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Posts Tagged ‘Crafts’

Craft Plans

I have a few simmering ideas for things to make. Planning ahead always helps me save on costs and repurpose materials. The only problem is if I forget!

Source : Kaboodle

One of my favorite ideas is a wine-cork bulletin board. This would look charming in the kitchen, and I really like the vintage look. This one from Bed Bath and Beyond is cute, but I like the look of slightly-stained, real corks. I intend to build my own frame out of corner molding, too. The total cost for the project will be around $4 then, excluding the cost of the wine. My parents and grandfather are doing all of the wine buying (and drinking) since that’s still illegal for me ;)

Another idea is to make a bouquet of paper flowers for my sister’s next show. I’m going to photocopy sheet music onto pretty pink paper, write little comments (The date! The show! Congratulations! etc etc), then make simple paper flowers with floral wire spines. Simple to make and easy to transport — and I think they’d be cute as one of her many opera keepsakes, too.

My latest project is creating a marketing at my university’s private equity center as the newest fellow of the leadership team, but that’s not a cute craft, just a lot of emails, writing, and tweeting :P

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New Year and new beginnings, right?

I’m very excited to unveil my new blog header, my latest DIY project. Completely free, as long as I don’t count my time (hey, this was fun!), electricity for my laptop which would have been on anyway, or my camera which I already own. All of the software programs used are free downloads, too.

First, make sure that you can upload a custom header. For my WordPress blog, I found the option to change the header under the Appearance tab.

The picture in my header is of a dollar-store pink piggy bank. Unless you must have a sea-turtle or picture of intergalactic space, there’s no need to buy stock photography. I used a fancy-schmancy spot-light diffusing contraption that I built earlier this week, but the basic same result can be obtained from taping up a piece of poster board to use as a backdrop in a well-lighted area, then firing away with a point-and-shoot camera. Take a lot of pictures to make sure that at least a few turn out well. Using a tripod wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

Upload the pictures to your computer, then edit to improve the color, lighting, etc. (I kind of cheated and just used auto-fix while previewing the pictures on Vista. I usually use Picasa, a free and easy-to-use editor from Google, or PhotoScape if I’m working on something more detailed.)

After your images have been prettied, open  your chosen image in Paint.Net. Paint.Net a little confusing (to me, at least) and photo editing is harder than in Picasa or PhotoScape, but it’s a wonderful program for creating graphics.  Make a copy of your favorite image right now in case you need to restart the header.

For my WordPress blog  theme, I needed a header that was 190×760 pixels. I resized the picture of my piggy bank to a height of 190 pixels — it was roughly square, so the length was way under 760 pixels.

I opened a new project, and specified that I wanted my canvas to be 760×190 pixels. This comes up in a new tab. Go back to the image and copy it, then past on the blank header.  At this point, you’re good to go and finish the header using whatever suits your fancy– the hardest part is getting the images to the size of the header, and making the header the correct size so that you don’t have to crop in WordPress after uploading.

Below:  Version 1. I decided that I wanted the bank facing into the light, so I replaced the picture with the image on the current header.

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Penny Redo

Happy Monday, readers! I finished a penny redecorating project this weekend with this small, army-green metal drawer chest that I got for free from my grandpa’s garage.

Click here to see the entire process @ Penny Couture Crafts!

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I’m really excited about how well this turned out!

Finished product hung on the tree

Click here to see the complete tutorial @ Penny Couture Crafts!

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Christmas always generates a ton of trash — pretty packaging, not to mention the containers the items always come in.

What do you do after presents are unwrapped?

At my house, we traditionally toss bows back into a bag to reuse (double stick tape does wonders), but have thrown away the wrapping paper. This year, I saved the somewhat wrinkled and tattered pieces, and came up with some ideas to reuse, saving money and Mother Earth:

  • Use a shredder to create long “ribbons” of paper that could be used to fill a gift bag next year. You could store this in a plastic container to have an interesting alternative to tissue paper. This would also be pretty good for filler when mailing packages.
  • Make envelopes out of the paper.  Take an envelope that you like the size/shape of, then get the glued edges slightly wet. As the glue dissolves, carefully unfold the envelope to create a “template” to cut the wrapping paper, then fold & reglue in an envelope shape. If you’d like to mail you’re envelope, glue a plain white label to the front of the envelope on which you can write the address. You could probably line the envelopes with more wrapping paper, too.
    If you need a card to stick in,  you could always use  card stock — or card stock and more wrapping paper!
  • Decoupage a shoebox with scraps of wrapping paper. For this one, I envision cutting out characters/pictures (Santa, candy canes, Frosty, etc), then adding multiple layers of the paper cutouts sealed with a mixture of non-washable glue and water, applied with a foam brush.
  • Make mini wrapped-present ornaments. You could use cardboard from a cereal box to make a solid base, then cover with a small piece of the used wrapping paper (lightly iron if too wrinkly?). I’m going to try this to start my own ornament collection :) Watch for a tutorial later this week!

I’m really excited to finish these ideas. Be warned, some projects, like paper mache, might not work as well with wrapping paper due to its high gloss and  low absorbency.

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