a glimpse into our home: february 20, 2014

IMG_7650Updating our IKEA dining room chairs.

I could easily become addicted to upholstering these chairs. So easy!

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diy cupcake liner flowers

DIY Cupcake Liner Flowers

I figured I’m really overdue in posting about my crafting endeavors, so I thought I’d share about these sweet little flowers I made last Saturday.

I love having fresh flowers in the house, but we’re still months away from any cutting flowers growing in our garden. When I came upon some cute yellow polka dot cupcake liners for $1, I decided I could make my own flowers to brighten up our dining room.

This whole project probably took about 15 minutes, and it was started and finished while Luke was coloring and playing with stickers, so I was kind of figuring it out on the fly and using what I could easily grab.

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Supplies:

  • cupcake liners
  • felt (or fabric/paper and drinking straws)
  • glue
  • floral wire
  • scissors

IMG_6391The first step is to take two liners. Flip one inside out – so the pretty part is on the inside – and stick it in the other one. It gives it a double-sided look and some fullness.

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Then just pinch the middle together to form a point.

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For the felt, I just used some triangle shaped scraps I had (like I said, I was working fast!). They were about 7 inches tall, and the bottom edge was about 3 inches wide. They made for pretty short flowers, so I’d cut a taller triangle if I was actually cutting out a piece – at least 10 inches. You could also use other fabric or scrapbook paper, you’d just need to wrap it around something like a drinking straw. The felt is thick enough that it forms a good stem simply by wrapping around itself.

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Okay, so take the narrow tip of your felt and wrap it around the point of your cupcake liners. It might be super helpful to have something like a glue gun, but I made it work. Make sure you grab enough of the liners to get a good hold on it, then tightly wrap the floral wire around both the felt and the liners. Don’t worry too much if your liners are getting a little wrinkled, because they’ll unfold and cover that part up.

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Once you’ve gotten it started, just keep twisting the wire around the stem, and keep twisting the felt around itself.

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The stem will get thicker as you work downwards, since it’s cut in a triangle shape. The wire makes it sturdy but bendable.

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Now it’s time for the center. Take another cupcake liner and squish it into another point.

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Unfold the base flower that’s already attached to the stem and add a dab of glue (again, hot glue would be super helpful). I just squished and pinched until it felt secure.

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Unfurl and primp and do what you need to do to make it look pretty! Make a few more and you have a sweet little bouquet that won’t go bad in a few days!

You could totally try making all kinds of flowers – I stuck with the one inner bloom because I thought they looked a bit like daffodils. But you could fill them out more and try all sorts of variations!

IMG_6403Makes me excited for spring.

Speaking of spring, I’ve added a few spring-y things to my etsy shop, like this fun mini bunting garland.

The bright colors just cheer me up.

Happy flower making!

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12 days of crafting: paper punch christmas tree

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 12: Paper Punch Christmas Tree


Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Well, here we are on day 12! I’m going to leave you with this sweet little tree that only took 15 minutes or so to make. If your kiddo is old enough to safely craft with straight pins, this would be a fun craft for them – it doesn’t need to look exactly like mine, there are lots of ways that this festive little tree can be made!

PPaper Punch Christmas Tree

Supplies:

  • 1″ circle paper punch
  • styrofoam cone (whatever size you want)
  • straight pins with some sort of head to them – I had these fun colored ones, but the white ones could look pretty too!
  • scrapbook paper, light cardstock, or re-purposed Christmas cards

This is seriously easy. First punch a bunch of circles, then start pinning them at the base of the tree. I pinned my circles right in the middle, and I started the first row so that it overlapped the bottom of the sytrofoam cone.

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Then you just keep working up your tree, overlapping the circles so that the whole thing is covered.

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

My cones were flat on top, so I pinned a row of circles right at the edge, then I put a small wad of paper towel (hey, it was handy) in there and pinned the last row to it.

IMG_5815 Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Once that was done, I finished it off by taking a few circles, bending them and sticking them in the top center of the tree to fill it out a bit (and hide that chic paper towel).

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Make little adjustments as necessary and ta-da! You’ve got yourself a little tree!

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Thanks so much for joining me for 12 days of crafting! It’s been so fun to share some ideas with you, and a special thanks and shout out to Laura, Janelle, Carrie and David for their contributions as well!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards
Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards
Day 9: Simple Sewing Projects
Day 10: Stamped Candles
Day 11: Little Man Workbench

12 days of crafting: little man workbench

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 11: Little Man Workbench

Little Man Workbench

Today I’m bringing you something completely different, something that is a bit outside my realm of crafting but may be right up your alley! Remember Carrie from the previous post about the wooden message boards? Well, her husband David happens to be quite creative as well (not to mention that he is an ISTJ, like me!). Anyways, he makes awesome furnishings for their house and yard with stuff that they find on craigslist. Seriously, it seems like sometimes he pops out a project every weekend – a cute play kitchen for their kids, a wardrobe for their daughter, he just whips stuff out! So I asked him to give a little insight into one of his projects, and he decided to share about the workbench he made for his son, Miles, so that he could participate in the projects they worked on. It looks like his daughter Brelyn (above) enjoys using it too! Here he is to share the details…

Supplies (if you can call it that…)

  • Old night stand
  • Some pegboard (cut to size)
  • Scrap wood (Big enough to be the top work surface)
  • Nails or screws…whatever you are most comfortable with
  • Paint if so desired

Instructions

  • First step is to find the right nightstand or equivalent. Basically craigslist, garage sales…even side of the roads are all great places to find inexpensive ones. Just make sure the basics parts work…like the legs.
  • Next thing is to paint. Depending on the current finish you might need to sand it or put on a primer first, but in the end go with whatever color the wife wants… Also, don’t paint it on the driveway unless you protect the ground as I wondrously discovered. 🙂

workbenchpaint

  • Then grab your scrap wood, sand it if needed and affix to the top of the work bench. Generally it is a safe bet to go a few inches past the current top to give more work surface. Depending on your table, you can use screws, nails or both. Just make sure it is secure.

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  • The peg board is flimsy stuff so it needs support. The easiest way to do this is get some skinny but solid boards to act as braces attaching to both the table and the peg board. Something that is ½” thick and maybe 2” wide by however tall you need it should do just fine. Nail or screw the boards to the back of the table on the legs of the table, bringing the top above the table as high as your peg board goes. Once done, screw the peg board to them on top and it is now nice and solid.workbench2
  • The final step is to enjoy! 🙂

workbench3

Isn’t that fun? I just love the idea of repurposing furniture in new ways. Is there a little guy in your life that might need a workbench for Christmas this year?

Thanks for sharing, David!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards
Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards
Day 9: Simple Sewing Projects
Day 10: Stamped Candles

12 days of crafting: felt stacking tree

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor  From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree

felt stacking tree

Today’s project is just a cute little decoration that can be made a bunch of different ways.

felt stacking tree

Supplies:

  • old 100% wool sweater(s) or other felted wool
  • fabric scissors
  • about 10″ of wire (I used a thicker floral wire leftover from another project, but it doesn’t need to be that thick)
  • wire cutters (if needed for your wire)
  • tree topper (felt, a bead, small figurine, etc)

If your wool isn’t already felted, you’ll need to do that first. This is great if you have an old wool sweater that you want to upcycle into a fun project, but you can also check out a thrift store. It’s totally fine if the sweater has holes or issues – the felting process shrinks and binds it all together, so if you are buying one, look for the cheaper damaged ones! Also, I only used one color because I only had one sweater that was falling apart and didn’t want to buy more, but the multi-colored trees I’ve seen are super cute. So if you can get more colors, go for it! It’d especially be worth it if you were making a bunch of trees for gifts, so you’d use more of the sweaters.

To felt the sweaters, all you need to do is toss them in a mesh laundry bag (because they will give off lint like crazy!) and throw them in the washing machine on the hot/cold cycle. They’ll shrink up all funny and be super soft and perfect for crafting! Lay it out to dry and it’s ready to go!

felt stacking tree

Making the tree is so easy. First you’ll cut out your circles – I found it easiest to cut the smallest one first, then use that as a template for the next one by cutting just outside of it (maybe about 1/8″ or so). I kept doing that until I had a circle the size that I wanted for my base (it’s about 4″ across).

felt stacking tree

I had 21 circles all together. Then you just bend your wire at the bottom and start stacking them by poking the wire through the center of each circle.

felt stacking tree

Just keep stacking them all the way up…

felt stacking tree

When you get to the top, you can attach your tree topper by bending your wire around it (or, if you are using more felted wool like me, you can thread it right through).

felt stacking tree

And your felt stacking tree is complete! You can bend the wire around to find the perfect position for your tree.

felt stacking tree

My little tree is going to hang out in our entryway, so I’m going to leave him as is. Depending on where he ends up in the future, I may dress him up – maybe a little beaded garland or glue on some beads or pearls as ornaments!

felt stacking tree

A few alternative ways to do this project:

  • Glue the felt circles together. Your tree will just be permanently positioned but will still be cute.
  • Use regular felt. Regular felt is fine, it’s just thinner and cleaner than the fuzzy, thick felted wool. So it will look different but be equally fun. You’ll probably want to cut out more layers, and probably cut out two of each size.
  • Make an ornament by using thread or fishing line and threading that through each layer. My mother-in-law has a similar ornament that has a bell at the bottom of the tree – that is an easy and cute way to secure the bottom layers.

Hope you enjoy this simple little tree as much as I do!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer

12 days of crafting: paper circle garland

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decorFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 4: Paper Circle Garland

paper circle garland, paper punch garland, diy paper garlandYou can never have too many garlands! This one is quick, easy and fun to make!

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garland

Supplies:

  • paper circle punch (mine is 1″, but you could do any size you want)
  • double-sided cardstock (or do what I did – glue two one-sided papers together! Thank you Joanns $1 section for carrying 12×12 Christmas paper packs!)
  • sewing machine
  • thread

A quick note about the paper circle punch: if you don’t have one, get one! They are SUCH a handy craft tool to have around. When I first learned to make bottle cap magnets, I borrowed a friend’s and fell in love with it. The next time I made the magnets, I bought my own and I use it all.the.time. In fact, there will be two more craft ideas in the 12 days series that use the 1″ punch, so get your Joanns or Michaels coupons and go get one!

Okay, back to our project. It’s so easy. First, punch a bunch of circles – you can decide how many you need based on the size of the punch. There will be about a  1/2 inch gap between each circle, so you can estimate how many circles you’ll need for your desired garland length (with my 1″ circles, it took about 8 to make 1 foot of garland).

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandOnce you’ve punched all your circles and your toddler has dumped the bowl out at least twice – that might just be me – get out your sewing machine and put in whatever color thread you want. I went with white, but a bold, festive color would be cool too.

All you do is feed these puppies through the machine, one at a time. Let the machine run a little bit after each circle – mine seemed to do a certain amount and then stop feeding, about 1/2″, which was perfect. This part is so fun, it comes together so fast! Ian walked by and thought it was pretty crazy (crazy good, I’m assuming).

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandThat’s all there is to it! Isn’t that sweet?

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandThe photo above illustrates two things NOT to do. First, keep the garland away from your coffee. A few of my circles went for a quick dip. Second, see that pile on the upper left? Oh, it’s a happy pile now, but pick that thing up and hastily try to hang the garland while keeping it out of your toddler’s hands? Bad idea. I had the tangled mess of the century. After a few minutes of trying to untangle it while standing on a chair, I decided to go with my original plan of hanging vertical pieces of the garland (thus cutting apart my loooong tangled garland into manageable 2 foot pieces). This mess could have easily been avoided by either being more careful or wrapping the garland around something like a toilet paper tube or water bottle or something that would keep it untangled.

Regardless, I’m happy with the result!

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garland
paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandI’m even quite fond of how it looks on the tree, and Ian liked it too. So I may be whipping up some more for our tree.

paper circle garland, paper punch garland, diy paper garlandIsn’t it cute? You can use them for so many things – hang them in different ways or cut them apart and wrap them around your gifts.

Don’t have a sewing machine or time to make one? There are lot of fun ones on etsy!

Paper circle garlands. Love them. End of story.

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding

12 days of crafting: iris paper folding

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decorFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 3: Iris Paper Folding

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament

Today’s handmade Christmas craft is brought to you by my good friend Laura! We were roommates in college, and her fun little crafts were always so creative. She’s made me tons of fun stuff over the years, and one of my recent faves is the mobile she made for Luke – you can catch a glimpse of it from afar in this post. Anyways, I loved it so much that I asked her to share her technique in making what I called her “ribbon art” – come to find it actually has an official name! – and so here she is to explain iris paper folding!

“This is a great way to recycle leftover Christmas scraps of ribbon, wrapping paper, or Christmas cards and can be used for a variety of crafts! The official name is iris paper folding. You can find hundreds of templates online, and can also make your own. It is a great way to add a homemade touch to your Christmas decorations or gifts without a large investment of time or money! This project usually takes about 1/2 hour once you have your supplies together.

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament
Supplies:

  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Scissors
  • Card stock paper
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Ribbon, wrapping paper, or other lightweight paper

Here are the basics:  Pick a Christmas themed shape such as a Christmas tree or Christmas stocking. Pick your ribbon or wrapping paper that you will use for your craft.  You can do it with one color of ribbon or paper, or pick a couple of colors and alternate. Pick a contrasting color of card stock paper for a backing.

Use a pre-made template, or cut your own out of card stock paper.  Then trace this template onto your card stock and cut out your shape with the knife. You will then flip over the template and work from the back.

Have your template or wrapping paper cut into long strips. You will essentially start in a triangle, taping your strips down. Keep working in concentric triangles towards the center. This is where it is easiest to have a pre drawn template, because it guides you just like working on a paint by number like you did as a kid.

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Always remember that you are working from the back, so you want to see the ugly side of everything. When you make it to the middle add some extra tape strips to secure everything.

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament
Then flip over, and voila, you’ve created something new! You can then back your creation on a card for a homemade greeting card, or another piece of card stock for a gift tag, Christmas ornament, or whatever strikes your fancy!”

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament

Thanks Laura! I am super excited to try this – really, when she said it was like “paint by number,” I said “I’m in!” And for reals – I might give this ornament pattern a try for some gift tags and Luke would flip out if I made this dolphin for him. You can totally think beyond seasonal tags and ornaments and make a gift out of your creation – Laura also made me an awesome squirrel a few years ago. She framed it in a picture frame and it was such a fun gift to receive! He still sits happily on my desk. So go get your paper and ribbon scraps and give this craft a try!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea