Tag Archives: paper

Halloween Decor: Paper Garland Curtain

DSC_1064 DSC_1106Despite having a cat who has to chase and attack anything that hangs or moves, I love having hanging decor (like these paper bats or floating candles). It’s a bit of a gamble having these in the house with Oliver, but I’ve been able to make it work so far by leaving them just a little too high for them to reach. He’s very upset about this.

With tradition of my love for hanging decorations, here’s another Halloween project that you can reuse from year to year and won’t cost you much at all. You might even have the supplies already in your closet. I made this stitched paper garland curtain to dangle from a tension rod at the opening of my small hallway. It turned out to be a perfect fit and a nice Halloween decoration that is well out of the reach of my cat (despite his best efforts).

Here’s what you need:

  • Tension rod
  • Black thread
  • 1 1/2 inch circle punch
  • Black and orange construction paper or cardstock

DSC_0943First, use the circle punch to cut out as many circles as you can from the black and orange paper. Use what you have – I had black construction paper and orange cardstock, so I worked with them. If you’re buying new supplies, construction paper would be easier to manage because it’s thinner and less expensive, but the cardstock does look a little nicer. I varied my pattern with two columns of black followed by one of orange because I had more black paper than orange, and I thought black had a spookier feel to it.DSC_0967 DSC_0970Once you have a whole bunch of circles, load your sewing machine with black thread, lower the needle into the bottom of one circle and begin to sew down the middle. Go slowly if you can and use a tight stitch. When you near the end of the circle, place down another, lifting the foot if needed, and continue to sew circles together until the garland is about 3 feet long (that’s up to you and the size of your doorjam). At the end of the garland, lift the needle and foot, and pull the thread so that you have at least 5 inches to cut away. You want this extra thread to tie the string to the tension rod, leaving a few inches between each string until your door jam is filled (I used 11 strands).DSC_1097 DSC_1036With that, your curtain is complete and you have a creative way to add Halloween decor to your home, and in my case, bring some excitement to my otherwise dull hallway. Happy Halloween and happy decorating!

Halloween Decor: Paper Bat Swarm

DSC_1122DSC_1136I’m a little behind on Halloween decorations this year, so this weekend I upped my game to get ready for our Halloween party this Friday. First up, I made this paper bat swarm in the corner of our living room with a combination of bats stuck to the wall and bats hanging from the ceiling. When it’s dark, it creates spooky shadows on the wall and when it’s light, well, it still creates spooky shadows on the wall.

This one’s pretty easy, and all you need is:

  • Several large pieces of black construction paper (way cheaper than cardstock)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Clear fishing line
  • Clear thumb tacks

First, fold each piece of paper in half. This makes the bat more symmetrical. Then sketch out half of the bat or, if you feel more comfortable, print out a stencil and trace it on to the paper. When you have at least ten bats, begin folding their wings to give them that “in flight” look. For mine, I folded down the very middle of the bat and twice down each wing, meeting at the wing tips.

DSC_1118DSC_1130DSC_1128Use double sided tape to adhere several of the bats to the wall, placing them facing upward so they look like they are flying. Tape toward the middle of the bat to allow the wings to show their shape.

Use a sharp point like a safety pin to poke holes in the middle fold of several of the other bats’ wings. Thread the end of the fishing line through the hole and tie several knots on the underside of the wing to hold it. Allow about 1-2 feet of line before cutting it. Do the same on the other wing and tie both ends of line securely to a clear thumbtack. You can also tie them separately, but I found it easier to hang with only one thumb tack per bat.

That’s all there is too it! Happy Halloween!

DIY Personalized Gift Wrap

IMG_5098

IMG_5105I don’t know about you, but I find good wrapping paper expensive and hard to come by. Target (my go-to store for everything) generally has a pretty limited selection, and the good stuff can be pricey. Plus, I don’t always need an entire roll for small items.

IMG_5084

IMG_5088 Enter scrapbook paper and leftover scraps – you can wrap gifts with cheap, patterned scrapbook paper or dress up boring old wrapping paper with personal touches. If you’ve ever tried to nicely wrap something for an adult male’s birthday, you may notice that it’s really hard to find paper that is both not girly and not boyish. Using $.50 scrapbook paper, you can wrap small items with so much more variety than your average grocery or department store has to offer.

IMG_5093

For slightly larger items, take some plain colored paper, or perhaps even the white side of patterned paper, and use paint and a stencil to add the first letter of their name or even their full name. Similarly, dress up plain paper with stamps, watercolors and other embellishments!

IMG_5090 IMG_5099

For an added touch, add ribbons and bows (I like to believe that even boys appreciate these things). Even though wrapping paper gets ripped off, people usually appreciate a nicely wrapped gift. Well, I do at least.

With Andrew’s birthday and my aunt’s falling on the same day, we planned a trip to Arizona on the river. Not only did I personalize my wrapping, I made Andrew go on a scavenger hunt around my aunt’s house to find his gifts. We had a wonderful weekend away full of lots and lots of celebrating. His actual birthday is tomorrow, so the celebrations don’t end here!

Valentine’s Day: 50 Things I Love About You

IMG_3418

If you need a Valentine’s Day gift on a budget, try to keep it sweet and simple!

This “50 Things I Love About You” box is easy and thoughtful for any gift occasion. I made this one for my boyfriend this Valentine’s Day to also honor our one-year anniversary.

IMG_3397

Pick up a plain wooden box at Michael’s, paint it with some regular craft paint (I used a metallic red), and decorate it with stickers and other embellishments. I used a painted “love” wood piece for the top and stickers for the inside of the box. I didn’t want to go too overboard with glitter for my boyfriend, but there are so many things you can do with a box and some fun embellishments.

IMG_3390
IMG_3385

Write or type out 50 or so things you love about your significant other. Add in some silly ones. Keep it sweet, fun and personal. I used things like “I love…the way you sneeze in twos” and “I love…that you forget the difference between tights and leggings” and “I love…the weird things you say in your sleep.”

IMG_3393
IMG_3394If you typed them out like I did, print them out with spaces in between. Use a paper cutter to cut them into separate strips. Because my box was fairly deep, I wanted the papers to fill it rather than just sit there. I wrapped each piece around a pencil to give it a little curl and placed them all inside the box, giving it a more full and bouncy appearance.

Bonus: make a card to go with it! I cut out a simple, classic heart shape out of red paper, using the top of heart as the fold. Using rub-on stickers, I spelled out “…guess what?” on the front and “I love you” on the inside because that’s our little inside joke. Sometimes short and sweet is all you need.

IMG_3405
IMG_3404

Lucky for me, my boyfriend appreciates cute, corny gifts as much as I do, and I loved it making it! It’s nice to remind your loved ones how much they mean to you (not just on Valentine’s Day!)

A Trip Through my Scrapbook (Part 1)

I am an avid scrapbooker. I started playing around with scrapbooking when I was a kid and have progressed every since then, making my way through at least eight full scrapbooks of my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time or space for it anymore because my small apartment and busy schedule don’t allow for it, but I’m trying to keep it up.

I believe anyone can scrapbook. It’s just about taking your time and making pages that reflect your life and your experiences. In other words, everyone scrapbooks differently. This post will be part of one of at least two peaks into my scrapbook. I pulled out a few of my favorite pages to display. None of them were extremely complicated. They just took time and effort, but mostly time. Personally, it can take me hours to do one page because I am so indecisive about what I want each page to look like in order to make each one stand out from the others.

So here’s a little trip through my life in photos over the last few years.

image
image
image

I have tons of extra photos lying around that never fit into a page, so I grabbed enough to make a sort of collage to demonstrate “the many faces of me.” Some show me as a kid and some are more recent, but they all are cut and fitted together to demonstrate who I am. I painted chipboard letters to give it some texture and used a small stamp to create small text in the corner of the page. Other than that, I just cut the photos to different sizes and arranged them in a square pattern on layered cardstock.

image
image
image

I find it really difficult to make a page when there is only one picture to work with because it means, unless it is a large picture, that you will need a lot of embellishments. In this case, I used a stamp on two layers of paper to add a large embellishment, attached with colored paperclips. I also used a framed look, meaning I added a frame around the page in a different color, which takes up more space. Using a label maker and die cuts from a Cricket machine, I created a title for the top. Lastly, I added flowers to add to the empty space. Sometimes I really enjoy the look of a crowded page with lots of embellishments.

image
image

Like the previous example, I only had one picture to work with, so I tried to add as much as I could to the page. Because in this picture, I am surrounded my a large mosaic and mirrored tiles, I attempted to create a similar pattern on the page. I cut random shapes out of black, silver, and grey paper as well as aluminum foil. Yes, foil. That’s what the shiny pieces are. I was surprised to see that it all came together really well. Don’t be afraid to add random things to your pages just because they aren’t usually considered scrapbooking materials.

image
image
image

Sometimes I worry there are only so many ways to lay out a page when you have three or four photos. Play around with arrangements before you paste it on so that you can create new ways of laying out pages. Layer them if you must. Cut them if you must. And don’t feel like you need to be confined to paper cutters and straight edges. I wanted something extra on this page, so I cut a layered scallop border for the top and bottom of the paper. Add chucks of paper and small embellishments like dots or squares to make your eyes dart around the page. The whole point is to attract attention.

image
image
image

This is the last page I’ll post for now. Like my other examples, I layer paper a lot to give dimension and take up wasted space. Because this page was all about my beautiful niece, I used large chipboard letters to spell her name, and placed smaller stickers toward the bottom to indicated how old she was at the time (she’s three now!). Using different types of string, I hung metal pieces and fastened them together using an eyelet.  I also used glue to paste the metal pieces to the paper in order to keep them from simply hanging in a way that you couldn’t see what they are.

I’ll plan to post a part two of my scrapbooking obsession soon. My best advice to fellow scrapbookers is not to rush. The memories are already there. They aren’t going anywhere, so don’t glue anything down until you know what you want.  Scrapbooking is about creating something that reflects who you are, so you should never worry that you’re doing it wrong. There is no wrong way.