Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cutting Felt with your Silhouette: Lampshade flower decoration & Giftbox cover

This one is for all you who love beautiful things...and two-for-ones. :)

Don't you just love two-for-ones?  Things with two purposes--killing two birds with one stone, so to speak? We're all generally so busy, it seems that if we can accomplish two things at once, we are feeling pretty good. Well, for my giftwrap for my mom's Mothers' Day gift this year, I decided to combine a cute giftwrap idea I saw on pinterest with another adorable gift idea I saw at Hobby Lobby a few month's back.  I have always really loved more elaborate and beautiful gift-wrapping. My mom specifically bought a bunch of nice ribbon and bows to help make my Christmas gifts more "magical" because she knew how much I loved it. :)  Isn't she great?  Now, I thought I could show her some extra love and appreciation by making her a beautifully wrapped gift for Mother's Day.  Bonus:  the box-topper I made also serves as a lampshade decoration.  Enter: cheering. :)

Box topper also serves as a lampshade decoration!  

To start, you'll need the following:

* Felt or fabric (felt sheets are .25 cents a piece at Hobby Lobby)
* Silhouette Heat-Transfer Fabric Interfacing (I used the Clean-Cut type and was easily able to hand-stich through it, though "Sewable" is recommended if you plan on using your sewing machine.  We have both types.)
* Silhouette Fabric Blade, if you don't already have one--see our website for why it is important to have a separate blade for cutting fabric, then decide if you need one.
* Thread
* Button and other embelishments
* Two magnets
* Hot glue gun and glue

First, I decided on the size and shape of the flower that I wanted to make.  I just recently downloaded a "shape" off silhouette's online store that was really a variety of different shaped flower petals.  I made my flower mostly out of that.  (It should still be available here if you are interested.)  Then I ironed on the Silhouette Fabric Interfacing, according to the directions on the package.  After ironing it on, trim your fabric and interfacing down to the same size.

I inserted my Silhouette Fabric Blade, and set the blade at a 10, and marked "Double Cut" when I sent in through the Silhouette.  I did this because I was using felt instead of regular print fabric.  I read up on whether or not it was okay to cut felt with your silhouette, and decided that it was worth the risk.  It worked for me with these settings.  This would be adorable with regular print fabric, however.  I want to try it with that next.

Note:   Position your fabric in the center of the cutting mat, as it can bunch if it has to run under the white running wheels (the things that help "load" your cutting mat).  Position your shape to cut on silhouette studio based on where your fabric will be placed on your cutting mat.  Just keep that all in mind. :)

After cutting your flower out, iron the pieces, interfacing side down, onto an extra scrap portion of fabric.  This gives your interfacing something to adhere to, thickens your flower a little bit--adding stability--and saves you from having to sew or glue all of the petals together.  The ironing only calls for 2seconds on each piece.  Piece-o-cake if you ask me. :)

Once I cut out my original flower, I decided I wanted a little more dimension to my flower, so I repeated the first few steps with a few more petals from another flower I had in my library.  I ironed them onto some extra felt as well, to add a bit more height, thus the three middle petals I actually did hand-stitch on.  However, before stitching them on I stitched on a little embellishment that I had on hand, which I bought in a pack at Hobby Lobby for about a dollar.  Then I decided to do a little hand-stitching around each of the flower petals (small back petals with a blue thread and bigger petals with a dark cream colored thread).  I guess this defeated the idea of not having to sew them all together, but we create as we go, right?! So it goes. :)

Final step, glue on a magnet to the back of your flower.  It will stay put on your lampshade as you put the second magnet behind where you have the flower positioned on your lampshade (i.e. second magnet you put inside the lampshade).  So cute, right? 

Now, to use your flower as a gift topper.  I used a paper bag for wrapping paper, and a cute paper doily I saved from underneath my drink at Johnny Rockets (they'd have thrown it away as soon as we left) earlier last week.  Be resourceful. :)  

I folded the doily a little to make it fit on the box-top, then glued it down.  Just use a little tape underneath your flower to keep it adhered (you want her to be able to take it off easily to use as her lampshade decoration, so don't use glue!)  Don't forget to put the second magnet in with the rest of your gift so she can actually put up her flower later. :)

Finish it off with a lovely "matching" doily card, made from Cricut's Creative Cards cartridge (which we have on sale right now!) and you have yourself a Mothers' Day gift that is likely a step-up from what your mom is used to getting. :)  She'll love it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paper Lace (and glass) Lanterns

So you want a little mood lighting....okay.

While skimming online for ideas, I saw some beautiful lanterns with intricate lace-like designs used as an outdoor table setting idea for late summer evenings.  They were lovely, and looked like the gorgeous metal ones that you see hanging from trees or sitting on outdoor (or indoor) tables as beautiful decorations.  The post suggested trying to make them using grey punched paper and a cylindrical vase.  I didn't have any lace punches, but I do have my Silhouette, which I knew could do the job.  So... of course I decided to try it out.  I love these types of lanterns and loved how simple it seemed to make them.  Turns out, it really is that simple (if your spray adhesive top/presser doesn't break on you mid-process...but more on that funny story at the end of this post).  And the great thing is, if you have a Silhouette and spray adhesive already, this project costs you about $2. :)  My pocket book loves that.

Items needed are:
*a cylindrical vase or cup
*dark colored paper (thin paper works well for this, as it helps make it easier to adhere)
*spray adhesive (such as Elmer's), and
*your Silhouette and a lace design image of your choosing.  (I used the following, which are still located on the Silhoutte online store: Leaf lace, and fleur background lace. There are more there that I really liked that you might want to try, but the ones I used were ones I already owned. Why pay more? ;) There are even nice Christmas/snowflake lace images available, which might make for really cute decorative Christmas lanterns.)

It looks like there are a lot of steps below, but I'm just being detailed.  If you want the short version, skim to the very end.

First, you can find hurricane lanterns and vases that will work at your dollar store or easily at a local thrift store.  I just happened to be thrifting one day, couldn't find any perfectly cylindrical vases (needs to be that so your can wrap the paper perfectly), so just bought these two cups.  They are now lovely vases. :)

Next, measure the circumference and height of each cup to know how much paper you are going to need for each lantern.  Yes, it has been over 15 years since I have needed to calculate the circumference of anything...but I trusted that the formula was still diameter (width across the top) multiplied by pi (3.14....etc.).  ;)  Then use those measurements to decide the sizing of your lace images on Silhouette Studio.  Luckily, I could fit both of them on one page, with the excess portion of each image hanging off the 'no-cut' zone of the mat (i.e. it wouldn't be read or cut by the silhouette).

Let images overlap the cutting edge of the mat in order to get the size image you want for your cut.

After the images were cut, use your spatula to pull each lacy image up, careful not to break any of the delicate pieces.  (p.s. our silhouette spatulas are only $5.95 right now, which is 1-2 dollars cheaper than you can get it at most other places online.  Just in case you want to get one for you or a friend. ;) )

Finally, take your paper outside to spray.  Turn in over so that back is facing upwards, be sure you have some kind of surface protector under it so that you don't stick-i-fy your patio, and then follow the instructions on your spray adhesive. Quickly bring it to the paper and place the cup on it precisely so the bottom and top of the image line up with the cup.  Roll it around the glass, pressing the paper firmly in place, and then cut away any extra.  Fill with a votive or small candle. :)

Note: I liked to keep one of the "edges" of each image on my lantern (the vertical edge of the image), and rolled it from there.  Doing this allowed me to cut away the excess right where the overlap hit that sharp edge, which then covered up the cuts as the paper just blended into that dark edge.  Just a thought.  You can try doing without that (i.e. press it in the middle first, and then bring around the two sides), but I was afraid it wouldn't look as clean where the paper meets otherwise.

Funny Note:  After spraying and adhering my first lantern, I went to spray the paper of the second.  This is when my Elmer's Spray Adhesive top decided to start dripping and going a little a-wall on me, covering my fingers in adhesive, but not the paper.  Now, my fingers are extremely tacky (yes, making it very fun to type this) and hard to pull apart if I leave them touching any one thing for too long. I am about to go online as soon as I finish this post to look up how to get rid of permanent adhesive on your skin.  How am I supposed to take out my contacts tonight?  Gulp.  Ask my roommate to do it for me? haha. We'll see.

Also, for a little more variation of height, try adding a glass candle stick holder glued to the bottom of  your lantern.  You can find these at the dollar store for, you guessed it, a dollar. :)

Anyways.  There it is.  Cut, cut a little more, spray, roll, and fill with candles for some delicate and lovely mood lighting for a beautiful summer evening.  (Those are the short directions.) I hope you have many excuses and perfect nights to enjoy them. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Life Is Sweet

For so many reasons, the title of this post is true: Life is sweet.

So is my tooth...er... . ;) What I mean to say is that I enjoy some of the sweet things of life. ;)  This week I decided to finish up a candy dish that I started making a few weeks ago during my "try everything you see on Pinterest" week.;)  It is a simple, personalized candy dish (or gum-ball machine look-alike) that costs less than $5 to make, if you have some of the more reusable items on hand already.  It's a cute place to put all that Easter, Valentines, Halloween, Christmas [insert any day of the year] candy that you have.  Or to personalize for friends, wedding reception food table pieces, kids room for hair ties, etc. So, without further ado--here is how to make it.

1 terra-cotta pot and saucer (Total, less than $2 at WalMart)
1 small Dollar Store glass bowl/vase/dish
2 metal washers, different sizes (each about 10-20cents at Home Depot)
A wooden nob ($1 at Home Depot)
Super Glue
Black Spray Paint
Armor Etch (we've got it in 3 different size bottles--if you aren't doing this a ton, the small bottle will be plenty for quite a few projects)
Small piece of vinyl (for stencil)

(Just FYI: I think reading this blog gives you an idea of where I shop.  I am not trying to endorse any of these companies--I guess except to tell you how great Makeitscrappin is, obviously, and that you can get great deals on our website above most competitors. But as for the other stores, I just want to give you an idea of where to look and prices.  These projects are so cheap/fun/doable. :))

Anyways.  Back to sweet life makin'.

First off, use the super glue to adhere your two washers and nob to each other, and then to the bottom of the saucer.  This will now serve as the lid to your candy dish.  Using the different sized washers isn't necessary, it just adds another dimension to your lid, which I think adds an extra little aesthetic boost to it, overall.  You need a glass glue or super glue of some sort--just something that will permanently adhere the items being used.

Next, spray paint your pot (upside down, as you won't be seeing the inside of it but will see the bottom of it when your candy dish is empty) and your new lid.  Follow the instructions on your spray paint bottle for applying multiple coats to get a more even look.

In the meantime, use Silhouette Studio or your Cricut to create the design you want etched into your glass.  If you have more patience than I do, you can try something intricate...but if you are normal :) , you might want to try something more simple, as applying the vinyl stencil becomes more difficult the more intricate your design.  I thought I'd done well this time, but applying the stencil to a curved surface, all in one piece, was a bit time consuming with the design I made.  I realized that I just have an eye for small lettering and intricate flourishes.  Sigh.  Someday I'll learn. ;)

After cutting your design using your Silhouette or Cricut, pull out the letters (flourish, etc.; aka, whatever you'd normally be using FROM the vinyl) and discard it.  You can here use transfer tape to help make the application process easier, but whatever way you choose to do it, use your design outline (what's left of the vinyl) as your stencil.  Position it where you would like it on the glass.  Once the vinyl is adhered, apply the Armor Etch over the top of your stencil, being carful not to let it overlap the outside edge of your stencil.  Leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash off with soap and warm water.  Pull off the vinyl stencil and wash wish soap and water.  Be sure to read the warning labels on your Armor Etch.  I like to wear rubber gloves, just to be extra safe.  (But it has washed easily out of my foam brush each time without leaving any damage, so it really is just a precaution.)
Use a vinyl cut-out as your stencil. Apply Armor Etch, and after 20 min., wash!  Viola. Etched Glass.
After this, fill with candy (eat some of it, too) and top with your custom-made lid!  (I apologize that the "final product" photos make it hard to see.  I need to learn some techniques for taking pictures of glass without all sorts of crazy lighting problems and flash backs.  While the etching is a bit hard to see in some of the photos, it does turn out well if you leave it on long enough, and my candy dish is cute enough that it is currently displayed on my kitchen table downstairs. :))  Also cute when spruced up with a ribbon tied around the center, or glued to the bottom rung of the pot.

And when you're all done...go out and enjoy some of the great things that make life truly sweet.  :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Easy, Cheap, and Useful Teacher Gift?

Say no more...you've sold me.

Many people like to give gifts to their (children's) teachers at the end of the year.  Why not make one they can actually use in their classroom, that can still be personalized, and that won't make them fat? (Teachers get too much candy/sweets...trust me and my teacher friends.) ;)

I saw a similar idea for these lil' bad-boys on Pinterest and decided to make some to share with you.  They are very simple, and super cheap.  What you'll need for the basics:

*Acrylic/clear picture frame holder (dollar store, or 97cents at WalMart)
*PostIt Notes pack
*Hot glue gun
*Scrapbook paper and accessories (Cricut Cartridges for main embellishments)

First, just decide on a color scheme that works well with whatever color PostIt Notes you end up buying. Then, go to town cutting and trimming papers down to size.  Easy way to measure these is to use the fake picture insert that comes with the frame--you know it fits just right--so I overlap it onto my pieces of paper and make marks of where to cut.  Insert the paper into the frame, and hot glue (or use regular glue, for paper) on any ribbon embellishments, and your PostIt Notes.  The end.  You're done!

"Forget not" to make me for a friend. :)

If you don't like your hand-writing, try printing onto your paper first. 

Note:  I used the Cricut Cartridges Lyrical Letters to make the tag portion on the "Forget Me Not" one, and then Folk Art Festival (LOVE this cartridge; and we have it on sale for $5 off right now) to make the cuckoo clock on the second one.  I also remembered just how much I don't love my hand-writing after making the first, so used my printer to print out the definition of "remember" on my paper beforehand for the second one.  I like it a lot better. :)  Also, FYI: For Lyrical Letters, the dial size was set at 2&1/2, but the tag actually came out about 2" by 3&1/2", so play around with that one some.  The image on Folk Art Festival was measured vertically, thus the height of the full clock image.

Have fun!  Personalize with a teacher's name or monogram, use different colored PostIts, and make one for yourself to keep by the phone, on your desk, or in your office!  Cute way to dress up a common office item.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lesson from Cinderella

Ever looking for an excuse to get a new pair of shoes? Well the message of this adorable sign might just be all the excuse you need. ;)


I had a small community service auction to attend where individuals could auction off "services" (wash your car, two free piano lessons, hem some pants, fresh baked goods for a year, etc.), or auction off hand-made items, with all the money going toward a local charity.  I decided to make a few wall-hangings that I could auction off, this "Cinderella" sign included.  I knew of at least one person in attendance who it would be perfect for (she, incidentally, was the highest bidder) :), so I was excited to make it. All I needed were the following items, most of which I had on hand.

Wooden Board ($1.99 at local craft store)
Sponge brush
Black Vinyl
Silhouette Double-Sided Adhesive Sheet
Adhesive Rhinestones
Other accessories of choice (I used pearls and a feather)
Silhouette Hook and Spatula
(We have vinyl, Silhouette adhesive rhinestones, hook, spatula, and double-sided adhesive sheets on our website: www.makeitscrappin.com)

 Obviously, I painted the board first (mixed a few colors, as the ivory color I originally had in mind turned out to be a bit too yellow for my liking).  Then I used Silhouette Studio to size and create the images I wanted. (See my Hint from my previous post on how to use Silhouette Studio as a great design tool.)  As always, I like to find ways to use my scraps from previous projects for my current ones.  Thus, I used some more of a scrap of a double-sided adhesive sheet for my flourishes, planning on "glittering" them after. :)
Use scraps from previous projects for embellishment pieces.
I applied my double-sided adhesive first, but kept the top layer (white sheet) on until after I applied my vinyl lettering, so as to not rub off any of the glitter I planned to apply to the flourishes while applying the vinyl.

Note:  BEWARE of cutting extremely small and skinny lettering with your vinyl.  I always forget that, and lament it the entire time I am trying to work with the vinyl.  I swear it is like preforming surgery with my hook and spatula.  But really.  I'm a surgeon. Because my board was so small (only about 5 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches) my lettering also ended up being really small.  It is possible (you can judge by the finished product) but I will tell you that it took me over an hour to carefully pull up the small extra pieces of vinyl without getting the letters stuck to the back, and to keep each letter in place.  Whew.  Just be aware of what you are getting into if you want to cut such skinny letters (these were really small).

Sometimes your Hook can be a life (project) saver.
Use the vinyl you pulled away as a stencil if you want to make another! 
 Hint:  Because this was so time-consuming, I carefully preserved the outside vinyl and letter centers (such as the inside of the "o") and used it as a stencil for a duplicate project for my roommate.  Then just use a sponge brush to paint over the letters, and then pull off the vinyl when the paint dries.  Two-for-one. :)

After applying the vinyl, I attached the embellishments I'd chosen, and then sprinkled on the glitter.

Apply your embelishments first, before adding glitter, so that they'll adhere better.

After that, I was left with a cute finished product!  I hope you like it!  I loved it. :)