Dec 19, 2011

Recycled Wrapping Paper Project

Image: Greenista

Tis the season to be wasteful.

Especially when it comes to wrapping gifts. You spend a whole night wrapping gifts for all your loved ones, only to have the brand new paper ripped clean off it a few hours later and it either gets balled up and thrown in a large black bin with all of the packaging and torn boxes or, depending on how young the kids are, the thing they play with as it's more fun than the actual (expensive) gift you fought tooth and nail to get.

So, instead of buying expensive wrapping paper, here are a few alternatives you can use from items you should be able to find around the house. You can also try out these homemade gift bows in a way to spruce up your wrapping.

Newspaper -  It’s easy to find, cheap and large and you can make wrapping unique by using colorful comics or photos.
Image: Sustainable Baby Steps

Image: furniturehomedesign
Magazines - You can cover your gifts in glossy magazine pages. Just tape a few together to create larger sheets for bigger presents.

Image: Paper Crave

Sheet Music - Sheet music adds a beautiful touch to your gift wrapped present.

Image: Love 2 Upcycle
Calenders - Since you are going to be throwing out your old one anyway, why not use it to personalise a gift?
Image: Paper Source
Maps - If you've read some of this blog before then you'll know how I feel about maps.

Image: Curated By Color
Brown paper shopping bag - Not only is it recyclable, but you can use almost anything (even straw!) to decorate it and it will look great.

Image: EcoFront

So, by taking advantage of some of these products, you not only reuse materials you may already have around the house, but you can also utilize materials that can be recycled once all of the gifts have been opened.

Remember, Christmas comes once a year and sometimes we spend far more than we can afford. If you use some of these ideas instead of forking out on expensive wrapping paper it might mean you won't end up giving the shirt off your back.

Image: a subtle revelry
Or maybe you will?

Dec 12, 2011

Christmas (Origami) Tree Project

Image: arraddia

It's that time of year again.

The old dusty box of glitter baubles, angels, tinsel, snow globes, Christmas lights and reindeer come out of hibernation when everything else seems to be going in to hibernation.

Sometimes the festive cheer inside the home inevitably spills outside the home and onto the front of your house. We don't go overboard in this house but walking around my local area you would be forgiven for thinking you had moved to Las Vegas when seeing the blinking, flashing, glowing lights on neighbours homes.

The one thing that we all have in common though is having a Christmas Tree.

Now some of you might think I don't have the space for a Christmas Tree, I don't need the mess of a Christmas Tree or I won't be around for all of Christmas so what's the point in having a Christmas Tree?

Well here is your solution.

An Origami Christmas Tree that won't take up too much space, make a mess with falling pine needles and buckets of water or feel all alone sitting on it's lonesome in your empty house/apt while you are out gatecrashing every Christmas party to be found.

Brought to you by Francesco Guarnieri at Happy Folding.

So now you have no excuse to get into the Christmas spirit.

Just don't go and make your home look like a casino.

Dec 1, 2011

DIY Vintage Tin Project

Image: Tortoise and the Hare

I'm always searching for new ways to recycle old things but every so often I come across an old way to revamp a new thing.

Here's simple way to put a vintage spin on a plain tin.

Image: Tortoise and the Hare

Step 1: Spray paint your tin whatever color you like.
(O'Sullivans Art supplies on Camden Street have great offers at the moment on spray cans)

Step 2: Choose an image and resize it to fit your tin.
There's a great selection here where you can find images just like these.

Image: pilllpat
Image: pilllpat

Image: pilllpat
Image: pilllpat

Step 3: Print the image onto adhesive paper or you can print on plain paper and use craft glue to stick the image to the tin. Once attached - use a sealer like Mod Podge to waterproof the label. You should be able to pick some up in any art or crafts shop.

If all of this sounds like a great idea but you are faced with one small problem and that's having any tins to spruce up, fear not, IKEA have a set of 3 tins, seen below, for a tidy sum of €3.59.

Image: IKEA

So now you have 3 good reasons to get organized and make your own vintage style tins.

Nov 24, 2011

Film Candle Holder Project

Image: photojojo

A few weeks ago I posted an article on mini polaroid magnets. This was for the people who don't normally print their digital photos.

This post is for those of us who use to bring our roll of film to the chemist and get them developed. Sometimes not knowing if any of the photos would turn out. 

When they did come back, and the odd time they were blank, due to some random fault or other, we were also handed the negatives - also blank, just to remind you and flaunt it in your face - you screwed up! 

But this was only sometimes.

The rest of the time, you got back all your photos with the all important negatives in case you ever needed another copy. These negatives always ended up going into some large white envelope and stuffed into the back of some side cabinet, the envelope growing exponentially with each passing  holiday. Probably never seeing the light (even if its red) of a darkroom again. 

So, here is a great way to reuse some of those old negatives. Courtesy of Photojojo.

Image: photojojo

Here's what you will need.

1. Photo negatives (black and white or colour - it doesn't matter)
2. Glass candle holders (or any small jar that would hold a tealight candle)
3. Glue or double sided tape

Step 1. Measure
Use your negatives to measure around your glass holder to see how many frames you will need. 
If it comes up a bit short just add a frame or two from another negative to fully wrap around.

Image: photojojo

Step 2: Glue
Put some glue (the photo below shows the person using glue dots but regular pva or craft glue would work) or use double sided tape on both ends of your negative.
You may only want to use a small bit of adhesive to make it easier to switch around different negatives later. Use more adhesive if you'd like to make it more permanent.  

Image: photojojo

Step 3: Lights
Stick the negatives around the outside of the candle holder. Pop the candle in and that's it.

Image: photojojo

What if you have no photo negatives on hand, or don’t want to risk ruining the photo negatives you do have? 

Fear not! Print out your digital photos - in black and white or colour - on transparencies or on vellum, to fit the candle holders.

Image: photojojo

Go on, do something positive with those negatives!

Nov 21, 2011

Paper Birds Project

My 15 month old son has figured out how to use my wife's mobile phone. He's a genius!

When I say 'use', what I mean is, he can unlock it and push any random number of buttons and 9 times out of 10 successfully connect to someone in Australia.

Because of this my wife has downloaded an free app called ibabyplay that allows him to slide photos (without fear of deleting) and also bang on the touchscreen, making bleeping sounds to his hearts content - which, lets be honest, is so much more entertaining than the plain old house mobile he's had to play with all these months. The poor deprived child.

In fact, he has just become very much mobile himself.
He has started walking (or more accurately - bouncing from wall to wall) and I realise how quickly he is growing up, especially after being reminded of his first mobile (see what I did there) when I saw this idea on Pointless Pretty Things.

Wonderful paper birds that would make a beautiful suspended mobile for a baby's room.

Image: Pointless Pretty Things

It's such an amazingly lovely idea.

Jump on over to Rachel's site for the instructions and some other great ideas.

If you are looking for a great way to suspend the paper birds over a cot then check out this link to 25 free DIY baby mobile tutorials, I'm sure you'll find a few solutions here.

Image: babble

Nov 17, 2011

Button Monogram Project

Last Sunday I was at the Peas + Pods family market where there was some amazing stalls, wonderful people and great products on offer.

From handmade crafts to kids furniture, along with tons of children's clothes and jewelry. There was artwork and quilts and handmade cushions. But if you missed out there's no need to panic. There is another one before Christmas on December 4th. Same place: Newmarket Square. Same time: 11am - 5pm.

One of the stalls, Camilleon Kids, which is run by Agata and Stephanie, had some really lovely pieces. They had some great vintage school desks that they had restored and painted but it was one piece in particular that caught my eye which was a heart made out of buttons and mounted on a small canvas. It was really lovely and it reminded me of a tutorial by Jen Jockish I had once seen on American Crafts Studio

So I have to thank Agata and Stephanie for reminding me of this.
(By the way, you should check out their Facebook page as they have photos of their items for sale.  I think they are back at the Peas + Pods market also in December so if you see anything you like you should be able to pick it up there.)

Image: American Crafts Studio
Here's what you'll need:

(Actually, just before I tell you what you'll need there is one element to this project that is glaringly obvious. Loads of buttons. I know. The average person* doesn't have the odd one or two or possibly hundred spare buttons sitting around but you can pick up mix bags of buttons at any fabric shop like Hickeys for a few quid)

And so, on with the materials.

1. Printer
2. Scissors
3. Card stock
4. Pen or Pencil
5. Adhesive
6. Buttons and Brads
7. Frame without glass
Here are the instructions: 
To create your monogram, begin by cutting card stock large enough to fit in your frame. 
Next, you will need to print out a letter. Play around with it and print a few to find the size and font you want. (Jen ended up using Helvetica font at 700 font size. Keep in mind that you want thick lines in order to fill them up with buttons and brads.)
Then cut out your letter and place in the center of your card stock, tracing the lines onto the paper.

Image: American Crafts Studio

Start placing your large buttons and/or brads onto the card stock, keeping them as lined up with the edges as possible.  
Once you've filled up a large portion of your monogram, it's time to start doing the filler. For this, just use smaller buttons and different size brads. 
Begin with the smaller buttons, then it's time to start with your brads. You can use all different sizes of these, you just need a small spot to poke it through, and then it can overlap with the buttons which adds a lot more dimension.  
Image: American Crafts Studio
Once you've covered your letter with buttons, place it in a frame. 
Jen used an IKEA frame and just removed the glass since this isn't flat.  
Jen then adhered the piece to the frame on the back just to help keep it stable, the paper is fairly heavy once finished. 

Image: American Crafts Studio

Average person*: OK, so YOU are not an average person. You actually have bags and bags of leftover buttons from previous projects and this is a fine way to use up all of them or you really want to create this piece exactly as shown and would love to know EXACTLY what buttons were used.


Well, Jen has been very kind to provide that information which you can find below.

Variety Buttons (85509), Fabric Brads (85520), Assorted Brads (85521), Mini Pearl Brads (85516), Mini Pearl Brads (85508), Large Jewel Brads Primaries (85300), Large Jewel Brads Pastels (85301), Large Jewel Brads Metallic (85304), Large Pearl Brads Primaries (85315), Large Pearl Brads Pastels (85316), Large Perl Brads Brights (85318), Medium Jewel Brads Primaries (85218), Medium Jewel Brads Pastels (85286), Medium Jewel Brads Neutrals (85291), Mini Jewel Brads Primaries (85270), Mini Jewel Brads Pastels (85271), Mini Jewel Brads Tropicals (85272), Large Glitter Brads Tropicals (85362), Large Jewel Brads Brights (85363), Medium Glitter Brads Primaries (85345), Medium Glitter Brads Brights (85348), Medium Glitter Brads Tropicals (85347), Mini Glitter Brads Tropicals (85332), Mini Glitter Brads Pastels (85331), Mini Glitter Brads Brights (85333), Medium Brads Brights (85393), Medium Brads Tropicals (85392), Medium Brads Baby Girl (85397), Mini Brads Brights (85378), Mini Brads Tropicals (85337), Mini Brads Primaries (85375)

Nov 10, 2011

Mini Polaroid Magnets Project

It seems to be that these days very few people actually print out photos or so I keep being told by my mother.

Everything now seems to be digital and it's just so much easier to email photos or post images on Facebook & Twitter, Flickr & Photobucket or Picasa for friends and family and the whole world to see.

In fact, last week I actually went through a large box of old photos searching for a specific picture that I wanted to scan and upload to this very site.

Immediately after I did it, I though "hey, I should scan all my old photos."
This is a great idea. I could have all those old pictures on a hard drive and I can access them when ever I wanted. Then I remembered my son threw my last hard drive across the floor just to see how far it would travel. Surprisingly it wasn't very far as he was only a year old and it's a pretty heavy drive for a one year old.

Not surprisingly though, throwing it "not very far" can still cause the absolute most amount of damage possible.
Everything on it was lost.
My movies, my music and most importantly every photo of my son from the day he was born.

Thankfully I had a backup of all digital photos but as I said earlier - or should I say, as my mother said earlier - "nobody actually prints out photos anymore".

So here's a great reason to select a few digital pictures to print out before they all go kaput on some drive.

Mini Polaroid Magnets.

Image: Ambrosia Creative

This tutorial comes courtesy of Ambrosia Creative who was inspired by this post at How About Orange.

She pretty much followed the tutorial with a few modifications.

What you'll need is:

1. A4 Photo Paper.
2. Craft/pva glue.
3. Craft knife.
4. Piece of cardboard (the back of a notebook/sketchbook) - preferably a used one.
5. Magnetic tape - you can get some from Arts & Crafts co. or check your local art supply shop.
6. A white marker or Tipp-Ex.

Using this link to a Polaroid frame, or just using the jpeg below, crop and scale down your digital photos to fit inside the frame.

Alternatively, you can use the photoshop template provided by Ambrosia Creative.

Jennifer then scaled her Polaroids down to about 0.8″ wide and then printed her selections on photo paper.

Image: Ambrosia Creative
Using craft glue, she mounted the printed sheet to chipboard (she used the back of an old spiral-bound sketch book) and then she laminated her mini photos by laying pieces of clear masking tape on top.

You should be able to pick up clear masking tape in any stationary shop.
Important: The paper glaze in the How About Orange tutorial won't work for this project as it will cause the ink in the photos to run and bleed.

Once the mini Polaroids were cut out, Jennifer used a white opaque marker from Martha Stewart’s craft line, and colored in the edges but you could use Tipp-Ex if you can't find an opaque marker at your art supply shop.

Image: Ambrosia Creative
Then you just need to attach some strips of magnetic tape on the back and you have a great little set of mini Polaroid magnets.

Image: Ambrosia Creative

Image: Ambrosia Creative

So, for the sake of my mother and little boys who like to throw hard drives.

Go get printing.

Nov 3, 2011

Movember Project

Image: WonderHowTo

Movember season is here, and if you haven't already started growing your moustache then there is still plenty of time.

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in Ireland and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.

There's just one rule.
No beards or goatees.

Here are the complicated instruction on 'How to grow a Moustach'

Step 1: Keep the shaver away from the area between the nose and upper lip.
(Important note: Some say if you shave more, the hair on your face becomes thicker, this is not always true)

Step 2: Let the hair grow and shave around the area of the upper lip.
(Face hair fact: Facial hair appears first at the corners of the upper lips. Do not be alarmed. It will eventually cover the entire upper lip. As the moustache becomes thicker and more noticeable, a process called 'trimming' will begin.)

Step 3: Decide what type of moustache looks best on you.
(Top Tip: Smaller faces need small moustaches. Larger faces need larger moustaches.)
You heard that here first!

Image: reddit

Step 4: Tend to your moustache daily. Keep it trimmed and combed as it grows out and gets thick.

Step 5: December 1st. Shave off your moustache and go back to a normal life.

Oct 31, 2011

Make Your Own Costume Project

Image: Filmdrunk

Image: Look at this Frakking Geekster

When it comes to Halloween costumes, I have a very checkered past.

Let me give you 3 personal highlights from my list of 'must try harder' attempts.

Case 1: The photograph below, taken in 1983, shows a typical bunch of Halloween costumes.
I'm in the photo and I will give you 3 guesses, no, I'll give you 4 guesses as to which one I am.

Image: Patent Pending Projects
Wrong. I'm not the 'Bugsy Malone Guy' with high collar, wide brimmed hat and cigar.
Wrong. I'm not 'The Bandaged Man' who turns out to be actually the most accidental  Milk Tray Man ever.
Wrong. I'm not that 'Cowboy(or could be)Mexican' shouting "we don't need no stinking badges".
And Wrong Wrong Wrong. I am NOT the 'Pink Princess' with glitter wand and tiara.
The other girl by the way, is my sister, in what I believe is a 'Nora Barnacle' costume.

So where am I?
Look closer.

See the brown hooded figure standing to the left just in front of the drain pipe?
Believe it or not that is supposed to be Luke Skywalker from Return of the Jedi.
Not one of my best efforts, I'll admit, but come on people. It's 1983!
I'm 9 years old!

Case 2: Jump ahead 21 years and lots of bad choices and you will meet a 30 year old man who 'doesn't do' Halloween anymore. Then someone in work suggests "Wouldn't it be great if we all came to work in costume for Halloween?". The entire room agreed and my heart sank.

I've never been a victim to peer pressure but I felt I could muster up a simple yet effective costume. And all from my own wardrobe.

A pair of black slacks. Check.
A thick wool jumper, brown in colour. Preferably with a hole or two. Check.
A big old pair of boots. Black. Check.
A big quiff of hair. Check. 
And two fake bolts that I could stick on the side of my neck once I got to work and hey presto - a Frankenstein costume.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into work only to see that nobody was in costumes.
It was a stupid idea they all admit.
"Yeah", I muffled, trying to cover the holes in my thick brown scruffy jumper.
"Huh, really", I said, trying to wipe the filth from my black boots on the back of my slacks, "Stupid!"

"You're looking well today." they said.
My God, how did I look the rest of the time?

(By the way, swap the slacks for jeans and this is how I've looked since 2003.)

Case 3: This is a tough one. Do I talk about the year I dressed up as Lee Harvey Oswald and slowly became more and more paranoid as the night wore on, believing there was a actual conspiracy against me, or the time I dressed as Max Cady from Cape Fear and everyone mistook me for Elvis?

No, none of those. Instead, I'll talk about my very last Halloween costume.

I had decided enough was enough. No more. I was going to dress in my own clothes and add a clever prop. That would be my costume.

So, for my last fancy dress, I went as God.
All I needed was one of those Hello - My Name Is badges.

I wore my own clothes.
I filled in the name 'God'.
I picked up a book on magic from the library and taught myself a few card tricks.

I then got so drunk I failed to remember or perform any of the tricks I had learnt.
(Make of that what you will)

It was a shambles.

So, you see, I'm not someone to take advice from when it comes to Halloween costumes.
So when I titled this post - Make Your Own Costume - that's exactly what I meant.

Go make your own.

I'm sure you'll find 1 out of the 85 easy, frugal Halloween costume ideas over on Wise Bread .

Happy Halloween.

Oct 27, 2011

Shadow Theatre Project

Image: minieco

Here I go again with the cereal boxes.
A cereal box shadow theatre project from minieco, which is great little project for kids this Halloween.

Image: minieco

You will need
1. An empty cereal box
2. A4 piece of tracing paper/greaseproof paper/vellum
3. Sticky tape
4. 2 or 3 sheets of dark coloured A4 paper/card
5. Wooden sticks or the coffee swizzle sticks you can pick up with take away coffee.

All measurements given in this tutorial are based on you using a cereal box which is bigger than 21 x 30cm.

Step 1.
Begin by undoing all the flaps on the cereal box and laying it out flap.

Step 2.
Cut out two large rectangles on each face of the cereal box. The rectangles need to be 19 x 28cm.

Image: minieco
With the printed side of the cereal box facing up, tape a piece of A4 tracing paper over one of the rectangles to create a screen.

Step 4.
Remove the two flaps either side of the screen.

Step 5.
Re-assemble the box so that it is now inside out.

Step 6.
Decorate! You can use this pdf template. Simply print out the template and cut round the shapes – or use it to trace the shapes onto a black piece of paper. Remember to stick the scenery on the inside of the tracing paper screen. Use the wooden sticks/coffee stirrers to stick the ‘skull’ and ‘bat’ onto. 

You can download more templates here to add more characters to your show.

Image: minieco

Step 7.
Illuminate the back of the shadow theater with a bright lamp in order to bring the set to life

(PLEASE REMEMBER lamps get hot – so don’t leave it unattended)

Have a look around minieco. There are some great tutorials from Pacman Halloween Garlands to an amazing cardboard guitar.

I know I'll be trying that out with my secret store of cardboard!

Oct 26, 2011

Free Halloween Printables

There are plenty of free printables available across the Internet.

Here is just a small collection compiled by poppytalk.

First up are Vintage Poison Labels. Print them out and put them on wine glasses, cups and old bottles.
Courtesy of Coco & Bella

Click on images to enlarge

Next up are some Silhouette Posters.
You can find out how to make these and more at The Pink Peony of Le Jardin

How about some free Halloween Clip Art? Print them out or use them for online invitation cards.
These pieces have been enhanced by Nest of Posies but you can find loads more vintage and retro looking Halloween clip art at The Graphics Fairy, a collection of 2,200 FREE clip art images and vintage printables.

Following that, there are some printable Halloween sweet bag tags from The Twinery.

Next up are some iron on transfers.
Halloween Eye Chart from tattertots & jello and treat bag labels by  Oscar + Emma Design

How about some cupcake toppers?
Try I {heart} Nap Time 

Head over to Mr Printables from some Halloween Candle Wrappers and Party Favours.

And Finally, a few more Party decorations courtesy of Poppies at Play

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