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Maker Moment: Valentine's Day DIYs & girls night in with Boston lifestyle blogger Kate Bowler

Posted by Melissa Massello  January 30, 2014 08:48 AM

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domestikated_life_west_elm_DIY_valentine.jpgPhoto: Kate Bowler/DomestikatedLife

Hallmark usually gets all the credit when it comes to Valentine's Day, but — rather than focus on commercialization — local lifestyle blogger Kate Bowler of DomestiKated Life instead celebrates all things handmade: the giddiness we all experienced as schoolchildren, trading homemade cards in paper desk-side mailboxes; the sweetness of spontaneous romance and friendship and all things pink and heart-shaped.

So, when we found out that Kate was co-hosting a "Girls Night In" DIY workshop this Saturday with west elm Fenway, we just had to sit down with her to pick her brain for this week's Maker Moment. Read on to find out how Kate earned her glitter-glued stripes in all things crafting, as well as how to grab a spot at her event — where she’ll be teaching the sewing technique for created stitched felt hearts for pins, sachets, etc. (shown above) while lucky students nosh on complimentary Valentine’s Day cupcakes from Boston bakery Sweet.

What's the first project you remember making/crafting?
I grew up in a very crafty household, my mother is very creative and a talented seamstress, and she taught me how to sew at a young age. So my earliest craft projects usually revolved around using scraps of her fabric to make clothes and accessories for my dolls.

Most successful project?
My most successful DIY project to date has to be our wedding this past spring — we got very crafty with the details! One of my favorite homemade elements was our escort cards. I collected champagne cages (the wires that hold down champagne corks) for months and months and used them to make mini bistro chairs that we wrote guests' names and table numbers on. We displayed them with a big sign that told guests to "find a seat!" It was a labor love, and took a lot of time and patience, but I remember being so happy afterwards when guests commented on the details.

What do you DIY the most?
I love entertaining, so a lot of my DIY ideas tend to be focused on elements I can use to make for an event or holiday. Details like a printed menu of the meal, or small favors for guests to take home, can make the experience so much more special and personalized. This year on New Year's Eve, for example, I hand cut party crowns for the guests to take a store bought detail to the next level. I also love making homemade gifts, for the past few years I've shared handfuls of DIY holiday gifts ideas in a series on my blog. People always appreciate the thoughtfulness of a handmade gift.

Favorite/least favorite tools/materials?
I love working with colored paper to make a quick garland. There are so many options now at craft stores for colored papers and paper punches, in just a few minutes you can have dozens of shapes of your choice cut out and ready to string or sew together for a customized garland. I don't think I'll ever get tired of chalkboard paint, either — it makes personalization so easy when you can turn anything into a chalkboard.

domestikated_life_DIY_valentine_crafts.jpgPhoto: Kate Bowler/DomestikatedLife

What's the best advice you've ever received?
I have a tendency to be a bit impatient with my projects, and always want to zoom through the prep work. But I remember my Dad saying to me when I was a kid, 'Measure twice, cut once' — he has a background in construction and a super-human amount of patience for DIY projects. So I try to remember that when I'm working on a project: slow it down, do it right the first time, and you'll end up with a better result in the long run.

What's your top tip for first-timers?
Less is more. I find my most successful DIY projects happen when I know when to stop. When you start to add too much to a project, that's when things can start to look too 'crafty' -- edit yourself, known when to put down the glue gun.

When I'm not making stuff, I'm..." working on my blog, DomestiKatedLife! I love to write about my DIYs, entertaining ideas, recipes, and local experiences in and around Boston. I also help run the Boston Bloggers group, which is an amazing community of bloggers around the city and greater New England. We run all sorts of fun events that help connect bloggers with each other and local businesses.

Anything else should we know about your DIY workshop?
Let's be honest, guys tend not to be as into Valentine's Day as girls are, right? It's a totally girly holiday, and I kind of love that. So, a few years ago I decided to throw a Girl's Night In party on Valentine's Day weekend where we indulged in themed cocktails, way too much candy, and enjoyed all things pink and covered in hearts. It was so much fun and really brought back out that childhood Valentine's Day spirit that we used to have, like trading cards in our little paper mailboxes. So this year, I'm happy to be partnering with west elm Fenway to bring some of that Valentine's Day festiveness out in the form of a DIY workshop!

Join Kate Bowler for her Valentine's Day DIY Workshop on Saturday, February 1 at 11 a.m. at West Elm Fenway (160 Brookline Avenue, Boston). Each $15 ticket covers craft materials and complimentary cupcakes from Sweet. Reserve your spot by calling (617) 450-9500, more information on Facebook, or follow DomestiKateBlog on Instagram for inspiration at home.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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