Archive for the ‘ Gifts ’ Category

Semi-DIY: Valentines in a Snap for under $1

It’s been way too long since I posted a fun crafty treat and I’ve really missed it (and you guys)! Today’s Semi-DIY project is a quick and cheap way to dress up a simple box of candy.  It would be great for adults and the kiddos alike.  See…cute right?
DPP-2011ValSwap18

Supplies Needed:

  • Boxes of Conversation Hearts Candy – I picked mine up at the local Dollar Tree
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Stickers or other decorative items

Instructions:

  1. Cut your scrapbook paper to the height and circumference of your candy boxes.  For the boxes I used the dimensions of the paper should be 3.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches long.
  2. Add a piece of double-sided tape to one end of the paper, and attach it to the back of your box.
    DPP-2011ValSwap25
  3. Next, you will wrap the paper around the box and attach to the box with an additional piece of double-sided tape.  Do this underneath the overlaid section of the paper.
    DPP-2011ValSwap28
  4. Decorate with stickers and other assorted goodies.DPP-2011ValSwap30
  5. Give to someone special!

Costs:

One of the great things about this project is that in additon to be simple, it’s also quite thrifty.  If you have a stash of scrapbook paper & stickers like I do then it’s virtually free since you just need to buy the candy.  My boxes of candy were purchased from the Dollar Tree in a package of 4 for $1 and you could also pick up fun Valentines stickers there as well.

$1.07 for 4, so 26 cents each!  Can’t beat that!

DPP-2011ValSwap21

DIY Link: Yo-Yo Christmas Trees & Product Review

I’ve mentioned my love of Swap-Bot before, and today I’ll show off one of my latest projects that was shipped off several weeks ago to one of my swap partners.  The Yo-Yo Christmas Tree:

DPP-YoYoTree4

Isn’t it cute?  I love to make yo-yo’s, making them is quite soothing to me for some reason.   Typically I have a pile of them laying around with no clue how to use them and after seeing a yo-yo pumpkin this fall thought I should attempt to make a tree.  Then I saw this fun tutorial from Kiwi at Heart and she had made exactly what I was dreaming up in my head.  She does a great job explaining the process…I only did one thing differently.

Where she uses templates to cut her circles, I decided to try out this fun little gadget I picked up 50% off at Joann’s a while back.

Olfa Circle CutterThe verdict?  I LOVE it!

PROS:
I was able to just adjust the setting to match her dimensions and cut the circles out with no templates.  It works much like using a string & pencil to draw a circle…only this bad boy has a sharp pin to hold it in place and a super shape rotary blade.  Such a time saver…especially when you love to make yo-yo’s as much as I do! I have a quilt I want to make this year that involves circles and I am thinking this little guy might be a life saver when I get to that point.  So if you cut out circles-o-plenty of like I do…it might be the best $15 you spend.

CONS:
It uses a really sharp rotary blade, so you absolutely must use a cutting mat underneath it.  It can also be a bit odd to hold and turn at first, but once you get the hang of it that isn’t really a problem.

Any other recommendations out there for yo-yo construction or quilting gadgets I might also find indispensable?  Please, share!!

DPP-YoYoTree1

Make sure you check out the yo-yo tree tutorial:  Yo-Yo Christmas Tree Tutorial from Kiwi at Heart

You might also check out Mummy Crafts to see her take on the same tutorial, which also includes a template for cutting the circles.

Fine Print:  I have not been compensated in any way by either Joann’s or Olfa for my review of this product.  It is simply my opinion based on usage of the product I purchased.

DIY: Stamped Plant Marker

This is one of my final “envelope of doom“ projects, but it’s one you could use for many other things.  I’ve been wanting to try my luck at stamping metal objects with my letter punches I picked up a while back with a 50%  off coupon and this gave me the perfect excuse.  I think I still need to work on the pressure I “stamp” or hammer each letter with…but overall I was happy with how it turned out.  Since these items were intended to be gifts, I included this little guy in a SwapBot package (visit this post for more info on swapping).

Project 4 - Stamped Plant MarkersAnd yes, I realize that isn’t Basil.  My basil plant just died so this was my indoor option. :)

Supplies Needed:

Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

  • Letter Punches, I have the Making Memories Stamping Die Set
  • Metal item to use as plant marker
  • Large piece of floral wire (not pictured)
  • Hammer
  • Solid surface (in my case our sidewalk)
  • Black permanent marker or paint
  • Glue (like E6000) – optional depending on your item

Instructions:

1. Gather your metal item to stamp.  I’m using a metal pendant from my envelope of doom, but metal washers or even flattened spoons also look fun!  Use your imagination.

2. Find a solid surface that won’t scar, but also won’t give when you hammer the letter into the metal.  If you are worried about concrete marring the opposite side of the item and your set didn’t come with the little mat like mine did, you could always put down a thin layer of fabric to protect the item.

3. Measure to determine if your word will fit on the item

4. Start from the top, pick the first letter and align on the item.  Hit with hammer.  (sidebar: I was a bit frustrated with something the afternoon I attempted this project so it was great stress relief to hammer on something…although it might have caused to hit a few letters too hard.

5. Repeat with the letters down the length of the item.  You’ll get the hang of how much pressure you need after a few letters so having a test piece to work on first would be helpful to some.
Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

6. Next it’s time to make those stamped letters stand out a bit more.  Using a black permanent marker or paint quickly color in the first letter and then wipe the excess off so that only the groves are painted. Repeat for each of the letters.

Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

7. Now it’s time to attach your metal tag to the wire.  If you are using a flattened spoon, you can skip this step since you already have a stake on your tag!  This is also where your version will differ from mine…I had a loop on the top and two pieces on the bottom of each side. So I was able to bend each of these pieces towards the back of my piece.

8. This is also where your version will differ from mine…I had a loop on the top and two pieces on the bottom of each side. So I was able to bend each of these pieces towards the back of my piece.

9. Fold your wire in half and start to attach it to the back of your metal piece.  For a washer open the wire up much like I have below to form an inverted “V” and then glue to the back of the washer.  I was able to feed the wire up through the top loop and then secure it to the back by bending the sides down on top of it.

Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

10. Let glue dry, add to plant and enjoy :)

Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

Do you label your garden plant? We didn’t do such a great job of that this year, but next year I plan to create DIY plant markers.  If you’ve created your own please share your favorite garden marker project links.

PS.  I hope each of you has a wonderful Labor Day Weekend & War Eagle!

Challenge: Craft it Forward Reveal Part 2

In the last post you saw the fun Craft-it-Forward apron that made it’s way to Lisa (visit this post confused by what Craft-it-Forward is all about).  Today’s post picks up with participant #2’s crafty treat.

Becky is a fun internet friend I “met” while planning our wedding, and she and her mister will tie the knot in a few weeks.  After glancing over Becky’s blog it is apparent she is a fan of  sunflowers…so I decided she needed something with a sunflower on it and intended to make her an apron with a sunflower pin as well.  Until… I was watching Glee one evening and had a fun idea for her based on my girl Emma’s necklace.

(source: Polyvore)

So I decided to attempt to create something similar for Becky, and set off to several local thrift stores in search of the perfect flower.  I found something similar and then posed the following question to her via twitter, “Painted or Gold”…she choose painted and so I painted the gold-tone brooch to be the bright colors of a sunflower.  I then paired the sunflower brooch with three strands of green glass beads to get this:

And finally to help get her started on her own Craft-it-Forward projects I included a little bag of crafty items from my ever growing stash:

I had a blast putting together these two fun Craft-it-Forward packages and I hope they enjoyed receiving them.  Now, tell me…am I the only person obsessed with Emma on Glee?  I wish whoever styles her character would come make-over my wardrobe!  Want your own Emma inspired necklace?  Check back next week for the opening of the Dill Pickle Picnic Shop!!

Oh…and congrats to Becky & her mister as they spend the next few weeks wrapping up their wedding plans and celebrating their marriage!

Challenge: Craft it Forward Reveal Part 1

Ages ago you might have seen several posts about a fun little crafting challenge/giveaway I participated in called “Craft it Forward”.  If not, check out this post for all the details.  I ended having a really hard time getting in touch with the 5 winners (who knew it would be so hard to give something away) and I ended up with only 2 participants.    Hopefully my next challenge/giveaway will be a bit more successful (hint, hint…there might be something coming up in September).

Today, it’s time to show off the goodies that the the lovely Lisa M found in her mailbox earlier this summer.  Using that large bolt of fabric I picked up at Goodwill for $2.00, I created this little apron for her:

And since the flower could get a bit dusty with all that baking, there is an extra flower pin to switch it up with from time to time:

And finally to help get her started on her own Craft-it-Forward projects I included a little bag of crafty items from my ever growing stash:

It was really fun getting back into sewing (this was the first project I had sewn start to finish in a long time) and it was especially fun to just sit down without a pattern and see what I could come up with.  Lisa, I hope you are enjoying your apron and have as much fun as I did when you do your crafts to pass along.

Check back on Monday to see the second project from my crafting it forward.  Have you ever participated in a crafting challenge?  And if so, did you have problems getting your winners to respond so they could collect their prizes?

DIY: Fishy Thumbtacks

You’ve already seen the fishbowl message board I made as a gift to a friend.  Now, let’s bring on the fish…the fish thumbtacks that is. I mentioned the Envelope of Doom in a previous post, this is second of the 3 (or more) projects I created using several components from the “envelope of doom“. Don’t have an envelope full of supplies…don’t worry. You could create this project using items from your local dollar store & craft store as well! This is one of the quickest projects I’ve taken on in ages.

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.Supplies & Materials Needed:

  • Fish beads
    Fresh from the envelope of doom, these happen to be glass
  • Thumbtacks
    The old school, plain kind with flat tops
  • Glue
    Any glue that will attach your bead material to metal will work here.  I used super glue which held “ok”.  One commenter suggested E6000 as a better option.
  • Foam block
    Optional but extremely helpful
  • Pliers
    Also optional for most people, but I’m not allowed to use super glue without the supervision of an adult and these help me not glue myself to things.  One day I’ll tell you about the time I glued both hands to separate tools and needed my then boyfriend to rescue me.  So many things will make more sense after that I’m sure! ;)

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Instructions:
This is potentially the easiest tutorial I’ve ever written, and I think the photos tell the whole story.


  1. Count out the number of thumbtacks you need, and spread them out onto your Styrofoam block.  By placing the sharp end into the foam it will hold them in place while you glue down the fish.
  2. Squeeze a medium-sized amount of super glue onto the first tack.  I’m using the gel type of super glue from my local dollar store, this is because it is thicker and easier for me to work with.  It also means fewer drips which makes it MUCH safer for me to use.
  3. Place a fish bead onto the drop of glue and press down.  Let dry completely.
  4. I use the pliers to help center the beads really quickly before the glue sets.  It is also helpful when removing them just in case they aren’t completely dry.
  5. Repeat for each tack

I had all the supplies in my stash to make these fun tacks, so my grand total was FREE!  Gotta love that

Total Cost: $1.00 and up

And after they dry, you end up with these cute little guys:

I think they really make the note board look more like wall art… even though now I wish I had painted the frame a fun green to match the ribbon.

I think this process could be fun to make all sorts of cute thumbtacks, so I see more of these in my future.  How about you?  Do you use cute things to attach things to your memo boards and if so where did you find your favorites?

DIY: Sewn Fishbowl Note Board

This is a project I have wanted to attempt for quite a while.  I’ve read several tutorials utilizing freezer paper for applique methods wondered if it was as easy as it seems.  All in all I’m happy with how it turned out, but I did have several problems along the way.

Materials Needed:

  • Freezer Paper (not pictured)
    large enough for pattern and an inch margin on all sides
  • Fabric to applique
    I choose to use a Flour Sack from my local dollar store
  • Thread in corresponding color
  • Photo Frame with the glass removed
    I used an 8×10 frame we had in the basement
  • cork or Styrofoam – should be large enough for frame opening
    I used Styrofoam since it is readily available in the trash heap at my office.

Tools Needed:

  • Marker to trace pattern (or print directly on freezer paper)
  • Scissors
  • Iron & Ironing Board
  • Sewing Machine
  • Xacto knife or cutting tool

Instructions:

  1. Cut your material down to the correct size.  Measure the opening to your photo frame and add 1.5 inches to both the horizontal & vertical measurements.  You will use this later when attaching to the frame.
  2. Transfer your pattern to the freezer paper.  This can be accomplished in one of two ways.  I chose to simply print out my template and use a marker to trace it onto the freezer paper.  However, you could also run the freezer paper through an ink jet printer on the paper side.
  3. Remove your pattern and center your pattern in the middle of your piece of fabric, paper side up.  Using the iron with no steam, press your freezer paper to the fabric.  I was a bit unsure how it would hodl so I also pinned the corners for added “holding power”.
  4. Now using your sewing machine, simply sew over your template lines using your favorite stitch setting.  For my message board I chose to use a fun zigzag stitch.   You can see I got off my pattern a bit, but don’t worry…you can fix this later.
  5. Remove the fabric from your machine and carefully tear the freezer paper away.  This is where I had issues…major issues.   I ended up having to use the craft knife to carefully cut the paper away.  I don’t recommend this since it’s also easy to cut your stitching this way.

  1. Now is the perfect time to embellish your fishbowl a bit.  Remember by mistake, I decided to use some leftover wedding project ribbon to add a colorful bow to this fishbowl.  I just tied the bow, trimmed and singed the edges of the ribbon, and then stitched it to the fabric.  Press the fabric when you are finished to create a smooth surface for your message board.
  2. Now it’s time to cut your cork or Styrofoam.  The easiest method I found was to place your material on a cutting mat.   Take the glass you removed from the frame and place onto your foam.  Line up the outside edges so you have fewer cuts to make.
  3. Using an Xacto knife (and being careful not to cut yourself on the glass edge) cut around the edge of the glass pane.  Make sure your cuts are over your cutting mat.
  4. Time to put it all together.  Carefully center your fishbowl fabric over the cut piece of foam/cork.  You could easily use spray adhesive on the back of the fabric to help hold it in place while you complete the assembly.
  5. Take your foam/cork sandwich and insert into the opening of your frame, and fold edges to the center of the foam/cork.  I used clear packing tape to hold the edges down.
  6. Replace the back of the frame.  If it doesn’t sit completely flush, you could also use clear packing tape to hold the back securly to the frame.  This is necessary to keep everything all nice and wrinkle free.
  7. Hang and Enjoy

Everything used came from my stash, except the Flour Sack towel from the dollar store.

Total Cost:  $1.00 and up

Cute huh?  Oh…wait….where are the fish?  Don’t worry!  I have a post about fish coming up later!

So, overall I wasn’t impressed with my first experience using freezer paper.  Have any of you out there given it a try with better luck?  If so, please help me out…what did I miss?

DIY: Flower Power Dog Collar

I mentioned the Envelope of Doom in a previous post, the part I’m not sure I mentioned was the second portion of the challenge.  The goal was to create projects you could gift to someone in your life…preferably not yourself.  So, with those rules in mind this is first of the 3 (or more) projects I created using several components from the  “envelope of doom“.  Don’t have an envelope full of supplies…don’t worry.  You could create this project using items from your local dollar store as well!

This gift is for a friend with a cute new puppy.  A puppy who needs a little something frilly to let folks around the dog park know she’s a little girl. :)

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Supplies Needed:

  • Collar
    (shhhh…don’t tell her it started as a kitty collar.  Just remove the bell and she’ll never know)
  • Felt Scraps
  • Plastic Scraps
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Silk Flowers
    ones with many small blooms work best to make a fuller flower
  • Scissors
  • Glue
    I used hot glue, but even double-sided tape would work to hold the plastic to the felt while you cut and sew.
  • Needle
  • Hole Punch (optional)

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Step by Step Instructions:

  1. Start off by taking your flowers completely apart.  Some crafty person could be able to use the stem pieces later, but I just tossed them in the recycle bin for plastics.  For this project I used 3 sets of the pink hydrangea “blooms”.
  2. Because this will end up on a collar for a fun, bouncy doggy it needs some stability so bring on those holographic Valentines (if you don’t have Valentines on hand you could use any sturdy bound for the trash plastic product).  Using a large spool of thread as a guide outline a circle and cut out with a pair of scissors.
  3. Using a rectangular hole punch make two punches to the center of the piece of plastic.  You will use these later to attach the flower to the collar so place them at least 1/2 inch apart.
  4. Attach your disk to a scrap of felt with a small amount of glue, and then trim around the edges.  Be careful to leave a 1/4 inch overhang to use for attaching it to the flower later.  Then use this piece as a template and cut a second felt circle.
  5. Take the non-plastic felt circle of felt, take a needled threaded with matching embroidery thread knotted on the end and bring through the center of the felt circle. Take 1 flower petal and sew it to the center of the circle with one stitch that goes on either side of the center hole.
  6. Fold one half of the first petal over hot dog style so that half of the felt circle is exposed.  Stitch down an additional petal to the side of the existing petal.
  7. Repeat Step 6 until surface of felt circle is covered (leaving space around the outer edges to attach to the bottom).   The more petals you use the fuller your flower will be.

  1. Thread your need with matching embroidery thread and bring both lose ends of thread together so it’s doubled.  Run needle through the finished side of the felt covered plastic disk and through the second hole back to the finished side.  (see photo above)
  2. Place the plastic disk side of the bottom piece on top of the bottom of the flower.
  3. Using embroidery thread & needles, use a blanket stitch to sew the two pieces together.  When finished the plastic disk should be completely hidden inside the felt/flower sandwich.
  4. Using thread ends left from Step 2 re-thread your needle and attach the flower to the collar.  You could either stitch it directly to the fabric of the collar…or I ran the needle around the plastic collar stay piece and tied it off after several wraps.  This holds it in place, but also allows the collar to “grow” with little Miss Lucy.
  5. OR…don’t have a puppy you need a collar decoration for?  That’s OK, you could use this same method and just attach a pin back and use it for a brooch, hat or bag embellishment.

Total Cost: $1.00 and up

CDog wasn’t home when I took these photos, and I haven’t received any of Lucy sporting it yet…so a large stuffed animal came out to model it for you ;)

So, there you have it….Project #1 completed.  So now let’s chat…do you craft things for your pets?

Happy July

I missed getting this posted by the 4th, but I still wanted to show of the cute little trinket I whipped up to wear out for the 4th of July festivities.  Using some beads from my stash, and a fun thrift store find I was able to show my “colors” while snacking & watching fireworks with my hubby.  We’ve decided next year we might even throw a bash of our own :)


What about you guys?  What did you do over the holiday weekend?

Update: Craft it Forward

A while back I mentioned winning a unique sort of contest from Amy over at The Nifty Foodie’s Life.  Last week right before we left for a little anniversary trip, I found a fun surprise in my PO Box.  It was my Craft-it-Forward treat from Amy.  Check it out…

Aren’t these dishtowels just the snazziest ever?  I love the colors!
And, if the dishtowels weren’t enough…check out this adorable little baggie!

And while I had originally thought I’d have my own packages to my winners in the mail by our 1st Anniversary…it just didn’t happen.  Life happens, but here is a little sneak peek of some thrift store goodness that *might* be finding its way into a few of the Craft-It-Forward packages I’m putting together for you lucky ladies that are patiently waiting for me to get with the program.

I love finding entire bolts of fabric at the thrift store, especially when they are 50% off $4.64!

Sadly, it also seems that 2 of my winners never responded to emails… so if anyone else out there feels left out of the Craft-it-Forward movement shoot me a message.  I bet we can work something out ;)

Anyone else out there feeling a bit behind with all there summer projects this year?