a banner for every occasion

I bought this "whatever" banner awhile ago, and was excited to put it to use recently for a friend's nautical-themed party. It was a big hit, and I can't wait to find an excuse to string up more banners!

The kit includes plenty of letters, numbers, hearts, and stars to spell out just about anything you can come up with (their suggestion of "you're fired" made me laugh). As an added bonus, the kit comes with the cutest teeny tiny brads for attaching all the letters together. 

Chronicle books also makes several great kits for making your own garlands. My favorite, of course, is the one featuring illustrations from Rifle Paper Co:

I might have to start throwing more parties so I can justify more garlands!

[Cake photo by Michael Pieracci. Rifle banner photo via Chronicle books]


not just for showering

In this post-holiday season of sales! sales! and more sales! I've noticed a plethora of deals on shower curtains. For some reason, cloth shower curtains seem to frequently go on sale for drastically reduced prices. I tend to keep an eye out for them, as they have many uses beyond the bathroom. 

When it comes down to it, a cloth shower curtain is really just a large piece of fabric. They usually measure 72" square, which is two very wide yards of fabric (when you buy fabric by the yard, its usually no wider than 54"). An added bonus is the great prints you can find. I often have a hard time finding cute prints at fabric stores, especially in any fabrics heavier than a shirting weight.

Here are a few great prints I've found (and all on sale!):

[clockwise from top left: Aqua Banner, Aqua Triangles, Yellow Ikat, Grey Ferns]

The simplest alternative use for a shower curtain is to just use it as a curtain in another room of your home. With some stylish hardware (don't even think of using those plastic rings from the shower!) no one will guess it was meant to hang over a bathtub. I just ordered the aqua banner curtain above, and I'm planning to use it in place of a closet door in my tiny bedroom.

With minimal sewing skills, you can turn a curtain into a tablecloth or beach blanket. Just trim off the top few inches (where the shower rings would go) and then hem the cut edge. Those with more skills can transform a curtain into throw pillows, slipcovers, a dog bed...the possibilities are endless!

Here are a few more shower curtain deals:

[Black & White Floral, Small Blue & Black Floral, Purple Chevron, Zigzag Corsage]

[Top image via West Elm]


weck love

Oh Weck Jars! How do I love thee? I would count the ways, but I'm afraid it would take far too long.

 The J. Weck company has been making canning jars in Germany for over a century. The classic glass jars with the strawberry logo have become increasingly popular in the last few years, as they've become easier to find in the states. Crate and Barrel started carrying them while I was registering for my wedding two years ago, and I was so excited I quickly added all the different size jars to my registry. When we received a set of the small jars as a gift, my husband accused me of registering for them just because they were cute. He was right, of course (I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but they were so tiny!), but I assured him they would be very useful. I haven't actually canned anything in them yet, but I have found all sorts of other uses. And, ironically, the smallest size has turned out to be the size I use the most!

Mini Coco Fizz float, anyone? The small jars recently proved to be the perfect serving size for a petite chocolate float to compliment Oakland Bakes' Neapolitan cake.

I am currently using two of them in my bathroom to store bobby pins and hair elastics. After removing their clips and rubber seals, they make an adorable little storage container. I honestly can't believe it took me so long to figure this one out. I shudder to think of the thousands of ponytail holders I've lost over the years.
I've also used them as vases, votive holders, and the fanciest storage for leftovers my refrigerator has ever seen! I like to use the small size for bringing salad dressing or salsa with me when I bring my lunch to work.
Do you guys have any fun uses for jars?

[canning photo via Williams-Sonoma, cake photo by Michael Pieracci]