Winter Wonderland provided crafting opportunity for OHIO students

College girls flock to anywhere that there’s a craft project.

If an event has a craft incorporated, there’s a pretty good chance that it will be a hit.

University Program Council’s Winter Wonderland event was no different.

Winter Wonderland, held on Thursday, December 4, was an event inspired by Disney’s Frozen. The walls of Baker ballroom were decked out with blue and purple snowflake-shaped light projections while the screens on the two farthest walls played the movie for the participants. Olaf was also attending the event and posing for photos in the honors collegium with a festive Frozen background.

The event featured some winter-themed treats such as sugar cookies and hot chocolate, as well as popcorn, and there were many craft projects to work on while the movie was playing. Upon entering the event, guests could choose a snack and then either sit on the side of the ballroom that was low-lit and set up to resemble a movie theater, or they could choose the more brightly-lit side filled with circular tables to join in on the crafts that were available. The event was definitely designed to cater to the people who really just came for the movie in addition to the people who were hoping to make the event into a social gathering.

“We like our events to be active instead of being passive, so we were looking for ways to incorporate activity into our event. We didn’t want people just watching the movie if they wanted something to do with their hands or to interact with the event, so crafting is a good way to do that.”

— Alex Molnar, University Program Council president

Participants could choose to decorate:

  • gingerbread houses & cookies,
  • coasters,
  • mugs,
  • or glass ornaments

There were also many options to choose from when it came to those crafts.

The supplies table was filled with:

  • gingerbread decorating kits
  • sharpie markers
  • fake snow
  • glitter
  • paint
  • ribbon
  • etc.

 

 

So what is University Program Council?

The organization’s website says this:

“Known as “UPC,” the University Program Council is a volunteer organization of students who work to bring innovative programs to Ohio University and the surrounding community. University Program Council’s primary goal is to provide fun, exciting, engaging, and entertaining programs and events for all members of the OHIO community.”

And why would they choose to host this type of even at Ohio University?

“The inspiration for this event was Disney, winter, holidays and bringing people of all ages together. I wanted to have crafts to give people something to do while they were watching the movie so this event would bring in more people with different interests. For example, if you don’t like Frozen the movie, you can still come and do crafts and eat food and enjoy it.”

— Devin Rhodes, UPC Creative Events Executive

What makes crafty events so popular with college students?

  1. It becomes a social gathering. There’s something therapeutic about sitting and talking with friends while creating something with your hands. Talk about the perfect almost-finals-week stress reliever!
  2. Crafting has a purpose. When the event is over, there is a physical item to take home that can be displayed proudly in a dorm or apartment. Free decor? Most people are all about that!
  3. There’s free stuff, duh! Even if points 1 and 2 were irrelevant, crafty events still provide an outlet for creativity, and the supplies are free. Plus there’s usually free food, which is enough of a reason to leave the house.

Will there be more craft-based UPC events next semester?

“There’s always a possibility. We haven’t finalized our final list of activities or events for next semester, but what we’re looking to do is make sure that we can appease the most people, and if we can do that with crafting, then that will be incorporated,” Molnar said.

To find other events that may satisfy your creativity, check out the OHIO Calendar of University Events (CUE). If you know of something that’s happening and it isn’t on the CUE, add it yourself using the “add event” button to spread the word to other students searching for interesting events.

Below are some pictures from UPC’s Winter Wonderland event:

NYE on a Budget

So, your apartment is already decorated for Christmas, and you’ve been enjoying the holiday treats and nonstop Santa movies, but now it’s time to start thinking about what happens after the tree comes down.

Is there a New Year’s Eve party on your agenda?

Would you like to host one, but you don’t think you’ve got the dough?

Check out these tips for cheap NYE party ideas:

Simple, Elegant Decor

gold tacks

Gold tacks on black foam board makes for a fabulous decorative party element. Spelling out “NYE” would be the easiest, most relevant choice for this project.


 

resolutions
Source: Wayfair.com

 

Large rolls of Kraft paper would be perfect for this project. Roll some out and attach it to the wall, then allow your guests to share what they hope to accomplish in the upcoming year. This is just one more way to get your guests talking and interacting with each other.


 

balloons

 

This idea, from the Wedding Chicks, was originally used for a wedding, but it can easily be adapted for a NYE party. Featuring photos of your guests or world events from the past year will definitely make for great conversation.


 

 

Cheap, Delicious Bubbly

  • Everybody knows that the best drink for a NYE party is champagne. Check out this article to find the best cheap champagne according to International Business Times.
  • If your party is going to be a little more PG, or if you just don’t like champagne, these cotton candy sparkly drinks are ultra festive and easy on our wallet.

Easy, Entertaining Activities

  • To keep the party alive, create a list of activities and wrap them up in festive packaging. Open one activity box each hour so your guests are always being approached with new entertainment ideas.

Activity Ideas Include:

  1. Board Games
  2. DVDs
  3. Charades
  4. Minute to Win It games
  5. Photobooth Props
  • Although the midnight kiss is the most common activity when the clock strikes 12, your guests will want to celebrate as soon as that’s over. Provide noise makers, sparklers or confetti to make the moment as festive as possible.

All in all, planning a party for any occasion can get really expensive really quickly. Just budget yourself and stick to cheap simple ideas like the ones I’ve shown here, and you’ll do fine. Your guests are coming for the company, anyway. As long as you’ve got something festive around the house, your efforts will be appreciated.

Do you have any other ideas for cheap ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Tell me about them. I love comments.

 

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Command Hooks: A Renter’s Best Friend

***Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I just happen to love Command products and I wanted to share these ideas with my readers. All opinions stated here are my own unless otherwise denoted.

So many things are off-limits to a renter. In my last post, I talked about how to combat a lease that doesn’t allow paint. But what about one that doesn’t allow nails for hanging decorative items on your walls?

Here is the perfect solution: Command Hooks & Strips

Those versatile little inventions are perfect for renters that like to decorate but don’t like to pay for damages later.

I like Command strips because they’re really strong, and they don’t get me in trouble with my landlord.

–Sara Bechtel, 21

The products are so easy to use as well. There are no special tools or products needed. Simply buy the Command products and follow these instructions.

To Apply:

  1. Peel the red printed liner off.
  2. Apply the strip to the back of the hook.
  3. Peel off black printed liner.
  4. Press hook against the wall.
  5. Hold firmly for 3 seconds.

To Remove:

  1. Grasp the hook.
  2. Pull to stretch the Command strip straight down.

Here is a video to show the process.

Command Hooks are perfect for hanging:

  • photo frames
  • shelving
  • curtains
  • over-the-door items
  • kitchen utensils

& so much more!

Command Strip/Hook Inspiration:

Make a Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall

Rachael from House of Noise used Command picture hanging strips to hang her gallery wall with much less effort (and no holes) compared to the traditional hammer and nail method.


 

Make Light Designs

christmas tree

Jamie Dorobek from C.R.A.F.T. used Command outdoor light strips to create this Christmas tree design on her garage door. To try this yourself, check out the tutorial on her blog.


 

 

Keep electrical cords from interfering with decor

cords

Cassie from Hi, Sugarplum uses clear hooks from Command to attach her lamp cords to her end tables to keep the mess off of the floor and let her decor be the center of attention.


 

There are too many brilliant ways that people have come up with to use these products. I don’t have enough time or space to show you them all, but I found my inspiration on Pinterest, and I encourage you too look there as well.

If you follow the link to this infographic that I created, you will find extra information about Command products. The interactive graphic contains each type of Command Hook and Strip, its purpose, and its weight limit. Just click on the type of hook you think you will need, and the bar graph at the bottom will automatically be sorted to show you the weight limit of each product listed.

Use the info graphic as a planner for which products you will need to complete your next project. If it’s helpful to you, don’t forget to leave a comment here to let me know!

Although Command products are versatile and don’t cause damage to surfaces, there is one major flaw most people seem to agree on.

“I think Command products are great for hanging my photos. I love that they don’t cause any damage to my walls, but sometimes I choose not to use them. It gets a little pricey if I try to buy them for all of my pictures.”

— Diana Cross, 49

The cost efficiency of Command brand products can definitely be somewhat questionable. Other brands have similar products, and I imagine they would work in the same ways. However, because I haven’t tried them, I can’t say for certain that they are damage-free. Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on brands that may rival Command’s products!

Would you like to share any creative ways you’ve use Command strips or hooks? I’m excited for new ideas.

Thanks for reading!

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Wall Treatments Brighten Drab White Walls

One major problem that’s faced by renters is the inability to paint apartment walls. There is a “no painting” clause in many lease agreements, and it leaves apartments lacking character.

Being a new renter myself, I have learned to deal with the boring plain white walls that I’ve come to accept as part of renting an apartment.

Recently, however, I ran across many different options for adding a little pizazz to white walls, and I’d like to share my findings with you.

Different methods of covering walls use decals, removable wallpaper or fabric.

Decals

The easiest and most common way of adding temporary decoration to a wall is by using decals. The decals are typically made of vinyl that clings to the wall while remaining repositionable and removable without causing damage. There are many places to find wall decals, but to spark inspiration, Babble put together this list of 25 Stunning Wall Decals From Etsy.


 

Removable Wallpaper

This option is perfect for covering large areas without much effort. There’s no messy wallpaper glue to deal with, and if you decide you don’t like it, there’s no bothersome removal process.

Why does anybody use actual wallpaper anyway?

Tempaper is a temporary wallpaper retailer has many different removable wallpaper designs.

The method to using this product is simple:

  1. Measure the height and width of walls
  2. Pre-Cut wallpaper panels
  3. Align each panel’s design with subsequent panels
  4. Peel away 3-4 feet of backing at one time
  5. Use a squeegee to remove air pockets
  6. Trim with a razor around molding, vents, and outlets.

The removal process is even simpler: Pull firmly from one corner until the wallpaper has been removed.


 

Fabric

Covering walls with fabric is such a great option because of the wide varieties of patterns that are available in material. The only secret to this method is using starch to get the fabric to stick to the wall. This article about  How To Wallpaper Using Fabric explains the method in detail, but basically, you mix up the paste using this recipe:

  • Boil 4 Cups Water
  • Mix 3/8 Cup corn starch with small amount of water until dissolved
  • Add cornstarch mixture to boiling water
  • Boil until thickened
  • Allow to cool

Then, brush the entire area you’d like to cover and adhere the fabric.

Sounds easy enough, right?


 

Other methods for wall treatment include using decorative tape or wrapping paper to jazz up white walls.

Do you have any other ideas for adding color without using paint?

I’m excited to give some of these a try.

 

Until next time,

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Organization Centers

An organized home is a happy home.

Everyone has their own method for organization, but there has to be a system in order to keep track of important documents, phone numbers and bills. Designating an area of your home to be an organization center is one good way to make sure major dates are not overlooked.

Components of effective organization centers:

  • Cork board — for business cards, post-it notes and invitations
  • Mail bin — to keep track of bills that need paid or letters that need sent
  • Calendar — for remembering important dates such as birthdays and weddings
  • Dry erase board — to leave notes for other family members and/or roommates

Good locations for an organization center include:

Each person’s organization hub will meet different needs, but a perfectly tailored command center is one of the best gifts you can give yourself if you find that you often forget important details of every day living.

Use these examples as inspiration, and feel free to mix and match ideas to make it the most effective for you.

There’s only one rule for a command center: pick a spot that’s seen often to make the most of your reminders.

Do you have any advice to make the perfect command center?

Please share your wisdom with me.

 

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OHIO U’s Getting Crafty!

Often times, DIY can be a very solitary activity. Unless a project is somewhat difficult or especially fun, crafters tend to do much of their work alone.

Crafting can also be a very social activity, however. Ohio University and the Athens area has slowly been building up activities for crafty people to get together and share their creativity.

Some organized DIY groups include:

Pin It Club

New to Ohio University is the student organization called Pin It Club. Although the club is relatively small at the present time, they hope to gain momentum and become a full-fledged student organization soon. For DIY-ers interested in Pinteresting with a new group of people, the next meeting will be Nov. 18 at 7:30 pm. Find the club’s contact information here to get more details about meeting times and locations.

CIC’s How-To Events

The Campus Involvement Center (CIC) of Ohio University has a relatively new event titled How To. Every Tuesday of the semester from 7-8 pm, participants are taught how to do something new. Past events included Mason Jar Soups and Soap Making. What’s on the agenda isn’t always DIY-related, but the CIC offers a diverse selection of seminars. Take a look at the calendar of events here.

JoAnn Craftsy classes

These events are unaffiliated with Ohio University, but they are available to the entire Athens community. JoAnn Fabrics on East State Street offers Craftsy classes for the DIY lover. The classes are not free, but the expertise of the instructors makes it well worth the money. Skills demonstrated in the classes range from painting, sewing and jewelry making to cake decorating and more. Take a look at the schedule of classes here to find something that suits you.

Marti & Stewie Craft Night

The title is a play on the name of the ultimate homemaker, Martha Stewart. Marti & Stewie craft nights have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Each Thursday night from 9 pm – 12 am, the FREE craft night is held in the West 82 Food Court seating area. Crafters are welcome to come and go at their leisure during those hours. All that is asked of participants is that the last group shows up to begin their crafts before 11pm to ensure that they have time to finish. The craft is different every week, and Marti & Stewie provides crafters with all supplies necessary to complete each project. The craft is also announced on Facebook before the start time of craft night each week so crafters can plan accordingly.

A typical Marti & Stewie craft night follows this order:
  1. Crafters arrive
  2. Sign in
  3. Gather supplies
  4. Speak with coordinators about how to complete the craft
  5. Sit down to socialize with friends while working on art

The craft for this week was needle-felting. Check out this tutorial for making a needle-felted penguin to see what it’s all about.

In the video below, Sarah Scarberry explains the craft for Week 11 and highlights some of her favorite Marti & Stewie crafts from the past.

There’s nothing wrong with continuing to craft in solitude. If you’re new to the DIY scene, here’s a quick guide to finding craft supplies in Athens where stores are relatively limited.

Where to find supplies:

JoAnn Fabrics

This is where you’ll find the most specific craft supplies, as well as the largest selection. Because this store is dedicated entirely to crafts rather than having a crafts department, it’s usually a life saver when you need something uncommon to finish a project.

Walmart

Although Walmart isn’t specifically a craft store, the DIY and craft sections there are extensive enough to find many things one would need to complete a project. In a pinch, Walmart is especially helpful because it is open 24 hours.

Cross Court

This hidden gem lies on Court Street. The selection at Cross Court is focused mostly on paper crafts and scrapbooking. In the past, Cross Court has had a Cricut die cutting machine for public use, which also cuts down on the need to own fancy equipment to be an avid crafter.

 Lowe’s

If you dabble in wood crafts, having a Lowe’s is incredibly helpful. This is the best place to go if you’re looking for paint, stain, hardware and wood. The staff at Lowe’s is also helpful and knowledgable, so being a little unsure of what you need isn’t detrimental to your project. They even make it simple to do wood crafts without having expensive power tools. When you buy boards at Lowe’s, they’ll cut it to the size you need so that you’re ready to begin your project when you leave the store.

 

Do you know any other advice for crafters in the Athens area?

Please share it with us.

 

Until next time,

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Decking the Halls: Decorating for the Christmas Season

It’s that time of year again! Halloween is only a week away. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and Christmas decorations have taken over the stores. The holiday season is officially upon us.

With all of the options for Christmas decorations these days, choosing a theme for your home can be overwhelming. I’m here to offer some design inspiration to make your tree-trimming and hall-decking a little simpler.

Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree

The main focal point of any Christmas decor is the tree, but the age-old debate when it comes to the traditional holiday staple is authentic vs artificial.

“This is my first year in my own place, and I’m excited to be buying my first Christmas tree. Right now, the one I’m leaning towards is 7 feet tall, pre-lit, and has fake snow on it.”

— Roger Taylor, 22

Which kind is really better? Let’s ask the pros.

The smell of a fresh-cut Christmas tree is a great way to celebrate the season of giving. Real Christmas trees don’t just offer the sought-after pine scent that so many people love, though. Cutting the tree can become a cherished holiday tradition as well.

Home Depot has some helpful tips for finding and caring for the perfect live tree in your home this Christmas.

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of bringing nature into your living room, artificial trees are perfectly acceptable alternatives.

The upsides of owning an artificial tree:

  • no messy sap or pine needles to clean
  • pre-lit or flocked (fake snow) options
  • no need to dispose after the holiday season

Some cons to consider:

  • no real pine scent
  • must find storage for tree after Christmas
  • hassle of replacing pre-lit bulbs after they burn out

If you still need some help making a decision, Hayneedle has composed this Artificial Christmas Tree Buying Guide.

Creating Your Christmas Color Scheme

Christmas colors are no longer limited to red and green, which means that the possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to choosing a theme for your holiday decorations.

Blue, pink, purple, orange, brown. You name it, and they make christmas bulbs to match it. Settle on just a few colors, or go for them all to make a super-festive holiday decor scheme this season.

“I use a different color scheme on my Christmas tree every year because I don’t like it to always look the same.  Last year I went with blue and silver decorations, but I’m thinking of just using gold bulbs with clear lights this year.”

— Pam Bills, 69

Get inspired by this list of Christmas color schemes from Better Homes and Gardens.

Creative Gift-Wrapping Ideas

When done right, Christmas gifts themselves can serve as an added touch to your holiday decor. There are tons of ways to make your gifts so much more than a haphazard pile of boxes under the tree. Really play up key aspects of your theme by incorporating your color scheme and adding personal touches to your gift wrap.

With these great gift wrap ideas, your presents will look so nice you may be sad about giving them away!

Simple ways to jazz up your packages:

  • tie inexpensive ornaments to bows
  • use monograms to identify gift recipients
  • create photo gift tags
  • layer different widths of ribbon for a 3D effect

Don’t stop there, though! Use anything you have on hand to make your holiday gift wrap extra special.

With so many options available for Christmas decorations, there’s bound to be a theme that fits your life and budget perfectly.

How do you plan to decorate for the holidays?

I hope you’ll share some of your ideas with me.

 

Until next time,

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