10 December 2013

Tic-Tac-Tinsel

I took one look at Molly Moo’s project for Spoonful and I knew I was going to recreate her tic-tac-toe game made from champagne corks. I have a box full of those babies and this was the perfect project.

Since I am hosting Christmas dinner, I thought this would make a fun project for the kids table. I did not model my players after Olaf and Sven of Disney fame, having never heard of them until now, but adjusted them a little bit to better fit in our family.

Of course one game wouldn’t do, since there are eight kids seated at that table. And so I created a few more teams until I ran out of corks.

There are angels.

Santas.

Toy soldiers, lead by an accidental angry bird.

Christmas trees.

Gingerbread men.

And gringy-ish elves.

Four games in all. I used paint, puffy paint, pipe cleaners, pompoms, felt, acorn caps, flower pots, spools, ribbon, buttons, beads, stars, disks, and pearl string to create the players. And hot glue, lots and lots of hot glue. The little swords are made of bamboo appetizer fork tines. The board is a square piece of red wool blend felt with white zig-zag stitching.







Let the games begin. It will be a tic-tac-tournament! Lola and I are already trying them out. She has a blast with them. I am too, if I’m honest. If I had more corks, I would keep on going. I could open a bottle or two, I suppose, but I find that drinking copious amounts of bubbly impairs my painting skills, which are mediocre to begin with.

Is it wrong for the hostess to want to sit at the kids table?

01 December 2013

Handmade Gift Exchange

My partner in this year’s handmade gift exchange hosted by Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous lives in sunny California and loves bright colors and polka dots. She and I freely perused each other’s Pinterest boards trying to learn about our tastes and preferences.

I noticed right away she seemed to like chunky jewelry. It so happens I love making chunky jewelry. After playing around with different colors, sizes, and textures, I settled on cheerful felt balls, some of them beaded, alternated with gold plated resin nuggets, yellow pressed glass beads, green wooden disks, and (died) turquoise spacer beads.



For L.’s home I made some jewelry, too. A six or seven ft. garland made from brightly colored polka dots, sewn together with yellow thread.

Of course I couldn’t just send off her gifts. I always like to have some fun with the giftwrap as well. Last year I discovered the fun of sewing paper stockings for Lola’s teachers to hold their gifts. For L. I sewed her necklace into a paper ornament. The only way to open it, is to rip it apart. A real Christmas tree ornament made from vintage sheet music holds a small card, and a little bottle brush tree and a red felt snowflake adorn the paper stocking that holds the garland.

I very much enjoyed creating these gifts for L. and I hope she will enjoy them, too. I will show you what L. made for me tomorrow. I can tell you now it is fabulous. She definitely spoiled me.

Merry Christmas, L.!

20 November 2013

Finnish Stars

I have never been much of a paper crafter. My idea of scrapbooking is sticking pictures in an album in a pleasing composition and adding the date the picture was taken. Possibly the location. Those years that I decide to make my own Christmas cards, it almost always involves ornaments made of fabric or wood (this year is no different), and my die cutting supplies are used for cutting fabric pretty much exclusively.


That doesn’t mean I don’t like paper crafts. On the contrary, I have devoted an entire Pinterest board to it. I just never seem to get around to making some. Until a few weeks ago. We were all up north visiting my parents-in-law. While my husband and his dad were out putzing in the woods, prepping for the upcoming hunting season, Lola and I tried our hand at making Finnish Stars. It couldn’t have been easier. And since all you need is one sheet of paper, it’s a pretty cheap craft, too!

What you will need:

  • One sheet of 12” by 12” paper, preferably printed on both sides
  • Glue stick
  • Paper cutter (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Cutting mat (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Paperclips
  • Small hole punch
  • String

Begin by cutting your sheet, I used vintage sheet music, into 3/4” strips. You’ll need twelve strips in total, two sets of six strips.

Start with two strips of paper, crossing one on top of the other, and securing them in the middle with a little glue. Make sure the four ends are of the same length.

Take a second strip of paper and glue it above your horizontal strip, leaving a little space in between, and making sure it is glued on the other side of the vertical strip. You will be weaving your paper strips, one over, one under.

Repeat with another strip below your first horizontal strip.

Now take the remaining two strips and weave them vertically over and under your horizontal strips, securing them at the intersections with a little glue.

Repeat these steps to make the second set.

Now comes the fun part. Take the two ends at the top, fold them towards you and glue in place. Secure with a paperclip while the glue dries. This is especially important if you are using a heavier cardstock.

Repeat this step with all four corners. Don’t worry about the middle strip at this point.

Do this to the other set as well.

When all your corners are glued in place, take one set, flip it over and place it on top of the other set, matching each middle piece of paper to a glued corner.

Carefully insert the middle paper strips into the the corners.

Glue them in place and let dry.

Once the glue is dry, take your scissors and trim the corners.

Take your hole punch and make a small hole in one of the corners and attach your string. Then go overboard and make half a dozen more.

Or bling ‘um up with a felt snowflake and some vintage costume jewelry.

Lovely, aren’t they? And so easy to make. Enjoy!

14 November 2013

Thanksgiving Table

Despite my longstanding wish to do so, I have yet to host a family dinner. We either spend the holidays at my parents-in-law or my brother and sister-in-law. It is definitely my turn. The plan was to host Thanksgiving this year. We have just moved into a new apartment so it can double as a housewarming. Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts asking me to design a Turkey Tablescape as part of their Celebrate The Season campaign was perfect timing, don’t you agree?



The plan has changed in the meantime however, and I will be hosting Christmas dinner instead. That does not keep me from having fun with my Turkey Tablescape.

My biggest challenge is the change in my surroundings. I like my d├ęcor to fit my house. Until recently we lived in a cute little Victorian in small town Wisconsin. Hardwood floors, light colored walls, pocket doors, covered porch, etc. Now we live in an industrial loft with exposed beams, brick walls, and the floors covered with oriental rugs. It feels rather bohemian and a lot more colorful.

My country decorating style with lots of white, galvanized steel, and natural materials must therefore change. That being said, the first thing I did was take an old grain sack and convert it to a table runner. My dining table is a very odd size, I commissioned it when I was still a single girl in Amsterdam, and it is impossible to find a table cloth or runner that fits. The grain sack has a beautiful orange print that matches the rest of the colors I picked beautifully.



I found three lovely pieces of fabric in my favorite spot at Jo-Ann’s: the remnant bin. It’s always hit or miss of course, but I love rummaging through the tidy rolls of fabric, seeing what I can come up with. In this case I found some yellow canvas and two pieces of fall fabric. The colors in the leaf fabric on the left dictated my color scheme for my Turkey Tablescape.



Using Heat ‘n Bond, I adhered the colored fabric to the canvas and ran that thru my die cutter. I cut out a few dozen leaves in different shapes and sizes. The large maple leaves were used for place cards, paired with a smaller leaf cut from kraft card stock and an acorn made from a felt ball with an acorn cap.

The rest of the leaves were for my Thanksgiving Tree. It is not an original idea by any means, but I find it such a lovely sentiment. Our tree has fabric leaves on it, felt ball acorns, and kraft paper leaves on which we can write what we are thankful for.



I brought in a dead branch, let it dry, and spray painted it gold. I used Rust-oleum American Heritage Craft and Hobby Enamel which is an absolutely fabulous spray paint. It covers beautifully, dries very fast, and is a gorgeous warm gold color. Unfortunately I am now out of paint and cannot find it anywhere. If you know of a place, do let me know.

I put my gold branch in an antique pitcher and used real acorns as filling. Then it was just a matter of hot gluing the colored leaves and felt acorns to the tree, and cutting out the cardstock leaves. To attach them to the Thanksgiving Tree, I made simple S-hooks from 20 gauge craft wire with the aid of a pencil. The paper leaves sit with the S-hooks and a sharpie in a small dish next to the pitcher, neatly covering up the stain in the grain sack I was not able to remove.



For my centerpiece I used a hollow piece of bark that I found in the woods a few years back. I usually slip it over a vase, but I thought it would look great on the table with goodies spilling out. A double-sided cornucopia if you will. I filled it with real pumpkins and squash, colorfully painted paper-mache pumpkins, dried okra pods (I was too late harvesting the pods for canning but they make very funky decorations), two year old chestnuts no longer fit for consumption, and large acorn caps.



I was never much of a gold girl, but it works really well for me here. I used gold square chargers with simple white plates and blue goblets. I even brought out the genuine silverware! Of course, now I want gold chargers for Christmas, too, but since we are talking about twenty people, that can be a bit pricy. Not to worry, I have a plan. More to come on that at a later date.



Do you see the napkins? Lola and I made them. In the goody box Jo-Ann sent me at the start of the Celebrate The Season campaign were several containers of Ink Effects, a paint that is easily transferred to fabric with an iron. You paint any design on paper, let it dry, turn your paper upside down on your fabric, and transfer your design with the aid of a hot iron.



Lola designed three of the four napkins, and I did the last one as well as the ironing.



While I may not be hosting Thanksgiving this year, we will be bringing the place cards and the napkins up north later this month. My centerpiece looks very cheerful on the table and the Thanksgiving Tree sees new leaves added every day. After all, we have so much to be thankful for.

More inspiration for Thanksgiving #turkeytablescapes and crafts can be found in Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts Celebrate The Season website. And do not forget to check out JoAann's weekly online ad. Of course we wouldn’t leave you without a nice 50% off coupon.

Happy Thanksgiving!



This post is sponsored by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. I received craft products and a gift card to write this post.