DIY Tomato Cage Christmas Tree


DIY Tomato Cage Christmas Tree for your front porch - from the Cup of Tea blog

Ta da! A seasonal DIY!

This doesn’t happen very often, folks.

I was flipping through a magazine (don’t remember which one!) and stumbled across a really neat idea for transforming a boring wire tomato cage into a cute tree to hang your Christmas cards from. It was embelished with pom pom trim, ribbon, and fairy lights.

Ye ol’ wheels started turning, and I thought why not wire on some greenery from the yard and make a tree to “plant” in my front door urn! Genius!

Turns out, after a quick Pinterest search, I wasn’t so genius.

It’s been done.

But still, I attempted it, and you know what? It wasn’t that bad! It was easy, in fact!

Let me show you how it’s done.

First, you’ll need to gather greenery. Lots of it! And a variety of stuff. But just wander around your yard (or your neighbor’s) and snip away! I grabbed basic pine, boxwood, holly (some with and without berries), and a few other green bushes that I can’t identify.

It helps if you have a great helper!

Collecting greenery for our DIY Christmas Tree

Stick it in some buckets as you go.  And gather the rest of your supplies.

You’ll need:

What You'll Need for your own DIY Christmas Tree

Buckets of greenery, but especially pine branches of varying thickness and width. Snip some that are long and a single branch, and then others that have several smaller branches on one main branch. Pine will provide a base for all your other greenery to lay on. I needed about 25-30 pine branches of varying sizes.

Wire cutters

Garden Pruning Shears

Wire Tomato Cage, 42″ diameter

Floral Wire

Christmas/Fairy lights (if needed)

Any other embellishments, like ribbon

A container to put it in, whether it’s an urn, a basket, or even a terracotta dish!

The only thing I bought for this project was the tomato cage (cages, actually. I made one for the front porch and one for the back deck). I found floral wire in my craft bin, as well as those mini wire cutters. But the heavier duty wire cutters were found in my husband’s tool box.

To get started, I cut the bottom, largest ring off the tomato cage, so it wouldn’t be too tall. I was concerned about wind knocking it over. You don’t have to do this if the height works for your space.

Step One: Cut the lowest level off the tomato cage for your DIY Christmas Tree

One tomato cage was thicker than the other. I worked at cutting that thicker wire cage for about 20 minutes.

Next up, bend the three legs of the tomato cage (which will be our top!) and wire the legs together with your floral wire. You’ll now have a tree/cone shape, ready for greenerizing!

Join the legs of the tomato cage together to form the cone for your DIY Christmas Tree

And then, “plant” your tomato cage in whatever container you’ll be using for display. I used a footed urn for one and a terracotta dish for the other. This way you can see how it looks in that finished location, as you go.

Next up, begin layering your large pine sections by laying a branch on one of the three legs, with the cut branch at the top of the cone. Wrap wire around the branch to hold it in place. Then keep wrapping wire around the rest of the pine branch (loosely!). As you wrap, add another pine branch, tucking the cut branch part under the above branch. And keep wrapping! Basically, do one continuous wrap until you have enough pine branches to touch the bottom of your cage.

Honestly, this was the hardest part, and my second one had better technique that the first. I found that attacking each leg separately, with that continuous wrapping, was the best method.

Wrap floral wire around your pine branches to create a base for your DIY Christmas Tree

If you’ve ever made your own pine wreath before, it’s like that! Except vertical.

Continue on with the other two legs!

Finished wrapping for my DIY Christmas Tree

You’ll see some gaps between the pine “legs” now, so wire on some more pine to the hoop parts to cover those sections in.

And finally, just start jabbing in to the pine and twisted wire your other greenery snips. You can go for a uniformed look, or a more natural “wild” look.

And for the top, you might want to consider some branches, with or without leaves. Or wire on a Christmas ornament!

You can also finish off your DIY tree with some lights. Don’t forget to tuck in extra greenery around the base to close any gaps between your tree and the container.

Here it is!


A DIY Christmas Tree using a wire tomato cage

A DIY Christmas Tree using a wire tomato cage

A DIY Christmas Tree using a wire tomato cage

I was on such a roll that I did that second tree really fast! This one sits on our back deck.

A DIY Christmas Tree using a wire tomato cage

I had some greenery left over, so I thought, since I was in crafting mode, I should make a door swag for our deck door!

A simple door swag with pine for Christmas

I’ve never been so handy with pine before! I took one wreath making class, many years ago, and that was my one and only time making something like this. Don’t know what got into me this year!

This project looks complicated, but it’s actually really simple! Collecting the greenery and then getting that first layer of pine is the hardest part, but truely isn’t that hard.

While searching for others that were also geniuses with their tomato cages (even though I was sure I was the only one!), I came across a video from P. Allen Smith, explaining the process with his delightful Arkansas accent! There’s also a blog post with written instructions, if mine weren’t sufficient. I’m sure they were not!

Are you doing any DIYs this year for Christmas? Maybe gifts? Any fun decor ideas? Let me know!!

Don’t forget to follow me: Instagram | YouTube | TwitterFacebook | Google+ | BlogLovin’ | Pinterest

Elizabeth’s First Birthday!!

Elizabeth's 12 Month Picture from Cup of Tea

Mercy. I have a One year old.

You have been hearing all about the party planning and prep for several weeks now! So I thought I would share some pictures of the day itself, and some of the decorating touches.

One of the tricky parts of being in serious party planning mode is that you may forget to take pictures yourself. So I had to rely on a few Grandpa “shaky hand” pictures 🙂

But you’ll get the idea!!

Since we had all the family in town for Elizabeth’s birthday, we decided we would also have Elizabeth’s dedication at our church that same day. It was such a beautiful time, celebrating Elizabeth and dedicating her to God, as well as my husband and I, as her parents, who are charged with guiding her. So sweet.

Elizabeth did enjoy the Children’s Story, and peeking over at Grandpa!

Elizabeth at Church from Cup of Tea

On to the party that afternoon! The birthday girl actually slept through 1 whole hour of her party! I had to wake her up to do the cake 🙂

But once she was up and about, she loved cruising from room to room in our house, chatting with the guests.Chatting with the Birthday Girl from Cup of Tea

We had quite the housefull!! We had over 40 people there, with 15 kids under 3! Crazy! But we all had such a blast!!Lots of friends for the birthday!

Thank goodness for our finished playroom in the front of the house. It was constantly full of kids AND adults.Play Time from Cup of TeaPlay Time! From Cup of Tea

Elizabeth’s face when everyone started singing Happy Birthday was priceless! She looked so pleased! She started clapping, too. But she was a dainty cake eater (thank goodness!). She took little bites, and only managed to eat a quarter of cake.

Cake Time! From Cup of Tea

On Sunday morning, we went back to the playroom to open gifts!!

Presents Time in the playroom!

It was such a fun time with family and friends! Elizabeth is so loved, and it was such a blast having everyone together to shower her with love!

Since our theme was basically “Autumn”, I got to take advantage of my typical Fall decorations, and then kick it up a tiny notch. Here’s what I did!

For the front porch, I bought tons of mums! I thought one bright yellow mum at the corner, by the driveway, would be cheerful and a nice greeting. I tucked some raffia inside the pot to dress it up a little.

Mums touches from Cup of Tea

I loved the way the front porch came together!

Front porch decoration from Cup of Tea

On the front porch steps, I stacked various sizes of pumpkins and mums on the stairs. I decided again to tuck in raffia to tie it all together.

Gourds and Raffia from Cup of Tea

My urn planter still has some summer flowers in it. I didn’t want to replant it, so I decided that mini pumpkins and raffia would make it look on theme.

Refresh an urn from Cup of Tea

I jazzed up my usual raffia wreath with a simple chalkboard hung from it. I picked up the chalk board in the dollar section at Target.Raffia Wreath with a Twist from Cup of Tea

Moving inside, besides the typical decorations of faux pumpkins in cabinets and wreaths on doors, I did a few other touches.

In the playroom, we hung up some burlap twine and hung some pictures from Elizabeth’s first year.

Picture wire from Cup of Tea

We also did something similar near the food table. I printed off Elizabeth’s monthly pictures and just simply taped them up on the wall with some glittery gold washi tape.

Monthy pictures from Cup of Tea

The color is poor, BUT my mom borrowed a felt flower garland from a friend of hers. In fact, the garland got used at my sister’s wedding as well. It’s made the rounds at our family events 🙂 This bay window is our eat in kitchen area, behind our kitchen table, where we had all the food staged. It helped dress up the area.

Felt Garland from Cup of Tea

I forgot to snap a picture of the table fully set, but you get an idea of what we did! I found a brown plaid blanket at Ikea on my August trip. We casually placed it on the table, and used some boxes underneath to raise up a few platters.

Planning the food table at the Cup of Tea blog

On the mantle, I added in a faux door swag inside my large lantern. For height (it’s a HUGE built in TV nook over our fireplace, but we don’t have a TV!) I wanted an arrangement in my hurricane urn. My mom literally just walked out to my front yard, snipped some branches, and came in and arranged it. I think it looks amazing!

Fall Mantle from the Cup of Tea

I wish I had some more pictures to share! I kicked myself after it was all said and done that I didn’t take pictures myself.

There may be better pictures floating out there that family and friends took, but I hated to wait!! If there are real gems, I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Don’t forget to follow me: Instagram | YouTube | TwitterFacebook | Google+ | BlogLovin’ | Pinterest

My Favorite Blogs (That I Hope Become Your Favs!)

My Favorite Blogs at Cup of Tea

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve had the best time getting to know other bloggers! It’s just such a hoot swapping stories, getting inspiration, and sharing ideas.

I was featured by Tif over at Bright on a Budget for Tour Around Blogland. Basically, it’s a chance to share some of my favorite bloggers! (Others have also talked about their blog process, but I’m shaking things up!)

I’ve been an avid blog reader for several years now (I actually prefer reading blogs over reading magazines!) and I love being a part of the community, even though I am on a relatively small scale. And when it’s nap time, and a rainy day (like it is today), one of my favorite things is curling up with the lap top and cruising Blog Lovin’ and do a little reading.

So here are a few of my favorite bloggers at the moment!

Bright on a Budget | If you love fashion and beauty, but aren’t willing to break the bank for it, then Tif at Bright on a Budget is your girl! I am always SHOCKED at the amazing deals she scores. My favorite posts are her Wardrobe Re-Wear features, like this one. So clever, that one! She is a serious bargain shopper, but love her every day life posts as well. We will be hosting a giveaway together soon, so stay tuned!

Come Home for Comfort | Whitney at Come Home for Comfort features amazing recipes, clever organizational tips (like this!), and all around good cheer. Every time I read a post of hers, it feels like I should be curled up on her couch, under a cozy blanket, sipping some tea and just chatting. And she’s from the MidWest, so bonus! 🙂

In Residence | I don’t remember exactly when I stumbled on Anne’s blog, but I loved it the moment I did! First, she’s married to a resident, so we have those fun years of supporting our doctor husbands during their medical training. Second, our kiddos are only a few weeks apart!  Third, and most importantly, her content is so awesome! I especially love her style posts, but her recipes always look delicious. Plus, she always recommends some good reads (in the book form, not blog form).

But First, Coffee | So if you like beauty reviews and makeup tutorials, style, and recipes all with a touch of sarcasm, Kallie is your girl! She was also the host of that fun Mug Swap I mentioned a few weeks back. But, seriously, I love her writing style. I have had tea coming close to shooting out of my nose on several occasions, which is something you don’t expect from reading a mascara review post. While I love reading her posts, her 60 second review videos (like this one) are pretty stellar! Plus, she’s a hot drink fan. That should be enough of an endorsement right there!

Here are a few other favs, grouped by category:

Beauty/Hair/Style:
The Small Things Blog
Lauren Elizabeth
Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers
Lily Pebbles
Un-Fancy
Life with Emily
Vivianna Does Makeup
A Spoonful of Style
Coffee With Caitlin
Polka-Dotty Place
For All Things Lovely

Mommy & Baby:
Hello Bee
The Stir Crazy Moms’ Guide to Durham (if you’re local!)

Food/Cooking:
Cookie and Kate (vegetarian)
Lemon Jelly Cake (she writes about other topics too, but her baking recipes are to die for!)

Organization & DIY:
I Heart Planners
I Heart Arts & Crafts

A bit of a round up for you! Hope you take some time to visit a few new blogs!
Do you have any current favorite blogs? Let me know down below!

Don’t forget to follow me: Instagram | YouTube | TwitterFacebook | Google+ | BlogLovin’ | Pinterest

DIY Fall Raffia Wreath




DIY Fall Raffia Wreath | Cup of Tea
Once Labor Day comes and goes, I instantly leap in to Fall decorating mode. I’m apparently not the only one – my Pinterest feed is absolutely littered with cozy images, pretty colored leaves and mugs of warm drinks.My goal this week is to start hauling out my Fall decorations. Decorating the house is such fun! But I sometimes struggle with the front porch.I’m resurrecting one of my very first posts, because it’s timely!  It’s this awesome Raffia Wreath from the Stone Gable blog. I’ve made this wreath two years in a row, and will definitely be doing it again. It is really easy to make and looks so festive when it’s done! It transitions nicely from early Fall all the way through Thanksgiving.

The instructions from Stone Gable are helpful! But I’ve added my own tips below.

You can find all the materials at your local craft store:

1 large bag natural raffia
1 18″ straw wreath (don’t remove the plastic!)
~50 floral u pins
Scissors

Here are the materials, ready to go! (Plus coffee.  Always better to craft with coffee).

You’ll see 3 bags of raffia in the above picture. The first year I made this wreath, I used almost 3 bags. Last year, I only needed one bag. The wreath wasn’t as full, but it looks so much better!

I recommend doing this project outside. It can get a tad messy.  But, with that being said, this wreath isn’t supposed to look perfect.  It needs to look untidy.

I don’t use the glue gun as Stone Gable suggested.  I just don’t think it’s necessary.

Another tip is to alternate the length of the bundles you create. This will help the “messy” look that makes this wreath so great!

 

To start, overlap your bundles, one horizontal, then the next vertical.  Pin the next bundle close-ish to the previous bundle.

Once I have my first 5 or so bundles pinned down, I take my scissors, cut the loops, and check the spacing and coverage.  If it looks good, keep going around the wreath!  If you’re noticing gaps or can see the pins, pin your bundles closer together OR make your bundles smaller.  Sometimes, the more loose your bundle and the larger the loops, the more gaps there are.

You will be VERY fussy with it for the first few loops.  Then once you get in a rhythm, you will get faster and not be as careful about being neat.  This is critical – don’t try to make it neat. It looks so much better when it’s messy and a little random.

Once you get all the way around the wreath, hold it up and start snipping the loops.  You don’t have to worry about snipping all the loops!  I just randomly hacked away.  I like leaving some of the loops in tack here and there.  You will then want to give your wreath a hair cut 🙂  My first attempt was so full that it ended up looking furry…

You will also want to make sure you can see the center hole of the wreath!  The first year my husband commented that the wreath was missing a hole, and looked like a bad doughnut.

This wreath takes about 30 minutes to put together!  You could also wire in berries, pinecones, etc. if you want some color too it.  But I love the natural look since our door is so dark.

I hope it works for you!!  Hurrah for Fall!


Want more Fall fun? Check out my Autumn Pinterest board:

Don’t forget to follow: Instagram | YouTube | Facebook | Google+ | BlogLovin’ | Twitter | Pinterest

See It, Pin It, Do It! | A Pinterest Challenge

Pinterest Challenge | Cup of Tea blog

Oh man, I am so excited for this series!

A few weeks ago, Anne at In Residence started a new Link Up series called Pin to Present. It is a great place to pin any posts on projects you’ve done that were originally inspired from Pinterest.

Awesome, right?

Well, I quickly realized that, besides my dinner ideas, I haven’t done anything that was inspired by Pinterest!

I know I’m not the only one that has board after board of amazing desserts, cute DIY projects, and sweet crafts.  But do you ever do them?  I know I don’t!

So, inspired by Anne’s new link up, I decided I should actually tackle some of those pins!  And then, BONUS! I can actually join the link up 🙂 Haha!

Each Tuesday, during the month of September, I’ll be tackling some amazing Pinterest inspiration!

I’ll finally have baby-approved necklaces thanks to this Easy DIY Teething Necklace how-to from Lollygag Learning.

I’ve been eyeing the Anthropologie Atom bowls for so long, but couldn’t justify the prices.  Thankfully, there is this: Anthropologie-inspired Atom Art Bowls from Lolly Jane.

I’m not too crafty, but making my own coffee filter flowers from Two Shades of Pink sounds like fun!

And finally, who wouldn’t want to make these Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Cups from Musings From a Stay At Home Mom.

I’ve been collecting other fun DIY and food ideas to tackle on my See It, Pin It, Do It Pinterest board.  Leave a comment for what you’d like to see next!

Don’t forget to follow: Instagram | YouTube | Facebook | Google+ | BlogLovin’ | Twitter | Pinterest