Category: crafts


WordPress has just informed me that today is the first anniversary of this blog! To celebrate, I shall introduce you to my new blog, Sweet Wanderings. I will be moving to London for a year whenever I am granted a visa, most likely sometime in July-ish or August maybe, and I will be blogging my journey and experiences there! I may still post some crafty things over the next year, but probably not nearly as much because I will be busy seeing as much of London and Europe as I can while I’m there, and I can’t lug all my crafty stuff with me!

Looking back over the past year, I’ve written several posts on Smashbooks because I love them, and I’ve completed two of them. I started this Smashbook last fall and posted about the beginnings of it. Now I’ve been to a few more places, and it’s all filled up!
Travel Smashbook

Travel Smashbook - New York City

NYC – Julie Andrews book signing and Broadway show

Travel Smashbook - Paris

Paris day trip from London on my birthday

Travel Smashbook - New Zealand Bungy

Bungy jumping in New Zealand

Travel Smashbook - Portland

fun times in Portland, Oregon

Travel Smashbook - Muir Woods, SF

Muir Woods, a beautiful redwood forest across the bay from San Francisco

Travel Smashbook - San Francisco

beautiful San Francisco

Travel Smashbook - Los Angeles

Warner Brothers Studio/Los Angeles

Travel Smashbook - Los Angeles

Hollywood, California

Travel Smashbook

I love my Smashbooks! I bought a big red one to fill during the next year or so, since I figure I’ll need a lot of room with my adventures living in London. 🙂

If you liked this post, check out my other Smashbook posts: Smashbooking and 2012 Smashbook – Complete!

SMASHbooks have a LOT of pages. I haven’t counted them, so A LOT is my estimate. I’ve finished my Smashbook of stuff from the 2012 year, which I actually didn’t start until May. I also decorated the cover, and it makes me totally happy.

Smashbook Cover

Here’s a sampling of the pages.

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

If you aren’t familiar with Smashbooks, you can find an explanation and some other pages from my 2012 Smashbook here, as well as pages from my International Smashbook (I’ll be posting more from my recent trips soon as well!)

Christmas isn’t allowed to be over yet. I am hanging on to the holiday season for at least a few more days. Not taking down my decorations, exchanging a few last presents, and continuing to write blog posts about the holidays. Everyone will just have to deal, because I am sad that Christmas is another year away again, and it’s all cold and I have a cold too. Haha.

Anyway, I wanted to share my gingerbread house. I made it from a kit, but it’s a twist on the standard design, and I had a lot of fun decorating it one night. It turned out so cute that I have yet to eat it, but it will probably be stale once I try it anyway.

Gingerbread House

Along similar lines, I made cinnamon ornaments. A friend in high school (10 years ago!) gave me one she’d made, and I loved it and still have it, and it still smells great. So I wanted to do something similar.

The formula is basically:

  • 1 cup cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup applesauce

And I added some ground cloves and a bit of glue as well to help keep them together and for a bit of a mix of scents. Then mix and knead the dough for a while. Roll out about 1/3 of the dough at a time and use holiday shaped cookie cutters to cut out the shapes and put them onto a cookie sheet. I added the scraps from each batch to the next round of dough to get as many as possible out of it. I didn’t have any drinking straws to make holes, so I just used toothpicks to hollow out spots, which worked pretty well.

Cinnamon Ornaments

I put them in a 170 degree oven for a few hours, but some started to crack and warp, so most of the time they just air dried in my kitchen. It took about 2-3 days for them to fully dry and harden. And finally, I added ribbon to make them ornamental.

Cinnamon Ornaments

I attached most of them as accessories to gifts, kept a couple, and brought in a few for my coworkers in the office on Christmas Eve.

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

Everyone likes to display all the lovely Christmas cards they get during the season, but what do you do once Christmas is over? Put them in a box somewhere? Throw them out?

Why not make them into a wreath to be displayed the next year?

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

I love Christmas cards, so I decided to upcycle them into a fun wreath. All you really need is the cards, a flat wreath form, and a glue stick. I found this 12″ wreath at Michael’s for $2 – you could also cut cardboard into a circle, but I decided to go the simpler route.

You’ll also need to find some round objects of varying sizes to trace circles around. I used a reindeer coaster, snowflake glass, and a large glue stick for the little circles.

It’s best to pick a theme of colors. My cards definitely weren’t all uniform or anything, but I went with a blue/white theme with accents of red and green, so it wouldn’t all clash.

Greeting Card Wreath Supplies

Then just start tracing and cutting.

Cutting Circles out of Cards

Arrange your circles in the pattern you want them, then glue them on a section at a time.

Gluing on Circles

Finally, add a ribbon for hanging.

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

I have been playing with the idea of upcycling other cards, too, like birthdays. You could make other forms of art, not just wreaths. I’ll let you know if I make any more upcycled card crafts. 🙂

Word Search Wrapped Presents

This is how I wrapped most of my presents this year:

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The idea came from a random picture online without a source – it had larger paper that would wrap the whole present. Possibly there is somewhere you can buy custom wrapping paper like that. But I decided to go with the more practical and economical way of making my own word search, wrapping the presents in the standard brown paper (instead of covering up a lovely design on more expensive wrapping paper) and just putting the one piece of paper with the word search on top.

Word Search Wrapped Presents

I made my own word search using the names of all the people I was giving presents to using this one on Armored Penguin, printed it out and cut around just the word search, taped it on, and circled in red the name of the person or people whose gift it was.

It’s a fun idea for people who like words and putting a twist on tradition. 🙂

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Every year, my office has at least one holiday contest for our Christmas Pitch-in and party. Since I’ve been here, we’ve done desk decorations, ornaments, and ugly sweaters.

Computer Part Ornament

My entry for last year’s computer-themed ornament contest

This year, there’s a challenge to make your own ornament with a superhero theme. I won a cake boss contest a couple of months ago with a s’mores cake (I’ll post about that at some point!), but I have tried and failed several times to win a holiday contest. This year, I am trying again!

The person who won last year had an ornament that could light up, which seemed to wow everyone. So I figured that was the key. The nerdy boyfriend of mine came up with the idea of Green Lantern so it would make sense for it to light up, and I liked the idea and ran with it. Even if I haven’t yet seen the movie. It even fits with holiday colors!

Here’s how I made it:

  • plain plastic/glass ornament
  • mini LED lights with battery pack
  • AA batteries
  • green tissue paper
  • mod podge
  • foam brush
  • Green Lantern logo

First, I checked to make sure the lights worked (I learned the hard way that you should do this from putting lights on our office tree only to find out the whole strand was out!) Then, I stuffed the little lights into the ornament one by one.

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Next, I tore up the tissue paper into small pieces. I glued it on by brushing the mod podge only on the spot where I wanted to put a piece, placing it there, and continuing to the next spot until the ornament was covered.

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Then I printed out the Green Lantern logo, cut right around it, and mod podged that on, too. I picked an exact spot with a light so the lantern would light up. Finally, I added a ribbon to hang it up, and it was done! The lights blink, too, which is super fun!

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I didn’t have a lot of competition, but I did win the contest. 🙂

Movable Mini Mummies

I loved this idea from Camilla Fabbri for movable mini mummies and thought they were so cute that I wanted to make one. It was tough tracking down the supplies, but this weekend I ended up making two.

Poseable Mini Mummy

What I used:

  • muslin (a type of fabric – ordered a scrap from ebay)
  • flexible plant tie wire (found this at Lowe’s)
  • wire clippers (the boyfriend had these, which was handy)

Wire Clippers, Muslin, and Flexible WIre

First, I shaped the wire into a person-like frame. If you can find thicker wire or wire covered in more rubber/plastic, I recommend using that, but I had to work with what I could find. I just ended up with a skinner mummy. (Also, I ended up giving my mummy more of a torso after I took the below picture, but you get the idea.)

Shaping WIre Mummy

Then, I cut my muslin into strips about half an inch wide (in some spots more and others less). I started out cutting a little ways and then ripped the rest of the strip to speed up the process, as Camilla suggested. With those I began to wrap my mummy, tying the strips’ together as I went and trimming off the ends.

Wrapping Mini Mummy

The wrapping process was kind of trial and error for me. I learned that the tighter you go, the better, and if I ended up with wider strips I cut them down more so they could better wrap the small frame. When I was done, I just dabbed on some hot glue to finish it off (but you could use another strong glue) and dabbed some more hot glue in spots that looked looser.

My finished mummy is very charismatic and was ready for a photo shoot.

Poseable Mini Mummy

He can do all kinds of yoga poses.

Mini Mummy Yoga Pose

I also made a tall, dark, and handsome chummy mummy friend for him.

Poseable Mini Mummy Buddles

Their names are Yummy Mummy and Mummy’s the Word.

Poseable Mini Mummy

I brought them to work, and I think I’m going to give one to a friend once she gets back from vacation. Here’s Mummy’s the Word hanging out at my cubicle.

I’ve gotten multiple comments that they look like they’re made out of medical or masking tape, but nope – they’re real fabric. Dummy mummies. 🙂

In honor of the season premier of Doctor Who a couple months ago, I felt the need to make Dalek cakes. The BBC recipe was my inspiration, but I couldn’t find “dariole moulds” (who has those?!) so I looked at a couple of other versions of daleks and came up with my own thing. It was so much work and frustrating enough that I only made one I was happy enough with, but I thought I’d share it with you:

Chocolate Dalek Cake

Not very exciting, I know, but it does resemble a dalek and is delicious.

Ingredients for Dalek Cake

I used all of the above to assemble my dalek. First, cupcakes baking.

Chocolate cupcakes

Then I stuck the cupcake upside-down using a bowl for a stand, attached a chocolate donut and mini muffin on top using frosting between them, and frosted the whole thing. Then I added the chocolate chips for the button things on the bottom and head and broke up pocky for the arms and eye. The hardest part was attaching all these and trying not to have them fall off!

At our series premier party, we had this cake and other chocolate cupcakes I made, fish fingers and custard, and blue Tardis juice. 🙂

Also, I made over a Guess Who game using the stuff the brilliant Karen Kavett put together for Guess Who: Doctor Who Edition. I basically just printed all her great templates out, cut out the cards and faces (and cut them to be smaller since this modern version has smaller plastic frames), and put them in the Guess Who board. I used a more modern version of the game and didn’t paint it, because I was going for more of a fun factor than professional-looking.

Doctor Who Guess Who

Then I printed out her outside and taped/glued that to the box, adding black where the design didn’t cover due to the different box size.

Doctor Who Guess Who box

It is really fun! I played it with my friend Aryn and we loved it. In what other game can you ask “Are you a human?”

Tea Variety Wreath

Tea! My friend Aryn loves it even more than I do. And I saw this great idea by kojo designs to make a tea wreath for your kitchen, allowing you and your guests to see all at once all the different kinds of tea you have. I pretty much had to make this for Aryn for her birthday.

Tea Kitchen Wreath

I used:

  • about 12×12 in. of cardboard (for mine it was a cardboard amazon package)
  • scissors
  • enough clothespins to cover it
  • various kinds of decorative paper (I used 3 sheets of one kind to cover the wreath and about half a sheet of two other designs for the clothespins)
  • tape
  • hot glue
  • glue stick
  • tea

First, I cut my cardboard into a roundish shape that measured fairly evenly across, then used a bowl to trace a circle for the middle and cut that out as well. Then I taped some decorative paper over that. The back looks rather messy with various paper taped all over it, but that doesn’t particularly matter since you will be hanging it to only show the front.Covered Tea Wreath

Next, take a different design of decorative paper and measure it to be about the same width as the clothespins, then cut them into strips.Measuring Paper for Clothespins

Then, glue the strips onto your clothespins with your glue stick. I cut the strips to be slightly longer, glued them on and let them dry, and then finally trimmed them to the edge of the clip to be more precise.Gluing paper to clothespins

Use hot glue to attach the clothespins to the wheel. I arranged mine how I wanted them before starting to glue.Tea Wreath with Clothespins

Another thing I’ve realized with hot glue is that you often don’t need very much. I started out doing a line of hot glue on each one, but soon found that just 3 small dabs on each clothespin make them stick great.Tea variety wheel

Finally, hot glue on a ribbon, attach your tea, and hang it up to display your goodies. I added a bunch of tea I had, but left space for Aryn to add hers too.

Tea Variety Kitchen Wreath

And now I shall leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies, Mary Poppins.

Mr. Dawes Jr.: In seventeen hundred and seventy-three, an official of this bank unwisely loaned a large
sum of money to finance a shipment of tea to the American Colonies… Do you know what happened?

Mr. Banks:  Yes sir, yes I think I do.  As the ship lay in Boston harbor, a party of colonists,
dressed as red Indians, boarded the vessel, behaved rudely, and threw all the tea overboard.  This
made the tea unsuitable for drinking – – even for Americans!

Carcassonne Rubik’s Cube

Combinations of two fantastic things are always fun to me, like when The Doctor says “Expelliarmus!”, the possibility of Anne Hathaway playing Julie Andrews in a movie about the author of Mary Poppins, or song mashups like Michael Jackson and Ghostbusters or Glee’s mashup of two Adele songs.

So a Carcassonne Rubik’s Cube? Of course I was going to make this. I love the tile game Carcassonne, and I happened to have a Rubik’s cube. In case you haven’t heard of this game, it is a game in which you lay down tiles that have to match up – some sides are cities, some are roads, some are farmland, and each side has to match – city to I decided to give it to my friend Erika who is also a nerdy fan of the game.

Finished Carcassonne Rubik's Cube

Here’s how I did it! It’s quite simple.

Materials:

  • Rubik’s Cube
  • Printed Carcassonne tile template
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Adhesive (I used a glue stick but you could probably use other kinds of glues)

The original maker of this has a fantastic PDF template to download, so I just printed that off on regular paper, cut out one side at a time, and glued them onto the cube, making sure the sides are turned the right way so they match up.

Since the squares are slightly too big, this allowed me to cut between them using a utility knife instead of cutting them out individually and gluing them on in order (which would have taken forever).

Finally, a layer of Mod Podge as a finish (you could also use mod podge as an adhesive).

Mod Podging Carcassonne Rubik's Cube

Let it dry a few hours, and there you have it! You can jumble it up and score yourself like the normal game to have fun with it by seeing how high of a score you can get, or see if you can just match up one side at a time. Portable entertainment!