DIY: Marble Paper with Oil Paints

marbledpaper_IMG_0800
Whenever Rachel and I get together there is always a lot of making. We hang out, paint, draw, and then we party (ie: DIY TIMES). In anticipation for this visit, we made lists of possible crafts, and “Paper Marbling” appeared on both lists. Done!

We’d seem several methods, but we had almost all the supplies to marble with oil paints so we decided to try that out first. It was a long, fun day; full of “oooooh” and “aaaaahhh,” sunshine, and turpentine fumes. We wanted to share our method and tips with you, so that you can make your own marble marvel.

marbledpaper_IMG_0712

Basic Supplies

  • Oil Paint Colors – cheap oil paints should work just fine, we used the M. Graham paints we had on hand.
  • Turpentine – Easily found at a hardware store.
  • Big plastic bin to float the paint in
  • Small containers to mix paint colors and turpentine
  • Cardstock (We loved the colored card stock best!)
  • Disposable bamboo skewers or spoons for stirring
  • Nitrile Gloves

marbledpaper_IMG_0692

Step 1: Prep

Before we got started we made a comb by taping toothpicks into a small strip of card stock. The comb was handy for pulling through the colors, and encouraging more “swirly bits.”

We set up our marbling table outside, which I recommend highly. You want to use a table or cover that it’s okay to get paint on. This is a messy craft, to be sure. We set out a tarp for drying our finished papers, put on our gloves and starting mixing things up.

We filled two plastic bins with about an inch or water and set them aside. Then we put out several colors of oil paints in our mixing containers.

marbledpaper_IMG_0737
It was a little trick to get the right mix of turpentine and paint, initially. We discovered that the ideal texture was somewhere around the thickness of whole milk.

marbledpaper_IMG_0740We added turpentine to the paint containers in small pours, and mixed it thoroughly with a bamboo skewer. If we needed to add more turpentine we did it as soon as we had the paint mixed to a consistent texture.

marbledpaper_IMG_0785

Step 2: Pouring the Paint

Then we just poured the paints on top of the water! Simple. Sometimes we did little drops, sometimes we just chunked it all in.

marbledpaper_IMG_0786
Our first batch of color was always full of the same color family, so that as the colors mixed in the water we didn’t end up with a bunch of brown paper. (Towards the end we got a little more daring, and had great results adding in complementary colors to the batches.)

marbledpaper_IMG_0788

marbledpaper_IMG_0789
We got a lot of mileage out of our toothpick combs, pulling them through the paint to swirl the colors together.

marbledpaper_IMG_0793

Step 3: Dipping the Papers

Once we were happy with a design, we laid the card stock quickly on top of the swirled colors, and removed it as delicately as we could. (Rachel had a great dunking method that involved bending the card stock down the middle– hamburger style– then rolling down from the middle to the outside edges before lifting from the water.)

marbledpaper_IMG_0794
Tada! It was amazing how unpredictable the results were. What you saw on the water might not be at all what showed up on the paper. We loved the look we got towards the end, when there was less paint and it all seemed to be thinner.

marbledpaper_IMG_0799
We did two different color stories, one was reds and golds and one was blues and greens. The reds tended to get a little “gory” at times, but looked beautiful on colored papers.

marbledpaper_IMG_0816

Step 4: Drying and Future Projects with Marbly Goodness

We laid the paged out for a few hours, while we cleaned all the paint up. When we were ready to go inside we stacked the sheets and set them aside to dry. It took a good 5 days for the oil to be dry to the touch, but now they are, and I have all kinds of ideas about what to do with my collection.

Maybe I’ll revisit an old DIY, what do you think?

The possibilities are endless. I’m okay with that.

marbledpaper_IMG_0825

Things We Learned

  • Working outside is key. The Turpentine is kinda smelly, and even with a light breeze we felt like we were standing in the fumes. Working outside also made cleanup a lot easier, with a big trash can and a hose available. Make sure to dispose of turpentine properly!
  • Initially we tried thinning the oil paint with walnut oil, but it did not allow the paint to spread out across the water. We had to drop everything and head to the store for turpentine to make the project come together. I have seen a couple of recommendations online for turpentine alternatives, but we didn’t try any (after the oil fiasco.)
  • If your paint drops to the bottom instead of floating, add a little more turpentine.
  • Sometimes less paint is better. I loved the last sheets we printed from each batch.
  • Opaque paint on black paper is tres cool.
  • Each sheet is cooler than the last, which means you won’t ever want to stop. Ever.

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

Herb gardening has become one of my favorite hobbies and this year I’m growing over 25 different types of herbs! There’s nothing better than a backyard garden full of fragrant edible plants. Now that it’s harvest season I’ve been researching ways to use them. I mainly use fresh herbs in cooking. Last year I made up a batch of yummy oregano pesto. I plan to make my own herbal vinegar and infused olive oils this year, but first I wanted to try something completely new- I made a gorgeous culinary herb wreath!

Not only was it fun choosing and harvesting the herbs I chose to use in my wreath, I also love that once the wreath has dried it becomes both decorative and functional. Find a spot in your kitchen (near the stove) to hang an herb wreath and all you have to do is snip off a few sprigs here and there to add to your cooking!

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

Read the Tutorial

You can find the full tutorial and make your own herb wreath by visiting my guest post over at Garden Therapy!

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden
Crystals and succulents have become some of my latest obsessions. Both are naturally beautiful and when put together make for a breathtaking combination. This has sparked my latest project- making my own mini crystal + succulent garden. I decided to start small with this project and hope to add to it and create larger arrangements as I collect more crystals and succulents. I recommend that you trust your gut with this project and simply follow your intuition when selecting and placing your succulents and crystals.

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

Supplies Needed

• Succulent plants
• Crystals
• Planter
• Potting Soil

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

First select your succulents and begin visualizing an arrangement within your planter. When you are ready, fill your planter about half way with potting soil and begin placing each succulent into the pot, filling in with more soil where necessary.

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

Next, gather your crystals and begin placing them around your succulents. Remember to let your intuition be your guide and arrange your crystals in a way that feels meaningful to you.

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden
DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

Once you’ve finished, find a sunny spot in your home for your mini crystal succulent garden to glisten and grow.

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden
DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

I’ve recently gone through some major life changes, one of them being a complete overhaul and reorganization of my home. I had piles and piles of ‘stuff’ accumulated over the years that was literally taking over my space and my life. Making room for a new roommate was the perfect motivation for me to sort through and get rid of stuff and it feels so good to say goodbye to ‘the pile’ and start fresh.

Now that my life feels back in order, I can make time for some new decor ideas for my home. The first thing I wanted to do fill my new bedroom with hanging plants in the window. I spied a lovely Boston Fern at the grocery store and brought it home on a whim. Macrame is one of my favorite craft activities, since I already have the supplies on hand and a hanging planter is a fairly simple project to take on. I decided to use precut strips of jersey (t-shirt) material that I had in my stash for this project, but you can also recycle an old t-shirt by cutting it up into strips.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Supplies Needed

• Jersey (t-shirt) fabric, cut into strips
• Wooden beads
• Scissors
• Ruler or measuring tape
• House plant
• Hook (to hang the plant from)

Cut your t-shirt material into 1.5″ strips (you’ll need 8-12 strips total), then stretch each strip into round cords (if you pull on both ends and stretch the fabric strip it will roll itself into a cord naturally).

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Take 8 strips and tie them together into one big knot as shown below. I chose to use two different colors of blue jersey fabric.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Group your cords into 4 sets of 2 and tie a knot in each set. To determine where I should tie the first knots, I first measured the radius of the bottom of my plant pot, then divided that number in half (my pot radius was about 6″ so I tied my first knots 3 inches below the first big knot).

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Next separate your sets again into twos as shown in the photo below and tie knots again, approx. 3″ below the first set.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor
DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Repeat the last step to make a third row of knots. At this point you can stretch your macrame around your plant pot and adjust any knots if necessary. To finish, simply gather all your cords together and tie into one big knot at the top to finish.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

But I tried my own variation…

You may have noticed that the cords look too short in the photo above to complete the hanger. Inspired by this image, I decided to change cord colors to finish the top of the hanger. To do this, I loosened the last row of knots and inserted a purple cord though the knot, then tightening securely.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor
DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Use scissors to trim the extra blue cord to 2-3″ long.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Next I added beads to the purple cords, using an awl (bookbinding tool) to help feed the cords through the bead holes. I also added wooden beads to the bottom of the big knot for some extra flair.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Finally, I stretched my completed macrame hanger around the plant pot, pulled the purple cords up and tied a knot at the top. To hang, install a screw-in hook into your ceiling.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor
DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

DIY: Convertible Harvest Apron / Produce Bag

IMG_9712B
There’re still a million and a half things to do around here, but the garden has been calling. (Literally. The robins are LOUD.)

More often than not I find myself walking around with a hose and eating vegetables right off the plants like an animal; but the harvests are getting to be too big for me to eat immediately, too unwieldy to juggle in my hands, and while my first instinct is to bundle them up in my skirt I’m not too excited about flashing the neighbors.

All of this to explain why I decided to turn a half a yard of cotton material and some bias tape into a harvest apron- not just an apron, but an apron that converts to a drawstring produce bag.

For those of you who like to reverse engineer projects (and improve them!) the concept is simple. It’s a rectangular drawstring bag with one string that’s large enough to tie around your waist. For the rest of you who want to see what I did, follow along!

IMG_9419

Supplies

• 1/2 yard of printed cotton fabric. (18 inches x 45 inches wide, typically.)
• At least 3 yards of a durable, sewable trim to use as a drawstring and tie. I used Double Wide Bias Tape from Wrights.
• Sewing machine (or a needle and thread if you’re handy)
• Complementary thread and bobbin
• Ruler
• Straight pens
• Fabric Scissors
• Pinking Shears (optional).

Tips

• Remember to take it slow, and maybe start with a piece of material that you’re not in love with. The second one will go faster/easier.
• This project will hide a bunch of mistakes, so don’t fret!
• I used pinking shears to keep my edges from fraying. If you prefer, you can ignore all the steps that use the pinking shears and instead do a zig zag stitch down the fraying edge of the material. (This post on Craftsy is quite helpful.)
• Whenever you get to the end of a line of stitches, always go backwards and forwards on the spot with a few stitches to tie off the ends.
• A seam ripper is always useful if you’re as prone to mistakes as I am.
• An iron is also useful, if you have one handy. I use it to iron fabric flat, to fold seams over, and sometime I just push the steam button to listen to the hiss.

Step 1 – Making the Pocket

To begin, you will cut or tear the 18″x45″ piece of material down the fold so that you have two pieces of 18″x22.5″. You will be stitching the edges to form something almost like a pillow case, leaving one of the 22.5″ sides open (this will be the top of your pocket.) To remind myself which way went up, I used the pinking shears to trim one of the 22.5″ sides of each piece of material.

IMG_9440
Lay the two pieces together, with the right sides in. From your pinked “top” measure down 3 inches and put a bright pin or mark to show that your stitches will end here. (Don’t stitch above the markers.)

IMG_9449
Now sew a straight stitch 1/2 inch starting at your marker and going down to the bottom of the bag, across the bottom, and back up the other side (stopping 3″ below the top of the bag.)

IMG_9452
Voila! Pocket made!

IMG_9454
Now trim the other sides with your pinking shears to stop fraying.

IMG_9468

Step 2 – Drawstring Casing

IMG_9475
This first step is a little finicky– the goal is to fold under the raw edge of the fabric so it’s out of the way of the drawstring casing. First, fold back your unstitched raw edge (the 3″  from the top on each side we skipped before) and pin flat. 

IMG_9479
Use a zig-zag or straight stitch to permanently pin down that edge on each edge of the flap (leaving the flaps open.  One side shown open below.)

IMG_9484

IMG_9494
Now for the drawstring casing, itself. Fold each open flap backwards to make a 1.5″ hem. Pin each side separately so that the pocket remains open.

IMG_9502
Run a straight stitch around the bottom of each flap, about 0.5″ from the pinked edge.

IMG_9505
Then run a second straight stitch approximately 0.5″ from the top of each side. The space between those stitches is where the drawstring will run.

IMG_9512

Step 3 – Drawstrings and Ties

IMG_9516
Cut your drawstring material into the following 3 pieces:
• Apron Tie: Wrap the string around your waist, add 12-18″ to your measurement and cut.
• Short Drawstring: Measure one piece that is 24″ to act as your other drawstring.
• Wrist Loop: The final piece will be a loop that you can use around your wrist to hold open your apron. I used about 12″ for my loop, but you may want to make yours longer or shorter (or omit this step, if you want!)

IMG_9525
For your wrist loop, cross the ends, and stitch to the middle of one of the open sides. (Make sure to stick above or below the drawstring casing area.

IMG_9530
The side with your loop will now be the front of your apron. Use a large safety pin to feed the 24″ piece through the casing on this side. Repeat with the long piece, through the casing on the other side.

IMG_9541
Fold over and stitch each of the four ends to form a 1.5″ loop. If you have a trim that will fray at the ends, it’s a good idea to do a tight zig-zag here to limit the fray over time.

IMG_9549
To keep your short drawstring from disappearing into the casing, feed the long piece through the loops on each side.

Trim all your little threads, and you’re ready to harvest!

IMG_9610
Tie the long tie at your natural waist, and get into the garden!

IMG_9575
Use the wrist loop when you need to hold open the apron, but keep your hands free. (Especially handy when you’re picking tricky berries.)

IMG_9602

IMG_9646
When you’re ready to go in, untie the apron and pull the drawstrings for an instant produce bag.

IMG_9652
When the bag gets just too dirty, throw it into the wash on hot. (Turn the bag inside out to get rid of those stubborn bits of dirt.)

IMG_9701

IMG_9712

Things to Try

• Add a pocket for a garden knife or shears.
• Add vintage cotton trim to make it even more vintage-girly.
• Add a bib and neck strap – more pockets?

Any suggestions? Do you have a favorite garden project you’re rocking this summer?

DIY: Homemade Allergy Relief Balm

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I am a seasonal allergy sufferer. It seems like every time the weather/season changes I start sneezing, my eyes get itchy and my nose gets runny and congested. Since I’ve begun learning more about essential oils, I’ve been looking for more and more ways to make my own home remedies rather than heading to the drugstore. I discovered this Allergy Balm while browsing Pinterest and knew I found an idea I wanted to try.

Lavender, Lemon + Peppermint (LLP)

What makes this balm so effective against allergies are the blend of essential oils lavender, lemon and peppermint. Together these three oils create a natural antihistamine which helps to reduce inflammation in the body and eases allergy symptoms.

I purchased the doTERRA introductory kit a while back which just happens to include LLP!

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Here’s a little more info about these 3 oils:

Lavender: Helps eliminate nervous tension, relieves pain and respiratory problems. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Lemon: Is a natural anti-biotic, antiviral, antiseptic, and disinfectant.
Peppermint: Contains menthol which helps clear the respiratory tract and has a cooling effect on the body. Because it is an expectorant, it provides instantaneous, though temporary, relief from nasal congestion, asthma, cold and cough.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

You can use the LLP combination in a number of different ways. You can take it internally using gel caps or make a body oil. I decided to try making a balm to rub into the bottoms of my feet and apply to any irritated areas.

Supplies Needed

• 3 tablespoons candelilla wax (or 1/4 cup beeswax)
• 1/3 cup almond oil
• 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
• 1/2 tablespoon vitamin E oil
• *25 drops each of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils
• Popsicle stick
• Small tins or glass jars

*Note: Peppermint has a much stronger scent and overpowered the lemon and lavender. Next time I will try using less. Maybe only 15 drops instead of 25.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Combine the almond, coconut and vitamin E oil in a mason jar. Fill a saucepan halfway with water and place it on medium-high heat. Place mason jar into the water to create a double boiler. Bring water to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer. Once the coconut oil is completely melted, add in the wax. Let wax melt and add in the essential oils. Use a popsicle stick to stir mixture.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Pour into small containers and let cool completely.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

How To Apply:

Whenever you feel the allergy itch coming on, rub this balm into the bottoms of my feet, the base of my skull/neck and apply to any irritated skin areas like around your eyes and nose.

Optional: Decorate your tin/jar with some pretty wash tape!

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

DIY: Funky T-shirt Rag Quilt for Summer Picnics and Winter Snuggling

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8844
I come by both my weird sense of humor and my borderline hoarderness honestly. What that means is I have collections of really funny/awesome/unique/vintage/sentimental stuff that I can’t use, but I really don’t want to part with.

Like a bin of old t-shirts.

Now, I don’t really wear t-shirts. I don’t often find the need to wear old shirts from my ballet or flag twirling days. I stopped wearing the worn out vintage tees that my mom passed down, and I never really found the guts to wear the t-shirts with swears that I thought were my right as an adult.

So they all just sat in a bin in the closet until I found this amazing tutorial at “Sweet Tea in the South” to turning them into a quilt. I made a few adjustments to use supplies I had on hand, but she does an amazing job of going through the process step by step.
tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8942

I just want to get this out of the way- this is a labor intensive project with lots of steps, and a metric ton of cutting. Jess at Sweet Tea in the South recommends splitting it up over a few days, and I have to agree. It takes a long time to do, and is exhausting, but here’s the thing…

I think this is my favorite sewing project, ever. I think there might be some romantic love brewing between me and this blanket. It’s thick and soft, and smells lovely. It’s washable and gigantic (mine is 6′ x 6′) and each square is a symbol of who I am and where I come from– the classic rock station I grew up to, the matching t-shirts Safety Husband and I wore to our after prom party, band shirts, and festival shirts.

Supplies

• Old T-shirts- You will need two squares of shirt for each square of your quilt. I used the fronts and backs of shirts, and all-in-all I used about 36 large shirts for my quilt.
• Batting or flannel for the inside of the quilt. I used Cotton quilt batting that I had around. You will need one square for each square of the quilt.
• A template for cutting your squares (instructions below) I used some scrap chipboard.
• A sewing machine with a ballpoint needle and a lot of thread. (I used white all-purpose thread.)
• Straight pins
• Sewing scissors. Optional but recommended – a fabric rotary cutter, and probably a pair of embroidery scissors for snipping.

To Make your Square template

Measure across each of your shirts to see what size square would cut easily out of all of them. My shirts ranged from large to extra-large, and from 14″ – 16″. I used scrap chipboard to cut a 14″ x 14″ square template for my t-shirt blocks, and made another template that was 1″ smaller on all sides (12″ x 12″) for my batting blocks. You can cut your template from cardboard, wood, or anything else you have around.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8048

Step 1: Cutting the Squares

Lay a t-shirt out smoothly across a protected surface, and center your t-shirt block template around the art.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8053
Carefully cut around the template.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8060
Repeat this with each shirt.

When you’re done with all of your shirts, use your batting template to cut out one piece of batting for every 2 pieces of shirt.

Step 2: Building the Quilt Squares

Each square of your quilt will start out as a stack of shirt|batting|shirt. One of your t-shirt pieces will be on the front, the other on the back. I decided that I wanted to make one side of my blanket cool colors, and the other side warm colors, so each of my stacks was coolcolorshirt|batting|warmcoloredshirt. You can arrange them however you want!

To build your block, lay out your first piece of t-shirt, face-down, then center the smaller piece of batting.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8073
Cover with the other piece of t-shirt, face-up and secure with several pins, making sure to go through the batting layer.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8077
Repeat with all your squares, until you have a tidy little stack.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8182
(At this point I laid all of my squares out on the floor and arranged them how I wanted. I marked each square with a letter and number so I knew how to put them back together. It was a lot of work, and I wouldn’t necessarily do it again. Random is OK!)

Step 3: “Quilting” your Squares

There are several ways to quilt the block together, the important thing is to stitch through every layer to keep the batting and fabric from shifting. I used a combination of straight stitches and a zig zag stitches on my machine to make lines across each block horizontally and vertically.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8187

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8199
Repeat in each square, and you’re ready to start putting them all together!

Step 4: Assembling the Quilt

The “rag” in this rag quilt means that instead of hiding your seams, you will leave them out to fray and fringe. With that in mind, you need to decide which side will have the extra fluff. One side will be clean and flat like

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8948
The other will be fringed and crazy

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8924
Start with two blocks, and stack them with the future fringed sides facing out.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8214
You will pin and sew the two pieces together on one edge, about 3/4 of an inch in (seam allowance). I used a zig-zag stitch for these seams to allow a little more stretch and flexibility.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8220
Attach the next block in the row the same way until you’ve completed a whole row, then start with the next row.

When you have every row sewn, sew each one to the ones beside it the same way. Make sure you keep your seams facing the same way so that all your fringe is on the front or back.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8234
Breath deeply and look at all that you’ve accomplished! Now take a break, the next part is tedious.

Step 5: Fringing and Clean-up

The final step is to fringe all those seams so that they will roll up and hide any mistakes you may have made on this quilt, and to cut all your little threads. The embroidery scissors are great for this task, but regular sewing scissors work as well. To fringe the seams make a small cut almost to your seam, every half an inch or so. You will do this around the outside edge of your blanket, as well as at every seam. I suggest a watching a movie.

IMG_8814
It may take a while (several evenings) of trimming in front of the tv, with your blanket in your lap, and your cat cuddled underneath, but when you’re done you might be as in love as I am.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8919
Now that I’ve done the work, I’m going to use this blanket for everything: picnics, cold nights, hammock times, even make-shift shelter. So if you see a pile of funny/awesome/unique/vintage/sentimental old t-shirts walking around, make sure say hi.

tshirt_rag_quilt_IMG_8826

DIY: The Simplest Paper Flowers

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8752
A while back my friend Susan made a bunch of simple paper flowers that found a home on a shelf in my store.

Every few weeks a kid would ask me about the flowers, and I would give them one and tell them to take it home and try to figure out how to make their own. Without fail the kid would stare at the flower until it was time to leave, and I could see the parents trying to work out what materials they needed to make it happen.

Sometimes they asked me to demonstrate, but mostly I just loved the idea that I had inspired a kiddo to use their imagination and ingenuity to make something fun.

I think this is a great project to do with kids of all ages, and you just need a few simple supplies to make it happen.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8766

Supplies

• Scrap Paper – Anything from text weight paper, to light weight card stock will work. Big pieces will make big flowers, small pieces will make small flowers. Susan used some old book pages for her flowers, you could use wrapping paper, catalog pages, or anything really!
• Scissors
• Your favorite glue – I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue but Elmer’s would also work.

Step 1

Cut an oval out of your piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to keep the corners rounded.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8773

Step 2

Starting from one side, cut the oval into a spiral. You should have a pointed end on the outside, and a rounded end on the other.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8774

Step 3

Take the pointed end, and fold it down toward the center of the spiral.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8775

Step 4

Starting at that fold, begin rolling the paper into a flower shape.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8776

Step 5

When you get to the center portion of the spiral, tighten the bloom up by twisting the paper around the folded piece.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8780

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8785

Step 6

Hold the bloom in your hand, and apply a drop of glue to the folded portion you started the flower with, then

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8788
fold it over and hold it for a few seconds until the glue holds.
simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8793

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8797
The whole process takes a couple of minutes, and gives you a lovely simple flower to brighten up your day. You can put them in a basket, like I did, hang them like a mobile, or decorate a table with them. They don’t fade, and the possibilities are endless!

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8761

So make a bunch and send us a picture of your creation for the DIY Craft Challenge this month! Or share your favorite flower craft.

DIY: Simple Flowers from Old T-Shirts + Free Templates


I’ve been in a major cleaning and organization mood, so most of my projects have been focused on “using up” materials I have around. One giant project used a bin full of old printed t-shirts (I’ll show you when I’m done!) and I ended up with so many colorful t-shirt scraps that I over-ran my rag box. I decided it was a perfect time to combine those scraps, and the May DIY Challenge theme to make some simple jersey flowers.

After playing with the fabric for a day or two, I came up with two basic flower-making methods that you can use to make a whole army of blossoms.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8398

Supplies

• T-Shirt or jersey scraps
• Fabric scissors and paper scissors
• Needle and thread
• These printed template files : Stitch & Draw-up Petal Template, Pinch & Piece Petal Template

Optional Extras

• Shredding scissors, or other decorative edging scissors
• Straight pins
• Buttons
• Felt for leaves and backing. I used wide grosgrain ribbon.
• Pin-backs, bobby pins, or other clips to attach to the back
• Fabric Paints, or floss, or other decorating tools.

The Stitch & Draw-up Method

stitch&drawpetals_template
This is by far the quickest way I made flowers, and was also especially useful for adding details to the center of other flowers, or for making the smallest simplest bonus blooms to add to a flower bunch. The template includes two example petal shapes to play with, and a feathered shape that I used for a center detail. It works with basically any shape you want to use, though, so be sure to try your own ideas for rows of petals.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8421

Step One

Cut the template shape out of a piece of jersey. (This is from the arm of a t-shirt.)

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8441
Then stitch a loose line starting close to one edge and ending close to the other.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8454

Step Two

Put a stitch through the end you started on, to pull it into a ring.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8455

Step Three

Pull both ends of the thread to gather the fabric into a round shape. Make sure the extra puckered fabric from below your stitch line if on one side of the flower.

Step Four

Take a couple more stitches through the puckered side of the flower (which will be the back side, tie your favorite knot, and cut the thread.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8464

Step Five

Flip the flower over and add a button or other decoration. You can also stitch a clip or pin to the back side.  I put a button in the center of this one by stitching through the middle of the bloom,

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8479
and added a couple of leaf-shaped pieces and a piece of ribbon to the back, by stitching them through the back of the petal.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8481
Voila, a quick simple flower that I can use on a package, as a pin, or in my hair. (Or all of the above.)

The Pinch & Piece Method

pinch&piecepetals_template
This method takes a little more work, but I loved the way it makes a fuller and more complicated flower shape. I’ve given you four petal shapes to try on the template– each with a different number of petals per flower– but you can try all sorts of shapes for different results.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8494

Step One

Cut the indicated number of petal pieces out of jersey material. For this flower, I also used the “Center Detail” piece from the other template page to create a fuzzy center for my flower (shown above in dark purple.)

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8497

Step Two

Stitch a loose line across the middle of each the petal (shown as a dotted line on the template) starting close to one edge and ending close to the other.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8508
Put a stitch through the end you started on, and pull to gather the fabric.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8521

Step Three

Bend the petal piece in half, and put a stitch in the fold. Then do the same to each petal to connect them all together. Tighten them together, and tie a knot at the first petal.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8522

Step Four

Wrap your thread between each petal  section to draw the center together and fluff the petals out. Then stitch through the back of the flower, & tie off the thread using your favorite knot. For the center on this flower, I used the “Stitch and Draw-up” method on my dark purple center detail piece, and then sewed through it and the center of my bloom. I attached a leaf shape and a piece of ribbon to the back like my first flower, and used that to bobby pin it in my hair.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8548
I’ve started flipping through my flower books for inspiration, and I love the flexibility and the whimsy of using old t-shirts like this.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8546
Soft, sweet, flowers.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8572

Remember that if you do this or any other flower project, send us a picture to enter the May DIY Craft Challenge.

DIY: Free Mother’s Day Printable Card and Poster, Thanks for Teaching Me.

IMG_8108
Showing appreciation isn’t always about buying something sparkly, or something chocolate. Sometimes it’s finding the right words to tell someone what they mean to you.

When I think about my mom, I think about all the little things she taught me to do. She taught me to look at things in a different way, to experiment. She taught me how to make teddy bear ornaments out of wallpaper samples, to sew tiny dresses for spool dolls, and to use my imagination. Add my grandmother into the equation and you’ve got all the creative forces that drive me today.

IMG_8155
I decided that it would be fun to build a card that I could use to thank her for all the things she’s taught me. Since she also taught me to share, I thought I’d let you use it yourself.

IMG_8174
I’ve attached two different ways that you can thank your mom for everything she taught you.

Free Downloads

Greeting Card
Poster

momtaughtmehow_poster2
Customize your thank you by adding your face. Take a photo of yourself holding this 8×10 poster. (Your mom loves to see your smile.) Fill in the empty space with your special skill, snap a photo, and email it to your mom. Download the poster here.
momtaughtmehow_card2
Or cut out this mailable card-and-envelope-in-one and to send or hand deliver with a handful of wildflowers. You can download the free printable card here.

IMG_8099
You’ll get extra credit for making something just for her, and you get to remember all the reason’s she’s the one you’re happy to call Mom.

IMG_8163

So, what did your Mother teach you?