Category Archives: Entertaining

Easy BBQ Rub Recipe (a Super Easy Father’s Day Gift Idea!)


T-minus 4 days until Father’s Day, which means we only have a few more days to get a gift for those special men in our lives. This year we decided to step outside our comfort zone and “DIY” a BBQ rub recipe since both of our dads love BBQ-ing this time of year. We haven’t shared a ton of gift ideas recently and this easy idea for Dad (or a hostess gift for your next BBQ) was just too easy not to share.

BUT you guys know that we’re faaaaar from experts in the kitchen, so you’re probably thinking, “why should we trust this recipe… so much so that we’re going to give it to the Grill-masters in our lives?”. Great question (you read our minds)!

We actually borrowed it from the experts at Weber grill and we’re confident that if they give it the seal of approval, our dads will too!   <— and no, this is not a sponsored post, we just think this DIY gift is an idea that can be a great way to get even the littlest kids involved in spoiling their dad.Easy_BBQ_Rub_Recipe-9

Here’s what you’ll need for the DIY BBQ Rub:


  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin



One of the reasons we love this idea is because it’s personalized, functional (dads love functional, don’t they?!) and super simple.
Easy_BBQ_Rub_Recipe-4We measured all of the ingredients into a bowl and then mixed them all up, making sure the brown sugar became as smooth as possible.

Then we took the BBQ rub and funneled into this adorable little mason jar shaker.

We were left with this shaker full of the BBQ rub and quite a bit extra in 5 minutes or less. And the best part of “leftovers” is that you can make a batch of this and still have some leftover for another gift (maybe a hostess gift for a backyard BBQ?).


Free Gift Tag Printable

To wrap it up, we added a gift tag & ribbon and we were done! Easy BBQ Rub
If you want to use this same gift tag, you can download this one right here (print full-page) but any tag could do! We love the idea of pairing this with a gift card, some backyard gadgets (what dad doesn’t love gadgets?) or any “little something” that fits your dad’s personality. With 4 days until the big day, you have plenty of time to whip this up! Casey_bridget_Sig

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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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6 Easy Tips to Bring Your Wine Night Outside


[Disclaimer: We partnered with Kenwood Vineyards to bring you this post. All photos and opinions are our own and are not influenced by Kenwood]

As we’ve chatted about many times before, we are both not very talented in the kitchen. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy entertaining. We love having friends & family over, and it’s always so much fun creating a cozy environment, along with a pretty spread of food <– even if most of it store-bought! Moroccan_Table_lanterns_wine

We recently put together a little wine night and it was surprisingly simple to throw together. Plus…we took our wine night outside, because there’s nothing like sitting on the back patio, sipping wine, and hanging out with friends on a warm night.Moroccan_Tablescape_Red_Wine

Since summer entertaining is upon us, we figured we’d share some of our easy tips to bring your wine night outdoors.

1. Skip the Theme

Moroccan_Table-pillows-gold-lanternA party theme definitely has its place, but it can sometimes make the planning part a heck of a lot more stressful. Instead we suggest going with a color palette! We decided to go with neutrals, pinks, and gold metallics for our wine night. Moroccan_Table-oranges_runnerWhile we wanted a “Moroccan” vibe, we didn’t want to stress ourselves out over everything having to fit with that theme. So instead we brought in a few pieces that had that vibe (like this macrame runner & this wood bowl), and didn’t worry too much about everything having to go with that theme. In the end, we had a beautiful mis-matched look that was easy to throw together!

2. Don’t Forget LightingGold_Outdoor_Patio_Lanterns

Lighting can really set the mood, and it comes in handy when the sun sets. Stock up on string lights, lanterns, and candles so you can still enjoy the night even after the sun goes down. Moroccan_Table-outdoor-candle

Bonus points if you get some citronella candles, as they’ll add some mood lighting AND help keep the bugs at bay. #winwin

3. Keep the Food Simple

Since we don’t cook, we’re all about easy food when entertaining. After 1 trip to the grocery store, we are armed with everything we needed to put out some yummy snacks. Moroccan_Table-cheese-meat-platter-wine

Cheese boards are our go-to because 1. who doesn’t love cheese? 2. they can make you look like you’re the hostess with the mostess.  I mean who isn’t impressed when you throw together an elegant cheese platter? We suggest going with at least 3-4 cheeses so you have a wide variety. Then add on fresh grapes, charcuterie, some nuts, crackers, and dates. Throw it all on a wooden board and you’re good to go! <— our kind of food prep!Moroccan_Table_hummus_tray

We always have hummus and olives on hand too, just in case friends pop over. They’re staples that are easy to nosh on and make for pretty entertaining food.Moroccan_Table-cake-stand-naked-cake

Dessert is also (always) store-bought in our households. “Naked” cakes from the bakery with some flowers placed on top are a budget-friendly way to serve dessert. Put the cake on a stylish cake-stand (like this marble one) and you’re all set! (We’re planning to share more of our “naked cake” tips on the blog soon! Seriously…so easy!)

4. Pick up Some Grocery Store FlowersMoroccan_Tablescape_wine_flowers_food

When you’re gathering some snacks, don’t forget to hit up the flower section of the grocery store. There’s no need to venture to an expensive florist when you can get pretty blooms right then and there for a fraction of the cost. White_Wine_Kenwood_Vineyards_TableWe suggest keeping the colors in the same palette (we went with all pinks), so it looks cohesive. If you have flowers on the table, you can definitely skip the party decorations. These gorgeous blooms are all you need to bring your tablescape to life! Moroccan_Table-oranges_flowers_gold_trayDon’t forget to grab some greenery too. It comes in handy to decorate the table and scatter around the food platters (like these versatile gold ones!).

5. Delicious CocktailsMoroccan_Table-Kenwood_wine_options

What kind of wine night would it be without a variety of wine? We always like to put out a few different bottles of red and white wine so everyone is happy!Red_wine_Glass_Kenwood

We’ve both been big fans of Kenwood wine for quite some time. Kenwood Vineyards, in Sonoma Valley, has been crafting premium wine for more than 45 years. We actually went to Sonoma for Casey’s bachelorette party, so whenever we’re having a wine night we like to get Kenwood wines because it brings us right back to that memorable trip.Moroccan_Table-Kenwood_wine_bottle

Bridget: When it comes to wine, I’m a white wine drinker all the way and I usually order Sauvignon Blanc when out. I found out that Sauvignon Blanc was my “go-to” wine during our trip to Sonoma when we tried lots of wine and eventually landed on our favorites. I love this Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc because it’s incredibly crisp and refreshing…perfect for a hot summer night! This bottle is a twist off, which really comes in handy for entertaining.Kenwood_Wines_Red_Wine_Cork

Casey: While Bridget is all about white wine, I prefer red. There’s just something so cozy about pouring a glass, wrapping yourself up in a blanket, and sipping away with friends. I love both the Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinot Noir from Kenwood. They’re both very smooth and tasty, plus you can’t beat those price points. Such a great deal for really amazing bottles. Moroccan_Tablescape_Red_Wine

Serving wine when entertaining keeps things easy. Just put out some clean glasses, bottles, and an opener and everyone can serve themselves. Much more simple than worrying about mixing up cocktails continuously throughout the night.

6. Bring the Indoors Out


Don’t be afraid to cozy up your space with pillows, blankets, and even a pouf from inside your house. Bringing these indoor items outside is an easy (and FREE!) way to create the cozy environment for your wine night. We went with some pink and blue pillows and layered them on the patio bench to really keep things comfortable. Moroccan_Tablescape_Flowers_cheese_Platter

A macrame runner (that would usually be used inside) was brought outside to add texture to the table. Who cares if it’s not meant for the outdoors. You can bring it on in once everyone goes on home!Moroccan_Table-wide_lanterns_food_flowers

We don’t know about you, but all of this wine & food talk has us extra excited to entertain this holiday weekend! We hope these tips will help you throw your own wine night this summer. Cheers to lots of warm nights with friends ahead. bridget_and_casey_sig

PS. Be sure to stop by the blog tomorrow for a rare SATURDAY post here on the DIY Playbook! We’re excited to chat about all of the amazing deals this weekend before we unplug for the holiday. Have a great Friday, see you bright and early tomorrow!! xo



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6 thoughts on “6 Easy Tips to Bring Your Wine Night Outside

  1. Kerri Hansen

    Beautifuly put together! What time should I come over? Lol😂 But seriously, the ambiance your have created is so cozy yet elegant. And can we discuss those gorgeous Moroccan lanterns? They are stunning!

  2. Angela East

    You two did an amazing job with this layout. Plus those lanterns are EVERYTHING! I love the touch the foliage adds to this space. You almost forget you are even outdoors. 👌


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8 Step Game Plan for your next Football Party


[Disclaimer: We teamed up with NFL Homegating to bring you this post. All opinions & photography are our own and are not influenced by NFL Homegating. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog!]nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-bridget-bear-down

We must admit, we’re not the sportiest gals around. On Sundays, we’re often blogging away, while our husbands are glued to the TV watching the NFL But we always love an excuse to entertain, especially when that party involves a fun theme and plenty of DIY projects. Not to mention, we always like a shindig that earns us extra wife points!

nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-snacks-cheseSo when NFL Homegating asked us to create a game plan for the ultimate watch party, we immediately said “yes” and started brainstorming how to take a party like this to the next level! We believe our tips can translate for your favorite NFL team (although the Chicago Bears season hasn’t been the best…we’ll still always heart them!), so you can completely customize your football party with your team’s colors!

We also really like the idea of throwing a tailgate inspired party at home…aka “NFL Homegating.” And with those winter temps officially here, we’re happy to avoid tailgating in the freezing cold. Instead this is a way to celebrate game day from the comfort of your own home. Now that’s something these 2 rookies can get behind!

8 Step Game Plan for the Ultimate Football Party

nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-full-party1. Choose a low maintenance menunfl_chicago_bears-chili-mug

It’s no secret that we’re not the best cooks around, but there are a few dishes we actually have in our repertoire. Chili being one of them! As long as we have a recipe to follow, we can usually make a pretty tasty chili.


Chili is an amazing food to serve at parties because you can make it ahead of time and then just throw it in the crockpot to keep it warm. We decided to create a little chili bar area so you could build your own bowl! nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-chili

We included fun toppings like tortilla chips, avocado, cheese, and green onions to really fancy things up! We also ordered these Bears soup bowls from NFL Homegating (sadly they’re sold out on, but you can pick some up at Bed, Bath, & Beyond) and they’re huge! Such a cute little container for a hearty cup of chili.

2. Incorporate your team’s colorsnfl_chicago_bears_homegating-bears-tv

When you’re celebrating your team, it’s easy to figure out the party colors. In our case we used blue & orange throughout.

We each donned some Bears gear, and then picked up some navy tassels and orange/blue balloons. nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-garland


All it takes is a few touches of these colors to really bring the entire look together.

3. DIY an inexpensive runner (helps with the mess!)


When it came to the table, we wanted to keep it simple so the fun snacks could really shine. So we took some craft paper and made a super simple runner. To make it a bit sporty, we used a sharpie to draw plays right onto the paper. Seriously, so easy yet looks adorable.

Plus, the runner kept my marble table a lot cleaner from all of the snacks & dips. nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-appetizersnfl_chicago_bears_homegating-snacks-chese

4. Add Height to the Table nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-full-party

Whenever we’re creating a tablescape, we always try to use varying heights on the table to create interest. It’s just like decorating any space. You need to layer items in and create a variety of levels.

nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-appetizersnfl_chicago_bears_homegating-bridget-appetizersWe put this football shaped cutting board on a white bowl to give it a boost in height. And we also added some flowers onto the table for some freshness and to add in a taller object.

5. Pick out a few pieces of merchandise that make a big statement (#wifepoints)


The NFL Homegating collection contains some really cool pieces. We especially loved these jersey salt & pepper shakers. I mean can you even? They’re hilarious. chili-mugs-bearsThis appetizer tray, the chili bowls, and this cheese board really took the party atmosphere to the next level too. And we’ll have all of these items for years, so we can whip them out for every NFL football & Super Bowl party <– let’s hope the Bears someday make it to the Super Bowl again…

And you can’t forget glassware! Mr. Finn was especially excited that we picked up some Bears pint glasses. A cold beer just tastes better out of a nice glass, doesn’t it?! We definitely earned some wife points with these items (and these all might make for some good holiday gifts if you’re buying for your dad/brother/husband!).

6. Throw away silverware for the win!


Another party tip? Don’t use “real” silverware. Instead purchase some plastic silverware in your team’s colors. Way easier when it comes time to clean-up. nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-chili-mug

7. Don’t forget the washi tape nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-black-white-washi

A few more thoughtful touches helped take everyday items to the next level. Black & white striped tape wrapped around plastic bottle water makes little H2O referees.

And navy washi tape on orange cups creates football laces, and it really made our silverware display that much better.


Putting a little extra effort into every aspect of the party really brings things to another level. And all of these tiny tweaks are super affordable and only take a bit of time #worthit

8. Use what you already have

nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-bear-down-chicagoAs with most everything we do in our homes, we always use what we already have. There’s no use buying tons of new items when you can shop your home for stuff. Our lightbox sign came into use to jazz up our chili bar. nfl_chicago_bears_homegating-barcart

And a few festive additions on the bar cart made it party ready!

So what do you say? Are you ready to throw your own NFL Homegating party? With some items from NFL Homegating, a few small DIY’s, and a couple of thoughtful touches your party is guaranteed to be a big WIN!


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Tips for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


I’m not a big dessert person…at all. In fact, my entire family (the O’Halloran clan) really isn’t into desserts. It’s funny because on our birthdays we all kinda groan when my mom says we have to order dessert so we can sing “happy birthday.” Yep, we’re crazy like that I guess.

Soft-Chocolate-Chip-CookiesBut I will say that I love a good cookie. Move over cake, cookies are where the party is at! In fact, that’s the reason why we had a cookie bar at our wedding instead of serving cake to our guests. I’ll take a cookie over tiramisu, cheesecake, or pie any day. #handsdown

You guys know about my complete lack of talent in the cooking department. Well, I’m no better in the baking department either. In fact, I’m probably much, much worse when it comes to baking (too much room for error with all of the measurements and baking times!) But lucky for me, that husband of mine is exceptional in the kitchen and he makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. Finn-Baking-Cookies

It’s so funny because he often bakes these cookies and brings them to work and his coworkers just naturally assume that his wife baked them! If they only knew…Cookie-Baking-SuppliesFinn has been making his famous chocolate chip cookies ever since we started dating, and they turn out perfectly every.single.time. It’s crazy because even if I try to follow the recipe exactly they simply don’t turn out the same. They’re flat, or burned, or hard. So I asked him to share his secrets with not only me, but with all of you. And that baking hubby of mine happily obliged. Now you may be thinking, “Casey, I know how to make cookies…it isn’t Rocket Science!” That’s great, but when it comes to baking I need all of the help I can get, so I figured some of you out there might get something out of his tips. Plus, it was a nice excuse to get some fresh cookies from my husband, and bonus…it gives you some yummy eye candy on this Friday.

But before we get to his tips, here’s the recipe (a pretty standard chocolate chip cookie one)


  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in another bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and drop cookie dough onto sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, transfer to cooling rack when finished.

Salted-Butter-SticksTIP #1

Soft butter is key! I’m usually way too impatient to “thaw” out my butter, and I end up throwing it into the batter straight from the fridge. Apparently, that’s a big no-no. Finn lets his butter rest out on the counter until it gets to room temperature before even starting to bake the cookies. If you’re strapped for time, preheat the oven, and put the butter near the warm oven to get it warm faster. But be sure not to melt the butter, just get it nice and soft.

TIP #2

Don’t skimp on the vanilla. In fact, Finn often adds another dash or 2 to the batter. Gotta love a little extra flavor in there.

TIP #3

When combining the dry ingredients, be sure you really mix them together well. If not, you may get a salty bite in one cookie, some baking soda taste in another. So take the extra minute and combine everything thoroughly as you go.

TIP #4

There’s no such thing as too many chocolate chips. Sure the recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips, but if you’re feeling crazy you can dump a few more into the bowl. I mean everything is better with chocolate, right? And don’t use the hand mixer when it comes time to add the chocolate chips. Instead use a spatula. I can tell you from experience that I’ve burned out a hand mixer (or 2) trying to mix together some thick batter. Oops…

Also if you are taking the cookies to work, be sure to avoid putting nuts in the batter so everyone can enjoy them! Cookie-Dough

TIP #5

Hide the batter from your cookie dough obsessed wife. Okay, perhaps this tip only applies when I’m around, but who doesn’t love cookie dough? I will gladly take my chances with salmonella for a big ol’ scoop of this sugary dough. But seriously, when your batter is done be sure to pop it into the fridge to get it nice and cold before you place on the baking sheet. Finn-BakingBaking-Sheet

TIP #6

Don’t make perfectly round balls when placing the dough on the cookie sheet. No need for an ice cream scoop either. Instead use your nice, clean hands and shape them yourself.

TIP #7

A cooling rack is a must! Once your cookies are out of the oven, let them sit for about 1-2 minute. Then transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely. This will prevent them from getting overcooked on the hot baking sheet. Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-Table

Is your mouthwatering yet?Cookies-TulipsYeah, I’m dying over here too. Give me all the cookies! Cookies for breakfast is a-okay on a Friday. I mean calories don’t count because it’s almost the weekend…right?Eating-Cookies

So go ahead and indulge. I won’t tell anyone! And a big thank you to Finn for sharing his chocolate chip cookie secrets today (& for letting me sneak quite a few spoonfuls of dough while shooting these pictures.)


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4 thoughts on “Tips for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Trang

    You. Lucky. Girl. A man that makes delicious treats?!?! I wish I didn’t have a sweet tooth. It would sure make my abs pop more if I didn’t devour ANY sweet dessert treat that is put in front of me. Looking at these cookies makes me want one…and I’m not particularly a fan of chocolate chip cookies (my favorite is white chocolate chunk macadamia nut cookies – yummy!).

  2. Zan Turner

    Your hubby sure knows how to prepare cookies. These look so yummy and I love all his tips. I will plan to use them in my next batch! I am always on the hunt for a great chocolate chip cookie, but like you, I lack the patience to wait!!


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How to Organize Nora Fleming Minis

let's celebrate mini

This is NOT a sponsored post, I just really love this product and feel the need to gush all about it because it’s just that cool. Plus, I recently did a DIY based on it, so I need to give ya a little background on it.

Have you guys heard of Nora Fleming serving platters?! If you haven’t… we seriously need to chat. To be honest, I have no clue if these platters are popular strictly in the Chicagoland area or if they’re popular everywhere. Ms. Nora Fleming, the creator of these gorgeous & genius platters, is from the Chicagoland area so I’m not sure if they are sold here because she’s from here or if they’re sold everywhere. The good news is, if these platters really are just a “Chicago thing”, you are in luck because you can order them online and get them shipped right to you!nora fleming platter

So what are these platters all about?! Well, ALL of the serving platters and plate products are a plain, classic, slightly off-white color. Like this one…

ring mini

The platters and trays come in all shapes and sizes but all have the same look. The part that makes these platters so cool is that they have this tiny little hole, which holds a seasonal “mini” to help accessorize your party.nora fleming minis

There are tons and tons of “minis” to choose from and you can easily trade them out for each of your entertaining needs. Hence, you do not need to buy all new platters for each holiday, but instead, re-use the classic white trays and platters while trading out the mini to match the specific occasion. Pretty gosh darn GENIUS if you ask me!

The minis run about $10-$14 each and as each mini retires from the collection, you can get them on sale. These minis are GENIUS because they eliminate the need for me to have to buy a ton of different themed platters and then find space in my tiny kitchen to store all of this festive  stuff. Instead, I have a few of these classic platters and have a little collection of minis to change out for each party.

This brings me to today’s $5 DIY project. A Nora Fleming Organizer for all m y minis.

One trip to Goodwill later, I found this wall shelf (?) that was intended to hold small figurines back in the day.organizer

I took off the hanging hardware on the back of the box to create a flat bottom.IMG_8595

Then I gave this piece a few coats of white spray paint I had left over from a previous project. After it was dry, I simply added a stickers of the first letter of every month throughout the year, this would help me put my minis in some kind of order by seasonal occasion.nora fleming organizer

Finally, I placed my collection of minis in each of the cubes and I was all set! A $2 shelf turned drawer organizer for some of my favorite entertaining accessories. After buying the $3 stickers, this DIY organizer cost me about $5 to make.

holiday minis drawer organizer organizer Now, all I have to do is place this organizer in my kitchen drawer and I’ll never lose my minis again! For $5, how could I beat this DIY organizer? Definitely an excuse to celebrate in my organizer

 And more importantly, thanks Ms, Fleming… I love your style!Bridget Signature



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7 thoughts on “How to Organize Nora Fleming Minis

  1. Nikki

    I live in Indiana, which isn’t far from you, and we have these platters here too. Love this idea, I have a drawer with a bunch of those minis floating around in it!

    1. Paula

      If you ever want to sell any please let me know! You have a few I’ve been trying to locate and are no longer made.

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Wine Bottle Tote + Silhouette Giveaway


It’s December, and that means that your social calendar is probably chock full of holiday parties, Christmas cookie exchanges, and festive dinner parties. If that sounds like your December schedule, then you may want to try out today’s easy craft project!

No one likes to show up empty-handed to any of these little get togethers, so we came up with an inexpensive project that will really wow your hostess and fellow guests.Hostess-Gift-Wine-BottleThese wine bottle tote bags. They’re not only adorable, but they’re very simple to make. Plus, we like the fact that you can make many of these ahead of time and have them stockpiled and ready for your long-list of upcoming parties.

Bottle-of-red-wineAll you have to do is buy a bottle of wine (probably the most costly supply for this project), dress it up with this wine bottle tote, and head on out to party it up!Plain-Wine-BagWe ordered these wine totes on Amazon, but we’ve seen these around various craft stores so just keep your eyes open.Stickers-on-bagCheers-StickersThen we used our new Silhouette Portrait to create the “Cheers” font. Like we said in this post, we’re still Silhouette beginners so we’ll direct you over to their awesome Youtube channel for tutorials. For this project, we wrote out the word “Cheers” in a few different fonts and then printed it on premium vinyl. We thought about just using regular paper, but figured that a sticker would give us the cleanest lines when we spray painted.

[If you don’t own a cutting machine you can use stickers to write your message or create your own shape. Oooorrr keep reading this post for your chance to win your very own Silhouette Portrait!]Krylon-Spray-PaintDIY-wine-bagCheers-Spray-PaintedFor the final step, we stuck the words onto the tote and sprayed a light coat of spray paint over and around the sticker. After letting the paint dry, we peeled it off, and boom…those boring totes were instantly personalized and ready to par-tay.Cheers-Christmas-GiftNow all we need to do is pick up a few new bottles of wine and we won’t have to worry about buying hostess gifts all season long. I think we should cheers to that!

Wine-Bag-DIY-CheersIf you’re looking to add some custom holiday cheer to just about anything…then we’ve got the giveaway for you. We teamed up with Silhouette to giveaway one of their Silhouette Portrait machines to 1 lucky reader! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and let us know what holiday project you would tackle with the machine. We can’t wait to hear!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Bridget and Casey SignatureP.S. Going to a party where alcohol might not be an appropriate gift? No worries, we’ve got ya covered. Try our #BusyGirlDIY flower vase and we’re sure the hostess will be impressed! In honor of this holiday season, you can substitute the fall colored blooms pictured and add evergreen, pine, berries, or simple white blooms instead. Those colors will POP even more next to the gold & glamorous vase. busy girl vase


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50 thoughts on “Wine Bottle Tote + Silhouette Giveaway

  1. Elise Jay

    Oh man. Is there a project you can’t do with a Silhouette? I would probably do some serious organizing and labeling.
    I love the ombre look of the bag – I was shocked it was spray paint. You two re amazing.

  2. Sarah

    Am I really supposed to pick just one thing I could do?! I’d love to recreate these bags – I can already imagine doing something similar with other words/quotes/colors for New Years, birthdays and beyond! Wine is always a great gift. Nicely done, ladies!

  3. Jaclyn Lorimer

    OH MY GOSH I have been drooling over the Silhouettes for months now but haven’t been able to pull the trigger on actually buying one. I love labeling everything, so the question is really what would I use it for first–probably for some holiday pillows!


    Jaclyn, from LorimerLiving.Blogspot.Com

  4. Amanda

    I LOVE typography, so using it as a stencil for just baout anything would be amazing. Currently planning a baby shower that it would be great to have for things like decor, place settings, etc!

  5. Jessica Alayne

    I have several ornament projects I’m thinking Silhouette could help with. But what about wrapping projects?! For sure I could find a million ways to use it.

  6. Ryan Malone

    i would make some cute holiday cards, gift tags and then labels to pack up my decorations in a more organized fashion after the holidays are over. after christmas i usually just throw everything in boxes because i’m tired of looking at it! ha.

  7. Betsy

    So many things! Label holiday storage (and everyday storage), this would be awesome for making gift tags, and I would love to make some wall art!

  8. Heather

    I want to make the cute Santa sacks for my two young children. I’d also like to make our own Christmas cards because we live so far from our family and friends. Thank you for the giveaway!

  9. sarah oswald

    I would love to tackle making greeting cards and gift boxes and I have always wanted to try to make popup greeting cards and I think this would make it alot easier. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  10. Heather Byrd

    I’d like to personalize a cutting board, baking dish and cake carrier for my mother-in-law. She has a small “sweets” business on the side and she loves to cook. Thank you for the great giveaway 🙂

  11. Ann Fontaine

    I would love to tackle an organizing project and make labels for my Christmas bins. Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Stacy Renee

    I’d make adorable polar bear Christmas cards to begin with and I’d also make lots of festive embellishments, sayings, etc for my baby girl’s first scrapbook (She’s due any day now!)


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The Busy Girl’s Gold Vase as a Hostess Gift


Attention all Busy Girl’s, we have another QUICK & EASY DIY project that you can whip up as a Glamorous Hostess Gift throughout the upcoming holiday season (cough, cough… like next week for Thanksgiving!).

But before we officially move onto the tutorial, allow us to review….

Busy Girl DIY is defined as a craft or do-it-yourself project that aligns with the busy girl’s style, budget, and lack of free time, materials, or confidence in her ability to craft. These projects take around 15-30 minutes and require minimal amounts of time, material or talent (like this one, this one or this one). These projects allow Busy Girls to get the look they love without the hassle. You’re busy, we’re busy… we get it. Let’s do this…

The Busy Girl's Gold VaseFlowers are always a nice gesture and the staple hostess gift for Busy Girl’s like us. A bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine…check and check! However, etiquette says that you should never bring in “un-vased” flowers to the host or hostess. Why not, we wondered?

Of course it’s always the thought that counts… and any hostess would be extremely grateful for any token of appreciation, we’re pretty sure. But if we’re being technical here, un-vased flowers require the hostess to take time away from her entertaining, cooking, and greeting in order to give those gorgeous blooms a new place to live. It’s not a huge inconvenience for the hostess (and you’re not being rude by bringing these in without a vase), but when a hostess has food in the oven, guests loading into her home, and she is trying to greet, get drinks, and take coats from everyone- cutting down flowers, finding a vase that fits, and putting it all together just doesn’t lend itself well to giving guests her undivided, welcoming attention. To combat this etiquette tip, we thought it would be more convenient, glamorous AND thoughtful for us to still bring in our staple flowers, but making sure we handle the cutting, vasing, and sprucing up the blooms well before we enter her doors.

With this pre-arranged gorgeous vase, you are showing that you:

  1. Planned ahead
  2. Care about her precious time
  3. Want to provide her with a gold & glamorous vase she can re-use all season long!

It’s a win-win-win if you ask us!! Plus, this vase is simple to make and doesn’t require a lot of time, money or creative talent. Busy Girls—we can do this and we have plenty of time to finish this project up for next week’s celebrations.


What you’ll need:

    • Liquid Gold (This stuff is AH-MAZING and officially our new best friend)
    • Soft Hair Paintbrush (so important that it’s soft hair)
    • Vase (this one cost me $1 at the Dollar Store!!)
    • Painter’s Tape
    • Scotch tape (optional)
    • Flowers (got this bunch from Jewel for less than $10)

Rookie Tip: While you have all the supplies out and the vases only cost $1, why not make a few to get you through all of your holiday events?!

So here goes nothing. All you really have to do is tape around the vase to create the “line” or look that you want. Make sure you press firmly on the line that the paint will hit, this will ensure none of the gold liquid will seep under the tape.

I used the soft haired brush to put one coat of liquid gold on the exposed part of the vase.  The directions on the back of the liquid gold suggested using the soft haired brush and I can see why. If I used a different paint brush, you probably would have seen the brush strokes and it wouldn’t have that smooth, gold finish. So listen to the directions and use that soft brush! If you have some extra time on your hands, let your first coat dry and put on another coat for extra coverage.

liquid goldliquid gold

Gold tapeGold Vase DIYAfter that, let the paint dry and slowly peel away your painter’s tape. You should be left with a crisp gold line.

tapetaped vaseFill the jar up with water and place your scotch tape like a grid on the top of the vase. This post has a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this. Ever since Casey shared that tip, I always use clear tape to help me arrange flowers.


Little by little, I place flowers into the vase’s grid… starting with the greenery around the sides.

flowersflowersThen I placed the other random flower types until I got the look that I wanted. I would suggest waiting to do this part until the morning of the event or the night before the event. This will guarantee your arrangement looks fresh for the hostess (and at the party).

busy girl vaseI love the elegant and simple look the liquid gold gives this project. To think this was just a dollar store vase that now looks far more expensive and sophisticated! You can hand off this project to the hostess and she will have nothing to worry about to prep these beautiful blooms for the party!! You will be a Busy Girl that looked like you took a lot of time & effort to spoil your gracious host with this one-of-a-kind gift. Such a win-win!

The Busy Girl's Gold VaseBridget and Casey SignatureP.S. If you like this BUSY GIRL idea, check out our other Busy Girl DIY ideas by clicking on the Busy Girl icon on the sidebar. Happy Crafting, you fellow Busy Girls!! xo

busy girl icon

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6 thoughts on “The Busy Girl’s Gold Vase as a Hostess Gift

  1. Alysia @ Slim Sanity

    I need to get soem of that liquid gold. I love this idea! I tried a dripping one with paint that didn’t work out so well. I think I had too much.

  2. Summer Hogan

    This is easily one of my favorite and go-to DIY’s! Love it! I always forget about the tape trick too! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. DIY Playbook

    I just used water, but it definitely didn’t come off all the way. And be careful not to stain your sink (spoken from experience). I used a magic eraser to get the newly stained gold out of my slop sink. Did you make a vase?!


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Thanksgiving Inspired Highlight Reel


Last week we shared all of the goodies from our Thanksgiving tablescape. We’re still waiting to hear if B’s sister gives us an A+ for our math-themed table. (Fingers crossed we pass with flying colors!)



We even offered this awesome FREE PRINTABLE that you can include on your own Thanksgiving table. We know we’re going to be thankful to have a little extra personalization at our own holiday dinners.

thankful printableBut enough about our table…today we want to share some other A+ tablescapes from the #BloggerStylinHomeTour series. We were blown away by some of the creativity and we’re totally lovin’ these unique setups. No matter your style, we’re confident you can find inspiration in the following eye candy…

striped-candleSimple Stylings
Summer’s gold and natural tablescape really “wow-ed” us! The entire setup is perfectly simple and sophisticated. We especially love love love her DIY candle sticks. She simply took dollar store candles and added some gold stripes to really jazz them up. We just might be adding this DIY project to our Thanksgiving to-do list…

diy-thanksgiving-table-5Burlap and Lace
Who says Thanksgiving tables have to feature warm tones like gold, red, and orange? Shannon’s gorgeous table proves that there are no rules when it comes to setting a glamorous Thanksgiving table. The deep jewel tones, paired with white accents (like that amazing pumpkin centerpiece!), really take this table to the next level. Love it!

thanksgiving-table-plate-close-wJones Design Company
How stylish is this setup by Emily from Jones Design Company? We’re especially impressed by the simple leaf placecard with the gold lettering etched right on there. What an easy DIY that you could incorporate into your own Thanksgiving tablescape. It just goes to show you can find plenty of gorgeous accents for your home right in your own backyard!Thanksgiving-Table-RhodaSouthern Hospitality
We’ve been big fans of Rhoda’s work for a looong time. She is just so darn talented and we love her warm and inviting home. We love how Rhoda mixes different patterns within her tablescape. Stripes, with plaid, with floral…it totally works here and gives the table such a nice layered look. Of course we’re impressed with her tablescape…but I bet we would be even more impressed with her southern Thanksgiving cookin’. I’m sure she will be serving up some delicious treats on turkey day.

Pumpkin-Placecard-Coastal-ThanksgivingSand & Sisal
“Coastal” & “Thanksgiving” don’t usually go hand in hand. But Kim from Sand & Sisal totally pulls off this amazing beachy tablescape. How adorable are those little pumpkins with the sand star name card? We don’t care that we live in the midwest…a table like this adds instant nautical vibes to any Chicago gal’s tablescape. Now if only we could learn how to rock the beachy waves in our hair to match…

thanksgiving-table3Julie Blanner
We are totally digging on all of the copper trends this season and Julie confirmed our crush even more. Her copper mugs mixed with her natural and gorgeous tablescape leave us feeling completely inspired. And if you love this look as much as we do, you’ll probably love her FREE place cards and FREE thankful cards as much as we do too! But before you go check it out, is it just us or are those antlers just dreamy?!

All of these talented tablescapes have us totally excited and inspired for one of our favorite holidays of the year! We can’t wait to share a day of gratitude with our families and hope you too can gather around a gorgeous table with some very special people.

Bridget and Casey SignaturePS. If you love the inspiration & variety of the Blogger Stylin’ Home Tours Series as much as we do, stay tuned! We are participating in our last tour of the year in just a few weeks, & this isn’t any ‘ole tour… it’s the GRAND FINALE Christmas Tour!

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4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Inspired Highlight Reel

  1. Taylor

    I seriously love your guys’ style. Also, I’m now craving brussel sprouts after seeing them in your photo. Never thought that would be a sentence coming out of my mouth…:)

    1. DIY Playbook

      You are too funny Taylor! We had z.e.r.o. food in the house, and Bridget’s sister said she had some raw brussel sprouts…so we threw them onto the table at the last minute. ha!

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“Counting” on Thanksgiving


To all of our newbies hopping over from Number Fifty-three blog — welcome!



We are super excited you stopped by & on behalf of the entire DIY Playbook team (veteran readers included), here’s 5 random tips we would like to share to help you get to know what we’re all about here on the ‘ol Playbook.

1. We are Bridget & Casey, best friends and DIY Rookies from Chicago.

2. We heart Instagram.

3. We drink way too much coffee & live one to-do list item at a time.

4. Neither of us cook, but thanks to our amazing husbands… we never starve.

5. By day, Casey works as a TV producer & Bridget as a high school teacher.

Now, onto the real reason you are all here …. some tablescape eye candy!

IMG_3408We’ll keep the commentary to a minimum but just to catch you all up to speed and clarify whose table this is, allow us to give you some consolidated scoop. Long story short, we took over Bridget’s sister’s home once again (remember her front door makeover? or her gorgeous wedding photos?) to give her amazing farmhouse table some love for Thanksgiving. She’s a math teacher by trade, so as the typical nerds that we are, we decided to work her love for numbers into her tablescape. Like her, we are totally “counting” on Thanksgiving and can’t wait to celebrate in style at her home– hopefully only with pretty numbered pillows and not practice word problems.

KT’s home is bright, colorful, with touches of rustic glam. Along with the math thing, we thought we would incorporate her already established style to create a very non-traditional Thanksgiving tablescape that fits her home’s “look”.

breadWe haven’t heard the final grade, but we think we passed! Fingers crossed?! What do you guys think…. do we earn an A?


place settingTo add just one more personal touch and highlight the reason behind this fabulous holiday, we thought it would be fun to add some place cards to the mix to help guests really think about what they have to be extra grateful for this year. We created a watercolor card reading, “I’m thankful for….” & placed one at each place setting. Definitely a positive conversation starter and a great reminder of the real focus that is Turkey Day.
thankful printableThese cuties are actually FREE PRINTABLES here on the DIY Playbook. If you want copies for your Thanksgiving tablescape (or even a way to help your family prepare for the big day with a little reflection each day), go ahead and check out this post & get your free download.

PumpkinAnd although we loved playing with the greens, blues and neutrals for this table’s personality, we just had to add a touch of the traditional orange pumpkins. They just seem to POP next to the cool colors. #makingastatement
wood table decorthankful


If only all math homework came in the form of creating a bright and beautiful tablescape, we’d think about becoming math teachers too! Until then, this is the only equation we’re figuring….

6 Mason Jars + 7 Mini Pumpkins + 2 colorful plates + 4 cups of coffee = 1 thankful sister & 2 happy Rookies

Now, before we start assigning homework or something crazy, you better get out of here and check out all the gorgeous Thanksgiving inspiration Kim at Sand & Sisal has to offer.

Bridget and Casey Signature
And of course, a huge thank you to Lindsay from White Buffalo Styling Co. for hosting this whole thing. Such an amazing host to all these blog hops, I can’t wait to go check out her “hosting tips” this season. Here’s the rest of the week’s line-up:





o   DIY Playbook <– that’s us!


Make sure you download your FREE Place Cards before you go!
Free Printable 

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12 thoughts on ““Counting” on Thanksgiving

  1. Zan Turner

    You all are so talented in this area. I keep coming back here to look for new ideas! Poor Bridget’s sister who has to put up with all of this…lol…Well, at least she does not have to do it herself!!! Love your blog – and yea for Chicago!!


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