June 27, 2012 § 10 Comments
Hours and hours flew by as I made our wedding favor boxes: paper luggage.
At first I thought: it’s just a t-shirt box and I only need to repeat the process a dozen times, it’ll be a cinch. I didn’t consider the hours alone on painting each side of the t-shirt box into our wedding colors. Nor the time to contemplate and execute the paper details like the corners, straps, handles, and Velcro enclosures.
What was most important is these need to be compact. These suitcases will be traveling from Toronto to New York to Las Vegas afterall and, well, they have to fit in our big suitcase before they are given away to our guests and vendors the morning of the wedding. So I made sure to maintain the ability to fold and unfold these in the same way they came when they were t-shirt boxes, but also have the ability to attach and detach items that easily convert them into luggage.
We’ve called them our “Keep Cool” kits, as they will contain relief from the Vegas and Grand Canyon heat.
Tutorial to follow after the wedding! Keep posted!
June 27, 2012 § 2 Comments
Aaaah, where did the time go?!? I feel like I have been DIY’ing at all hours of the day, everyday, only to pause for work and sleep. I get home from the office, inhale dinner, craft until midnight, wake-up, and repeat. That’s been my schedule for the past two and a half weeks and I’m still not done and the wedding is now less than a week away!
What have I made since the handpainted Turkish rug-inspired straw mat? Color-blocked cushions to match! The camel and apricot micro-suede applied on our boxed invitations have come to further use as cushions for our upcoming Grand Canyon wedding picnic. I went off and bought black micro-suede to add more to the color blocking.
I wish I had the time to do the tutorials now, but I still have a bunch of mini projects to finish. So for now, I’ll post the pictures and will have tutorials ready after the wedding.
Using Stitch Witchery, I managed to make these without any sewing. More on the process when the tutorial is posted in a couple of weeks. Next: our fun favor boxes that took days to complete!
April 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Happy belated Easter! Nope, I didn’t let this Easter pass without a craft from me. But I have been so far behind, I didn’t tell you sooner! Or can I just say I am a year early?
I made paper Easter egg pockets for Canadian Living‘s April issue this year. Hope you can make it next year! There’s definitely a lot of time to make these by then…
The direct link to the craft is here.
So sorry I am late!
January 5, 2012 § 9 Comments
Have you got a list started? If not, now is the time to start. In fact, now is my affirmation and resolution for 2012.
No big lists for me this year. No other word best encapsulates energy, exigency, and urgency as now. No lofty goals. No unmet expectations. Now is critical. If we can muster every bit of effort on what we are doing now, then everything to follow is a whopping sum of our best efforts and therefore the best outcome. Work hard now, reap success to come. Workout now, ripped biceps to come. So make and do, and make do — now. It is so simple!
And just as simple is the effort to make these digital magnets for your new year affirmations and resolutions, should you want to expand your list now (apart from “now”).
I spent $5 on five rolls of 1/2″ adhesive magnet strips at the dollar store, each roll being 24″ long. With just $5 and a bit of glitter from my craft drawer, I was able to make fifty-five 2″ strips and ten 1″ strips to make a set of digital magnets that can make sufficient characters on the fridge or whiteboard.
Just cut the magnet strips into 2″ strips, then make a few 1″ strips. Cut each end into a point. Then peel the adhesive backing and dip into glitter for a glow.
Arrange on the fridge or whiteboard with words and phrases that will remind you of what’s most important this year! Make those resolutions stick (if not for the remainder of the year, then at least on your fridge)!
December 19, 2011 § 4 Comments
Despite all the fancy packaging choices at stores, giving away your holiday home-baked goods in plastic containers isn’t necessarily such a tacky thing (given the right accessory!).
With your favorite heavy stock cut and folded into a sleeve, your ordinary disposable plastic container is easily dressed as a pretty little package for giving away anytime, not just Christmas. Punch out a monogram and make it more personal!
I first designed sleeves like these for Christmas favors way back in 2003. That was the time I realized store-bought holiday tins and boxes (though printed and pretty) are three things: 1) lacking in personal touch; 2) pricey (if considering volume gift-giving); and 3) not exactly what I want. Since then, and every year, I looked forward to making treats packaged in my own custom (most importantly: cost-effective!) designs which I gave away to family and friends in lieu of a Christmas card. This style is most personal to me, out of all annual packages I’ve designed in the last 8 years because this is the project that inspired my need for custom Christmas packaging going forward. It also happens to be the simplest. Overtime on this blog, I would love to share with you each and every one of my past annual custom packages given to my family and friends and co-workers, however, I will start from the very beginning with this simple piece from 2003.
My “Kuya” (“Big Brother” in Filipino) thoughtfully kept and preserved the original package I gave him (down to the bits of brownie stuck on the inside lid of the container — eeew!). Seeing it after eight years is what inspired me to post this project on this blog. But for the blog, I wanted to change it up to show some patterns I currently love: plaid, cane, and herringbone.
Of course, it would be a long search to find the exact blue shades of plaid, cane, and herringbone cardstock to match the containers, so I opted out of that challenge. Instead, I quickly designed my own plaid, cane, and herringbone paper using none other than Microsoft Word (a hack job I often do…which leads me to the thought that perhaps one day in the coming year, I will have a little blog instruction on how to easily utilize MS Word as a design tool, if you do not want to spend the big bucks on Adobe’s sophisticated offerings).
You will need to measure your plastic container and cut and fold your stock accordingly. I suggest a container no larger than 4″ in diameter, such as the ones I used, otherwise you will encounter the impossibility of fitting 12″ cardstock around it.
To remedy any gaps (due to lack of length of paper), overlap a tiny strip with a greeting for an added touch.
November 23, 2011 § 18 Comments
Whew, enough catch-up posts from me. Now on to some serious crafting around here, as it should be!
I am in love with French macarons. Aren’t we all? They’re delicious. Divine! And so darling. Torontonians aren’t quite blessed to have the luxury of indulging in Ladurée on any given day. But what we do have is a handful of gourmet bakeries that serve these pretty pastel treats. I thought it was imperative to reward myself with three last Friday, after completing my crafts for spring issues next year. Three teeny tiny macarons for $9 is definitely not a daily splurge! And I inhaled them too quickly.
Immediately followed was the urge to craft fake macarons for this blog. If I can’t buy them often, at least I can pretend to always have them!
These are so simple and quick to make, in hindsight. But it took me two days of experimentation to figure out the right technique to make them. My challenge were the macaron “feet”. Macarons are such a simple shape, but no two circular discs would ever do! They’re not that simple. Without feet, they’d look like whoopie pies. And whoopie pies and macarons are from absolutely different leagues.
I’ve seen some faux macarons online made of molded clay. There are molds available that let you make your own polymer and paper clay macarons at home. Tempting! But I thought: $5 for a mold, anywhere between $10-30 for expensive paper clay in an assortment of colors (if I want to make plenty), shipping, handling, duty (and shipping duties in Canada are sky high)…it can be costly!
There has got to be a way to make macaron ornaments for nearly nothing! I figured how you can make dozens for about $5.
Can I say these faux French macarons are Parisian? Because I made them entirely out of plaster of Paris. And all quickly done by hand, as you would bake them. No need to spend your money on a mold, and ordering online and all the shipping fees, etc. All you need is plaster, a bit of paint, ribbon, and any 1-1/2″ circular object with an edge.
These instructions make 12 shells (6 macarons):
1. Take two sheets of cardboard. Draw 2-1/4″ circles, spaced evenly. I suggest doing 6 per sheet.
2. In a disposable cup, using a disposable spoon, mix 1/2 cup plaster + 1/4 cup water + dollop of paint.
3. Quickly spoon mixture onto carboard, staying inside the circles. Tap the cardboard against table to even out surface. This is where it is easier to do 6 in a sheet, so you can spoon and tap the first 6, then move on to the next 6. Dispose of any leftover mix, disposable spoon, and cup or clean thoroughly until there are no traces of cured plaster. You cannot mix new plaster with partly-cured/cured plaster, otherwise the combination will cease quickly.
4. Let the plaster stand and dry for about 5 minutes. When the surface is dry, but the inside is still soft, etch the surface of the plaster using a 1-1/2″ circular object with an edge (I used a hose clamp). Do not go all the way through.
5. Let the plaster dry until you can peel it off the cardboard easily. If the plaster is too dry at this stage, it will stick to the cardboard. Set discs aside to dry completely. Break off the edges of the plaster. The edges should be rough, as these will give the look of the macaron “feet”.
6. In clean cup with clean spoon, mix 1/2 cup plaster + 1/4 cup water + dollop of paint.
7. For each disc, quickly spoon a small dollop of mixture on the centre of the disc. Tap to even out surface, until plaster mixture reaches the edges. You must work quickly with each individual disc.
8. Let dry completely.
9. Cut ribbon in 5″ lengths.
10. In clean cup with clean spoon, mix 1/4 cup plaster + 1/8 cup water + dollop of paint.
11. With disc facing bottom side up, fold ribbon in half and place on disc. Quick spoon plaster mixture over ribbon.
12. Quickly place second disc while plaster is wet, sandwiching wet plaster in between. Let dry.
Et voila — faux macarons!
October 30, 2011 § 6 Comments
Ahh, I can’t believe Halloween is a couple of short hours away. I haven’t been holding out on you, I promise! I had some more ideas I wanted to test out and make and share here this month, but there simply weren’t enough hours in the day!
As mentioned in my last post, I spent the previous weekend brainstorming and carving pumpkins for the show on Tuesday morning which turned out to be such an amazing experience. I have plenty to say about what happened on Tuesday and I also have the video clips to post, but will do so in a separate post. After that, I caught my breath on Wednesday night. Come Thursday, O.T. was speaking at a conference in the east coast in Albany, NY, called me after work, and surprised me with “I’m taking the Greyhound from Albany, meet me at the station at 6:30 am”. Immediately after hanging up the phone, I attempted to embark on a cleaning frenzy, with no success (again, not enough hours in the day). In any case, my spectacular week couldn’t've gotten better! So he’s been here for several days and will be here until Wednesday.
As for the past couple of days, being Halloween weekend, the days are prime calendar real estate (after Christmas and Thanksgiving, of course). We had a couple of parties to attend this weekend and everything went by in a blink!
As for things that blink — I did have time to make these eyeball paper packages for the office tomorrow. 420 mini chocolates in 60 eyeballs in 2 hours. I wish I had shared this sooner, but I actually JUST came up with the idea today. One of the rare occasions when I’m glad I waited til the last minute. Otherwise, I would’ve simply reused my old ideas and would’ve felt a bit of self-reproach for not coming up with anything else different. I’m quite happy with the efficiency of these packages, considering how laborious most of my previous treat packages have been.
I have a 13″ x 19″ format color printer, and have stacks of 11″ x 17″ paper which I used. My very hastily made design (which you may download here for blue, here for brown, here for green) is intended to be 11″ x 11″. One eyeball paper package fits 7 pieces of mini chocolates. Simply fill with treats, gather, and twist. Yes, how handy that the excess twists into the optic nerve!
I’m sure you haven’t left your Halloween treats for last minute as I have, so perhaps this is an idea to consider for next year!
July 8, 2011 § 22 Comments
I realize the crafts I’ve most enjoyed making on this blog are ones inspired by my musings at hardware stores. In hindsight, the four years I toiled running a hardware store customer service desk during my late teens have paid off in dividends in the form of knowledge of unlikely crafty materials. I hope you enjoyed this week’s no-carve stamps made of caulking because I am not done with caulking yet!
These teeny tiny ice cream charms are made of caulking. And wooden dowels. And screw eyes. Yes, all hardware store materials. And to make them, you will need hardware store equipment. Don’t be alarmed, these cute charms are amazingly simple to make!
a. 1/4″ wooden dowel.
b. 13/16″ screw eyes.
c. Tube of white caulking/sealant.
d. Pencil sharpener. A regular sharpener will do, however, I used my electric sharpener.
e. Hack saw.
f. Drill with the smallest bit you can find. Drilling is optional, but I promise it makes things a lot easier.
With under $5 worth of materials, you can make dozens of ice cream charms to give away this summer!
1. Sharpen the dowel.
2. Using a hack saw, cut the sharpened point of the dowel into a cone. I literally did a hack job. The cut edge does not have to be perfect because it will be covered with caulking.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have as many cones as you need.
4. Using a drill, create a very shallow pilot hole on the flat end of the cone. This will help ease the screw eye through.
5. Screw one screw eye into each cone, only deep enough to secure the screw eye, ensuring most of the length remains exposed.
6. Cut the tip of the caulking tube to create a hole no more than 1/8″ in diameter. Squeeze the caulking out onto the flat end of the cone, covering the edge. Continue squeezing the caulking while twirling the cone until you reach the eye of the screw.
7. Press each charm upright into a Styrofoam block to dry. Let cure for 24 hours.
I must say, this is a project I contemplated long and hard since my first caulking project, candy heart coasters, back in January. It was almost natural to arrive at the visual idea of soft-serve ice cream from caulking, however, I spent an absurd amount of time considering the material of the “cone”. At first, only considering the shape and size of what is available in stores, I thought: wall anchor. But the color selection and the disproportionate ridges left me with little interest to undertake the craft. I eventually considered cutting the shafts off of wooden golf tees and keeping the top wider portion of the tee to create flat-bottomed ice-cream cones, as most soft-serve typically come. But I wasn’t happy, I wanted a cone — pointy, as it should be, in the truest meaning of the word. Then yesterday, with a conscious glance at my pencil (the very one I use everyday to log my ideas on paper) it occurred to me that my pencil sharpener could go on a dowel-sharpening mission It’s almost miraculous that we can alter our perspectives when are minds are willing to do so!
July 5, 2011 § 8 Comments
Hope you had a wonderful Canada Day and 4th of July holiday weekend! I spent mine in Michigan at my parents’ with newfound relatives and without a moment to craft. And I couldn’t wait until today to show you my latest contribution to CRAFT. It feels like a while since I last posted a crafts tutorial using a totally random household material, so today I’m excited to introduce a technique that allows us all to design and illustrate our own stamps without having to carve rubber or linoleum or block or anything at all.
I illustrated and made my own peony, dahlia, and lilac clear rubber stamps to create these prints inspired by vintage botanicals, in celebration of summer, using a very simple technique with one household object that most of us would otherwise pass with little consideration for craft projects.
Yes, the random household object is silicone rubber caulking, which some of you may recognize as window or tub sealant. Head straight over to CRAFT to read my super duper simple tutorial. I promise it is easy and absolutely no carving is needed! Please show me the designs you come up with using this technique, as I’d love to see them. Enjoy!
June 25, 2011 § 4 Comments
Here’s a DIY-fashion kickoff to the first weekend of summer! Now, if I may say, the last time crop tops were this explosive was in 1991, twenty years ago. Yes, I have full recollection, considering I was already in sixth grade. Now, if I must add (if you can add the numbers) — I really couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t wear a crop top now at my age. Or…not at least without layering a tank underneath? I do not have the guts to wear the top alone, the irony of which is needless to say, my gut itself.
I’m sure you’re catching on, I am really loving the basket weave. I baked that gigantic basket-weave cornucopia cracker, crafted those eco basket-weave vases from milk and juice cartons, so why not basket-weave my clothes, too?
For this project, you will need two identical t-shirts, a rotary blade and cutting mat, or fabric scissors. Conveniently, when I started planning to make this tee two weeks ago, Michaels had their shirts on sale, 2 for $6.
1. On one shirt, cut a boat neck.
2. On the same shirt, trim the sleeves to your preference.
3. On the same shirt, cut equal vertical strips (I did 3/4″) from the left of center, starting from the bust all the way to the bottom of the shirt. Make sure there is a centered strip. When you get to the end, trim off the last strip — this will provide the horizontal gaps on the sides.
4. Repeat from right of center, until your entire shirt has vertical strips across. Trim off the last strip, as above.
5. Take your second shirt, cut equal horizontal strips from the bust all the way to the bottom of the shirt.
6. Start weaving. The easiest way is to fold back alternating vertical strips on the front and back of the shirt, then sliding one horizontal strip through.
7. Take your folded strips and bring on top of the horizontal strip, on the front and back.
8. Repeat the weaving by folding back alternating vertical strips on the front and back of the shirt, then sliding one horizontal strip through. Take your folded strips and bring on top of the horizontal strip, on the front and back.
9. Continue weaving until you have used all of your horizontal strips.
10. Tug on each strip to stretch it out.
11. Knot each vertical strip to the last horizontal strip. You can play with the distances of the vertical strips to create various gaps. I knotted about half of vertical strips close to center to be as close as possible to each other. Then I knotted the remaining strips on the side at about 1″ apart. Patterns can differ greatly from where these knots are tied.
Now wear it and bare it!!
May 31, 2011 § 18 Comments
Today, head right over to CRAFT to see my latest project contribution. It’s a fun three-tier cake-shaped chalkboard for you and your little ones to make. In fact, with little ones or without, anyone can indulge in this calorie-free craft. Who doesn’t love decorating cake!? Follow the easy steps in my tutorial.
May 7, 2011 § 22 Comments
Mother’s Day is hours away, but there’s still lots of time to make these beautiful foam roses in minutes. They’re much more dainty than the no-fuss paper roses I made for Valentine’s, and perhaps far more versatile. In a few simple steps, you can make these sweet rose magnets, rose pushpins, and rose jewelry.
You have probably made paper roses before by cutting and rolling spirals of paper. This applies the very same technique, however, I’ve added the petal details by employing a simple tool that many of us have stowed in our crafting bins — scalloped scissors.
You will need: scallop-blade scissors, hot glue gun with glue sticks, and thin foam sheets. I purchased a multi-colored package of 36 – 4″x6″ foam sheets from the dollar store. They quality is much thinner than what you would find at the craft stores, however, they are the perfect thickness for this purpose. The thinner the foam sheet, the smaller you can make your roses.
1. Cut your foam sheet into 2″x2″ squares. A 4″x6″ foam sheet can yield six roses.
2. Using your scalloped scissors, cut each square into a spiral. Two and a half revolutions around the spiral should be sufficient.
3. Starting from the outside of the spiral, roll the foam sheet inward.
4. Apply hot glue to the bottom of the rose.
While the glue is still hot, you can apply the rose immediately to a magnet, thumb tack, earring backing, or fashion ring.
Happy Mother’s Day!
April 28, 2011 § 8 Comments
Yes, a few strips of paper, a small handful of beans, and the golden touch of paint can make quite some fashionista cuff bangles.
I was hoping this would be my third installment of my bean-by-number series (the first being the Turkish tiles back in November and the second, Venetian masks, for mardi gras in February). However, the concept is so simple, there is no need to bean-by-number. Just a few straight lines of beans do the trick.
You will need some beans, a sheet of cardstock, white glue, self-adhesive velcro (I got mine at the dollar store), and gold paint. PLEASE NOTE: I wore my gold bean bangles to work today and small parts of the paint have chipped off. If you are going to use spray paint, as I did, perhaps the problem would be negated by a bit of primer. Or, what I would best suggest: use acrylic paint and a paint brush instead. The finish would be quite different, however, the end result would look like brushed metal, which has as much impact.
1.. Cut cardboard to preferred width and length, taking into account the extra space required by the velcro. Adhere velcro.
2. Bean away. You don’t have to follow the straight patterns you see here. You can create all sorts of shapes and curves, which I’d like to try, too.
3. Paint one side. Let dry. Paint other side. Let dry.
I’d love to hear if you try this out and how you’ve managed to negate the issue of paint chipping.