I like to separate the quote by the words in to separate text boxes. If you want to adjust all of the words at the same time just use the shortcut Ctrl A to select all of the words and then you can change the font and font sizes all at once. Arrange how you want your quote to look and you can utilize the gridlines to get everything aligned. I’m going to center all of my words in a vertical format and make the font size larger as you go towards the bottom of the print.

I downloaded the font for this print from dafont.com It’s super simple, and then you just have to follow the directions on the site to pick a unique font.  Just remember what the name of the font was or you won’t be able to find it in your font list later.

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To add color to you words, select the word(s) you want to change and click on the Format menu and then the Text Fill button. If you don’t see the color you want, click on More Fill Colors. You can select the Standard or Custom Tab to find your colors. I decided to go for an ombre look with my colors, so I chose a light blue to start off with.

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For my next word, I clicked on the Text Fill button again and changed it to the same light blue color (under Recent Colors) and then clicked on More Fill Colors again. This will give me the same chart with where my first color started, so I can just go down the gradient on the left to get a darker color with each word.

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print steps

Now, just go to the Main Menu button on the top right and click Save As and name your file and then make sure for Save as type, you select JPEG or PNG. Once you have your print saved, you can just print it out yourself or you can upload it to Walgreens or CVS and get it printed on photo paper to be picked up. Just note that depending on the resolution of your picture that printing really large sizes may not look that great. I’ve printed 8×10 prints, and they look just fine. Just realize that you may need to crop your print a bit to fit the standard photo sizes.

All done!

All done!

I bought IKEA NYTTJA frames since they were the cheapest, and I used Command Poster Strips to hang the frames. No nails for this apartment renter 🙂 So go ahead and make your own inspirational quote print, and you can definitely customize further with shapes and more colors! Endless Mean Girls and Bridesmaids quotes await…

This brings a smile on my face every time I walk past it

DIY Rhinestone Flats

DIY Rhinestone Flats See Song Designs

I am a huge DIY fanatic, so I thought I would start sharing some DIY projects every once in awhile on the blog! I got these great emerald green flats on clearance from Old Navy for only $11, and I decided to spruce them up with a couple of leftover rhinestones. There’s lots of room to be creative with this project, and this is a very easy DIY that makes any pair of shoes look new and expensive!

Here is what you will need:

A pair of flats (similar here and here)
E-6000 glue or another heavy duty glue
Rhinestones with sew on settings (I got mine at JoAnn’s Fabrics in the beading aisle but similar ones are here and here)
Pen or thin marker
Toothpicks
Business card or piece of cardboard

First arrange your rhinestones how you would like them on your flats.

Then use a pen or marker to mark the center of each of your rhinestones on the flats to know where to glue your rhinestones.

Put a little glue on your business card or cardboard and use a toothpick to apply enough glue to cover the back of your rhinestones.

Carefully place your rhinestone on the shoe where you had previously marked your design.

The glue will dry in about 10 minutes and it will cure completely in about 24 hours. This project took me around 20 minutes to complete, and now I just want to glue rhinestones onto everything I own 🙂

DIY Rhinestone Flats See Song Designs

Tied with a Bow

I just absolutely love bows. I grew up with bows, and I have always had them incorporated into my life in one way or another. My mom and aunts are professional bow makers (yes, that is a profession) for my godmother’s company Bows Arts. They sell handmade children’s hair bows to retailers like Brooks Brothers and Neiman Marcus. Bows have always been a part of my life, and they’re pretty much a symbol of my family and childhood.

Some of my favorite pieces from the See Song Designs collection are the bow bracelets. My mom and I work together to make these bracelets, so the process of making them is really special to me. It’s great to work with my mom, and it’s fun to see the end result once we’re done. My mom knows a lot about colors and what colors will be in season, so it’s really great to incorporate her knowledge into my jewelry collection. The bow bracelets are one of my best sellers, and it makes me really happy to know that people enjoy something that is a product of our collaborative hard work and creativity. Here are some of my favorite bow pieces for the holidays:

Sparkly glitter bow bracelets are perfect for the holidays and New Year's Eve

Sparkly glitter bow bracelets are perfect for the holidays and New Year’s Eve

You can never go wrong with a basic red bow

You can never go wrong with a basic red bow

Tis the season with festive bright green

Tis the season with festive bright green

You'll be the talk of the party with these red glitter bow earrings... coming soon!

You’ll be the talk of the party with these red glitter bow earrings… coming soon!

Currently Crafting

I learned to knit and crochet in 2nd grade because my school had a program where the ladies from the nursing home would come during lunch time to teach kids how to knit and crochet once a week. I absolutely loved it. I loved picking all different colors of yarn and just hanging out with the nice old ladies. I also realized I don’t have the patience to make anything worthwhile like blankets or socks, so I put my knitting and crocheting dreams aside for awhile.

One of my favorite mediums for jewelry making is paracord. It’s sturdy, strong, and comes in lots of different colors and patterns. Plus, it sounds pretty badass to say that my jewelry is made of rope that can carry 500 lbs. of weight. I’ve started crocheting paracord and turning it into bracelets and necklaces. I wasn’t sure if I could still do it, but a few google searches and some deep within muscle memory brought my crocheting skills back to life. I love how crocheting the paracord makes everything really chunky, so it’s perfect for statement pieces. Here are a few things I’ve been working on.

Bracelet

Crocheted Paracord Statement Bracelet

Necklace

Crocheted Statement Necklace