For this year’s Chinoiserie Christmas, I mostly used decorations I already had from our “white and woodsy Christmas,” with the addition of these hand-drawn ornaments! This post is coming late, because it took me all month to finish these ornaments, … Continue reading
I have a lot of craft projects “incubating” – I get excited, I buy supplies, and then… I wait for the perfect moment to create them! We could also call this hoarding of craft supplies, but that’s not in the spirit of the season!
We’ve got an enthusiastic new social committee at work, and they organized a “Secret Snowflake” exchange for the holidays. “Handmade is encouraged,” they instructed. Now that’s my kind of challenge. My gift recipient loves to host dinner parties, so I found her a cute serving bowl, some holiday dish towels, and I am finishing off the package with these DIY coasters!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- White 4″ square tiles – very inexpensive at the hardware store, or you can order online
- Decorative paper – choose thinner paper that absorbs the adhesive and molds to the tile
- Mod Podge
- Water-based varnish
- Silicon bumpers
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut paper to fit tiles
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge on tile
- Lay down paper and smooth out
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge over paper
- Letting dry between layers, add one or two more coats of Mod Podge
- Add three or more coats of varnish, for a more durable finish
- Add silicon bumpers to bottom
Here they are in my home and getting ready to go spread cheer in my friend’s home!
Next time, I’d like to try making these coasters, with the paper sandwiched between glass, because I think they’ll hold up even better. Next year’s teacher and coworker gift? Maybe!
Hope you are having fun sharing treats and gifts this season!
Julie aka “Jewels”
You might know that I caught the macrame bug last summer. There is just something so magical about transforming a simple piece of rope! Once I figured out the basics, I wanted to be able to create some more original designs as well. Here are my posts on macrame plant hangers:
- beginner’s plant hanger with simple knots
- plant hangers with square knots, wave knots, and beads
- adding accents with colors
Even with my love of plants and hanging planters, I was running low on things to make with rope, so I was very excited to see this I discovered macrame pendant lights. I first caught sight of Windy Chien’s Helix light in the Apartment 34’s One Room Challenge:
And then, I began spotting it everywhere, like in this beautiful bedroom from Katie Monkhouse:
I was looking for bedside lamps for our guest room and teen’s room, and I knew that I just had to try my own version of these lights!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Plug-in light kit, with a cord color that coordinates with your rope: Here’s one with a white cord and one with a black cord. I used one that is black with a metallic light socket
- Macrame rope: such as cotton clothesline, or check out the gorgeous options from Bobbiny or Modern Macrame. I tried two types of rope:
- 5mm diameter Bobbiny cotton rope. I used about 200′ of 5mm rope for at 15′ light kit.
- 9mm diameter Bobbiny rope. I used 150′ of this for a 15′ light kit.
- Light bulb: looks great with an LED Edison bulb or G40 frosted LED bulb
- For the hanger, I used my favorite Ikea Ekby Valter brackets (I’ve used them as plant hangers, as well as, as intended, shelf brackets). I stained the unfinished brackets with walnut stain. The 9mm rope light is hanging from the larger size bracket, and the 5mm rope light is hanging from the smaller bracket.
Here’s how to do it:
- Test your light kit! It’s probably fine, but you’ll be spending several hours on it, so you want to make sure you didn’t get a lemon
- find the midpoint of your rope and lay it behind your cord, next to the light fixture. With the two long ends of rope, start tying a wave knot
- Tips: it can get unwieldy working with so much rope. I used a kitchen scale to help me divide the rope in half. I also used rubber bands to hold together the balls of rope, so they would not unravel.
- Keep going
- (Turn on a movie or podcast)
- Keep going
- When you get to the switch, neatly line the rope along the sides of the switch and then resume your wave knot
- When you’ve almost reached the plug, use a gathering knot to finish off the ends
Here are some pictures of the hanging lights – the navy cord was made with 5mm cord and the denim cord with 9mm rope.
I don’t know about you, but I want to make another one (or ten) soon.
Julie aka “Jewels”
I love the look of shibori – which is hardly surprising, since I love all things blue and white, and fabric. I finally overcame my skittishness about dye and tried this technique… now, I am 100% addicted! I’ve got lots … Continue reading
Superheroes have been capturing our imagination for decades, and the recent revival of superhero movies shows they are truly timeless. And since everything else with kids changes way too fast, superheroes make a great and enduring theme for their decor. I really enjoyed making these art projects for our kids and our friends’ boys.
My materials for the vintage superhero art were:
To infinity and beyond,
“DNA, you’re in my heart
DNA, in fact you’re in every part of my body
Each cell has a nucleus, each nucleus has chromosomes
And DNA, baby, that spells DNA”
-That Spells DNA by Jonathan Coulton
I can thank Steve, who is at the forefront of all things nerdy, for introducing me to Jonathan Coulton over a decade ago. Of course, as a genetic counselor, I have a particular soft spot for “That Spells DNA.” If you’re as nerdy as we are, and you don’t already know and love this song, you will want to check it out!
So, when we found out we were having a mini baby boom in our work family, with two babies due within two months, it wasn’t too hard for me to decide on DNA-themed baby quilts as gifts.
I found the DNA-themed fabric, Color DNA stripe by Melissa McCulloch, on Spoonflower. The fabric in the quilts is actually left over from a few Halloweens ago when our group dressed up as (if terrible puns cause you pain, skip this next part!) Gene-gnomes. The colors were a perfect jumping off point for this colorful gender-neutral patchwork of yellow, blues, greens and coral-red.
This pattern is called Stacked Coins and is easy to adapt to scraps of all kinds.
Here are some close-ups of the beautiful fabrics. I wanted to use every last scrap of the DNA fabric, so there is one patch in each of the quilts that I like to call “CRISPRed.” Can you spot one?
And here are a few more pictures of the quilts during their photo shoot, before they went off to their new homes!
All the colors and patterns together make me so happy! I am excited to meet the newest babies of our work family and give them their quilts, so they can start their genetics lessons early!
These little luggage tags make wonderful gifts that are quick to make and practical!
Every kids loves having something with their name on it, and every adult fears taking the wrong bag at the airport. I’ve actually done this – and it was a huge pain, because I had to spend hours and $$ going back to LAX to exchange the bag, but I was relieved that at least the woman whose bag I accidentally took was really nice about it.
I love all the ways you can customize these luggage tags. I am showing these with scrapbook paper, but I’ve also made some out of wedding invitations to give as a gift to the couple, and you could use photos or lots of other ideas!
I’ve made tags with two different types of lamination:
There’s really nothing better than a beautiful combination of scrapbook paper and stickers, is there? … Well, maybe dark chocolate and red wine… or world peace… okay, but these are really fun and pretty, so go and make some, because world peace may take a while to achieve.
I’ve decided to call my crafting style “serial crafting monogamy.” I definitely go on streaks where I fall in love with a new technique and can’t get enough of it. Right now, I’m sure you have noticed, I am addicted to macrame. Once I got the hang of it, I have so many ideas to try!
Today’s post is about adding color to your plant hangers – I did this with dyeing an ombre pattern as well as with adding colorful embroidery floss.
If you want to go back and see other posts on macrame, here are the links:
And I just recently discovered Bobbiny cotton rope from Poland. It’s so soft, recycled, and beautiful, so I’m definitely scheming to add more color to my macrame projects that way!
Today’s project is a great way to reuse – or “upcycle” items around your house, while creating something beautiful to feed your plant problem… I mean plant addiction… I mean plant projects! If you are a crazy plant lady like me, you are always looking for new ways to display your plants. I’m definitely not opposed to going shopping for some pretty planters, but it’s also amazing what you can do with things around your house.
A while ago, I showed you the faux marble planters I made from empty yogurt containers. The marble paper works well for sloped containers, because the pattern is random. But if you can find some containers that have straight sides (hint, eat a lot of Talenti Gelato- you know, for the cause!), then you have got to try out the same trick with metallic contact paper!
Here’s what you will need:
- Empty containers with straight sides – I have used shampoo, body wash, and Talenti gelato containers
- Metallic contact paper. This is my favorite brand, and it comes in many pretty colors, including copper!
- Ruler and scissors
- That’s all!
Here’s how to make the planters:
- Wash out your container. For the shampoo and body wash containers, I roughly trimmed off the top – the final trimming will happen at the end
- Measure the height and circumference of your container and cut out a piece of metallic contact paper that is the desired height and about a centimeter longer than the circumference
- Carefully apply the contact paper
- For the shampoo and body wash containers, I finished trimming the top after I put on the paper, so that it was exactly flush with the contact paper
- That’s all!
You can put in drainage holes, if you want. If you use the containers without drainage holes, make sure to put a layer of rocks and some agricultural charcoal at the bottom and be careful not to overwater.
I think these pictures prove that being green can be completely golden!
This beautiful scarf has been shared by many knitters. It’s a simple pattern where the yarn does the hard work. Originally made with Noro yarns, I tried it using some yarn I already had.
The concept is simple – two colorways of self-striping yarn alternating every two rows. The ever-changing combination is mesmerizing and beautiful.
How to do it:
- Plan for a finished width of 6-8″ and finished length of 5-6′
- This pattern is knit in a 1x 1 rib
- Slip the first and last stitches on the second row of each color to keep the edge neat
- An odd number of stitches will look extra neat, because you start and end each row with the same type of stitch, but an even number is simplest, because you start each row the same way. I did it this way, and it’s barely noticeable
This scarf is addictive to knit, because each section comes together in a unique pattern. It’s also very photogenic!