A Magic Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I wish you all the best and the happiest of the holiday season.

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Everybody knows one. There’s at least one in every family. Sometimes there are several.

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I’m talking about Harry Potter fans. Yes, those people.

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I found this amazing tutorial on DeviantArt to make Harry Potter-inspired wands a couple years ago and I’ve been saving it for that special someone in my family.

Items you will most def need: chopsticks. I have six of the normal kind you get in fast food restaurants, and then a set of cooking chopsticks, because some wands are longer than others, after all.

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You will also need a hot glue gun and appropriate hot glue sticks. Kind of key. You’re going to use a lot of glue for these so be prepared!

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Optional are beads. Plastic, wooden, whatever. Doesn’t matter what colour. I also added some string. Because I like string.

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Then I sat myself down with one of her favourite television shows to inspire me and I got to work (I probably should have watched Harry Potter but I’m on season two on Netflix and things are really starting to get good!).

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From here what you do is pretty much up to you. I glued on some of the larger beads at the butt end of the wand as kind of a backstop.

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And one on the tip as sort of an extender.

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Then I added some texture and filler with glue.

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Twirly whirly.

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On this one I went with some string and some small beads.

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Here I let the glue and gravity do their thing. If you use the high setting on your glue gun the glue will stay liquid for longer.

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You can roll almost-cold glue between your hands to shape it but I tend to burn myself so I didn’t do that. I just let the glue cool unadulterated.

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Now you can paint! I used craft paint, in a few different shades of brown. I painted the tips of the wands a darker brown, almost black, because I figure if they’re shooting sparks all the time they might get a little singed, right? I also added bits of silver here and there.

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After the paint dried I coated each with a liberal layer of gloss Mod Podge and let that dry overnight. Any other form of sealant would work well – but you should definitely seal them with something because craft paint will just scratch right off hot glue.

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Pretty fancy, no?

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I’m not sure what she’s going to do with EIGHT MAGIC WANDS but that’s really not the point of this whole exercise, is it?

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Fall Leaf Wreath

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I’m not sure how it came about, but making wreaths from scratch has become one of my favourite DIYs in recent years. I love coming up with an idea  and seeing it come to fruition – sometimes better than I’d planned.

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I spent about 20 minutes gathering these leaves from the local park. They all came from the same tree, so they were the same general shape, but they had a good variance of colour, which I liked. I divided my pile in half, and set one half aside.

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Then I got out my craft paint and paint brushes.

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Then I started painting the other half of the leaves. Nothing too elaborate or detailed – just something to make the leaf still interesting to look at once it’s shriveled and turned brown.

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I did this for a while.

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Like, an hour or so.

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My favourites are the ones I painted with glitter paint, so the leaf colour shines through but then the light catches on the glitter and they’re just lovely.

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Then I cut out a half-assed circle from some scrap cardboard. Yep, that’s freehand. No sense in being perfect on something that doesn’t need to be perfect.

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While the painted leaves were drying, I took my hot glue gun and started attaching the unpainted leaves to the cardboard ring.

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I tried to line it up mostly along the edges, with the larger leaves on the outside and smaller ones on the inside.

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Then I filled in the centre a bit, because I knew the leaves would get wrinkly as they dried up over time.

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Then I started inserting the painted leaves under and over and around.

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Finally got every single one on there.

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The whole thing, in poor lighting.

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A snippet of one side, for the detail.

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I tacked it to my front door, which is sheltered from the elements. I’m interested to see how it’s going to look in a week or two once the leaves go brown – you can see that just after one day they’re starting to curl already. I’ll add a photo when it gets there.

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***EDIT***

And here it is, fully shriveled. I like how it turned out!

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Glitter *may* be involved.

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I saw this little bit of neat a while back and I’ve always wanted to recreate it for someone special. But of course by recreate I mean do it in a completely different way. Nevertheless.

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What you need for this, however you decide to do it, is an artist’s canvas, some paint, some electric or battery-powered lights (LEDs are safer), a knife for cutting, a brush for painting, and some glue for, well, gluing. In this particular project, there was also glitter involved.

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First, check and make sure your lights are working. Yes? Good.

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Now, paint your canvas however you like. I was going to do mine a nice metallic, but then I thought better of it and went with a soft matte gray instead. Because I didn’t want to distract from the glitter.

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As for your design, well, that’s up to you. The original idea was just sort of abstract, like fireworks. But you could do constellations (like someone’s Zodiac sign), or something more Lite-Brite-y. Or a marquee. Whatever you want. For mine, I decided on a dandelion, where each seed of my favourite flower (and I’m not ashamed to admit that I love that plucky weed) corresponded to a light.

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Here’s a quick sketch I did once I figured out my idea, just for proof of concept.

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I lightly marked out the design on the painted canvas with a pencil. I had to make sure that the design was big enough to accommodate the size of the lights I had purchased.

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Then I discovered that the ugly deflectors on my Dollarama lights weren’t glued on and I could pull them off, meaning I was just left with the pretty little diode!

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Then I cut out holes big enough for the lights to poke through.

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I basically just needed to poke a hole with the Xacto and twist it a bit. While I was doing this the Pie started trying to make me mess up, which I did, on the very last hole. Then he started giggling and saying he shouldn’t tease me when I have a knife in my hand. How well he knows me by now.

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Then I poked through the lights. Make sure to test them and see how they look! Of course my camera plus low light equals blurry photo, but you get the idea.

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Then, if you want, you can secure them in place with a bit of hot glue around the back, but I’ll do that later. I don’t want the lights to get all glittered up.

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Now, for the front, I had to fill in the rest of my design. With glitter. I used regular school glue to fill in the parts of the dandelion seeds and stalk.

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Then dusted them with appropriately-coloured glitter.

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Then let it dry.

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You can dust away loose glitter with a soft fluffy brush and some compressed air. I did most of this outside.

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And sealed up my glitter again. Yes, I have a jar full of jars of glitter. That stuff is dangerous.

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The seeds took forever because I did the little actual seed part first.

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By the time I was done with all the white fluffy bits I was so done with glitter in general.

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Here it is after I went at it with compressed air for a bit. It seems to work best on the superfine metallic powder.

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It looks pretty good just on its own.

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Then I added back in the lights and secured each with a drop of hot glue. This is where I discovered that if you don’t use glue sticks for a while they yellow. Fortunately you can’t see this on the front.

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I also secured all the loose wires and the battery casings. It doesn’t look pretty but you can’t see it so who cares?

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I like it. I like that it looks neat during the day, with the contrast in gray and glitter, and then when you turn it on at night the light sparkles off everything but the background (except for the few stray bits of glitter embedded in the canvas). I also like how the seeds kind of look like dragonflies. NEAT!

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Bulletin Board Beautification

I think I’ve had this bulletin board for twenty-five years, and someone else had it before me.  It’s held up pretty well, I think, but its age is starting to show.

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There are certainly a large number of holes in it.

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It’s not even made of cork: it’s like burlap and some sponge-y/fibre-y stuff.

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And there are weird scraps of whatnot on the frame.

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But why buy a new one when I can make this one new again?

I had this pretty fabric stuffed in my crafty closet.  It’s actually a stretch cotton, which will help me to get it very tightly attached to the bulletin board.

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I cut it to vaguely fit the size of the board.

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Then I pulled out these metal staples with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.  So I’m left with the frame and the board.

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I stretched the fabric across the board and used a staple gun to fasten the fabric into place.  You could probably use a hot glue gun as well.

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Then I quickly sanded down the frame with fine sandpaper and removed the hanging hardware temporarily. I painted it with this cute metallic teal craft paint.

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I reattached the hanging hardware to the top of the frame, and then fit the board back into place with glue.  It’s a tighter squeeze with the fabric covering it.

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Tada!  I’m glad I didn’t have to replace something that was still functional, and that I could add a personal touch to my office organization!

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It’s hard for me to be artistic in arranging a bulletin board to appeal to the tastes of the internet, and really there’s only so much you can do with license plate renewals, energy cost charts, and a pair of scissors.  Though I did dress it up with a super cute pic of me and Cait that I found while I was looking for something else.  So that’s something.

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Izod’s Bookcase

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I had a totally different plan for this, but when it turned out that it was completely unfeasible, this one worked out really well instead.  When I first found out that Atlas was pregnant, I decided that the baby would get as a first Christmas gift from me a collection of my favourite children’s books.  I’ve been picking them up second-hand at various thrift shops, and I aim to continue to do so whenever I find one that is right.  But so far, I have a pretty good collection of Roald Dahl, some Doctor Doolittle, the Narnia series, and a few of the classics.

I bought the bookshelf at IKEA.  I wanted to re-vamp a thrifted one but I couldn’t find an appropriate one and this one was inexpensive and the exact size I wanted.

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I took off the back panel of the bookshelf and set it up against some nice blue fabric, which I cut to size.

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Then I glued it onto the back with hot glue.

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Because the fabric made the panel thicker, I used a craft knife to widen the slots on the back of the bookshelf.

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So now it fit, and it’s all in place.

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I’d originally planned a nice stencil here, with contact paper and spray paint, but I discovered that if you use spray paint on contact paper it peels back from the design and doesn’t work.  So I ended up free-handing Izod’s name here with craft paint and it worked out really well.

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And it’s all finished.  I hope he has many adventures with some of my favourite stories!

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Victorian-esque Hanging Mirror … from Toilet Paper Rolls

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Okay so I’m not really setting any trends these days when it comes to weird stuff I make that I find on the internet.  I must be getting old.  Or it might be that I seem to never be sitting in front of my computer anymore.  In any case, I made this thing, and you can see things like it all over the internet.  But this one is mine.  And I like it.  So the basic ingredients you need for this are toilet paper/paper towel rolls (how many?  MANY.), a mirror, and something to mount your mirror in.  In this case, I had a 10″ round mirror so I stuffed it in a 10″ embroidery hoop.   You’ll also need scissors and pencils and rulers and glue and paint and something to stick to the whole shebob so it hangs.  Sorry for the technical language.

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Geez, where to begin?  Okay, start with your paper rolls, which you have been assiduously collecting for a month or two.  Or three.

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Pull all the paper bits off them, of course. This is how many I had. I didn’t end up using them all, but I figured from the outset it would be useful to cut them all in case I needed them later.

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Then I measured the depth of my embroidery hoop, which was about 1/2″ inch.

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So then I cut all the paper rolls into 1/2″ segments, to match.

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Now, I discovered that the mirror didn’t fit in the embroidery hoop if the inner hoop was still in place …

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So I took it out and tightened the outer hoop and that was fine.

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I set the hoop (minus the mirror) on my work surface, and then started thinking about a plan. There are many different patterns you can make with those little paper cat’s eyes.

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But I figured the best way was to lay it out around the hoop and see what it looked like. This was one incarnation. I may do that one again sometime.

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Then it all started to come together. I had a design in mind similar to those overly ornate Victorian embellishments, so that’s kind of what came out.

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I figured I would freehand the rest. So then I started gluing, using a hot glue gun.

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But at the top, I had that screw to contend with.

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So with some poking of holes and cutting of slits and things I got it all worked out.

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Then you just kind of keep going.

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When I was satisfied with the number of pieces of paper I’d glued together, I tested out the size and weight. Remember that adding a glass mirror to your design will make it significantly heavier.

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Then I painted. I bought a craft spray paint that was supposedly designed specifically for wood and paper. It turned out to be a different colour than advertised, and it seemed to just get absorbed into the paper and wood, but that was fine. I finished it off with a spritz of glitter and some sealant and there it is.

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Back onto the work surface, face down.

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I set some erasers inside the hoop to hold the mirror at the height I wanted it.

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I bought this mirror from Value Village years ago and I think it was one of those display mirrors for crystal collections, so it already had this nice felt backing on it. I did two tracks of glue around the border and then extra-glued on a piece of hanging hardware.

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It’s cloudy today but you get the idea. I’m quite pleased with it.

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Bay Leaf Wreath

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It’s getting to be that sort of holiday season, isn’t it?  I have a post coming up for you about some decorations on the cheap that I did last year, but in the interim, if you’ve got a bit more time, why don’t you make yourself a new wreath?

For some reason, at some point my mother bought an enormous bag of bulk bay leaves.  And she has used probably three of them in the past five years.  And even dried bay leaves don’t hold their flavour for five years.  Rather than throw them out, however, I thought I would make a seasonally-appropriate wreath with them instead.

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Normally when I’m making a wreath I buy a cheap ugly pre-made one from a second-hand store and then I take it apart. This time I bought a styrofoam wreath form from Michaels instead. I was SHOCKED at how expensive they are! This 11″ one cost me a whopping TWELVE DOLLARS. For a piece of styrofoam. Next time I’ll cut my own out of computer packaging or something, thank you very much … Fortunately I also found a bag of assorted jingle bells at Value Village for two dollars so that saved me. And of course I had my trusty glue gun on hand.

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The first thing I did was spray the wreath form all over silver with spray paint. Which was when I learned that even craft spray paint will dissolve styrofoam a little bit. Yikes.  I did this just in case there were any gaps in my leaves.  I wanted the whole thing to be silver.

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I wanted my jingle bells to stand in as pseudo-berries, so I wanted to spray them red. However, I wanted them to be a frosty red, so I only sprayed one side of each one with red spray paint. If you wanted to spray all sides of each jingle bell I would recommend threading them on a long string so you can get all sides evenly.

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Next I sorted out my bay leaves (pitching the broken ones) and sketched out a rough plan.

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Then I started gluing. I used smaller leaves on the outside and inside edges of the wreath, so they would fit better.

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Once I finished gluing on the leaves in the centre of the wreath, I started shoving random leaves in here and there, to fill in gaps but also to make the whole thing look a little less perfect.

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So that’s with all the leaves glued on. If my bay leaves had been fresher I would have left this as-is for a nice festive green, but of course mine were past their prime and thus looked a little sickly.

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This is my idea for how the bells were going to fit on. I was just going to group them in little batches and glue them on.

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So after I sprayed the wreath silver again to cover up all the green bits, I got my bells ready to go.

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To my dismay, however, I discovered that hot glue doesn’t stick to spray-painted bay leaves.

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In fact it just peels the paint right off.

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New plan. I grabbed my old spool of fishing twine and got to work with it.

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I strung a handful of assorted bells on a loop of twine and tied the twine in a knot to keep them tight.

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Then I simply tied the twine around the wreath form, weaving it under what leaves I could to hide it for the most part.

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Then on the back I added a spot of glue to each twine loop to hold it in place.

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And glued a nice blue ribbon on the top.

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And then I hung it up. TADA!

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Frosty Striped Vases and Pom Pom Flowers

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Neon seems to be the big thing these days.  While I’m not the hugest fan of neon colours (having grown up in the 80s and 90s when it was overused and used badly), I do like what designers are doing with it as an accessory colour.  I like the pop of these striped vases here, and the ombre finish of these ones here.  So I thought I would try out the effect of the rubber bands and the ombre, but with a different colour more suited to the taste and decor of the person to whom I am giving the things.

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I cut a bunch of glass bottles I had lying around down to size and ground down the sharp edges (for my tutorial on cutting glass see here). You can of course use any glass you have lying around, vases, tumblers, stuff you pick up from the thrift store.

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Before I really got into it, I thought I might do a test, first, on a piece of glass I wasn’t intending to use.  I have learned from many, many, MANY mistakes to always test a new effect first.  And you know what?  I hated it.  From a distance, I guess it was okay, but up close you could see all the places where the paint had bled under the rubber bands and/or peeled off as the elastic was peeled off.  I checked around the internet and it seems that others have had this problem as well, so I gave it up for lost.

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I am, however, still a fan of the IDEA of the rubber bands, at least, and I’ve become quite proficient at frosting glass.  I still have a jar of Velvet Etch left over from last Christmas’s present run, and while I don’t like it as much as Armor Etch, it’ll do perfectly for this project where I just want a light touch.

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So.  Take your glass.  Take a bunch of rubber bands, of different widths, and slap them on your vases, however which way you would like.  Mine are rather haphazard, which will go well with the fact that this etching cream likes to leave huge swaths of unfrosted glass behind.

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Then, wearing goggles, gloves, and a ventilator, slather on that etching cream (for my tutorial on etching glass see here).

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Leave the stuff on for the appropriate time, and then carefully rinse it off, making sure that your rinse water is mixed with some form of base (like baking soda) to neutralize the acid before it eats your sink.  Exercise caution when pulling off the rubber bands, as they tend to spit bits of acid at you if you snap them off too quickly.  Slow and steady wins the race here.

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Now you can stop there, and just enjoy your vases as they are.  Or you could add a touch of whimsy so your receiver can put them to use right away: add flowers.  Fresh flowers are pretty expensive in these parts, and in the winter months it’s unlikely that they’re going to be locally sourced, so most of the people I know hem and haw over the idea of wasting money on a fresh bunch of flowers that will last only a few days and has come from who knows where.  Silk flowers are all right, but I find they get dusty really quickly.  But if you take flowers to the abstract, and make them from paper or fabric, I think they have a bit more pizazz.

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These ones I made from pom-poms.  Now, there’s a bunch of ways to make pom-poms floating around the internet.  The most popular method for trendy crafters seems to be the practice of wrapping the yarn around your fingers a million times and then simply tying that bundle together in the middle.  While that is certainly the quickest way, I find you end up having to cut off a large amount of excess yarn in order to make your pom-pom anything close to spherical.  The pom-pom method I used when making my touque-tastic tea cozy may take a while, but it’s worth it in the end.  What comes out of it is almost perfect from the get-go, and you can be happy with just a little bit of trimming.

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I modified the method a bit, in that I cut a slit in my paper double-donut and then folded back the edges of the slit.  This way you can run your winding yarn through the slit rather than having to feed it through an increasingly smaller hole.  Of course, you can’t keep winding around and around on this one; once you reach the edge of the slit you have to turn around and go back in the other direction but the results are more or less the same.

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These pom-poms I made from various tail ends of wool I had lying around.  Some I made really tight, some loose, and I wasn’t too careful about trimming them too precisely, because I wanted them to look natural (or as natural as flowers made from pom-poms can be). That one in the front left looks kind of like a wool celosia (brain flower).  Or we’ve just made a visit to Whoville and Dr. Seuss sent us home with a bouquet.

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Then you just need to find yourself some twigs that are to your liking.  If you feel around in your pom-pom you can usually feel the loop of yarn holding everything together.  If you give your stick a careful shove and get it inside this loop, the tension should hold it there.  If you’re worried about it falling, add a dab of hot glue.  The bonus of not gluing, however, is once you tire of the arrangement you can pull the pom-poms off and use them for something else.

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Then you arrange your “flowers” any way you like.  Like all in one big vase:

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Or in three small ones.  Whatever floats your boat.

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The T-Shirt Ring

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This is a cute little last-minute stocking stuffer idea from Homemade Ginger.  You can do it with either hot glue or a needle and thread, and make all sorts of nifty floral accents.

What you need is an old cotton t-shirt, or any other jersey material.  The Pie wore this shirt for Hallowe’en.  He dressed as Peter Parker, the alter ego for his hero Spider-Man, so he just needed to paint the collar of a red shirt to look like he was hiding a Spider-Man costume under his street clothes.  So while he painted the top, I’m just going to use the bottom.

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You’re going to cut the hem off the bottom, and cut several circles out of the main fabric.  You’ll also need a circle of felt, about the same size as your circles.  If you’re making a ring you’ll want the circle to be relatively small, whereas if you were making a brooch then the circle will be a bit bigger.

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Take a pencil or toothpick or the end of a paintbrush and jab it into the centre of one of your fabric circles.  Scrunch it up around the paintbrush or whatever.  Put a dab of hot glue on the tip of that.

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Stick the circle onto the circle of felt.

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Repeat, sticking the circles close together, until you’ve filled up the felt.

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Trim the result with scissors for tidiness.

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To make a bracelet, measure your finger with the t-shirt hem and cut off an appropriately long piece, with a bit of overlap.

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Glue the overlap down, then attach it, with the seam side hidden, to the felt.

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For a ring, simply make the hem loop a little smaller.

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For a brooch, and if you don’t have any of those handy jewelry backing pieces around, take a safety pin, cut two slits in another circle of felt, and slide it through so the working pieces are exposed.

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Glue that to the other piece of felt.

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That’s it.  Easy and fun.

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Uncharted 3 Upcycled Jewelry Cabinet

Last year for Christmas, Rusty gave the Pie the collector’s edition of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.  That’s a videogame, for those of you who don’t know.

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Anyway, the collector’s edition came in this huge sort of armoire/chest thing, and contained, in addition to the game itself, a 12″ figurine of Drake, the main character, together with a reproduction of his necklace, a thong wrapped around a ring supposedly belonging to the explorer Francis Drake.  It was pretty cool.  And once I saw the chest, I knew that we couldn’t throw it away, because it was so well made it would HAVE to be useful for something.  I lugged it home from Ottawa, as carry-on on the plane.  It made me grumpy at the time.  I like my leg room.

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So I’ve been staring at it for the better part of the last year, trying to figure out what to do with it.  With its magnetically-sealing door and its little flocked drawers, it pretty much cries out to be a case for some form of treasure, possibly a jewelry box.  In the end, that’s what I decided to do with it.

I’m going to make a sweeping assumption about my readership here and say that you probably don’t have a collector’s edition of Uncharted 3 lying around your house, so that you can easily reproduce what I’m about to show you.  If you do, then by all means, go for it.  But if you don’t, let this give you some inspiration to upcycle or recycle some other, pretty box, into something both functional and stylish.  For example, in my closet at my parents’ house I have stashed a wooden packing crate that held the wine my cousin Lindz brought us as a wedding present.  Some day I’m going to turn it into something epic.

But back to matters at hand.  For all its structural integrity, this box is still essentially made out of cardboard, so I have to be very careful in my assemblage and dis-assemblage of it not to mess it up.  And in order to decorate it properly (enough so it looks better than my usual half-assed attempts and I can give it to someone at Christmas), I am going to have to use every ounce of my limited artistic skills and patience.

First I’m going to outline my plan for you and then we can see how well I managed to carry it out.

At first I considered removing the decorative feet and top of the box and flipping it onto its back.  It would make the box easier to store, but it would negate the usefulness of those wee drawers.  So upright it was going to be.

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Then I was going to remove the feet and top anyway, just for cleaner lines, but then it occurred to me that I could use the top to hide evidence of my construction, so I should leave it on.  And if I was going to leave the top on, I should probably leave the feet on.  So the structural appearance of this cabinet would remain the same as it was.

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Now, my plan was to screw some small hooks into the “ceiling” of the cabinet, from which one could hang necklaces.  I would put a dab of hot glue on the screw end when it came out the top, and then hide the evidence by putting the top of the cabinet back on.

For earrings, I would remove this mesh piece of cardboard from the door and replace it with a larger piece of metal wire mesh, carefully glued in place.  I would have to make sure that there was room for the door to close with it in place.

And of course I would paint the whole thing.  I’m thinking a sage green, with lighter green and ivory elements, and perhaps a touch of black (because the flocking inside the drawers is black).  So that’s the plan, as it stands.

And, like my idol Hannibal from the A-Team is wont to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

First, the disassembly.  Using a box knife, I carefully cut off the top of the chest.

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And I did my best to peel off the filigreed game pouch from the inside of the door.  It was a rough job but I wasn’t too concerned, as that would be covered over later with the earring holder.

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I pulled out the drawers as well.

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Now for the messing-about. Part of my plan included putting little hooks inside both drawers to hang bracelets and other smaller things, just to keep them from getting in the way.

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I wasn’t planning on using the adhesive that they came with. I was going to use hot glue. I also cut off the little end bits of plastic left over from when I broke them off their holder.

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Then I painted them. I made them black so they would hide against the flocking inside the drawers.  It took a couple coats of acrylic to fully hide the white.

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I cut down the front of each drawer so that you could see inside more easily.

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Then I started to paint everything. I was working with acrylic on a smooth surface so it took a few coats to make sure everything stuck. I had considered lightly sanding the cardboard before I began but I didn’t want to risk damaging it. So I just used a lot of paint.

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I used Mod Podge to glue a piece of paper over the rough bit on the door. I wasn’t too concerned about the wrinkles. The whole thing would be covered soon anyway.

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Screwing in the hooks for hanging necklaces turned out to be a snap. I just eyeballed where I thought they would go, and that ended up working out just fine.

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Some hefty daubs of hot glue ensured that they wouldn’t come sliding out again.

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This is how they look from the useful side.

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Then I cut a hole in the base of the top of the box, to accommodate the glued parts of the hooks. Then I just glued it in place and there we were.

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Now here’s where I hit my first (and really, my only) real snag. I had thought there would be enough room in the drawers for them to slide in and out even after painting. That, however, was not true. You can see here the damage done to the paint after I shoved a drawer back in and then had to wrestle it out again. Not good.

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But an easy fix, really. First, I glued the hooks in place inside the drawers.

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Then I cut down the front of the drawers even further.

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Then I simply glued them in place inside their spaces, so you couldn’t pull them out anymore, but you could still access everything inside them.

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I had originally wanted some sort of wire mesh for the earring holder on the door, but I couldn’t find any that suited my purposes. I still had plenty of those wooden sticks leftover from my coffee stirrer wall art, however, and they would do just fine.

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I used hot glue to make a little lattice arrangement out of them, which I then painted silver. That nut you see there, which I also painted silver, is going to serve as the handle to open the cabinet.

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With the main structure of the cabinet completed and the initial painting done, it was time to consider the embellishments.

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I wanted to make a nice little border around the door to echo the shape of the box itself, but I wasn’t sure how the acrylic would take to having masking tape stuck to it. So I tested it on the back first, and left it there for a day.

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It seemed to be okay so I went ahead and masked out the front.

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Then I painted in two parallel lines, one in ivory, one in silver.

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I pulled the tape off before the lines were dry, to make sure that I wouldn’t pull off more paint than I wanted. I went a bit too fast at the end and lost a corner — the hazards of painting on a smooth surface, but nothing a touch-up wouldn’t fix.

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While waiting for the touch-ups to dry, I glued on the door knob.

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Then I stuck in the lattice.

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And also some felt squares to go on the feet.

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When it was all dry, I sprayed it with a couple coats of spray varnish. The stuff I used is designed to go on artists’ canvas, so it was ideal to go over the acrylic and dried really fast.

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And that’s it, it’s done.

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I put some of my own jewelry in it so you can see how it will work. I don’t own any earrings so I hung the lattice with brooches instead.

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Those hooks hold up well.

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Plenty of room in the former drawers.

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And the doorknob holds strong.

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If I didn’t have too much jewelry to fit the thing I’d keep it for myself. I am so pleased with how well it worked out.

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And you can still see the copyright information on the bottom of the box, just so you remember its roots.

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And yes, it has occurred to me that now I have to lug it all the way back to Ottawa, carry-on on the plane and everything.  The price we pay to make our families happy …

For a dramatic juxtaposition of the before and after shots, look no further:

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