no-sew color block suede cushions

June 27, 2012 § 3 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!

straw mat turned kilim magic carpet

June 11, 2012 § 3 Comments

So the previously mentioned straw mats have had a backbreaking 8-hour makeover this weekend.  I sewed four together to create a massive mat on which I painted on a number of kilim patterns.  This once blank large mat is now packed with bright colorful prints (in our colors, of course!).

It’s convenient that the kilim has reached mainstream global fashion in the year O.T. and I are wed.  I have caught sight of the patterns on tops, bottoms, and bags in ways antique kilim-makers never dreamed.    Of course kilim rugs are from varied origins, however the most prolific kilim-makers are the Turks.  Creating a Turkish rug-inspired mat for our Grand Canyon picnic was another seamless way to incorporate O.T.’s culture into the wedding and to give a big welcome to his parents who are flying in from Istanbul (apart from the Turkish ebru handmarbled papers on our wedding stationery).

Before busting out my acrylic paints and cutting out stencils from plastic chopping sheets, I studiously researched the types and meanings of kilim patterns.  It’s amazing what kilim.com has to offer on the topic.

It turns out, there is a lot of symbolism behind kilim motifs, apart from looking cool and tribal.  What’s even more amazing is the relevance of these to our wedding.

To start, we chose the most common symbol of Turkish superstition — the eye.  The eye wards off any harm caused by an evil glance.

On our kilim magic picnic carpet, I also painted on the tree of life, which is the hope of life after earth.  It cannot be a Turkish carpet without the comb, which is a symbol of marriage and birth.  (To me, that pattern has always been a ‘dentil’, as used on a frieze.  But hey, we’re not talking architecture).   Of course, on our mat, there is also love and unison, the harmony between man and woman, the yin and yang.  Or as O.T. sees it: two Pacman ghosts gettin’ it on.

Then there is the star to signify happiness.  It couldn’t be more perfect

canadian living may 2012 issue: mother’s day topiary

April 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

Ok, my April issue unveiling may have been a little late.  But the Canadian Living May issue just came out last week with my latest contribution:

There is still time to head out to the newsstands to pick up a copy so you can make this daisy topiary from egg cartons for Mother’s Day or simply for spring!   I will update with the link when the article is available online.

chalkboard christmas cone

December 9, 2011 § 3 Comments

For a while I felt chalkboard crafts have grown tired, but I just couldn’t resist another!  It’s been a while since my last (the 3-D chalkboard cake I made for Craft was back in July).  What I also couldn’t resist (the carrot Easter basket I made for Canadian Living‘s The Craft Blog glares at me daily as it hangs by the doorway to my craft room) is another project using a dollar store safety cone…

So here it is, a chalkboard Christmas tree born out of a love affair between chalkboard spray paint and an orange safety cone.  And a couple of sprays of primer (you don’t want to skip priming!).

This project has actually been sitting on newspapers on the floor for the past week, dried and unattended for days.  I was so wrapped up in researching (nightly; obsessively) my own Christmas present to myself, erm, to Paper, Plate, and Plane (i.e. a new camera!), that I forgot all about it.  Then this morning, amidst packing my lunch for work and packing my clothes for an upcoming weekend in NYC with O.T., I remembered it was incomplete.  I hastily scribbled some designs before leaving for work.  As much as I would’ve wanted to spend time on them, I couldn’t.  But if and when you make one for yourself or your kids or grandkids, I wish you many hours of doodling merriment!

silver christmas tree from paper clips

December 6, 2011 § 6 Comments

Push pins.  Rubber bands.  And now for my final installment of Christmas décor out of office supplies.  A $4 box of 1,000 paper clips made up this avant-garde tree.

I was most looking forward to creating this out of all four trees I made, assuming all four would be equally simple.  I was wrong about this one.  The concept is simple, but, admittedly, fussy to achieve.

First you have to create a garland of paper clips by stringing them through a thin, light gauge wire.  I calculated about 2,000 consecutive seconds (33 minutes, at 2 seconds per paper clip) to finish this first and important step.  However, I was also intent on having each paper clip face the exact same way and discovered it was best to string the paper clip through the end that has a smaller loop.  The smaller loop acts as a lock to prevent the paper clip from shifting as much as it would had it been strung through the larger loop.   And I didn’t account for several spills.  Oh, also, 1,000 paper clips weren’t quite sufficient.  Luckily, I had some extras stashed from when I designed my paper clip necklace last December.   I used about 1,100 paper clips all in all, and the garland took much longer than the time allocated.

Then attaching the garland to a 6″ Styrofoam cone is presumably simple, too.  But not.  I inserted one end (at least 1-1/2″) of the wire into the side of the cone and started wrapping the garland around the cone (it really is important to use thin wire and not string, as the purpose of the wire is to be stuck into the cone).  This was when I ran into the problem of paper clips bunching together.  After several ineffective attempts, I managed to keep the paper clips aligned and flat on the table as I slowly wrapped the garland upwards.   I made sure I formed the wire along the cone to minimize the garland from sliding down (the weight of 1,100 paper clips will slide down).  Again, another important reason to use wire: so that the shape can be maintained.  When that is done, then the rest is simple.  I just secured the wire (at least 1-1/2″) into the top of the cone.

Despite it all, I’m glad I did this and the other trees!  If you’re just tuning in now, over the past three posts I made crystal Christmas trees from push pins, a shag Christmas tree from rubber bands, and rubber-band wrapped trees.  Enjoy!

rubber band-wrapped Christmas trees

December 5, 2011 § 11 Comments

I had enough rubber bands to spare from my one-pound bag to make these rubber band-wrapped Christmas trees as the third installment of my Christmas décor from office supplies.

If you’ve missed the previous two, you can find crystal Christmas trees from push pins here and a shag Christmas tree from rubber bands here.  And if you’re not into shaggy trees made of rubber bands, these here are chic and just as easy.

Cover Styrofoam cone with rubber bands horizontally.  Then vertically.  Done!  Now wasn’t that quicker than wrapping and gluing cones with sisal?

shag christmas tree from rubber bands

December 5, 2011 § 4 Comments

Now, now.  We all know the 70’s have made a feverish comeback.  Middle-parted long hair, wide jeans and trousers, and elevator wedges are rapidly ousting teased poufs, skinny pants, and flats.  Now onto 70’s shag for some home décor!

As you know, I’ve spent the majority of my weekend making holiday décor out office supplies.

So, I reached for a huge bag of rubber bands at Staples (a pound for less than $4) to hail the big comeback of the 70’s with a quick-n-easy shag Christmas tree.  No, not that kind of quick-n-easy shag.  Umm.  Indeed, a very quirky craft compared to yesterday’s classy crystal Christmas trees from clear push pins.  But who doesn’t love quirky?

One pound of rubber bands is more than enough to make two 9″ shag trees.

1. Cut one rubber band open.  Thread through rubber bands.

2. When you have enough rubber bands threaded through, tie in a knot to close.

3. Take your ring of rubber bands and place around the bottom of Styrofoam cone.

4. Cut all rubber bands open.

5. Continue steps 1-4 until you have your tree covered.

Now that I’ve stared at this craft for too long, I think I might add paper wings to the sides and a small Styrofoam ball (with closed eyes and a smile) on top of the tree and I’ve got a very unique Christmas angel!  I shall try it out…

Another variation of rubber band Christmas trees to follow.

crystal christmas trees from clear push pins

December 4, 2011 § 16 Comments

So this is what my container of push pins got me.  Crystal Christmas trees!  Ok, not to rival Swarovski.  However, an acceptable substitute for those on a dime.

These plastic push pins really shine, far better than I imagined.

One container of 500 push pins (which I picked up at Staples for $6; likely cheaper for lucky Americans with better pricing south of the border!) is enough, with few to spare, to cover one 9″ Styrofoam cone.

Up next (tomorrow), two variations of Christmas trees out of rubber bands…

plaster french macaron ornaments

November 23, 2011 § 21 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!

carved butternut squash skull

October 18, 2011 § 7 Comments

Everyone, meet Gord!  For the holiday,  I’ve carved this Halloween skull lantern out of a butternut squash, with a chunk leftover for some scrumptious soup (my fave kind of all time, not just du jour!).  Yes, I do love pumpkins.  But, of all gourds, butternut squashes are tops.

There’s no better shape for a carved skull than the butternut squash.  It is bulbous, hollow in the bulb (perfect place for a tea light), and has a narrow shaft (appropriate shape for the jaw line).

This is my second go at butternut squash carving, all done with my trusty paring knife.   Last year, my carved butternut squash flower centerpieces took half the effort and a fraction of the time as this one lone skull.

I figure it will be a challenge to explain the process into words, so I’m going to skip the long-winded tutorial and leave you with step-by-step pictures only (there is some interpretation to be left in between steps).

The key steps are towards the end of the process.  It is important that the sides of the squash be sliced off and the forehead shaved down to a flatter shape, otherwise the skull will look more like an alien.  I realize my skull balloons last week are looking like aliens…I must do something about that…

 

 

super simple skulls topiary

October 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

Rather: super simple whatever-you-can-mold-from-ice-cube-trays-or-candy-molds topiary.  In this case: skulls.  I’ve been looking for ways to use fancy silicone ice cube trays and candy molds.  I figured, with a couple of cups of plaster and some form of styrofoam (ball, cone, or ring), that a holiday centerpiece, mantelpiece, or wreath can be made with these molds.

Knowing that I’d be at O.T.’s in California all week this week, I was excited to decorate his place with a bit of Halloween, but I also had to make sure the materials could be easily packed in my suitcase.  A Dollarama skull ice cube tray (which you’ve recently seen included in the giveaway; I adore it so much, I had to pick one up for myself — amazing investment for a buck), a styrofoam ball, a dowel, and some plaster barely took up any room in my luggage.  The result: a modern, obscure Halloween centerpiece for O.T.’s kitchen table.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be Halloween.  You can make any type of topiary with whatever ice cube trays and candy molds you’ve got.  My silicone ice cube tray collection includes skulls, pumpkins, hearts, and Christmas trees.  I can make one for every occasion.  And again, you can use a Styrofoam ball or cone or ring to make topiaries, trees, and wreaths respectively.

You will need: mold, plaster, water, toothpicks.

1. Mix plaster according to package directions.  Pour into molds.  Place toothpicks, pointy side up.  NOTE: I discovered later it was better to break the toothpick in half, so that it is shorter.  If the toothpick is too long, it may not go into the styrofoam completely.

2. Let plaster dry.  Unmold.

3. Press plaster pieces into styrofoam.

And it’s done!  It is very easy to do.  It’s a matter of waiting in between molding for the plaster to dry, but there’s always chores to do around the house while that’s happening (especially here at O.T.’s).  On that note, back to cleaning for me…

skulls and crossbones balloons

October 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

Tonight, amidst my packing frenzy (off to my home away from home, California, for eight days!) I quickly doodled on some regular and long balloons to make these smiling skulls with their crossbones.

I am going through a skull phase this Halloween.  More skull projects to come!

fall and halloween d-i-y ideas

September 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

I cannot wait to work on fall and Halloween crafts for October, but before I do, here’s a recap of the fall and Halloween ideas I designed last year.  If you didn’t get a chance to make any of these creations last year, I hope you try them out this season!

My most favorite post was the one with the Halloween balloon body parts.  Doodle on balloons to create creepy eyes, bloody brains, and witch’s fingers:

halloween balloon eyes, brain, and fingers

Make cute little phantom place cards by drawing faces on pumpkin seeds:

ghost-faced pumpkin seeds

Cut out and fold an itsy bitsy spider treat box with the very first printable I designed and shared on this blog (and it was my very first tutorial ever):

spider favor box

Grab a tupperware bowl, four corks, scraps of paper, a pen, and some raffia and create this witch’s candy-filled cauldron with broomstick:

candy-filled witch's cauldron

You know I love me my packaging, so here’s another printable!  Fill this harvest corn treat box with…you guessed it…candy corn!  (I think this is still my favorite treat box out of all treat boxes I’ve designed for this blog to date):

candy corn favor box

Your little ones can make art of autumn grains with this wheat and corn décor made of exactly that: wheat (pasta) and corn:

And the most popular fall tutorial I made last year was the carved butternut squash centerpieces:

Oh, and I almost forgot: I did a whole week of pumpkin experimental recipes last year:

         

My favorite from pumpkin week was the pumpkin panna cotta:

And, I almost forgot, I designed and baked a ginormous woven cornucopia cracker for Thanksgiving:

Enjoy!  More fall and Halloween ideas from me coming up in October!  And I have a birthday GIVEAWAY coming to you this weekend!  paper, plate, and plane is very soon turning 1.  And I am very soon turning 1 year older.  I am excited to host a special giveaway to celebrate the occasion(s).  Stay tuned!!!  😀

juice bottle glitter vases

July 25, 2011 § 27 Comments

Here’s another beautiful way to recycle your plastic bottles into decorative vases.  Ridged rectangular juice bottles are so simplistic, they make quite some modern vases.  Add a dusting of glitter and you have yourself a stunning set to add to your table or mantle.

To make your own recyclable glitter vases, you will need plastic juice bottles (I prefer ridged rectangular ones, like Ocean Spray), glue, paint, glitter, foam brush, paint brush, and X-Acto knife.

1. Using an X-Acto knife, cut off the top half of the plastic juice bottle.

2. Paint the outside of the juice bottle.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all juice bottles you are using.  I painted each a different shade of purple.

4. Turn the bottle upside down.  Apply glue to the flat bottom (currently the top) of the bottle, on the outside.

5. Spread glue using a foam brush.

6. Pour glitter over the glue.

7. Tap off glitter onto a large sheet of paper.

8. Repeat steps 4 to 7, applying glue and glitter to short segments of the bottle.  It’s best to apply glue and glitter in segments to prevent glue from drying before glitter is applied.

9. Continue apply glue and glitter until the entire surface is covered.

10. Repeat steps 4 to 9 for all juice bottles you are using.  I used a different shade of glitter for each bottle.  Let dry upside down.

I smiled from ear to ear throughout the making of this craft yesterday, as it came into being with the help of serendipity.  I knew I was going to make glitter vases out of my collection of juice bottles, but hadn’t a single idea what color it should be nor what flowers to display.  I figured, I’d have the idea sorted out by the time I finished instructing a dinosaur workshop (my wonderful weekend job and the origin of many creative musings).

Along my drive, I randomly caught sight of purple lavender-like weeds on the side of the road.  It was decided my vases would be gradations of purple.  I made a mental note of the exact location of the weeds so I can later return for some pickings.  After teaching the class, I decided to stop into a Dollarama I hadn’t ever visited (no, I haven’t visited all of their stores in the Greater Toronto Area; well, at least not yet).  There, I found a trove of beautiful, fine glitter in cute jars and in an assortment of colors, none I had seen at other Dollaramas before.  I also found artificial lavender stems available in exactly three shades of purple, as I envisioned.  The weeds and the artificial lavender stems are so uncannily alike, it’s just so amusing how things turn out sometimes.  Everything I imagined appeared before my eyes.  I love those days.

bean and soda pop bottle vase

July 24, 2011 § 9 Comments

Well, we all know I love me a good bean project and I love me a good recycling project, so I designed this vase out of beans and a 2-liter plastic soda pop bottle.  The result is a little surprising coming from a handful of beans and a plastic bottle, isn’t it?  It’s so simple and a striking way to display the flowers growing in our backyards this summer.  And we have one less piece of plastic being thrown into the recycling bin (well, for now, anyway).

I decided to clip a few of the daylilies copiously consuming my backyard.  Daylilies are not conventional cut flowers.  I thought daylilies needed their beauty sleep at night, but truth be told (after some reading) , a daylily flower has only a single day’s worth of life.  On a good note, the other buds have their turn at life the next morning.  Even so, whether or not the new buds will sprout in my vase tomorrow, I had to clip them.  They’re just so pretty and so vividly orange, which makes for such a great contrast to my very pale taupe vase.  I had conveniently invested in a couple of cans of spray paint on clearance for $1 at Michaels at the beginning of the year.  It’s amazing to pick up an irresistible bargain for later use and actually use it for a project so perfectly suited.  Most times, I’m sure some of you can relate, a lot of our “Oh, what an amazing deal, I’ll buy two or three or a dozen” bargain hoards seldom find a use.

You will need:

a. 2-liter plastic soda pop bottle

b. Beans, shape and size of your choice.  I chose navy beans only because I still have some left over from previous projects: bean-by-number Turkish tiles, bean-by-number Venetian mask, and gold bean banges.

c. An X-acto knife, a ruler, a marker, hot glue gun with glue sticks, and a can of spray paint.

1. Cut off the spout of the bottle using an X-Acto knife.  You may cut the opening to your preferred diameter.

2. Using a ruler and a marker, draw vertical lines along the length of the bottle.  Use the bottom grooves of the pop bottle as points to start your lines.  I alternated full-height lines with random-height lines.

3. Using a hot glue gun, affix beans one at a time, applying glue in 1-1/2″ lengths.  The longer your line of glue, the quicker you will have to work before the glue quickly dries.  Continue until you have all of your lines covered with beans.

4. Spray paint and let dry.

This is the lovely time of year when we have the luxury of clipping flowers from our backyards.  I think it’s wonderful to be able to display our backyard flowers in our very own handcrafted vases.  Even better when the vases cost so little to make.  But it’s the best when making them means that some of our garbage could be repurposed into surprisingly beautiful creations.

I’m sure you’ve started to notice, I’m developing a collection of unique vases from my pile of recyclables.  You’ve seen the collection start with the peek-through vases earlier this year, and the basket weave vases in the spring.  Since it’s summer, I really want to add more to my assortment of recyclable vases.  There will be more recyclable vase projects to come!

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