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.




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.




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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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.


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.


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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Closet Organization Part 2: Totes

Closets can simultaneously be the most used and most neglected spaces within a home.

They’re perfect hiding spots to hold things you don’t have a place for, yet they tend to be so unorganized that you never find those things again once you put them in there.

The Challenge: Tackle your closets by organizing your belongings into storage bins according to category.

It might take your closet from something like this:

Hall Closet-1

To something like this:

Hall Closet-21  Hall Closet-17

It takes some time and thought to get it started, but the end result is definitely worth it.

Now, where do you begin?

The stars of this show are storage bins, and there are two ways to go about the process of converting your closet storage to totes:

  • Beg for, borrow, or buy multiple sizes of totes beforehand, and then sort your items to fit what you have.


  • Sort your items ahead of time, and then find tote sizes that correspond to the amount of each type of thing that you own.

**I took the first approach, but I would recommend the latter. It would have been much easier to know what I was working with before I spent an hour searching through totes. It’s obviously possible the other way; it just takes more brain power. The bins I used can be found here.

5 Steps to creating an organized closet space:

  1. Empty boxes of miscellaneous content.
  2. Make piles for each category of items.
  3. Designate a storage bin for individual categories.
  4. Place objects into the designated bin in an organized manner.
  5. Stack totes logically, with like things together and smallest bins on top.

You may find that you don’t have enough objects in a certain category to fill a tote. In that case, try to combine similar categories. Just make sure you don’t go too broad.

Example Categories:

  • Shoes
  • Portfolio work/Keepsakes
  • Hobby Supplies
    • art
    • sewing
    • baking
    • scrapbooking
  • Board games
  • Backpacks, duffel bags & purses


BONUS TIPS for making the most of your new space:

Once you’ve taken the time to organize it all, you can revel in the fact that you know exactly where to find what you’re searching for. That, my friends, is no small victory.

Questions, comments, concerns?

You know what to do.

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Found Object Restoration: From Trash To Treasure

Do you ever look at something and say, “That would look so great in my house, if only it was…a different color, covered in better fabric, etc.”?

Luckily, it’s usually pretty simple to take something that’s unattractive and turn it into the ideal accessory for your home. Often, it costs less than going out to buy a new one that matches perfectly to begin with. All it takes is a little time, a little research, and a little elbow grease.

Giving new life to old objects can be done in so many ways.

Just a few options include:

  • Upholstering chairs with new fabric
  • Painting metal objects
  • Sanding and refinishing wooden pieces
  • Turning old curtains into new pillows
  • Making a bookshelf out of a broken dresser

As always, Pinterest is one of the most valuable resources a person can use when it comes to anything DIY-related. Type the word “repurposed” into the search bar to get some brilliant inspiration.

If you want to try one of those ideas and don’t have any project subjects at home, don’t fret. Garage sales are great spots to pick up some outdated accessories and really make them work for you.

Thrift stores like Goodwill are also a gold mine of objects just waiting to be repurposed. You may not find anything you like the first time, but don’t give up. Thrift store stock is constantly changing, so your next trip may provide you with exactly what you’ve been looking for. You can begin your search by finding your local Goodwill store here.

Etsy shop owner Sheila Parks recently reupholstered a chair she found. The photo on the left is a picture of the chair when she picked it up. To some, it may have looked unsalvageable, but she knew all it needed was a little TLC. The photo on the right is the same chair after she was finished.

     CIMG5093  CIMG5110
Check out more of Sheila’s work on Etsy.

“I like using found objects to decorate my home because it’s cheaper than going out and buying things brand new. Older furniture is often sturdier, and this way, I get to choose the style of fabric that I want. I like not being limited by the selection at the furniture store,” she said.

You don’t have to have to be a seasoned crafter to repurpose old items. A lot can be done with a simple can of spray paint. This is where the research comes in, though. The trick to getting a perfectly-done final product is making sure you used the appropriate materials. To narrow your search, DIY network released a guide that covers which kind of paint to use on almost any surface you may need to spruce up in your home.

New homeowner Jerra Cottrill decided to make old lamps work for her by putting a new coat of paint on them. The photo on the left is how the lamps looked when they were given to her. The one on the right is the end product.

before  after

With new shades, nobody would ever know those lamps are over 40 years old! And, really, who has money to go buy the perfect lamp at Pier One when you could make a similar one yourself and pay less than a quarter of the price?

The next time you’re in search of a new home accessory, think about the option of creating it yourself first. Stop skipping those yard sales. Make special trips to thrift stores. Ask friends and relatives if they have anything similar lying around. Take advantage of the buy/sell Facebook groups.

Doing it yourself will not only make sure it’s done to match your specific taste, it will also give you a greater sense of pride each time someone tells you how perfectly it complements the rest of your decor.

What kinds of objects are sitting around your house just waiting to be given new life?

Tell me about them. I’m dying to know.

Until next time,

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Wire Shelving Creates Alternative For Cabinet Space

Remember when I mentioned using wire shelves to create extra storage space in this post?

Well, today, I’m going to show you how to do it. I went out tonight and finally bought that shelving unit I’ve had my eye on. I put it together, then used it to worked wonders with my utility closet by piling it high with the junk that was taking up my entire floor.

PicMonkey Collage

If you can’t go out, go up. Right?

I think that’s how that saying goes.



This is the shelving unit that I bought. Notice how it says “No Tool Assembly,” which is perfect for girls like me that don’t own them anyway!


This particular unit has four shelves. There were others with three and five adjustable shelves, so there’s one to fit almost any space.


I was so thankful for the quick and easy set up.


Don’t fear. This can definitely be a one-person job if you’re unable to coax anyone into re-arranging your closets with you. And let’s face it, not many people are going to want to help with that.



I’m almost too embarrassed to show it, but here’s the mess that was my utility closet before…


Terrifying, isn’t it?



But there’s good news.

Here’s what it looks like now:



That’s about as neat, clean and organized as I can imagine a pile of pots and pans to be.

But you don’t have to use this idea for kitchen gadgets. Personalize it and make it work for you.

Other things you can store on your shelves include:

  • cleaning supplies
  • hobby accessories
  • shoes
  • extra linens
  • tools


You could even make this into an organizational area for all types of things. Just gather up some totes, label them, and make it a functional catch-all area.

The possibilities are endless.

What do you have laying around taking up floor space?
Would it fit on shelves like these?

Give it a shot.

And, as always, let me know what you come up with.

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