Thursday, March 31, 2011

Colorful Crocheted Leaf Branch

Crochet Branch Complete 008

Ahh, the final branch craft!  Are you ready for us to be done with branches?  Are you craving more?  Well, I may or may not have more ideas up my sleeves.  But {for now} this is the last of the branch mini-series.

Crochet Branch Complete 010

You'll need:

A branch that you like
Yarn (this project is a great scrapbuster!) and a crochet hook
How to crochet leaves tutorial
Floral wire
Hot glue (optional)

Much like the rest of our branch crafts, this project is practically free.  You really shouldn't have to buy much of anything to accomplish it.  If you don't already have floral wire in your craft supplies, please note that you can purchase it at the Dollar Tree.  Yep.  The Dollar Tree!

Crocheted Leaves for Branch 1

{FYI} When I came up with the idea for this branch, I thought I'd use some of Sharon's fabric stiffener to create flat and stiff crocheted leaves.  I tried it using the stiffener on one completed leaf, and found the leaf became far too heavy to be supported by the branches.  The natural softness and looseness of the yarn proved to be better in this case, as the leaves look more "alive" with their little waves and slight curling.  Live and learn!

First of all, you'll want to make a bunch of crocheted leaves.  I made a tutorial on how to make simple leaves a few months ago--you can find it here.

It's a pretty simple and straightforward process.  It has been a good way to use up the heaps of yarn scraps leftover from other projects.  I just can't bear to throw any of it away and lookie here, it paid off!

Alrighty.  Once you have an assortment of leaves, cut wire to a desired length.  My pieces were about 8" but it's totally up to you.

Crocheted Leaves with wire for branch

Run the wire through the center of the leaf, creating a vein-like appearance.  If your leaves are slipping around on the floral wire, you can secure the ends with a dot of hot glue to hold them in place.  Stiffer yarns like wool probably won't require hot glue, but slick acrylic yarns will probably necessitate some stabilization.
 
Once the leaves are all wired up, then you can attach them to the branch as you see fit. 

Crocheted leaves wrapped on branch

Sharon showed some fun techniques for wiring leaves onto branches on her Fabric Leaf Tree post.  You may want to check those out.  I opted for just wrapping the wire around the branches in a long swirl (the leaves are a little heavy for some of the weaker branches, so in my case the branches needed wrapped with the wire to offer some support).

Crochet Branch Complete 009

My husband says the branches around the T.V. make us look like we have rabbit ears.  He says I'm making his Google T.V. look low-tech.  I think that it's an awkward wall to decorate and I've finally found a way to decorate without putting random objects on the walls.  What do you think?  Does it just look like rabbit ears? 

And on that subject, if you have rabbit ears on your tele, you may want to spice them up with some leaves!

Tristin Signature

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ooh, Baby Baby! {Guest Post - A DIY Baby Blanket}

Hey fellow crafters!  Remember Laura?  She's a mutual friend of Sharon and I and she's super crafty--you may remember her Fabric Canvas idea from a few months ago.  Well, she's back and this time she has created a gorgeous baby blanket!  Take it away, Laura!

Thanks again, crafty girls, for allowing me to guest post a second time! Your blog is one that I visit nearly every day, so being a part of it today is fun for me! You gals rock.  {Note from Tristin: We LOVE flattery.  It works every time!}

Some friends of my husband and I recently had a little girl, and they named her Sparrow. What a unique name! I wanted to make something for the new little one, and a baby blanket seemed appropriate. After browsing aisles of material at Jo-Ann Fabrics (coupons in hand) I settled on ultra fleece in pink and white. This is the softest material I have ever felt, and I almost didn't want to give it away! But I knew it would be perfect for a baby blanket.

Laura Guest Post 6

Since the little girl's name is Sparrow, and her mother appreciates birdwatching from time to time, I decided to incorporate that theme into my blanket design.

Laura Guest Post 1


The first sketch of the tree branch with sparrows was done with a pencil on regular copy paper taped together, however next time I'll just draw it straight onto the tracing paper so as not to double my efforts. Once drawn and corrected to my liking, I traced over it with a permanent marker so I could see it through the tracing paper. (See what I mean about doubling my efforts?)

Laura Guest Post 2


Next, I cut out the pattern and pinned it to the white fleece, and then cut the fleece according to the pattern. This was kind of tricky to maneuver at first because the material was somewhat slinky and hard to manage. Once cut out, I then pinned it to the pink fleece which was my background for the scene. Using a sewing machine with the presser foot up, I stitched around the edge of the design to the background. The reason for leaving the foot up is two-fold: the material is somewhat bulky to run through the machine, and it allowed for a nice puffy touch to the design (okay, technically there's a third reason- I just plain forgot that I left the foot up until I was almost halfway through sewing!).

Laura Guest Post 3

Next, I placed the blanket backing and the front right sides together and sewed around all except for about six inches of the blanket, leaving room to turn it right side out.

Laura Guest Post 5

The remaining six inches I hand stitched closed. And there you have it- a super soft baby blanket for a sweet little girl.

Laura Guest Post 6

I think little miss Sparrow likes it, too.

Thanks, Laura for such a fabulous idea.  It was  a pleasure to have you share such a lovely project with us, and we can't wait to see what's in store for next time!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DIY Cherry Blossom Branches

This time of year, I really miss living in Washington, D.C. because winter is finally over and the Cherry Blossoms are...blossoming.  It's absolutely gorgeous!  You may or may not be aware that the Cherry Blossom trees in our nation's capital were a gift from Japan that symbolize the friendship between the U.S. and Japan.  That being said, what an appropriate time to remember the tragedy and devastation in the country of Japan.  The footage I have seen has been surreal--and I think it's only now set in how real the disaster is.  I hope you're keeping Japan as a whole in your prayers. 

I made a cherry blossom branch in keeping with the spirit of the Cherry Blossom festival, and it just so happens to fit in with the kick Sharon and I are on right now--branch crafts!

DIY Cherry Blossom Craft 2

We'll "branch out" to other crafts later.  Pun intended.  For now, it's branch crafts, folks!  Let's get to it.

To make a lover-ly cherry blossom branch, you'll need:

Cherry Blossom Craft supplies

A branch (duh) from any tree you like
Light pink crepe paper streamers ($ .50/roll at the dollar store)
Hot glue

That's it!  (Notice that this craft is practically free??)

There's not a real art to making the cherry blossoms--anything goes!  Cut out perfect petals, wad up pieces of paper--it really doesn't matter how you do it as long as YOU like the result.  That being said, here's how I did it:

DIY Cherry Blossom Craft 1

1. Rip off a piece of crepe paper that's about 5" long and fold it into a V-shape.
2. Fold the bottom of the V up to the top (where your jagged edges are).
3. Fold the half-formed blossom into thirds.
4. Secure with glue if you want, or just attach it to the branch and glue it at that point.  It's your call.

DIY Cherry Blossom Craft 2

I left the leaves on my branch and removed them as I added cherry blossoms so I could place the blossoms where the leaves occured naturally--in other words, I followed the pattern of nature so I didn't second guess my blossom placement.  Capiche? 

DIY Cherry Blossom Crafts 3

I placed the cherry blossom branch on a shelf in my living room so I'll see it often.  It'll serve as my reminder to keep those affected by the disaster in Japan in my thoughts and prayers.
Tristin Signature

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Scrapbook Paper Tree

Hello fellow crafters!

Tristin and I were invited to be today's featured guest blogger over at Everyday Mom Ideas! We were thrilled with this wonderful opportunity, and wanted to share with the readers over there one of our trees from the collection we're currently doing.

This second tree is very similar to the first one. I'm sorry! I promise, the next ones will be more diverse. But the materials used in this tree are very different and it is a lot easier to overall construct. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

(Since this is a guest post on a different blog, and the concept is similar to the first tree.. I may have repeated myself a little. Do forgive.) Ok, now go check it out!


Thanks, Julia, for having us on your blog!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Linky Love: {Semi-Crafty} Fun Food for Kiddos


I see SO many cute food ideas for kiddos out in the blogosphere and although they may not be super-crafty in the regular sense, they're still worth mentioning since we all have to eat!  A lot of people try to be sneaky with kiddos' food and add veggies in here and there, but these are not really those types of foods.  Most of the links I have included are treats and meals most kids would consume, regardless of whether or not they're a picky eater.

On a personal note, Junebug seems to have outgrown the short-lived picky phase she went through.  We ignored her pickiness for the most part and made very few concessions, and she seems to have adapted.  The foods that she loves shock me--she'll snub scrambled eggs but when I made Thai Coconut-Curry shrimp this week (with this recipe from Skinny Taste) she ate it like it was candy.  Kids are amazing creatures.

On with the show...


Since Spring is around the corner, it's appropriate to start with these sweet little birdiesSun Scholars offers a great recipe with pictures to make your own.



The previous treats would be perfect dessert after having this lover-ly pasta nest for dinner courtesy of Crafty Moods.  Isn't it so appealing?



This Cute Cheesy Sunflower is also from Crafty Moods.  What a simple way to make a memorable yet healthy snack!



Gourmet Mom on-the-go came up with this awesome Very Hungry Caterpillar snack.  Wouldn't your kiddo be "very hungry" for this plate?  Mine sure would.



This Bunny Bisque is also a creation of Gourmet Mom on-the-go.  Brilliant.  Just brilliant.



These Babybel kids from Cute Food for Kids really stand out to me 'cause I love Babybel cheese--probably because each wheel is encased in wax and it makes me feel "special".   This method makes them even more special!



Veggie fried rice is a common side dish in our home but I have never thought to serve it like this.  Thanks to Cute Food for Kids, Junebug will enjoy hers in a nice bear shape the next time it's on the menu.

Weren't those such cute ideas?  Makes me want to cute-ify food for my kiddo more often.  I think she'd appreciate it!  But who wouldn't?
Tristin Signature

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fabric Leaf Tree

Tristin shared with me a wonderful idea the other day. She thought that it would be fun if we both created a mini collection of trees adorned with various materials. Um, yes! What a craft genius she is! They will all be fairly simple so that anyone can create them. *Side note: if you do happen to make one, please send us a picture! We would love to see your work. :)

Fabric Leaf Tree

The first creation of the saga is this beautiful decorative tree embellished with colorful fabric leaves. This is a great table topper for a wedding, baby shower, bridal shower, or birthday. It is also perfect Easter/Spring decoration for around the house.

Fabric Leaf Tree Supplies

Here's What You Need:

Fabric Stiffener - I use Stiffy's
Floral Wire - At least 24 gauge
Fabric Scraps
Branches

Extra Supplies: Scissors, Newspaper, Plastic cup, Saran Wrap (not pictured)


Here's What You Do:

Fabric Leaves

Start by cutting out a lot of leaves. You can use a chipboard or cardboard template to make it easier and more consistent. Make sure you cut out an extra leaf for the back of each one. I cut out 40 leaves (so 80 total) which sounds like a lot, but it didn't take too much time.

Take your floral wire and cut out 40 strips (or however many leaves you're doing) 8"-10" long. Set these aside in a pile that is within reach.

Fabric Leaves Steps

Here comes the messy (but super fun) part! Cover your work space with newspaper, and right beside your work space lay down some newspaper with a large sheet of saran wrap on top. Pour a small amount of fabric stiffener into your plastic cup. Take a leaf and its back leaf and dip both into the fabric stiffener. Remove the excess stiffener by pressing and smoothing the fabric with your fingers. Do not wring!

Lift the top leaf and place a piece of wire in the center in between the two leaves. The fabric stiffener will hold the wire in place fairly well (for decorative purposes), but if you want it to be more secure, dab a little glue on the wire before pressing the top leaf back down.

Press the top leaf down on top of the wire so that it forms a sort of "vein" (like in real leaves). This was Tristin's idea too, and it looks great! Let your leaves dry for a couple of hours. I left mine alone overnight just to be sure.

Fabric Leaf Arrangement

And now for the fun part! Start with one leaf and wrap its floral wire around a branch to secure it in place. Decorate the rest of your tree to your liking. Use a more natural pattern like the branch pictured above...

Fabric Leaves - crazy curls

...or make them funky& curly. The floral wire is extremely malleable and can help you attain almost any look.

Fabric Leaf Tree

Stay tuned for the next one in the series. By the end we're going to have a freakin' forest!
What do you think the next tree is going to be?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baby got Bach a.k.a. A fun printable card for big-bootied music-lovers!

Don't you love humorous cards?  I have a reputation for somewhat irreverent card-giving, and it can be hard to keep up with expectations 'cause Hallmark and I are not always on the same page.  So, I go to the drawing board and make something when necessary.  For instance, last week my gal pal Suzanne celebrated her birthday and because she's a music-lover (and a Choral director) I wanted to give a card that spoke to her.

So, here's what I came up with...

Baby Got Bach card

I even created it as a printable so YOU can give one to your music-loving, big-bootied friends! 

You can check out the printable version of the "Baby got Bach" card here

The card is formatted to be printed as a 5x7 image, then you can simply fold it into a card and trim the small excess of cardstock on the edges to make it just the right size.  The printable card is only available in black and white (since I only have a black and white printer).  To all of you who have plain printers like me but love free printables, you're welcome

Baby got Bach gift 007

I used Sharon's mod-podge coaster idea to create some special coasters, too.  Suzanne loved them and plans to put drinks on them.  That was supposed to be funny, but whatever.  I think stating the obvious is hilarious.  Maybe you don't.  That's ok.  I still think it's funny.

Baby got Bach gift 009

Houndstooth ribbon was the perfect ribbon to tie up these little gems with.  I love me some houndstooth.

On the inside of the card, instead of writing something lame like "Happy Birthday" in plain English, I wrote out the first line of the happy birthday song...  you know, 'cause I'm speaking Suzanne's language!

Happy Birthday music

And there you have it--the perfect gift for your musically inclined friends.  Boo-yah! 

(And Happy Birthday, Sue-Sue!)

Tristin Signature

Monday, March 21, 2011

DIY Dessert Pedestal

DIY Dessert Pedestal

A couple of months ago, I stumble upon these gorgeous handmade vintage inspired dessert pedestals made by Linda Smith from Burlap + Blue. I decided right then that I needed one. But of course, instead of purchasing one of her beautiful works of art, I gravitated toward those four dangerous words... "I could make that".

I know I could not do the hand painting that she does on some of hers, nor could I find such adorably unique stands/pedestals that she has (although maybe you can at your local thrift store/Goodwill); but I knew that I could find some simple treasures to create a pedestal that I liked. First stop - Goodwill.

pottery barn candle holder

Yes, this is another Goodwill transformation. I found this Pottery Barn candlestick at GW for $0.59. I love it! I love how crisp and clean it looks, but it still has the antique/traditional curves and detailing. 
Basically, it's perfect.


I also found this decorative plate that had the same glossy finish as the candle stick and some traditional details. It was a perfect match. And it was only $1. I quickly checked the sizing and proportions between the plate and candle stick, and then went home a happy girl. :)

DIY Dessert Pedestal 2

A little hot glue did the trick, and I had a custom dessert pedestal for under $2. I don't have any cupcakes on hand, so these lemons will have to do. You can really put whatever you want on them. 

There are so many unique candle sticks and plates, and this project is so easy, why wouldn't you make your own dessert pedestal? Find some beautiful vintage plates or uniquely shaped stands and get your craft on!

Happy Monday! XO,


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Linky Love: Chalkboard Paint!

Chalkboard paint is everywhere. I mean everywhere. It's on walls, tables, pantry doors, cars. Ok, so it hasn't made it to cars yet, but I fear it will very soon take over the world. (Sometimes I like to be a little over-dramatic.) Nevertheless, chalkboard paint is awesome! Maybe that's why people are putting it on every object they own. Anyways, here are some neato ideas you can do with chalkboard paint.


Chalkboard calendar painted directly onto the wall. Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart.



Chalkboard up your herb garden by adding chalkboard paint to your pots.

Your child will love these chalkboard wall decals by Modern Dose.



Heidi from Budget Wise Home created these awesome customizable chairs. 



Create a customized buffet table by using chalkboard paint on the drawer fronts. 
Image courtesy of Homelife.com



I'm in love with this adorable chalkboard paint table from Design Sponge.



One of the most common uses for chalkboard paint - labeling jars. Get the tute from Chickiedee.



We can't talk about chalkboard paint without addressing the infamous chalkboard globe. I thought the idea was a bit odd at first, but it is definitely growing on me. I may even love it now. 
Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.



And of course, Tristin's chalkboard table she refinished for her Junebug. So, so adorable!


Chalkboard paint is relatively cheap and extremely fun to play with. I mean, look at all the unique things you can do with it! It's useful for labeling containers and displaying dinner menus or it can be a fun surface for the kids to play on. Either way, I don't see how you could go wrong! Pick it up at your local paint store and start your own chalkboard adventures today.




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