A Glass Act

If you were to take a peek inside our kitchen cupboards you’d notice that I like simplicity. I prefer a nice clean slate to showcase delicious food and pretty decorations on, so white plates and clear glasses make up about 80 percent of our housewares. Sometimes though, a pop of color can be a welcome addition. I was recently craving some color after I brought home some pretty yellow flowers. The clear vases I had on hand just weren’t helping them shine, so I decided to transform the rather plain items below into colorful bud vases.

What we started with for the DIY Bud Vases (by somethingwewhippedup.com)

What we started with for the DIY Bud Vases (by somethingwewhippedup.com)

All you need to do the same are a few colorful balloons, scissors and some small vessels to cover. Seriously, it’s that easy. Take a look at the result below. Not bad, right?

DIY Bud Vases by somethingwewhippedup.com

DIY Bud Vases by somethingwewhippedup.com

Whether they’re displayed on a shelf or lined up down the center of a table, I bet my guests would never guess that these bud vases are made from random kitchen items including jars, bottles, salt and pepper shakers, a shot glass and a jigger.

To make some for yourself, use scissors to snip the ends off of a balloon (the amount you cut will vary based on what you’re covering). Stretch the latex over the vessel and adjust as necessary. The balloons will only stretch so far without tearing, so use your best judgement when selecting balloon sizes and objects to cover. I allowed the latex to bunch a bit on a few of the vases, which added a nice texture to the look. I also enjoyed when the balloon didn’t cover the entire object, and just provided a stripe of color (as it did in the glass bottle in the background of the photo). Play around and have some fun.

SWWU Tip: The best part about this project is its versatility. Balloons come in every color of the rainbow, so you’re sure to find one that matches the look or theme you’re going for.

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SYWU: Finding Your Footing

Today is a special day at SWWU: We’re going to introduce a new section of the blog, Something YOU Whipped Up. That’s right! We know many of our talented readers and friends have completed all sorts of awesome projects. And now, we’re going to show them off right here from time to time.

Today we have a project from Eric and Mike, a creative couple in North Carolina. Here, Eric is going to share with us something he recently whipped up for their beautiful home!

Finding Your Footing via EL Hastie for somethingwewhippedup.com

Finding Your Footing via EL Hastie for somethingwewhippedup.com

We love cast iron. Besides making the best material for cooking delicious goodies, it also has been formed into many delightful decorations for outdoor patios, city manhole covers, and most importantly, bathtub feet. On a recent antiquing adventure, I was hunting for some cool old bookends. I was about to give up when I spotted the rusty pair of feet pictured below and I thought, “Well, no one is going to use these on a bathtub, but the weight of them makes them perfect for bookends.” What can I say, I’m a sucker for that awesome eagle claw.

After a good scrubbing with a wire brush to clean off the loose rust, I washed them with soapy water and let them dry. After that, each one got a few coats of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch spray paint in Gloss Cranberry and then I let them dry overnight. The two make for perfect bookends—and they’ve turned out to be a fun topic of conversation when guests are over.

SWWU Tip: Eric picked up his cast iron claw feet at the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall in Charlotte, NC. When he found them, pairs were going for $35 to $50 each. I just did a quick search on Etsy and eBay and found a few sets ranging from $20 to $100 or more. Try searching for the term “cast iron claw feet,” and see what you can find. Make sure the set you buy is smooth on top, so they’ll rest flat on a surface.

Have you and your partner tackled a fun project you think others will enjoy? If so, let us know what YOU whipped up and your design might be featured on the site. Email us at contactswwu[at]gmail[dot]com. Please see our About Us page for submission guidelines.

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Butter Me Up

Homemade butter is one of those special indulgences that I rarely make. It’s always creamier and richer than store-bought butter and makes anything you put it on—from a piece of crusty bread to a stack of pancakes—taste so much more decadent. This past weekend I wanted a special topping for some sweet summer corn, but we were at the farm house and I didn’t quite have the time or patience to make a batch of homemade butter. I was however able to grab some fresh cilantro from the garden and combine it with a few other ingredients we had on hand to jazz up some plain, store-bought butter.

Cilantro-Lime Butter by somethingwewhippedup.com

Cilantro-Lime Butter by somethingwewhippedup.com

It took hardly any effort and the result was beyond delicious. It’s really quite amazing how so few ingredients can really transform a dish so much. We used the butter to top some grilled corn, but I also think it would be a great way to grease a pan before making eggs, to coat the outside of a grilled-cheese sandwich or to prepare fish with.

Cilantro-Lime Butter

Makes about 4 tablespoons

  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, cilantro, both salts and lime juice. Mix until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

2. To form into butter rounds: Lay out a small piece of plastic wrap on a work surface. Place the butter mixture in the middle and fold the edges of the plastic wrap over each other to form a cylinder. Gently roll the butter back and forth, like you would a rolling pin, to smooth and lengthen the log of butter. Once your butter has reached the desired size and is uniform in thickness, twist the ends of the plastic wrap closed. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm.

3. Once firm, remove butter from the plastic wrap and slice into thin rounds.

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Special Delivery

Most of our friends are in baby mode this year. They’ve either just had a baby, are currently expecting or are hoping to be soon. Because of this, I’ve thrown my fair share of showers and have purchased more onesies than I ever imagined I would. Recently, I came up with a special gift for the busy mom and dad to enjoy now, and the baby to (hopefully) appreciate one day down the road.

When I get word that parents-to-be are rushing to the hospital or have given their midwife a call, I head right to the newsstand. There I make sure to pick up a copy of that day’s New York Times and a few other periodicals. A recent collection I put together also contained that week’s edition of the Village Voice and the current issues of The New Yorker, Time, New York and People.

Special Delivery by somethingwewhippedup.com

Special Delivery by somethingwewhippedup.com

I put everything together in a decorative box and hand it off to the parents long after the excitement and craze of the birth has calmed down a bit (usually when the baby is 5 to 6 months old). My hope is that the baby will one day enjoy this memento as a small peek into what the world was like the day and week he or she came into this world.

To make the box below, I covered the outside of a decorative book-shaped box (purchased at T.J. Maxx) with a very light coating of spray paint. I then used Mod Podge to affix and seal pictures and passages from old Beatrix Potter books to it. The baby’s name was partially inspired by the classic author, so it seemed it would be fitting to incorporate that information into the gift. The box had plenty of extra room inside, so I suggested the baby’s parents use it as a place to store the cards they received just after their new daughter was born. Hopefully, this keepsake will be tucked away on a shelf somewhere and given to Baby B when she is old enough to enjoy its contents.

SWWU Tip: You should customize your box and newsstand selections to the family you’re purchasing them for. Other great additions might include hometown newspapers, church bulletins or other magazines.

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Pretty Neat (and Easy): DIY Paper Flowers

I’ve always admired the paper flowers that I’ve seen around the internet, but I’ve never tried to make my own until recently. I have to admit, I started this project with a severe lack of supplies. Sure, I had different types of paper, scissors, and all of the craft supplies you would want for such a task, but I did not have my computer by my side to look up similar projects for inspiration. Instead, I tried a few different techniques until I found one that worked. I’m very happy with the results you see below and was impressed at how quickly the flower took shape and came together.

DIY Paper Flowers by somethingwewhippedup.com

DIY Paper Flowers by somethingwewhippedup.com

So far, I’ve only used one flower to top a gift, but I could see a group of them being used to decorate a tabletop, or a few tucked into the corners of a bookcase to add a little pop of color. They’ll always be in season, so I’m sure many more paper flowers will be blooming around here soon.

DIY Paper Flowers

  • squeeze punch (like this one by Fiskars)
  • heavy stock colored paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • decorative button

1. Use a squeeze punch to cut round disks from the colored paper. I used about 15 circles for the flower pictured above.

2. Use scissors to cut a slit into all but one disk of paper from the outside edge to the center (see photo in slideshow below).

3. Hold a disk in your hand and use your fingers to wrap it into a cone shape. Secure the edges with a dot of glue and let dry (see photo in slideshow below). Do this with all of the disks.

4. Glue one cone to the base of another cone, allowing them to overlap just slightly (see photo in slideshow below). Secure with a dot of glue and add more cones, one-by-one, to your flower, building out as you go.

5. Once your flower has reached your desired size, glue the one uncut disk that was set aside to the back so you have a smooth bottom.

6. Glue a decorative button into the center of the flower and let dry. Use as desired.

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SWWU Tip 1: Curious to know what’s inside the box above? It’s a personalized wood block created to commemorate a baptism. Check it and other great gift ideas out at the ekm43 shop on Etsy.

SWWU Tip 2: Looking for an easier way to adorn the gifts you give? Check out this cascading ribbon bow.

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