paper suitcases from t-shirt boxes

June 27, 2012 § 19 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!

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!

easter egg pockets for canadian living april 2012 issue

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!

“digital” magnets for your new year affirmations and resolutions

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)!

paper sleeves and monograms for plastic containers

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.

From the original batch in 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.

plaster french macaron ornaments

November 23, 2011 § 20 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!

eyeball paper packages

October 30, 2011 § 8 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!

Happy Halloween!

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