About Cyndi Johnson

Paper crafter

Take Note

I just completed a project for the daughter of family friends, who is pregnant and due at the end of this month. She and her husband recently announced that their unborn baby, a boy, will most likely need open heart surgery soon after birth. They will need to travel hundreds of miles to a Children’s Hospital, where she will deliver and their baby will receive the specialized care he needs.

I felt such an instant connection to their situation, not only because their story tugged at my heart strings, but also because I have been on both sides of part of the experience ahead of them. Not only was I an NICU nurse for 10 years, but our son was born 5 1/2 weeks early and required some special care in the beginning. I felt like having been on both sides of this life event gave me a unique perspective and opportunity to do/make something for this couple that might make a difference in the coming weeks. But what? It was actually in thinking back on my experiences that I was able to draw some inspiration, and I came up with the idea of a notebook. I know that their sweet baby’s care team is going to be giving them lots of information and updates, and it’s going to be important for them to have a place to keep track of all the changes. I wasn’t prepared when our son was born, and, looking back, I would have benefited from a notebook. As it was, I was documenting his information on the back of hospital menus, card envelopes, etc.

In thinking further about the notebook, I decided that a composition notebook would be the perfect choice. It has plenty of pages without being too bulky, and it’s the perfect size for putting in a bag or keeping out by the phone. Even more perfect is the fact that I had several composition notebooks in my supply closet, so out one came, and off to work I went to “dress” this book up for a very important job.

And this notebook was going to need lots of help dressing for success!! It’s about as far from sweet and charming as it could be! So I pulled out lots of papers and supplies, and here is the design concept I came up with:

a baby blue and yellow color scheme with lots of white scalloped accents, mama and baby elephants, sweet bitty dot yellow ribbon, and tiny navy hearts. This project is already taking on so much charm, and all I’ve done is gather everything in one place! I love putting all of the design elements together at the beginning of a project, and I know that if I get excited about how everything looks as is, that I’m going to love the finished product. I have a good feeling about this project, as this grouping just makes me smile!

I have altered/covered several other composition notebooks, but that was several years ago. I keep a file folder for certain projects, and my notes on covering a notebook said to cover the inside front and back covers first, before tackling the outside covers. It made trimming the inside covers easier. So, that’s what I did–I covered the inside covers first; followed by the outside covers. I used the solid baby blue paper on all 4 covers, and then used the yellow plaid paper for the spine of the book. Once that was done, the real fun began adding on all of the decorative elements!

Enough talking; let’s get to the pictures! I’ll start with the before and after of the front cover:

This is quite a transformation, isn’t it! I kept the decorative elements to a minimum, as I wanted the elephants to be the main focus. The elephants are so sweet, and having their trunks joined together with the tiny heart above helps to communicate that special bond between a mother and her baby. I also kept all of the decorations towards the bottom of the book to allow for someone to hold the book more in the middle.

Let’s continue the tour with the inside front cover, as this is probably my favorite page:

I made two little journal cards for the baby’s name and all of his birth information that the parents can fill in. I kept the color scheme the same, and used a combination of stamps, die cuts, and computer-generated words. I love the sentiment “born to be loved”, and I bought that stamp set specifically for that sentiment. It’s perfect for this project, and I was so excited to be able to use it!

Next we move on to the inside back cover. I made a pocket, which I thought might come in handy. I changed the position of the white scalloped border from extending beyond the edge of the yellow paper to on top of the paper. This way it won’t interfere with putting things in the pocket. I originally was going to use the word “stuff” on the pocket, but after seeing this project come to life, this book deserved something classier. So I changed the word to ETC., which I liked better–plus it gave me an opportunity to use a heart for the period. It will always and forever be about the little details for me!

Lastly, the back cover, which I kept very basic, as this is the part of the book that will be laying on flat surfaces. This cover might be basic, but it’s not plain, thanks to the white scalloped border.

There are a few additional accessories that I will be sending along with the notebook. I covered a binder clip with paper and added some ribbon to one of the clips. It will be helpful in marking the page and keeping the book closed. The silver clip is a pen clip. It could be clipped to the top or the side of the front cover. I also made one additional journal card to document when the baby arrives home–I envisioned the card going on the back cover, but didn’t want to put anything there yet. So, I have added double-sided tape to the back, and the parents can remove the protective film and place it where they want it.

This concludes the tour of the notebook, but…….I have one more thing to show you:

Since I had all of the supplies out, I decided to make some notecards as well. I wanted them to be very versatile, so they are sentiment free and blank inside. I plan to include the stamps with the cards, as well.

I have loved working on this project–it is so satisfying to create something that you know is meaningful and will make a difference for the recipients. It is for this exact reason that I continue paper crafting.

Thank you for letting me share this project with you, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

Hearts and Envelopes

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I want to show you how to make a small gift bag that would be perfect for packaging Valentine’s treats. The best part about this bag is that it starts with a common household product. It’s called a bag-a-lope, and, while it’s not a fancy name, it’s certainly very descriptive of the end result. A bag-a-lope is simply a bag made out of an envelope. I learned how to make one at my very first stamping class, and I recently came across the printed instructions I received at that class. It’s relatively simple to make; it doesn’t require a lot of supplies; and it’s a good idea to have in your back pocket should you have an unexpected need for a small gift bag!

Let me walk you through the basic construction first, and then I will show you the bag-a-lopes I made for Valentine’s Day this year.

You can make a bag-a-lope from any envelope. Most of us have both standard and legal sized envelopes around, and I am going to show you the basic construction using a legal sized envelope. You can use a standard envelope, but it ends up being a tall, narrow bag, so it isn’t as versatile. When you use a legal sized envelope, you actually cut it in half, giving you two bags that are the perfect size for small gifts.

The first thing you want to do is seal your envelope at the top, end to end.

Now cut the envelope in half. Each half will measure basically 4″ x 4 3/4″. The next step is the most important one:

With the open end at the top, fold in or score the two long sides and the bottom at the same measurement. For most bag-a-lopes, the fold measurement is 1/2″ or 3/4″. There is no set measurement–it really depends on the size of your envelope and how large an opening you need or want for your bag. If you use a larger mailing envelope, you might end up folding each side in an inch or more. The important thing to remember is to have all three fold measurements consistent. In this example, I have scored all three sides in at 1/2″. Make sure that you press each fold line both towards the font and towards the back of the bag to really set those lines.

Once you have your fold lines made, you can decorate your bag between the side and bottom folds, which is indicated by the cardstock. If you are going to cover the entire space between the fold lines with paper, then use the side with the seam in it. If you are going to stamp, or just use a small tag or embellishment on the front, then use the side without the seam.

Once you have decorated your bag, it’s now time to start to open it up. Start at the top of one of the long sides, and gently begin to open up the envelope as you work your way down to the bottom. Once you get close to the bottom, you will begin to see a triangle form. Gently push up from the bottom of the bag while you finish opening up the side to help with the triangle formation. Do the same for the other long side of the envelope.

When both sides of the envelope are open, your bag should look like this. Stand the bag up flat, and give those triangles a good press. Then put adhesive on the underside of the point of the triangle, and adhere the triangles to the bottom of the bag. I like to use glue dots for my adhesive.

And that’s it! From one legal sized envelope, you just made two small gift bags that each measure 3 1/8″ x 4 3/4″, and are 1″ wide. These bags are the perfect size for small gifts or treats. You can finish the bag any way you like–I’ve shown you two different options in the picture above. You could add a ribbon handle by punching holes on either side of the bag, and tying knots in the ribbon on the inside of the bag. This would allow you to deliver a treat to someone’s house by hanging the bag on the front door handle. The other option is to tie up the treats in a separate bag, add a tag, and place the treat bag inside of the bag-a-lope. The sky is the limit, and the wonderful things is that these bag-a-lopes are very versatile and adaptable to a variety of needs.

Now that you have a general idea of what a bag-a-lope is and how to make one, I want to show you a set of Valentine bag-a-lopes I made this week. I love to give my kids something homemade and handmade on the holidays; especially Valentine’s Day. We are meeting both of our kids tomorrow for separate, Covid-approved visits, and I wanted to bring them a little something special that they can put at the table on Valentine’s Day.

I bought this Valentines kit from Stampin’ Up! last month that includes notecards in 2 designs; layering cards in both the landscape and portrait orientations; and gold foil lined envelopes in 2 different patterns. The more I looked at this kit, the more I decided that I wouldn’t use it as it was designed. So I decided to “de-construct” the kit and use the contents to decorate some bag-a-lopes that were more my style. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I was a little timid at first cutting all of these cards up. Once I had my first bag done, however, I just let my creative juices flow, and the ideas came faster than I could create them! I used a standard A2 card envelope for my bags, as I wanted them to be solid white inside. The envelope measures 4 3/8″ x 5 3/4″. I cut 3/4″ off one side for the opening, and scored the other three sides at 3/4″. Here’s what I came up with:

I told you that I de-constructed the kit! I used every element in the kit in some way, and, along with other Valentine stamp sets, punches, and dies that I had, I was able to come up with six different bag designs that have the personality and charm that I love. Not even the envelopes were spared. It’s a lot to take in looking at all of them together, so here are some pictures of smaller groupings for you:

I had a wonderful time making and decorating these bag-a-lopes, and I can’t wait to give them to our kids! I am hoping that they will put these on their tables, so that they have a little treat to go along with their Valentine’s Day dinner. I will do the same for my husband and I. Here’s a picture of the bags all filled, along with a picture of how one of the bags will look on our table:

That’s all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed today’s treat packaging idea, and that you’ll give making a bag-a-lope a try. Stay safe and healthy, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

Hello Autumn!

Happy First Day of Fall! As if on cue, I noticed this morning that some of the leaves in my yard have already started to change colors.

I’m somewhat surprised to see such vibrant colors–we have had a very dry summer and I wasn’t sure we’d see much color change at all. Seeing these trees come alive in my own yard gives me hope that we will have a colorful Fall season in spite of the drought, which would certainly boost my spirits. There is nothing like Fall in New England!

Just as the season is changing outside, it is also changing in my craft room. I spent part of this past weekend getting out all of my Fall stamp sets and supplies, and it was like old home week. I have lots of favorite sets, and the more I saw, the more excited and impatient I got to start designing new Fall projects! I made my first project yesterday–a card–and I thought I would share it with you.

I chose to work with a very bold and different for me color palette:

I have seen this color combination more and more recently on all sorts of home decor items, and I think it’s really striking. I love adding in some blue with my fall projects, but I have never thought of adding in turquoise, so this will be fun to try.

This series of pictures will show you how this card came together:

Hello Autumn indeed! The card base ended up being the most important element on this card, as it provides the contrast and subtle interest to allow the pumpkins and lettering to stand out. I was able to balance the bold colors with some softness and charm by bringing in the scalloped edge of the vanilla panel, and adding the sweet, little “hello” tag. The tag is my favorite part of this card–I love adding little tags to my projects!

I plan to spend the rest of today decorating the house for Fall, and this card will be a great addition to one of our displays. Thanks for stopping by, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

In My Own Little Corner

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One of my favorite parts about my craft room is the chair in the sitting area. It is so comfy and relaxing to sit in, and the combination of the slipcover’s floral pattern and big ruffled skirt, along with the pillow cover made with a vintage handkerchief add so much charm and personality to that corner of the room. However, I have never liked the side table and table lamp, as I have always thought that their scale was too big for that corner, and their style didn’t match the vintage charm of the chair.

My craft room will be 5 years old this Fall, so I decided my presents to my room were going to be to give it a thorough, deep cleaning over the summer and to make some changes to the sitting area. I have had so much fun redesigning the sitting area, and I am so excited to show you how everything turned out! I did all of the planning and work myself, and I feel so good that I was able to use or repurpose things that I already had. I have taken a series of pictures that show my step-by-step process.

Are you ready? Let the pictures begin:

My goal was to replace the side table and table lamp, and also bring in more of the vintage style and charm that I love. The new side table ended up having the biggest impact and, once it was in place, the rest of the changes just fell into place. I replaced the table with a luggage rack

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and my grandmother’s suitcase

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which I spray painted

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pink! Ballet slipper pink, to be exact! I had never spray painted anything like this before, so I read a lot of DIY posts before starting, which boosted my confidence. I am so pleased with how well it turned out, and I can’t believe what a difference it makes in my corner! The overall size and scale fit so much better, and the suitcase just oozes vintage style and charm–and it’s pink to boot!

I originally had planned to use the suitcase as a beverage center for parties or at the holidays. However, it was too big for the space I had, so it has sat up in our attic for several years. I feel so good that I was able to give it new life and a purpose, and my husband is thrilled that one more thing is out of the attic. I’d call that a win-win situation!

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Next came the lamp, and look how perfectly it fits on top of the suitcase. It’s like they were made for each other! This lamp was the original lamp on the other side table, and I honestly don’t remember why it got switched out for the aqua lamp. In any case, this lamp was also in our attic, so, once again, I was able to find a purpose for this lamp. And, once again, I was able to remove another item from the attic. I’m on a roll!

Now it was time to fill up the rest of the table.

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I started by re-covering 2 books with material from an old pillowcase. I didn’t remove the pink ticking material; I just covered over it. I love how the ticking stripes peek through.

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I then took it one step further and added extra interest and charm to the spine of one of the books by making a ribbon marker. I glued the velvet ribbon on top of the lace ribbon; attached a shell charm to a 10mm jump ring; and then looped one end of the ribbon through the jump ring.

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I finished out the top of the “table” with an antique picture frame that I made the center flower for, a journal, and a sweet tea cup and saucer.

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At this point, I am just giddy with excitement at what I’ve accomplished! I completely changed the look and feel of my sitting area, and the vintage style of both the table and chair compliment each other.

BUT, I’m not quite done. I had one more thing I wanted to add to the window area–a ribbon garland. I thought that the window area could use some softness and interest, and I was hoping that the garland might accomplish that. So, I read more DIY posts; gathered up various ribbon/material strips and twine; and set out to make one. I cut all of the strips to 20″ long;

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experimented and found a ribbon/material sequence that I liked;

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taped the twine to an open doorway; and started tying the ribbon on to the twine with square knots.

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I had marked off the distance I would need with washi tape, and just kept repeating the sequence until the space was filled. It turned out even better than I had imagined and I couldn’t wait to hang it! My husband helped me attach two small eye hooks under the window trim and up it went.

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I absolutely love the ribbon garland itself–I love how soft, flowing and feminine it is, and even the fact that the ribbons aren’t all the same length just adds to it’s handmade charm.

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I have to be honest, however, and tell you how surprised I was that I didn’t like it once it was up. I couldn’t put my finger on the issue, but there was just something that bothered me initially. Change is hard sometimes, so I just decided to live with it for a few weeks and then re-evaluate my opinion. I am happy, and relieved, to report that I have completely changed my mind about the garland and I can’t imagine my sitting corner without it. It’s here to stay.

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I have enjoyed being able to show you the changes I made to my sitting area. Thank you for coming by and for your continued interest in my little blog. It means so much to me! I hope you are all healthy and safe, and, until next time, and as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

 

 

 

A Maine Icon

I am having a hard time believing that this coming Monday is Memorial Day, and with it the unofficial start to the summer season. In a normal year, I wouldn’t need the calendar to remind me of the start of the season; I would be able to tell by the flurry of activity in my small coastal Maine town. As we all know, nothing is normal right now. This year is definitely different: the local beach finally opened up last week after being closed for 2 months, and there is a quiet sense of activity and anticipation as seasonal homes are being aired out, and local businesses and restaurants are preparing to, once again, open their doors. Soon.

I love the summer season. When you live on the coast, this is the season you dream about and endure long, harsh winters for. What’s not to love about spending warm sunny days near the ocean! And what could be more synonymous with a day at the beach than a “bean” bag–an L.L.Bean tote bag. The beach and their bags just go together–especially when you’re in Maine.

I have spent this past week working on creating my own paper version of the classic L.L.Bean tote bag, and I decided the best way to show you what I came up with was to create a step-by-step tutorial. I promise you there will be more pictures that yada-yada, so not to worry!

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I started by looking online at the traditional L.L.Bean tote bag, and making a list of what features make their bag so iconic. This is the list I came up with:

  1. Neutral bag color
  2. Solid contrasting bag base and all-in-one bag straps and handles
  3. Triangle-shaped contrast on sides of bag
  4. White stitching on bag base and side straps/handles
  5. Front pocket
  6. Logo label to right of pocket

The one and only L.L.Bean bag I have ever owned looks just like the one pictured above, with the addition of a front pocket and a logo label to the right of the pocket. I have added these two features to my list.

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This is one of their current bag choices, and it has the front pocket and logo label to give you a visual reference.

Keeping my list in mind, I started working on my bag. Luckily I didn’t have to start from scratch–I was given a tutorial for a L.L.Bean bag by a fellow Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, Mary Kate Scott, at a stamping event she hosted last Fall. She used her bag, which was her original design, to hold raffle tickets, and she graciously shared her pattern instructions with me after the event. I pulled out her instructions and took a closer look at her version. Mary Kate’s bag was designed to hold 3 1/2″ x 5″ notecards, so it was fairly tall. She used ribbon for the all-in-one bag straps and handles, and included a plain front pocket on which she stamped her initials.

Using her measurements and instructions, I made a prototype bag. After I was finished, I knew I wanted to make some changes to the design–namely, I wanted to shorten the overall height of the bag; I wanted to use cardstock for the side straps and handles; I wanted to use patterned paper for the front pocket; and I wanted to add a logo tag. What follows is the tutorial for my version of a L.L.Bean bag. NOTE:  Cutting instructions will be provided at the end of this post.

BAG FOUNDATION

The basic bag structure is made using a pattern that has been around for a long time called Box in a Bag. It involves making a simple box and then wrapping a strip of paper around the outside of the box to form the bag. This is what it looks like when it’s finished:IMG_7747

and this is what it looks like from the inside:

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I chose white as my neutral bag color, and navy for my solid contrasting color. Make sure that when you are making your box that you glue the box tabs to the outside of the box, so that you look at a seam-free box on the inside. I also started wrapping the white strip of paper in 11/16ths inch from the left side of one of the long sides of the box. This way the paper seam can be covered up by a side strap. (more info to follow on this)

FRONT POCKET

I made the pocket out of navy gingham paper and added a thin strip of red paper at the top. I centered it on the long side of the bag with the seam. I made marks at 7/8″ and 2 7/8″; measuring from the left side of the bag, and adhered the pocket between those two marks. Make these same measurement marks on the back side of the bag.

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BAG STRAPS & LOGO TAG

I cut 4 strips of navy paper for the bag straps that are the same height as the bag, and my logo tag was made out of a small square of red paper. I scored the tag so that I would have a tab to glue under the outside edge of the right side strap, and I added navy stars as my “logo”.

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I started adhering the side straps with the one to the right of the pocket. Before I stuck it down, I held it up to the bag and attached the logo tag at the height of the pocket.

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The other 3 straps were attached–the strap to the left of the pocket nicely covers up the seam, and the back 2 straps were attached to the outside of the measurement marks I made earlier. I purposely placed the seam in the front of the bag, so that when you look inside, the back of the bag is clean and seamless–its just more professional looking.

HANDLES

The handles were cut from navy paper and are the same width as the side straps. I measured down 1/2″ from the top of the bag and made 2 marks on the inside of the side straps. I curled each handle strip and attached each end on top of the side straps just shy of the 1/2″ marks. I followed the same steps for the back handle.

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COLOR BANDS

The final step is to wrap navy bands around the top and bottom of the bag. This not only helps to create the illusion of the contrasting bag base, but the bands also cover up the handle seams and unfinished edges.

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Tada–my L.L.Bean bag is finished and I”m so excited– it looks so authentic! I didn’t end up adding the white stitching or the triangle side pieces–this is a small bag and there isn’t room for the triangle pieces, and I thought the white stitching might detract from the clean look of the design.

Now that I had the design and measurements solidified, I made several more bags. I couldn’t help myself!

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I couldn’t have a navy bag without making a red one, and I’m glad I did. I love the red version, and I think it’s because the L.L.Bean bag I own is red and white.

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I also made a few in pastel colors, and I embossed the word “Enjoy” in white embossing powder for the logo tags on these bags.

That’s it my friends–we are at the end of my “bean” bag story. I so appreciate you stopping by today, and I hope you are all healthy and in good spirits as your part of the country begins to slowly open up. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Box:  2 1/2″ x 4 3/4″; score each side at 1/2″
  2. Bag: 3 1/4″ x 11″
  3. Pocket: 2″ x 1 7/8″
  4. Pocket Accent: 1/8″ x 2″
  5. Side Straps x 4: 1/2″ x 3 1/4″
  6. Logo Tag: 5/8″ x 5/8″; score at 3/8″
  7. Handles x 2: 1/2″ x 7″
  8. Contrast Bands: 1/2″ x 11″

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ring of Daisies-Part II

Happy Friday, my friends, and thank you for coming back for Part II of my series. Today I get to show you the coordinating daisy candle rings that I created for our table. I’ve never made candle rings before, but after having so much success with the napkin rings, I was anxious to give them a try!

When I pictured this project in my mind, I envisioned white candle holders and taper candles so that the candle rings would really stand out. I didn’t want to use traditional candle sticks, but wanted to repurpose and paint a jar or glass of some kind to add some charm and interest to the table. I also wanted the holders to be low profile, so that my husband and I could still see each other over the candles. With these criteria in mind, I went “shopping” around my house and I finally settled on using wide mouth half-pint mason jars. These jars have a great shape, but I was a little concerned about the wide mouth. I didn’t know whether I could make a daisy big enough to cover the entire opening, without distorting it’s shape. I guess I was about to find out!

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I have painted a lot of mason jars and I prefer using the chalk paint pictured above. It provides excellent coverage and I love the opaque look it gives the jars. I put 3 coats of paint on each jar and then sanded the surfaces with extra fine sand paper to expose some of the words. I finished off each jar with a coat of the cream wax paint, which softens and smooths out the chalky finish. After you apply the cream wax, let it dry and then rub the jars with a cotton cloth to bring out the shine. Before I put the jars aside, I stuck the tapers in the middle of the jars with this candle adhesive that we purchased from Current many years ago. It really works and a little bit goes a long way!

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With the candle holders finished, I now needed to concentrate on the actual rings. When I initially thought about making the rings, I figured that I would just cut the flowers in half and wrap them around the taper candle. Wrong! I off set the petals as I add each flower layer, so if I cut the flowers in half, the entire flower would just fall apart. Once again, making these candle rings proved more challenging that I originally thought. I have got to stop coming up with these complicated ideas!

Instead of wrapping the flowers around the candles, I needed to make a ring to just slip over the candles. I measured the tapers and discovered that the candles were about 1″ in diameter where the candle ring would sit. I also measured the opening of the jars and determined that using the enlarged flower would cover the opening perfectly. So I put on my engineering hat and went to work. It took a lot of thought and failed attempts, but I finally figured out a way to create an open ring in the middle of the flowers while keeping them intact. Here come the pictures!

 

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And here come the circle punches again! I created rings by punching a 1″ circle out of  both a 1 1/2″ and a 1 3/4″ circle, and these rings helped hold the flower layers together when I cut the middle out of each flower. I ended up just using 2 size layers for each flower, and used a larger scallop circle for the flower center.

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I started out by making 8 enlarged flowers and punching out 8 of the larger daisy punch. I applied adhesive all around one of the 1 3/4″ circle rings and also added a little adhesive to each individual flower petal just beyond the circle edge. I centered a flower on the circle ring and pressed it down. Then I turned the flower over and snipped out the middle of the flower. As an aside, what does the picture above remind you of? You’re right; a ship’s wheel. You might be seeing that return on a future project. But I digress…..

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I then added another flower, offsetting the petals and then turned it over and snipped out the middle again. It would have been much quicker to just put all four layers on and then use the 1″ circle punch to remove all four layers at once, but the hand punches can’t cut through more than one layer of card stock at a time.

I followed this same process until I had all four flowers layered together. Here’s what one flower size layer looked like at this point:

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Look at that–I did it! I created a flower layer that stayed together even with the middle cut out of it! Pretty impressive for a non-engineer!

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I then started over with the next flower size and followed the same process to complete all four flower layers using the 1 1/2″ circle ring. When this size flower was finished, I put some foam dimensionals on the larger layer and attached the two sized flowers together.

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For the inner ring, I carefully snipped each scallop and glued 2 rings together, offsetting the scallops. I’m not planning to attach this ring to the flower layers; I’m just going to slip it on over the flower.

And now for the moment of truth–what does it look like when I put everything together? Will the flower ring stay together after I slip it over the candle? Let’s find out:

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What do you think? I absolutely love them, and I think they turned out even better than I imagined! The shape of the jars add so much charm and interest without detracting from the flower rings, which is exactly what I set out to accomplish. Now let’s see what they look like on the table along with the napkin rings:

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Notice that my husband and I are practicing our social distancing! I kept the table settings plain and simple so that the napkin and candle rings would stand out. The woven placemats bring in some texture without adding color, and the lace trim on the cloth napkins compliments and highlights the sweetness and charm of the daisies.

These rings weren’t quick and easy to design and make, but they were definitely worth all of the time and effort. I absolutely love having the kitchen table decorated for Spring, and the overall effect is simple, soft and charming. It makes me smile every time I walk by or sit at the table.

It’s been great to spend some time together these past two days, but I am ready to take off my engineering cap; step away from the daisy hand punches; and move on to easier projects. All of this shelter in place time is perfect for crafters like me, so I am sure we will be together again soon. You are in my thoughts and I hope you stay healthy and safe. Until next time, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rings of Daisies–Part I

I am still making paper daisies here–I can’t seem to put these hand punches down! Once you get a rhythm going, they come together so quickly and are addicting! While I was making all of the flowers for my Spring frame (see post here), an idea popped into my head to try and make daisy napkin rings and candle rings. I could just picture how sweet the kitchen table would look all decorated for Spring. Turning the picture I had in my head into a reality proved to be more challenging than I would have imagined, and required much more engineering that I am used to or good at. I have worked on these projects for two weeks and am finally ready to show you what I came up with. I decided to divide the “big reveal”  into two parts, as each post will be very photo heavy. So, are you ready for Part I? Then let’s go!

Part I is all about the napkin rings. I thought that this would be a quick and easy project–all I had to do was make the daisies, and then velcro some ribbon onto the back of each flower; much like I had done with my Easter napkin rings posted here. Wrong! I discovered that the flowers as is were too small to use as a napkin ring–they really needed one more layer.  If I had a third larger daisy punch, this would have been a piece of cake, but there isn’t such a punch. So this meant that I needed to figure out another way to add one more layer to each flower.

I soon realized that there were two issues that I needed to solve in trying to add on to each flower–not only did I need to lengthen each petal, but I also had to make sure that all of the petals were lengthened evenly. After a lot of trial and error, I finally came up with a process which my pictures will help to explain:

In order for the process to make sense, let me show you what supplies I used to make a 2-layer flower as pictured on my Spring frame:

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The only thing you need to take away from this picture is that you need 4 flowers of each daisy punch size to make up the bottom and middle layers of the daisies like I used on my picture frame.

To make a third, longer layer you will need an additional 8 flowers from the large daisy punch, plus (4) 1″ circles and (4) 1 3/4″ circles. I have punched the 1″ and 1 3/4″ circles out of navy card stock for visual effect:

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I used the different sized circles to ensure that each petal and flower were lengthened evenly. The next few pictures will explain this in more detail.

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The first thing I did was to glue the 1″ circles to the middle of 4 of the daisies, and then I cut off each petal beyond the 1″ circle, so that each petal was approximately the same length as all of the others.

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I then placed a 1 3/4″ circle in the middle of another daisy, and glued all of the petals pieces onto the shorter petals by placing them just beyond the circle edge. This is what it looks like once all of the petal pieces are glued on:

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I continued following the above steps until I had 4 lengthened flowers. This definitely was “futzy” and time-consuming; but worth it! I put an enlarged flower next to the smaller, original sized flower for comparison:

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You get an even better idea when you see the size comparison on actual napkins–I used rubber bands to gather the napkins and just sat the two flowers on top.

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The third layer makes such a difference, don’t you think? The smaller flower just gets lost  on the napkin–it just isn’t commanding enough to stand out.

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To create the actual ring, I used 6″ pieces of a white textured ribbon and 5/8″ white velcro dots.IMG_7556

I joined both sides of each dot together and stuck one in the middle of each ribbon and another on one end. I placed the flower on top of the middle dot and then brought the ribbon around and joined the two ribbon ends together to make a ring.

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And the napkin rings are done. Whew–thanks for enduring all of those pictures! As a reward, here is the picture you have been waiting for–the table all set:

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Well, I can’t show you the entire table yet, but here’s a sneak peak of a table setting. This will have to hold you until tomorrow, when I will post Part II–the candle rings.

Until then, I hope you are all healthy and safe, and that you are adapting to the new normal in our daily lives. It sure is a challenge, isn’t it! You are all in my thoughts, and until tomorrow, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

 

It’s Spring?

When you look at the calendar, today is the first day of Spring. When you look outside, it is anything but Spring. Where is the warmth and the color? Since I can’t detect signs of spring outside, I decided to create my own version of spring that I can enjoy from inside my home:

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When I think of Spring, I think of flowers and pastel colors, so that is how this project started. I had recently learned how to make these paper daisies, and, because they were so much fun and easy to make, I ended up with a whole pile of them. I wanted to turn these flowers into some form of home decor, so I searched online for different ideas. The idea I kept coming back to was displaying the flowers on a frame, and when I found this frame on Amazon, I knew it was exactly what I had been looking for. The frame reminded me of a white picket fence, which was the perfect backdrop for my flowers.

This frame had a clip on it and was designed to hold a 4″ x 6″ picture. I didn’t want to use a photograph, but thought maybe I could find a free Spring printable to use instead. I hadn’t searched for long when I ran across this printable. I printed out the 4″ x 6″ size, cut it down, and mounted it on a coordinating piece of cardstock.

I now had all of the pieces for my home decor projects; all that was left to do was put it all together. I played around with the placement of the flowers and leaves until I was happy with the arrangement, and then hot glued them to the frame. The printable didn’t require any extra adhesive–the clip was strong enough to hold it securely.

I had so much fun decorating this frame that I ended up making a frame for our son and daughter. Our daughter’s frame looks just like the one pictured above. The frame I made for our son is different in that it uses a specific color combination, and I stamped a spring scene rather than using a printable:

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Here is a picture of the two different frames side by side for comparison:

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I’m happy with the way both of the frames turned out and couldn’t wait to send them to our kids. My frame is now in a corner of the pantry sitting on a metal cookbook holder that I had spray painted last fall. It is just what this dark corner needed!

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This frame has brought some beauty and color to my environment, and, with all of the extra time we are all spending at home, it is amazing how much it has brightened my spirits to have seasonal decorations around to look at.

Take good care, my friends, and, as always remember,

“May the sand be your seat; the waves kiss your feet; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

 

Stars, Stripes and Sailboats

Let me start by saying that it wasn’t my intention to spend my afternoon crafting, but sometimes impromptu crafting just happens and it is so much fun. And, believe you me, I ended up having more fun that one person should have on a rainy afternoon!

I was looking for some pictures on my computer when I ran across this picture:

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This was the window display of a paper store we walked by, and my heart skipped a beat or two when I saw this. I took this picture and then went into the shop to find out more about these absolutely adorable sailboats. I learned that all of these sailboats were made out of wrapping paper from a simple origami pattern. My favorite design was the polka dot paper at the bottom of the rows, so I ended up buying some of that paper, and left the shop thinking that the first thing I was going to do when I got home was look up how to make an origami sailboat.

Fast forward 2 years. I still have the wrapping paper, and I have bookmarked a pattern for a sailboat, but nothing more. Well…..I really can’t explain all that happened in the next 2 hours–all I know is that this picture sparked an idea, and the results of that idea were totally unexpected and totally awesome.

I began by making a sample sailboat from the pattern I had found. I started out with a 5″ square piece of wrapping paper, and ended up with a sailboat that was 3 1/2″ wide. I thought that was too small, so after some additional experimenting, I settled on a 7″ square piece of paper which gave me a sailboat that was 5″ wide. So it’s important to keep in mind that the end design will be smaller than the initial size paper square you start out with.

In what seemed like only a matter of minutes, I had four sailboats

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You could easily end up with a whole fleet of these babies in a matter of a few hours; it’s that quick and easy! I love the contrast of the white sails against the navy paper, and the pattern gives directions on how to accomplish this. The sailboats in the window display don’t have the contrast, so my best guess is that 2 squares of paper were adhered back to back before folding.

This is the point where things got interesting. I now have 4 sweet, navy and white polka dot sailboats; what am I going to do with them? The number 4 ended up being the key to the end result–I thought about all of the things I would need 4 of something for, and one of the first things that came to mind was table settings. And the rest goes something like this:

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I put one of the sailboats on a plate to check for size, and what hit me wasn’t anything to do with the size of the sailboat, but the fact that I had some major work to do to dress up this plate. Talk about boring! This was a situation! I definitely liked the size of the sailboat in comparison to the inner portion of the plate, but I needed to add something that added color and height, so that the sailboat would have some presence and take center stage.

One of the other pictures I ran across before all of this crafting began was of the rosettes I made to decorate the outside of my hand pie envelopes several years ago:

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I had a “eureka” moment, and decided to make some rosettes for the sailboats to sit on. I’ve never made large rosettes before, but I decided there was no time like the present and dove right in. The width of the inner portion of my plate is 7″, so I started with 7″ squares of paper. I cut 3 squares for each rosette. I accordion folded, or fan folded, each square in 1″ increments and then folded each strip in half and taped it together:

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From there I taped all three sections together, and when you attach the last two parts together, you get a rosette:

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I topped each rosette with a starburst circle to cover up the middle, and now was the moment of truth–were these rosettes going to transform the plates from “why bother” to “wow”?

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Oh I think so, hand’s down! At this point I am kind of in shock! Decorating my table for the Fourth of July was the furthest thing from my mind 2 hours ago, and yet now I am staring at the sweetest; most charming table decorations ever! These decorations combine both the nautical and patriotic themes in a way that I never would have imagined, and I couldn’t wait to see what the table looked like with all four places set!

And so, that is the tale of how I went from a picture of a window display

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to a table display

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all in 2 hours on a rainy afternoon. I was so excited with the end result that I couldn’t wait to show you. I did add some tiny star table scatter, which I know is impractical, but it looks good. Sometimes impractical is worth it!

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

 

 

Summer Gift Tag Series–Part IV

I am down to designing the last 5 tags for this final bag style:

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The inspiration for this tag came from a Christmas ornament that I gave my husband several years ago. He has worked in corporate finance his entire career, and when I saw this ornament, I knew I had to get it for him. It is actually hanging above the towel hooks in our powder room, and, each time I look at it, I am reminded that I have always wanted to design a card or tag based on the concept:

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I think this is such a clever ornament, and I just love the play on words! I wanted each of my tags to feature an iconic, summer image, and surfboards definitely fit the bill.  The more I thought about the basic concept; the more I could picture the beginnings of a tag design in my mind. Since I have always wanted to re-create this idea, and since there is no time like the present, I decided to jump in and see what I could come up with. I can’t wait to show you how this tag turned out!

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I don’t own any surfboard stamps, so, just like with the flip flops, I found a template on line and reduced the scale to fit the tag base. The basic idea I had was to have 3 surfboards leaning up against a palm tree, so here is how I set the scene:

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The illusions of sand and water were created by sponging the inks directly onto the white background. The design was beginning to come together, but the pink board was too dark, and the surfboards look like fish. They needed definition and embellishment!

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Much better! Now all I needed was the lettering, and this is where I struggled. I had two options for the lettering stamps I chose to work with: I could either have white letters on ink squares

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or brown letters on colored card stock

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The original idea I had in my mind was to use the brown ink blocks with the white lettering, but when I laid it all out, I began to second guess myself. So I spent three days stamping all of the options pictured above, and, in the end, it came down to either the brown ink squares with the white lettering, or the brown letters on the pink card stock. I was really trying to stay away from using a lot of pink, so, after all of this time and effort, I circled back around to my initial choice.

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I glued the individual letter squares onto a card stock strip to keep them straight.

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And here it is; my finished tag. May I introduce you to my version of a summer “board meeting?! This tag took a lot of time, and trial and error, but I am really happy that I stuck with it. I love the final result, and I think this would be a fun tag to use for a summer company gathering. You’ll notice that I attached the tag with a mini clothespin rather than tying it on. After all of the time and effort I put in to this tag, I just couldn’t bare to punch a hole in it!

I’ve come to the end of my summer gift tag challenge, and I have designed and created 20 tags in a little over 2 weeks. Here’s a look at each individual tag:

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I set out to make bright, colorful tags featuring iconic summer images that coordinated with the 4 different bag styles that I found in my “stash”. I definitely think I accomplished my goal, and, as a result,  I have a basket full of fun tags to use throughout this season.

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Do you have a favorite? Each tag is so different from the others, and I did that on purpose–I wanted to end up with a fun assortment of choices that would work for a variety of recipients and gatherings.

I have mixed feelings about this challenge coming to an end–on the one hand, I have thoroughly enjoyed designing and creating these tags, but, on the other hand, I could use some time to restore a sense of order to my craft room. It’s a situation! Thank you for spending this time with me, and I hope we can continue to get together more often this summer. Until next time, take care, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-