Saturday, November 29, 2014

Clothespin Card Holder

Now that I've recovered from the post Thanksgiving food coma,  I'm ready for a quick holiday project to get into the spirit of the Christmas season.  What about you?  I hope you enjoy the simple card holder I created using a square canvas and clothespins.

Not only is it cute but super functional.  I like that it has a wreath shape.  Although I chose a neutral washi tape, you could use a green tape (or paint) to extend that look.  

Supplies Needed:

- 12 x 12 black canvas
- printed design for chalk art
- regular-sized clothespins (20)
- washi tape
- chalk pencil
- chalk
- chalkboard pen
- ribbon


- After tracing diameter of small plate onto center of canvas, add chalkboard art in center of circle.
- cover one side of clothespins with washi tape
- hot glue clothespins with edge to line of traced circle (pin side out) 
- hot glue bow just below center clothespin at top of circle 

I had totally planned to complete another craft project (clay ornaments)  today when I visited Michael's.  But the idea for this clothespin card holder just came to me while I was shopping.  I had everything I needed on hand except the canvas.  Lucky for me it was already black so that saved me a step.  Although I created this with the intention of displaying Christmas cards, it could easily  be modified to display photos or memos.  The center design could be changed to a word, special phrase,  monogram, or initial.  The possibilities are limitless!  

Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Organizing Your DIY Craft Table

So for those of you who have a craft table similar to the one I created or for the DIYers out there who actually braved the bowels of IKEA to purchase the components that I used, I decided the least I could do is give you tips on organizing your DIY Craft Table supplies.  This baby holds a lot of stuff!

In addition to a few mesh file folders, clear storage containers, and magazine holders, I used four of the Branas baskets - two on each end.                      

Paper Punches & Scissors:  I have a great wall shelf with cubbies and hooks which hangs on the wall above my craft table.  I recently snagged this for 50% off at Hobby Lobby.  The cubbies hold my paper punches.  The hooks hold my scissors and handle punches. I previously had my punches in a clear container which lived on a shelf below the table top.  I use them often so I wanted them more accessible and this shelf has allowed that to happen.  It's not only functional but asthetically pleasing too! 

Cutting Tools:  A Branas basket holds all my cutting tools (except scissors and punches).  I have several cutting mats in different sizes, a shape cutting tool, and couple of different straight line paper cutters.  I use my Fiskars 12" personal paper trimmer most often.  I'm hoping that Santa might bring me a Cricut or Silouette machine for Christmas.  I've been very good this year (at least I think so).

Cloth Ribbon:  I use clear glass jars I purchased at Target to store my cloth ribbon spools.  I recently saw some cute glass jars at Kirkland's too.  I can easily see what I have on hand and these jars hold several spools.  For larger width ribbon, I stacked the spools on top of each other inside a glass hurricane.

Craft Paint/Supplies & Adhesives:  I don't use my craft paint very often but have a myriad of colors which have accumulated with each project.  These fit perfectly standing up in a photo storage box.  I have another photo storage box which holds painting tools - small brushes, foam brushes, etc.  Both boxes fit inside a Branas basket just fine with some room left over on the side for larger bottles/cans like Mod Podge, spray adhesive, etc.  

Scrapbook Paper and Stickers:  I have two mesh file folders that have worked like a charm to organize my scrapbooking paper.  I probably do more paper crafting than anything else so again accessibility and easy organization was essential.  I'm actually in the process of reorganizing my stickers into a 3-ring binder which will slide into one the file folders.  One file folder holds all my solid colored paper and the other holds all the patterned paper.  See picture below for a clever way to file your solids by color family.

Craft Supplies:  A third Branas basket holds mostly craft supplies and few items I keep on hand for floral arranging.  Within the basket I have clear containers to further organize items into respective categories:  chipboard letters, glue gun, different sized clothespins, and jewelry making.

Sewing:  The fourth Branas basket holds supplies for sewing including the foot pedal, instruction manual, and different colored threads.  My sewing machine sits on the shelf below the basket.  

I hope this post gave you some good ideas on organizing your craft supplies (even if you don't have the table).  I think it's important to group like items and keep the tools you use most often in the most accessible area.  I find that I craft more since creating my table and organizing my supplies.  Clean up is also a snap because everything has a home.  

Now, put on your big girl panties (again), pull out your craft supplies and get organizing.  Your uniquely nested craft space will thank you!!  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

DIY Craft Table

Are you looking for a new or at least improved table for crafting?  I mentioned on my creative space page that the most functional aspect (and my favorite) is the table I created using components from IKEA.                                                                       

I have to be honest here...I have a love-hate relationship with IKEA.  It has nothing to do with the quality of their products (although some might question that).  I think many of their items are quite stylish and very affordable.  I have been happy with the console table (which I use in my foyer) and beds for both my boy's rooms. My love-hate has to do with the actual shopping experience.  I don't know if all their stores are as enormous or as chock full of stuff as the one near me but I find them absolutely overwhelming.  It's total sensory overload!  I almost feel like I need an anti-anxiety med to calm my nerves.  

So why shop at this particular store for this particular project?  You will save a ton of money and any anxiety you may experience will be worth it (I hope, for your sake).  I've learned how to make my shopping experience more tolerable and less stressful:  (1) never shop there on the weekend, (2) always shop there during an off-peak time like the middle of week at mid-morning, (3) always  create your shopping list online before heading out, (4) bring a 
buddy along to help you, (5) definitely enjoy a snack in the cafe.  
  If you don't have my issue, well you're home free with this project.  If you have my issues, pull up your big girl panties (or big boy undies) and deal with it!  I mean that in the nicest way.  It's kind of like childbirth...once your DIY craft table is born, you will forget about (hopefully) any pain involved in the so-called birthing process. 

Alrighty then...I'm getting off my soap box now so I can actually give you the skinny on how to put this baby together (wink, wink).

Supplies needed:
  • 2 - KALLAX Shelving Unit
  • 2 - KALLAX Set of Casters, Silver (gives you 4 total)
  • 1 - LINNMON Table Top (29.5" width x 59" length - there's also a shorter length ~48")
  • 4 - BRANAS Baskets (or other style)  
  • 4-6 L-Brackets and screws
  • Build shelves according to instructions.  Add a set of casters to each shelf.  
  • Place the shelves table top distance apart.  Lock casters in place.  Have a buddy help you lift table top onto top of shelves (one shelf on each end). 
  • Attach table top to shelves from underneath using L-brackets.
  • Put together baskets and place in opening.
And the DIY doctor exclaims in delight - 
"Congratulations  - It's a craft table!!" 

Now get your craft supplies together.  This baby's ready to roll ...literally!  Look for an upcoming post on how to organize your  table so it works like a well-oiled machine. Happy crafting!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Go Texans Cookie Cake

Although yesterday was the official end to my younger son's football season, his Texans team was ready to rumble in the championship game against the Ducks.  Win or lose - it's been an outstanding season!  We celebrated with a homemade cookie cake... Texans style.          

No matter what team or event you are celebrating, a cookie cake can be personalized just for you.  If you've never used a piping bag, do not be afraid!!  I repeat, don't be afraid!  It's much easier than you think and everyone will be impressed with your cake decorating skills.  You don't have to tell them it was snap!  

Here are the supplies you will need:
  • 12 x 17 cookie sheet with edge (I used a Calphalon nonstick pan).  
  • 3 packages - Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (make according to package directions).  **I always use real butter not margarine and it turns out perfect.
  • 2 containers of vanilla frosting 
  • Wilton Icing colors:  red-red, royal blue, black
  • Wilton 12" Disposable Piping Bags
  • Plastic Adapter (allows you to change tips on bag)
  • Piping Tips (#14 star tip for blue and red on Texans symbol and stars, #21 star tip for border, #3 round tip Texans word)
  • Printing of desired design - I printed off Texans symbol and stars.  I cut out designs, placed them on cookie, outlined with toothpick, and filled in with colored frosting.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Combine cookie mixes, 
softened butter, and eggs (I used my KitchenAid Artisan stand mixe).  Pour on to cookie sheet and spread evenly to edges.  Bake 
for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely. While 
cookie is cooling, stir color into icing and prepare your icing bags with adapters and tips (#14 for red and blue).  When mixing colors, I added a little black with blue to make it more navy versus royal. 

Place your cut out paper designs on cake, trace with toothpick.  Fill in with coloring icing.  Pipe star border on entire cookie cake.  I added Texans word at top because it felt a little blank (printed and 
traced through with toothpick).  The only thing I wish I had on hand was red-white-blue sprinkles for the border but I still think it turned out great! 

By the way, my son's team pulled off a well-fought win 7-6 to earn the league championship for his grade level.  It was a win-win weekend for football.  Our local Houston Texans also came out victorious 23-7 in Cleveland.  Did you see JJ's awesome touchdown reception?  Sweet!!  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas - Advent Calendar

Even though our boys are getting older, they still look forward to opening the little window on the chocolate-filled Advent calendar we've purchased over the last few years.  Who doesn't love counting down the days with a chocolate treat, right?  

I've looked for a special Advent calendar that could be filled with small treats to reuse each year but never found anything that would work for our family.  So this year, I thought I'd make something special to celebrate the 12 days leading up to Christmas.             

I've had two magnetic memo boards that I purchased at IKEA several months ago when I was updating my office.  I originally intended to use them above the built-in desks but they didn't work.  Then I thought I might use them in one of the boys' bedrooms.  Long story short, they never got utilized and have been taking up space.  So one will become the backdrop to our Advent calendar.  But you could use any sturdy base you have on hand as the backdrop (piece of cardboard, foam core, art canvas, etc).  I designed two different ideas - one I'll keep and the other I'll give to a friend or family member (my sis called dibs on the one with the circle boxes).

Supplies you will need:

Option #1 
magnetic memo board or cookie sheet (for backdrop)

12 paper mâché circle-shaped boxes
Christmas wrapping paper
Scrapbook paper (to coordinate with wrapping paper)
Circle punches (2.5" - 2 " - 1.5" - 1")
Scrapbook adhesive or glue gun
Ribbon, jute twine, or paper twine

  • Wrap the backdrop with your choice of wrapping paper or place piece inside cookie sheet.
  • I chose 6 small boxes (~ 1.75" diameter) and 6 medium boxes (~ 2.75" diameter) to create my "tree".  For each box, I punched circles in solid scrapbook paper then added a 1" circle of printed scrapbook paper with number of day.  My 1" circles coordinate with small banner at top and gifts at the bottom.  I tried to attach paper circles to boxes with scrapbook adhesive but it wasn't sticky enough on paper mâché.  I had to go back and hot glue them because the cirles started falling off.  
  • I then hot glued medium duty magnets to bottom of each box.
  • I printed off the Christmas story into 12 circles then glued inside bottom each box so you can place lid on bottom after opened to read a snippet of story each day.  
  • I made small template for banner for top and cut out of Christmas scrapbook paper.  I hot glued paper twine to front of paper pieces and glued to backdrop.  I added scrapbook paper gifts to bottom.
  • I'm ready to add little treats to each box!   

Option #2 
cardboard, foam core, art canvas (for backdrop)

12 small kraft bags with handle 
small clothes pins
Christmas wrapping paper
Scrapbook paper (to coordinate with wrapping paper)
Chalkboard stickers
Chalkboard paint pen
Ribbon, jute twine, or paper twine
  • Wrap the backdrop (I used a 16x20 art canvas) with your choice of wrapping paper.
  • Wrap 2 pieces of coordinating ribbon across front of backdrop and tape on back with heavy duty tape such as Duck tape.
  • Add chalkbook stickers to bags.  Use white stickers or chalkboard paint pen to add numbers 1-12 to bags.
  • Add 6 small clothespins to each piece of ribbon then add bags starting with 1-6 on first ribbon and so on.
  • You could add a portion of the Christmas story or a Bible verse to back of each bag.  Turn to this side after treat is enjoyed.  
  • The bags are ready to be filled with small treats!

What are your Christmas traditions?  If you don't already use an Advent calendar or would like to change things up a bit, this is an easy project to help celebrate the season of Christmas.  Your kids will look forward to each little surprise and you will look forward to sharing God's love with your children.  Who knows...maybe someone will surprise you with a treat as well!  Merry Christmas!   

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Christmas Invitation Party Popper

My sister and her friend recently recruited me to help them design a unique invitation for an upcoming Christmas celebration at a great restaurant.  They didn't want to do the standard electronic invitation or a simple printed one.  Since most invitations would be hand delivered, they wanted something fun and interactive.  No pressure.  But I had an idea...toilet paper rolls!  "Say what?" you utter in complete disbelief.  Stay with me.  You won't be disappointed.                              

I told you so! :)  It's hard to believe that this fun party popper started out its very humble life as a  toilet paper roll.  Our prototype did anyway.  I'll use my few recycled "rolls" for fun gift giving at Christamas or make party poppers for New Year's Eve.  Good news is that if you don't happen to have recycled toilet paper rolls handy, craft stores sell card board "craft tubes" in bulk.  To do my sister's project, we purchased a package of 24 tubes from Hobby Lobby.  These worked great for our project because they are a little sturdier than the recycled rolls.

Sometimes I hate that we are so digitally focused and rarely send actual invitations that you can hold in your hand.  I love getting snail mail as long as its cash awards (surprise - you've won a million dollars!) or a great invitation to an even greater party.  So here's how I created our party popper invitation:

Step 1:  Punch out 2 circles from scrapbook paper using a 3.5 inch circle paper punch.  Place tube on center on each circle and trace.  Cut around outer edge of circles just to tracing of tube.  Punch a small hole in center of one circle.  Cut a length of jute twine or ribbon and tie to half of a toothpick.  Thread  twine through hole in one of the circles so that toothpick catches on paper.

Step 2:  Using hot glue gun, attach the circle with twine/ribbon to one end of tube.

Step 3:  Fill the tube with a small amount of paper shred and Christmas confetti.  Then add paper invitation* rolled into scroll (and tied with ribbon).  Add a couple of small candy canes.  Top with a little more paper shred and confetti.

*Invitation:  I created a simple (and petite) printed invitation in a publishing software.  With four per page, I cut them with a paper cutter and backed with a coordinating scrapbook paper then rolled into scrolls.

Step 4:  Now that the tube is filled up, glue other circle to top to close it off.

Step 5:  Cover the tube with a rectangle of pretty paper.  I used left over wrapping paper (because I have way too much).  I cut several pieces for the craft tubes which measured 4.25" x 6.5 ".  Attach it to tube with glue gun.

Step 6:  Tadah!!  This is the finished tube after adding a tag and ribbon.

Ready or not, the Christmas season is upon us (even if it's not  Thanksgiving yet).  If you haven't already received an invitation, it's only a matter of days.  Maybe you'll receive a fun party popper invitation or maybe you"ll make some for your own celebation.  Whether it's a holiday party, birthday, or a baby shower, this fun and interactive invitation can be personalized just for you.  It's a perfect way to get the party started with a POP!