Sunday, March 27, 2011

Challenge 7: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

People are so creative and are capable of making beautiful things. I often get green with envy at all the things that I see on the internet and think, "Why didn't I think of that? How can I make it?"

I am constantly looking for new things at my favourite places of inspiration, Design*Sponge and craftgawker.

So though I have so many things on my crafting bucket list, I chose to emulate these fabulous Moroccan-style jars.
The originals found here, done by Katie Steuernagle

My version

I didn't have glass paint, like the DIY called for, so I mixed food colouring with Mod Podge. And I didn't have Puff paint, so I used a metallic paint pen. :>
 Grab old glasses or jars and make sure all labels are off and everything is clean. Lids are optional but I chose to keep them away.
Using a few drops of food coloring and generous amounts of Mod Podge, mix together everything with a paintbrush or popsicle stick until well blended

 Swirl around the mixture until the entire insides are coated
Let dry. It will take a long time.
When dry-ish, you can use puff pain or the paint pen to decorate however you like! I'm not so good drawing freehand, especially geometric patterns. As you'll see.

 The paint pen exploded all over me while I was drawing on the red glass, making me look like
C-3PO. :(
Almost dry!

I have a huuuuge list of crafts I want to try.  I am continuously amazed by everyone’s level of creative genius, and often feel like my attempts pale in comparison to others.  Needless to say, when Katelyn decided on the copycat challenge, I had more than enough options to choose from.  Like here, here, here or here.  And maybe in the future, I will copy one of those…  But not today. 
I needed a craft that wasn’t too time consuming and ideally requiring few materials.  Which brought me to Katie @ Knitstorm’s Eco Tutorial – Shopping Bag to Shipping Envelope
((Disclaimer:  I am not in any way, shape or form claiming any ownership of Katie’s ideas, instead I would like to credit her with a great idea, and a wonderful tutorial))
I am blessed insomuch that I have some wonderful friends.  Some that, sadly for me, live far away.  Washington, Illinois, Canada, Indiana, Iowa, etc.  I’m a big fan of mailing them letters and packages.  Typically, I buy those bubble-package-envelopes, but those are surprisingly expensive.  (Well, that, and I am extremely cheap, but that’s besides the point)  So when I found Katie’s tutorial I was pretty excited to find a green, budget friendly, homemade envelope!
What you will need:
I followed Katie’s steps for the first portion of the craft.  So instead of explaining step by step, I will let you visit Katie’s tutorial for directions and show you via pictures of what I did. 
I wanted to make the envelopes about the size of a CD case, so…
This is where I slightly deviated from Katie’s tutorial.  She wraps whatever she is sending in a plastic grocery bag before putting it in the envelope and sending it out, to make it waterproof!  Instead, I wanted my envelopes to more closely resemble bubble-wrap-envelopes, so I decided to cut plastic bags in square pieces.
Then I cut out square pieces of scrap fabric I have (I’m always looking for ways to use my ridiculously abundant collection of scrap fabrics).  And layered the plastic bags on the envelope, then the fabric, and then pinned everything in place.
I experimented with several different scissors, fabrics, envelope dimensions, types of bags, etc and eventually compiled a group of eclectic envelopes.
And then I was off to the sewing machine. 
Finally, the finished products. 
Instead of sewing them shut like Katie did in her tutorial, I think I will use small amounts of tape.  Ideally, I would like people to be able to use these envelopes again (taping blank paper over the address and return address and writing on the new recipient—I typically reuse bubble wrap envelopes this way, as Katelyn already knows…((NOTE FROM KATELYN: Haha actually I did not know this, I thought that customs was always really interested in what I was getting and that's why the envelopes had been preopened.)))IMG_3925

Basically, to sum everything up…I think Katelyn and I immensely enjoyed emulating other people’s crafts.  I think this is a challenge we will definitely have to repeat again in the future.  And here are some of the places that offer us inspiring new crafts that we just might have to attempt for ourselves in the future!!  Happy Sunday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


March 14. 3.14. Pi day. How to celebrate other than with pie? I hosted an open pi day with friends and family where pie was served, all day. At the end of it, I was absolutely exhausted, but it was so much fun, and everyone pitched in! Here are a few pictures of the event...

I posted this on my front door for those who hadn't been to my house before to let them know they arrived at the right place

Rolling crust... I made enough for about 15 pies, which was too much

Pumpkin, courtesy of my friend Denise, and an apple pie with a brown sugar crust

Blueberry! Notice the fine lattice work, done by my cousin Anthony

Spinach pie for lunch (couldn't have dessert all day). It was a hit! the first pie to be finished in its entirety

Banana creme pie. The bananas look strange after coming out of the oven, but really really delicious. And I don't even like banana creme!

A glamour shot of the lemon meringue

Another glamour shot of the lemon meringue

My famous red wine apple pie! Notice the pi sign I carved into the top!

Red Wine Apple Pie
Pie Crust
-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-5/8 cup shortening
-Some water and extra flour
Mix ingredients together, forming a ball. Separate into two equal halves. Roll out to fit 9” pie tin: One half for the base, other half for the top crust.
4 Apples
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup red wine
Peel, core and finely chop the apples. Toss with the sugar, flour, spices, wine, water and lemon juice. Fill the pie with the fruit mixture and cover with the top half of the crust. Bake for 1 hour at 350° F

I hope you all enjoyed pi day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Inspiration arrives from all sources.

I have this extremely talented friend, Natalie.  Ironically, I met Natalie the same way I met Katelyn.  Natalie is an incredible author and you can find her work here and here.  She’s wonderfully creative and I’m lucky to have her as a friend because she inspired this post. 
Friday afternoon, she sent me a text that read: I challenge you.  I saw this at a store.  It is rolled up pages of a magazine on a pencil cup.  It could be a mixed media piece.  Pun intended :-).
So I was immediately up for the challenge.  And it was perfect timing because prior to Friday I wasn’t sure of what I would be posting today, so I am lucky to have you, Gnat. 
What you will need:
  • Some sort of cup (You could use a can.  But I was already using a big coffee container to hold some of my various pens/pencils/scissors/etc)
  • Old magazines
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
First decide if you want to stick to a color scheme.  I considered only using warm colors, but then I decided to incorporate all colors.  Sift through old magazines and pick out suitable pages. 
It looks a little chaotic, but if you look closely, you will see some color piles (green purple, blue, red, grey, etc).  From there, the boyfriend helped roll up the individual pages and hot glued the edge so little roll would stay in place.
I enlisted the boyfriend to help with these, which helped quite a lot.  It’s an easy task but semi time consuming, so a buddy would be useful.  IMG_3860
Again, I used the hot glue gun to glue them to the side of the coffee container.  I tried to line them up as closely as possible and made sure that the seams did not show. 
The pages are taller than the sides of the coffee container, so after I glued on about four, I would trim off the tops. And, done!

 And now it has found a home on my desk where it adds some much needed color Smile The best part about this craft?  It was FREE.  Entirely composed of items that I previously owned.  I would like to try this craft again, maybe using old book pages.  

Sharing with other crafters here!
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