Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

During a move a couple of years back I found myself packing up hundreds and hundreds of CD cases.  The numbers were staggering, but their sheer volume, once in front of my face, was hard to handle.  After I’d filled a box (or three) I started to doubt the sanity of packing and moving the insane collection into my new home.  So, I decided to toss the cases.  One by one, I packed my discs into humongous CD binders.  In no time I had condensed the size of my music collection by 3/4.   Though I was relieved to see my burden shrunk, I felt a pang of sadness at letting go of the cases for all of my favorite albums.  How many countless hours had I spent pouring over each and every one of those liner notes?  I knew and loved each one.  How could I just chuck them into the garbage bin?  Being crafty, my mind fashioned a strange compromise.  I pulled the liner notes from the CD cases and stashed them away in a plastic bag in anticipation for the day that I figured out how to make something creative with them.

I used the stash as a sort of paper buffet for some time.  I used the pictures and text inside the liner notes to make buttons, magnets, and collages, but it wasn’t until much later that I came up with the greatest use for my old CD books ever, the Album Bouquet!  One day I got my hands on a flower shaped paper punch, some beads, and a spool of floral wire and it all came together.  Here’s what I made:

RadioHead: Kid A

The Misfits: Static Age

PJ Harvey: Is This Desire?

Here’s how you make them.

You’ll need:

  • CD Liner Notes
  • A Flower Shaped Paper Punch
  • A Mini Hole Punch (1/8 inch)
  • Floral Wire
  • Medium Sized Seed Beads
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Floral Tape


  • Start by carefully removing the cover of the album and setting it aside.  This will be used as the vase, or wrapper for your bouquet.
  • Cut the remainder of the liner into strips that are just a little wider than your flower shaped punch.
  • Punch as many flowers as you can from the liner, then put them together into pairs of two.
  • Now punch two tiny holes into the middle of each pair of  flowers using your 1/8 inch hole punch.
  • Cut several 5 inch lengths of floral wire.
  • Line up a pair of flowers so that the holes in the middle align, then carefully thread a piece of wire through one of the holes.
  • Slip a bead onto the wire, then thread about 1 inch of the wire through the other hole in the flower so that the two ends of the wire are underneath the flower.  Carefully twist the two ends together.
  • Repeat the last two steps until you have tons of flowers.
  • Arrange the flowers into a pretty bunch, then secure the stems together using floral tape.
  • Roll the album cover into a cone and secure it from the inside with a piece of double sided tape.  Curl the edges on the outside cover down a little to make it extra pretty.
  • Place your bouquet of flowers into the wrapper and present it to your favorite music lover.

If you are wondering what to do with the empty jewel cases themselves, you will be happy to learn that they can be recycled.  However, your local recycling center is unlikely to take them, as they are made of a material that is notoriously difficult to recycle.  But fear not, the internet has come to the rescue.  Visit GreenDisk.com to learn how you can have your cases ethically disposed of.   Or, if you are feeling crafty,  check out the Top 14 Ways to Reuse Unwanted Jewel Cases.  Yet another option is to call up your local used CD store to see if they’d like to take your cases.  Second hand music stores are often in need of extra jewel cases, so your local shop may be happy to take them off your hands.


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You may remember a post several months ago which explained how you can create paper versions of your friends to take out on the town with you when you can’t all be together in real life.  My sisters and I began making flat friends the last time that we got 3 out of 4 of us together for a big fun time.  We really were sad that Caity, our youngest sister, couldn’t be there to share in our good times.  We McNally girls are big on making lemonade out of lemons if you know what I mean, so we created “Flat Caitlin” from paper and popsicle sticks, and took her with us throughout the day (and night’s) shenanigans.

My sister, Heather, just moved to Austin, Texas.  I helped her move, so I’m here for a few more days.  Sarah, another sister, is arriving tonight,  just in time to grab dinner and hit a Camera Obscura concert.  Fun times are definitely going to be had, but how can our joviality be complete when we are missing one sister?  That’s right.  It’s Flat Friend time.

We decided to go with a new photo this time. Mix things up, you know? Keep it fresh.

Caity's High School Graduation

Unfortunately, this photo mostly just shows her head, and we really need a good portion of body in order to get the Flat Friend just right.  Plus, we need somewhere to stick the popsicle stick.  Not a problem though, with the wonders of Photo Shop, we can easily create the facade of a torso.  Just a few clicks of the mouse, and VIOLA!

Ready to become a Flat Friend!

Isn’t digital imagery amazing? Now to print her out, attach her to a stick, and hit the town!  Yippee Kai Yay, Texas!

Update: Here are some photos of the fun we had with Flat Caitlin in Austin

The Four McNally Ladies in the Bluebonnets

Flat Caitlin Enjoying the Sunset Over Lake Travis

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These sweet treats are made with regular, household cotton balls, simple craft supplies, and just a dash of imagination.  Kids will love piecing together these adorable play foods.  For this project you’ll need: large cotton balls, school glue, brown and black construction paper, small pom poms, small candy cups, and markers.

Cotton Cookies, Ice Cream Cone, and Cupcakes

To make creme filled cookies, start by cutting some shapes out of construction paper.  Cut two 3 to 4 inch circles out of brown paper, then two more out of black paper.   With a brown marker, draw chocolate chips onto the brown circles.  Using a white marker or a white crayon decorate the black circles to resemble a chocolate cookie.  Take two cotton balls and gently pull them in every direction.  Try not to pull them completely apart.  Instead, try to just stretch each cotton ball into a wide, flat circle.  On the wrong side of each paper cookie, spread school glue evenly.  Sandwich the cotton ball circles in between two paper cookies and gently press them together.

Next, try making some cotton ball cupcakes.  Start with a candy cup, or small cupcake wrapper.  Coat the inside of the cup with school glue, then drop a cotton ball inside.  To make your cupcakes look more realistic, try shaping them into a ball first.  Top each cupcake with a small pom pom and a drop of glue.

Another faux food you can create using cotton balls is ice cream!  Begin by cutting a 4 inch square from construction paper.  Carefully trim one half of the square into a round edge.  Using a brown marker, draw criss-crossing diagonal lines across the paper to make the paper resemble a waffle cone.  Now roll the square into a cone shape and secure it with glue.  Next, grab a cotton ball and carefully pull the cotton up from its middle.  Twist the cotton gently to give it a swirled look.  This step may take a little practice.  Once your ice cream is ready, use glue to secure your ice cream inside the cone.

Make sure you allow your cotton ball crafts to dry completely before playing with them.

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Fields of Thread

Goggy's Button Box

I’ve been stitching away for the last two weeks.  Making little fabric flowers and hand stitching linings into pouches has been filling most of my time.  Meanwhile, it’s been a treat sorting through all of the vintage fabric and notions that my Mom has stashed on her shelves.  Hordes of shiny buttons, metal toothed zippers, and funky upholstery fabrics.  Be still my heart!

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Apparently, I can’t get enough of Amy Butler crafting paper.  After finishing off a tin of Green Tea the other day I got the bright idea to redecorate the can and give it a second life.

Supplies! Craft Paper, Empty Canisters, and Glue.

How To:

  • Find a canister you’d like to remodel.  You can probably find some likely candidates in your pantry.  Tea tins, tobacco canisters, coffee cans, and powdered drink containers are just a few examples.
  • Remove any problematic packaging from the container.  If it has a paper label, you may want to leave it on.  As long as it is smooth and well adhered, it will actually help to keep the decorative paper attached.  Things you may want to remove include stickers, pamphlets, or oddly places labels.  The best thing to use to remove them is a adhesive remover solution, but if you don’t have one handy, you can try mayonnaise, hot water, nail polish remover, or even vegetable oil.
  • Carefully cut a piece of decorative paper to fit around the container.  It is best to use thick papers like card stock or scrapbook paper, otherwise you may be able to see the original packaging underneath.
  • Using School Glue or Elmer’s Glue, spread a thin layer of glue evenly across the wrong side of your paper.  I like to spread thin circles instead of spreading it flat, but the choice is up to you.
  • Carefully attach your paper to the container and hold it firmly until it has dried enough to hold its own shape.
  • You can add a line of ribbon in a corresponding color to the paper’s edges to give the container a more finished look.  Just measure it out and attach it with a very thin coat of glue.

All done!

Your finished canisters can be used for about a million things.  Try using them to hold any number of little doo-dads. Take the lids off and they can hold paint brushes, pencils & pens, silverware, or faux floral arrangements.

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So I am finally crafty again! Yes folks, after months of crafty deprivation I have returned to the land of easy. Here, in the land of easy to get materials, easy to get equipment, it is easy to please me.  Give me a nice pair of shears, a full belly, and a tub full of old fabric and I’m happy.  I’ve spent the last few weeks chopping, stitching, and scheming some use into the many tubs of fabric that has inhabited my parents’ storage space.  There are fabrics in there that date back to my childhood, others were collected by my sisters and I when we first started to sew, maybe um… around 10 or 15 years ago?

So what have I been doing armed with an arsenal of vintage fabric? With the help of my Mum, I’ve been creating some simple pouches, hats, bags, and other accessories from fairly simple patterns that I have drafted out in my latest handy dandy notebook.  Though we have plenty of prototypes kicking around the house now, the first finished items are a set of zipper pouches.  Making these simple pouches themselves was a breeze, but embellishing them was a bit challenging.  It took some brain noodling to figure out how to dress them up.  During my noodling I discovered a technique for making fabric flowers.  They come out beautifully!  But, but but… my fingers hurt.  There was a lot of stabbing involved, and my tender little fingertips have come to understand the nature of pain thanks to these pretty little flowers. Yowee.

Prairie Flowers Pouch

I’m on a “pretty” kick lately, and I’ve decided to open a small shop on Etsy to host all of the pretty things my Mom and I have been making.  When I get home I’ll relaunch Scribble Nation as well, and keep all the kooky stuff there, but for now I am in the mood for flowers, clouds, and sunshine.  You can find things that speak to that inspiration at GoraHandmade.Etsy.com.

More Pouch Porn:

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The wedding has come and gone, and I am proud to report that it went off without any major hitches.  Naturally a couple of things strayed from the plan, but overall the evening turned out better than I had dared to hope.  It was pretty much perfect.  All in all it was a night to remember, and is in no danger of fading into a mush of cookie cutter wedding memories.  Mission accomplished!

While obviously the big things going according to plan had plenty to do with the party's success, it was the little things that added sweetness and personality to the event.  My Mom and sisters, and my new favorite red headed Floridian, James, did an amazing job putting together the wedding favors and programs.  They created over 100 of each!

MatchBox Favors
These little Match Boxes were first thought up as wedding favors by our buddy Sailor at Hot Rock & Dye.  Originally, I envisioned hand stamped collages of glitter and construction paper, but Heather decided to take these little guys to the next level by designing their paper covers on the computer.  She put together an adorable template of leopard, red, and black, complete with the wedding date, then used four adorable puns and catch phrases on the other side. She used "Hunka Burnin' Love", "A Perfect Match", "Flame On", and "Hot Stuff". These were so cute, and very popular! We only ended up with a handful left over the next morning.

Wedding Programs
Heather also designed these matching programs.  They featured an awesome tattoo font, a heavenly piece of clip art on the front, and more art from the centerpiece stencils inside. Awesome!

Tiny Cake Favors-1
All of the favors were outstanding, but the most amazing of all were the tiny cakes that my Mom made.  She started out by assembling almost 200 little blue boxes that arrived flat stacked from EFavorMart.com.  Then, she created hundreds and hundreds of little bows from blue and gold ribbon.  She attached ribbons and bows to all of the boxes, and then started on the cakes.  Tiny Cake Favors-4She baked mini cupcakes from both yellow and strawberry flavored cake, and then carefully trimmed each cupcake to a uniform shape.  When they were all ready, she glazed them with a white chocolate ganache, then dipped the tops in melted white chocolate.  As if that wasn't wild enough, she topped each tiny cake with a pair of handmade (by her, of course) gum paste cherries!  Even the little bows attached to the cherries were made by hand with ribbon and hot glue.  Heather designed and printed tiny cards to accompany the cake boxes, explaining the tradition that went behind them:

Tiny Cake Favors
Legend says that if an unwed woman places a slice of wedding cake under her pillow, that night she will dream of the man she is going to marry! Thanks for being with us as we watched our dreams come true! To play the game, place this box of cake under your pillow tonight and dream your heart out!

Tiny Cake Favors-2
There are many more photos to come.  I'll keep posting as they flow in.  Next, I'll share photos of us setting up, and explain how we transformed the Heirloom into a swanky fifties dance party

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