Category Archives: Craft
This someeecard pretty much sums up my feelings about football season. It means Autumn is just around the corner. It means I get to spend my Sundays watching games all day (ok between laundry and other chores). And most importantly, it means I get to defend my fantasy football title.
Yep, that’s right I am league champion. Thank you Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson!
Our league met last Monday for our 3rd annual fantasy football draft. (For some reason I didn’t take a photo of the draft, but here’s a shot from last year.) As champion, I get to showcase that big silver league trophy in the middle of the table all year at our house.
Here’s the money shot of the trophy. I made it last year for the league and realized I never wrote up a post about it. My concept of the fantasy football trophy was for it be a little over the top and perhaps even gaudy. In the end, I think I created is a pretty special piece.
So, maybe you need to make a trophy for a tournament, party or even you own fantasy league. Well, you are in luck – here’s my step-by-step tutorial for making your own silver piece of heaven.
Make your own trophy
1. Collect stuff. I bought a bunch of cheap party favors (army men and plastic cats!) plus a metal candle holder and frame at a thrift store then found a few odds and ends sitting around our house. You want interesting shapes and lots of diversity.
2. Build a base. I put the candle holder on a wood base I bought from Joann’s and then “built” a styrofoam tower on top. I glued the whole thing together using craft adhesive (like this). Once it was dry (I waited 24 hours) I sculpted the styrofoam into a trophy shape with a serrated knife.
3. Make a 3D collage. Next, I started gluing all my collected materials on the form with a standard glue gun. This process takes some time and I suggest taking a few breaks so you have a fresh perspective when you come back. I slowly built up all the sides until I got it just right. The glue dries pretty fast, but I left the completed piece sit for a couple of hours before I moved on to the next step.
4. Spray it silver (or bronze, gold, platinum). Take your trophy to a well ventilated place (I went outside) to spray it with a metallic paint and primer (I used Rust-Oleum Universal in Titanium Silver). You want to spray many thin layers in different directions on the piece to cover it without making drips. The basic process is lightly spray then let dry 20 minutes, spray, let dry, etc. When you are happy with the coverage let the paint cure completely for 48 hours.
5. Touch up. Even with all the spray paint, there was still little areas I needed to touch up with paint or glue. So I sprayed a little paint into the can’s cap and then used an oil paint brush to touch up the paint areas and just used my glue gun again to reattach any loose pieces.
My trophy has lots of random materials from bottle caps, toy cars and helicopters. On the top I have two wrestler action figures holding a styrofoam football.
On the bottom of the trophy I have a removable frame (it sits behind the two metal swirls of the candle holder) that holds the current champion’s photo. You saw my photo above, but here’s last year’s champion Kip.
And there you have it – a trophy bursting with dragons, cats and even wrestler men. It all works together with that coat of metallic paint. So go crazy – its a fun project that would be great for a lot of different events.
Happy Football Season Everyone!!
When we decided on a backyard garden wedding, I instantly knew we didn’t need any additional flower arrangements to interfere with the beautiful surroundings, but I still wanted to have a little flower flair for the bridal party.
Instead of real bouquets and boutonnieres, I decided to make fabric flowers for our wedding party. The guys could pin them on and the girls could wear them in their hair or pin them like the boys.
I could visualize what I wanted so I started looking online for a tutorial. I ended up finding this great tutorial on Creature Comforts I wanted to try. The chiffon peonies had the look I was going for and I though it I brightened the color palette it would be just right for our wedding.
Armed with this knowledge, I headed to my beloved fabric store and found chiffon colors with names like flame, calypso and sunshine that worked perfectly with my vision. I picked five colors and got a 1/2 yard of each of them. Then I found a 1/4 yard remnant of a turquoise that I also picked up. For the backings I went with a dual alligator clip and pin for the girls and a simple push-pin back for the guys. I spent a total of $27.18 on my initial supplies and another $10 on more backings later on.
Armed with all my supplies I went home and tested out Ez’s tutorial for myself.
I loved the results so I got my Mom, Nate’s mom and a few other bridesmaids together to make a ton of flowers.
After eight hours of flower making, we learned a thing or two. Here’s a few tips for anyone else using this technique.
Don’t make your flowers too large because they become floppy. I think a 2 1/2-3 inch diameter worked best for us. I also liked the smaller flowers, but they are a little harder to make. (Your fingers are very close to the flame.)
Be patient! It took a flower or two for me to master the melting edge technique. Also don’t worry if you have a few burned edges. The darker color gives the flower more texture and depth.
A small votive candle is perfect for melting. You don’t want a candle holder with a lip so you can really get the fabric in the flame.
Take your time.The melted edges are painful to touch so be careful as you turn the flower. Also try to keep the petals apart so they don’t stick together.
Make a backing. We hot glued a circle of felt on the back of each flower then cupped the flower until the glue dried. This allowed the petals to maintain their shape.It also was a great surface to glue the pin or clip to.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors on your flower. Some of my favorite flowers were multi-color.
And finally, be careful with hot glue! Even the experienced crafter can give themselves a bad burn. So learn from me and stop when you get tired gluing! I dropped a big splotch of hot glue on my thumb at the end of our craft day. Luckily, the burn healed very well wrapped up with a lot of aloe vera. Thanks Mom for fast acting and again a big thanks to Ez on such a great tutorial!
When we first got engaged, we had a wedding brainstorming session with my parents and sister Adie. One idea that sprung up was customizing wine labels for the tables. Adie suggested featuring the cats which we all agreed would be a super cute idea. Then the idea sat dormant for months since we had other decisions to make. Then about three weeks ago, I was ready to cut this project from my to-do list, but Nate admitted how excited he was to have cat labels made so I got to work.
I am so glad we put the effort into these labels. They are such a fun detail. It goes to show once again that collaboration really makes a stronger vision. Nate’s opinion has been very valuable to the overall look and feel of wedding and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Designing the Labels
We chose three wines to serve at the wedding. I knew I wanted to use these two sweet photos of each cat that I took at Christmas time plus an equally cute photo of them together for the third wine. Each wine description was customized to both be a description of the wine and the cat(s) featured. Then it was a matter of just messing with the design in Adobe Illustrator until the labels were right. My goal was to keep the look pretty simple since they were going to be featured on the guest tables.
I’ve seen people create labels many ways so if you don’t have Illustrator try working with MS Word, a photo editing program or even a label making program like Avery’s Designer Software.
Once I got all three labels designed, I created a print sheet so I could easily print out the labels in bulk then cut them to size. After testing out a few paper choices I went with Neenah’s 32 lb. Professional Series paper in Natural. It’s a common resume paper you can find at Target. I liked it because it has a nice texture, but is still lightweight to easily stick to the bottles.
I also tested the labels on the bottles themselves. Each bottle had a slightly different shape so I varied the label size to accommodate each bottle. Then I did a water test. I attached a label and sprayed it down with water to see if the ink bled, the adhesive stuck and how it dried.
I found that the label would shift slightly when wet and only had a slight bleed to it. You can see what I mean in the photo above. I recommend testing out your own setup as well because inks and paper will vary the results.
Removing Labels & Adhesive
Like most of my projects, I researched a bunch before executing this one (sources will be listed at the bottom of this post). When we were ready to remove the old labels from our chosen wedding wine, I kept reading over and over to use Oxi-Clean. I decided to test it out the process for myself with a couple different bottles.
Unfortunately, not all the bottled worked with this process so we ended up using three different techniques to get all the labels off.
The Oxi-Clean method worked really well on our Vinho Verde. In an ice chest, I dissolved the Oxi-Clean in a small amount of warm water then filled the chest about 2/3rd full of cold water. Then I loaded the chest with bottles and left them soaking overnight. By morning, most of the labels had slipped off already. All I had to do was sponge off the rest and then remove any remaining residue.
I highly recommend trying this method because it is so simple. From my research, it seems like this works really well on beer labels as well.
2. Soapy Water
Nate went old school with the Viognier and soaked batches in soapy water then scrubbed the labels off. It was the most labor intensive technique, but with a little patience Nate got the job done.
3. Goo Gone
And finally with our only red wine, the Barbera, we applied Goo Gone then let it sit for a couple of minutes until we could peel off the labels and scrub the sticky residue off. This method was messy. We constantly had to wash our hands to not get the Goo Gone or the adhesive everywhere.
I also had some luck using Goo Gone with the Viognier. It just took longer for it to work than the Barbera so I worked in huge batches.
I just lined up a bunch of bottles on a towel then applied the Goo Gone. Then worked on another project until the labels peeled off.
Putting it all Together
Once we had clean bottles, we simply had to apply the new labels to the bottles with a little glue stick. We just used the standard Scotch Craft Sticks you can find at any store. We made sure to completely cover the entire label back including the corners so the labels stuck well.
Adie and I found the Goo Gone Wipes to be really helpful at removing any remaining residue on any of the bottles. We also used this to clean up any glue stick marks.
We also thought it was helpful to keep one bottle as a reference on the table as we applied the labels so they were all roughly the same height. We also took care to make sure the labels were even. I used the wine bottom as my gauge, but you could also use a piece of tape.
The whole glue stick process only took a couple of hours to complete. Luckily Adie and Dagny were on hand to help me out. Then we boxed them up and they were ready to go over to my parents house for wedding day.
Here’s a photo of the finished bottles at the wedding. We put a bottle of white and red on each table and then the third varietal was available at the bar. I will go through our wine selection in a future post and include our whole beverage selection and talk about budget as well.
Helpful Wine Label Sources
Remember on our response cards we asked our guests to choose either a 1) stemless wine glass or 2) pint glass? Well that question gives a big hint of what we are giving out as wedding favors. A million years ago (okay maybe eleven), I gave out pint glasses for christmas gifts. They were a major hit and I have been asked many times for replacements or new glasses.
Since I have done this craft before I was confident that I could come up with a design and execute it, but since I had to etch 150 glasses I changed the production considerably. Below is the way we etched all our glasses after a little trial and error. I will mention the pitfalls we faced as I explain the process.
I decided to purchase a Silhouette Portrait machine to cut out my design after realizing how long it would take for me to cut out 150 designs on contact paper. If I was only making five glasses I would I just done it myself.
- Etching cream
- Popsicle sticks
- A roll of contact paper
- Rubbing alcohol
- Microfiber cloth
- Piece of paper or cardboard
- Bath towel
- X-acto knife or Cutting machine
- Mini spatula*
- Pencil or something to poke out small pieces
Our monogram has changed considerably since I made stamps over Spring Break. Nate gave me some good feedback as I was working on it for the glasses and I ended up adding a cat head design. It’s so important to marinate on an idea and get feedback because the end result is so much better than the simple monogram. I love it.
Once I had the design, I took a photo and recreated the image in Illustrator. Once I had it just right, I saved the design as a SVG file. This file type can be imported into the Silhouette design software. By doing this, I could then add cut settings to the design and have the machine do all the cuts for me!
1. Import or create your design in the Silhouette software.
2. Reverse your image
3. Add a frame around the design.
4. Add cut settings.
5. Create copies of your design so you have a full sheet.
6. Cut a sheet of regular contact paper to fit the sticky sheet that comes with the Silhouette machine.
7. Load the paper.
8. Cut the design.
9. Peel the paper off the sticky mat. I recommend using a mini spatula to do this.
1. After washing your glass well, lay it on a folded towel. The towel will hold the glass in place while you clean and add the stencil.
2. Using the rubbing alcohol on the microfiber, clean a 3 inch area where you would like the design. This makes sure the glass is really, really clean.
4. Cut your design using a cutting machine or an x-acto knife.
5. Peel the back of the contact paper off and stick the design on the glass. I like to use my index and ring fingers to lightly stretch out the design before I place it down.
6. Rub the sticker well so there are no air bubbles then clean off any finger prints or stickiness by rubbing the microfiber on the exposed glass.
7. Place the etching cream on the glass with a popsicle stick. Lay it on thick. Keep the etching cream on the glass for about 15 minutes. I found that leaving it on longer resulted in a fuzzy design, but this depends on the materials you use.
9. After 15 minutes, rinse the cream off with warm water and remove the sticker.
10. Once dry you should have an opaque design on the glass. Do a couple tests on a throw away glass before you start. I did this multiple times before I got the process just right. Even with all the prep, I wasted a case of pint glasses when I left the cream on overnight and realized I had fuzzy designs the next day. Duh!
My sister Adie and I did all our glasses over a couple late nights watching The Voice. We ended up with a little production line where she prepped the design while I placed them on the glass. Then once we had enough glasses ready, I put the cream on.
And there you have it, a personalized glass for your guests. Also note that each glass will be slightly different. You are creating handmade gifts so if you want something perfect don’t do this yourself. But if you are like me, and want to gift your guests a little gift made with love (and sometimes imperfections) totally go for it!
For our third work day at my parents house two weekends ago, we had a full crew over to finish the major projects on the backyard and backdrop. It was awesome to have so many people come over because we accomplished more than we thought!
Finalizing the pathways
During the last work day, mass quantities of wood chips were wheelbarrowed in. Now they did more detail work leveling the wood chips throughout the garden.
They also created a solid edge between the lawn and garden that looks mighty fine.
Kevin took on a side project and fixed the brick path to the pool.
With the guys occupied outside, Wendy, Julie, Adie and Alice helped me work on our backdrop. I won’t go into much detail of how it will look finished, but one component is garlands of hearts that echo our invitation design.
The ladies spent hours cutting construction paper hearts out in red, orange and white. Then the hearts were stapled onto a 8′ length of cooking twine which is the height of our backdrop.
Each garland of hearts was then accordion folded and placed into a standard envelope. We did this to prevent tangling in storage and make setup as easy as possible.
Swing set goes down
Another task that fell to the boys was taking down the swing set. This set was an original 1950′s piece from our local elementary school that made it’s way to my parents backyard for the grandchildren a few years back.
We expected it would be a pain to take apart, but it turned out to be the easiest project of the day. The set was very well made and all the bolts and connections came apart easily with no sign of rust.
Of course the Hannah (pictured) and Teagan (my niece) had a hard time seeing it put away, but we assured them it would be back after the wedding.
We will be lighting the backyard with strings of lights that crisscross the lawn and patio areas. My parents decided they wanted to install posts into the garden to hang them and be the support for our backdrop.
The boys got to work digging holes for each post. Nate and Jeremy used some reclaimed lumber from my dad’s supply to cut down into posts.
Feeding the troops
Around lunchtime, we all took a break. I grilled up some burgers and my mom made pasta salad.
Then everyone sat down to eat.
Back to work
After everyone’s bellies were full, we went back to work. The boys figured out the depth of the posts and got to work filling the post holes with cement.
Finally, they built a frame for the backdrop and raised it.
Then they made sure it was level and filled the post holes.
Here’s the final frame propped up to let the cement dry.
And with the posts up the work day was completed, the kids (and parents) took a dip in the pool to celebrate.
It was another great work day with our friends. As I have mentioned before, Nate and I are very thankful for the help. I’d like to give a big round of applause to Kevin, Julie, Derek, Wendy, Scott, Alice, Jeff, Hannah, Joe and Jeremy for helping out on their Saturday. A special thank you goes out to my parents for hosting us once again.
It’s official wedding season! DIY wedding prep has taken over our house. Armed with three seasons of The Good Wife on Amazon Prime, I started to tinker with some design elements for the wedding the last few weeks.
Watercolor Hearts & Scallops
I was inspired by a lot of beautiful watercolor invitations lately so I took out my paints and started doodling.
First I played with a heart design. It’s such a classic wedding theme it hurts.
I tried a loose heart scribble and eventually pare it down to more of a herringbone heart pattern.
Next I played with some other simple shapes like this scallop pattern across the page in a coral orange.
After I was done, I scanned my patterns and manipulated them in Photoshop so I could use them on invitations and other digital work.
I’ve been also working on a monogram that features an “A” for Andrea and “N” for Nate. I sketched out the general shape and then played around with widths and angles until I got it just right.
Then I made a couple handmade stamps of the design. I’ve always wanted to make my own stamps and thought the monogram was the perfect design to try out. Because I am an art supply hoarder, I already had a bunch of stamp making supplies (linoleum cutter & carving block) on hand.
I traced my monogram on a piece of tracing paper then flipped it over so I could make a stamp that printed correctly.
Then, I filled in the backwards design with pencil and pressed it down onto the carving block.
With the pencil mark on the block, I used my lino tools to carve out the design.
I also made a negative stamp of the monogram by adding a circle around it. I used an IKEA water glass as my circle shape.
Then cut out the monogram.
Here are the final two stamps.
You can see on my stamp that the inner triangle of the “A” is a little wonky. It’s hard to get the cutting tools to cut 45 degree angles. And that’s okay with me. I really prefer the handmade look.
What’s coming up next
Here are some of the projects that I will be sharing here on the blog in the next few weeks.
- Wedding website
- Ceremony Decor
- Seating Chart
- Place cards
- Reception Decor
- Thank you gifts
And don’t worry I will still be blogging about the house and cats as well, just not any big projects until after the wedding.
I’ve always loved to decorate for the holidays with fresh wreaths and garlands. Leave it to Martha Stewart to inspire me in my teens with her elaborate Christmas special on HGTV. Once I moved out of my parents house, I usually splurged on a fresh pine wreath for the rental door, but I never have made my one until now.
On my current quest to not spend money, I decided to make my first fresh wreath out of bay branches from my parents’ lovely tree. My dad was happy to agree to a little pruning. As he worked on the tree, I loaded my back seat full of bay branches. I certainly was a happy girl driving home with the fresh bay smell filling the car with loveliness.
I did a little internet research on making a wreath and was happy to find Martha making a wreath on this video as my guide. I picked up a 18″ wire wreath form, a paddle of 26 gauge green floral wire and clear hair bands for the project. I think I spent about $6 on all the materials which is certainly on my budget.
Set up was simple, I rinsed the branches off outside and let them dry in the morning sun for a few hours before I got started.
Then I just clipped the branches into small, compact bundles.
I positioned the leaves so they all laid the same direction and then wrapped the clear hair band around the bottom.
Once I had a few bundles ready, I secured the end of wire to the form and then wrapped the wire around the bundle tightly.
The second bundle overlapped the first and was secured the same way. I kept this pattern going until the whole wreath was covered with bundles. Then I just cut the wire and tied it off on the back of the form.
Here it is finished. It’s bigger than any other wreath we’ve had on our door, but I like it over-sized and simple. Maybe next time I add some texture with different types of leaves or a bow.