Monday, June 20, 2011

Quill It Never End

I chose the ‘Scroll and Heart Gift Cards’ project because let’s face it – I’m not exactly raking in the bucks doing this blog.  In fact, without my dad’s gift cards to Jo-Ann’s (which I’ve used almost all of (and too bad he doesn’t read this because I could REALLY use some more)), I’d be up a creek because it’s expensive doing all of these craft projects.  Yes, it looked intricate, but in Martha’s words, “Don’t let the elaborate effects fool you: The art of quilling is easy to master.”  Plus, ‘quilling’… It sounds so nice – it rolls so nicely off the tongue.  That’s where the niceness ends, because




Yep. Try Googling “quilling” and you might stumble upon a site that has the following disclaimer:

I’m sorry, what does the first sentence say after the headline?? 

End product?  Not bad. 
Would I do it again?  Meh.  I’d like to try it using different patterns until I make a final judgment.

But perhaps I’m a tad bitter because yet again, I read the instructions probably too far in advance.  For some reason I thought that the instructions said that you should use construction paper.  Nope.  It clearly states that you should NOT use construction paper.  Oops. 
The instructions (when read the day of the project) are so-so in the book, but they’re much better online (see link above; it’s not the exact same project, but it will give you a good idea).  How she could have improved it?  Put a disclaimer lady.  Let the people know that it takes a long time and to set aside at least an hour (or two if you’re watching the Real Housewives of Orange County).

Martha lets you know that you can pay EXTRA for specialty quilling paper, or, you can choose not to be lazy and make the quilling strips yourself by just using a paper cutter and a ruler.  Yes, it takes more time, and yes I’ll admit that if I had a lot of money, I would DEFINITELY shell out the extra dough, but I don’t, so I didn’t. 
You then use a quilling tool – lucky for us, they’re not too expensive (less than $5 at Jo-Ann’s).  You place the paper strip in the slot on the tool and then turn it loosely, or tightly, depending on the shape you desire.  You use a dot of glue at the end to secure it and then use glue on the bottom to adhere it to the paper.

For the ‘fern’ that I made, the instructions called for 15 small tight circles that you squeeze into ovals to form the ‘leaves.”  Then you make a loose scroll at the end of a strip, and finally, 4 open loose circles in the corners. 
Here it is… like I said before, not great, but not bad.  At a later date, I’ll attempt the “Scroll Bugs” that she has in her book.  But for now, I’ll just take a little rest from quilling…

Supplies (from top L) - Paper cutter, paper from 'Stack 7' scrapbooking paper, quilling tool, sample of the paper I used from the 'Stack 7'
Paper with "strips" that I cut (and these are the leftovers since they are not exactly even)
Side profile of finished card


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Over-The-Top Cupcake Topper

I’m currently trying to “re-learn” French (I used to be fluent), renewing my real estate license, attempting to be a good wife/mother, and trying to keep my blog updated, so when I came across an opportunity to combine two major events in my life, I had to do it.

As I wrote earlier, my BFF Lauren is moving to Cincinnati; and as her friend, I wanted to throw her and her husband a going away party.  We chose to do it at our house and when I was freaking out over what to do for dessert, I remembered a project from Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts book that I wanted to tackle.  It was for cupcake toppers… perfect! 

When I originally read the instructions, it seemed very easy, but for some reason I combined the project with a project that was featured on one of my favorite blogs ( and one that I was planning on doing for Peaches McGee’s birthday.  Which, in other words means, I made it WAY more complicated than it should have been.
Martha’s directions simply call for using a photo of the people you are celebrating, printing it out, and making sure to include a white border around it.  You would then use double-sided tape to stick them together over a toothpick or popsicle stick, and voila! 

My directions:

1.      Spend entirely too much money on a flower-punch paper cutter that the project doesn’t call for, but that for some reason is what you have in your mind as the actual project

2.      Find a picture without letting your friend know, which on the upside, means finding some photos from your wedding that you didn’t know existed

3.      Format the picture using Publisher (making it black and white because who doesn’t look better in B & W) and then copy and paste it over and over

4.      Print it out on cardstock

5.      Use a paper cutter to cut each one out

6.      Realize that it would have been WAY easier to not have any border around the pictures since you’ll have to individually trim each picture.  Oh, and since there is one picture on each side of the cupcake, that makes 48 teeny, tiny little photos to cut out

7.      Place it on the flower-shaped cutout that you spent too much money on only to realize that the picture looks too diminutive

8.      Decide to use a circular punch (already owned) to make a true “flower” with the flower-shaped cutout and then place the picture on that

9.      Glue the picture to the circle

10.   Glue the circle to the flower

11.   Repeat 48 times

12.   Use two pieces of double-stick tape to sandwich a toothpick

13.   Repeat 24 times

And it’s done!  Easy peasy.

Why oh why do I have to make things so difficult???

I think they turned out okay, but I wasn’t thoroughly impressed by them.  Next time, I think I’ll go the easy route and just use one picture with a white border around it.  None of this flowery sh!t. 
Expensive flower punch on top and the circular punch that I already owned on bottom

Pictures of the couple with the inconvenient white border around them

Flower-punch, circular punch, photo.  Rinse and repeat.

The army of cupcakes