Sunday, February 9, 2020

Upcycled gifts for Valentine’s Day

I like to celebrate the people in my life with small tokens of appreciation during holidays like Valentine's Day, but sometimes I don't have a lot of cash in the budget for gift giving. This year I decided to get creative, upcycling some items I had around the house to make special gifts for my Valentines.

The items that I used to make my upcycled gifts included:
-pink, metallic cardboard from a body soap gift set box
-used candle tins (from Aldi)
-used fruit cup (from Panera Bread)

I decided that the piece of pink, metallic cardboard would make a sweet Valentine card and used the Cricut machine at my local library to cut out the heart shape. I'm still learning with the Cricut, but I was able to take a free heart image from Cricut's Design Space and slice out half circles around the border to make it look like a lace/doily card.

I love the way that the heart Valentine turned out, even though it is a harder item to photograph because of the metallic finish on the cardboard! It's the perfect shade of pale pink, and I am glad I was able to repurpose or upcycle this piece of cardboard from a bath set box.

For my next upcycle, I cleaned out candle tins from Aldi to make little gift holders. I used a candle warmer to melt the last of the candle wax and then wiped out the tin. I also used soap and water to wash them out, since I wanted to use some of them to give candy.

I used some gold ribbon to package the candies inside some of the empty tins. In the others, I used tissue paper to give some heart earrings that I made specifically for Valentine's Day.

The design on the candle tins were so cute, I couldn't bear the thought of throwing them out, so I'm glad that I was able to recycle them to make these Valentine's Day gifts.

The last item to repurpose was the plastic fruit cup. I washed this out with soap and water and peeled off the fruit label from the lid. The plastic cup would be a cute way to gift candy, cookies, or even a cupcake! I decided to show a way to repurpose the food cup with a non-edible gift. These adorable llama (or are they alpaca?) socks were actually a gift to me from my sister-in-law, but they look sweet as a cupcake rolled up inside.

You may not have the same items on hand for upcycling your own Valentine's Day gifts, but you can get creative! I think upcycled gifts and packaging are good for the environment, and make your gift stand out. What do you think? What items do you have around the house that you would repurpose for gift giving?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Crafty definitions: Craftcident

Craftcident (noun): an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury to yourself or your craft project. 

Who's had one of these? Like when you glue your fingers together or you spill your perler bead project on the floor before fusing it...

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Baby Gifts on the Glowforge

There is an awesome trend happening with libraries: maker spaces! The Louisville Free Public Library has two locations with maker spaces housing 3D printers, sewing machines, vinyl cutters, and even laser cutters and engravers. Recently I was able to use a Glowforge at the library to make two adorable wall decorations for my cousin's baby shower.

She's having twins(!!) and when I learned of the theme for their nursery, I wanted to make some palm leaf signs to match. As an Elizabeth, I am usually able to find my name all over things at stores and souvenir shops, but these little guys have unique names (Brooks and Ellis), so I wanted to personalize the palm leaves for them.

The first step for this project was to design some cut files (.SVG) in Inkscape (a free, open-source design software). You could use Adobe Illustrator or other design software as well. For this project, I did two separate cut files: one of the palm leaf design and one with the baby names in a script font.

Once I had my cut files, the next step was to arrange them in the Glowforge web app. The palm leaf design was cut twice out of 12x12" plywood boards.

It's really fun to watch the laser cutter do it's thing. I didn't have any engraving on this project, so it was pretty fast with just the cutting. You might be able to see that I had a stray line at the bottom of my vector file, but it's okay because it didn't affect the finished look of the leaf.

This might be weird, but I like the smell of the burnt plywood because it reminds me of a fireplace. When I lifted the leaf out of the Glowforge, the background and middle holes stayed behind to be re-purposed for other projects.

Once the leaves were cut, it was time to upload the babies' names in the script font. This screenshot is what the file looks like when it's been uploaded into the web app, but you haven't yet placed the material in the machine. Unfortunately I was a bad blogger and didn't take any in process shots of the cut for the baby names.

Once the pieces were all cut, I decided to color the palm leafs. By using baby wipes to apply the acrylic paint to the palm leaves, I hoped to give them more of a wood "stained" look than a painted look. The paint color was "Parakeet Green" by Handmade Modern, which you can find at Target. I left the baby name pieces unpainted for the natural look, and used some tacky glue to attach them to the palm leaves. I made sure to let them dry overnight before wrapping them up for the baby shower!

What do you think? I think they turned out pretty good! Have you ever used a Glowforge before? Got any tips for beginners?

Thursday, January 23, 2020


It's been too long since my last post. Thus is the way with blogging sometimes, but it can be embarrassing. Crafting is such a big part of my life and I've always got a project going, so my vow is to share that by blogging more in 2020.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Be mine, Valentine!

Valentine's Day is upon us once again. I love love! And I always feel it's best to use this holiday to show my love with cards, candy, or even text messages to people I care about. I'm fortunate to have not only my husband to share it with, but my parents, siblings, and plenty of friends I like to call my "Galentines." One of my Galentines hosted a brunch for us gals over the weekend, which was a lot of fun!

Another one of my very best Galentines, Julee, is known to many of you for her blog DIY Louisville. This year the two of us have decided to take our love of holidays, crafting, and party planning to the next level by collaborating on a new project called Party in Lou! I hope you'll check out our website and follow our Instagram page @PartyinLou!

My creation for this Valentine's "Smooch" party decor was an ombré pink pom-pom banner. I love making pom-poms with yarn. It's so relaxing, and which a plastic pom-pom maker it's super easy, too! All I did was buy one skein of the pink ombré yarn and made several pom-poms in varying sizes (from 3-4 inches) in diameter with the pom-pom maker. Then I trimmed the pom-poms down with scissors, which is how you get such a soft, fuzzy look for your pom-poms.

Using a large sewing needle, I threaded the pom-poms onto a length of yarn to turn them into a pom-pom banner. It is a great decoration, and easily customizable for your theme. Julee came up with the idea of a "Smooch" lips theme for a Valentine's Day party. With her crafted cake toppers, my pom-pom banner, and some simple red, pink, black, and white decor, we were all set to have the cutest party decor.

It didn't hurt that there was cake to match the theme as well! Julee and I agree that handmade items go a long way to make a party feel special. That's why we're so excited to be collaborators on Party in Lou. We hope you'll join us on Instagram and follow our website.

Not it's your turn: What is your favorite party decoration to handcraft? Or, what is the party decoration you would like to learn to make?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Kentucky State String Art

A few years ago I was able to do a community craft at BlockParty Handmade in downtown Louisville. The craft that we made was Kentucky state string art. We were lined up on the sidewalk with our hammers and nails, crafting away. It was so much fun that I wanted to share a tutorial on how to make this easy project. 

What you will need:
1 wooden board (from craft store or hardware store)
1 small box of nails
String in the color of your choice (should contrast in color to your background wooden board)
1 hammer
1 computer print out of your state shape (in this case, Kentucky)
tweezers (optional)

Start by selecting a surface to hammer on that won't cause any damage. Here, I've chosen a tile counter top but places a piece of cardboard between the surface and the wooden board to protect the counter.

Next, take your print out and begin to hammer nails along the outline of the state's shape.

Continue hammering around the outline until you are satisfied with the shape.

Slowly tear away the paper from the nails. (Tweezers can help pull out stubborn pieces of paper if needed.)

Once all the paper is removed, you are left with your state shape!

Now for the really fun part! Get comfortable on a couch watching your favorite show, and go to town running your string through the nails. Start by tying off a piece of the string to one nail and then tightly wind the string in a random way around the nails to create your string art.

Your string art can be woven through the nails as thick or thin as you like, it's up to you! 

When you are finished, tie off the string on one nail and clip the string from the spool leaving a tail. Weave the tail ends of the string through the string art (try the tweezers again if you need help).

Now you are finished! Look at the beautiful project that you created!

Feeling stressed in the New Year already? Try this satisfying project and hammer your frustrations away!

The Kentucky state string art piece can be displayed on a shelf or mounted to a wall. No matter how you display it, you can proudly tell everyone that you made it by yourself!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2018 Quilt Round-Up

One of the things I enjoy most about year-end is reflecting on the things I did that year. Of course, setting goals for the year ahead is always fun, too, but of all the crafts I made for 2018, I was really proud of myself for making and finishing four quilts! Three were baby gifts for my newest nieces and nephew, plus the Halloween Haberdashery quilt I made in October.

Halloween Haberdashery (Witch Hat) Quilt

Baby Girl Quilt #1

Baby Girl Quilt #2

Baby Boy Quilt

The best part about making quilts for me is picking out and piecing all of the different fabrics. The designs for the three baby quilts were all made up on my own, while I did use a pattern for the hat blocks on the Halloween quilt. I've learned a lot of new tips and tricks since starting my journey of self-taught quilt-making and am proud to say I conquered my fears of free-motion quilting! (YouTube really can teach you just about anything!) 

Now that it's 2019, I already have plans (and fabrics) for more quilt-making in the New Year. Plus, maybe I'll finally finish the quilt I started for my Mom years ago. Here's hoping!