Monday, January 31, 2011

Patterned Paper Wreath - Remix!



Did you know that the first post Sharon and I ever worked on together was her Patterned Paper Wreath?  It was several months ago, before Two Girls Being Crafty was even a thought, and I was blogging elsewhere.  Sharon told me about a craft she was making and I asked for pictures so I could share it with my readers, and a very popular wreath was born.

Here's Sharon's awesome original wreath:

So, now I have made Sharon's Patterned Paper Wreath like three or four times...  Each time using the same wreath form but different festive papers.  Honestly, as cute as it is, I was ready to mix it up a bit.  You crafty gals know what I mean.  You can only do the same craft so many times, right?  So, here's a remix on the original. 

You'll need the same supplies as you do for the other wreath, which is:

5 or 6 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper
Hot glue
14" wreath form
Ribbon or fabric for bow, or some other sort of embellishment


Here's the paper I chose.  If I were to do it over again, I'd do 6 pages of paper instead of just 5. 


Anyhow, cut your scrapbook paper into strips measuring 1"x4".  This means that you'll make 36 loops from each sheet of paper.

To make each loop, all you have to do is fold the paper in half (without creasing, of course) and glue the ends together.  You'll end up with a pile of loops!





Lay your wreath down on a flat surface and start gluing the loops on with the round end of the loop touching the surface.  This mimics the wreath hanging on a flat surface, so it's important to start this way if you don't want naked places on your wreath.  Go around the whole wreath gluing on your loops...


Then use the same basic method for row 2, and so on...


I crocheted an embellishment 'cause I love to crochet these days and I have lots of scraps of yarn.  You can buy a flower or make a flower, or do a bow of some sort--the possibilities are endless.  Or you really don't have to embellish at all--you can do whatever you want to do!  I made a fabric-covered button for the center of the flower to add another layer and some extra texture.  (Tristin's note: because some readers asked for it, you can learn how to make these crocheted embellishments on this post.)


Here she is, in all her glory!


If you make one, please send us a link to your site!  We'd love to check it out. 

So, what do you think about the Patterned Paper Wreath Remix?  I'm obviously already in "Spring" mode!

Tristin Signature

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Linky Love: Gung hay fat choy!

No, I didn't just call you fat--I actually said, "May you be prosperous"!  Not sure what I'm getting at?  It's almost the Chinese New Year, folks!  Are you ready to celebrate? 

I always try to celebrate small holidays in some small way because it makes what would be a normal day feel a bit more special.  Chinese New Year is one of my favorites because if nothing else, it's a good excuse to enjoy some good Chinese food.

You may be interested to know that in the Chinese Zodiac, 2011 is the year of the Rabbit.


If you're interested in knowing about your position in the Chinese Zodiac it's fun to spend a few moments using google to research--or go to your favorite Chinese restaurant where they're sure to have place mats with brief explanations.  (Again, I'll make any excuse to go out for Chinese food!)

Little Birdie Secrets shares some awesome recipes and ideas for a Chinese New Year's celebration.

Martha Stewart offers some background on Chinese New Year traditions and even a printable template for red money envelopes.  Now there's a tradition I'd like to adopt!

If you're looking for even more party and celebration inspiration, check out this post from Not Just a Mommy.  You'll be sure to find some inspiration.

Be sure to check back next week because I'll be sharing step-by-step instructions on how I make delicious pork won-tons!  (And I'll be sharing my super-simple secret on how to make any chicken broth taste like the kind you get at a Chinese restaurant!  You won't want to miss that tidbit...)
Gung hay fat choy,
Tristin Signature

Friday, January 28, 2011

Upcycling Toothbrushes into Bracelets

First and foremost, we're so excited that Thrifty Decor Chick featured our blog on her series of newbies!  We're so excited to have so many new people visiting and we're equally stoked to welcome so many new followers!  Isn't Thrifty Decor Chick the bestest?  We think so.  Thanks, Sarah!  (If you're interested, you can see our highlight on the TDC blog here.)

And on to the crafty-ness...

When I was in middle school in California, I knew this gal named Kathryn who was super-cool.  You know, just one of those naturally cool kids--a trendsetter, too.  She wore a rad bracelet that she made out of a toothbrush and I thought it was awesome (naturally) so when she gave me the secret on how to make one, I rushed home to do it myself.  (See, even back then I was a DIY gal!)


Any-hoo, wanna make your own?  I thought you did! 

Here's what you'll need:

An old toothbrush (sans rubberized texture stuff)
Needle-nosed pliers
Vise grips (or you can get creative with whatever tools you have)
Tongs
A pot big enough to accommodate your toothbrush


You'll want to start with a super-plain toothbrush and avoid any of that grippy/soft plastic stuff that most toothbrushes have these days.  I use child-sized toothbrushes (What?!  I'm a small person with a small mouth... you wanna make something of it?  Obviously I have a short girl complex, too.) so they are pretty plain and perfect for making bracelets.


I used needle-nosed pliers to remove all of the bristles.


Umm, when you're using said needle-nosed pliers on the bristles, take it easy...  I teach by example guys.  So, learn a lesson from me be and gently remove the bristles from the toothbrush, and provide ample support to the neck of the toothbrush.


Obviously, I had to restart with a different toothbrush.  And I was much more gentle the second time around.


Doesn't the naked toothbrush look so awkward?


Once you have a naked toothbrush, boil that naked toothbrush for an hour.  Seriously, do it for a whole hour--don't skimp on time!  If you check it midway through, the toothbrush will seem like it will be pliable enough to form but if you bend the brush too early you may cause ugly white streaking (think: stretch marks) and possible snapping.


Once the toothbrush has boiled for an hour, you're ready to shape it into a bracelet.  You can use a bracelet you have as a size reference or you can just wing it.  I guesstimated and it came out fine!  I used tongs to hold the toothbrush in the middle and vise grips to shape the hot plastic.  If you make a mistake, don't worry--you can pop it back in the boiling water for 15-20 minutes and reshape. 

Common sense warning: that toothbrush is HOT!  You would be too if you'd just been boiled for an hour.  Be careful!


Once you're happy with your shape, drop the bracelet into a bowl of cold water to "set" the shape.  (I think that the Lemongrass Fiestaware bowl compliments the purple toothbrush quite nicely!)


And there you have it--a gorgeous toothbrush bracelet!

Pretty fun and simple, right?  I'm not a jewelry girl--but I think that even if I was, I'd much prefer for my husband to make me one of these for V-Day than to buy some generic piece of bling.  But that's just me.

Tristin Signature

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crepe Paper Rose Tree

Crepe paper rose Valentine's Day tree

Hey there! Since Tristin and I can't seem to get enough of Valentine's Day decor (and I hope you aren't tired of it), here's another fun and easy V-Day craft. It's what I call a crepe paper rose tree.

Here's what you need:
  • Crepe paper in your favorite color (I bought fun, bright colors at Hobby Lobby for only $1 per roll. And the rolls were huge. You can also buy two smaller rolls at the Dollar Store, but they only had normal colors. Normal? Eh. Not my style.)
  •  An awesome branch from outside (mine is pretty awesome).
  • Glue (I used Elmers.. it takes a little bit longer to dry, but you won't burn your fingers.)
  • Sheets of scrap paper (these will become the "ball form" for your pomanders.)
  • Thread or string
  • Extra vase that you have sitting around. 
Since I already had everything except for the crepe paper, the supplies only cost me $1! Love it! :)

Crepe paper roses

Let's get started:
  1. First, make a million roses. And by "a million" I mean "a lot". I used this crepe paper rose tutorial from the House of Smith's. However, I had trouble mastering the "twist" while you wind it around the base of the flower, so I also used this video to help me understand the twisting part. I had trouble getting the first couple just right, but after it clicked, I was flying through them. 
  2. After you have completed half a million roses and desperately need a break, start your mini pomanders. Cut two pieces of string/thread (5" or so each). These will be used to tie your pomander to the branch. Glue one end of the string to the center of your sheets of scrap paper (I used 3 or 4 sheets of paper per pomander - stacked and then crumpled together). Making sure your other end of string is sticking outside of the paper, create the ball form by crumpling up the paper. Now add your roses to the ball form you have created. Fill any "holes" with mini roses or just pieces of crepe paper. Tie your pomanders to the tree.
  3. Crepe paper rose pomander on tree
  4. Now glue the rest of the roses sparsely around the tree. I added some tiny pops of bright blue to add some fun variety. Stick your branch/tree in a vase, and you're done! You may need to add decorative stones or rocks to keep your branch in place. Using rocks from outside would give it a cool, rustic feeling. 

          Here's the finished product:

          Crepe paper rose valentine's day tree

          I love it! Stay tuned for another craft I'm working on that also uses these gorgeous crepe paper roses. 

          Wednesday, January 26, 2011

          Yet another heart garland...

          What?  Another heart garland?  Yes.  Sorry for the lack of variety!


          But if I may point out, each of the heart garlands we've crafted is using a different crafty medium--the first is made of paper and glue, the second is made of felt and embroidery floss, and this guy is crocheted with yarn.  Talk about variations on a theme!

          Here's more of the crocheted version of the heart garland in all its colorful glory:



          If you want to make one of these fancy-schmancy crocheted heart garlands, check out Little Birdie Secrets.  They have an easy-peasy tutorial on how to crochet a heart--then hook those suckers up with a chain and badda bing, badda boom--another garland!

          You may notice the yarn is the leftovers from Junebug's Granny Square Sweater Vest.   Leftovers from other projects work perfectly for small motifs like the little heart. There's no need to go and buy pink and red yarn for such a simple little decoration.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Not all Valentine's Day decor has to be red and pink!

          Happy garland-making!
          Tristin Signature

          Tuesday, January 25, 2011

          And another heart garland...

          Great minds think alike--so I'm following Sharon's awesome heart garland with one of my own.  I have another to share in a few days so I hope you're craving heart garlands in your home!


          This simple garland is a result of lots of felt scraps--have I ever mentioned that I love felt?  It's a great fabric to work with because it's cheap, doesn't fray, is eco-friendly because it's made from recycled plastic bottles, and it's fun and bright!


          I used a cookie cutter to trace hearts onto my felt scraps and then stitched them together using white embroidery floss and a blanket stitch.  Then I filled them with stuffing to make 'em nice and plump.  (Did you know that hearts were originally made to look like a woman's behind?  That being said, it's only logical, in my mind, to make the hearts nice and plump!) 

          After I made 9 hearts (it took a lot less time than you'd imagine) I used a blunt needle to string the hearts onto some leftover yarn from Junebug's granny square sweater vest.  The open-ness in the felt left by the blanket stitch made it easy to slip in and out of the heart with the blunt needle.



          I hung the garland on a shelf in our living room and little Junebug has been climbing the couch to try and reach it ever since.  Kiddos love holiday decor!  I think that these bright hearts may find a new home in Junebug's bedroom after Valentine's Day is over--she just loves it SO much!


          Who says all Valentine's day decor has to be red and pink?
          Tristin Signature

          Monday, January 24, 2011

          Heart Garland


          Our apartment looks a little emptier with all of our Christmas/winter decorations gone. So the solution? Start on Valentine's day decorations. I came across the blog Noodlehead, and wanted to do some rendition of her pom pom window garland. So I combined her window idea with Tristin's circle circle dot dot garland method to create this heart window garland.


          The supplies are simple items that you probably already have lying around your house.

          What You Need:
          • Scissors
          • Glue (you can whip out your hot glue gun, but I just used good ole Elmers glue)
          • Transparent thread, fishing line, or just any kind of thin thread - even if it's a colored thread
          • Lots of cardboard, cardstock, or chipboard. Whatever you have lying around.
          • Lots of magazines

          Here's What You Do:
          1.  Use a sturdy piece of cardboard and cut out a heart and a circle to use as your template. You can also choose to do different size hearts.
          2. Flip through your magazines and look for pretty colors that you want to add to your hearts and circles. This will make your garland colorful and bright! It's definitely cheaper than scrapbook paper, and if you're like me, you already have tons of magazines lying around.Cut out hearts and circles in the colors you selected using your cardboard template.
          3. Using your templates, cut out hearts and circles from the cardstock or chipboard. This will serve as a sturdy backing to your hearts and circles.
          4. Now, taking a cardstock/chipboard heart backing, apply glue, add string on top of glue, and top it off with your colorful magazine heart. Alternate hearts and circles, and leave some space in between each heart and circle for a floating affect. I chose to alternate the lengths of my strands to add some interest and dimension. 

          This craft is so easy to do, and it really brings out the Valentine's Day spirit with minimal effort and almost no money spent! You probably already have everything you need to make your own window heart garlands, so why not give it a shot?


          Also, don't forget to cleanse your colon!
          Enjoy! :)

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