Archives for January 2010

Conversation Heart Magnets

Do you love conversation hearts? I do!  
Something about the silly messages and sicky-sweet taste.  
Want to make your own "conversation heart" magnets?

I love magnets.  And they are so easy to make.  I think I have accumulated a lifetime supply of velcro and magnet tape from teaching.  When I first thought of making some Valentine magnets, I thought of doing something with fabric or decoupage.  But then I got into default mode, and thought--laminating and magnet tape.  That's the ticket!  My hubby and I are having way too much fun creating messages for each other on our fridge.

So here's how to make them. Trust me, this is simple.

1. You can download the images of the magnets I made here. They are in color, so print 
them on a color printer for best results. Some are red and some are pink. How sweet.

2. Then cut them out. Now you have a big pile of lovey dovey words just waiting to be 
combined into sweet messages.

3. I would laminate everything if I could. So I laminated mine next, but it's definitely an 
optional step. Then cut out. I love cutting out laminating. So smooth.

4. Then apply magnet tape. I put 2 little squares on each end to be sure it would have 
enough "pull".

5.  Now slap those up on your fridge and giggle shamelessly while arranging fun messages.  
I still can't stop giggling.

So I think I am going to feature a free download every Friday.  So tune in and happy magnetizing!

The fun fonts I used for this project come from DJ Inkers.
Fonts copyright Dianne J Hook. Used with permission from DJ Inkers.

Adorable Felt Envelopes

Are you ready to start writing some gushy love letters?!
I am, and I am making everyone in my family participate.  🙂  Now we have cute felt envelopes to wrap up our valentines to each other.  I was inspired by this tutorial here at Roots & Wings.   If you are limited in your sewing abilities and don't have the patience to sew for very long, then this project is for you!  I like to sew as long as I can see the end in sight.  And especially when I can make something as cute as this:
I found some cheap felt at JoAnn's (29 cents a sheet!), and made 1 pink envelope (for me, of course), and 1 red and 1 white for my boys.  I added velcro to the hearts on the fronts to keep the envelopes closed.  We don't want those sweet nothings sliding out!
I love how the stitching on the back looks like a postmark!  You could add lots of embellishments to really cutsify these.  But I don't know how impressed my husband and son would be.  So I simplified.
Don't you love how the pinking around the edges adds so much?!  And the stitching really makes these look authentic.  Now these little guys are just waiting to be filled with some sweet Valentine's Day letters.
Now I am dying to make some mailboxes so we can really deliver our mail in style. By the way, only 17 more days until Valentine's Day!

Name Plaque

I made this project last week for my mother-in-law's birthday. I am loving the idea of making personalized gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Now that I am armed with my Cricut, I am having way too much fun. I started with one of these wooden boards from Hobby Lobby, gave it a couple of coats of black spray paint, and roughed up the edges with sand paper.

The tricky part was figuring out what size of vinyl I would need to fill the board with proper spacing, etc. I did a couple of trials using scrap paper to figure this out. Since then, my cute cousin tipped me off on an excellent program called Sure Cuts A Lot. I adore it! You can design your letters within the given space and preview it before cutting it with the Cricut. Genius!

Anyway, here is the finished product. I hadn't realized that Mr. Oopsey Daisy and I got married precisely 30 years after his parents until making this. Pretty cool, eh?  It looked stunning with a big red bow tied around it (much easier than wrapping!).  By the way, my mother-in-law loved the finished product.  Now I just need to make one for me!

Winter Wreath

Christmas Ornament Recycling!

I love recycling. Turning something I don't need into something I love is just so efficient. My husband and I got married just after Thanksgiving. Our first Christmas together, we had no ornaments for our first little Christmas tree... Zip. Zilch. Nada. So we bought a few boxes of plain blue and silver ornaments. Plus I still had some plain ornaments left over from teaching... yeah, I was tired of packing them up and moving them around from place to place!!

Now that we have been married for just over 2 years, we have somehow accumulated A TON of ornaments. Part of that is because we buy a new ornament as a souvenir wherever we travel. They are much more meaningful and sentimental. So I was ecstatic when I saw all of the ornament wreath ideas floating around out there. I used every single one of my pointless ornaments to make this gorgeous wreath.

I started by taking a wire hanger and bending it into a circle and cutting off the hook part of the wire hanger. Get your husband to do that part. He can demonstrate his Herculean strength. At least that's what I did.

You know the metal ring part of the ornament ball? Well, to be sure that they don't break, I hot glued on each and every one. Yes, that meant more hot glue burns. I am so clumsy with that hot glue gun. For the record, I don't support K-Mart brand ornaments. As I was gluing the tops on, many of them were breaking. Very frustrating.

Then the fun part: I just strung the ornaments on the wire hanger, and they arranged themselves quite nicely. I wish I'd had just a few more to fill in a few gaps. I used almost 80 and could have used even more. Anyway, I twisted the hanger together, added a wire loop to hang it, spiced it up with a pretty bow, and that was it!

Now it hangs quite nicely on my orange door. I mean why WOULDN'T you have an orange front door?! The joys of apartment life! At any rate, I thought blue and silver were perfect colors for January, so I left this little beauty up. What do you think--too Christmasey? Nice and winterish? Until we figure it out and I get my Valentine's stuff in gear, we'll just let it hang out for a while...

Santa Brick Paver

I just officially learned what a brick paver is. I had seen one before, but simply didn't know its name. I saw the original project here at Mud Pie Studio and fell in love with it. It truly was easy, and I love how it turned out!

After searching at Home Depot, I learned the name of this little (but deceivingly heavy!) guy. I gave it several good coats of red paint. Then I used painter's tape to paint the black stripe with acrylic paint. The gold square was a little bit more tricky. I am simply not an artist and I was definitely not equipped with good artistic brushes! So I made a square stencil and did the best I could with a big foamy brush. Not too shabby. I quite like it, at least.
Then for the fun part. I got to use my Cricut for the first time to cut vinyl. I can't tell you how nervous I was. Vinyl is not cheap, so I didn't want to screw it up. The hardest part for me in applying vinyl is figuring out the spacing as you go. I am getting better, but I have learned not to completely adhere it until I am sure of its "happy place." Anyway, I couldn't stop "oohing" and "aahing" after applying the vinyl. Oh, I love this happy little Cricut machine.
So the plan is that when we have an actual front door that opens up to our very own yard (in other words, when have a house!), this will go out in our yard, on our doorstep, etc. Someday....
Well, this officially ends Christmas in January. It spread lots of the magic into the bitter cold month of January. To bridge myself into winter, I have one more Christmas-Winter project using leftover Christmas ornaments that I will share tomorrow. See ya then!

Believe banner

I have a banner obsession
And this banner is my Christmas pride and joy. Now, realize that this would showcase so much better if I was all decked out for Christmas. But let's be honest: It's January, and all my Christmas stuff is sitting in a tub waiting to be carried down 3 flights of stairs to the garage. So we will just have to make do. 🙂 This banner at Room to Inspire was my inspiration.   Chelsea has an excellent tutorial.

I didn't find cute chipboard stars, but I did buy actual wooden stars. I keep having to count up the letters in "believe". There are 7, so that makes 7 stars. I debated about painting them first, but decided to make it easier on myself by skipping that step! Next, I downloaded the sheet music to Silent Night. I wanted an old-fashioned look, so I gave them an antiquish look in PhotoShop, and then printed out enough copies to Mod-Podge music to the fronts and backs of each lovely star. I absolutely love how this looks. Love the music, love the song, love the shape, love the overall look.

For my letters, I printed out large, very standard letters from my computer, and then distressed them to give them an aged look. Next, I applied glue and glitter to them. I used my Cricut to cut out the black scalloped shapes to mount each letter and found some perfect gold paper to tie it all together. Lots of gluing, but it was worth it! I was in heaven when I found a container of gold buttons at Michael's, so I hot glue'd some on. (Many of them were falling off, so I did end up securing them with stronger glue.)

Finally, I just had to beg my husband to drill the holes in the tops of each letter. I hung each letter, secured it to the main ribbon with a dot of hot glue, and carefully threaded my gold ribbon through.

Normally I am not a gold girl... I am more of a silver gal. But there's something so bright and shimmering about this banner. So Christmasey. So perfect.

Twine Tree

Are you enjoying Christmas in January as much as I am?! I can hardly wait for the next 11 months before I can really showcase all of these new, fun items. Today, I am showing something rather simple tree I made out of a styrofoam cone and twine.

I used one of those green styrofoam cones you see in craft stores. I didn't have to paint it, and if some of the styrofoam peeked through, at least it would be green. I began at the bottom, wrapping twine all the way around the cone up to the top, even covering the tip of the cone. It cost me quite a few hot glue burns, but it was worth it. But it seemed a little bare. This tree needed some decorating!!

Walking the aisles at Hobby Lobby, I saw cheery red styrofoam balls and realized they would make the perfect ornaments. I used a needle and thread and strung a short strand of ornaments. It was so easy. This is my kind of project. Then, I just draped the strand around the tree, securing with a bit of hot glue here and there.

What do you think? So simple. So lovely.
Doesn't it look lovely next to the Joy plaques?? Burlap and twine together... a perfect match. Ahhhh....

Christmas Eve bags

This project was created especially for one special night of the year: Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is definitely my favorite night of the entire year because have so many fun family traditions. One of these traditions includes giving each family member new pajamas and a special Christmas ornament that represents each person. So I decided that, rather than wrap each person's pajamas and each person's ornament each and every year, I would make a bag for our special Christmas Eve gifts. (I'm a little anti-wrapping so soon after Christmas.)
I love how these turned out!

I found some cute fabric on sale at JoAnn's at the after-Christmas sales, and even dragged my husband along to help pick it out.
My favorite part is that with one little pull of the ribbon, poof! It's shut. What a beautiful thing. I think I may use this same idea to make a gym bag for myself. I can't rave enough. I love the style of this bag!

I ironed-on some cute letters to spell our names on each bag.
**Word to the wise: Be sure your letters aren't backwards when you iron them on!! That was one of my oopsey's on my husband's bag.**

So now we each have an adorable little Christmas Eve bag. Hopefully every year, when my little guy sees this under the Christmas tree, he will start getting excited for the Christmas Eve festivities.
Hmmm.... are you humming Jingle Bells like I am?

Countdown Blocks

I love looking forward to things.
Anticipation is right up my alley. I looked forward to my 16th birthday so much, that I made a gigantic paper chain and tore off a link every day for 6 months until the big sweet 16. So these countdown blocks are the perfect new addition to my Christmas decor. I know this is not an original idea, but this is what I did:

1. I started off at Home Depot, begging for wood scraps. I had a 2 x 4 cut for the base of the blocks and 2 blocks cut out of 4 x 4's. I spray painted the base green and blocks red and then roughed up my corners and edges with sand paper.

2. I found some cute Christmas paper on clearance at Hobby Lobby. I cut pieces for all 6 sides of each cube, plus one side of the base. Using my good friend Mod-Podge, I adhered the paper and smoothed out the bubbles.

3. I used my other good friend, the Cricut machine, to cut out the "countdown" letters and glued those right on to the base. I also cut out the numbers for the blocks using red, green, and white paper on the Cricut. In order to get all the numbers I needed (at least to countdown for a month), I used the following combinations:
Block #1 - Numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Block #2 - Numbers 0, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8
*The 6 has to also serve as a 9, so use a font that can be flipped over!*

4. I glued the numbers on, and voila! Check out some of the cute combinations:

I love these so much, I don't want to put them away. I am seriously considering making a set of countdown blocks I can use for any old occasion.

Christmas in January!

Alright I admit it. I completely failed at a crafty Christmas. Somehow, being out of town for a week over Thanksgiving really put me behind. By the time we got back, unpacked, did the laundry, etc., etc.... I just wanted to enjoy all of our holiday events without a stressful to-do list. I vowed to do my crafty projects AFTER Christmas. And craft I did--all through the first 2 weeks of January. I hit up the after-Christmas sales to buy all my supplies and got some killer deals. It's not a bad way to go. Maybe I'll do this every year! So every day this week, I'll be sharing a Christmas project that I just finished.

I saw this fabulous idea at Shanty2Chic for these J-O-Y plaques. She has a wonderful tutorial that I followed pretty closely. Here's how mine turned out:
Be sure the guy at Home Depot who cuts your scrap wood cuts them STRAIGHT! Dare I point out that my "O" is slightly crooked. Oh well, it gives it a little personality, right?!

The base is just a wooden circle with a wooden candlestick. Using gorilla glue, I glued those parts together, then glued on the wood piece, a 1 x 4 that was about 6-7 inches long. I just used a wooden circle on top as an accent, although the tutorial used a lovely wooden finial. After gluing all pieces together, I gave it quite a few coats of black spray paint. Then, I roughed up the edges with sand paper for a rustic look.

I used my fabulous-new-Cricut-machine to make a stencil and painted the letters onto burlap with black acrylic paint. I used some black carpet tacks to secure the burlap onto the wood. I love the natural look of burlap.
** Be very careful while sanding and applying force to tack in the burlap. I think I re-glued my pieces 2 or 3 times each... and that was using Gorilla Glue, the toughest stuff there is! But that's just another one of my "oopsey's" for ya!

So there you have it... my lovely J-O-Y plaques. I can't wait to get these out next year to decorate! I'm almost in the Christmas spirit again...
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