DIY: Mini Pumpkin Piñata

This year I wanted to give mini piñatas a try for a Halloween decoration. Here are the five designs I created and here’s how I made them.

You will need empty toilet paper or paper towel tubes, paper, crepe paper, glue, scissors, pencil, construction paper, embroidery floss and needle.

2. Trace around the end of a empty tube with a pencil on a piece of paper. Draw four tabs. Cover opposite side of traced circle with crepe paper. Cut out both circles with tabs and glue one over one end of tube. Thread a piece of embroidery floss through the center of the other circle with tabs.

Halloween piñata - step 1 | Emote Design

2. Fill the tube with treats and glue the second circle to the end of the tube to enclose the contents.

Halloween piñata - step 2 | Emote Design

3. If there are gaps between your circle with tabs and the tube, cover them with more crepe paper. Cut three pieces of crepe paper about 6″ long and glue around the tube to cover it completely.

Halloween piñata - step 3 | Emote Design

4. Cut eight pieces of crepe paper about 12″ long. Stack them and cut fringe about 3/4″ into the crepe paper and about 1/4″ apart. Starting at the bottom, glue each strip around the tube. They will wrap around the tube several times. It’s OK – don’t skimp!

Halloween piñata - step 4 | Emote Design

5. Add some eyes and mouth using card stock. To access the treats, just pull the string!

Pumpkin Piñatas | Emote Design

Get creative! Check out my other piñata designs for inspiration. If you make a Halloween piñata, be sure to add your link in the comments. I would love to see it!

Mini Halloween Piñatas

Happy October! It’s time for all things Halloween. What’s your favorite Halloween decoration? Do you like cute or spooky? Do you make or buy?

This year I wanted to give mini piñatas a try. They are easy to make (although they do take some time) and crepe paper is a very forgiving medium. Fill them with candy, stickers, crayons, spider rings, etc. Or, leave them empty and create a garland. Here’s how I made them.

Spider (or bat or vampire) | Ghost

Spider and Ghost Piñatas | Emote Design

Candy Corn | Martian

candy corn and martin piñatas | Emote Design

Pumpkin | Filled with candy!

Pumpkin Piñatas | Emote Design


Hi! Five: Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

Hola! Listo para una fiesta? Say “hello” to these Cinco de Mayo party basics I found on Pinterest.

Cinco de Mayo party ideas found on Pinterest | Emote Design

1. Lovely tin can floral arrangements from wedding style guide.
2. Refreshing strawberry agua fresca from The Taylor House.
3. Classic salsa fresca recipe from Martha Stewart.
4. Fiesta favor bags filled with goodies from Camille Styles.
5. Festive pull piñata garland from Love + Cupcakes.

Bonus: How adorable are these individual seven layer dips? (Leave a comment if you know the source.)

Individual seven layer dip found on Pinterest | Emote Design

May Day Paper Cones

May Day – May 1st – is traditionally a day to acknowledge the coming of summer. To celebrate, some communities host Maypole dances, public garden clean-up events, or picnics in the park. One May Day tradition I always wanted to try is the secret hanging of May Day baskets filled with flowers on the doorknobs of neighboring homes.

Instead of baskets, I made simple paper cones to fill with flowers. (Here are the directions.)   Below are some of the May Day paper cones I made to hang over doorknobs and chair backs, both inside and out.

Red Gingham Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design

Black Toile Paper May Day cone | Emote Design

Paper May Day Cones | Emote Design

Green Polka Dot Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design

Yellow Polka Dot Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design

Weekend DIY: Paper May Day Cone

May Day (May 1st) is recognized by many as the unofficial beginning of Spring. A common way to celebrate May Day is by hanging baskets of fresh flowers on the doorknobs of neighbors’ houses.

Red Gingham Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design

You can easily make your own paper May Day cones and fill them with Spring flowers to surprise your neighbors. Wrap a few light-weight flowers in a piece of damp paper towel then wrap again in a piece of foil to keep the paper cone dry.

To make one cone you’ll need:

  • 6 x 6 inch piece of patterned card stock
  • Bone folder
  • Glue or adhesive tape
  • 2 eyelets
  • Eyelet setting tool (like the Crop-A-Dile)
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Scissors


Paper May Day Cone Directions | Emote Design

Fold a piece of 6 x 6 inch card stock in half diagonally (below, left) with the pattern on the outside of the fold. Reopen the square and fold two opposite points to center fold (below, center). Refold the paper at the center fold (bottom, right).

Paper May Day Cone Directions | Emote Design

Cut off the pointed tip to create a straight top to your cone (below, right).

Paper May Day Cone Directions | Emote Design

Use glue or adhesive tape to adhere the outside flap of the cone to the inside flap (bottom, left). Use eyelet tool to punch two holes at the top of your cone (below, right). Reenforce holes with two eyelets (optional – below, right). When you punch the two holes, be sure the glued side of the cone will lay flat against the door when hung on the knob.

Paper May Day Cone Directions | Emote Design

Finally, thread twine or ribbon through the two eyelets to create a handle for your cone. Add flowers and surprise a neighbor!

Yellow Polka Dot Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design




Origami Easter Boxes

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

Tiny pastel-colored boxes filled with favorite candies – what could be more perfect for Easter?

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

For the top of your box, follow these instructions using a 6 x 6 inch square of your favorite patterned paper then decorate with ribbon, stickers, or other embellishments. For the bottom, use a 5.5 x 5.5 inch piece of paper.

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

Fill each box with sweet treats or tiny toys.

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

I hope you give this DIY a try. You could also try adding a handle to make a mini Easter basket.

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

Happy Easter!


Paper Easter Baskets

Paper Easter Basket | Emote Design

When I was a kid, every Easter it was the same story: my dad would “forget” to put on a tie for church. My mom and brother and I would wait in the car while my dad ran back into the house to finish dressing. After the service, we returned home to pastel-colored baskets overflowing with sweet treats left behind by the Easter Bunny (aka dad).

As an adult, I know I don’t need a giant basket filled with candy. But, a small paper Easter basket filled with a few favorite candies couldn’t hurt. These little baskets are easy to make and are perfect for brunch favors.

Paper Easter Basket | Emote Design

Supplies Needed
Directions for folding an origami box
6 x 6 patterned paper (I used Country Drive by Echo Park Paper)
Bone folder
Eyelet tool (this is the one I use)
Needle nose pliers
Shredded green paper
Assorted candies

The directions for folding an origami box seem complicated at first but once you get into a groove, you can really crank them out. I used some double-sided tape to glue down the final flaps of paper.

I wanted to add a handle to the box so I punched two holes on opposite sides of the box and added eyelets. Using needle nosed pliers I bent some silver wire into different shapes to form the basket handles.

Paper Easter Basket | Emote Design

Once your box is complete, add some shredded green paper, a few pieces of candy, maybe even a gift tag. These little baskets would be a perfect decoration for your Easter brunch table.

Paper Easter Baskets | Emote Design


Welcome Spring!

Spring Paper Wreath | Emote Design

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~ Thomas Blackburn

After a week of struggling to adjust to daylight savings time, I’m back on track and no longer loathing my alarm clock. What a treat to come home from work and have two hours of sunshine to enjoy.

All the sunny California days have me day-dreaming about planting a few flowers. Until I can get to the garden center, I created this paper floral wreath to tide me over. I used a green patterned paper so the branches on the wreath look like they have some depth. I had a few flower embellishments in my supply stash but you could use a punch to make the flowers.

I like this little cheerful wreath. It was easy to make and I can use the idea in multiple ways (napkin rings, gift topper, gift tag, ornament, garland, etc.).

2” circle punch
1.5” circle punch
Branch punch
Patterned paper
Flower embellishments

Spring Paper Wreath | Emote Deisgn

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May joy and peace surround you,
Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now,
And bless you evermore.

St. Patrick's Day | Emote Design

2″ Circle Punch
Mini heart punch
Gold washi tape
Patterned paper

Oscar Party Report

Last weekend I hosted my first-ever Oscar-viewing party. I had a blast and I hope my guests enjoyed themselves too. I wanted to share a few of the details and some photos.

I apologize up front for the photos. It was a rainy, overcast day so I couldn’t get any good long shots of the room. Also, I was enjoying my guests so much that I forgot to photograph a few things like the yummy steak sliders and cute mini caesar salads.

Setting the Mood
I didn’t go crazy on the decorations but wanted to have a few things that created a festive feeling. I used red, white and gold for everything. Here’s what I made:

Customized invitations.

Oscar Invite | Emote Design

An Oscar VIP wreath.

Oscar wreath | Emote Design

Gold paper star garlands.

Oscar Decorations | Emote Design

I used patterned gold washi tape on glass vases and votive holders to add a little shimmer to candles and flowers.

Washi tape decorated votives | Emote Design

Swag bags for each guest (contents: Sees chocolate, a mini bottle of Baileys, a temporary tattoo, and a lip balm). I’m a huge fan of “parting gifts” for guests. I’ve given home-baked cookies, seasoned nuts, mini poinsettias, and handmade blank cards. After a certain age, goodie bags are not expected so it makes your party fun and memorable.

Oscar Party Swag Bag | Emote Design

Confession: I forgot to give everyone a swag bag! I was so upset because I had so much fun planning and making them. I had to mail out the bags to several of my guests. Oh well. Who doesn’t love mail?

The Menu
The Oscars start at 5:30 p.m. in California so I wanted to serve dinner. I thought small plates would be more fun than ordering pizza or grilling burgers. I also needed some appetizers since I invited people to come early to judge the red carpet fashions. Plus, everyone needed munchies while they contemplated their Oscar ballot and selected a bingo card. Here’s what I served:

Popcorn, kettle corn, junior mints and twizzlers.

Oscar snacks | Emote Design

Parmesan thyme crackers, cherry tomatoes stuffed with herbed goat cheese, and cucumber stacks.

Oscar snacks | Emote Design

The small plates dinner menu was mini caesar salads, roasted shrimp with romesco sauce, and steak and mushroom sliders. (Here’s where I got distracted and forgot to take photos.) For dessert I ordered mini cupcakes (red velvet and chocolate) from Vanilla Moon. Check out the adorable mini oscar on each cupcake!

Oscar Cupcakes from Vanilla Moon | Emote Design

The best part of the party was the guest list, of course. You can pass on the decorations, skip the themed activities, serve carry-out food and still have a blast with the right mix of friends.