Easy Recycled Gift Tags

 

Recycled gift tags

It’s time for Christmas gift buying, gift wrapping and gift tagging.  Don’t you just love Christmas time?   To me, wrapping presents is fun and pretty relaxing, but I’ll admit that one of my least favorite parts of wrapping is tagging my wrapped gifts.  Am I the only one?  I always make sure to buy gift tags at the after-Christmas sales so I have plenty on hand, but the things make me crazy.  The plain ones are often, well…boring and the beautiful foiled ones always seem to repel ink.   Seriously, someone should test those things out before they sell them as gift tags.  It seems that if I can find a pen that actually writes on them, the ink always smears when I try to stick it on the package.   Urrgggh.

This year, I decided to make some more permanent tags.  I went as far as my recycling bin to find my main supplies-  these empty thin cardboard boxes:

Empty food cartons for gift tags

First thing that I did was to cut simple tag shapes, pairing two for each tag.  I made sure that the plain side faced out as I cut them, because really, who really wants a picture of a tri tip sandwich on their gift tag.

recycled cardboard gift tags

The first couple of tags that I made had a layer of flannel sandwiched between them:

As you can see, I used a tiny loop of tape to hold each side of the fabric/cardboard in place, making sure to line the cardboard up well.  Easy.  Next, I took it to my sewing machine and used a long, straight stitch around the whole thing.  I made sure to start at the center-top of the tag and overlapped a few stitches to secure the thread, knowing that the ribbon would hide the cut threads.  Once the sewing was complete, I trimmed the fabric to the actual shape of the tag.  For added effect, I frayed the flannel edges of one of my tags, and the other tag I snipped lots of tiny cuts along the whole fabric edge to create my own fringe.

After doing a couple this way, I got lazy and just ended up gluing the two pieces of cardboard together, skipping the flannel.  I think that I prefer this simpler look, actually, and it makes tag making so much easier and faster.  Once the tag layers were secured, I used my hole punch at the top.

Of course I could have hand-written the names on these, but instead I went to my computer and found some fun, bold fonts which I printed in large sizes and glued on my tags.  I used white paper, but colored or lightly patterned paper would be fun, too.   Glitter, stickers, and other embellishments would spiff these up even more.  Really, the sky’s the limit on what you could do with these.   You can have all of your tags exactly the same, with only the names different, or you can color code for each child/recipient, or you can make each tag totally different.

Gift tags made from recycled carton cardboard

You might think that, with the rush and fun and craziness of Christmas morning unwrapping that these tags will just get tossed in with the other trash.  Maybe…maybe not.  These gift tags are actually very study and feel substantial in your hands.  I don’t think that they will easily get mixed up with tossed gift wrap and bows.  I’m going to tell my children to save them so I can use them next year…and the year after that…and the year after that, etc., etc. .

What started out as trash will be avoiding the trashcan for years to come.  That’s the plan.  Now, I just need to invade my recycling bin again to make a couple dozen more tags.

So, do you have any empty cereal, crackers, or other thin cardboard boxes in your trash right now?  I think it’s time to rescue them!

 

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Easy DIY Gift: Corn Heating Pads

DIY Corn Heating Pads

It’s that time of year again!  Eeeek!  The Holidays!  Thanksgiving…Christmas…New Year’s…I love it all!  Right now I should be packing for our trip to Utah, but I just have to share what I have been working on (instead of packing!).  Making microwavable feed corn heating pads!

Last year I blogged about making rice heating pads using pillow cases.  They really are simple to make and we love using them.  After being over-heated too many times, however, the burned rice smell can get a bit nauseating,  so I decided to try something different: Feed corn.

Feed Corn

My friend Patrice told me about feed corn heating “bags” years ago and how they don’t smell like rice does and how they hold the heat longer than rice.  I decided to give corn a whirl.

Just so you know, feed corn is dirt cheap.  I paid $12 for a 50 lb. bag.  For the fabric, I found a really nice heavy full size flat sheet with a plaid pattern that is a dream to sew on.  I love plaid because the lines make it easier to cut and sew straight lines.  I like to start out with a piece of fabric that is about 25 inches by 14 inches, but really, you can make these any size and shape.

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With this size, I add 2 scant cups of corn to each of the outside edges and 2 1/2 cups to the larger center section.  Again you can go to my tutorial to see how to make these.  Once you get the hang of it, you could probably rival Santa’s elves in gift making!

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Oh, another fabric idea:  My son had outgrown his Grinch pajama bottoms, so I just cut off the legs, straightened out the seams to form rectangles and made microwavable heating pads out of them, as well.

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As a side note, these take a bit longer to heat up than the rice ones do.  I would start with 2 1/2 minutes, but I like how it feels after 3 minutes.  For heaven’s sakes, don’t overheat them and fry yourselves!  Or anyone else!

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 If you are stumped about what to get for anyone this Holiday season, I guarantee that these microwavable feed corn heating pads will be a hit.  Moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, siblings, friends, children of all ages will love them.   They are great for aches and pains, for warming cold tooties and pre-warming a bed on a cold winter night.  Trust me on this one…these heating pads are a popular commodity in our home.

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Roses and Rust Vintage Market 2015

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend Roses and Rust Vintage Market in nearby Anderson, CA and it….was….awesome!  I had a friend come visit me from out of town to attend this event and we loved every minute of it.  I’ve got pics to share with you!

RosesRust

My favorite booth is just inside the gate and belongs to Liz and Randy Foster.  They are so kind and helpful and their booth is full of old ceiling tins and all kinds of wonderful items created from the ceiling tins and moldings.  See?

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Just looking at the pictures makes my mouth water.  Amazing stuff!

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Click here to see their Flikr account, which has oodles of great pics of their tins and some items that they have crafted with them.  Dreamy!

My next stop was a booth that had tons of hardware for doors, cabinets and drawers.  Lots and lots of bins to go through.

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Yeah, my pics are a bit blurry, but you get the idea.  The place was hopping with people and I had to snap pics as quickly as there was a break in the crowds.

I parked myself in front of a bin that had goodies priced 3 for $1.  I sorted and searched and my hands got absolutely filthy, but just look and see what $10 bought!

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This tub-turned-planter was pretty interesting.  We surmised that it had a backrest, armrests and a place for the bather’s legs to hang out.  Makes me love my garden tub (which I very rarely use) all the more.

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We spent some time sampling some amazing jams and jellies.  My favorite, oddly enough, was Horseradish Jam.  Weird!  I don’t usually even like horseradish. These were the jars that I took home:

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This little sign cracked me up!

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As we drove away, we started planning to attend Rust and Roses’ Spring show in April.  And of course we will be back next Fall as well.  If you happen to be in Northern California, I would totally recommend it.  If not, you should at least check out the picture gallery on their website to see what you are missing.

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Let me know if you plan to attend!

 

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Concrete Look Dollar Store Pumpkins

If you have been in pretty much any dollar store in the last month or so you have likely seen lots of bright orange light-weight pumpkins.  El cheapo looking pumpkins.  But, for some reason, they inspired me in a big way.  I bought a couple of them and before I had even gotten out of the store, I knew what I wanted to do with them.  Happily enough, they turned out exactly how I envisioned them!

Concrete Pumpkin

I love them!  The process, once I figured it out was quite easy.  It took some trial and error, so to help you avoid all that, I will show you the easy way to make these concrete look pumpkins.  First, though, my base ingredients:

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I had noticed this half used bag of thin-set mortar in our garage recently and wondered what a person actually does with it once the tile job is done.  The trial and error portion of my project consisted of just mixing water with the thin-set mix and painting it on.   Not wanting to use a nice bowl to mix the stuff in, I cut down a gallon sized milk container.  The handle made it really easy to hold while I stirred.  I used the top part for my scoop.  See what it looked like after one coat:

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Too transparent for the look that I was going for so I made some changes to my thin-set mix.  First I added some white paint and then decided to add some Plaster of Paris powder, as well.  I didn’t have any specific recipe, just added until it was the consistency of pancake batter.  A couple more coats (let it dry completely first) and this is what they looked like:WP_20151106_008

As you can see, I added some short twigs to make stems for my pumpkins.  At first I added a silk leaf to the top, but removed it because I liked the starker look.  Can I just say that I’m loving the white pumpkin look this year?  Truth be told, however, these could be made in any color… of course your paint color will dictate that.  It would be fun to make gray or peacock blue or black concrete pumpkins, don’t you think?

White and chic pumpkin
White and chic pumpkin
White pumpkins!
White pumpkins!

Since these pumpkins are made of Styrofoam, they can be easily pierced on the bottom and place on a candlestick that has a “nail” for holding candles in place:

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Isn’t it amazing how just a few items found in most garages can make el cheapo look high end?  I’m loving my new pumpkins and plan to make several more in different sizes next year.

So, what do you think?  Are you still there, or are you grabbing the car keys and heading to your local dollar store to buy some pumpkins?

 

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I was FEATURED!  What an honor!

Great Ideas — 18 DIY Thanksgiving Ideas Part Two!

 

Welcome to 31 Days

 

Super Saturday Craft Day

SuperSaturday2015

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to help organize a “Super Saturday” at my church.  Super Saturday is a day where the women from church and their friends, family, neighbors…can come together and craft.  This event is always in November so we can make holiday decorations as well as inexpensive gifts for Christmas giving.  I just thought that I would share what we are doing this year:

This Snowman/Scarecrow craft was requested by someone who had seen a similar craft online using planks.   As you can see, this craft is reversible, making it possible to have it out from October through January.  Love that!  I will do a tutorial on this soon.  Promise!  ***UPDATE: Here is the tutorial***

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This 2 minute craft  is great for display as well as for holding a plate of holiday goodies.  It is as simple as removing the backing from the vinyl sticker that I cut with my Roland Dr. Stika machine, placing the sticker and rubbing it to smooth it out, then removing the masking layer.  Easy peasy!  I love how simplistic it looks.

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I found some little wood boxes that I thought would make perfect little chalkboards.  Before Super Saturday, I will paint the boxes white.  That day we will add a vinyl frame to use as a stencil.  After painting with chalkboard paint and letting it dry (we always use hair dryers at Super Saturday to speed up the drying process!), we will remove the frame vinyl to expose the white below.  I’m also going to do a quick demo about how to easily “write” on chalkboards.  I love that this little guy can stay up year round.  I love, love, love chalkboards and the fact that “art” can change in a matter of seconds.

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We are also going to do a demo of how to make a 5 minute pillow cover.  Soooo easy!  Here is a great video tutorial to show you how it’s done and here is one of the many pillows that I have made this way:

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Lastly, here is a craft that I patterned off of one that my friend found online and loved.  I made sure to use an image that is copyright free of the LDS Salt Lake Temple spires.  We will decoupage that as well as the saying, “Families are Forever”.  This idea can be used in a thousand different ways, using different pics (pics of children and grandchildren, family home…) and sayings.  I drilled tiny holes in each corner of the word wood so I could easily insert little brads for added detail.  I also drilled a couple of larger holes on the top for the ribbon to go in and, BAM! it’s a fabulous item to hang in your own home or to give as a gift.

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I’m so excited for this Super Saturday event…I can hardly wait!  It is so much fun to turn on the Christmas tunes and work and laugh and craft with friends.

Do you participate in a similar crafting event?   If you are not aware of a similar event around you, why don’t YOU get one started?  Grab your friends and family and get crafting!  You just might end up with some pretty cool stuff and warm memories as a result.

 

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Welcome to 31 Days