Monday, April 28, 2014

May Flowers

 I am a strong believer in the mood-altering power of color. Each room is my house is painted a different shade, and each room definitely has its own feel--cheery, restful, energetic. The magenta and salmon papers I used for these flowers make me smile. They're really bright, but after a long winter I needed an extra dose of pink.

To make a bouquet of May Flowers, cut strips of colored card stock 11" long and 2 to 3½"wide. Draw a pencil line lengthwise on each strip, ½" from one long edge. With scissors, make cuts along the other long edge, spacing them about ¼" apart and stopping at the pencil line. 

Place a few pieces of double-stick tape along the uncut edge of the paper strip. Wrap a piece of double-stick tape around one end of a bamboo skewer and then wrap the paper strip around the skewer to create the flower. Use double-stick tape to attach a strip of green felt around the base of the flower. Fold the petals of the flower outward or wrap them around a pencil to make them curl. To finish the flowers, glue small pompoms in the centers and green paper leaves to the stems.

I made of bunch in an assortment of sizes and arranged them in a Mason jar. I trimmed the pointed ends of the skewers so the flowers would stand at different heights. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Garden Party Place Cards

My garden is just starting to sprout, but the resident rabbits are already out in full force. Some gardeners think they're a nuisance, but I think rabbits are too cute to be pests. I suspect my tolerant attitude is rooted in my many childhood readings of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and "Rabbit Hill." It was Beatrix Potter's charming stories that gave me the idea for this week's project. Crafted from paper and ribbon, these simple cards make the perfect place markers for a garden party.

For the "Beatrix" card, I folded a piece of brown card stock in half and decorated the front with a row of green cabbages. To make each cabbage, I cut a circle from lightweight green paper, and then cut the circle into a spiral. Beginning with the outside edge, I rolled the paper strip together tightly, working toward the center to create a rose--or in this case, cabbage--shape. I let each cabbage unwind slightly before gluing it to the card with tacky glue. I stamped the name on cream card stock with brown ink and layered it over a strip of textured paper and green gingham ribbon.

To make the "Peter" card I used card stock in beige and an assortment of greens. I used a paper punch to make the peas and stamped the guest's name on some of the peas with brown ink. After I glued the peas onto pea pod backgrounds, I arranged them on the card. To give the design some dimension, I attached one pea pod and some extra peas with glue, and then used foam tape to attach the stamped pod. Two green twist ties make the pods' curly vines. To finish, I added a trim of textured paper and gingham ribbon to match the "Beatrix" card. 

The cards make pretty keepsakes as is, but if you want to give your guests something extra, tape a packet of seeds inside.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Bunch of Carrots

Felt is one of my favorite craft materials. It's easy to cut and sew, it doesn't fray, and it comes in every color I can think of. A stash of bright orange and green felt inspired this easy spring project. I wanted to make an Easter decoration with a simple, natural look, so I came up with these cute felt carrots.

To make a bunch, draw an assortment of carrot shapes on paper (mine range from about 3" to 5" tall). Cut two of each of the carrot shapes from orange felt and a small strip from green felt for the stems. Next, pin the pairs of carrots together, sandwiching the stems (folded in half to make a loop) between the carrot tops. Use a running stitch to sew the carrots together around the edges, stuffing them lightly with polyester fiberfill as you go. (I used orange and gold embroidery floss because it has a nice sheen.) Add straight stitches for the carrot's ridges and thread a piece of narrow ribbon through each stem loop. Gather the ribbons together and tie them in a knot, then hang your carrot bunches from spring baskets or on the backs of chairs at your Easter dinner table.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Stamped Spring Gift Tags

Kathleen Berlew - Stamped Spring Gift Tags
I find the act of pressing a rubber stamp onto a clean piece of paper soothing and satisfying. Even though I know that I didn't design the images, transferring them to paper with ink makes me feel like I'm part of the creative process. My rubber stamp collection includes a number of nature-themed spring designs. I've used some of them to create tags for Easter baskets, spring bouquets, or other gifts. They also make pretty ornaments.

The stamps I used are from Inkadinkado® (iris), PSX (nest), Cynthia Hart/Rubber Stampede, Inc.™ (butterfly), and Rubber Stampede, Inc.™ (hydrangea). First I stamped the images on white or cream card stock with black or brown ink. I then tinted the images with colored pencils. (I find coloring even more relaxing than stamping.) To complete the tags, I used double-stick tape to attach the colored designs to slightly larger pieces of card stock in complementary colors. For a finishing touch, I punched two holes at the top of each tag and added a scrap of colorful ribbon.