Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I've finally done it...

I cracked open the bottle of Mod Podge I bought nearly 4 months ago (Joann didn't have what I wanted and I had a 50% off coupon, so I bought some without a need!). As I feared hoped, I am now a definite fan. Which is pretty dangerous, actually! I keep trying to think of things to use it on!

Fortunately, I have a few projects that should help satisfy the urge. A friend of mine is expecting and I'm helping to plan her baby shower at the end of March. The Mod Podge possibilities are practically endless! I already have an activity of baby block decorating set to go and did a small trial run last week. To say it was easy and the end result awesome would be, IMO, an understatement! I will post photos once I've taken some, but here are the supplies for the baby blocks that I've gathered:
* 2" wooden Cubes from https://www.caseyswood.com/ (many other sizes available - I got 60 2" for under $50 shipped)
* Mod Podge matte
* Mod Podge outdoor (just ordered this... I'm thinking a water-resistant seal would be best)
* Printed clipart cut into 2" squares (animals, dragons, letters)
* Colored paper and scrapbook paper
* Sharpies and colored pencils for that extra personal touch
* 1" foam brushes

Oh, and I got a sizable wooden treasure chest that I want to decorate as the 'box' for the blocks (and anything else they want to put in there!). Just picked that up from Joann yesterday for about $20 with a 40% off coupon. I'm super excited about doing things for the shower (feel free to follow my Pinterest board) and for my friends (also have a pinterest board inspired by them - gender-neutral dragon things for kids/babies). They aren't finding out the sex until the baby is born, so they came up with what I think is a fantastic gender-neutral nursery theme - dragons. The great thing about dragons is that they can be any color and range from super-cute to bordering-on-scary.

I'm talking to the bakery/baker who made my wedding cake nearly 3 years ago about making the cake. Cris at A Gift of Taste is just great to work with and she never shies away from doing something 'different'. She didn't bat an eye when we said we wanted star-shaped wedding cakes (unlike nearly everyone else!), nor did she charge us anything but a fair price. When I mentioned the shower theme, she likewise didn't seem to think I was crazy. I realize this isn't craft or DIY related, but I honestly can't recommend this bakery to those in the 805/Los Angeles area! Her flavor selections are mouth-watering and the quality and taste are not disappointing. We froze our top tier and ate it a year later and it was STILL OMG good!

Anyway, I am also starting to venture more into the realm of sewing (yeah, I know, Eek!). I have a nice sewing machine and tons of thread... And a lot of sewing isn't necessarily that hard! I made myself a hair turban yesterday in about 5 minutes using some cotton almost-terry cloth fabric from Joann and a button. See, my hair goes a few inches past my butt. That makes my current hair turbans annoyingly short. For $5, I made one that was the right size! Plus, I got to pick the color. :)

Fear not, fiber fans! I am not leaving the world of crochet! I'm still fulfilling orders in my etsy and ebay shops, as well as on consignment in Austin, TX's oh-so-awesome The Wondercraft boutique. I just finished a hoodie for my nephew using Hobby Lobby's Sweet Baby Delights bulky 'eyelash' yarn (why do we not have Hobby Lobbys here?!), as well as an afghan for a friend's baby.

I have, as always, so many things I want to do!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Upcycled Plastic Pom-Pom Wreath

To say that I was kept busy this holiday season would have been an understatement! haha, Pretty constant orders from Thanksgiving and on, plus the gifts that I wanted to make gave me little spare time for blogging.
Upcycled Plastic Bag Pom-Pom Wreath

I just barely finished my upcycled shopping bag wreath in time for the holidays, though I didn't get to put it up where I'd originally intended. Oh well, the beauty of what it's made of is that it should last for quite awhile! For this, I used:
* A wire wreath frame I bought from Joann as the base
*Some cotton twine I got from someone on Freecycle (score!)
*A rotary cutter
*A self-healing mat
*Plastic shopping bags (plus some other plastic bags)

First, I needed to make "plarn" (plastic yarn). In order to be both frugal and at least sort of eco-friendly, I used only plastic bags that I had around (or that I could get from friends or relatives that had them lying around) and didn't "cheat" by asking for extra bags or snagging some from a store OR buying them. You'll notice a few non-shopping bag pom poms in my wreath... I had to make over 60 pom-poms to fill this rather sizable wreath and just don't get that many when I shop! There's a "bag" from when I ordered boxes from USPS in there and a few bread bags. Many of the bags I used were from craft stores (Joann & Michael's especially), as well as Target and Walmart.

If you're not familiar with making things like bags and t-shirts into long, continuous "strings", here's a short tutorial (with bags and a rotary trimmer, though I'm sure you can figure out the shirt way and/or the scissors way as well):
1: Lay the bag flat (if there is a logo on the bag, you want that side up or side down).
2: Cut off the bottom and top/handles of the bag so you're left with a rectangular tube.
3: Slice bag from side to side, leaving about 1" on one side uncut (makes it look a bit like a fork or comb)
4: Open the now-sliced bag and work with the 2" connected part, cutting diagonally from one previous cut to the next.
5: You have plarn! (or tarn, if it's a t-shirt)

From there, make pom-poms with the pom-pom maker (seriously, these things are a godsend!! I didn't realize what I was missing until I broke down and bought one!). I used the Clover one, size Large. One regular-sized shopping bag made about one pom-pom, while the large bags (popular around the holidays) made about three pom-poms. Be sure you leave a long tail when you are tying the pom-pom.

Tie pom-poms randomly to your wreath frame.

You COULD do this with a styrofoam wreath, but I preferred the freedom and precision that the wire one allowed me (plus, it was cheaper! $3 at Joann... or $1.50ish with a coupon). Another plus? I could put Christmas lights through the back for a bit of extra pizzazz.

I imagine this could also work for other seasons (for fall, the brown bags you find in a lot of grocery stores could work well!). It could also be decorated with silk flowers, ribbons, bows...