WOODEN SCOOP DECORATION

I love my baking cabinet! My favorite parts are the old-fashioned elements–the chicken wire and the ice box latch on the cupboard doors; the bead board; and the butcher block countertop. I have always wanted to make some sort of decoration for this cabinet that would add in some homemade charm and bring in a little splash of pink, but I just haven’t been able to come up with the right idea.

Practicality has gotten in the way of all my ideas over the years. My original plan was to make a banner across the top or a tag for the ice box latch using old, handwritten recipe cards. I still love the concept of this idea but I had to abandon it, because either option would make accessing the cupboard doors difficult.

My next idea was to make tags for my flour and sugar jars, as, at a quick glance, it’s easy to pull down the wrong jar. Again, great idea, but I had to let it go because the tags would be impossible to keep clean. Yes, I could laminate the tags, but that’s not the look I’m going for.

The answer to my dilemma came in a very round about way. My daughter and I got together several weeks ago for an afternoon of crafting. She wanted to make some faux scoops of ice cream for a tiered tray decoration, and she sent me this picture to give me an idea of what she had in mind:

I know I was to be focusing on the scoops of ice cream, but all I could see is this absolutely adorable wooden scoop. Just look at it–doesn’t it just bring a smile to your face and melt your heart! All it took was one look at this picture and I knew I had FINALLY found the perfect decoration for my baking cabinet. And I knew exactly where it was going:

on my cookie jar. I could hardly wait to get started!

In looking at the picture more closely, the supplies that I am going to need are the wooden scoop, 3 wooden beads, craft paint, ribbon, a fish-tailed tag, twine, and some sort of decorative element for the bowl of the scoop.

The miracIe of all miracles is that I have a package of wooden scoops left over from another project. I ordered these from Factory Direct Crafts several years ago, and they are 4 1/4″ long. I just checked to see if they are still available and they are, in case you’re interested.

The first thing that I did was paint my 3 wooden beads, and I used the same three colors that my daughter and I chose for the faux scoops of ice cream.

Once the beads were dry, I combined them with all of the other supplies I had chosen. This picture just makes me happy–I love the color combination and the scalloped-edged pink polka dot ribbon. You will also notice that I added another tag that will shadow the white one, as I thought I wanted a little more color on the neck of the scoop.

While I was working on the tag, I had my husband drill a small hole near the top of the scoop. The tag took the longest out of any of the different parts of this project. Since this scoop will be going on my cookie jar, I chose the word “cookies” for the tag. With some assistance, I downloaded some Rae Dunn fonts and then experimented with different font sizes until I got the spacing just right.

Once I was pleased with the tag, I cut both pieces down to size and punched a hole in them. I threaded the tag onto the scoop with twine and then attached my three wooden beads to the top of the scoop. This sweet little scoop is really beginning to come together!

I could hardly wait to attach the bow, and I think my heart skipped a beat when I took a look at what I have created. I couldn’t be happier and it’s not finished yet! I still need to add the decorations to the bowl of the scoop.

Knowing that I was going to make this scoop, I made some faux chocolate chip cookies when my daughter and I were done making the scoops of ice cream. They are made with a mixture of light sparkling paste, flour, and craft paint. Once you have them formed, you add in small pieces of black air-dry modeling clay for the chocolate chips. For a first timer, I think these cookies look pretty realistic. I hot glued two cookies to the bowl of the scoop, and here is my finished project:

Even though this scoop isn’t what I had in mind at all, I think this is the perfect decoration for my baking cabinet. The wooden scoop ties in with the other old-fashioned elements, and I love the pops of pink!

I love how the scoop looks on the cookie jar–I couldn’t have asked for anything better!! And practicality did not need to get in the way of this idea–the cookie jar can be accessed without disturbing the scoop at all! My husband took one for the team and tested it out for me!

One more thing before I go, I thought I would show you the faux scoops of ice cream my daughter and I made:

We made big scoops, small scoops, scoops with sprinkles and scoops with chocolate chips. We had a wonderful time and are pretty proud of ourselves!

I don’t have a tiered tray, but here are two little ice cream displays I made to put around this summer. Again, for first-timers, I think our scoops looks pretty realistic! And for those of you that are interested in seeing a picture of a decorated tiered tray, here is a picture of the strawberry themed tray my daughter recently put together:

These decorated tiered trays have become all the rage, and there are lots of Etsy shops that specialize in making small decorations to fit on the different tiers. I think she did an awesome job putting this theme together–she definitely has a good eye and a creative streak! Hmmm–wonder who she got that from?!

Thank you for stopping by today–I hope you are all well and looking forward to a visit from the Easter Bunny. 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-

NESTED HEARTS–PART II

Hi again everyone! Welcome back to Part II of my nested hearts post. I have a folder of Valentine project ideas that I have been compiling since my kids were in grade school. I pulled it out recently, and it was in looking through the file that I ran across these nested hearts. The original instructions showed attaching a Tootsie Pop up the middle of the heart to give as a Valentine. Gone are the days where my kids need class valentines, but it’s kind of a cool idea nonetheless.

I ended up using the nested hearts for something entirely different. I love to give my kids a little something for Valentine’s Day, and so I had decorated the fronts of plain white gift bags to use for their gifts. The bags were definitely “valentine-y”, but they lacked that extra pizzaz to make them special. When I saw the instructions for the nested hearts, I knew I had found my pizzaz!

These next few pictures will show you my step-by-step process for decorating one of the bags:

Heart stencil

Decorative paper

Ruffled ribbon trim for the finish ( I definitely have been watching way too much of the Olympics!) As I said earlier, the bag front was OK, but it lacked personality and pizzaz. So I added a nested heart to the bag, and look at the transformation:

Talk about pizzaz! The nested heart was exactly what this bag needed–it brought the bag to life! I was so excited, I could hardly wait to put the heart on the other bag!

Here is a side-by-side picture of both of the bags, along with the coordinating Valentines I made. I couldn’t be happier with how these bags turned out, and I am so glad that I saved and came across these nested heart instructions!

Riding high on the success of the gift bag decorations, I decided to make a larger version to use as a table decoration for our Valentine’s Day dinner.

The original nested heart is in the middle, so you can see that the others are quite a bit bigger. I followed the same steps, but I started out with 8″, 9 1/2″, and 11″ strips of paper.

I love setting the table for holidays and special occasions, and I think the nested hearts are the perfect addition to the place settings for our Valentine’s Day dinner.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day dinner, I found a recipe for what I think will be the perfect dessert that I wanted to share with you. We will be having a mini chocolate cream pie and I will link the recipe at the end of the post. It uses a 6″ pie plate instead of a regular sized one. Here is a comparison of the two pie plates side by side:

The 6″ pie plate is the cutest thing ever, and I think it will make the perfect amount of dessert for my husband and I. I am hoping that it will take away the age old battle of not wanting to eat an entire pie but not wanting it to go to waste either. With a mini pie, there won’t be a lot left over.

Thank you for stopping in again today. Have a good rest of your week, Happy Valentine’s Day, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

Recipe: http://www.dessertfortwo.com/chocolate-cream-pie-2/

NESTED HEARTS–PART I

Hi everyone! I hope this post finds you healthy and surviving the winter, wherever you are. Have you been watching any of the Winter Olympics? I love watching it all, but my favorite events are the figure skating and downhill skiing competitions. I watched a new event last night–Big Air–where some of the competitors skied backwards to and up a ramp to perform aerial jumps/tricks. I was totally amazed that one could do that and remain upright!

With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, I have a fun project for you that looks impressive yet requires very little time or supplies. What could be better than that! I am going to show you how to make paper nested hearts, and the only supplies you will need are 6 strips of paper and staples. You can use solid or patterned card stock in any combination that you choose, and the paper strips can be any length you want as long as the three different measurements are in 1 1/2″ increments.

I chose to use solid card stock for the top and bottom layers, and a patterned paper for the middle layer. The patterned paper was double-sided and I didn’t like the other design, so I glued 2 strips together to give me the same pattern on both sides. My strips are 3/4″ wide, and I cut two strips at 5″, 6 1/2″, and 8″ respectfully.

Start by laying the strips out as pictured above, where the two short strips are the bookends, and the two long strips are side by side in the middle. Once you have your paper strips arranged, the next step is to attach the baker’s twine, if you are planning to use the hearts as a garland or gift bag decoration.

I used 12″ lengths of baker’s twine, and I adhered one string to the underside of the left-hand long strip, and the other string to the topside of the right-hand long paper strip.

Now gather the paper strips into one pile, going in order from left to right as you have them arranged. Layer each additional strip behind the short left-hand strip, such that the two short strips are on the very top and bottom of your pile. Staple all of the paper strips together at the bottom edge.

These next three steps are my favorite, as the project really begins to take shape and everything begins to make sense!

Turn your paper strips to the side, as you will be working with the left and right hand sides separately. Starting with the three left-hand strips, curl the solid card stock strips several times with a bone folder or pencil to help break down the paper fibers a bit.

Match up all three ends together,

and bring the ends down and staple them in line with the bottom edge. Repeat the above three steps on the right-hand side and this is what the finished project looks like:

Ta da! I give you nested hearts! I think these hearts look quite impressive, and the best part is that they aren’t complicated to make!

I did make some other variations to show you, and I learned some things in the process which I’d like to pass along to you.

I made a monochromatic version, and the patterned paper I used was double-sided. I decided to keep both patterns this time, so I arranged my strips with the same pattern facing up on both the left and right hand sides. I ended up with a mis-matched middle layer.

To avoid making the same mistake, arrange your patterned paper strips such that the design you want on top is face up on the right-hand side, and the opposite design is face up on the left-hand side. When you put it all together, you end up with symmetrical middle layers.

Much better!

I also decided to try making a version out of ribbon. The heaviest ribbon I had was a saddleback ribbon, so that’s what I used. I thought the added weight would help to hold the shape better.

The ribbon was more flexible to work with, but if you want to hang this as part of a garland or to a gift bag, it just can’t hold the shape.

I’m going to leave you today with a picture of all the different nested hearts I made. I hope you’ll come back tomorrow, as I can’t wait to show how I used them. Have a good rest of your day, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

The Sweet Smell of Summer

Hi everyone– how are you? How has your summer been? It just seems like this summer has flown by, and I can’t believe that we turned the calendar to August this week. I haven’t had much time to spend in my craft room until several weeks ago, when I found myself in need of some thank you gifts. I thought I would stop in and show you what I came up with.

I wanted these gifts to be somewhat special and out of the ordinary, so the most time-consuming part of this project was coming up with just the right idea. In times like this, I always refer back to my project photos and, in doing that, I ran across this picture of a Christmas stocking stuffer I made 11 years ago:

This is an envelope sachet that I made for my Mom, and she kept hers hanging in the bathroom. The minute I saw this picture, I knew I had found my project!

I had forgotten all about making these sachets, and how excited and proud I was of how they had turned out! I hadn’t been stamping for very long when I made these, and I remember how giddy I was that I could make something other than a simple card! I had gotten the idea from another Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, Carla Brasher, who had posted this project on her blog as part of her 12 Weeks of Christmas series. Her website is no longer active, but I was able to find a picture of her sachets on Pinterest. I used her instructions for the basic construction and sachet filling, but I changed the appearance of my sachets.

Fast forward to 2021. A lot has changed in 11 years, and in thinking about this project, I knew I could modify the instructions to make the sachet size more realistic, and the whole process more streamlined. To begin with, I changed the envelope size from 4 3/8 x 5 3/4 to 3 x 3, which is closer to a traditional sachet size. Secondly, I purchased some scented sachet material instead of making my own filling with corn cob bedding and essential oil. This method was certainly more convenient given my time constraints, but it isn’t a cost effective solution if you are mass producing these sachets. I will list the instructions for making your own sachet filling at the end of this post.

I chose to use a peach scent for my sachets. It seemed appropriate, since the peaches are at their best right now, and I have some new peach-themed stamps and paper that I was excited to use.

I started by cutting two coordinating patterns of paper to the measurements listed above, and attaching them to the base and flap of each of the envelopes. Once that was done, it was time to determine how to embellish the sachets. I wanted them to be soft and feminine, and this ended up being much more of a challenge than I had anticipated. After several hours and lots of trial and error, I finally landed on a neutral die-cut peach, some lace and a little bling.

I attached the die-cut peach to the lower right corner of the envelope before I added the filling. I used dimensionals so that the die-cut would be able to move freely as the filling shifted around inside the envelope.

Now it was time to fill the envelopes.

The scent of this sachet was fairly strong, so I only added 1 tsp of the mixture inside the envelope. I didn’t want the scent to be overpowering, and this amount also allowed the sachet to remain relatively flat. There was a little over 4 tsp of filling in this bag, so you would be able to fill 4 envelopes out of 1 sachet packet. I then sealed up the envelopes and added the rest of the embellishments, and my envelope sachets were finished.

For the packaging, I started by placing each sachet on top of some shredded paper at the bottom of some cellophane bags. All I needed now were the bows and tags, and I kept the design elements similar by using the same card stock, patterned paper, and lace. I layered my gift tag and tried to mimic the look of the sachet envelope with the base tag.

I am so pleased with how these sachets turned out! They are exactly what I had in mind–somewhat special, out of the ordinary, soft and feminine thank you gifts. The sachets would also be perfect for shower or luncheon favors, or as a craft class project.

Now, before I sign off, I wanted to give you the DIY instructions for the sachet filling. You will need some corn cob bedding, and essential oil in a scent of your choice. I remember purchasing the corn cob bedding at Walmart, but I discovered this week that neither Walmart or major pet stores carry it in store anymore. You can order it, and here is a picture of what PetSmart offers:

I followed Carla’s instructions and added 2 cups of the bedding and 1 oz. of oil to an airtight container. It’s better to start out light on the oil and add more if needed vs. adding too much at the beginning and having to start over. I stirred the mixture around twice a day for 5 days to make sure that the oil was completely absorbed. You may need more or less time, depending on what part of the country you live in. It is important to make sure that the mixture is completely dry before you add it to your envelopes, because otherwise you run the risk of the mixture staining the envelope and whatever material is sitting under or next to the sachet. Carla added 2 Tbsp. of filling to each standard A2 sized envelope; you would add much less if using a 3 x 3 envelope.

Making your own filling is definitely more cost effective if you are making a large amount of the sachets, but it is not without it’s inconveniences. You need to allow enough time on the front end to order and receive the bedding and oil, as well as the time to prepare and allow the filling to dry. Also, given the size of the bag of bedding that is available, you are going to have left-over bedding and filling, if you use a 3 x 3 envelope. You would have to consider all of these factors when planning out your project.

Thanks for spending some time with me today. I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

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-

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!

IMG_7757

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-