30 June 2014

Red, White and Blue

Happy Monday dear friends! I can't believe that June is over -- how did the first part of the year go by so quickly?

This Friday, we're celebrating America's Independence Day (Fourth of July) and the colors red, white and blue reign supreme.

Here is a round-up of patriotic crafts that I found on Pinterest. I liked them for their simplicity and having an element of recycling...definitely blah to TADA!

via Sassy Deals
Firework prints for paper or fabric using an old dish cleaning brush.

via The Outlaw Mom
An adorable basket for fruit-picking or picnic snacks made from ribbon and an empty berry basket.

via Creative Green Living
Wind chimes fashioned out of empty cans.

Please stop by on Wednesday for another craft idea. Thanks for coming over!

23 June 2014

Sprucing up the Balcony

It's officially summer in the East Coast and I'm doing cartwheels! This season calls for a relaxed pace, dressing down, and dining alfresco. 

We have a small balcony in our apartment with a picturesque view of the George Washington Bridge. I want to spend more time here that's why I'm embarking on a "Balcony: blah to TADA!" project.

Right now, there's a bunch of old furniture hanging out there (I can't help it if I don't want to throw them away!).

There's this side table that finds history in my husband's bachelor pad. So blah.

I cleaned it up, sanded it down, and covered it with several coats of black paint. I figured black paint would cover its flaws and be appropriate for an outdoor piece.

Here's the same table, looking all sleek. TADA!

And then there's this large picture frame that I saved from the trash. I guess the owner got rid of it because it no longer has its glass front. Well picture frame, I'm here to adopt you. Come to momma.

I'm turning you into inexpensive art.

A good excuse to visit the fabric store in New York's fashion district. Geez, so many choices!

On a whim, I chose this floral fabric. It's cheery and summery. Since I'm putting this outside, the black background will hide the dust. I can easily swap it into something more graphic when the season changes.

And here it is -- instant wall art! The frame was free and the fabric, $5.00 a yard (and I only used 1/2 a yard). Talk about a cheap thrill...TADA!

This is just the first part of my balcony transformation. I'll keep you posted on my work in progress.

In the meantime, have a beautiful start of the week!

16 June 2014

Needle Felting Fun

Wasn't the weekend gorgeous?  Today, we'll be crafting with this:

I know, it looks like cotton candy! Sorry to disappoint all those with a sweet tooth out there. This, my friends, is wool roving. It's the main material for a craft called needle felting.

Felting is on my list of "Crafts to try this Year" and needle felting is just one of its many branches.

I would define "felting" as painting a pattern or sculpting an object with wool fibers. 

I decided to try it with this kit that I bought at my favorite craft store.

It had everything I needed: wool roving in assorted colors, foam block, plastic template, felting needle, thread, and an instruction sheet.

Because poking with a very sharp needle is involved, I put a piece of thick cardboard on my work surface to protect it. Then I put the plastic template {it looks like a cookie cutter; another food reference that's making me hungry} on top of the foam block.

I pulled off small pieces of roving from the big ball that came in the package. I placed these inside the plastic template, roughly filling it.  

I pushed the felting needle straight down through the roving and into the foam block. This process tames the roving and allows them to stick together. Do this in shallow motions {about 1/4 inch} so that the roving doesn't bury itself into the foam block.

Repeat the needle-pushing until the roving begins to flatten. It also helps to rotate the block and pattern to get to the easy-to-miss corners.

Once I filled the bottom-half, I added a new color to the top, repeating the needle-poking process. 

Fair warning: hold the needle straight during the entire process. If the needle is angled, it will break. I learned that on my first try -- I had to buy a new needle to finish the project. Don't even try using a regular sewing needle or pin. It won't work.

I always referred to the photo to help me position the roving.  It's totally alright to remove the template to see how the pattern is taking shape. Also, gently peel off the roving from the foam block every now and then. We don't want to roving to stick to the foam block. That's not cool.

Continue the same process when adding details and accents.

The instructions say that the finished shape should be 1/8" to 1/4 " thick and fairly dense and firm. If you haven't achieved it, repeat the process using small amounts or roving. It also helps to peel off the shape from the foam block and poke the needle through the back side to make both sides even.

Also poke the needle around the edges to get rid of the strays.

And here is my little felted teacup. TADA!

By adding a string {attach it on with hot glue or by sewing}, it doubles as an ornament or gift embellishment.

Here is a tutorial that I found quite useful.

Enjoy your week!

15 June 2014

Happy Father's Day

I want to wish all the daddies out there a very Happy Father's Day! May each of you have a fun-filled day and know how much you are all appreciated. 

13 June 2014

Paper Flower Fiesta

Here is a collection of paper flowers I made this week:

They're inspired by the blooms in the book Paper to Petal. I hope you'll have a vibrant weekend!

12 June 2014

Cascading Clusters

All this week, I'm crafting from this book called Paper to Petal.

It's brimming with floral how-to's and suggestions for them like decorations, gift embellishments and personal accessories.

Today, I'd like to zero in on the flowers that grow in clusters.

Like this fantasy mobile and these merry multiblooms:

Being an admirer of foxgloves, I hopped on the opportunity to fashion some.

I made some petals out of packaging paper {turn blah to TADA!} and traced on this shape from the limitless variety available here.

I added some color with a neon highlighter and paint.

I overlapped the sides of each petal onto floral wire, then secured with glue.

I added a strip of floral tape to each one. This keeps the petal extra secure and makes the flower look more realistic.

A little note on floral tape: keep it in a plastic zipper bag between uses so it doesn't dry out.

Time to curl the stems.

Then attach them to another piece of wire with floral tape.

I already like how it looks.

Flowing and flowery. TADA!

11 June 2014

Fiery Orange Flower

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

Here's another flower that I crafted. I've made paper flowers before like this one and this one, but I couldn't help making more after reading this book:

It's written, styled, and photographed by Rebecca Thuss {who used to work for Martha Stewart's magazine empire} and her husband Patrick Farrell. And let me tell you, it will open your mind to new possibilities for paper flowers!

I'll show you how I made my orange bloom:

To make the flowers, crepe paper is the recommended material. I happen to love recycling so I used old packaging paper instead {the ones used for wrapping breakables at the department store}. In fact, you can use any paper you have on hand -- tissue, gift wrap, construction paper. Then, I used one of the petal templates from the book {also on-line}.

However, my white packaging paper was looking blah. 

But not anymore! With a little bit of paint {applied randomly with a dry paintbrush}, a cinch at the tip, a curl using a pencil, these are now looking more like petals.

I made a stamen out of fringed paper then attached this to a piece of floral wire with glue.

Then I added the petals, securing the ends to the wire with more glue.

I finished off with a layer of floral wire.

A closer look.

I even reused this empty white wine vinegar bottle as a vase. TADA!

More tomorrow.

10 June 2014

Paper to Petal

So I borrowed this visually-inspiring book from the library:

It's called Paper to Petal authored by husband-wife team Patrick Farrell and Rebecca Thuss. I've renewed it so many times because I can't get enough of all the handmade beauty! Here, let me show you...

They're based on real flowers but with a whimsical spin. Stripes, baby!

And pastel speckles!

Vibrant arrangements to keep or give away. Sigh.

The tutorials are easy to follow, it contains many templates and a generous directory of supply sources. 

I just had to try out some of the projects, in my blah to TADA! twist -- I'm re-purposing tissue and packaging paper. 

I started by tracing a petal from the one of the templates.

I cut these out and painted on a darker shade of pink.

Having no green paper, I made leaves with watercolor.

I did the same to make yellow paper that I fringed. 

Floral tape, floral wire and a wire cutter are a few other essentials.

Here's how I made the flower:

The center is made of a cotton ball attached to one end of the floral wire. Then wrap the cotton ball with a square piece of paper.

Secure the loose ends to the wire with floral tape.

I'm using the yellow fringe as the stamen, adding more floral tape as I go along.

I pinched the ends of the petals and added them to the base with glue and more floral tape.

Here's what it looks like.

Add a calyx to make it more lifelike.

And then some leaves.

Here's what it looks like now. 

Just the right size to add color to a desk or shelf. TADA!

Please stop by tomorrow for another idea from the book.