Thursday, January 31, 2008

Be My Valentine - My Collection of Valentine Day Greeting Cards

Here is a collection of my favorite creative cards for this valentine. For a change, I have not concentrated too much on red or hearts. Valentine needs not be about hearts alone.



For this card, I used a yellow printed card with a circle window. For the insert, I used a different shade of yellow. Using contrasting coloured paper, I folded the papers into tea bag designs to create 3-D effect. At the bottom of the circle, I placed more of the red and blue design coloured paper in a stripe effect.



Here is a simple design, which makes use of purple and orange to create this sweet card. The quilled hearts and flower make this attractive card a favorite for MOM.



I had stamped 3 sweet flowers on a pink paper, then used glitter markers to make the flowers stand out. For the four corners I used double coloured quilled flowers. The use of corrugated purple strips at the two sides gives this card extra texture.




A checkered design with 2 dark red quilled flowers makes this card into a classic yet sweet card. Instead of just 2 flowers you could add more, or add buttons or stickers to create a different look.



Chess anyone?
Green, blue and pink combination makes this into a very attractive card. For the borders, I used dark blue coloured paper into interesting quilled designs.



The neon green, pink and black coloured papers used makes this card into a very striking one. For the center, I used pink and yellow green papers to make the tea bag folds into a 3-D flower.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beach Crafts - Fun and creative ideas using the Beach Theme

Going to the beach is very fun. If you happen to collect sea shells that you can have lots of fun creating these great crafts. For those of you who don't collect shells, don't worry, you could buy these shells from some craft shops or even online.
So enjoy creating these great crafts.




Seashell Wind Chimes

What You Need:
8 seashells (available from the beach, or at craft supply stores)
1 plastic coffee-can lid
knitting yarn scraps
liquid white glue
sharp pencil or paper punch.

What to do:

1. Glue each shell to the end of a short piece of yarn. Use liquid white glue.

2. Let dry overnight.

3. Punch eight holes equally spaced on the top of a plastic coffee-can lid. Use a sharp pencil or a paper punch.

4. Hold the lid with the rim facing up. Push the eight pieces of yarn through the eight holes of the underside of the lid.

5. Tie the end of each piece of yarn in a large knot. Make the knot bigger than the hole so the yarn will not slip through.

6. Punch two more holes on opposite edges of the lid.

7. Push one end of a large piece of yarn from the top of the lid through one hole. It should come out on the underside of the chime.

8. Tie a large knot.

9. Push the other end of the yarn through the other hole and knot it.

10. Hang the chime on the branch of a tree or in your window.

Seashell Mobile



What you need:

Shells or other finds
String
2 pieces of dowel rod, about 1 foot length
Glue

What to do:

1. Use string to make dowels into an 'X' shape.

2. Glue shells onto several different lengths of string.

3. Let dry about a day.
4. Tie string with shells to dowel rods at all four corners and some between.

Crazy Beach Towel

What you need:
1 White beach towel
Acrylic paints (pick colors you like)
Craft sponges: In a variety of shapes (animals, flowers,hearts
stars) whichever you like
Old plastic fly swatter
old newspapers (for the mess).

What to do:
Cover the work area or floor with newspapers

Place your towel completely opened onto the newspaper. If you are using a new towel, be sure to wash it first so it won't be stiff.

Dip your sponges into the paint (not too much paint) and sponge them onto your towel in different places.

Dip the fly swatter into the paint and pat it on some newspaper to clear the paint out of the holes. Pat the fly swatter onto the areas of your towel that do not have a shape on them.

If you are allowed, you may place your hand and feet prints on the towel too.

Let it dry completely.

Help clean up the mess.

Ask Mom if she will sew a pocket on one end of the towel by folding it over and stitching sides and two or three seams evenly spaced across. You can then place your beach things in the pockets and roll it up.

Decorative Fridge Magnet

What You Need:

Magnet, flat rectangle, business card size [2 x 3 1/2"]

Seashells

Pearls

Rhinestones

Glue

Sand

Other Materials

Newspaper

Hobby Brush

Polyurethane, Liquid

What to do:

Select your materials. Pick out some seashells, small pieces of coral, a couple of colors of rhinestones, a pearl or two. Now that you have all the materials handy for the decorative magnet project, place them on the magnet surface.

Now carefully move the items off the magnet and place them to the sides so the pattern you developed can still be seen. With a sheet or two of newspaper under the project you can start the next phase of this decorative magnet.

Remove any loose materials from the magnet. If you are using a magnet with an adhesive side to it, remove the paper that covers the adhesive. Use the adhesive side for your decorative magnet.

With the face to work on facing up, apply glue to the whole surface. Apply if over the adhesive if there is any. Spread it out with a hobby brush so it covers the surface evenly.

Place your design on the fridge magnet. Start with the center area and work your way to the edges. Take care with the smaller items, like the rhinestones, so they don't end up upside-down on the glue. It can ruin their shine.

Take a look. Make sure all the objects are aligned the way you wanted them to be.

Pour sand over the glue - slowly and carefully so you don't move the items of your design. Make sure the sand covers all the glue. Set the decorative fridge magnet aside and let the glue dry.

Once the decorative fridge magnet is dry pick it up and lightly shake off any loose sand. Everything else should remain glued in place. Recover the sand for future projects or trash it.

Now take out some polyurethane and paint the seashells and sand with it. DO NOT get polyurethane on the pearls or beads, nor on the rhinestones. Although it gives shine to the seashells and sand, it has the opposite effect on rhinestones and pearls. Makes them dull.

Let it all dry. Probably another hour.

Decorative Glass Jars

Want to craft some really impressive decorative glass jars? You will love the attractive look of these glass jars designed with sea shells and sand. Add rhinestones, beads, coral and other accessories and really crank up the beauty

These sea shell arts and crafts jars will make a great addition to your home decor. Make several and give them as beautiful homemade gifts to your family and friends.

What You Need:

a glass jar, medium or large, 14 to 18 oz
sea shells
sand
a bottle of Elmer's Glue-All or equivalent
a can of polyurethane - gloss or semi-gloss
set of hobby brushes
a rag or old towel

What to do:

Take a new jar then wipe it clean inside and out with a bit of alcohol on a rag or paper towel. This should remove any dust and oils. Set aside and let air dry.

Take a look at canvas (the jar). Notice if it is round or square, tall and narrow or wide and squat. You need to be familiar with the jar to set up the design to use on it.

Since we are making a vertical design, you need to look at how your seashells can be arranged on the jar to make columns running from near the bottom of the glass jar to near the top edge.

Pick through your available shells until you have a good handful that you can use on the jar. Check the seashells for fit against the glass. Your jar's shape will determine which shells can be used where.

Now that you have an idea for how the shells will sit on the jar lets get started laying them on.

Starting the Decorative Jar Design

This is where the towel or rag comes into it's own. Place the towel on your work surface. Place the glass jar on its side on the towel. You may have to "puff" the towel slightly so the jar doesn't roll. The towel is used to keep the jar steady while you work on your project.

Lay out the seashells you have chosen for this design on the work space near the glass jar. If possible lay the seashells out the same way you plan to use them. For your first project, try setting them up so the larger shells are at the bottom of your columns. The rest of the shells should get smaller as they go toward the top of the column. Depending on the tallness of your jar and the size of your shells, the columns can contain 3 to 6 shells each.

Let's start the first column of seashells from the bottom of your glass jar. Pick out your first shell and place it on the jar. Check it for fit. If you are happy, apply glue to the bottom edge of the seashell and place it on the jar. It should sit there without moving as long as the jar sits steady in the towel.

Pick, glue, and place the smallest shell of your picks at the top of the glass jar. Now you have guides for placing the central shells. Pick out the next shell you want to place, glue the edge, and put it on the glass jar so that it is in line with your guide shells. Leave some space between the shells, maybe 3/8 to 1/2 inch or so. Just eyeball it.

Finish placing the next shell or two until you have used up the shells you picked for this column. Now is the time to check the way the seashells look on your glass jar. If you like the way they are positioned, Congratulations!, you have just set up your first column. If not, you can move the seashells around a little bit until you are happy with the way they fit and look.

Now comes the real hard part - leaving the glass jar alone so the glue will dry and the seashells will become attached to the jar. If you move the jar, the shells will more than likely slide out of position on the glass.

Once the glue is dry, turn the jar a quarter turn to bring up the next face to be sea shelled. This should place the first row to your left and parallel to the work surface. By setting the glass jar so that the first row is parallel to the work surface, you will space your columns more evenly.

Now you can start your second column of seashells on the glass jar. Just like above, start with your larger shell on the bottom, the smallest shell at the top, and the others in between the two. Apply glue to the bottom edge of each seashell and place it on the glass. Wait for the glue to dry and set the shells in place.

With the second column of seashells attached to the glass jar, it is time to set up the third column. Once again, move the glass jar a quarter turn to the left. Now the first column should be directly below the jar on the towel, and the second column is parallel to the work surface. Move the towel around the jar to make sure it stays in place when you finish positioning it.

Pick, glue, and set your pick of seashells for this third column. Check to make sure the seashells are placed the way you want them to be. Then it's back to waiting for the glue to dry and the seashells to become permanently attached to the glass jar.

Finally it is time for the fourth column. Move the glass jar around another quarter turn so the column you just finished is to the left and parallel to the work surface. This should put your first column on also parallel to the work surface, only on the right side of the jar. The second column will now be on the bottom.

Once again, starting with your guide seashells, pick - glue - place, each shell on the glass jar. Check your work and make any adjustments you need or want. Leave the work alone to dry.

If you have a very wide and squat jar, you may want to add columns in-between the ones you just finished putting on. This time move the jar, so that the surface between two of the columns is facing you. Start setting the seashells in place with glue until you have finished this fifth column. Remember, that you want to leave clear space between the columns so try not to get carried away with the seashells. Wait for the glue to dry, and set up the next column. Keep going until you have finished these columns also.

Finishing Your Decorative Jars

Once all the shells are in place and the glue is dry, pick up the jar and remove the towel. Get ready for the next phase by placing some clean and dry newspaper on your work surface. This paper will catch the sand that falls off your decorative jar project.

Pick a place to start. You want to apply glue directly to the glass jar in-between the shells columns and in-between the shells of each column. Do one section at a time, although this time you don't have to wait for the glue to dry until you are finished applying the sand.

Apply some glue and spread it around with a hobby brush. Basically, it's like painting the glass with the glue. Try not to get glue on the seashells. Pour sand on the glue. You may have to pour sand from a couple of different sides. Hurrah, for the newspaper. Gather up the spilled sand and return it to your container.

Apply glue to the next section you want to do and then apply sand. Keep going until the all the glass that was showing in-between and next to the seashells is covered by the sand. The only parts of your decorative jar that should not have any sand on them is the bottom of the jar, and the inside of the jar.

Now lightly shake the jar so the loose sand falls off. Set the decorative jar aside and let it dry. Gather up your spilt sand and return it to your container. Let the decorative jar sit for about 12 hours so that the glue dries thoroughly.

Once the decorative jar is thoroughly dry you need to apply a coat of polyurethane to both the seashells and the sand. The polyurethane will give them a nice shine and protect your work at the same time. Apply a light coat, using your hobby brushes. Cover all the shells and sand. Set the decorative jar aside and let it dry.



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Friday, January 18, 2008

A Basket Full of Fun - Making Different types of Baskets

Heart Basket




This heart basket is beautiful and easy to make (once you get the hang of it). You can make it out of paper or felt (for a long-lasting basket).
Younger kids need help doing this project.

These baskets can be used as party favors, filled with candy, or even as a craft to make during a party (you may want to do the marking and/or cutting before the party if younger children are involved).

To make a woven Heart Basket, you will need:

Two pieces of paper, each a different color (or use felt)
a pen or pencil
scissors
glue or a stapler.


For each basket, you'll need 2 strips of colored paper (use 2 different colors). Fold each piece of paper in half. Cut the folded paper into two halves (along the dotted line), into long rectangles. The exact dimensions of the paper rectangles don't matter as long as the two pieces that make a basket are the same size.






Place the 2 folded rectangles on top of each other, rotated 90° from each other. Draw a thin pencil line along the edge of one side onto the other rectangle.

Place the rectangles exactly on top of each other, making sure that the folds are on top of each other.

Mark each strip as shown in the picture. The number of strips you cut and their width doesn't really matter; just make each strip at least 1/2 inch wide so they don't break too easily. Cut along the new dotted lines.

In regular weaving, strands are woven "under" and "over" each other; in this basket the weaving is "through" and "around."





Start the weaving by weaving strip 1 through slit A, around strip B, through slit C, etc., until the row is finished. Push this row to the back, where the slits end.

Continue the weaving with strip B. Weave it through slit 1, around strip 2, through slit 3, etc., until this row is finished. Continue until all the rows are done.

Cut a strip of paper (about 1/2 inch by 6-7 inches) for the basket's handle. Glue or staple it to the front and back of the basket.





Paper Baskets





These Paper Baskets are easy for kids to make, and fun to fill with treats that kids love.

Paper Baskets are great for any time of the year. Use a different shape to make baskets for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, or even Thanksgiving Day. Be sure to pick colors of paper that will fit the theme of your baskets (eg. pink hearts, orange pumpkins, green shamrocks).

Materials List
paper
scissors
glue
pencil
decorations

Fold the paper in half.
Take one side of the paper and fold it back on itself. Repeat on the other side. Your paper should now be folded in quarters, but it should be like a fan fold.




Draw a design or trace a pattern on the paper. Make sure it touches on both sides, and leave a bit room at the bottom. Add a tab to the bottom of your pattern.
Cut out along the lines.

The four shapes are the four sides to your basket. Fold each of the bottom tabs towards the center.

Cut out a small tab from the scrap paper. Fold it in half. Put glue along the outside. Put the tab on one edge of the basket, and glue to the other side of the basket to complete the square.

Cut out a square from the extra paper. Put a bit of glue on the top of each of the tabs. Put the square into the center of the basket to make the bottom.

Add a handle of twisted paper, or ribbon.

Hints

For your first basket, use an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. Your finished basket will be about 2 inches square.
For a stronger basket, glue a cardboard square under the bottom of the basket.


A Paper-Mache Basket





Paper-mache over blown-up balloons makes baskets. Use tissue papers for the last layer to add the color.

What You Need:

Balloons
Liquid starch
Old newspapers
Old cake or pie tin
String
Paper or plastic cup
Colored tissue paper
Can of flat white spray paint
Jar of gloss medium and varnish
Paintbrush

Instructions:

1. Tear newspapers into 1-inch-wide strips that are 2 to 3 inches long. Blow up the balloon and tie the end with an overhand knot.




2. Pour starch into the pie tin. Cover the balloon with newspaper strips that have been dipped into the starch. After the balloon is covered with this layer, add a second layer. Overlap the strips and completely cover the balloon, except for the knotted end. Tie a string above the knot of the balloon. Hang the balloon in a cool, dry area to dry overnight. Add more strips, if necessary, and let these strips dry.



3. Snip the knotted end from the balloon, let the air escape, and remove the balloon. Let the paper ball dry for a few more hours.




4. Cut 1 inch off the top of the plastic cup to use for the base. Cover the base with paper strips. Fasten the wide end of the base to the wide end of the ball with more strips. Cover the hole where you removed the balloon with strips. Let the ball dry.




5. Draw a zigzag line around the ball's middle to mark the top of the basket, and a pair of parallel lines over the top (the narrow end) to mark the handle. Cut out the enclosed areas to form the basket. Spray-paint the basket white. When completely dry, apply tissue paper.

TIP: Paint small areas of the basket with the gloss medium and varnish. Lay cut strips of tissue paper over the medium. Paint the medium over the top of the tissue paper. Cover all sides of the basket with the tissue paper. Let dry.

Plastic Bottle Basket

Make this basket from a small pop bottle or try it with a 2 liter for a larger basket. You will need to weave a few chenille stems together to create the handle for the larger basket.

What you'll need:

20 ounce or 1/2 liter plastic pop bottle (Sprite is green)
Craft knife
Bumpy chenille stem (or regular chenille stem)
Hole punch
Easter grass
Candies or treats to fill basket

How to make it:

Cut the bottle with the craft knife about 4" from the bottom. Discard top.
Hole punch on two sides directly across from each other.
Insert one end of the chenille stem from the outside to the inside. Bring it up and twist to the stem above the bottle edge.
Repeat for other end of the chenille stem.
Fill with Easter grass, candies or treats.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Picture This - Fun ideas to make picture frames

There are many different ways as well as using many different materials to make picture frames. Here are fun ideas for you to try out.

Macaroni Picture Frame

What you need:
1 lid from a peanut butter jar
1 picture to fit in the lid
some uncooked macaroni noodles
paint
glue

Directions

1. Paint the lid and let it dry.

2. Glue the macaroni noodles all around the edge of the lid.

3. Paint the noodles all different colors and let dry.

4. Glue the picture inside of the lid.

5. Glue a loop of string on the top, back side of the lid for hanging.

Pet Photo Frame

What you need:

dog biscuits, kitty treats or other favors to represent the animal you will feature in the photo (for a bird, how about small seed bells, or other bird toys)

1 picture of your favorite animal

acrylic paint- any color

fine tipped marker

craft glue

paint brush

5X5 inch piece of cardboard or photo matting- cereal boxes work great

craft knife

sealer- Design Master Super Surface Sealer clear Sealer and Satin Finish 383 works great

ribbon or magnet

Directions

1. Center your picture on top of cardboard and trace around it.

2. Use craft knife to cut out hole for picture

3. Paint the front of the frame in the color of your choice

4. Glue treats on to the frame.

5. On one of the treats or an open space on the frame write the animal's name, plus the dates of birth and death if they are now little angels.

6. Seal with sealer

7. On the back side of the frame glue or tape the picture in place

8. Add ribbon or magnet to the back to hang.

Popsicle Stick Picture Frame

What you need:

Eight clean Popsicle sticks

Paint or magic markers

Tacky craft glue

Photograph of yourself / or your loved one

Scissors

Pencil

Cardboard (you can use an old cereal box)

Yarn (if you want to hang your frame)

Magnet (if you want to be able to put your frame on the refrigerator or a filing cabinet)

Any of the following items to decorate the frame: sequins, buttons, construction paper, yarn, stickers, nuts and bolts, fishing lures, buttons, ribbons, tiny fake flowers, golf tees, puzzle pieces, lace, stamps, wrapping paper, fabric, or pictures of their favorite hobby cut from magazines, etc.

Directions

1. Arrange the Popsicle sticks as follows: put two side-by-side vertically (up and down). Put two more (arranged the same way) next to them.

2. Take the photograph and slide the edges under the four sticks so that neither of the sides (right or left) show.

3. Place two more Popsicle sticks, side-by-side, so that the top edge is covered. Do the same with the bottom edge using the last two sticks. (The top and bottom parts will cross over the side parts of the frame.) Use the pencil to lightly mark where the frame will attach. You may need to trim the picture if it is too big.

4. Use the glue to put the frame together. Let it dry overnight.

5. While you are waiting for the frame to dry, put the picture on a piece of cardboard and trace around it. Trim the cardboard to be just a little larger than the picture (about 1/4" all the way around).

6. Glue the picture to the center of the cardboard.

7. Decorate the frame using paints or markers. Let that dry (if you used paint) and then further decorate it with the items you've collected.

8. Once the frame is dry (paint or glue), glue the picture to the frame.

9. If you want to hang the frame, glue a 4" piece of yarn to the back of the frame. (Glue one end to each top corner.) If you would rather it be a magnetic frame, glue a magnet to the back. You can also make a stand using a stiff piece of cardboard. (Cut a 4" by 2"
rectangle. Bend the cardboard at one end about 1/2" from the top. Glue the bent part to the back so that the frame can stand up (you may need to trim it a little if it's too long.)

10. Wrap it up, and give someone a special surprise!

Photo Frames from CD Boxes

What you need:

Empty CD boxes
Scissors and glue
Craft supplies and household bits and pieces

Directions:

1. Open your CD box and take out the paper inserts and the molded plastic piece into which the CD itself fits.

2. Cut your photo to just smaller than the box. You will be fitting it into the back of the box with the hinged edge at the top, so about 4 inches wide and 4 ¾ inches high is perfect, but don’t worry too much! Fix the photo against the plastic with a few small pieces of sticky-tape. Find a nice piece of cardboard, gift wrap or fun foam which will complement your design and cut this to fit snugly behind the photo and to the edges of the frame (4 ¾ inches wide, 5 ¼ inches high). Fix with glue or sticky-tape with the pattern, if any, facing into the box. When your frame is finished you will open the box out to stand it up, so this backing protects your photo.

3. Now all you need to do is draw a line of glue on the outside edges of the front of the CD box and start decorating! Use whatever you have to hand. You can build on the theme of the photo, the season, or the particular interests of the recipient.


Here are some decorating ideas to get you started:

For photos of girls:

Sparkly beads – either individual or pre-strung necklaces
Pearl beads (you may be able to buy an old “pearl” necklace in a charity shop cheaply)
Jewels (available from craft shops)
Glass nuggets (for flower arranging, they come in gorgeous colours)
Tiny silk flowers
Pretty flower braid, with the individual flowers cut apart and interspersed with silk leaves or green ribbon
Tiny Barbie figures (fast food give-always)
Left over or “odd” doll’s shoes and accessories


For photos of boys:

Jelly beans
Tiny plastic soldiers
Tiny cars
Wheels of assorted shapes and sizes!
Lego pieces. This looks great!
Peanuts in shells
Toy insects, plastic dinosaurs or farm animals
Stamps (buy a collectors’ pack of football stamps, for example)
Left-over or “odd” action man accessories – shoes, boots, helmets etc


For Christmas

Tinsel
Little cut-outs of Christmassy things, from wrapping paper or old cards (or have a look at our scrapbook paper page for ideas)
Small ornaments or bits of ornaments left over from a wreath
Little ribbon bows
Fake holly and berries
Gold stars – either stickers, or shapes cut from cardboard
Gold and silver beads, or metallic beads in Christmas colours
Red or green gingham ribbon
Christmas shapes (trees are easiest!) cut out of craft foam
Dried cranberries
Spices (cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks). This one smells nice too!
Tiny pine cones
Glitter – lots of it, with some sequins thrown in for good measure. This is fun to do but can be messy to display: no matter how well the glitter is stuck on, it will always find its way off the frame again!
Gold and silver braid and ribbons
Fake “spruce”
Miniature wrapped-up presents – make your own, or buy miniature tree decorations
Cotton wool for a snow scene
Small squares cut from last year’s Christmas cards. Cut them carefully to include the right colours and you will get a lovely mosaic effect

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