December 31, 2011

How To Make a Deco Mesh Garland

Deco Mesh (also goes by the name poly sinamay mesh)
has been the secret ingredient for florist
and decorators for years now.  I have not seen it
available for sale even in stores that normally have
floral supplies but Hobby Lobby did have a
 few colors this year on their Christmas ribbon aisle
and I bought several rolls when it was 50% off.   

It normally comes in rolls 21 inches wide by 10 yards long! 
That is a lot of length for the money.
These were normally $10 but only $5 a roll
when they were on sale.

Due to new fire safety regulations at the hospital that I work at,
we could no longer use the artificial greenery that we had
used in the past to decorate a Christmas.  I had seen some
decorations made with Deco Mesh and decided to give it
a try for  new holiday decorations for the nurseries.

I looked on the internet for directions on how
 to make a Deco Mesh garland. There are
 "work garlands" available for purchase (about $8
for a 9 foot length) but they didn't look very
complicated so I just made my own "work garlands".

The materials for the base of the garlands were
purchased from Michaels but they are available
at other craft stores and  too.
This aluminum floral wire was perfect...
it was strong enough but easily to bend and cut.
The chenille stems are what we used to call
"pipe cleaners". You might find other products that
 work well too...this is just what was readily
available to me.  The wire will show through
 the mesh so pick a color that will go with the mesh.

I measured out the length of floral wire needed and then
attached the chenille stems about 8" apart along the length.
This garland was 7 feet long with some extra length of
wire added to the ends for attachment purposes.

This is a base for a 3 foot garland.

Twist the stems along the wire to keep them in place.
On the garlands I wasn't in a super rush to get up, I also glued the  twisted stems in place.

Gather the mesh in your hand in a folding/accordian manner.
If you want "tails" on your garland, leave some
length before your first gather.

Attach your gathered mesh on top of the twisted stem
and secure it by twisting the stem on top of the mesh tightly.

 Gather the mesh again at a point far enough along
the length to make a "pouf" of mesh and attach it at the next stem.
The mesh wanted to curl back on itself so I had to roll a
 lot out and weight it down on the end.

Work your way down the wire gathering, poufing, attaching.

Again, if you want "tails", leave some length at the end.

If you want to add more layers of deco mesh, just use the same
technique and place more mesh poufs on top of the original mesh.
Secure each gather point with the chenille stems.
When you are finished adding mesh, twist the stems to the
back of the garland to hide them.

For transporation purposes, I rolled the tails up

Here is one of the garlands above a door.
I thought the wide mesh looked better cut into thirds
 on the end to look kind of like curled ribbon.
I attached the garlands to the wall with Command hooks. 
 The garland is very light weight but I bought
the 5 pound hooks anyway. 

Decorative items can be placed along the garland.

I intended to put more lightweight gingerbread-themed
 ornaments at the gather points but that was a holiday project
that never got done. 
There are four of these doors along the hallway. 
I couldn't put any "swag" in these garlands because we
 have equipment like x-ray machines going in and out the door.

For the other nursery, I used the same technique
 but different colors and some layering
I used the 21 inch wide red mesh and then layered
 on a 10 inch wide apple green mesh on top.
These were for a very long window so I made the garlands
 in several 6 foot lengths for ease of transportation.

Here is the red and green garland with some lightweight
Christmas stuffed animals attached.
I attached the animals after I got the garland up.

I liked this shot.  Through the window it shows
a newborn baby getting its first bath.

These stuffed animals were only about $3 each at WalMart.

On these tails, I cut the red mesh in half. 
The mesh curled itself and stayed curly all month.

This door only needed a 3 foot garland. 
With the DIY method of making a base, you can
make the garland as short or long as you need.

Even the long garlands cost less than $10 each to make
(without the decorations).

I also put the deco mesh on the old wreath to tie
it in with the look of the garland.

The deco mesh garlands were made for 2011.  I didn't have
a great place to store them so they got put in the attic in 
a sort of "loose pile" of deco mesh.  When Christmas 2012
rolled around, some of the mesh poufs were not so pouffy.
When I had seen some more plaid deco mesh for sale
in the summer at Hobby Lobby, I luckily got a few more rolls.
I was able to add another layer of the same deco mesh on top
of the slightly squished poufs attaching it with the same
pipe cleaners that were already on the aluminum wire.
I'm happy to report that they look even better now.

By the time I realized that I needed some more deco mesh
for the red and green garland at the other nursery, I had
already made my "run" to the neighboring town that I get
most of my deco mesh from.  I did, however, have some 
white deco mesh left over from a wedding. I decided that
it was "good enough" and added it to the green and red.

The Deco Mesh in this post was Christmas colors but
this same technique can be used in making garland
for other holidays, birthday parties, showers, etc.
Some other deco mesh items I have made 

December 30, 2011

"Personal Best" Posts of 2011

Sometimes the blog posts that get the most "views" or
the most "comments" are not the ones that I feel the
most sense of accomplishment or expression of
originality from.  I have enjoyed having my blog SO MUCH
these past few months and have gotten great ideas from
other bloggers to "Kopy Kat". 

These are posts that I am most proud of due to taking an
idea from another blogger and adapting it to my life or
coming up with an original idea.
If you would like to see the original post, click on the blue lettering in the list below to be linked to that post.

Number 10
Of course, pennants are all over blogland...they are so darn cute.  This post is about a party that I needed low cost but attractive decorations for.  I based the decorations on pennants but also came up with more ways to use the darling scrapbook paper in decorating for the party itself  and in doing invitations for the party. DIY instructions are included.

Number 9
I was getting discouraged with blogging about five months into it because I was spending lots of time and energy doing blog posts but not getting many "comments".  Then I discovered the "stats" tab on the Blogger totally changed my blog enjoyment. I don't hear much about that "stats" tab from bloggers...they seem to be more concerned with "comments" but this info shows that you are probably getting more "page views"
 than you know about if you are not checking your stats.  The "stats" pages are wonderful.

Number 8
I got the instructions for the solar firefly jars from another blogger so this is a for real "Kopy Kat" project.  I think I like this project so much because I enjoyed these little jars all summer long.  I bought lots more solar lights at end-of-summer sales to do more experimentation on...I'm trying to find an attractive way to diffuse the light.  Look for more solar firefly mason jars in 2012.

Number 7
This blog post started out as a magazine copy cat challenge at Debbie Doos' Blogging and Blabbing and kind of mushroomed from there.  It was my dining room table decoration for Halloween.
There were lots of interesting little features and the colorful bottles were eye-catching.

Number 6
After growing about 40 squares of grass from seed for centerpieces at a charity dinner, I had lots of ideas of how folks could use this very inexpensive source for decorations.  After the dinner, I brought all the grass home and showed differing ways the grass squares could be used. I felt like Bubba in "Forrest Gump" when he was describing all the ways that shrimp could be used.
There is also a DIY on how to grow the grass (including timing, etc.) in this post.

Number 5
This post was certainly not many dressers are out there painted in Annie Sloan's "Old White" Chalk Paint?  Wanting to join the Friday Furniture Party at Miss Mustard Seed's blog
gave me the push I needed to get this dresser finally painted after putting it off for six years so this blog post is special to me.  It's very plain compared to other "Old White" dressers I have seen
on other blogs but it did get a lot of "page views" and is my #3 most viewed post.

Number 4
Wanting to join in on other Fall blog parties got me motivated to decorate my house inside and out this year.  Fall is one of my favorite times of year so I already had plenty of "stuff" in the attic to pull out and display.  I got lots of views from other bloggers on this post and my neighbors all commented on how much they liked the decorations outside. 

Number 3
This is another blog post that was a Debbie Doo's magazine copy cat challenge.  What I love about her idea to have the copy cat blog parties is that it does challenge me to do something I probably would have never done otherwise.  I don't know that my final product looked much like the picture in the Martha Stewart magazine but in the process of trying to achieve the look, I discovered that while appliance spray paint on regular glass does give the appearance of milk glass. 
 Now when I go in thrift stores, I keep my eyes open for items that I could spray for my "milkglass" collection.

Number 2
Other folks may have made starfish out of spray foam but it was a new idea for me.  I called the starfish "whimsical" because they don't have the amazing detail and beauty that a real starfish has.
You can make whole batches of them for just a little money and time.  This post has the details of how I made them to use with my DIY coral.

Number 1
After lusting after the beatiful faux coral in the Pottery Barn summer catalog and knowing I was not going to spend that much money for it, I realized that some of the floral items at Hobby Lobby had similar shapes to coral.  I bought the floral items at 50% off, brought them home and painted them in varying shades of whites.  Some of them got re-configured and stuck into spray foam bases. This post has pictures and descriptions of how I made the coral. I'm planning on adding to my faux coral collection this summer with more attempts at "Kopy Katting" nature.

December 29, 2011

Top Ten Posts of 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, I would like to share the
ten most viewed posts that I have done since I
started my little ol' blog in March 2011.

We'll go in countdown order to practice for
New Year's Eve's countdown to 2012.
If you would like to see the original post, you can click on the blue
title lettering in the list below for the link to take you there.

Number 10
I wanted to participate in the frugal finds/thrifting parties so I did this post about the good
deals that I had found recently at Hobby Lobby.  Some needed a little restoration and/or
repainting to be attractive.   I used to be in retail and thought that the title "up to 90% off"
would get readers to come to see the blog post even though not everything in the post was
90% off.  If you note that it only says "up TO" so some things are only 50% off.  I also
found out from comments on this post that not everyone has a Hobby Lobby nearby.

Number 9
This blog post is full of pictures from my sister's home near Asheville, North Carolina.
She has a very interesting and eclectic home full of finds from consignment stores, swap meets,
thrift stores, antique stores and yard sales.  This home has so much personality.
I'm glad that through the blog, more people were/are able to see it.

Number 8
This was the first blog post I did in which I realized that it was interesting to take pictures of and
share projects that other folks in my community had done (and easier than doing it myself).  Many
ladies from a large church in my home city of Montgomery, Alabama hosted tables at a
spring time dinner at the church fellowship hall.  Each hostess of a table decorated it with a centerpiece
and also brought all the china, silverware, and glasses to go on the table. The variety is amazing.

Number 7
This was the first post I had done where I picked my top ten favorite ideas out of a
magazine for a blog post.  The newest Martha Stewart "Halloween" magazine had come out
and I took pictures of my favorite ideas in the magazine.  I wasn't sure this was not copyright
infringement but I haven't been slapped on the wrist yet for it.  In reviewing the "source" list
on my stats page of Blogger, this seemed to get a lot of views from folks interested in
make up.  Maybe they wanted to know how Martha achieved her look as a moth. 

Number 6
I wanted to participate in "A Nest For All Seasons" Tripped Up Thursday blog party so I did a blog
post of my quest to try to discover how they made glowing jars in a picture that I had seen
on Pinterest.  One experiment involved breaking open glow sticks even though it is
forbidden to do so on the packaging.   I did get some fabulous glow-y pictures and great ideas
from other commenters but I never got to that perfect place of exact copy cat of the picture.
I spent more time and money on this project than probably any other that I have done while blogging.

Number 5
This was the first project that I posted about that got passed around on Pinterest and I got
to experience the increase in page views from that happening.  On this post, I was
reluctant to post about it because I did not come up with the original idea.  I had seen a  picture that
another blogger had posted of a spoon wreath in a store window and decided to try to make one
myself.  The original used colored spoons but I adapted the idea and used cheap clear spoons
and then spray painted them after the glue was dry. I learned that as long as you credit your
original source, that it is OK to post your own attempt.

Number 4
The actual cake pops in this blog post did not turn out all that well but somehow when folks google
"display cake pops", this post is one that is on the list of options to look at.  I'm always
embarrassed when I check my "stats" page and see that more people have viewed this post.
It's one of my older posts but it gets viewed a little every day so it's numbers keep climbing.

Number 3
This post on repainting a dresser with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was my top viewed post for
a long time.  I was able to join the Friday party at Miss Mustard Seed blog with this piece and
got lots of "views" from that party.  It's the only time I have been able to go to that party because
your post has to be about furniture to participate and I haven't painted any other furniture
since I have started my blog.

Number 2
This blog post got a lot of views from the "It's Fall Y'all" Mantle party.  Also it got pinned
around on Pinterest during the Fall season.  I had been looking on Pinterest for inspiration myself and
saw some photos with antlers in them and like the look.  I used some that my son had in the attic.

Number 1
The post about Fall decorations inside and outside was by far the most viewed post that I had
this past year.  I shared it at several blog parties and it was also re-pinned on Pinterest quite a bit.
I really enjoyed having these decorations up during September, October and November.
If I had not had started blogging, I don't know if I would have decorated for Fall as much.
 It's a good  for me to be challenged by the lovely things I see other bloggers doing to their homes
to do more to make my home a warm and inviting place. 

I am sharing this post at
Top Posts for 2011 @ Southern Hospitality
Year In Review @ The Blooming Hydrangea
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
2011 Recap Party @ DIY Showoff
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