What a crafty year!

Can’t believe 2015 is over so soon, and at the same time sooo looking forward to all the great things 2016 has in store! In bullet form, here are some of the personal highlights for me this year:

  • Started this blog! duhhhh!!
  • Moved to a new apartment and got to decorate it!
  • Bought an apartment, and got to renovate it! Phew… enough moving for one year!
  • Started planning our wedding for next year- stay tuned for details!

And here, at a glance, are all of the crafty projects I have posted about in the past year, as a quick reference if you are feeling crafty during these cold winter night:

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Toilet paper roll wall art

 

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Melted vinyl record bowls

 

bottle after

Beer bottle vase

 

bunting 2

Recycled pennant bunting

 

blur plate pic

Thrifted cake plate / cake stand

 

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Painting laminate furniture

 

succulents 3

Felt succulents

 

candle1

Crisco candle

 

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Magazine paper trees

 

3 stockings

Felt stockings (ornament / gift card holder)

 

I hope you find some inspiration and give at least one of these projects a try! And here’s to a crafty, inspired, thrifty, and colorful 2016! 🙂

Handmade felt stocking ornaments / gift card holders

3 stockings

For holidays, I like to give gift cards. I’m terrible at buying gifts, so this is a good option that takes the pressure off. Since it is a small sized gift, I like to present it in a way that makes it feel more substantial and special, for those who deserve it of course (see my craftworthiness article to learn more).

This is a very affordable project, and you only need basic sewing skills. Here’s what you’ll need:
supplies

Felt: you can get this for $0.30 a sheet at Michaels, and my local dollar store has it for $0.25 a sheet, so a very inexpensive material. I had some felt at home already from a previous project (like my felt succulents), so I wanted to use it up.

Needle + Thread: I like to use embroidery floss to make the stitches stand out. I got a pack of 8 colors for $1 at dollar tree. If you only have regular thread you can double it up on your needle to get thicker stitches.

Ribbon: You don’t need a lot, again you can get cheap ribbon at the dollar store. I always keep ribbon I get with gift wrapping and re-use it.

stocking templateA template: I traced around a gift card on some cardstock, then shaped my stocking around it, leaving a bit of space around the sides for stitching. You also need a little rectangle piece to go at the top of the stocking, you can leave it plain or scalloped.

Decorations: you can use buttons, sequins, appliques, or anything else you can stitch on there! A few other ideas are little jingle bells, or metallic charms.

 

Let’s get started!

1) First, trace the template on a piece of felt, then cut it out. You will need two of the “sock” shape, and two of the rectangle shape.

parts

2) Now is the time to decorate the pieces. You can use basic embroidery, or add anything else you would like to make is special and personalized for the person you are making it for. Also add the ribbon at the corner of the stocking with a few stitches.

stockings halfway

3) Now sew around the sides and bottom of the stocking, connecting the 2 pieces together. Lastly, sew the rectangle parts to the stocking, and to each other around the sides.

finished stocking

Done! Now you can tuck in your gift card, or any other special treats, and you are finished! If you want more of a glitzy look that is not quite this rustic, you can sew or glue on some sequins or beads, or go crazy with glitter glue. I like both looks, so its up to you!

I hope you try this affordable and gift-able holiday craft, and leave a comment for any other projects you would like to see! ❤ Happy Holidays! 🙂

 

Paper Trees- Free DIY

Our local library hosts monthly craft classes, teaching how to make different projects out of discarded books. Since I love books, and also love crafts, I have been really enjoying these! The most recent one was holiday themed, making trees out of paperback books. Unfortunately, I could not attend it, so instead I set out to figure out how to make it myself! Now, I didn’t have discarded books, so instead I used old magazines, which resulted in a colorful, though not as dense, result.

magazine paper tree

Here is the YouTube tutorial I relied on for the detailed steps on how to fold these:

 

Materials:

Old magazines (FREE!)
Glitter + Glue (optional, I left mine plain)

Steps:

For each page of the magazine, you will fold the top corner of the page down towards the magazine’s spine, then fold again, creating a narrow triangle. Fold the bottom point that is hanging down so that it lines up flat with the edge of the magazine.

Warning:

Although this craft is extremely simple and completely free, it is not quick! Depending on the thickness of the magazine / book you choose, this can take a long time! My recommendation is to do this while watching your favorite TV show, or listening to music or a podcast, and taking breaks! The 3 trees I made were done over a few days, a bit at a time.

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I am currently displaying these trees on our entry way console (see how I painted it here.) I was debating if I should leave it as is, or add glitter and decorations, but I think I’m going to leave it as is for now. What do you think? Will you try this free craft for the holiday season? 🙂

DIY Crisco Candles- does it really work??

My friend and I were discussing having a craft night, and one of the projects she brought up was candle making. Hmmm, never attempted it before! But being the true self-taught DIY’er that I am, I set out to google and youtube the crap out of it, until I can figure it out! I love using scented candles in our place, and whenever guests come over they always comment on how nice our place smells, so this would definitely be useful for me. On top of that, large candles are expensive! I can spend hours in the candle aisle of a home decor store just sniffing all the different ones…. So making my own could be economical AND useful! The majority of tutorials I ran across were “traditional” candle making, involving wax, double boiling, and all other kinds of steps I wasn’t too excited about. Enter the “Crisco Candle“. Haha you read that right! I found a bunch of tutorials showing how a tub of Crisco could be used as an emergency candle in case of a power outage, but also a few brave souls who have melted the Crisco into their own scented and colorful candle creations! I decided that if I’m going to attempt this, the cheap and easy route is the way to go! Sorry, THRIFTY, not cheap!

Here is one of my favorite tutorials showing this technique by Lisa Pullano:

Here is what the process looked like for me:
candle 2

The steps were easy enough to follow- microwave a bunch of Crisco until its melted, add oils for scent, and bits of crayon for color. Pour into heat-safe vessel with a wick, and voila!

The Crisco itself was fairly affordable, about $2.50 for a brick pictured above. about 80% of one brick was enough to make one candle. A pack of crayons was $1 at the dollar store. I already had a bunch of essential oils from previous projects (hello, soap-making!). For containers, I re-used tea tins!

The process itself was easy enough, although messy! The result- a soft candle that burns slowly. Not sure if I used too little essential oils, because mine doesn’t really “throw” the fragrance around the room, it just smells like ‘candle’ (if that’s even a scent), and you can only pick up on the actual scent by standing right next to it 😛

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I made one orange colored candle, scented with tangerine and lemongrass essential oils, and one purple candle, scented with vanilla and peppermint oils.

What do you think? Would you attempt this form of candle making? Personally, even though it was a fun experience and a neat technique to learn, I found it too messy and not fragrant enough, so I will stick to buying conventional candles- despite the price! ❤

Coloring for grown ups

Recently I have been hearing about coloring as a meditative hobby, and running into a few gorgeous coloring books for adults in stores. Needless to say, I had to try it! But, as I am currently on a “no spend” in my attempt to smash my stash, I could not bring myself to buy any of them 😦

So, I looked for a free option! This first one that I tried is a free app called Colorfy. There are in-app purchases for extra colors, or to unlock extra pages (which I’m not going to buy!) but even with the free version, you get lots of coloring options, and some very intricate and beautiful pages.

Admittedly, it doesn’t give the same satisfaction that you get from putting pencil to paper, but for now (or at least my birthday next week, hint hint nudge nudge!…) it will do to quench my coloring cravings!

I recommend you give it a try since its free, here are a few pages I colored, pretty happy with the outcome!

kkacmand1mand2birds

 

Smash your Stash

smash title

As I was putting away all my craft supplies after our move, I got to thinking- I have A LOT of craft supplies! I have already briefly addressed my habit of accumulating an unnecessary amount of crafting supplies in my previous post, so I got to thinking. What if… for a whole year I didn’t buy any more crafting supplies, and only used what I had? Crazy and extreme, I know! But I think it would be a good idea for a couple of reasons:

1) It will make space for more…. Just kidding! But it would help if it took up less space. So if I use it up without replenishing = more space!

2) It will challenge me to create within restrictions. From my experience, that is usually when I come up with the best and most creative ideas.

3) It will reinforce my “consume less” attitude that I already apply to other aspects of my life.

So- will it be difficult? You bet! But I am willing to give it a try. I know 1 year is a long time, but I figured with the size of my stash it will definitely last me that long. Also, a caveat- gifts don’t count! (Haha you knew there had to be a loop hole!).

Feel free to tag along with me on this challenge, or share your experiences of working from your stash!

Craft-worthiness

Most of the time when I make something, I do so for the sole purpose of meeting a personal need, or satisfying a crafting urge. Maybe I want to try and learn a new technique, or maybe I’m trying to use up some scraps and challenge myself to make something special out of what’s around the house.

Sometimes, I make something with the purpose of giving it to someone else. Sometimes I only realize that after an item is complete, or after I owned it for a little while. When I make something it takes some time and effort, so I want to make sure that the person I give it to can appreciate it and put it to good use.

What makes a person craft-worthy?

Has this ever happened to you- you plan out a project, collect your materials, spend time and effort putting it together, and gift it to someone, only to have them seem unappreciative or dismissive? I will admit, it has happened to me on multiple occasions!

To me, a handmade gift trumps a store-bought one hands down. However, not all people see it that way! I have realized that some people see a handmade gift as a cop-out, a cheaper alternative to actually buying something, or an immature gesture.

It can be easy to feel offended by their perspective, but a much better approach is to weed out those people and only make things for the people who you know will appreciate your effort and cherish the result.

Here’s two personal stories, to help illustrate my point:

Christmas 2014- I was practicing loom knitting and made myself an infinity scarf, and had multiple compliments on it from family and friends (even without telling them I made it). I then decided to knit infinity scarves for all of the women in my family and friends circle. I got a head start and was able to finish all of them just in time for gift giving. My mom loved hers, and wore it proudly throughout the remainder of winter. My SO’s aunt said it is a nice color, then put it aside and never wore it.

IMG_20150711_131908Summer 2015- I made an up-cycled beer bottle vase (featured here) and displayed it prominently on our dining table. Every time my friend would come by she would comment how much she liked it, and when I told her I made it she was visibly impressed. She recently moved to a new place, so I decided to make one for her and give it as a housewarming gift, as I know she will appreciate it and enjoy it in her new home.

What are your craft gifting stories? How do you decide if a person is craft-worthy? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

DIY Cake Plate / Cake Stand

cake plate collage

I have been wanting a cake stand like these ones above for a while, but they are pretty expensive! So for about $5 I put this just-as-lovely alternative together…

I used:

– Short glass candlestick holder

– Shallow glass plate / saucer

– Hot glue gun

I wasn’t going to write steps, as this is pretty self explanatory, but here goes:

Step 1: Glue the candlestick holder to the plate.

And you’re finished!

blur plate pic

If I didn’t tell you otherwise, you would have never guessed that this ‘crystal-look’ elegant cake stand is made out of thrift store finds hot-glued together!

This would look awesome spray painted as well, or made using a ceramic saucer. I’m thinking a really cute antique-y one with dainty flowers and gold around the edge would look stunning.

DIY could not be easier than this, so I hope you give it a try!

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Dining Room Decor

dining room

So previously I have shared with you some mini-transformations of different spaces in our apartment (See my vanity area here, and my SO’s office here). We have been living in our current place about 6 months, so most spots are already the way we like them, so I figure I should share that with you also!

First up, our dining room!

Now, our apartment is fairly small, so it’s not really a dining ROOM per-say, more of a dining area, that is a corner between the kitchen and the living room.

Table: We got it ‘as-is’ (previously returned) at IKEA. This table is much smaller then the previous one we had, but I really like the simple and sleek look and the color.

Chairs: Got them for about $20 each at Superstore. Yes, we bought our dining room chairs at a grocery store. Don’t judge. The curved shape makes them comfy and they are light enough that we can move them around easily for company.

Art: Got it at Home Sense for about $25. I originally was not a fan of the strong colors, but my SO convinced me otherwise, and since then we always get compliments on it!

Table decor: My DIY bottle vase made for FREE. See the DIY here.

I will continue to share other parts of our space in future posts, so check back soon! ❤

Easy and FREE Pennant Bunting DIY

bunting 2

If you are like me, you have probably been pinning and coveting all these awesome bunting ideas that are so popular for parties or room decor. I wanted to make something like that, but didn’t have a budget for materials. So I decided to make one for free!

I used:

– Cereal/ cardboard-y food box

– Washi tape

– Ribbon / yarn / string / twine, etc.

– (I’m assuming you already have scissors, a pen, and hole punch)

bunting 3

I decided to do a notched shape, but the traditional triangular shape will work perfectly. Cut out your shapes, and decorate them to your liking. String them up and you’re done!

letters

I like bunting with lettering, so I decided to go with “HOME” for the entrance to our apartment. I used a regular black pen, and doodled / zen-tangled the insides of the letters, which by the way is a very calming process!

Lesson: If you are craving a craft but have no budget, there is always a way! Use things you already have, and make something out of nothing 🙂

bunting project