Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Craftsmas

In addition to my Martha Stewart journey that I’m on, I like to keep myself busy with many other crafts.  This season may be the busiest (stressful) of the year, so why not tackle a few projects?

First up… the toilet paper roll ornament.  Yep.  You read that right… you use a toilet paper roll to make an ornament.  Trust me on this one, by most people’s reactions, they couldn’t tell what the original product was.

You’ll see a ton of them out there on the blogosphere, but here’s the gist of the project.

  1. Collect toilet paper rolls and try to explain to others that you do not need to be submitted to TLC’s Hoarders show because of a toilet paper obsession
  2. Spray paint toilet paper rolls desired color (I chose gold to match my Chevron wrapping paper)
  3. Flatten TP rolls.  Preferably after the paint dries (hello gold fingers)
  4. Cut the toilet paper rolls every ½ inch using sharp scissors
  5. Use a hot glue gun and attach each section piece by piece until you have five sections that resembles a star
  6. Curse yourself for not realizing that the inside is noticeably NOT spray painted, and still looks like cardboard
  7. Drink a glass of wine and relax because it didn't cost you anything

Yep - those be toilet paper rolls!

Second… the ornament wreath.  Nothing too original here, but I liked how it turned out, so decided to share it with you.

To set the mood, I put on my Snuggie, tuned into ‘In Treatment’ on my iPad (thanks Brookelee for the HBO to Go!), and had a glass of wine ready (no craft is complete without this). I used a glue gun to attach each ornament onto a floral foam wreath that I purchased from JoAnn’s.  The first ornaments were the largest ones and I spaced them out evenly – kind of.  Then, I filled in the gaps with the smaller ones.  It took a ton of ornaments, probably close to 40?  I then used tacks to attach a ribbon to the back and hung it up in my craft room where it still hangs.  Here it is:

Next project… handmade salted caramels.  Peaches McGee and I were invited to a cookie decorating party at my friend Shelby’s place.  It felt so good to be included because it was with her innermost circle of friends.  That, and how nice is it to have a space other than yours where your not-quite-two-year-old can decorate cookies?!

The recipe I used was from; you guessed it, Pinterest – Microwave Caramels.  The only change I made was to sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top while it was still cooling.

In order to make it a "real" gift, I wrapped the caramels in waxed paper, placed them in a cellophane gift bag that I had on hand from my wedding, and then made personalized gift tags using my new metal punch set.  I made one for each attendee... 

For another hostess gift, and one for a friend who gave me a yummy reed diffuser, I made some more salted caramels, but decided I wanted to do something with the lavender I had on hand.  So, I settled upon sachets - as much for the look of them as for the smell.  

I used some quilt fabric that my lovely Aunt Penny gave me, and cut 4" x 4" squares using a rotary cutter and mat.

Then, I used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine, and about 1/2 inch from the edges, I sewed a square, leaving a 3/4 inch opening on one side.

Getting the lavender in the opening proved to be the most difficult step; instead of using a funnel (the lavender kept getting stuck), I just rolled up a piece of paper and stuffed it in the hole and poured the lavender in.  

Next, I did a zigzag stitch over the opening and tried to match up the beginning and end with the other zigzag stitch.  To complete it, I used pinking shears to trim off the excess.  

In order to make the presentation a little fancier, I tied the sachets together with a pretty bow and then put them in a cellophane bag and made a gift tag with the word “breathe” embossed on it.  I placed the salted caramels in a separate bag (wasn’t too sure how good lavender-scented caramels would taste) and made a gift tag with the word “eat” embossed on it.

Lavender sachets

Bundled sachets 

Caramel bag on the left ("eat") and lavender sachet bag on right ("breathe")
Yet another endeavor was some personalized ornaments.  I first made salt-dough ornaments and before I baked them, I pressed Peaches McGee's thumb into a few so that I could use the imprint to make Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer with acrylic paint and my paintbrush.  I also made craft clay (which looks WAY better than the salt dough), and took an imprint of my thumb.  Why did I use my thumb?  Not sure.  

Here’s a link to the clay dough recipe and for salt dough this is what I used:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups flour
  • Mix all ingredients, then roll the dough out and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes 
  • Place in an oven set to 250 for about two hours (or when hard all the way through).

I admit that I got the Rudolph inspiration from this pin on Pinterest, but I am pleased to say that the salt dough thumbprint impression was all MINE.  Mine.  Mine.  Mine.  Oops, Peaches McGee got a hold of my keyboard again. 

Okay, last but not least, I tackled two of Martha’s projects from her Encyclopedia of Crafts book. 

The first was Snowflake Ornaments… She includes in her book two templates (which you can also conveniently find right here), and you enlarge them as you please and print on card stock. 

You then take a craft knife and cut out each little hole (I gave up after about five cuts, and used a pair of sharp, tiny scissors to do the job).

Next, you coat one side with white craft glue and per her directions, sprinkle it with fine glitter.  I need to confess though, that I tried to use dollar store glitter at first. 

Lesson learned… shell out the $5 for a small bottle of Martha’s glitter. 

After it dries, paint it again with glue and use glass-shard glitter.  Or don't.  Personally, I didn't know what that was and had no plans on finding out, so I didn't bother. 

Repeat the process on the other side and hang the ornament from the ceiling.  

They were entirely too time-intensive and unimpressive for me to do that, so they’re still sitting on my craft room floor which is likely where they will stay until they head into the garbage.

Crappy picture - crappy product

The second was Glittered Candles.  I used three taper candles that I already had on hand, sprayed them with Super 77 (strong spray adhesive) and then sprinkled them with good ol' Martha's $5 fine glitter.   


They looked beautiful, even if they didn’t photograph well!  I placed them at the center of my table for Christmas dinner and I’ll be damned if no one said ONE WORD ABOUT THEM.  They either didn’t turn out as well as I had thought, or people just assumed I bought them?  I can only hope for the latter.

Finally, I had to include a picture of a man who I wanted to give a piece of my mind to, but didn't.  I was in the express lane (12 items or less) at Fred Meyer with a sick Peaches McGee on Christmas Eve, and he had over 50 items???  The nerve.

The belt is full, and look at what he still has in his cart!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chevron Take Me Away

I finally like something that I did!  Woo hoo!

The Chevron pattern is all the rage right now (as if I have to tell you).  But just in case you’ve been living under a rock, or never knew what it was called, here it is:

I love it!  I love the simplicity, and it’s so classic, so I decided that I wanted to “make” my own Christmas wrapping paper.  I first got the idea after reading the ‘Creative Ideas” magazine from Lowe’s… they suggested purchasing contractor’s paper and then decorating it with a holiday theme.  The paper is awesome because you get a ton of it on a roll, and the entire things costs about $10.

I had some gold metallic spray paint and an idea popped into my head… I would just spray paint a Chevron pattern onto the paper!

I tinkered around with several ideas on how to “make” the zigzag pattern, but settled upon using a metal bracket.  I traced around it on a cardboard box and then cut it out.  Finally, I placed it on the contractor’s paper and spray-painted around it.  Here it is…

Completed Chevron pattern

Supplies... contractor's paper, metallic gold spray paint, zigzag pattern from cardboard

Wrapped present with a toilet paper roll star ornament
The experience was gratifying because I wound up with something that I really like; however, I'm pretty sure I killed off thousands of brain cells when I chose to use an entire can of spray paint in a small, enclosed room.  Oops.

Oh, and one downfall... regular wrapping tape won't work, it's not strong enough.  Instead, I used packing tape.  Not as pretty, but well worth it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Check The Turkey – She’s Done!

Who’s the Turkey?  That’s me!  I’m done.  Seriously.  I’m just about to give up on Martha because the crafts get more ridiculous by the day! 

With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to do some special decorations since we would be hosting ten adults and two children (Peaches McGee included of course!) for dinner.  I completed a paper ribbon loop wreath which I’ll discuss below.  I was then going to do a pine cone craft from "Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration," but I didn't find enough “good” pine cones (I thought I lived in the Evergreen State for God’s sake), so I had to refer to “Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts.” 

My sister-in-law and her hunky boyfriend were in town for the holiday and were at my house when I was flipping through the book.  Hunky boyfriend peeked over my shoulder and asked me if I was going to make the turkey pom-poms.  Trying to embody the relaxed, crafty lady that I aspire to be, I said, “Sure! That looks great.”  After all, they looked super cute, and of course I could make ten within a day and a half.


Holy God… I haven’t stayed up as late as I did the night before Thanksgiving since pre-Peaches McGee. 

I thought about putting together a tutorial on making them, but I urge, no DEMAND that you, “DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS PROJECT.”  They are cute, but they are ridiculously tedious to make and if you would like to make more than one, well then you’re in trouble.  I took some shortcuts just so that I was able to complete them before Christmas.  Besides, true to Martha Stewart fashion, you don’t even need to buy a book in order to get the instructions, you can just click ‘here’.  

Here are a couple pictures of the turkeys in action...

Now that I’ve gone over that project, let’s move on to something I found on Pinterest (that site is so addicting!).

I pinned it during my whole wreath obsession (I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have more than ten that I want to create at some point).  I had all the supplies on hand and I wanted to make something “festive” for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

After completing it, I unfortunately removed it from the board, so I no longer have it for reference.  However, I tweaked the instructions, so I’ll just give you my own tutorial…


  • 7 different coordinating patterns of 12” x 12” scrapbook paper (2 of each pattern for a total of 14 sheets)
  • Foam wreath
  • Package of dressmaker pins
  • Ribbon for hanging (I used two different colors, one yard a piece and then cut those in half for a total of 4 pieces)

7 different patterns of paper that I chose

Foam wreath - I got this one at the dollar store (hooray!)

First row of paper ribbon loops (view from the front), plus the hammer I used to  push in the dressmaker pins (in middle of wreath)

First row of paper ribbon loops (view from the backside)

Completed Project

  1. Cut each piece of paper into 1” x 4” strips (I used a paper cutter to make it a little easier)
  2. Sort them into the pattern you would like them to appear on the wreath
  3. Fold each one in half and then fasten it to the wreath with a dressmaker pin
  4. Move in a circle around the wreath, overlapping each piece
  5. Continue until the wreath is covered
  6. Attach the ribbon to the back of the wreath using the dressmaker pins and tie a bow. 

    This would be an easy project to do for all of the seasons!