Happy Birthday to Anyone!

(Except it never works that way…someone’s birthday rolls around, I look at my stash and none of them are quite right. Figures.)

Highly reproducible: Letterpress square from Paper source on a colored card with contrasting paper

Highly reproducible: Letterpress square from Paper source on a colored card with contrasting paper

One of my favorite cards I've ever made. This was using scraps from my birthday present artwork and I adore how it turned out.

One of my favorite cards I’ve ever made. This was using scraps from my birthday present artwork and I adore how it turned out.

I had this card with a pink border. I had a sticker with the same pink and some dimension. It's like the gateway drug of card making...

I had this card with a pink border. I had a sticker with the same pink and some dimension. It’s like the gateway drug of card making…

Do you ever make cards? Which of these is your favorite? Also…anyone want more direction on how to make cards? I wasn’t sure if anyone cared.

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Quick and Easy Valentines Wreath

I decorated!

Valentines Paper Heart Wreath 1

Reds and pinks are not my decorating colors (I rarely even wear red), but I made a small exception for Valentines Day.

I wanted a little something for my door and a wreath seemed like a fun choice. No real instructions–I used five different coordinating papers, one of which was patterned with the word love and then cut strips between 2-4.5″ and then folded them in half. Then I free hand cut out a bunch of hearts.

I used a scrap of posterboard and (roughly) cut a 12″ circle about 2.5″ thick for my wreath base, then I grabbed a roll of small glue dots and went for it. I started with the bigger hearts and spaced them out a little and stuck ’em down. Then I started layering in smaller hearts. I needed to cut several rows of little hearts at the end to fill in small holes so there wasn’t awkward spaces. It was very low-tech.

Then I hung it up. I live in a condo, so my front door is in the hallway–no weather worries here!

Valentines Paper Heart Wreath 2

The whole thing took me maybe an hour and was pretty painless.

Do you decorate for Valentines Day?

Boyfriend Birthday Art

Boyfriend’s not a crafty guy. He’s not much of a reader either, and definitely not a Young House Love junkie like some people here.

But after teasing me about Lesley coming down and the two of us waiting outside in the rain to get our very own autographed copy of their book, he had to see what the fuss was all about.

YHLBookAnd he saw a picture of this:

(Not the picture from the book, which isn't even about the art in the first place)

And he really liked it. Enough to refer back to it a couple times, and for me to decide it would be a pretty good birthday present. So for his birthday, I grabbed a big canvas, some craft paint and a few brushes (ok, I already had the brushes). I wrapped them up with a little canvas (to represent the big blank one which I didn’t think was worth wrapping). After a little confusion, he was excited, and over Christmas break we got it done.

Turns out he’s also totally hired on as my new staff photographer (have you noticed how bad all my pictures are?), so that’s a plus.

So we got out our canvas, a yardstick, several shades of green craft paint + white + silver metallic for some depth, a couple brushes and a paper plate for mixing.

So we got out our canvas, a yardstick, several shades of green craft paint + white + silver metallic for some depth, a couple brushes and a paper plate for mixing.

Then I got to measuring. We did 1.5 inch marks, using the yardstick facing the same direction down both long sides and then lining it up between the two marks to make lines. Then I just grabbed an envelope and made some random arrows. This part was hilarious. It’s not for me, so I was asking Boyfriend what he wanted. So he went and got the book, and started scrutinizing the picture. “Well, she never does too many close together.” “Don’t do diamonds. She didn’t do diamonds.” The best was “Ok, she did two, then three, then two, then four…” as he actually started counting how many arrows in each line. I stopped him and pointed out it didn’t have to look EXACTLY like what Sherry did. That’s an IT guy for you, right?

Arrow art measure 1Arrow art measure 2Arrow art make arrows

Then it was time for painting. As with anything paint, you can always go darker, so I started with what I thought would be a mid-to-darker color (which was one of my greens mixed with white). Of course, it ended up being our darkest.

Arrow art progress 1From there, we just mixed new shades, usually just lightening what we were working with, and adding a lime-y green to some mixes, with silver to others (I didn’t want it to look too flat and Sherry didn’t provide formulas, so I was allowed to do this.)

Arrow Art progress 2My new photographer Boyfriend even made me hold it up at regular intervals to make sure he got some good progress shots (see, totally hired!)

Arrow Art Progress 3And I started on the little bonus canvas you see–see if you can find it later in my house!

Arrow Art Progress 4And then finally it was done! He loves it and so do I. Right now it’s hung sideways on a nail in my house waiting for his move to a new place at the end of the month. But it will be the first thing you see when you walk in his new place. Now if I can just convince him I don’t do this with everyone I date (which is true! Right Lesley?!)

Arrow Art Final 2

What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve made?

Wintry “Thanks” Cards

Somehow, I’ve posted cards exactly once.

Must fix. Now that I’ve hired a photographer* I’m all set to fix that.

Lets start off with the Thank You cards I made to send to (very generous) family & friends for my Christmas gifts**

Wintry Thanks 2 designs v2

These were pretty simple to make using my Cuttlebug and a paper cutter, as well as all this:

White and light blue shimmer paper, heavy navy paper, white pen, corner rounder, tape roller, Snowflake die and snowflakes embossing folder (and glue dots)

White and light blue shimmer paper, heavy navy paper, white pen, corner rounder, tape roller, Snowflake die and snowflakes embossing folder (and glue dots)

Once I had the basic design set up, these came together very quickly. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been practicing writing different fonts (using this book, which I highly recommend), and I used three of them in these cards:

Wintry Thanks 2 line v2

Thanks curlicue

Wintry Thanks Script

Which is your favorite? The last one is the only nice writing I can do that seems worthy of going on a card!

*Boyfriend. I make him dinner sometimes…

**They would have been Christmas cards but…yeah.

2012 Favorites

This has been a busy year for me–there are still some projects (some of my favorites!) that need to be wrapped up on here, like the buffet and the bathroom–but many completed that I wanted to look back on.  Here are my Favorites (and some of yours) from the past year.

The most popular post (thanks in part to a few features) on the blog is one of my favorites too:

Pinterest Challenge: Map-lined drawer

Pinterest Challenge: Map-lined drawer

And actually, everything else was a crafty paper thing too.

First up is my favorite (but according to WordPress’ year end review, no one else’s):

Finished Product

My birthday present to myself, made by a forced labor birthday ice cream social (but painstakingly cut and assembled by me)

Many of my projects were gifts, and two of my favorites were for a close friend’s new baby girl:

Made with both parent's favorite childhood books

Made with both parent’s favorite childhood books

This banner hung in their living room for three months before moving to the baby's room. So glad they loved it!

This banner hung in their living room for three months before moving to the baby’s room. So glad they loved it!

The Mother’s Day present I made was one of my first posts, and still looks great on my mom’s hallway picture ledges.

Made of a zillion cut and folded paper hearts.

Made of a zillion cut and folded paper hearts.

And an idea everyone should steal (for thermostats, alarm panels and door buzzers like mine): The canvas to cover an eyesore. Dots optional.

The canvas panel just has punched paper dots glued to it and covers the buzzer. No one even knows its there!

The canvas panel just has punched paper dots glued to it and covers the buzzer. No one even knows its there!

I was a little surprised at the prevalence of paper, especially since I DO write about other stuff. And although one of my first posts was about cards, I never post them (something I plan to remedy right away–I love making cards and make tons of them!)

Did you do a Favorites post? I love these, especially for blogs I’m new too–link yours up in the comments so I can see what yours are!

Pinterest Challenge: Magnets and Push Pins

I’ve been working on a new bulletin board for the past week (I’ll share that project soon!) and I decided that I needed some new push pins to go with it, because my boring old thumb tacks just wouldn’t do. Then, as I was thinking about what I wanted to do there, I remembered a few projects I pinned and I thought:

Here are some of my inspirations:

From papervinenz.com

From Sarah Ortega

From NotMartha.org

It was actually really easy to do the magnets. I bought two sizes of flattened glass marbles, some craft paper, Mod Podge and peel and stick magnets. I also bought some letter stickers once I decided I wanted to do alphabet tiles too.

To make the alphabet magnets, I peeled off the round magnet backing and stuck it to the craft paper. Then I trimmed around the edge, leaving a little paper overhang to wrap around the edge. I centered a letter sticker on top, and Mod Podged the whole thing, smoothing the paper around the edge as I went.

To make the glass pebble magnets, I cut the paper a little larger than the pebble, than Mod Podged the bottom of the pebble and smoothed the paper against it. I let that cure, then trimmed the paper as close to the pebble as I could. I coated the backside of the paper with more Mod Podge (avoiding the glass as much as possible). After that cured, I trimmed a magnet to fit, leaving it as big as possible since the glass is heavy. I peeled off the backing, and attached the magnet to the stone.

I did the push pins just like the pebble magnets, but instead of attaching a magnet, I super glued a thumb tack to the back of the paper.

Knotted Ribbon Necklace

So, around the time I made this, I made another necklace with these gorgeous peachy/aqua faceted gemstones on a thin silk cord. But after a year, the necklace was fraying and stretching and I needed to redo it. I’ve always wanted one of those pretty ribbon necklaces that tie with a bow, so I decided to that approach for the redo.

Stringing a necklace on a wide ribbon is easy, as long as you can twist the end of the ribbon into a point. Then you can thread the beads on one at a time.

Once all the beads are strung, leave a long tail (long enough to make a large bow you like, plus a little more in case you need it), and tie a knot. Slide a bead right up to the knot, then tie a second overhand knot right next to the bead, pulling the knot tight to the bead with your fingers

Push a second bead next to the second knot, and tie the third knot like the second, pulling it close to the bead.

Keep knotting and sliding, keeping the knots as close to the beads as possible.

As you pass the halfway point, check that the ends are even. If not, you may need to remove beads from one end and string them on the other end to even the ends.

Finish knotting. Use a bow to clasp the necklace.

Paper Stars

Paper stars were one of the first, if not the first, craft project Mary and I ever did together. We originally made a bunch as a birthday present for a friend who was decorating her room with a starry night theme. (Apparently when someone tells me I probably can’t do something, like make 3D stars out of paper, I feel inclined to prove them wrong.) They were a huge hit. Then we made a bunch for our room. Then, when we moved, we hung them from the ceiling of our office.

So when we were trying to think of something good for our blog masthead, paper stars seemed like a logical choice. And now you can learn to make your very own!

Now, making the template takes longer than making any of the stars. And the first one or two might be rough, as you are learning to make even folds and match up edges and get the glue to hold while not flattening the whole thing. But! Once you make the first few, they are actually pretty fast and addictive.

Paper Stars

You’ll need…

  • Stiff paper for template
  • Decorative paper for the stars (we’ve used construction, water color, and scrapbook paper with equal success)
  • Protractor
  • Pencil
  • Glue (fine tip glue for scrapbooks works really well)
  • Scissors

Template

  1. Trace a circle onto the template paper using the inner edge of your compass.
  2. Place the Protractor over the circle, and mark at 90° and the mid-point of the straight edge. Flip the protractor so that you mark it at 90° on the other side—marking a straight line dividing the circle exactly in half. Use the edge of the protractor to trace this entire line, and mark the halfway point so you can see the exact center of the circle. (My protractor has a handy opening for just this purpose.)
  3. Making sure your protractor stays centered, mark a point on the circle 72° from the marked line.

    Draw a line through that point and the center point to the other side of the circle.

    Repeat until you’ve made five lines, and the circle is divided into 10 sections. (Alternatively, you can mark every 36° around the circle and connect the dots to make the 10 sections.)
  4. Start at the top point, skip three lines around the edge, and line up your straight edge between the top point and the fourth point. Draw a line between the points.
  5. Skip the next three lines and use your straight edge to draw a line between the fourth point and where you left off.
  6. Repeat until you have a five-point star.
  7. Move your straight edge about 3 or 4 mm from one of the star’s sides and draw a parallel line, skipping the inside of the star itself.

    Repeat until you’ve created a second set of lines around each point (these lines are used for the flaps).
  8. Use your straight edge to mark a gradual taper at each point between the outside lines and the point.
  9. Cut out your template, following the outside lines and the tapered points.

Cutting and folding stars

  1. Trace the template onto the back of your decorative paper. Repeat to trace a second star.
  2. Cut out both stars.
  3. Fold the star in half from an outer point to the inner point directly across from it. Unfold.
  4. Turn the star, and fold in half at the next point.
  5. Repeat until the star has been folded in half at every point.
  6. Gently fold the star, tucking the inside point down and folding the two “legs” on either side together.
  7. Repeat around, so that every inside point folds in, and every outside point folds out.
  8. Now you’ll need to cut a small notch on every inside point to make the folding flaps. Look at your template to see how large this flap needs to be—it’s the distance from the outside of the template to the inner point on the inside set of lines. Cut the notches on all inside points.
  9. Fold each flap in from the notch to the tip of the outside point.
  10. Repeat with the other star, and figure out which points best match each other when they are help inside-to-inside.
  11. Place glue on the flaps of two adjacent points, and firmly press the two star halves together along the glue line. It doesn’t matter if you flatten the stars at this point.
  12. When the glue is dry, gently pop the stars back into their 3D shape, and add glue along two more edges. Be more gentle as you press these edges together—the more edges that are glued, the more difficult it is to pop the star back into shape.
  13. Glue the final edges together and gently press together–by this time, the shape of the star itself should help hold it together.

As you create more stars, you’ll get better at folding evenly, and you’ll discover your own technique for gluing.

{Mary adds:}

{I made a mobile for a coworker with a new baby using the star template, and it turned out awesome. Non-directions here–at the end.}

Have you ever made something cool just to prove you could?