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Burger Cupcake Idea

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 26, 2009 in Crafts, Other items, Today's Photo

I needed a cute cupcake idea for my daughter’s bake sale at school and saw these “slider” cupcakes online – I decided to try my own.

Mine aren’t quite as professional-looking, mind you – but I think they turned out pretty cute:

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The buns are vanilla cupcakes, the burgers are chocolate cupcakes, the ketchup and mustard are icing and the lettuce is colored coconut.

Will we win for originality?

 
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Faux Mosaic Tutorial

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 19, 2009 in Cards, Crafts, Today's Photo

Lynn in St. Louis, who coordinates the weekly technique challenges SplitCoastStampers, saw a few cards in my gallery using the faux mosaic technique and asked me to put together a quick photo tutorial for this week’s challenge.  

The sad part is, my craft room is SUCH a mess, I had drag my supplies out to do this project on my dining room table (today’s chore is to clean up my craft room – it’s always such a mess after the holidays).

This technique is really easy and there are so many ways to do it – just have fun and be creative with your mosaic!  The basic idea is that you create paper ‘tiles’ and use embossing powder as ‘grout’ to create a mosaic that can be used as a background or accent on a card or scrapbook page. 

Supplies needed:

  • Double sided tape (you can use Stampin’ Up!’s Sticky Strip or the same type of red-lined tape sold in sheets either in the craft store or Pennywise Arts – or even just regular double sided Scotch tape)
  • Embossing powder
  • Heat gun
  • Cardstock and/or patterned paper

To start, cut a piece of cardstock to size for the base of the mosaic (it doesn’t matter what color – the cardstock won’t show).  If you are using a sheet of red-liner tape, cut it to the same size as the cardstock.

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Then peel off the white part of the tape sheet and apply to the cardstock.

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If you are using Sticky Strip you can just cover the entire piece of cardstock with strips, removing the white liner for each piece. 

Remove the red portion of the red-liner tape, exposing the sticky side.

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If you are using double sided tape, just cover one side of the cardstock entirely with the tape, exposing the sticky side.

Now you have a very sticky piece of cardstock – set it aside (careful not to handle the sticky portion too much to keep it clean).

Next, create the ‘tiles’.  You can either stamp a piece of cardstock and cut it into randomly shaped pieces:

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Or…start with patterned paper and cut it into either randomly shaped pieces or similar size squares.  If you’re really OCD about your crafts, you can cut the pieces into the exact same shape and size – I’m more free-form with my projects.

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Arrange the pieces onto your sticky paper.  This is where you can get creative – you can arrange them into a random pattern or space them evenly…it depends on the look you’re going for.  For this card, I was looking for more of a vintage tile wall look, so I kept the pieces mostly the same size and spaced the sort of evenly, but not exactly.

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I even overlapped the edge pieces a bit – I just trimmed them off from the back:

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Next, sprinkle embossing powder over the sticky side of the entire sheet.  It will settle into the spaces between the tiles, acting as ‘grout’ between them.

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Shake off the excess:

P1150020And heat emboss:

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If you want your tiles to be shiny, you can add Crystal Effects to each tile:

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But be prepared – this take a LONG time to dry.  24 hours later, and it still looked like this:

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Being impatient (and wanting to show you a completed card), I did another mosaic using black embossing powder instead of silver.  Here’s my finished card:

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Different colors of embossing powder will give you much different results. 

Here’s a card I made using gold embossing powder (the tiles were made of glossy paper colored with ink and a brayer):

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And another one using silver, but with randomly shaped pieces:

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And a much more funky card using plain colored cardstock and white embossing powder:

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Thanks for the interest in this technique, Lynn – I can’t wait to see what everyone on SCS creates!

 
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4th Grade Lenape Indian Project

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 12, 2009 in Crafts, Family Stuff, Today's Photo

This week’s 4th grade social studies assignment was to create an ‘artifact’ for the class museum to represent life among the Lenape Indians (or Native Americans, to be politically correct).  We were looking for something different, so we decided to make some games representative of those played by the Lenape children. 

Feel free to borrow these ideas if a Lenape Indian project comes your way – I thought I’d post these to assist other frantic parents looking for ideas (I had a hard time finding some online)…

First, we made a kokolesh – this was also called the ‘rabbit game’.  There is a string tied to a stick with a small cone made of bone (ours is actually a tiny wooden flowerpot from the craft store).  The cone was kept on the string with a rabbit tail (with no rabbit tails handy, we used a cotton ball).  The object of the game is to catch the cone on the end of the stick.

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Next we made a set of jackstraws – basically a Lenape version of pickup sticks.  We also marked some sticks for the game selahtiken – more points are awarded for sticks marked with lines and dots.  For this game, we just gathered some twigs (you don’t even have to be crafty to do this one!).

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We also made a ‘cup and pin’ game.  The object of the game is to throw the circle into the air (for the Lenape, the cup was made of leather or bone – for our purposes, it’s a wood washer from the craft store) and catch it on the pin (again – for the Lenape it was bone;  for us, it was a wooden peg).

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Another easy game to make was the ‘hand game’.  It was played with two rocks, one marked with a red dot.  The player passes one rock to the person on their right and the person on the left has to guess whether or not the rock that was passed has the dot on it.  If they’re right, they get the rocks and get a turn passing them.  Again, no craftiness required here – we just took two rocks and marked one with a Sharpie…

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We also made the game mamandin – sort of a Lenape version of Yahtzee.  The game was played with handmade dice in a wooden bowl – the bowl was shaken and the total numbers on the dice were added up for points.  We used a wooden salad bowl I found at Marshall’s and some wooden cubes from the craft store that Matt marked with a Sharpie.

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Finally, we made a VERY crude representation of a Pahsaheman ball – a Lenape game sort of like football.  The Lenape made the ball from deer skin and stuffed it with hair – ours is made from leftover faux fur pieces from Emily’s Halloween costume and is stuffed with plastic grocery bags.  I just sewed a quick oblong ball shape, wrong sides together, leaving a small opening to turn it inside out and to add the stuffing.  Then I stitched the hole shut…

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Like I said, very crude – but I wanted it to look hand-made (didn’t I?).

So there you go – some easy Lenape game projects.  Now let’s see what sort of grade Matt gets on his report and project…

 
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Happy New Year’s Eve (and a craft project too)

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 31, 2008 in Crafts, Other items, Today's Photo

Even though I had to work today, I managed to get a little crafting time in while I was there.  That’s right – there was some crafting going on at the Tech Center today!

My co-worker Sybil saw a gift item online that she had tried to order, but was receiving no response from the store owner.  She showed it to me and I said, “Sybil, we could make that!”.  A crafting challenge!!!!

The item was a personalized frame containing a poem and a high heel shoe silhouette on a fabric (at least I think it was fabric) background – selling for $59.95.  Sybil thought it would be perfect for a friend who was turning 40.

I’d like to show you the link to the original item, but the link no longer seems to be working.  Maybe Sybil didn’t receive a response because they went out of business…

Anyway, our project was similar to the original, but instead of fabric, we used patterned paper.  And I just happened to have a shoe stencil from November’s Paula’s Kit Club kit – how convenient!  I trimmed the shoe image from the paper with a craft knife then placed ivory cardstock behind the opening. 

We used an original poem written by Sybil for her friend and put all of the items into a frame she picked up at Michaels:

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This is SO close to the original (and was MUCH less expensive) – Sybil was very happy:

PC300001I am using this photo with her permission, but she did want me to emphasize that she was feeling quite under the weather at the time…I think she looks just fine.

And by the way, I think I have her hooked on crafting – I caught her surfing the Internet looking for more projects for us to try…

Happy New Year to everyone!  Here’s hoping for a happy and healthy 2009…

 
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Baby Paint Can Gift

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 30, 2008 in Crafts, Other items, Today's Photo

I just completed a baby gift for one of my co-workers – I haven’t made one of these for a while but I have posted the instructions previously on my blog.  I used to make a lot of these to sell at craft shows back in the day when I had more time for crafting…and spent less time working (before job).

The gift starts out as an empty paint can that is covered with scrapbooking paper using ModPodge.  Here’s the finished can:

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She knows she is having a girl (obviously!) and the colors in the nursery are pink and brown.  Inside the can, I included some receiving blankets and a tiny outfit in the same colors (a girl has to be color-coordinated, you know – even a newborn girl!).

I used paper from Basic Grey’s “Blush” collection to cover the can then added a little poem on Stampin’ Up! cardstock to the front:

Baby books are great ideas,

But sometimes you’re too busy.

Living with a little one

Can put you in a tizzy!

Milestones pass too fast at times

To find the proper page.

So, jot a note of each event

With date and baby’s age.

Like, “Took 3 steps on May the 1st”,

Or, “Teething – 5th December”.

Then drop it in this memory can

To help you to remember.

I also included a little stack of stamped tags on a split ring to which I added ribbon:

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The cards can be used to jot down little notes about things the baby did and when she did them.

I tied some coordinating ribbon all around the paint can handle and also attached a paint can opener (also tied with ribbon).  The lid is also included – I put it beneath the can and tied the whole package with cellophane:

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Hope she likes it!

 
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Initial Gift Idea

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 24, 2008 in Crafts, Other items

I have another gift that I made for my friend Linda’s daughter Kylee:

PC190002 It started out as a plain white letter “K” plaque that I picked up this summer at the Creating Keepsakes Convention (yes, I’ve had it that long and just finally got a chance to make it and mail it).  I added some patterned paper to the raised letter and background – to cut it to shape, I just put the paper on top of the plaque and pressed it down around the edges, creating a crease to show the shape to cut.  After adding the paper with ModPodge, I used my stickles glitter and some rhinestone bling to outline the patterns in the paper.  The flower is made from some Prima flowers and in the center, I used a cluster of beads from a vintage earring.  Hopefully, this will look nice in her room.

 
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Quick Cash Card

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 24, 2008 in Cards, Crafts

I just threw together this quick card for a last minute gift…a cute (and quick and easy) way to give cash.

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A few more felted bags…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 21, 2008 in Crafts, Other items

After paying another visit to the Goodwill (this time in Atlantic City after our company holiday party), I made a few more felted sweater bags:

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I added some pretty tags to let the recipients know that these are recycled sweaters:

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After doing some research online, I saw a bunch of other recycled sweater projects that I’d like to try.  Everything from blankets, mittens, wreaths, Christmas trees – even the most adorable Easter basket!  There are also some amazing purses ideas out there – there’s really no end to the types of things you can create.  I have a new item to search for at yard sales…or if you have any wool sweaters you’d like to donate, just let me know. :)

By the way, when Andrew came home and saw a large Goodwill bag in the dining room, he turned and asked me, “Are we poor?”.  I told him that there’s nothing wrong with shopping at the Goodwill – not only did I find these sweaters, but I also picked up an adorable Talbot’s cardigan for Emily (for wearing, not crafting) and one of those Pedi-Paws that they show on the infomercials for trimming your dog’s nails (it was brand new and still in the box!). 

Both Goodwill stores were actually full of people shopping for bargains – while I was there, I saw some of the same toys that Santa is bringing for Emily for a steal (still brand new and in the box) and a whole table of brand new girls’ tap shoes.  There were tons of college kids looking for some unique clothing and some other crafters checking out the vintage jewelry for projects.  Yardsales and Goodwill – not much of a difference, really.  Just be sure to wash your items in hot water, and they’re good as new!

 
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One more quick post…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 17, 2008 in Cards, Family Stuff

Just one more quick thing that I’ve been meaning to post…I don’t like the Christmas cards I sent out this year.

I meant to make handmade cards like I do every year.  I purchased copies of our beach pictures with “Merry Christmas” written in the sand and planned to use faux sand that I purchased at the Creating Keepsakes convention last summer on the card fronts.  I created the photos with a fuzzy glow effect from Photoshop so that no one would notice that my kids were wearing beach clothes instead of their Christmas best.

But now that I’m working, I ran out of time and energy.  As I was ordering other photo gifts online, Mike convinced me to just order photo cards instead of making them.  So I did, but I used the same fuzzy glow photos I had ordered for my handmade cards.

So now it just looks like I chose an out of focus, weird picture on our card.

I was disappointed in myself, but had already purchased them and had no time (or money) to make (or order) replacements.

So for those who got our Christmas cards, I apologize…

 
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A “Green” Crafty Gift Idea

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 16, 2008 in Crafts, Knitting, Other items, Today's Photo, Yardsale Finds

I finally finished the felted purse that I’ve been knitting since SEPTEMBER!  I had this great (but totally unrealistic) idea that I would whip up all these knitted/felted purses and give them as Christmas presents this year.  Well…four months later and only one purse is finished – not exactly productive.  Maybe I don’t have the patience for completing knitted projects – I seem to lose interest – especially when knitting something like the handle that takes FOREVER and is the same stitch and the same color yarn over and over again…

Anyway, here are the side panels after they were knitted (I added some brown fuzzy yarn at the top that will not felt for a little texture):

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And here is the purse assembled, but before felting:

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And after felting (I added a vintage brown button to help keep the top of the purse closed):

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The thing is, I LOVE the felting process…but have little patience for the knitting part…

Then I came across a great idea in the January issue of Country Living magazine called “Sweater Recycling 101”. 

The article described how to take old, wool sweaters and felt them (no knitting required!!!!), then cut and sew them into cute little tote bags – perfect! 

I visited my local Goodwill store yesterday and picked up a variety of inexpensive 100% wool sweaters, all of which were $4.99 or less (yardsales would be great for this too, but there aren’t too many yardsales in Pitman in December – way too cold).

I took the sweaters home and ran them through my washer on hot with the greatest agitation level, then threw them in the dryer until dry.  Just a hint – don’t wash more than one sweater together or with other clothing.  The sweaters will lose an enormous amount of fibers that stick to everything when wet.  And make sure they are 100% wool – I think chunky wool works better for this project. 

After washing in hot and drying in the dryer, the sweater will be felted – the fibers shrink and blend together forming a nice, thick piece of fabric that is easily cut and won’t unravel.  The thing is – felting is a very unpredictable process.  There’s no telling how a sweater will shrink.  Some of those I tried shrank evenly all around – others ended up with a very short body and very long arms.  And in general, the larger the sweater size, the larger the bag.

Cutting the sweater is a matter of experimentation depending on the size of the sweater and the amount of shrinkage.  Country Living gives a pattern that is almost like cutting the sweater into a tank-top – the shoulder straps of the ‘tank-top’ become the handles.  This makes for a very simple project – just stitch a seam across the bottom and you have a sweet little tote:

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The bag above started out as a purple ladies V-neck sweater from the Gap with a fair-isle pattern across the chest.

My favorite bag was a men’s extra-large striped sweater in blues and greens with a nice cable pattern and a rolled-neck.  This sweater had some holes in it, so I wasn’t able to use the ‘tank-top’ pattern.  Instead, I had to cut out the front and back panels of the sweater and stitch down the sides.  I then used the arms as the handles, cutting them apart and folding them over in half.  I stitched them in place and this is the result:

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I wish I would have taken a photo of the sweater before I felted it – I was just so curious as to how this would work, I forgot to stop and take a picture of the ‘before’!   This is a very large, sturdy bag – but my little basic sewing machine did have some trouble stitching through the thick, felted wool – I just kept pushing and pulling it until it made it though.

I also experimented with adding some pockets.  Here is a women’s wool sweater from Eddie Bauer after I felted it:

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Not sure if you can tell, but the body shrunk up really short but very wide.  I cut it into the ‘tank top’ pattern and stitched up the sides as well as the bottom:

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The back of the bag was just plain red so I decided to cut the bottoms of the sleeves and add them to the back side as little pockets:

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I’m telling you…this became addictive after a while!  You never know how the bag is going to turn out…

Here’s another one – this is an Old Navy sweater before felting:

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I used the ‘tank-top’ pattern, but cut it into more a square, then added the unfolded end of one of the sleeves as a long pocket on the front:

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I love this project because…1) there’s instant gratification – you throw the sweater into the washer and in no time, you have a brand new piece of felt that’s a surprise every time,  2) one entire project (once the sweater is felted) takes less than 30 minutes, 3) it’s inexpensive, 4) it’s a practical but still a really cute gift and 5) it’s good for the environment to re-use something in a whole new way – it can be fun being green!

And now even though I didn’t actually knit them as I intended, I have all these cute felted purses to give as gifts – plus I may make a few more after a visit to another local thrift store this weekend…

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