DIY: Christmas door wreath

The holiday season is a costly one, so I’ve been looking for ways to save money where I can. Last year my husband was deployed, so this will be the first Christmas our little family has together. I want it to be perfect! I understand, absolutely, that it’s not presents or a lot of bric-a-brac that makes Christmas a wonderful time…BUT…I’ll admit I have been enjoying putting decorations up and making our home “Christmasy.”

One way I’ve saved money is by putting together my own Christmas wreath for our front door. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy with the way it turned out!

I purchased a plain wreath from Michaels for $3 during a 50 percent off sale. I also used 10 small leftover ornaments from our tree and some extra gold fabric ribbon (on sale at Target) that I didn’t use up while wrapping presents. To secure the ribbon and ornaments to the wreath, I used ornament hooks that I’d purchased after Christmas last year at a discount. I estimate it cost me under $5 all together!

Click on Photos to Enlarge:

Here are my steps:

1. Fluff the wreath.

2. Determine how much ribbon you need.

*I did this by wrapping the ribbon around the wreath and placing the ornaments where I thought I’d want them.

3. Trim the ribbon. Leave some extra, if possible, for just in case.

4. Use an ornament hook to secure one end of the ribbon to the wire at the back of the wreath. Wrap the hook around the ribbon and wire, then twist the ends of the hook together tight.

5. Wrap the rest of the ribbon around the wreath the way you want.

*I’ll admit…this was difficult for me. I’m not super great at crafty things, and I tried for about 20 minutes, and I could not get the ribbon to look even, as you’ll notice in my photos. I finally gave up.

6. Secure the second end of the ribbon to the wire of the wreath.

7. Add the ornaments to the wreath. Secure them with the ornament hooks.

8. If you have enough ribbon, cut extra “tails” and secure to wreath with ornament hooks.

9. Use ribbon to tie a bow.

10. If you have a small piece of extra ribbon, wrap it around the center of the bow and secure at the back to make the bow more attractive.

Back of bow
Front of bow

11. Wrap the ends of two ornament hooks together.

12. Use this longer hook to attach the bow to the wreath.

You’re done!

Do you have any DIY holiday projects to share? Post the link in a comment below! I’d love to see it!
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DIY: Toy leash with snaps and clip (Part 2)

As I promised, I made another toy leash, correcting the mistakes from Part 1. Notably, I used belting instead of a thin ribbon. The belting feels the same as a dog leash to me, so it’s plenty thick and sturdy.

In Part 1, I put snaps on both ends. This time, I added a clip to one end and a snap on the other. The idea is I can clip a lightweight teether to my son’s clothes. This particular leash style may not work with heavy toys, because of the clip. It’ll yank and pull on the child’s clothes. However, you can clip it to the fabric part of a stroller, sling, etc. Check out Part 1 for info regarding snaps on both ends.

For this leash, I purchased a pack of suspender/mitten clips and a yard of belting in a turtle print. This belting print usually costs several dollars a yard, but I purchased a remnant for $1 that just happened to be exactly a yard long! I didn’t end up using the velcro pictured below. That’ll be for leash Part 3! I decided to use snaps instead.

Hmmm maybe I should’ve just cropped it out of the photo…

I didn’t end up using the velcro for this leash. I went with snaps instead.

I noticed that one end of the belting appeared to either be treated with something or possibly burned or glued? Either way, whatever had been done to it, kept the edge from fraying.

Burned or glued end?

I decided to use this side to attach the toy to my son. I threaded this edge of the belting through the clip and folded under about 1/2″ of belting. Then I sewed the belting down as close to the edge as possible.

Sew the clip on

Make sure you sew over the area several times to thoroughly secure the belting together. I may have gotten carried away with this process:

Clip underside
Clip (slightly) prettier side

Now to the toy side.

This end was fraying. 🙁 I don’t have a serger and zig zagging the edge of the leash proved disastrous when sewing my first leash (see Part 1). I decided to just go with it…tuck it under, sew the sucker down, and hope the fraying doesn’t move past the stitching.

Frayed end

First, I folded under a teeny bit of belting and tried to sew as close to the edge as possible. FAIL.


That didn’t go so well. How did I fix the problem? With scissors!! I just cut the end off and started over. =D

This time, I tucked under 1/2″ of belting and sewed about a 1/4″ from the edge. Then I added the snaps. If I had heavy-duty metal snaps, I probably would have placed the left snap (see below) closer to the belting’s edge. As it was, I didn’t think the plastic snap was deep enough to fit through two layers of belting.

Place boy part and girl part snaps 4″ apart.

Ta da! That was easy.

I plan to buy another yard of belting, cut it in half, and make two leashes- each 1.5′ long. One leash will have velcro on both ends, and the other leash will have snaps on both ends. Options are good.

The finished leash:

The finished toy leash
What DIY projects have you been up to lately?
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DIY: Toy Leash with Snaps (Part 1)

**Updated Nov. 10

Making a leash for a toy sounds relatively simple, so it may seem surprising that I have a Part 1 for this project. However, I can already see definite room for improvement, so I’ll be trying this project again! I also would like to make a toy leash with velcro instead of snaps, and leashes that attach to my son’s clothes instead of the stroller/high chair/baby carrier/etc.

Recently, a co-op group I’m apart of was purchasing leashes for Sophie the Giraffe to keep the toy attached to things…and not constantly falling on the floor. Genius! Why do I never think of these things? Sometimes I feel completely uncreative. Well, thought I…how difficult can it be to make a toy leash?

So I set about making my own…

I perused the ribbon section at the local Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store. I found a spool of adorable monkey faces ribbon. I was a little torn between the monkey ribbon (which seemed a little thin) and a thicker, ribbed baseball ribbon. I went with the monkeys.

I arrived home and proudly showed hubby my purchase.

“Isn’t that a little thin?” -Hubby

I set about to prove him wrong!

Unfortunately, I failed.

Tip #1

Think LEASH. Purchase a very thick ribbon or something with which you’d feel confident securing a medium-size dog to a fence post.

Tip #2

Don’t zig zag the ends. You’ll make the unraveling worse.

The ends of the ribbon looked like they were fraying. I knew that with fabric, you can sew a zig zag stitch across the end, and that will keep the unraveling at bay. This is a terrible idea for ribbon. Don’t do it.

Click on the Photos to Enlarge:
Zig Zag Fail

Oh dear. How do I fix this??

I decided to fold over the end to hide the edge. This ended up working out well, since the folded over part of the ribbon acted as reinforcement for the snap.

I folded and glued the nasty edge down.
I folded it over again, so I only saw pretty edges. Then I sewed over the thing with a straight stitch.
Looks pretty good on the other side.

I should’ve folded over a bigger piece of ribbon. You’ll see why in a second.

The snap right on top of the stitch isn’t aesthetically pleasing. Next time, I’ll fold over more ribbon.

As you can see above, I applied the “boy” side of the snap (the stud) to the end of the ribbon.

I wanted one of the loops of the leash to be quite large, so I could attach it to different sized bars: the stroller, the high chair, the carrier, etc. I measured out 8″ total and marked it with a washable fabric marker. I then applied the other half of the snap (the “girl” part). I did not reinforce this part of the ribbon, which I regretted as soon as I tested snapping and unsnapping this side of the leash. I could feel and see the ribbon fabric weakening. It’s just not strong enough.

At this point, I still hadn’t measured and cut the entire length of ribbon, so I went ahead and did that. With the loops attached, the leash ended up being about 20″. I have no idea if this is a good length or not. I’ll find out tomorrow when we go to the Farmer’s Market, and I use the leash with a teether and my son’s stroller!

For the opposite end (this is the side attached to toys), I made the loop a little smaller. I reinforced the end and followed my earlier steps.

Then I turned my attention the last snap placement.

Since I now knew that the ribbon needed to be reinforced under the snaps, I cut out and folded over a piece of ribbon to sew on the leash. This would serve as snap reinforcement.

Cut out piece of ribbon, apply glue, and fold over
Sew all four edges of the reinforcement ribbon piece to wrong side of leash. Then apply last 1/2 of snap.

I have to apologize about a couple of things. First of all, I know this really isn’t a tutorial. My directions aren’t clear; I realize that. To be honest, I really didn’t know what I was doing, until the moment I did it, and even then…

When I post the next installment, I’ll include step by step instructions and measurements.

Also, if you do not have access to snap tools and snaps, I think this leash would work well with velcro. You can even hand sew velcro on the leash, if you don’t have a machine. Also, I think velcro will work well on a thinner ribbon like this, since pulling the velcro apart won’t put such a stress on the fabric (as opposed to pulling snaps apart).

Tomorrow morning I will test drive this leash by letting my son use it…trial by fire! I’ll post pix afterwards, and let you know how it goes.

Update: I used the toy leash today with my son’s current favorite teether and his stroller while we were at the local farmer’s market. Success!

Toy Leash in Action
It works!!!

Have you made a toy leash before? Do you have any DIY projects on which you’re currently working?

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