canadian living february 2012 issue: valentine candy heart boxes

January 9, 2012 § 8 Comments

On Friday, as my co-workers and I spent our lunch hour wandering the aisles of a nearby Walmart, I spotted the February issue of Canadian Living Magazine already out on newsstands!

I did my rounds of grocery shopping on Saturday and, indeed, the issue is available everywhere magazines are sold in Canada.  So if you’re in Canada, please head over to your closest newsstands to pick up a copy and turn to pages 66-67.   For those of you beyond our Canadian borders, you can find the article at canadianliving.com. (I will update once the craft is available for viewing online).

Here it is!  Treat boxes in the likeness of candy hearts for you to make for your sweetheart this Valentine’s!

Am I giddy!  My first print publication.  Well, my “first”, unless considered are my monthly column for our local Parish newspaper at the age of 13 and my dreadful illustrations in the high school newspaper, but they simply won’t (shan’t) count.  So yes, this is my first print publication.  Ever.  And of the year.  I am so blessed.  I didn’t imagine when I started this blog not so long ago that my first print publication would be a two-page spread in a national magazine.

I cannot wait to share with you other publications to follow in 2012 (and, praying for a bit of luck, beyond).  I could not have more gratitude for the opportunities being given.  Thank you!

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…

“you maki me happy” sushi card

February 9, 2011 § 7 Comments

If you share the love of sushi with the love of your life, this greeting card craft is designed for you!

Sushi is one of those foods for which I acquired the taste quite late.  I remember my first experience of sushi as a child, around the age of seven, an era long before sushi catapulted into trend status.  I was impressed by a plate of such pretty and colorful food.  But one big bite had me wondering if there was a tragic mistake!  My then seven year old palate assumed it was to embark on a gastronomy of pure candy and had little ability to equate an appealing sight with the taste of fish.  I wonder now if my parents explained what it was made of (I’m pretty sure they did), but I failed to listen, mesmerized by the prettiest food I did see.  I remember deviously pretending to wipe my mouth with a napkin in which I tucked away my half-chewed maki.  I avoided sushi for nearly fifteen years until one afternoon in the Toronto subway, a friend insisted in sharing her packed deli sushi for the long commute.  I declined repeatedly as much as she insisted repeatedly, and I now thank her for it.  My life just wouldn’t be whole without sushi.

To create the sleeve of this card:

1. Cut a 7″ x 9-1/2″ piece of cardstock.  Score and fold at 3-1/2″ and 8-1/2″.

2. Print the chopstick holder template I whipped up for you here.  You may superimpose a message using a photo editing program.  Cut the shape.  Score along the length, 1/4″ from each edge, and fold the edges up, printed side down.

3. Using double-sided tape, affix the top of chopstick holder to the bottom edge of the 3-1/2″ section of cardstock.

4. Fold the sleeve and affix the bottom of the chopstick holder to the top edge of the 1″ section of cardstock.

To create the inner card:

5. Print your greeting on a 7″ x 9-3/4″ piece of cardstock.  Score and fold at 3-7/8″ and 8-3/4″.

6. Punch out six 1″ circles of each: black cardstock and white cardstock.  Trim the white circles by 1/8″ using a pair of scissors, creating a more organic shape.  Cut small squares of pink and green cardstock.

7. Arrange the circles and squares on the front of the card to make six maki.  Break apart a pair of disposable wooden chopsticks.  Using white glue, affix the top of the chopstick along the top seam and the bottom of the chopstick along the bottom seam.

Insert the inner card into the sleeve.

Now go and maki someone happy this Valentine’s Day!

valentine tic tac toe

February 2, 2011 § 7 Comments

This week on Iron Craft: Challenge #5 “Be Mine”. The challenge is to create a Valentine craft.  After harvesting keyboard keys to create framed Valentine messages, I thought the X’s and O’s couldn’t be more perfect for a pocket-size Valentine tic tac toe game.

You will need to make customized keyboard keys (you can find the previous tutorial here).

You will need the above pieces of cardstock to make the box.  The final box measures 3″ x 3″ x 3/4″.  The pink sleeve is 3″ x 8″, with score lines at 3″, 3-3/4″, 6-3/4″, 7.5″ (there’s a 1/2″ allowance for double-sided tape).  The black pull-out box is shy of 4.5″ square, with score lines at 3/4″ from all edges.  The red tic-tac-toe board is shy of 3″ square, and each white square is 7/8″.  You may decorate however you like.  I used a simple 1″ red strip with white hearts with x’s and o’s.

1. Fold the black pull-out box.

2. Turn the box upside down.  Affix the red tic-tac-toe board.

3. Affix the white squares to make a grid.

4. Decorate the front of the sleeve.

5. Add embellisments.

6. Fold the sleeve and affix with double-sided tape.

 

Don’t forget to check out Iron Craft for many creative Valentine crafts made by so many talented crafters!

x o x o

“keys to my heart”

February 2, 2011 § 60 Comments

Here’s the key to expressing your fondest feelings this Valentine’s Day.  Why not harvest the keys of an old, unwanted keyboard to devise a message filled with warm words for your loved one?

This simple project allows you to customize the color as well as create duplicates of keyboard keys.

You will need:

a. Keys from a keyboard.  You can easily pry out each key using a flathead screwdriver or a letter opener.

b. Spray paint for plastic.  I used Krylon in Fairytale Pink.

c. Letraset dry transfer letters.   I used 3/8″ Helvetica.

Paint the keys with two to three coats of spray paint.  To seamlessly adhere your letters, make sure you cut out separate letters from your sheet of Letraset.  The keys are curved and if you transfer directly from the sheet, parts of the adjacent letters will be transferred to the edges of the keys.

 

 

 

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?

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.

candy heart coasters

January 17, 2011 § 14 Comments

Here’s a conversation piece for your coffee table — conversation candy heart coasters.  It’s the perfect time of year to make and use these.  You will not be able to get your hands on any of the candy after next month (and after you’ve forever set them in silicone rubber).

You will need:

a. A paint stirrer or anything disposable with a flat edge for spreading.

b. If I had the budget to buy resin, I would have.  But for now, the best I could do is clear silicone rubber caulking.  You can get a tube at the hardware store for about $3.  It doesn’t give the best clarity.  Even though it is labeled as “clear”, it is translucent (foggy).  Rubber will not dissolve the candy into a pool of sugar, unlike water soluble adhesives such as clear glue.  Please NOTE: this is not a craft for kids.  Uncured silicone rubber is malodorous and may cause irritation.

c. Conversation candy hearts.

d. Plastic lids.

1. Spread a generous layer of silicone rubber on lids (1/8″ thick)  Carefully smooth out until even.  The smoother, the less bubbles and holes.

2. Arrange your candy hearts, right side down — if you want the letters to show, they should be facing the plastic (left example); if you want only the heart shape to show, the letters should be facing up (right example).

3. Generously cover all the gaps and candy with silicone rubber.  Carefully smooth out until even.  Let dry for 24 hours or as suggested on packaging.

4. After the rubber has cured, turn the lid over and trim away the lip (only if you have the type of lid with a recessed lip).  The rubber will be cured on the plastic and cannot be removed without being destroyed.

The top of the coaster will be the plastic side and the bottom, the rubber side.  Conveniently, these coasters are non-slip!

Just don’t forget to save some candy on the side, because once they’re set in, they are there for good!


high heel treat box

January 14, 2011 § 34 Comments

Here’s a sweet step to a sugar high in preparation for Valentine’s day — a paper shoe filled high in the heel with candy treats.

Perhaps you’re beginning to catch on to my obsessive need to design boxes after the itsy bitsy spider box for Halloween, Thanksgiving’s harvest candy corn boxes, and the crazy Christmas advent lego-inspired boxes ( which may have led you to the conclusion that I may experience lapses in sanity).  :p

Conveniently, all I had to do was some digging into the coffers for Valentine’s.  I designed the first version of this high heel box almost a decade ago — I was still doing my undergrad in architecture, not yet knowing that my future will not be as an architect but as a stationery designer and crafter (oh, if my old self could talk to me now…she would not talk to me).  Thanks to Leo Mascariñas who helped me style and photograph the above shot a couple of years back, which meant today, I only had to worry about the tutorial pictures!

Download the high heel favor box template right here.  You will see there are two parts.

1. Trace the heel template onto black cardstock.  Cut, score, and fold according to the lines.

2. Fold in all four trapezoids and adhere with double-sided tape.

3. Your heel box will look like this.  Set aside.

4. I added a small gingham graphic pattern and name directly on the sole template file before printing on cardstock.  You can print just the template if you want to use scrapbooking paper for the sides of the shoe (the circles) and write or stamp the name instead.

5. Take a circle and tape under the shoe, with the pattern facing out.  Repeat for second circle.

6. Punch a hole on each circle, close to the top middle edge.  Tie with ribbon.

7. Tape the sole to the inner wall of the heel, opposite the lid.

8. I would suggest creating a brace for the bottom of the shoe to prevent any flopping around.  Instead of a brace, you can even make a small, shallow “shoe box” to sit the shoe on as a brace…just randomly thought of that now and wish I did before I took the pictures…

Since my life has revolved around the wedding industry this past half a decade, the box was tweaked for bridal showers.  But now, I’d like to give it new breath for Valentine’s.  Or a Sweet 16.  Or a super-stylish-sexy Sex and the City party.  There are many, many ways to celebrate women.  However way you choose to celebrate, don’t let your guests walk away without these shoes!

heart wall lamp

January 8, 2011 § 81 Comments

We can all use a little love to light the night!

Believe it or not, this dazzling heart wall lamp cost me $3 to make.  Get out there for some bargain-basement clearance Christmas red lights if you must, because Valentine’s is around the corner and this light fixture project is a great one to accomplish with little investment (and also under little time).  I picked up a string of LED lights at Walmart on Tuesday this week for $1.75, down 75% from $7.  Come to think of it, even $7 is not too steep an investment, but I’m still very glad I bought it at the right time.  You can use foam board, as I have (which I picked up for $1 at the dollar store).  I think the material is sufficient for décor, considering this will go on the wall and rarely be handled.  But if you want something sturdier, there are other pricier and more demanding options such as masonite and plywood.

You will need a string of 35 lights, a sheet of foam board (cut a 13″ circle and keep the remnants for the wall backing), electrical tape, a craft knife, a pencil, and a cutting mat.

1. Draw a heart on the center of the circle and draw squares along the heart’s perimeter at 7/8″ apart, making sure the size of each square can fit the mount of the bulb.

2. Cut out the squares.

3. Carefully remove the light bulb from the mount.  You will not need this step if you have the older style of light bulbs.

4. Feed the mount through the back and feed the bulb through the front.  Make sure the bulb is floating somewhat — these lights don’t emit much heat at all, but it’s always great to have a safe precaution.

5. Continue steps 3 and 4 for all bulbs.  Tape down any loose, dangling wires.

6. Using 2″ wide strips of foam board, create a wall around the wires in order to hide them from sideview.  In hindsight, the only thing I would’ve changed is the shape of the wall around the wires.  I should’ve followed the shape of the heart.  Though it’s more meticulous, it’s worth not having the corners peep through when viewed from the wrong angle.

Thought this project is a great one to herald my third favorite holiday, after Halloween and Christmas, of course.  Lots more creative Valentine’s Day projects in store this month.  Can’t wait!

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