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Posts Tagged ‘arts and crafts’

For a person who likes to collect things, recycle, and drink wine, this was the perfect rainy day project for me! Several years ago I received a small, child-sized chalkboard as part of a gag gift. Being the perfect size for a desk top message board, I decided to hang on to it and figured I’d put it to good use one of these days. Well, that day arrived after I spied a project I liked and could easily make myself, while browsing through Etsy, an internet shopping site for handcrafted goods. After about a half hour’s worth of work – most of which was spent on deciding which corks to use – I have a wine lover’s chalkboard, complete with a little shelf to store the chalk! I made good use of the chalkboard and recycled some of the corks I’ve saved, not to mention, I have a decorative way to display messages! Now, what to do with all the rest of the corks I’ve collected?

Supplies Needed to Make the Wine Lover’s Chalkboard:
1 small chalkboard with frame
Hot glue gun and glue stick
About 2 dozen wine corks, depending on the size of the chalkboard
Scrap paper
Chalk

Directions:
1. Select the wine corks for the project. I looked for corks that had interesting phrases or designs printed on them.

2. Place corks on the wooden frame and rearrange them until you’re satisfied with the layout. By using varying lengths of cork, I was able to avoid cutting any of them.

3. Cover the “slate” portion of the board with a piece of scrap paper to protect the surface from glue.

4. After selecting which part of the corks are to be face up,  glue them down one by one. Start gluing the corks end-to-end on the top border and then work down one side and then the other. Finally, glue the bottom ends of the corks (they should be standing up) to the bottom part of the frame to create a shelf.

6. Break the chalk in half and place the chalk on the shelf.

7. A sawtooth picture hanger or picture wire could easily be added to the back if you want this project too hang on a wall versus lean against a wall.

I’m working on a few other creative ideas for wine cork usage, but if you have any brilliant ideas, pass them on to me. I’d love to hear about them!

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Steve loved birds. That’s all I could think of two nights before his memorial service. As I sat in my house dealing with my own feelings of regret and wishing I could do more for his family, I came up with the idea of making birds for Steve. Bird pins to be exact. My creative mission became to make as many bird pins as I could, so that members of his family and selected friends could wear a “Bird for Steve.”

Strangely, as I crafted these pins, I felt signs of Steve’s presence. Just small silly things. Unable to stop the flow of creative juices, I stayed up late the first night working on the pins. My husband and dog had given up on me and had long gone to bed. The house was quiet and still – just the way I like it when I’m in deep, creative concentration. Out of nowhere a gust of wind swept in from a small work area window and caused a pair of paper wings to take flight. They fluttered all around before landing. One wing was easily found on the carpet; the other was never found. I searched and searched for it and finally sighed and said, “Hi Steve, thanks a lot.” The next morning as I was cutting, gluing, and painting my baby birds, a real bird outside my window raised a ruckus like I’d never heard before. It was chattering and squawking like an irate drill sergeant, which made me smile and say, “Good morning to you, too, Steve. Do you approve of my birds?” And then much later in the day when a glob of super glue was growing on my thumbnail and my back and neck were protesting, a subtle wisp of air snuck in around me and scattered all the little birds’ eyes off a piece of paper and onto the floor, while leaving the vial of beads standing on the paper still upright and intact. “Very funny, Steve!” I remarked sadly sarcastic.

Sixty-seven unique little birds were at last ready for their journey. With wings poised for flight, they all found homes on the clothing of those that loved or cared about Steve. During the service I saw some of the birds go up to the church’s lectern and in my head I envisioned Steve grinning and saying, “That’s very cool.” Just for you, Steve.

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The old song goes, “A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket . . .” except in my case the baskets were pearlized baby blue. For Easter dinner I wanted to make something special for each of my guests, so I searched the internet and found a project on AllFreeCrafts.com. I made cute little paper baskets, filled them with my favorite chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs, and placed one basket at each place setting on the dining table. Because they are easy to make, I thought they could make sweet flower-filled Mother’s Day Brunch favors as well.

Supplies you will need to make these baskets:

*Stiff paper – construction paper or card stock
*Pencil,  embossing tool, or a small point knitting needle
*Ruler
*Scissors
*Hole Punch
*Brad fasteners
*Candy or tiny flowers (in which case you’ll need plastic condiment cups, too)

Instructions:

To make a template, measure and draw a 4-1/2″ square on stiff paper. Divide the square into nine equal squares with your pencil and ruler. Round off each corner with your scissors. Measure and cut out a handle template that is 6″ long by 5/8″ wide. Using your ruler as a straight edge, score the lines that form your nine-square grid. To do this place your ruler on a vertical line and run the embossing tool down the line. Repeat with the remaining vertical line and the two horizontal lines. Now fold the template along these lines.

Place your template on top of your paper and trace around it with a pencil or an embossing tool. I favor the embossing tool because it does not leave any marks that have to be erased later. It only leaves indentations. If you have a fine point knitting needle, this could be used as well. Repeat the procedure for the handle.

Do not remove the template. To score your basket so it can be folded, carefully place your ruler on top of your template and paper (make sure template and paper are lined up according to your tracing) along one of the vertical lines. Fold back the template along the rulers edge, and run the embossing tool down the edge. Repeat procedure on the remaining vertical line and two horizontal lines.

Cut the rounded-square and the handle out. Cut two slits along the center top and center bottom squares.To form one side of a basket, fold two round edges over a center square until they overlap. Punch with a tiny hole punch or fat needle through the three layers. Also punch a hole into each end of the handle making sure your you’ve left at least 1/4″ of paper at the end.

Again fold two round edges over the center square, lining up the holes. Now insert one end of the handle in between the center square and the overlapping rounded ends. Line up the holes and stick a brad in securely. If you do not have mini brads, you could use a staple and then cover the staple with a sticker. Repeat the procedure for the other side of the basket and handle.

Either fill the completed basket with candy or put a disposable plastic condiment cup in the basket. Fill the cup with a little bit of water and arrange some tiny flower stems in it.

Little baskets of flowers would also be very pretty additions to a bridal shower table-scape. Vary the paper or even enlarge the template to make larger baskets. Only your imagination limits you as to how these little baskets can be used!

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There’s nothing new about pomanders. As a matter of fact pomanders were used in the late Middle Ages through the 17th century to protect against infection and mask against bad smells. Today pomanders are primarily used as room fresheners. According to Wikipedia, the word pomander originates from the French “pomme d’ambre, i.e. apple of amber, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name), musk, or civet.”

Modern day pomanders are generally apples or citrus fruit studded with whole cloves. To spice up my life (Ha! Ha!) and get me in the mood for Christmas, I decided to make some citrus pomanders. I purchased oranges, lemons, limes and a jar of whole cloves. Costco is a good place to purchase these items in bulk and inexpensively. Because I didn’t want my home to smell like a dentist’s office, I decided not to follow tradition and chose not to cover the entire surface of the fruit. Hearts, stars, and patterns were more in line with my style.

I washed the fruit first and poured the cloves in a little bowl. If you are really a detail-type person, you could separate in advance the headless cloves from the head-still-intact ones. Unbelievably, I did not do this. Working on a plate, I selected the side of the fruit I wanted to highlight and used cookie cutters to outline the desired design. Holding the cookie cutter in place, I gently poked holes around the outside of the cookie cutter with a bamboo skewer. The cutter may have to be gently rocked from side to side to adequately work the design around the contour of the fruit. Space the holes about one-fourth inch apart, or for a denser-looking design, place them closer together. Push a whole clove into each of the holes.

Had I checked in with Martha Stewart first, I would have used rubber bands to create straight lines and would have shaken my pomanders in Orrisroot (available at health food stores) which is a perfume fixative. Live and learn!

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Halloween is just a few weeks away, so it’s time to decorate in a big way with mini pumpkins. Mini pumpkins make adorable jack-o’-lanterns and, not to be discriminating, jill-o’-lanterns. Don’t let their petite size stifle your creativity.

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In lieu of carving, I use black paint pens and draw faces freehand directly onto the pumpkins. I find that paint pens work better than permanent markers, because they provide a deeper black.

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To decorate mini pumpkins, first wash off any surface grime and towel dry. Be sure pumpkins are thoroughly dry before decorating.

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Traditional jack-o’-lanterns have triangular eyes and noses and sawtooth mouths, because these shapes are easily cut with a knife, but with paint pens you can create squiggles and swirls for eyes and circles and ovals for noses and mouths.

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Feel free to copy the faces that I have painted or use any design you like in pumpkin cutting stencil books.

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The skies the limit as to how many different faces you can create on mini pumpkins. Raffia can be used as bows or hair for your jill-o’-lanterns. Curling or wired ribbon can also be used for special touches. I even have versions of Dracula (red cape underneath him) and Frankenstein. For dog lovers, I found a pumpkin with a long stem and used it as the dog’s tail.

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Last year, wanting to bring Fall cheer to my husband’s co-workers, I created these little personalities and put one on each person’s desk. There are no two faces alike in this group!

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Have fun creating petite pumpkins with personality!

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