no-fuss paper roses

January 30, 2011 § 67 Comments

I promise these are the easiest paper roses you’ll ever make!

The ornamental design of paper doilies is what makes these roses so naturally exquisite.  Because the beauty is intrinsic in the material, these paper doily roses require little fuss to look beautiful.

1. Take an 8″ red paper doily and cut a straight line to the center.

2. Roll the doily, making sure the wrong side faces up.

3. Twist the end.

4. You may use floral tape to create a stem, but I used what I found at home — green painter’s tape.

5. Optional: you can cover the stem with ribbon for a more polished look.

There you have it — a paper rose in seconds!  These paper doily roses are not only simple to make, they are also very inexpensive.  I managed to pick up half a dozen red paper doilies for $1 at the dollar store.

A bouquet of these is certainly a stunning substitute for bows when wrapping gifts, but, with the help of some glue and magnets, I also fancy having a beautiful collection of paper roses on my fridge!

wine cork pens

January 28, 2011 § 42 Comments

Have I had too much wine, you ask?  In fact not.  By heredity, I have been cursed with the  Asian affliction of poor alcohol metabolism.  It is a factual genetic mutation and you can read about it on Wikipedia here and on Wise Geek here, if you want an explanation on why most of your Asian colleagues were flushed red in the face from a sip of wine during the office holiday party last month.  For that reason, I’m no big wine drinker at all, despite what the evidence says in the above picture or in my craft room (a never-ending stash of wine corks).

I loved this project because it took no more than five minutes to complete and I got to use my drill.  Yes, it’s as simple as that.  Carefully drill through the center of your wine corks (better if you have a drill press), and slip over a pen.  But please — no drinking and drilling.

sneak peek!

January 27, 2011 § 4 Comments

I recently finished writing a craft tutorial for Canadian Living (my first guest blogging appearance!) and I’m really excited to let you have the first peek here before it goes live on their The Craft Blog the week before Valentine’s.  Any guesses what I made?

belted cup cozy fringe

January 26, 2011 § 12 Comments

This week on Iron Craft: Challenge #4 “Get Cozy”. The challenge is to make a coffee cup cozy.

My version is fashion-inspired, using patterned felt, given some fringes, and secured with a camel microsuede belt.

You will need felt, microsuede, and a belt buckle from an old, unwanted belt.

1. Cut the felt to size.  I used the paper cup cozy as a template.

2. Cut the microsuede to size.  This will be the belt.

3. Punch a hole and insert the prong.  Glue shut.

4. Glue the belt on the felt.  Create a narrow strip for the band.  Punch holes (make sure to wrap it around the cup to ensure the placement of the hole is accurate and the belt will be snug).


Head over to Iron Craft to check out the wonderful creations by many creative crafters.

heart ties and baubles

January 25, 2011 § 12 Comments

I have a couple of heart ice cube trays I picked up at the dollar store years ago.  I finally found a different purpose for one of the trays other than, well, ice cubes or molded chocolate.  I decided to make these heart ties and baubles by molding some plaster and doodling away.

If you have a little girl, they’re going to love designing their own hair ties and baubles.  There is a more durable variety of plaster you can use for this purpose.  As for me, I think I’m going to use these to accent some small boxes for my Valentine.

You will need a heart ice cube tray, unused hair ties, plaster, disposable bowl, disposable spoon, and permanent markers.

1.  For baubles, you will need to cut open two hair ties.

2. Mix plaster as directed on the package.  Carefully spoon into mold.  While plaster is still wet, place the hair ties in the mold.  For baubles, you will need to place two cut hair ties.   Make sure the hair ties are upright.

3. Doodle your desired pattern using permanent markers.

You can really personalize these by writing names and initials.

I can even see the baubles being used as napkin rings for a Valentine wedding – one heart having the initial of the bride and the other, the groom.  Or they can be used as favor tags for a small box of truffles.

istanbul was constantinople

January 23, 2011 § 9 Comments

It seems the “plane” of paper, plate, and plane is lagging far behind.  I hope to make up for the lag today.  The third installment of my Istanbul trip was on my to-blog list for December.   Over the holidays, instead of compiling my own thoughts and experiences of Turkey, I watched Hallmark Channel’s reruns of Martha Stewart’s adventures.  They were a great reminder of the marvelous time I spent in Istanbul last summer and of the delay my travel posts are experiencing.

Back in November, I began recounting my trip to Istanbul in the posts Inspiring Istanbul ( dedicated entirely to Turkey’s beautiful İznik Tiles) and Turkish Delights (highlighting all the mouth-watering exotic fare that had me bursting at the seams during my trip).  I left out the most important post for last — the historical sights of Istanbul.  Istanbul is rich in history, having been the seat of four empires throughout history.   Yes, once upon a time, Istanbul was Constantinople.  I think we all learned that from a song!

Istanbul is the only city in the world situated in both Europe and Asia.  The continents are divided by the Bosphorus Strait, along which the city is built.  Most residential areas are in the Asian side of the city, commerce and main historical sights on the European side (shown above).  There are two very busy bridges connecting the two continents, but the best way to cross the strait is by taking one of many frequent ferry rides across.

Our first stop — the most famous sight in Istanbul, the Hagia Sofia.  Now a museum, it was once the largest church in the world for nearly a thousand years.  It wasn’t the architecture that had me in awe, as is usually the case when I travel.  What had me marvel here was the combination of Christian and Muslim relics.  The Hagia Sofia was once converted into a mosque, and despite being so, the Christian iconography was not entirely eradicated.

The next stop was just across the way, Sultanahmet Mosque or Blue Mosque — a breathtaking structure with walls fully adorned with blue tiles.  My most memorable moment at the Blue Mosque was outside in the busy courtyard where O.T. left me alone for a few minutes.  A Turkish lady, around my age, approached me, paying compliments to my dress and purse and asking what country I came from and how I was enjoying my tour.  I automatically felt wary, as I had been forewarned about the rampant pick-pocketing happening throughout the city.  In the end, I realized she just simply enjoyed speaking to foreigners, likely wanting to practice her English, which she spoke very well.  I was embarrassed that while she spoke to me about her cousin in Montreal and her hopes of visiting North America one day, I had my purse guarded with both arms across my chest.  I feel awful!

Within the same tourist block is the famous Topkapı Palace, from which there is a magnificent view of the Bosphorus Bridge and the Asian side of the city.

I was wide-eyed at the sight of beautiful İznik tiles at Topkapı Palace.  Every building within the palace walls were either gilded with gold or covered in porcelain.  I also had my first ever visit to a harem.

Down the street from Sultanahmet Square is an underground wonder, the Basilica Cistern.  It is a large ancient underground water receptacle, built way back in the 6th century.  When I first discovered the sight years ago through an episode of The Amazing Race (I’m a loyal fan), I knew it is one of those sights I had to visit in my lifetime.  I’m happy I had the chance.

Of course, my absolute favorite place in Istanbul is a market.  But not just any market.  The Egyptian Spice Bazaar.  I will go back to Istanbul in a heartbeat just so I can go back for a stroll in the Spice Bazaar.  I love crowded markets.  I fell in love with everything that was there.  Turkish delight confections (as shown in my previous post), exotic spices, dried fruits and vegetables, ceramics, belly dancing outfits, hookah pipes.

I begged O.T. to take me there more than once.  I had to go back to try a turban (I really wanted a belly dancing outfit, but they are expensive!) and he went back for a ceramic trinket as a souvenir for my aunt in San Francisco (how sweet!).

Next door to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar is the Grand Bazaar — the largest covered market in the world, with nearly 60 covered streets and 4,000 shops!!!  It was an overwhelming labyrinth of stalls selling rugs, ceramics, clothes, and other Turkish knick-knacks.

Another famous site is the Maiden’s Tower on a tiny little island in the middle of the Bosphorus, a prized landmark in Istanbul.

For one entire day, we took an hour long ferry to Big Island in the middle of the Sea of Marmara.  We embarked on a 2 hour bike ride along the perimeter of the island, as well as through the busy shop-lined streets of the island’s center.  That was my most favorite day.

Thanks to my projects being featured on Marifet, I realize I have some Turkish readers on this blog.  To my Turkish friends, I would like to say Merhaba!  Bloguma hoşgeldiniz!  To my friends who haven’t seen Istanbul, I hope I could inspire you to visit the city one day.  If these photos here don’t convince you, I’m sure Martha Stewart’s episode “The Istanbul Show” can make the sell (I have watched it so many times).  I plan on returning to Istanbul many times over.

faux metal bib necklace

January 21, 2011 § 21 Comments

Yesterday’s faux metal flowers have been crafted into a statement bib necklace!

I think people might find it pretty hard to believe that this beautiful accessory is made out of a piece of Con-Tact vinyl shelf liner (brushed nickel finish), brads, and ribbon.  The process was so simple, but the result has so much impact.    The Con-Tact paper proved perfect for this purpose.  Because it is vinyl, the product is soft, flexible, and very light.  A real metal bib necklace of this scale would be so much more cumbersome to wear, no matter how thin the metal sheet would be, not to mention the bothersome sounds of clanging.

You will need faux metal flowers (if you’re just tuning in, you can find yesterday’s tutorial here), black brads, black satin ribbon, 1/8″ hole punch, and a pair of scissors.

1. Cut small, random lengths of ribbon between 4″ to 6″ in length.  For each length, fold in half.  With a 1/8″ hole punch, punch a hole right through both layers of ribbon.  Feed the flower through the hole and close the brad.   The flowers are now attached to loops.

2. Feed each loop of flower through a 36″ length of ribbon.  Along the center of the ribbon, arrange the loops 1-1/2″ apart.  Punch a hole at the top center of the loops and secure to the main ribbon with a brad.

3. To close the gaps between the loops, weave through two additional rows of ribbon and attach at each end with a brad.

You have the option to stop at step 2 if you want to let the flowers simply hang.  Or you may proceed to step 3 to create a woven bib.

I am now imagining an endless line of accessories to create using these faux metal flowers.  They can be attached to headbands, barrettes, hair ties, pins (for brooches), even purses.  I think I will apply the same techniques on copper and wood grain Con-Tact paper for a much different look.  Faux bois flowers?  I’m loving the thought!

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