Archive for June, 2012


Invitation Ornament

Toward the beginning of my interest in Pinterest, I found this tutorial on making an ornament out of a wedding invitation, which inspired me to make one for my friends Matt and Aryn as a keepsake for their wedding. I also made a similar one out of lines of binary code for a geeky ornament as a holiday contest at the office (which didn’t win because mine didn’t light up, of course).

It’s super simple; here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wedding invitation or other keepsake on paper
  • Scissors
  • Pen or pencil
  • Empty, clear plastic or glass ornament

First, cut the invitation into strips – I stuck to one line per strip. Then (and this is my ingenious addition to this, haha) slide a strip across either scissors or the corner of a surface (as I did below with my glass table) just like you would do to make ribbon curly. This only makes the strips slightly curly, but it kind of primes the paper to make it much easier to curl later.

Then, wrap the strip tightly around your pen or pencil and hold it there for a few seconds.

When you take them off, they will look like this:

I tried some without the scissors-or-corner step and they didn’t curl nearly as tightly. Once you are done, stuff the strips into the ornament, add some ribbon, and there you have it! I love how you can see bits and pieces of the text by turning it different ways.

This particular ornament was for my friend Corinna, which I gave to her last week before her wedding and she loved it! It’s a nice personalized keepsake that can be used for years and display the invitation at the same time. Because really, can you have too many holiday ornaments?

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Socks, Beer, and Doctor Who

Interesting combination, right? Well, there’s no actual beer involved, just this:

I gave it to the boyfriend for his birthday because he loves Guinness, and I had seen the idea on Pinterest (naturally) which can be found here.

Basically, I just got a couple of black socks and a white sock (the kind with fuzzy stuff of the inside so the white resembles foam):

I folded over the black sock, stuffed the white sock in it so that the white sock stuck out, and messed with it until I got something that resembled beer. It was fun – I was probably more amused than the boyfriend, but he actually likes getting new socks and liked the glass so it all worked out.

I also want to show you this poster that I was given by my friend Dave and hung up in my bedroom (and you can tell I was excited about it because it takes me forever to get around to hanging things up).

All the Whovians out there will probably know what this is from – one of my very favorite episodes where the Doctor goes back in time and meets Van Gogh!

Photo Scavenger Hunt

I find scavenger hunts fun, so now that I have my new camera, I decided to join in on the Scavenger Hunt Sundays in which my awesome friend Alex at Good Girl Gone Wife has been participating at Ashley Sisk’s blog:


I really enjoyed hunting down photos and practicing photography this week. So here are my pictures! (Click on them to see the full size.)

Side note: Does anyone know how to make a WordPress page wider? I’d really like to allow my photos to be much larger without having to put them in a gallery like this. I noticed the narrowness before I chose WordPress, but I figured some themes had wider pages than others. But I haven’t found one any wider than this, and it won’t let me adjust the CSS without paying for an upgrade, which is super annoying. I am thinking about switching to Blogger for this reason, but that would be a hassle, so if anyone has any tips let me know! For now, just make sure to click on my pictures so you can see them full size. 🙂

Butterfly Window Clings

I painted these! And it took a few hours, but it was fun. I found an old kit for painting butterfly window clings, and I just decided to tackle it and make some colorful butterflies for my window.

What was interesting was how with this kind of paint, there’s a scooper tool. You scoop the paint on to each section, then use the pointy end to spread it out evenly. There was a paint-by-number guide in the instruction manual. I took a little bit of creative liberty in adding blue to the brown-and-red butterfly, but I probably should have just left it as is; these kit people seem to know what they’re doing. 🙂

You have to wait for it to dry for at least 24 hours, and then take them off the paper backing, carefully cut them out, and voila! You have a lovely clingaling.

I’m giving a couple of these to a friend who loves butterflies, and the rest are colorfying my living room in the mornings!

New camera!

I’ve been wanting a DSLR camera ever since my photography tour in London in March, where I learned a few of the cool things they could do and felt like my little, older camera was inferior. I loved it and it was very portable, but I wanted to step up to the big leagues. And so the other day, I went out and bought this thing!

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It actually came with that nice camera bag, which I’m sure will come in handy at some point. And of course the above photo was taken with my relatively crappy camera phone, which I have been using on the blog thus far – the next couple of posts will be with my phone camera as well, but soon they will have better photos. You can compare with the first few pictures I took with the lovely Canon:

My kitty cat, Jasmine.

I thought this looked kinda like a tornado.

I came across a tiny baby bird that looked like it had fallen out of the tree and couldn’t fly back up! Poor little thing!

All the different settings on this fascinating gadget were kind of overwhelming at first, but I am determined to gradually learn more about it and get the hang of the manual mode. If anyone with experience has tips, I’d be happy to hear if there’s anything important/useful I should know, or something you’ve learned that you wish you had known right away. I’m loving it so far, but I have a ways to go!

The Versatile Blogger Award

I was awarded the Versatile Blogger Award from HeyHeyHeatherK at She’s a Crafty Lady. Thank you so much! This is my first blog award. 😀

The rules of receiving the Versatile Blogger Award are as follows…

Nominees must: Tell seven things about themselves, pass the award on to up to 15 other blogs, and thank the person who nominated them for the award. Also, no one is obligated to take the award, so don’t feel like you have to accept it.

And I don’t really mind talking about myself, so here are seven things about me:

  1. I love dance/electronic music. The boyfriend and I are going to an electronic music festival in Chicago this weekend that we’re really excited about. If you’re familiar with electronic music, my favorite subgenres are trance and hardstyle.
  2. One of my favorite social things to do is play games, mainly board games and card games. I have a handful of friends who like this too, so whenever I get together with them there is usually some sort of game happening.
  3. Oddly enough, contrary to the above, I’m not super into video games. Except a few like Dragon Age, Mario Kart, and Dance Dance Revolution. And Peggle, if that counts. Shooters are not so much my thing.
  4. My favorite color, by far, is purple. Violet, lavender, royal purple, deep purple… I love most of it. But colors in general are pretty awesome.
  5. I dislike carbonated beverages. This includes soda, sparkling anything, and beer. However, I love wine.
  6. I have traveled more outside the US than within it–and I live in the US. So the next two places I plan on travelling to will most likely be California (LA and San Francisco) and NYC (because I want to meet Julie Andrews and she does a lot of book signings there, and I’ve never been there before.)
  7. I love heights and the adrenaline that comes with them. Some of my favorite experiences have been bungee jumping, roller coasters with high drops, and zip lining. My favorite part of airplane rides is the takeoff (that’s probably normal, though).

I am just going to nominate a couple of my favorite blogs that I’ve been following lately, because I am newer to the craft blogging world and several of the other blogs I follow are already getting a bazillion awards, including this one, so I don’t want to bombard them.

Good Girl Gone Wife

With Scissors and a Spatula

By the way, if anyone wants to link up with me like Good Girl Gone Wife did, let me know! We can swap buttons and I’ll put you in my bar on the right. I also want to take this opportunity to give a shoutout to MD Kenning and his blog, which I’m only not giving the award to because he’s outside of the crafting blog world. He has recently published a book, and I’m working on editing his next one and love it. He’s really talented, so check him out!

Bottle Cap Magnets

I saw this great project from Martha Stewart on bottle cap magnets. Because of a beer-loving boyfriend, I have access to an abundance of bottle caps, and I love really customizable things like this, because you can really use whatever pictures you want.

Here are the supplies required:

  • Bottle caps
  • Pictures that can fit on bottle caps
  • Clear casting resin (usually used for jewelry or paper weights)
  • Measuring device
  • 2 plastic cups
  • 2 disposable mixing devices (like plastic dinnerware or chopsticks)
  • Small magnets and/or tacks
  • Super glue or other strong glue
  • Craft glue or double-stick tape
  • Wax paper for work area

Here are my supplies for the casting phase:

To get my pictures to fit on bottle caps, I shrunk and cropped them down to a print size of 1”x1” (the exact size of a bottle cap) using a photo editing program, and drew a circle onto it so that it would be more uniform than my free-hand attempt at cutting a circle.

After printing and cutting out each picture (onto photo paper, because I think regular paper might get smeared/discolored by the resin), I stuck them to the bottle caps with double-stick tape. This wasn’t sticky enough for some of the bottle caps, so I would recommend a good glue maybe next time, in which case you’ll have to wait for it to dry before pouring the resin. You can also used small stickers – I had a few stickers that I cut to fit the bottle caps.

Then, I opened up the resin and read and followed the instructions for mixing the resin. I had never used casting resin before, so it was an interesting learning experience. First, I measured the resin exactly (using a measuring cup that will be crafts and non-food things only from now on), poured it into the cup, measured the hardener to the same amount (this is super important), and poured it in. I used 1/8 cup each of resin and hardener for each batch, and that was enough for 10 bottle caps with a little left over.

I mixed for 2 minutes, then poured it all into another cup and mixed for another minute with a different mixing device. (I don’t know why this is required, but that’s what the instructions say.)

Finally, it was time to pour it into the bottle caps.

I made 2 batches, 19 in total. The resin was apparently not quite warm enough in the second batch (it said 75 degrees would be warm enough, but I would probably up it to 80), which caused the tiny bubbles to stay in several, so watch out for that.

(The Doctor looks kind of evil in this picture!) Once the resin was poured, I let them set overnight, and they were all hardened. I then used super glue to glue on my tiny magnets, and I stuck tacks on a few of them.

Ta-da! Despite the bubbles, I still like them and might make more in the future, and make sure the resin is warm enough next time.

I just want to take a break from the usual crafty stuff to share with you a few pet products that I love. I’ve had a bunch of different pets over the years, my favorite of which were several cats, a dog, and a sweet hamster. If you have any of those pets, you might be interested in these:

Bergan Turbo Scratcher

This thing is the BEST cat toy. Ever. The Amazon reviews testify that at least 95% of cats like it and play with it. Basically, it’s just a round thing with a little ball that goes round and round, with a cardboard scratcher in the middle. I think it took a couple of weeks for Jasmine to figure out what it does, but once she did she was fascinated and could not stop playing with it. Now, both of our cats play with it multiple times a day, and often they will pass it back and forth to each other, which is completely adorable. They love the scratcher thing, too – depending on the number of cats you have, it needs to be replaced every 1-3 months or so, but it’s only about $5 for two replacement scratchers on Amazon. The two things main things that make this win over other toys:

  • No batteries that need replacing!
  • No parts or small things that can get lost under the refrigerator. Cats can’t get the ball out no matter how hard they try.
  • I can be lazy, and they can play with it when I’m not around.

Choker Collar for Dogs

If you are interested in training your dog, which I highly recommend you do so that you and your dog are both happy and safe, this is the first purchase you should make. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to use treats to train your dog. You can use a non-painful collar (avoid the spiky ones, especially if you have a tame, not-huge dog) to quickly bring their attention to what they should be doing, and then reward them with lots of praise when they do it right. This will eventually teach them to obey you because they want to make you happy even without the collar on, not just to get food, in case food is not on hand when you need them to come to you instead of running away. I could write a whole essay on this, but in short, I love these things, and they make for effective long-term dog training.

Storage Tub (for hamsters)

This may sound weird, but those little tiny hamster cages that cost $20-50 don’t give your little buddies much room to run around in. Buy one of those big storage bins from any big box store, a hamster wheel, and a water feeder, and your hamster will be perfectly happy and still can’t escape. These tubs are also much easier to clean, you don’t have to clean them as often, and you can just reach in and scoop the tiny thing up without needing to open a cage door.

Blue Buffalo Food for Cats and Dogs

This stuff is some of the best you can get for your pet – high in protein and nutritionally complete. If you’re going to feed your pet mostly dry food (like I do) it should be something healthy like this. The cheap food is full of fillers and carbs and won’t give your carnivore what it really needs, and long-term it can cause health problems like digestion issues and allergies. I was using a brand similar to this for a long time (Natural Choice), and we just recently switched the cats to this and they seem to like it.

And, just for fun:

Cat Scratch DJ

My thriftiness wouldn’t allow me to buy this myself, but how fun is it?!

SMASHbooking

There is this fantastic product called a SMASHbook that is basically a more casual, quicker, easier way to scrapbook for those of us lazier types. You just smash whatever you want into your book, and the pages come pre-decorated, so you don’t have to worry about it too much. I collect bits and pieces from all the events, shows, and places I travel to, and then I don’t end up doing anything with them. So when I first saw this, I loved it.

I got a kit for my birthday with a retro blue book.

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(I haven’t decorated the cover yet.) The kit also included decorative tape, pockets. a mini notepad, a pen that has a glue stick at the other end, and a few other things, and I’ve been smashing in it enthusiastically ever since. Here are a few of the pages from my SMASHbook so far:

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Just some of  the bunches of stuff I had  to smash in from my trip to London and Cardiff.

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I also smashed about my job:

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and my kitty cat!

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I also have pages about the weddings/showers I’ve been going to this season, my trip to Detroit a couple weeks ago, and other random stuff. I may post more about smashing at some point since I have so much fun with it, but I wanted to share a bit about it with you all now. 🙂

K&Company says it well on the SMASH website:

“For all the things that matter,

And for all the things that don’t.

For all the stuff that’s too good to forget.

For any reason and for no good reason at all.

For all the good ideas, life lists,

Conversations & happenings…

Live it up, glue it down, and SMASH it in.

Vellum Paper Votives

I found this tutorial on Film Candle Holders and thought it was a great idea. I don’t have any film negatives anymore with the digital age, but I did like another idea they had about printing off pictures using vellum paper, which is a translucent kind of paper. So, I found some vellum paper at the craft store, along with a couple little candle holders, and got my supplies together. This was simpler than I thought it would be – the hardest part for me was figuring out how to get the right size of photo printed.

To do this, you will need:

  • A black-and-white landscape photo
  • Vellum paper
  • Tape measure
  • Votive holder
  • Tea light or tiny candle to fit in holder
  • Double-stick tape
  • Computer and Printer

To start, I gathered my initial supplies:

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I measured my votive holder with the measuring tape to see how big my photo should be. I printed out a photo (of me in London that I had made black and white) on the vellum paper, cut it out, and stuck double-stick tape on both ends of the paper.
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I then attached one end of the picture to the votive holder, wrapped it around, and attached the second end. I stuck a tea light in, and this is the finished product:
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I like how it turned out, considering how easy it was. I’m sure it would look even better with a better quality photo and laser printer. This is the only one I’ve made so far, but I plan on making at least one more. I haven’t decided what picture I will use yet – maybe pretty flowers, or something more geeky. This would also be a great gift with photos of kids for parents or grandparents.