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-

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 II

As a quick recap–I found some gift bags in my craft room two weeks ago, and I have challenged myself to make summer gift tags for each of the four different bag styles. In Part I of this series, I made a tag to go with the polka dot teal bag:

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and today, in Part II of this series, I will be designing a tag for the solid pink bag:

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I want this tag to be bright and fun, so that it stands out against the solid background of the bag. In thinking about that goal, colorful flip flops came to mind, so that became the starting point for this tag. I played around with the flip flop stamps that I have, but I just couldn’t come up with a pattern that I liked. So, I abandoned the stamps and found a flip flop template on line. As my Mom used to say: “Sometimes you don’t try harder; you try different”. I will now let my pictures tell the story of my design process from start:

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to finish.

Once I had the template enlarged to my satisfaction, I cut the flip flop bases out of three different patterned papers. The patterned paper isn’t as sturdy as regular card stock, so I backed each tag with white card stock for extra stability. When I looked at the tag bases together, the navy ones were too dark, so I made additional lime green and teal flip flops to bring the total back to 6. Once I added the flowers and the sentiment, these flip flops really came to life. These tags are bright; they are fun; and they are the perfect summer decoration for these pink gift bags! They are nothing like I had pictured, but exactly what I had wanted to accomplish!

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Fun tags can’t be attached to the bags just any ole’ way, so I used the dog tag chains instead of bakers twine or clothespins. I got the idea from a new pair of shoes I purchased this past weekend. There was a key chain attached to one of the shoes with this type of chain. Inspiration is everywhere!

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I am halfway through this challenge, and my basket is half full with these colorful, summer gift tags.  They just make me smile! Stay tuned for Part III, 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 I

Look what I found as I was going through my craft room last week–

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Talk about charming gift bags! Just look at those colors; and those scallops; and those polka dots!  I am just as excited seeing them now, as I was when I purchased them last spring. The bags came packaged in sets of 10 for each color, so I have a total of 20 bags. The colors are so bright and happy, and I can just picture how cute they would look for summer gifts. BUT….. gift bags need tags. I need to make some tags.

I have issued myself a challenge to make 5 tags for each of the 4 different bags over the next several weeks, and I will be posting my tag designs and finished projects for you to see. I can’t wait to get started, as these bags are too cute to spend another summer in a bin!

I chose to start with the tag for the polka dot teal bag, as this is my favorite, hands down! My goal is to create a tag that is bright and playful, like the bag itself. I’m going to try something new and different today by just letting the pictures take you through my design process from start:

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to finish.

I’m really happy with how this tag turned out, and I definitely think I accomplished my goal of creating a bright, playful tag. I wasn’t sure if I would use the black and white paper on the tag base, but I’m really glad I did. I think all of the black elements help ground the tag, and provide a nice contrast against the bag color. I hadn’t planned on adding anything to the middle of the flowers, but I didn’t like how they looked with open centers on the tag.

The more I looked at this tag, however, the white space bothered me, so I tried adding the center dots from die-cutting the flowers around the tag.

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Wow–I can’t believe the difference these 3 little cardstock dots make! Not only do they help fill in some of the white space, but they also mimic the polka dots on the bag. I know I have said it before, and I’m going to say it again now–paper crafting is all about trial and error, and you should never be afraid to experiment with your ideas.  You never know when you might end up with a happy little discovery, like I did today.

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5 tags down; 15 to go.

Before I close for today, I have one more picture for you of one of these bags all dressed up and ready to use for a gift:

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It’s true what they say–it’s all about the packaging!

I hope your week has gotten off to a good start. I will be back with another tag design soon, so stay tuned.  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-

 

 

 

A Tradition In Non-Traditional Colors

Traditions. All families have them, and they help keep memories of the past alive. Traditions come in many forms, and start when something is done the same way, or at the same time from year to year; from generation to generation. They almost always provide a connection to a person or place, but can also provide a connection to a season or holiday.

One of the traditions that my children looked forward to at this time of year was receiving an advent calendar from my mother-in-law; one of the pre-printed cards with a piece of chocolate behind each door. It marked the beginning of the Christmas season for them, and it was an exciting way to count down the days until Christmas. The fact that they also got to eat a piece of chocolate for 24 straight days in a row didn’t hurt either! For my daughter, it held even more meaning, as not only did the calendar count down the days until Christmas;  it also counted down the days until her birthday. The first thing she would do when she received her calendar was to look for the door on her birthday.

Sadly, my mother-in-law passed away in September, and it didn’t occur to me until I read this blog post that my kids weren’t going to get an advent calendar from her going forward. I wasn’t about to let this tradition end, so I decided right then and there that I was going to make an advent calendar for both my son and daughter. Now, I can hear you saying that I could have just bought a pre-printed calendar for each of them, and you’re right, I could have. But making things is what I do, and can do, and, besides, the time and care I put in to these calendars will be a nice tribute to my Mother-in-law”s memory.

There are so many different and creative ways to make an advent calendar–from using a mini muffin tin to creating a banner. The sky is the limit, and it took quite a bit of time to research all of my options. I ended up circling back around to the calendar made in the above highlighted blog post, however–it really appealed to me. I loved the chalkboard frame, the take-out boxes arranged into a tree shape, the buffalo check pattern on the boxes, and the overall simple, rustic charm of the finished project. With a few modifications, I knew it would appeal to my kids as well.

Here’s where the non-traditional colors come in. The first modification I made was to  the color choices for the tree. Instead of a traditional brown and green tree, I decided to make my trees gray and cream. The second modification I made was using cardstock for the top box instead of using glittered paper. I would then use matching glittered paper for the stars scattered around the tree. I had three cardstock colors that had matching glittered paper, so I let my kids decide what color they wanted for their top box. Here is the picture I sent them, which shows the gray and cream tree plus the three color choices for the top box:

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Here is another view showing the buffalo check pattern on the boxes:

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My daughter wanted a red tree topper, and my son wanted a green one. With their choices made, I could now focus on how I was going to number the boxes and finish off the top of the frame.

The numbering and the design element at the top of the frame took the longest to create, and, in the end, I decided to continue the star theme by using stars cut out of vellum paper for the numbers and the decoration at the top of the frame.

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This is a picture of my daughter’s calendar laid out on the frame, and you can see that I cut the numbers out of gray cardstock and adhered them to a vellum star, which, in turn, got attached to the top flap of each box. I numbered my calendar from bottom to top because I wanted the colored cardstock box to be for December 24th. There is no right or wrong in paper crafting, so you could easily switch the numbering from top to bottom, if that is your preference. For the design at the top of the frame, I started with a larger star cut from vellum cardstock, and then I layered the word December and some glittered snowflakes on top of it.

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This is a close-up of the top of the frame.

It’s now time to glue everything down onto the chalkboard, but, before I do, I wanted to season the chalkboard to soften the color. To season the chalkboard, put your chalk on its side and drag it down the entire length of the chalk area from top to bottom as shown:

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When you’ve covered the entire chalk area, then just wipe down the area with a dry cloth.

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The chalkboard on the left is new, and the one on the right has been seasoned. It may be a subtle, but the seasoning softened the chalk area and I like how much better it looks.

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Since I only get one chance to glue everything onto the chalkboard, I took the time to mark the middle of the area with twine, and also made chalk marks where the top edge of the top box should be, as well as where the bottom edge of where the bottom box should be. I had my hot glue gun heating up while I was marking the frames.

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I figured out that if I adhered boxes 2, 3, 6, & 7 down first, the layout should remain straight and adding in the additional boxes should go fairly smoothly. I also adhered the vellum star on to the top of the frame before I removed the twine to ensure that it was in the middle.

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Drum roll please….here are the completed calendars, and they turned out even better than what I had pictured in my mind. The color scheme is fresh and modern, and by having used cream cardstock for the body of the tree, the top box and the stars really stand out. I couldn’t be happier, and I was excited to be able to give these to my kids over Thanksgiving.

Below are additional pictures I took of each calendar separately, and then a side view to see the buffalo check pattern again:

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My daughter’s calendar,

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and my son’s calendar.

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Another look at the buffalo check pattern on the boxes. Isn’t it awesome?!

And this completes my story of how I was able to continue a special family tradition for my kids using a non-traditional color scheme. I bought a variety of Christmas chocolate candy and filled each box with 2 pieces–heavy on the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and the new hot chocolate kisses.

My story isn’t over yet, however, as it was during the filling of the boxes that I discovered a few design flaws. First of all, the tabs on the boxes are very fragile, and opening each box takes some finesse. So, I’m not convinced these boxes will hold up beyond this year. Second of all, I discovered that hot glue doesn’t work well on chalkboard, and so a lot of the boxes came off. I ended up using a fast-drying epoxy glue which did the trick. Live and learn, as they say!

Okay, now my story is done. I hope all of you are enjoying this Christmas season, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-