Places Please

IMG_5223

Before I start with today’s post, I thought I would show you that I finished making all of my bunny napkin rings, and they are ready and waiting for Easter Sunday. These were a labor of love, and I can’t wait to use them!

These napkin rings set the bar pretty high for my place cards, which is quite unnerving, considering that I have no idea how I want them to look.  Most of the time I start out with a basic picture in my mind of what I want the project to end up looking like, but for times like this, where I have no idea at all,  I start by choosing the color combination and the basic design elements.

IMG_5228.jpg

Choosing the color combination was relatively easy, as I based it off of our Spring flag, which will greet people when they drive up to the house. I will keep the navy and white as the primary colors, and bring in some of the other colors with the design elements.

The only design elements I was sure of at this point were that I wanted to continue the bunny theme and I wanted the place cards to be oval, to mimic the shape of an Easter egg.

IMG_5229.jpg

I started by die cutting the two different ovals and the bunnies, and, after some trial and error with several color combinations, this is the basic design I came up with:

IMG_5233

The navy and white ovals coordinate with the dishes and the napkin rings, and the navy and pink bunnies really pop against the white background. This bunny die cut is my favorite, and when you add the pom pom for the tail, it’s just the cutest thing ever!

As I was putting the basic design together, I began to picture the bunnies sitting in grass. Making grass was easier said than done, but I finally figured it out–I used a green scalloped oval and made the blades of grass by using my fringe scissors. I cut the blades a little deeper in the middle for the cottontails.

IMG_5235.jpg

What a difference the grass made! The green really brightens up each card and I love how sweet the little cottontails look peeking out of the grass. I’m so pleased with how these place cards are beginning to take shape, but they need much more color and pizzazz.

IMG_5236.jpg

I stamped some sweet yellow flowers and a tiny Easter sentiment at the top, and now we’re getting somewhere. The addition of the grass and flowers make sense, and give so much life and personality to the overall appearance of the cards. There is still just too much white space for my liking, however, so I wanted to bring in one more color and design element. I thought about  writing the names on the white oval as that would take up some of the white space, but it also would mean that I would have to make a whole new place card if I needed to change a name. I decided to stick with my original idea of writing the names on the grass, as the grass could easily be replaced if a name needed to be changed. I finally settled on adding in a tiny orange butterfly, and that did the trick for me–these cards are now complete.

IMG_5237

The design process never ceases to amaze me, as an hour ago all I had was a color combination and a few basic design elements in mind. I couldn’t have predicted that these cards were what I was going to end up with, but that’s what makes paper crafting so exciting–you are never 100% sure what your final product is going to look like. These place cards are exactly what I wanted; they are bright and colorful like our Spring flag, and they just exude charm and personality, which makes me happy. I definitely think they will hold their own against the napkin rings.

I made a simple stand:

IMG_5238.jpg

and this next picture will give you an idea of how they will look on the table:

IMG_5255.jpg

I saw this napkin fold on Pier 1 Imports’ website, and decided to give it a try. The bunny ears fit in with my bunny theme, and the plastic eggs bring in even more color. Here’s the link in case you want to give it a try. Just keep scrolling down through the post; the napkin fold is right after the floral chandelier. I plan to fill the Easter eggs with Bunny Chow, in case our guests get hungry in-between the salad and main courses. It’s never good to have a hungry crowd!

I can’t wait for Easter Sunday–I am so excited to set the tables and see how everything looks together. I want these tables to be colorful and charming; to bring a smile to peoples’ faces; and, ok, to produce a few goosebumps. Just a few!

And now I need to put some time and effort into the meal…..

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-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Embroidery Hoop Napkin Rings

We are hosting Easter dinner this year, and it has been many years since we have hosted the meal for this particular holiday. I spent some time over the weekend searching for table decoration ideas, as I will be starting from scratch. I am going to need napkin rings, place cards, centerpieces–the works!

During my search, I discovered this napkin ring from Pier 1, and the minute I saw it I knew I had found the inspiration for our napkin rings. It wasn’t the embellishment that caught my eye; it was the basic bunny shape wrapped in twine that intrigued me. The twine added so much texture and gave the napkin ring a nautical look, which I’m sure is why I was so attracted to it in the first place. I printed out the picture and turned my attention to my supplies, hoping that I would have something that would help me make the basic bunny shape.

As luck would have it, I discovered that I had just the thing to make the bunny shape– embroidery hoops. Stampin’ Up! released these mini embroidery hoops in their Occasions 2018 (Spring) catalog:

occ18_p19d

They come in 2 sizes: 1 1/2″ and 1 3/4″, and the variation in size is exactly what I need for my bunny body. Timing really is everything, because without these hoops, I wouldn’t have had a chance to try and replicate the napkin rings! I had ordered some of these hoops when the catalog came out, so I spent the rest of the weekend coming up with my design. I’m really excited about how these napkin rings turned out, and I’m ready to show you what I came up with.

I chose a navy and white color combination, which will coordinate with our dishes. Yes, I know that this doesn’t fit the traditional pastel color scheme used for Easter, but the glorious thing about paper crafting is that it’s not bound by rules or limitations; it’s about letting your creative juices flow and enjoying every step of the process.

Here is a look at all of the supplies I used:

napkin ring supplies_1

The hoops have a dark stain on them, and I was concerned that the stain might show through the loops of twine. Luckily that wasn’t the case, as needing to spray paint the hoops would certainly slow down production considerably. The hoops and twine create the basic bunny body; the rest of the supplies are used to create the embellishments.

Start by wrapping both of the embroidery hoops with the twine. I found that it took about 55″ of twine for the large hoop, and 45″ of twine for the smaller hoop. I left a tail at the beginning and the end and tied it behind the closure in a knot. I hot glued the knot before trimming off the ends.

knot on hoop_1

hoops and button_1

Once both hoops are wrapped in twine, I glued both closure ends to a white button that was a little wider than the closures. While the glue is drying, it’s a good time to start working on the embellishments.

bunny parts_1

Cut two 2 1/2″ pieces of a white pipe cleaner for the ears. Fold each piece into ear shapes and glue one end over the other. Cut a 2 x 2 piece of patterned paper–I am using a pattern from Stampin’ Up’s new Tutti Frutti Designer Series Paper. The polka dots are oval shaped and they remind me of eggs. Score the paper every 1/4″ and fan fold starting and ending with a mountain fold. Make into a bow tie by placing a glue dot in each of the 3 valley folds on top as close to the middle as possible. Turn the paper over and put glue dots in the 2 valley folds and then squeeze the paper in the middle. Fan out the ends and it should look something like this:

bow tie_1

Finish up the embellishments by punching a 7/8″ scalloped circle with the solid color card stock. Make a bow with the gingham ribbon. And now comes the fun part; let’s turn these hoops into a bunny!

bunny ears_1

Glue the ears on and attach the scalloped circle over the hoop closures with glue dots. Attach a white pom pom in the middle of the bow tie and the bow. Attach either the bow tie or bow onto the scalloped circle, and your bunny is complete.

completed peter and flopsy_1

Allow me to introduce you to The Cottontails! I dressed them in their Easter finest, and they are almost ready to help me set my table for Easter dinner! All that is left to do is to create the rings and these bunnies will be ready to hop on over to my table.

I cut two 7″ pieces of the navy saddle stitch ribbon and attached glue dots to each end. Using the ribbon for the ring minimizes the chance that my cloth napkins will get snagged by the roughness of the inside of the ring. I then attached the bunny to the ribbon with velcro dots. I chose to use velcro dots instead of hot glue to allow for some extra stretch and movement of the ribbon.

And now for the moment we’ve all be waiting for– let’s see how the napkin rings look on the table:

table settings

flopsy close-up_1

peter close-up_1

These napkin rings add so much charm and personality to the table, and I just can’t help but smile every time I look at them. The white pom poms add a touch of bunny fluff, and they really amp up the cuteness factor for sure! These napkin rings turned out better than I imagined and I couldn’t be happier.

Thanks for dropping in today and for enduring such a long post! I’m really proud of these napkin rings and I couldn’t wait to show them to you! 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-

 

 

SaveSave

Happy May Day!

Welcome back to my second post for today!

I know that May Day isn’t celebrated as it was when I was growing up, but I have such fond memories of making and delivering baskets to my friends’ doorsteps that I have decided to keep the tradition alive for my own enjoyment.

If you’re not familiar with the tradition of May Day baskets, I go into quite a bit of detail in my very first blog post here so I won’t repeat myself now. Instead, I’d like to get right into this year’s project. Since the treats set the tone for the entire theme, I’m going to start there and end with the basket.

I chose to make sugar cookies for my treats this year, but not just any sugar cookie–I made Swig Sugar Cookies. Have you heard of them? I saw the recipe several years ago on a blog I follow, and I have been wanting to find a time to make them ever since. These cookies were started by a bakery in St. George, Utah and are reported to be the best sugar cookie known to man. It’s said that the magic of these cookies is that the cookies are cold and the frosting is at room temperature. What intrigued me the most is the cookie’s shape–it reminds me of a flower and with the pale pink frosting, I  think they are really pretty.

After you make the dough, you roll it into balls. Then you dip the bottom of a glass into some sugar and flatten out each ball, which gives each cookie it’s signature shape and creates a well for the frosting.

Flattened cookies_1.jpg

Even after baking, the cookies retain their shape:

Cookies after baking_1

The frosting is tinted with one drop of red food coloring, and I just love the pale pink color. Don’t you just love how the cookies look once they are frosted?

Frosted cookies_1

I think they are such pretty cookies, and they really do look like flowers. Now that I had the cookies made, it was time to focus on the basket.

I already knew what basket I was going to make, as I had saved the directions to a basket I had seen online several months ago. I thought it would be the perfect size for my cookies. I spent quite a bit of time picking out the colors and the designer paper for this basket, as it was important that the basket be as pretty and sweet as the cookies were. I ended up using the same patterned paper that was used in the online tutorial, as the floral pattern and the colors matched the cookies perfectly.

Basic basket_1.jpg

The basic basket is a 4 x 4 box with 3/4″ flaps on all sides. The fun part comes when you add on 1″ strips of paper going both directions.

Basket with strips_1.jpg

The ends of the strips get attached just underneath the top flaps and create these arched slats. Here is a front and side view of the slats:

arch of strips_1.jpg

Side view of strip arch_1.jpg

Once you have all of the paper strips attached at the top, you fold the flaps down.

Flaps folded down_1.jpg

All that was left to do was add the handle, which I edged on both sides with lace for some added charm.

Basket tag added_1.jpg

I kept the tag simple, so that the basket shape and colors could really stand out.

Basket tag_1.jpg

Ta da–I present to you my May Day basket for 2016! I love the shape and details of this basket, and I think it’s the perfect basket to hold my sugar cookie treats. Here’s what it looked like with the cookies inside:

Basket ready to go_1

The sugar cookie recipe makes a lot of cookies–71 to be exact–so I still have a lot of cookies left over. As an additional surprise, I have another packaging idea for cookies for you that doesn’t involve a handmade basket.

I decided to make a paper backing for the cookies that would hold the cookies in place inside a cellophane bag. This type of packaging would work for any occasion and for any size of cookie. I simply measured the height and width of my cookie, and cut a piece of white paper that was 2 1/2″ longer and just as wide as my cookie. My cookies were 3 x 3, so my paper was 5 1/2″ x 3. I scored the bottom at 1/2″ and 1 1/2″. Once the paper is folded on those score lines, it will create a cradle for the cookies. I decorated my paper backing with stamped flowers in pastel colors, made a tag by stamping a small doily with coordinating images, and this is what the final set looked like:

Cookie backing and tag_1

I’m sure this all makes more sense, now that you have a visual! I took a picture of the cookies sitting the backing before I package them up, as the glare from the cellophane bag makes it difficult to see everything clearly.

Cookies on backing_1

You can see that I added a piece of patterned paper to the bottom flap of the backing, as otherwise it would have been white.

Cookies all packaged up_1

You could make this packaging even simpler by using patterned paper for the backing instead of stamping designs of plain paper.

Before I close, I thought I would pass along the links for the cookie recipe and the basket pattern in case you are interested to try either or both yourself.

Well, this has been quite a day here at “Made By The C”! An anniversary and May Day, all in the same day! I hope you’ve enjoyed my projects today, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

 

Unexpected Inspiration

Today’s project started at Home Depot……

With this display……

Home Depot display

I am always on the lookout for interesting seasonal gift items to have on hand for whenever the need or opportunity arises, and when I saw these seed pods, I knew I had just found that “perfect little something” for my springtime gifts. I was so excited! It’s not everyday that you find such a fun and unique product! I thought that the herb pods would be the most versatile and appealing, so I purchased 2 of them and left the store with a big smile on my face.

Now for the fun part–the packaging! The packaging is just as important as the gift, and it is one of my most favorite things to design. I had already begun to think about all sorts of ideas the minute I saw the display, so I could hardly wait to get home and start creating.

The most challenging part of the project was finding a container to fit the depth of the seed pod. I had initially thought that I would use a flower pot, but the pots I had were either too shallow or too wide at the top. I didn’t have any boxes that were the right size, so I thought about making one, but that was going to require more effort than I really wanted to put into this project. I knew I could use a cellophane bag, but I was reserving that as a last resort– I was really hoping I could come up with something more creative than a bag. The turning point came when I found a package of berry boxes during a final search through all of my gift wrap supplies, and folks, we had a winner. The seed pod fit perfectly in the berry box! With container in hand, the rest of the design came together quickly.

First stage of seed pod packaging_2

I wanted the packaging to have a garden theme in the same yellow and green color scheme found on the pod label. I started out by wrapping the top edge of the berry box with some vintage lace, before adding the strip of patterned paper. I added the lace not only for softness, but to help tone down the vibrant green paper. The flower pattern on the paper and the flower embellishment helped to support the garden theme, and the felt and the tiny button used on the flower helped provide additional softness and charm. The only other thing I wanted to do was add a plant marker before filling the basket with the pod.

Finished seed pod packaging with yellow filler_1

The second most challenging part of the project was choosing what color of shredded filler paper to use in the basket. I had thought all along that I would use brown paper to imitate dirt, but it didn’t even last long enough in the basket for me to snap a picture! Brown was definitely the wrong color. My next choice was yellow, and, while it stayed in the basket long enough for a picture, it too was the wrong color. The only green paper I had wasn’t the right green, so I moved on to white paper, which ended up being the perfect choice. The pod stood out better against the white background, and the white color didn’t compete with or detract from the overall project.

Finished seed pod packaging with white filler_1

I think the plant marker is so sweet, and I can’t decide what I love more–the fonts used on the sentiment or the tiny yellow button and twine bow. I’m so happy with how this packaging turn out; it just makes me smile. Here’s a side view of the basket:

Side view of seed pod packaging_1

This project isn’t done yet, though, as you can’t give a gift without a card, can you? I kept the same color scheme and used some of the same elements to make a coordinating notecard.

Seed pod gift ensemble_1

It would be very easy to tailor this card to any occasion by just changing out the sentiments. It doesn’t get much better than that–a fun and versatile gift with a versatile card design. And to think that this all started at Home Depot, of all places!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit today, and I hope my project has put a little extra “spring” in your step. Have a good rest of the week, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

 

 

“Beauty without Bulk”

One aspect of card making that I am very conscious of, and constantly struggle with, is how to add visual interest without adding extra bulk or weight, especially if the card is going to be mailed. I call it the “beauty without bulk” dilemma. I recently made a card which showcases one of my favorite solutions to this dilemma–adding a decorative edge to a card stock layer. The card stock edge functions as an embellishment, and adds visual appeal without increased bulk. Talk about a win-win situation!

Let’s take a look at the card, and I’ll explain further:Finished card front_1

I wanted this card to have a soft, vintage look, and I wanted the flowers to be the main focal point. With so much white space surrounding the floral image, I needed to bring in embellishments that would take up a good portion of that space, without detracting from the flowers. Enter patterned paper. The paper acts as an embellishment, and the decorative edges help maintain the soft, vintage feel I was trying to accomplish.

The decorative edge at the top of the card was made by using an edger die. I have several different edger dies, and here is what they look like:

Edger dies_1

Each different edge pattern comes in a set of two dies; one for portrait orientation, and one for landscape orientation. The dies pictured above are all portrait orientation, and I used the middle die on my card.

The other decorative edge in the bottom left-hand corner of the card was made by simply tearing a piece of patterned paper. It’s one of the first paper techniques I learned, and I use it quite frequently, as I love the worn, vintage look it gives to my cards. I especially love adding torn pieces of newsprint to one of the upper corners of my cards to enhance the vintage feel.

There are several other ways you can cut a decorative edge to paper, such as decorative-edged scissors (i.e. pinking shears), hand-held paper punches, and scoring. Scoring creates a pattern of lines in the card stock, as shown on this card:

Torn paper and scoring example_1

Remember how I mentioned I like to use torn pieces of newsprint in one of the upper corners of my cards to add a vintage touch? Take a look at the upper left-hand corner of this card. It’s amazing how such a small torn piece of newsprint can add so much.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my mini tutorial on one of my favorite ways to solve the “beauty without bulk” dilemma. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful weekend, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-