Category Archives: Crafts

How to Dress up a Store-Bought Cake


It’s no secret here on the DIY Playbook that we do everything we can to avoid spending time in the kitchen, unless we’re installing a new faucet or DIY-ing new backsplash. However, that doesn’t mean we still don’t love to entertain. And with any good party comes great food (and dessert!). Naked_Cake_decorating_ideas_made_easy

Today we are sharing a SUPER easy trick to dress up a store-bought naked cake so that you don’t spend a ton of time in the kitchen before the party. We promise this adorable cake will have your guests convinced it’s straight from a fancy bakery, but the real secret is that this cake takes less than 5 minutes to decorate… after you pick it up from the store.

1. Buy a Cake


You’ll need a naked cake to start out with. We bought ours from Whole Foods for $10. They don’t typically have these on display, but if you call them the day before and order a stacked cake without frosting, they will make you one no problem. You can imagine how awkward that phone call was when we called Whole Foods to order a “naked cake”. Technically that’s what it’s called, but we advise ordering a stacked cake without frosting to avoid that awkwardness on the phone. <– trust us!

This cake is the 5″ cake for $10 but there’s also an 8″ cake for $20.

2. Use a Cute Cake StandDecorating_a_naked_box_cake

When you get home take the cake out of the box and plop it on a cake stand. We kept the gold plate that it came on attached, but you don’t necessarily have to do that. We love that this cake can work for just about any occasion based on the style of your cake stand and which flowers you choose to add to it.

3. Pick up an Assortment of Flowers and GreeneryDecorating_cake_with_flowers

While you’re at the store picking up the cake, make sure you pick up an assortment of flowers and greenery. We chose pink flowers for this occasion but any flower/greenery combo could work!

4. Cut the Flower StemsCut_Flowers_Cake_Peonies

Lay out your flowers and choose which ones you want to use. Then cut the stems down so you can stick the flower on top of the cake or on the side of the cake.

The great news is that you only need a few flowers to decorate the cake, so you can then use the extra for your party/tablescape. Keep this in mind when cutting the flowers’ stems down. Only cut down the flowers you need so that you can add the extras to a beautiful vase when you’re done!

5. Add Flowers & Greenery

Once the flowers are cut down, have fun adding them to your cake! We like the look of adding some on the top of the cake (to one side) and the others on the base of the cake (on the other side). Although that’s the “formula” we use, there’s no right or wrong way! Add the leaves/flowers until you land on the look that you love.

DIY_naked_cake_decoratingLiterally 5 minutes later you are d-o-n-e!
cake_stand_cake_flowersIt’ll be our little secret that this gorgeous cake is store-bought and only took a few quick minutes to throw together! <—- our kind of “baking”!

6. Celebrate & Enjoy!

Naked_Cake_decorating_ideas_made_easyWe LOVE this feminine look for baby/wedding showers, a little girl’s first birthday, or girls’ night. But depending on the cake stand you choose and the flowers you add, this easy cake can work for just about any occasion. Heck for $10 and a quick 5 minutes of prep, we’ll probably be reaching for this trick at every chance we can get!  Decorating_a_Naked_Cakebridget_and_casey_sig

If you missed the full tablescape from this party, be sure to check out this post!

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9 thoughts on “How to Dress up a Store-Bought Cake

  1. Kerri Hansen

    I do love me a good shortcut, and this is a great idea! In the spirit of “no such thing as a stupid question”, did the cake come with the frosting between the layers? I have never ordered a “naked” cake before!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Not a stupid question at all! The cake did come with the frosting between the layers. I think the “naked” part is just that the outside isn’t frosted? But might be different depending on where you get it!

  2. Pam

    Love this. Easy and it looks great. I love easy shortcuts that still look amazing.
    Thanks for posting.

  3. Kara D

    You’re making me wonder just how did that conversation go! Did they have to pull out some sort of “PG rating” on you? *muffled laughter*


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How to Decorate with Photo Booth Strips


If either of us ever goes to a place where there happens to be a photo booth, chances are we’ll be hopping in to say “cheese!” This old school photo tradition is now all over the place. At weddings, at the movies, at bars…photo booths are everywhere! And we are definitely not complaining, because who doesn’t love hopping in to snap a few silly shots?!

Photobooth_pictures_pileBut the question is…what do you do with all of those photo booth strips long after they’re printed?


We have a few ideas so you can effortlessly add these prints throughout your home.

Frame Them!desk-photo-booth-pictures-framed

I recently created a frame with all of my black and white photo booth strips. Okay, maybe not all of them (I have so many!), but at least all of my favorite b&w

I took a black frame from Michaels, gathered up my strips, and had fun arranging them into a grid that looked good to me. I then took a piece of white craft paper and used a glue stick to secure the strips right on

I made sure to include a wide variety of occasions and people in the frame. Even showcasing my godson’s first ever visit to a photo booth…photo-booth-pictures-baby-harry

Clearly we had more fun in there than he did. Ha! We love the idea of adding a frame like this somewhere in your home so you can really showcase your favorite photos and put them out there for everyone to see.

Accessorize with Photo Booth Stripsbuilt-ins-accessories

If you know us, then you know we love accessorizing with meaningful pieces. Why pick up a random accessory from the store, when you can show off a personal item on your shelves? photo-booth-strips-12

This vase is a family heirloom (showing off our Irish pride!), and inside I stuck in a stack of photo booth strips. This is placed right on our built-ins, so friends can easily sift through them when they’re

I’ll often flip which ones are displayed in front, so a variety can be showcased prominently.

Color Coordinate

Another idea is to keep black and white prints together, and colored prints together. This makes a nice visual statement when on display. Above, I simply used a small planter to corral all of the color photo booth strips in one spot. This sits on the dresser in our bedroom and we get a kick out of seeing these silly photos out all the time.

Add Height

office_progress_wayfair_furniture-shelfieWe love displaying photo strips because they are such a meaningful accessory. But we also love that these simple pictures instantly add some varying height to shelfies! In Bridget’s office, she plopped them in a pencil holder from Target and added them to her shelves. They pair well with just about anything because they’re tall and add interest!photo_booth_pictures

Random Photo Taking Tip: We would be remiss if we didn’t add one last tip for when you’re actually in the photo booth taking those beloved pictures. Usually we’ll come up with 4 scenarios or words to act out while in the booth. The first photo may just be happy smiles, but then someone yells out a word and you have to act on it. Like “angry”, “scared”, etc. It’s always HILARIOUS to see what people think to do right on the spot. Just a little tip if you want to get some silly shots. jan-casey-photo-booth

Can you tell we’re head over heels for photo booths? We’re hoping that this trend is here to stay! There’s just something nice about physically having prints of special memories, instead of just storing those moments on your phone. We encourage you to showcase all of those times so they can bring a smile to your face every single day.photobooth_strips


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6 thoughts on “How to Decorate with Photo Booth Strips

  1. Katie

    I love photo booth strips! My husband and I try to get one each summer on the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD.

  2. Kristen Ayotte

    Love photo booth strips! A friend came to visit last year and she had her first ever photo booth experience at Navy Pier! Isn’t that crazy?! I couldn’t believe she’d never done it before. I like your display tips too! 🙂

  3. Kara D

    I love photo strips! I hate how I have too many to display, but I love that fact that I have too many! I’ve done the “stick them in a jar” thing before, where it was a clear jar and I put river rocks on the bottom to give some varying heights that the strips sit on. I’ve grown bored of that, and have been trying to come up with new ways to display them. One thought was to bind them together like a Pantone swatch book. A new twist on a photo book?? But I don’t want to punch a hole in the photo itself, so would have to affix it to another sheet and I never went beyond “thought stage.”


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Make your Own Wood Planter for your Dining Room Table


Last weekend we had the opportunity to showcase some projects on ABC news here in Chicago. We were tasked with displaying DIY’s that could refresh your indoors for the new season. Since we’re all about easy projects that make a big impact, we were excited to brainstorm DIY’s that would work well for spring.

Here’s a link to the full segment if you want to check it out. We had a blast and hope to be back again soon!Hydrangea Centerpiece

One of the projects that we did on the show was a DIY wood planter box. We both struggle with decorating our dining room tables for the everyday, and this planter box solved that problem. You can build this simple box, fill it with mason jars, and then display seasonal flowers right in there. It makes a big visual impact without cluttering up your entire table. Love when that happens!DIY_Wood_Planter_Casey_saw

Plus, this wood planter box is SUPER SIMPLE to build. Seriously only a couple cuts, some staining, and putting it all together!

Wood Planter Box SuppliesDIY_Wood_Planter-3

  • Miter saw
  • Nail gun (or finishing nails & a hammer)
  • Wood stain (or try these Minwax wipes!)
  • Gold corner brackets
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Mason jars
  • Wood: 2 (1×6 pine) & 1 (1×4 pine); Length will depend on the size of your box
  • Safety glasses (or if you forget yours like we did, then sunglasses will also work to protect your eyes!)

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Step 1

DIY_Wood_PlanterFirst you’ll want to plan out the size of your planter box. We wanted to fit 5 mason jars, so we decided to make it 22 inches long. We then marked 22 inches on each piece of wood for the 2 sides and the bottom. We used pine boards that were 6 inches wide for the sides, and a pine board that was 4 inches wide for the bottom.DIY_Wood_Planter-6

You’ll want to wait to cut the 2 end pieces until you have your other 3 long pieces all cut. This will ensure that you get the right size and they’re not too long or too short.

Step 2DIY_Wood_Planter_Casey_cutting_saw

With your pieces measured, it’s time to make the cuts. We love our miter saw and it gets easier (& less scary!) every time we use it. Just be confident with your cuts and go up and down quickly.

Step 3


With your 3 long pieces cut, it’s time to assemble! We used a nail gun so it took no time at all. If you don’t have one, then finishing nails and a hammer will do (although it will take some time to get it all together). Space out your nails accordingly so it looks even and nice. You won’t cover the holes, so you don’t want too many nail holes.

Step 4DIY_Wood_Planter-10

With your base all together, measure the width for the side pieces and cut those. Then take your nail gun again and secure the pieces to the sides. At this point, you can stain the entire box inside and out. You could also stain the pieces before you put it together, but because we were impatient and didn’t want to wait for the dry time to move forward…we decided to do it after the fact. We used our favorite colored stain…dark walnut. DIY_Wood_Planter-9

Rookie Tip: Use Q-tips dipped in stain to get the color into the corners of the box. This will ensure that no spot remains uncovered! 

Step 5DIY_Wood_Planter-14

This step is purely optional, but we think it’s a good one to do if you want to jazz up your wood box a bit. We picked up some gold L-brackets from the hardware store and attached them to the bottom 4 corners of the box. This added some shine & interest to the piece. Just drill a pilot hole first, and then use screws to attach the brackets. Be careful about screwing through to the other side. You don’t want any screws poking through into the middle of the box!

Step 6DIY_Flower_Box_Flowers_Vase

Place the mason jars in your wood box and add your favorite flowers!


We love using hydrangeas because they’re so full and lush, but you can use absolutely anything! Wouldn’t this piece look gorgeous on your table for the holidays? We imagine it filled with branches, greenery, and these mason jars with cranberries and floating candles!

DIY_Flower_Box_HygrangeasDoesn’t it look pretty in the middle of the dining room table? Love the wood against the sleek white marble! Come dinner time, this wood planter box is super easy to pick up and move off the table…which makes it the perfect dining accessory.

DIY_Flower_Box_CetnerpieceWe hope you give this simple DIY a try. All it takes is a few tools to build your own wood planter box.


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10 thoughts on “Make your Own Wood Planter for your Dining Room Table

  1. Kristen Ayotte

    Such a cute DIY! My husband bought a miter saw recently so maybe I’ll be brave and try to use it myself!

  2. Kerri Hansen

    Just watched the video, you guys were awesome! Such naturals in front of the camera! You definitely need to incorporate more videos on your blog…I guess the hip kids call that “vlogging”? I am going to try and make that planter box. I have been wanting to make something like it for candles, love the long rectangle shape. I will have to get my local hardware store to cut the wood for me, as I don’t think we own a saw…


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DIY Emoji Easter Eggs


To be perfectly honest we’re not the BIGGEST fans of dyeing Easter Eggs. As children we were OBSESSED with it, but over the years the excitement has decreased quite a bit (sad but true).

Maybe it’s because we don’t have kids ourselves or maybe it’s because we feel “too busy” to give this tradition the time it deserves. Or maybe it’s just because our eggs always look awful after it’s all said and done! It’s hard to say why we don’t love coloring eggs, but this year we carved out time to give it another try!

We are excited to say that this little project sparked that old flame of excitement.
diy emoji easter eggsWe didn’t come up with this genius idea by ourselves. We actually saw it here, by the extremely talented Studio DIY and decided to recreate the look because it seemed so fun. And that’s exactly what it turned out to be. We had such a blast decorating these goofy eggs together and were pleasantly surprised at how EASYYYY they were.

Rookie tip: If you’re looking for even more emoji ideas (and emoji eggs that look a lot better than ours) make sure you check out Studio DIY’s post. #epic [insert heart eye emoji on repeat here] DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-18

Creating them was probably a lot more hysterical than it should have been but who doesn’t love a good emoji?! They’re tiny symbols that bring an instant smile to our faces and one symbol that knows no age boundaries. And we promise, if we could pull off these quirky DIY eggs, we know that you (and your kids!) can too.



  • Yellow, light blue, and white acrylic paint (optional: red)
  • Small paint brushes
  • Black Paint Pen (other colors as needed) – we used red too!
  • A Dozen Hard-boiled Eggs


Easy Steps to Recreate the Look

After cooking the eggs and letting them cool/dry, we painted all of them yellow to start. You could probably use the traditional dye for this step if you’d rather, but we went with paint.  It  seemed less messy and it produced a vibrant yellow color on the eggs.

We painted all of the eggs yellow and let them dry overnight. That much dry time was unnecessary, but it did help cut down on the mess and allowed us to get right to the fun part in the morning — the drawing!
DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-11For the details on the eggs, we used black and red paint pens to add our designs. This is where you (and the kids) can get really creative and choose some of your favorite emojis to recreate. DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-12After the black parts dried, we added blue and white paint to some of them so that the contrast was bold and bright. We tried using a white paint pen for this step, but found the acrylic paint appeared a lot brighter when added to the eggs.

No Art Skills Required!

After about 10 minutes of doodling, we had all of these adorable little emoji eggs that had us laughing way too hard!

Rookie Tip: We are not skilled artists (not even close!) so these are far from perfect. But the imperfections actually made them more charming and a lot more fun to tackle. Trust us, if ours turned out looking somewhat like emojis, we know that you can totally do this too. <– no art skills required! 

Party Time!

DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-3It would be fun to have everyone at a party, or in the family, choose a few of their favorite emojis to recreate. We’re pretty confident that even the adults would have fun (maybe a bit too much fun) with this challenge!  DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-15Having a few props on hand (like some fuzzy cotton material for hair) could also be a fun twist in this easy and hysterical project. Whatever you choose to do, we’re pretty confident you can’t go wrong.

Since we both use and heart emojis so much (as evidenced by our easy Emoji Halloween Costume a few years ago), we decided to pick out our faves and recreate the look. How ridiculous are these little cuties?! We think hiding these emojis all over the house on Easter morning would be awesome…and a hunt that pre-teens or teenagers may even find fun!

If you’re not a huge egg-dyeing lover but want to get the kids, family, or friends involved, then this project may be for you. It definitely won us over and still has us LOL [insert laughing emoji + clapping emoji here].




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6 thoughts on “DIY Emoji Easter Eggs

  1. Trang

    You two are so darn cute with this idea!
    Bridget, I love the gray/black lace like top you have on in the above photo. Details please!

  2. Kerri Hansen

    Perfect timing with this post, my kids were just asking me to buy an overpriced emoji Easter egg decorating kit yesterday. I was all “we don’t need to buy that kit, I am sure we can make those on our own!” And now you have taken the leg work out for me! We will be doing this for sure! Emojis are so hot right now, in January we had an emoji themed birthday party and we made emoji valentines in February. So fun and this appeals to girls and boys of all ages. Thanks for sharing! 😘😀😍

    1. DIY Playbook

      You’re going to be the coolest mom ever when you bust these out for the kids!! You’ll have to keep us updated on your DIY emoji eggs, we’d love to see.

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Simple DIY Ideas for a Successful Super Bowl Party


We may not watch a ton of football, but we’re always game for a little tailgating or homegating!nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-bears-tvWho could resist an excuse to get together with family and friends, while snacking on way too much unhealthy food?! We don’t do a ton of this throughout the season (our hubbies prefer to actually watch the games) but we do really look forward to it on the Super Bowl. Ask us who’s playing in the game and honestly, we probably don’t know but that NEVER stops us from having a great time and enjoying the tailgating atmosphere… snacks, commercials, half time show, and all! nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-full-party

We had so much fun putting together this homegating party for the Chicago Bears a few months back. We learned so many SUPER easy DIY projects along the way, and we think the Super Bowl is the perfect time to dive into the details. Whether you’re hosting a big party or trying to add a bit of creativity while you watch with a few others, here are 5 simple ideas to bring your Super Bowl Party game to the next level!

DIY Table Runner

Supplies: Roll of craft paper, Permanent marker
Time: 5-10 minutes

Creating a DIY Table Runner for your Super Bowl party is awesome because it’s so easy, adds a fun touch to any surface, and makes clean up easier!

nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-snacks-cheseWe used a roll of craft paper we had on hand and ran it right down the middle of Casey’s kitchen table. We taped it under the table to keep it out-of-the-way and in place, and then we got to work “decorating it” with a permanent marker. <– it’s seriously that easy! 

nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-appetizersWe looked up a few football plays on Google to make sure our pictures looked legit, but you can add whatever plays, messages, or cheers that you like. You can even use this table runner to label the food on the table.

Then after the party, simply remove the table runner and throw it away… taking all the crumbs and stains with it. How awesome is that?!

DIY Referee Bottles

Supplies: Roll of oversized washi tape (found at Michaels), Scissors
Time: 3-5 minutes

Creating these referee-inspired bottles took us 3-5 minutes, mostly because all you have to do is take the roll of black + white washi tape and adhere it to the water bottle, just like a sticky label.
nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-diy-waterbottlesThe one thing to keep in mind is that the washi tape roll that we bought was slightly wider than the label of the water bottle. Before we stuck the washi tape onto the water bottle, we pulled a long piece of washi tape and cut off about 4 stripes to make the width of the tape fit perfectly on the bottle.nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-diy-water-bottles

Then we removed all of the existing water bottle labels. You don’t have to remove every single sticky remnant of the original label because the new washi-tape will cover those spots, but removing the original label before adding the striped washi-tape does make the bottles look better in the end. nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-water-bottles

Five minutes later, your DIY referee water bottles are done and ready to be served!

DIY Football Drink Cups

Supplies: Paper cups, Extra thin washi-tape
Time: 5 minutes

nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-football-craftThese football cups are another fun way to add some personality and team spirit to your Super Bowl Party without breaking the bank… or investing a ton of time. It’s also a great way to get the kids involved in a little “project” before or during the game! nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-diy-football-craftWe chose orange and blue football cups for our Chicago Bears themed party, but any color combos will work and could be a great way to help fans of either team feel involved.

Literally ALL you have to do is cut little pieces of washi-tape and stick them on the paper cups. The vertical tape should be longer and the three horizontal pieces (the football’s laces) should be approximately the same length as each other but shorter than the vertical piece.

We also love the idea of using the washi tape to stick your favorite player’s jersey number on each cup. This would be a fun way to get guests involved and an even better way to make sure each person can easily keep track of their drink!

Self Serve Chili Bar

If you’re hosting, we love the idea of a self-serve chili bar because it encourages your guests to help themselves and not rely on you to serve them.

We used these oversized mugs to serve up our chili, but we know this is not an option for everyone. Another way to cut down on dishes and creatively serve up the chili bar is actually an idea we stole from an event we attended last year because it was GENIUS!

At the event, the host provided Chinese take-out boxes and forks and that’s what they served the chili bar out of. It was so creative and so darn cool. All the guests grabbed the take-out container and filled it up with chili and their favorite toppings. It sounds kinda weird but it was so unique and really worked out well! Plus, it would eliminate a ton of dishes for the hosts. nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-chilinfl_chicago_bears_homegating-chili-barIf you had several crock pots or had friends that volunteered to bring a crockpot of chili, it could be cool to serve up a few different kinds of chili to make the chili bar even more delicious!

DIY Balloon Garland

This was the first time we tackled a DIY balloon garland and we are now huge fans! There’s definitely a few things we learned a long the way and a few things we would do differently next time around, but we’re glad we gave it a try because it’s a lot easier than we anticipated. Not as easy as the 5-10 minute projects above, but still very attainable.

Supplies: Mini Helium Tank (found at Party City), 2-4 different sized and colored balloons, fishing line, safety-pin
Time: 20-30 minutes

We bought a mini helium tank from Party City for this project and ended up having quite a bit of helium leftover, so we definitely plan on using the rest on our next project.

balloon-tanknfl_chicago_bears_homegating-balloonsOutside of the tank, we also picked up a variety of blue and orange balloons. Next time we will probably choose to add a few more colors but for the Chicago Bears theme, blue and orange worked just fine. We read a few tutorials that called for a sewing needle but we did not have one on hand so we made do with a safety-pin that actually worked just fine.
nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-blowing-balloonWe blew up the balloons…. nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-balloon-diy… and then tied them closed.balloon-garland-stepsThen we took the safety-pin to puncture a small hole in the bottom of the balloon. balloon-garland-steps-fishingThat hole is what we used to string the fishing wire through to attach the balloon. The fishing wire is what will keep all of the balloons connected.nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-balloon-garlandWe continued to add balloons, switching off color and size randomly, until the line of fishing wire was full. Then we tied the bottom of the fishing line to the bar cart and had the balloon garland float along the built-ins to add a serious pop of color and team spirit!

So what do you think, are these DIY Super Bowl Party easy enough to tackle (pun intended) before the big game?! We’re rooting for you and can’t wait for our favorite excuse to stay out late on a Sunday while chowing down on all of our favorite snacks! #CaloriesdontcountonSuperBowlSunday





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4 thoughts on “Simple DIY Ideas for a Successful Super Bowl Party

  1. Kara D

    I’m right there with you on the snacks, chats, commercials and half-time show! Yeah, yeah… I guess the game counts too (but that’s when I go get my food and chat….) I really like the paper runner and the washi-football lace ideas, very cute!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks Kara!! Gotta love super easy DIY ideas that can make a big impact… especially using a lot of items we already had around the house. And most importantly, we’re glad we have some fellow commercial/half-time fans tuning in! =)

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Tips for an Organized Schedule in 2017


[We are still enjoying the sun & sand in Mexico, but are just popping in today for this Michaels post! We’ll be back “for real” next Monday, January 9th!]

If you guys know either one of us, then you know we’re a bit type-A and we cannot get through a day without our trusty to-do lists. Call us crazy, but we just feel so much better having our days planned out so we can be as productive as possible! <—good thing we’re on vacation right now, because it’s good to let loose every once in a while!

Google CalendarFor the blog, we rely on our google calendar to plan our content and stay on track. It’s nice because we can each access the calendar and work together to plan ahead.

writing-in-planner-desk-officeBut individually, we’re both really into written planners. There’s just something about writing things down the old-fashioned way, and then crossing it off that is oh so satisfying. Legit no better feeling than looking at a completed to-do list at the end of the day in your planner. <—again, this post is proving that we’re huge nerds.

2017-plannerIf you’re looking for a new planner to get organized for 2017, then you will definitely want to check out your local Michaels. They have an awesome collection of adorable planners that will give you the fresh start you need this year! From daily, to weekly, to monthly…you’ll be able to find one that fits your lifestyle & routine.

*Beyond the planners, Michaels has lots of other colorful organizational items too! — clips, pins, baskets, bins… so many items to start the new year off right!

planner-schedule-calendar-officeWe recently picked up this planner, and want to share our tried & true tips for using it effectively over the course of the year.

Tips to Create an Organized Planner

  • Find a Planner you L-O-V-E planner-scheduleIt should go without saying that you need to love your planner in order to be excited to use it. We always love choosing our planner for the year and were blown away by some of the adorable ones we found at Michaels. Of course you want it to be cute, but also make sure your planner fits your lifestyle. If you like to write a lot you may want a daily planner. If you just want to write down big events, then a monthly planner might be better for you. Find one that works for your lifestyle and go from there.
  • Add in Birthdays, Vacays, & Big Events birthday-schedule-calendarWhenever we get a new planner we immediately take about 30 minutes to fill out all of our big events for the years. First we’ll add all of the birthdays of those closest to us so we don’t forget! Then we add in big events and vacations. Weddings, work trips, even tax dates are all added at this point. You don’t want to forget these big dates, so take time at the beginning of the year to map everything out.
  • Keep your Place with a Binder Clip binder-clip A binder clip works really well to keep your place in your planner.planner-binder-clip It’s such a simple concept, but we promise it does wonders when it comes to keeping your planner organized and staying on track.
  • Jazz it Up washi-tape-colorNow for the fun part…the creativity! This is time to let loose and enjoy your planner. We love using washi tape throughout our planners. vacation-washi-tapeMaybe using the colorful tape to make your upcoming vacations really visual? Or use different colored pens to mark various occasions. We also love jazzing things up with stickers & vibrant colors! This is YOUR planner, so have fun with it and make it pretty!
  • Make a Weekly Date writing-planner-scheduleSet a time to sit down and plan out the week ahead. We both do this on Sunday nights. We look at the week ahead and get to planning. Some things we always add include workouts, laundry day, big projects, grocery store visits, etc. We will also set realistic goals for each day, knowing that if it’s written down it’s much more likely to happen! This weekly “date” with our planners is a lifesaver and really keeps us on track.
  • Figure out What Works Best for You schedule-plannerAt the end of the day, you need to create a planner that works well for your lifestyle. You’re not going to stick with a routine all year-long if it doesn’t match your personality. We don’t like to schedule our days by the hour, but we will write all of the major things we want to accomplish that day in our planners. Know yourself and create an organized planner that works for your life!

casey-office-plannerWe are both very excited for a FRESH START to 2017 and can’t wait to make this our best year yet. With a bit of planning and organization we’re confident that we can reach our goals this year!

planner-accessoriesIf you’re looking for more inspiration to get a fresh start this year, check out the other organization projects from the Michaels Makers!


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4 thoughts on “Tips for an Organized Schedule in 2017

  1. shawnna griffin

    hey girls- Happy New Year! Hope y’all are having fun in Mexico( I guess my invite got lost in the mail ha) Love the post! Great tips!

  2. Trang

    I love the idea of the physical calendar, but It’s not ideal for me. I don’t carry a big enough purse and I’d likely lose it/mis-place it often (like I do with my phone). I only use my phone for marking appointments and events (because I can set reminders!). I also don’t have as busy a schedule as you ladies though so it works for the few things I have. Haha.
    Happy new year!

    1. DIY Playbook

      We use our phones for reminders, but love having the physical calendar too. You make a great point though, everyone’s organizing preferences are different and the main goal is to find the one that works best for you and your lifestyle. It sounds like you have your preference down, good work!!

      Happy New Year Trang!!

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DIY Ice Cream Pumpkins


We know, we know…it’s isn’t even Labor Day and we’re already chatting about PUMPKINS! But we just can’t help ourselves. Fall is going to be here before we know it, and we want to be prepped for one of our favorite seasons.

diy_ice_cream_pumpkins_michaels-4Last year, Michaels challenged us to come up with a creative idea using their craft pumpkins, and we created these adorable DIY donut pumpkins. Michaels has craft pumpkins in so many shapes, sizes, and even colors this year (like blue!)… the possibilities are seriously endless!

DIY Donut Pumpkin milkIs anyone else craving a donut right now?! Us too!

This year, we decided to keep the SWEETNESS going with our Michaels Makers pumpkin craft. And what do we love just as much donuts?



Just like last year’s pumpkin craft, these ice-cream pumpkins are super easy to execute (READ: NO CARVING REQUIRED!!) <— Not to mention creating a DIY Ice Cream Pumpkin takes about 15 minutes to create.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Cone – SUPPLIES

  • Acrylic Paint in a variety of colors
  • Paint Brush
  • Craft pumpkins
  • Cardboard cones <— Available for about $1 in the cardboard/papier-masche aisle in Michaels
  • Sharpie marker

We built a cone holder so that the pumpkins could sit right in their cones on the counter or porch. Here’s what you’ll need if you want to re-create that look:

  • Wood (cut to size)
  • Nail Gun
  • Corner Brackets (options)
  • Hole Saw + Drill to cut perfect circles
  • Stain


Pumpkin Ice Cream Cone – STEPS

1. Instead of going with the orange craft pumpkins, we opted for the white ones. This made it a lot easier to paint on our ice cream “flavors.” We used a light green for the mint chocolate chip base, a pink for strawberry, and left one pumpkin completely blank for vanilla! We needed about 2 good coats of paint for each one, but it dries fast. Each pumpkin took us about 5-10 minutes to paint, then each coat dried within 20 minutes so we were able to complete each pumpkin pretty quickly.

2. With the base flavor dry, it’s time to add the “chocolate chips” and “hot fudge.” We used dark brown paint to create the fudge on top of the white ice cream cone. And simply used a sharpie to draw on the chocolate chips on the mint chocolate chip pumpkin!

3. Finally, it’s time to add the cherry on top, which may just be the easiest part of this entire project. Just paint the top portion of the pumpkin (the stem) with bright red paint and you’re good to go.


4. We opted to design our pumpkins using some of our favorite flavors, but feel free to use your favorites when designing your ice cream cone pumpkins. Heck, you could even stack two pumpkins on top of each other for a double scoop of deliciousness!


5. Once the pumpkins are completely dry, all you have to do is set it on top of these pre-made cardboard cones and you’re all set! It’s seriously that easy!! But BEWARE: if you’re anything like us, every time you look at these adorable pumpkins you’ll immediately crave an ice-cream cone!!

Extra Credit

We built this basic “cone holder” so that each of the pumpkins could sit freely on their cones all season long. Surprisingly building this basic “box” was a lot easier than we anticipated. All we had to do was pick up some wood and get it cut to size (2 pieces that were 9 inches long + 2 pieces that were around 24 inches).

We attached the pieces using a nail gun and stained the box to create a more “rustic” look, but painting this a bright color or a stainless steel color could look great too!

Then we added corner brackets, mostly for the “look” but they did add a bit of stability too.

diy_ice_cream_pumpkins_michaels-18And last but certainly not least, we used a hole saw on our drill (like this one!) and simply drilled three 1.5″ holes into the top of the box in order to hold the cones.
ice_cream_pumpkinOnce the cones are placed inside of the holes you drilled, you can simply place a pumpkin right on top each cone and they should sit perfectly to be displayed for all your trick-or-treaters to drool over. #literally


Cool off with a Pumpkin Cone

So what do you say, do you think you will give these no-carve pumpkins a try? If you do… we would LOVE to see what flavors you choose and how you put your spin on these delicious looking treats!


For even more DIY pumpkin inspiration (hopefully ideas that don’t make you crave an ice-cream cone so early in the morning), check out these pumpkin projects from the other Michaels Makers:

Bridget and Casey Signature


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Michaels Makers: Past, Present & Future

Michaels Makers Sonoma, California Bag

Michaels MakersPillow Michaels Makers Sonoma, California

As you all know, we are a part of the Michaels Makers “blog team” and have been a part of this team for over a year now (where did the time go?!). We LOVE being a part of this group of talented bloggers, and had A LOT of fun sharing our projects on the 1st of each month.

Now that it’s been a full year since we joined the Michaels Makers, we wanted to take time out to “regroup” and check-in with you guys. Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane, and then we’ll update you on the status of this relationship, as well as what we have planned with Michaels over the next year. Shall we?!


Last July we headed out to Napa, California to attend our very first Michaels Makers Summit. This trip was honestly one of the most beautiful, inspiring, and amazing trips we have ever been on (full recap here). Every single detail was beyond creative. We felt like we were living in a Pinterest dream world… leave it to Michaels to bring these creative visions to life! When we left the Summit, we felt so inspired and super excited to get to work.

From there, it was our duty to take the proposed monthly challenge from the Michaels team and come up with a DIY craft project. We then shared these DIY projects here on the blog around the first of every month (unless that date landed on a weekend). Putting our own spin on a theme was a lot more fun than we ever could have anticipated, and even forced us out of our comfort zone at times.

Regardless of the monthly theme, we worked hard to stay true to who we are when it comes to crafts. We love being creative and crafty in our “real lives”, but we also know that it’s unrealistic for us (and many of you) to put hours and hours into recreating an amazing craft we see online. But just because we don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to crafts shouldn’t mean we can’t be creative, right?! <—- this is exactly what we kept in mind as Michaels Makers this year.

Our Mission: Create projects that were clever + creative but didn’t demand a ton of valuable time or money. If we can tackle these crafts, we know that you can too! 


DIY Donut Pumpkin milk

OctoberEmoji Halloween Costume Bridget & Casey

  • Michaels Theme: DIY Halloween Costume
  • DIY Playbook Project: DIY Dancing Emoji Costume <— perfect if you’re looking for a quick, affordable, one-stop-shopping costume!

NovemberChristmas dream tree 2015 Michaels Makers










Bridget Casey Rookies Michaels MakersLooking back at our projects throughout the year, we’re proud to say that all of them fit our original motto, because none of our projects cost a lot of money or demanded a lot of free time. Because we were able to stay true to ourselves as “crafters”, we’re excited to continue with this authentic partnership. We hope to continue to challenge ourselves in sharing relatable, attainable projects for our fellow rookies.

Futuretravel photos Bridget

So what’s next? Well, we are headed to our 2nd Michaels Makers Summit next month and we’re so excited! This year’s summit is located in Carmel, California, a place that neither of us have ever been. We’re ready to re-connect with the Makers team and soak in as much creative inspiration as we can!

From there, we will be sharing our projects every other month (so less projects overall…but more time for us to get even more creative with these challenges!).

We strive to continue to share ideas that are attainable, affordable, and most of all fun for our fellow crafters! So bring on those challenges…we’re ready for them!
Bridget and Casey Signature

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10 thoughts on “Michaels Makers: Past, Present & Future

  1. Erin

    That’s super exciting. I’m glad you’re staying true to yourselves!! and i think all of those projects you did were really easy to execute and fit right in with everything else you do.

  2. shannon

    Great Michaels Makers projects. I really like the simplicity (and prettiness) of the lucite ampersand. BTW It’ll be fun meeting you two in Carmel!


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9 Decorating Ideas for Renters


We’ve published over 850 blog posts on The DIY Playbook (say what?!), and by far one of our most popular posts is “How to Decorate a Rental“, which is full of ideas for rental decor. It’s a little ironic, since neither of us are renters anymore…but we do feel like we tackle A LOT of projects that can work in just about any space, whether you own or rent!

Casey-Couch-Family-Room-Pillows-BlanketSo today we’re back with even more ideas for you renters out there. We know it can sometimes seem silly to put in a lot of time, effort, or money into a space that is only temporary, but trust us…it’s worth it to live in a space that makes you happy every time you walk in the door! For more encouragement to stop waiting for your “forever home” to decorate, check out this post.

flowers_vase_bedroomOkay now that you’re fully on board to start decorating, here are 9 awesome DIY projects you can tackle in your space…even if it’s short-lived. We’ve done a majority of these right here on the blog, but a few are some stellar projects from fellow bloggers and creatives!

9 Ideas for Rental Decor

1. Temporary Wallpapergender_neutral_nursery_happy_camper_reveal-10

We all saw the dramatic impact that the temporary wallpaper had on the nursery that Bridget designed for her sister. I mean, super gorgeous night?! We love the idea of adding tempaper to just 1 accent wall, or even wallpapering an entire room in your rental! Now we must say that we haven’t ever taken down tempaper, but if it performs as it claims it does, then you should have an easy stress-free time removing it when it’s time to move out. For a big change, without a big investment of time or money, give temporary wallpaper a try!

2. Roman Shadekitchen-sink-faux-roman-shade-window-treatment

Many apartments come with ugly plastic blinds. Yuck! Push those babies to the side, or bring them all the way up to the top of your window. Then hide them with this cute DIY roman shade. Here’s the tutorial for this inexpensive project. <–seriously it only cost us about $20 to create this one. We love that you can choose any kind of fabric to really add some color or pattern to any space!

3. Change out the HardwareMaggie kitchen after

Chances are you can’t change much when it comes to the kitchen in your rental. But you can easily change hardware, and we’re confident it will make a big impact! Buy some sleek new hardware and go to town changing out the drawer knobs and cabinet pulls! Maggie’s Chicago condo (pictured above) received a modern touch when we swapped the hardware for a more contemporary look, and it really made the space look that much better.

Rookie Tip: Be sure to keep all of the old hardware in a safe spot. That way when it’s time to move, you can swap in the old stuff and take the new hardware with you to your next place! 

4. Add Indoor & Outdoor PlantsPlanter-Gold-Frames-Spring-7

Greenery makes any space feel more like home. Now we’re not claiming to have green thumbs (far from it!), but that doesn’t mean we don’t try to add some life to our spaces. Here’s a list of some foolproof indoor plants that will really liven up your space. And if you’re a real black thumb gal….succulents, cacti, and even faux plants (hey..some are so good you can’t even tell!) are a-okay in our playbook!

5. Invest in the Right Piecesbedroom_gallery_wall_pillows_headboard

We understand why you wouldn’t want to invest in every single piece of furniture in your temporary pad. BUT….there are some pieces that can easily work in any space and you’ll definitely be able to take them with you into your next home. Headboards, rugs, nightstands, and dressers are all great staple items that should easily transition into your next place, so feel free to splurge on these items!

6. Add CurtainsCurtains and Rods

Just like #2 on our list (roman shades), we think curtains are another great option for window dressings. We’ve seen some great ways of adding rods without creating holes in the walls. Here’s a great tutorial using just command hooks! Or, if you’re not afraid to make some holes and patch them before move-out day, then we suggest adding a rod and some DIY curtains to your windows. Make sure you place them high and wide off the windows to make the room feel taller. Here’s a tutorial for inexpensive DIY blackout shades.

7. Line the Back of Kitchen Cabinets


Photo via Lulu & Georgia

Now we’ve never done this one before, but we absolutely L-O-V-E this idea! If your rental kitchen has glass cabinet fronts, go ahead and line the back of the cabinet with some pretty paper. It can be as simple as adding some adhesive or velcro strips to the back of the wallpaper or gift wrap, and gently placing it in the back for a pop of color. If you don’t have glass cabinets fronts, then consider removing a couple of cabinet doors (put them in a closet so you can add them back on when you leave!) to display pretty dishes and paper in that area of the kitchen.

8. Add Washi Tape Wall Decals


Photo via Everything Emily Blog

Do you remember long ago in Casey’s Chicago apartment when she added a tape wall to her office? It turned out great (photos here!), but it did end up peeling off a tiny bit of wall in some areas when she removed it. Oops! Nothing that couldn’t easily be patched and painted, but still not ideal. Instead of using heavy-duty tape, we love the idea of using washi tape because it’s so gentle! This look from Everything Emily is spot on with the cute accent wall! Washi tape should definitely be safe on your walls and we love the idea of going with a bold black on a white rental wall.

9. Add a Bar Cart or Coffee Bar

1-bar-cart-living-roomIf you’re in a rental, chances are space is at a premium. In order to maximize the small amount of storage, we suggest adding a cute little cart. This item can definitely transition to your next home, plus it can house lots of kitchen essentials. We like the idea of creating either a bar look, with pretty decanters, straws, and party essentials! Or try out a coffee cart with mugs, your coffee maker, and cute jars for sugar. Extra credit if you find a cart with wheels! Then you can move it around if you’re hosting friends for a party.decorating_ideas_for_renters

Just because you’re living in a rental doesn’t mean it should be devoid of personality & creativity. Our motto is that your home should tell your story, and that’s the case no matter what stage of life you’re living in! Apartment, mansion, forever home, 6-month lease…it doesn’t matter to us. Take some time to make the space around you a happy place to be, because you deserve it!

Bridget and Casey Signature

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3 thoughts on “9 Decorating Ideas for Renters

    1. DIY Playbook

      Yes!! The baby is HERE! On 4th of July, Katie gave birth an adorable baby BOY and named him Owen. =) Thanks so much for checking, more details coming to the blog soon!

    2. shawnna griffin

      yay I’m so excited! Congrats! I have a second cousin that was born on the 4th! y’all have fun with Owen!

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DIY Tassel Decor


Has anyone else noticed that TASSELS are all the rage right now in stores?! Before we get into this adorable fashion turned home decor trend, very IMPORTANT question. How do you pronounce the word TASSEL?!Bridget_Casey_Fashion_tassel_-23

Every time Bridget says the word “tassel” she pronounces it as “tah-sil” . Casey on the other hand insists that the word is pronounced “tas-el” We’ve had this TASSEL pronunciation debate for literally years and every time the word comes up (surprisingly more than you would think?! very random, we know), we laugh so hard because we both insist that the other is straight crazy. Now that tassels are all.the.rage, the laughter and tassel debate continue… a lot more often. And we officially need your HELP to settle this chaos! Is there even a debate?! Are there actually two ways to pronounce this word?! Which one of us is straight crazy!? Wait… maybe don’t answer that last one. 😉

Anyways… when Michaels introduced this month’s challenge as DIY TRENDS, we immediately knew what beloved item we were turning to…tassels, tassels, and more tassels.

tassel_trend.09 AMColorful Tassel Pillow // Tassel Table Runner // Tassel Romper (GAP) // Black & White Tassel Necklace // Tassel Blanket // Black & White Clutch // Tassel Crossbody Bag // Colorful Clutch // Light Pink Tassel Necklace // Tassel Sandals

We have seen an explosion of tassels in both the fashion and home decor worlds. I mean, who doesn’t love a fun tassel accent?! And we thought this was a great chance to chat about how fashion trends can totally influence home decor decisions. Before we get into our DIY tassel tutorial for the day, we also thought it would be fun to each show a little tassel love from our closets.

Casey went with a gold tassel necklace to jazz up an otherwise plain gray dressBridget_Casey_Fashion_tassel_-20


While Bridget rocked a colorful tassel clutch from TargetBridget_Casey_Fashion_tassel_-28


We love that the tassel in both outfits is a fun, feminine accent but not necessarily the focus of either look. And that’s exactly how we see the “role” of tassels in home decor. Tassels are a fun way to accent a piece you already love (and already have).

We didn’t buy any new decor items for this project, but instead wanted to “jazz” up an item we already had with a DIY tassel. All we had to buy was yarn and thread <— a $5 investment that was well worth it. (Forewarning: The yarn section at Michaels is HUGE so the hardest part of this whole project was deciding on which color yarn we wanted to use).diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-18


  • Yarn
  • Fabric scissors (way easier to use than regular ones)
  • Piece of Cardboard
  • Needle & Thread


DIY Tassel – Project Steps

  1. The piece of cardboard will come in handy for the first step of this project, as it will keep the size of your tassel consistent. We just found some cardboard that came with something we recently purchased, and used that! But anything small & sturdy should work for you!


2. Loosely wrap the yarn all the way around the cardboard. We ended up going around about 50 times. Then cut it off the end of the spool of yarn.

3. Take a large piece of yarn and (loosely) tie one of the top edges of the yarn. Make sure you get underneath every layer of yarn. diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-8

4. Take those handy dandy fabric scissors and cut through all of the yarn on the opposite side of the cardboard. With the yarn off of the cardboard, you can now really tighten the top piece of yarn and double knot it. diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-115. Now take another piece of yarn (a long one!) and tie it around the top portion of the tassel. Tuck the ends into the rest of the yarn so it blends in. diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-12

6. Repeat a bit farther down on the tassel. diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-2

7. Once your DIY tassel is made, it’s time to give it a “haircut” so the ends are even. You’ll want to continue these steps until you have 4 uniform tassels. diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-3

8. Now don’t be intimidated if you’re not a seamstress, because we certainly are not! You’ll simply take your needle and thread up through the tassel so it comes out on top in the middle (ish) <– The thread will be so tiny, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-149. Once the thread is through the top of the tassel, it’s time to attach one tassel to each of the corners of the pillow. You’ll do that by poking the needle and thread through the back of each corner and going through the pillow a few times to secure the tassel to the pillow. (again, as long as the thread is hidden in the back or under the tassel, you’re good and don’t have to make it look perfect) diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-1510. Secure the thread with a knot at the end, and your tassel should be secured to the corner of the pillow. (Repeat that method for the remaining three corners). diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-16

And that’s all it takes! Doesn’t our boring old gray pillow look so much more trendy? We’re on board with the tassel trend…especially when it only costs a couple dollars to upgrade our decor. diy_tassel_pillow_tutorial-17

If you’re looking for more on-trend DIY projects to try, be sure to check out the other Michael Makers projects below and on the Michaels blog! But before you, we’re dying to know… who wins the tassel vs. tassel debate?!diy_tassel_pillowBridget and Casey Signature

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8 thoughts on “DIY Tassel Decor

  1. Abbie DeLaney Zinkan

    What a cute idea, I love it! And, sorry Bridget, I gotta go with Casey, it’s tas-el. BTW, you both look great in your pictures (love the LV purse Casey)! Happy 4th ladies!

  2. H Buchanan

    Tassel’s have been growing on me lately. When they first started popping up they seemed so random. I love these pillow tassels though! And I agree with Casey’s pronunciation!

  3. Kristen Ayotte

    Such a cute idea! And seemingly reversible if you grow tired of it! Oh, and team Casey, it’s definitely tas-el. 🙂


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