Monday, December 22, 2008

Fun Christmas Gifts

We aren't really doing gifts for Christmas this year, but I love to give gifts so I kept it really cheap and made a few things. Most of my money went on pictures and paper.

I took the origami box I made from the instructions here and modified it to have a few less folds. It is also bigger, about 4 inches tall. Here is a website with a list of many different origami boxes, baskets and containers. The box could be done with children so if you run a daycare or need an activity to do with your kids you could do this with them. You might want to use regular Elmer's glue because the glue I used dries quickly and there is little time for repositioning, not that you need to reposition anything.

For friends and family I made an origami box with a cat shaped origami bookmark and a photo I took with an adhesive magnet on the back to make it a refrigerator magnet. I was also able to slide a wallet size picture inside a small magnet made for holding a picture, but since I only had four of the magnets I had to get cheaper and buy flat magnets with adhesive backing. Here are some pictures of the box I made. I used scrapbooking paper that was thick so the boxes could hold up to a little handling and so they would look nice. First, you fold a square piece of paper in three like a business letter
Unfold it and do it again on the opposite side so you have 9 squares.

Then fold the four corners to the edges of the closest creases. I like to keep the corners a little further back from the creases so when the box is assembled the edges look better.

Then you want to fold the corners in like this

When you have all the corners folded in like the second picture you need to glue them down. Here is a picture of the glue I used (in case you're visual)

Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive - I love this stuff because it doesn't string and as it says in the name, it dries quickly so I can work faster.

I glue two sides of a corner so the outside of the box will look like a box when I'm done and I did the inside like a pinwheel, but I could have glued two corners on one side. It all depends on the look you want.

As I glue each corner down I use a tooth pick to get the stuff that comes out and I reuse it on the next corner.

Here is the box:

I don't have a paper slicer yet, but if you do you could cut off a couple millimeters on all four sides so you can have a top and bottom.

And here are a couple things I did for my friends that I put in the boxes (and these are the two boxes I constructed today for my fiance's parents)

I bought next year's calendar (Ocean themed) and scanned the days and the mini pictures that are the same size as each day's box. I went to google and searched "this day in history" and found some websites that have the birthday of famous people so I was able to type a different person that each of my friends share a birthday with. I inserted the picture that corresponds with the month and inserted each day, resized them so they would be small, but not too small to read the text, set my printer to print well for the pictures, printed them on card stock, and cut them out. The cutting would have been easier if I had a paper slicer, but I don't.

Then I copied/scanned a card that was mailed to me as a post card, cropped it, and glued it to the calendar date and image as seen at the bottom in the next picture. I also placed adhesive magnets on back at the top and bottom.

You can also see the two origami cat bookmarks. I bought a cool multicolored string (DMC) to use as the tail. I punched holes and set eyelets so the string wouldn't break the bookmark. I also glued down all of the folds so the bookmark wouldn't come apart. Here is a link to the origami cat bookmark. It's in spanish and since I don't know spanish I followed the pictures and it worked for me.

The next picture shows the gist of everything I did for my friends. I bought scrapbook refill pages, decorated one side with pictures of pets each person owns (and scrapbooking paper, brads, stickers, stamps, and anything else I felt like decorating with) slid the whole thing back into the plastic sheath, and I put colored book rings through the holes and a piece of cardboard that came with the refill pack and voila. The picture in the bottom left corner is a picture of my oldest cat enjoying the sun coming through one of our windows. The picture right above it is of the shadows of my fiance and myself at Laumier Sculpture Park. I don't have extremely wide hips, I just have a couple of bags with me. :) The scrapbook picture above that are pictures of my fiance's mom's cat. In her box I used a gold embossing stamp color and placed four gold paw prints on the bottom. Between the boxes is a picture of her cat slid into one of those photo magnets...

I didn't make anything christmasy so that they can be used all year 'round. Obviously these gifts could be made for any occasion and the possibilities are endless. Have fun!

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year and couldn't use it for months because of our kitten. He is really interested in what we are interested in or what we will be interested in. When we walk through the house he tries to predict which room we will go into. He loves people! Well, he's scared of them when they first come over, but he warms up quickly and gets into anything they bring over.

Onto the project at hand. I have used the machine a few times. I made quite a few reusable coffee filters out of unbleached organic muslin and they work perfectly! An employee at a local fabric store treated me like I am stupid when I asked if they had fabric I could use. "Why not just buy the paper ones at the store?" "So I can reuse them and not waste." "I don't think you're going to get good results. What about those gold screen filters?" "I have one and it lets too much through." "We don't have what you're looking for, sorry. Try those screen ones again." Yeah, won't be going back to that store. I should, just so I can show him the filters and tell him how perfectly they work, but I don't care to see them. They didn't even act like they wanted to help me. I am about to go on a long rant so I digress. I will just say that they need customer service training.

I also sewed some napkins, but I made them before a friend fixed the bobbin case and they look terrible. The stitches look like knotted loops. I knew I could sew better than that so I am glad she set the machine straight.

The bag I sewed today took me many hours. I'm sure it will get easier and the amount of time working on a project will go down. I only have one spot of messy stitching, that knotted loop look, and I'm not sure why it happened. I got better and better at keeping my lines straight throughout the project.

I used fabric from the dreaded and horrible WalMart. (They are the closest store with fabric, the next closest store is the store mentioned above whom I refuse to go back to.) They didn't have a lot of zippers to choose from. I could either have small or large of the color I wanted so I went with light blue being the next best color for the bag and the size I wanted. I have one pocket on the inside made with soft fabric with frogs on it. I made a flap instead of using a button, zipper, velcro, or any other way to close a pocket. While making this bag I realized I don't like working with purse lining fabric. I'm glad I didn't get too much of it. I never want to sew with that stuff again! It was really hard to deal with and luckily no one will see that it isn't sewed straight. There are pleats here and there.

I don't know if other people use Heat 'n Bond for purses and bags, but it is what I used. It says not to wash/dry in heat and not to dry clean. I can handle that. The bag is smaller than I wanted because for some reason I thought I was done measuring when I made some pencil marks for certain lengths and cut the fabric. I'm going to make a bigger bag like I originally planned to and have a small version and a large version. Our "kitten" Debo is the inspiration for me to sew zippered bags. He really wants the yarn I am working with right now!

I also couldn't find a pattern I wanted. I did this completely on my own.

Here are some pictures of the bag

And here is Debo checking out what I am doing

Monday, December 15, 2008

I did it! I made the hat and it fits and it looks great! Now I have two hats I can wear, though I will probably wear this one the most since I can wash it. I don't know anything about the other crochet or knit hat I bought. I know it leaves a pattern on my forehead and I don't appreciate that. Here's to being self sufficient!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Learning to Crochet

I bought a pattern to crochet a hat with a brim (or a bill for a baseball cap) from a shop on and it turned out really nice. The problem is it was too small. I unraveled it and will try again. Is this what has people afraid of trying new things? The messing up part? It's the only way we can learn so whatever you have been thinking of trying, get to it! And if you do, let me know how it turned out. Whether you feel it was good or bad it is all good exercise for the brain, it may have kept you from eating another meal or snack that you may not have needed (I know it helps me to not eat too much!) and with practice you will get better and it may become a new favorite.

When I retry the hat I will take a picture of it and post it. Hopefully the next time it will fit my head. Somehow, the hat was for a baby and not an adult. I know I can miscount some stitches so I am going to try writing on the pattern pages I printed out to help me do all the stitches I'm supposed to. (And I just checked, again, and the pattern isn't the one for kids, it is definitely for adults.) This has been a funny and fun evening!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I am not a fan of the word blog. It sounds like whomever is speaking the word is having trouble throwing up. From here on out if I need to refer to a "blog" I will say weblog or journal.

I am also a busy person so I may not be able to post within my weblog every day. I have so many crafty things going on that I always have something to do.

I feel old. I am trying not to be like my mom. She refused to leave the 60's and she didn't appreciate anything I appreciated as a child because she couldn't understand those things. Since I haven't had a weblog (when I hear "blog" in my head it sounds something like bluhg) I decided it is time to start one. With all the crafting I do and how hard it has been to find info on doing some of them, I thought it would be helpful to share my knowledge as it comes. And to share my trials and tribulations along the way might help others know that trying something new isn't so bad. You can't say you can't do something until you actually try it. You can't just imagine trying to do something, think it's too hard and write it off as a fact that you can't do it. We are all beginners at something and some of those things we were beginners at we all got good at. Though some people need to go back to square one and take some driving lessons. The blinker isn't that hard to find! And the left lane of a highway is for passing, not simply driving.