Hasta luego, 2013!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA Hey there! I hope you're enjoying the end-of-the-year wind down. I had a nice Christmas with my family and have been dreaming up lots of fun projects for the coming year. I'm really excited to jump in with both feet and share everything with you! Thanks you so much for coming along for the ride with me!

I took a little afternoon trip to Hakone Gardens in Saratoga with my parents over the weekend. It's a beautiful Japanese garden in the hills of Silicon Valley.  It was such a lovely day and we had a great time meandering and admiring the views. I've been having a lot of fun with my photography lately and took a ton of photos. Here are some of my favorites.

Hakone Gardens Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA
Hakone Gardens
Me with the bamboo!

I hope you have a wonderfully exciting or totally relaxing New Year's Eve. Whatever pops your cork! Thanks again for reading and for helping to make 2013 a bang-up year here on Vitamini Handmade. Cheers!


Top posts of 2013!

Monday, December 30, 2013

DIY Neon Wrapped Lamp Cord There are only a couple days left of the year and I thought I'd do a little round-up the most popular posts on the blog! Check them out if you're new in these parts or if you'd like to get some ideas for a last minute project before you have to go back to work!


Wishing you a merry one!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas
Two days till Christmas! I'm ready to take it easy and enjoy the next few days, eat lots of cookies, and spend as much time as possible in my pajamas. Here's a pic of my aluminum tree looking all sparkly in the window. Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope Santa brings you everything on your list!


DIY: Snowflake Garland

Friday, December 20, 2013

diy snowflake garland | www.vitaminihandmade.com

I don't know about you, but I'm still getting my holiday craft fix over here. I spotted these pipe cleaner snowflakes from Martha Stewart on Pinterest the other day and thought it would be fun to make a few.

Here's what you'll need to make your own:

 DIY Snowflake Garland
The instructions in the original post on MS aren't very thorough, so after making one I decided to just wing it for the rest of them. I started with 3, 6" strips for the main snowflake spines (is that the right word?), then used 6, 2" to 3" pieces for the rest of the pieces. It is key to crimp the pipe cleaner twists with a pair of pliers so everything stays in place.

diy snowflake garland | www.vitaminihandmade.com

Experiment with different shapes. After you have a few snowflakes made, make a garland! Tie the snowflakes at the ends with short lengths (about 4") of baker's twine. The best thing about this garland is you can use it horizontally or vertically.

 diy snowflake garland | www.vitaminihandmade.com diy snowflake garland | www.vitaminihandmade.com diy snowflake garland | www.vitaminihandmade.com


DIY: Bottle Brush Tree Gift Toppers.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY Bottle Brush Tree Gift Toppers
If you couldn't stop yourself from dyeing every little bottle brush tree you could get your hands on (like, ahem, me!) here's a practical idea for your extras: make personalized gift toppers!

Here's what you'll need:
  • Custom-dyed trees made with this tutorial
  • Kraft cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Glue. I used rubber cement and removable glue dots  
  • Ribbon
Bottle Brush Tree Gift Topper
Cut a few strips of kraft paper about 1/4" wide and 5-6" long. Cut out v-shaped notches in the ends.
Bottle Brush Tree Gift Topper
Fold it not quite in half and at an angle so you can see both sides.
Bottle Brush Tree Gift Topper
Write the "to" and "from." Wrap it around the trunk of the tree and add a little bit of rubber cement to hold it closed. 
Bottle Brush Tree Gift Topper
Attach it to your gift! You can tie it with a ribbon or stick it on with a removable glue dot. Super cute!
DIY Bottle Brush Tree Gift Toppers


Craft Fair this Sunday!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Friday, friends! I've been busy getting ready for the South of Marketplace Holiday Fair this Sunday in San Francisco. If you're in the bay area you should stop by! I'll be there with 40+ other vendors selling handmade items.


If you finish your shopping early and want to get your craft-on, here are a couple very thorough holiday craft round-ups! They both include my dip-dyed bottle brush trees! Woot!

15 Holiday Decor DIYs from 52 Weeks Project.

10 Cool Yule-Themed DIYs from Babble! 


DIY: Dip-Dyed Bottle Brush Trees.

Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY Dip Dyed Bottle Brush Trees
Bottle brush trees are some of my favorite holiday decorations. Last year after Christmas I picked up a few packages of plain green ones on super sale to keep handy for crafting. I'm so glad I did so I could try dying them! This project turned out to be a great one because I already had everything I needed in my craft supply stash! Love it when that happens.

*update: I've received so many sweet comments about the photo above (so happy you love it as much as I do!). I'm excited to share I have it available as an 8x10 print in my shop! It would make a sweet addition to your retro/pastel holiday decor, or even some sweet art for a child's room. Ok, on to the tutorial!

Here's what you'll need to dye and decorate your own:
  • Bottle brush trees. I got mine at a fabric and craft store
  • Rit powder dye. I used Magenta and Teal
  • Bleach
  • Small plastic tub
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Cardboard box 
  • Craft paint for the tree bases. I used gold
To decorate:
  • Hot glue gun
  • Metallic beads. I had some leftover from my holiday corsage project from last year.
Dip Dyed and Decorated Bottle Brush Trees

Fill the small plastic tub with about a gallon of room temperature water. Add 1/3 cup concentrated bleach (or 2/3 cup regular bleach). Stir it up and drop in the trees! Some of mine started lightening immediately while others took some time. My small trees were done in about 20 minutes and the largest one took about 4 hours! When they are light enough, fish them out with a gloved hand and rinse with clean water to remove the bleach solution. Let dry on a paper towel.

Dip Dyed and Decorated Bottle Brush Trees

Now for the fun part! Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of powdered dye (eyeball it) into a tall glass that's wide enough to dip your largest tree into. Add hot water and stir with a chopstick. Stir up a second glass of hot water with a little less dye than the first to achieve a lighter shade. I had two glasses of dye for each of my colors.

For solid color trees, hold the tree by its base and lower it into the dye until all of the bristles are submerged. Experiment with the timing. The longer it's submerged the more saturated the color will be.

Dip Dyed and Decorated Bottle Brush Trees For color blocked trees, dip the tree but don't cover the lower bristles. For ombre trees, start with a quick dip down to the bottom bristles, then pull it up out of the dye about 1/4" and count to 20. Pull it up again another 1/4" and count to 30. Continue to the top. Experiment with timing for different color blending effects.

Let the trees dry on a scrap of cardboard with the trunk elevated a little. Paint the tree base with acrylic craft paint. I used gold.

The trees look great as-is, but add some beads for a little more bling. Just hot glue them on.

Dip Dyed Bottle Brush Trees Dip Dyed and Decorated Bottle Brush Trees
Line them all up to make a crazy-colored forest.

Dip Dyed and Decorated Bottle Brush Trees

These little trees have quickly become some of my favorites in my collection. Have you tried dying and decorating your own? I'd love to hear how they turned out!


New Boot and Bonnet totes in the shop!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Boot and Bonnet Mini Cooper Tote bag
Just popping in to share my new and improved Boot and Bonnet tote bags! These are made from sturdy 100% cotton canvas and are made in the USA! They're roomier than the last model. So far I only have them in the new MINI design, but I'm hoping to get the other designs printed soon!

Boot and Bonnet Mini Cooper Tote bag Boot and Bonnet Mini Cooper Tote bag
Check them out in my shop! And you can use your 10% off coupon code, too. It's still valid through tomorrow! Happy holiday shopping!


Decorating for Christmas without a tree.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I LOVE decorating for Christmas. Funny enough, though, I never had an actual Christmas tree until 4 years ago! We always had a family tree, but I never had one when I was in college. After I was done with school I was mostly living in tiny apartments and wasn't there during Christmas, anyway. Even still, I always managed to get my place looking festive for the holidays. Here are a few decorating ideas if you decide to go sans tree this year!

from Toast UK Lookbook 2012
bhgci windows 1 1954
Better Homes and Gardens, 1954
I had so much fun hanging ornaments in my window one year. I bought a few fancy ones and then filled in with simpler glass ornaments in between. Hang them at varying heights and tie them up with different colors of ribbon and twine. You can use fishing line if you want to go for the floating look. Instead of hammering a bunch of nails into the wall, just loop a line across the window horizontally, anchoring at each end with 3M hooks. Tie the individual ornament lines to that at the desired spacing.

from Enjoy Your Home
I love the look of this! All you need is a large demijohn or two and some branch cuttings. After that, string it up with garlands and glass ornaments. So pretty! You could even do this on a smaller scale for a table centerpiece. Try asking your local tree lot if they have cuttings for sale. They may just give them away!

Ikea wall hanging, via Apartment Therapy
I've been seeing lots of these graphic tree hangings around the internet and think they're such a clever idea. If you're short on space (like I was for so many years) this option doesn't take up any room and gives you a nice spot to pile up gifts.

from The Willows
You can always pickup an evergreen wreath or garland to get that pine scent without the hassle of a tree. You don't even have to water it! Of course, I'd end up decorating it with ornaments, but they are lovely all on their own, too.

from Rue Magazine via Birch & Bird

Get your tree fix with a bunch of minis! There are so many cute bottle brush trees in stores right now. Pick up a few and make a little winter scene on a bookshelf or tabletop. Fill in with artificial snow, little houses, and (my favorite) little cars.

Do you ever go without a tree for Christmas? What are your favorite decorating techniques?


Holiday Sales!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Vitamini Holiday Sale!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! And with that, it's already December! For those of you in holiday shopping mode, I've got some sales going in my Etsy shops for the next week! Use the codes MINIHOLIDAY2013 in my Vitamini shop, and MODERNHOLIDAY2013 in my Vitamodern shop for 10% off your purchase!

Vitamodern Holiday Sale

I make all of my items in small batches, so don't delay. I may run out of something you've been eying! Thank you for supporting small, handmade businesses this year! If you're looking for more small businesses to support, Door Sixteen has a great running list of indie shops that you can check out.


Giving thanks.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I'm thankful for so many things this year. The biggest thing of all, though, is that I get to spend the day with my whole family. Thankful that I still have my mom to call when I'm in the craft store and need advice on what kind of glue to buy. Thankful that my dad powered through his health problems and is still around to bombard me with questions about his Kindle as soon as I walk through the door. Haha. I'm also incredibly grateful that I've found an outlet that lets me connect with other creative folks and hopefully inspire others to start making things. Thank you for reading and keeping me motivated to dream up projects to share with you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate! And if you don't, it wouldn't hurt to think about all the things you're thankful for, too. Like being able to perfectly baste a turkey.


From my sketchbook: Holiday Card

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

All of my design work starts with sketches. I often sketch and idea multiple times to work out design elements and refine proportions. Here's a little glimpse at the preliminary design work for this year's holiday card.

Card design process work Card design process work Card design process work
I ended up drawing the background landscape and stars by hand, but I made a papercut of the Mini to place into the scene. I just love how papercut edges look, and having to work within the constraints of something I could cut in a nice challenge and lends a little more interest to the design.

Card design process work
All of this (and a little more behind the scenes work) combined to create this!
Oh, What Fun! Mini Cooper Holiday cards
These and my other cards are available in my Etsy shop.


DIY: Holiday Pompom Wreath

Thursday, November 21, 2013

DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath

I started making a stash of handmade pompoms a while back. I didn't have a project in mind for them at the time, just thought they'd be fun to make (and they totally are!). It wasn't until later that I decided to make a holiday wreath and put them to good use. Here's what I did and how you can make your own!

You'll need:
  • Yarn in various colors. I used super soft pale blue, bright pink with sparkles, and heather gray. I'm all about non-traditional holiday colors!
  • Clover PomPom Makers, or you can make your own with cardboard
  • Wreath form
  • Large needle
  • Metallic pipe cleaners
  • Small shiny beads (not shown)
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath

First, make a ton of pompoms! I've made mine using lots of different methods, from fork wrapping, to cardboard, and plastic pompom makers. I like the makers the best because I can get the fluffiest, fullest pompoms with them. And they're fun to use. I made all of the small blue ones with a piece of cardboard and that worked just fine, too.  My finished wreath used around 60+ pompoms.

DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath

Make them in a variety of sizes. Combine the yarn colors to make stripes and dots in the larger pompoms. I decided not to leave long tails on my pompoms after I tied them off in the center. I just trimmed those along with the rest of it during the trimming step - my favorite part!

Once your pompom collection is ready, wrap the foam wreath form with the base color yarn. Don't worry if every spot isn't perfectly covered. Tie the yarn off in the back when you've wrapped the entire wreath. Leave some yarn tails for tying later.

DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath

Thread the needle with a length of about 10" of yarn. Thread the needle under a couple strands of yarn on the front of the wreath and tie a knot. Locating the center of one of your pompoms, thread the needle through the center and pull tight against the wreath. Thread the needle under two more strands of yarn close to your first knot to secure the pompom in place. Continue adding pompoms, mixing the colors and sizes. Thread one on the needle, position it on the wreath, and secure it with a stitch. Keep going until it's full.

DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath

To add a little sparkle, just coil up each end of a metallic pipe cleaner. Make a u-shape with the center and simply nestle it into the space between the pompoms. No need to secure these with glue. The pompoms will hold them in place. I also added a few silver beads to up the shine. I secured these with hot glue.
DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath

Using a coordinating ribbon, tie a long loop for hanging to the long yarn tails on the back of the wreath. Add a bow to the top if you'd like.

DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath DIY Holiday Pompom Wreath

There you have it! A unique holiday wreath made with a few simple, inexpensive materials. Make your own in any colors you choose. Wouldn't one in shades of white and light blue be beautiful? This project would be great to use for other holidays as well. Just mix up the colors.

*Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. I may receive a small commission on a sale that is made by using the above links. But, as always, all opinions are my own. 


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