Shiny Snack Bag

April 13, 2011 at 6:26 PM (crafts, foil, origami, recycled) (, , , , )

Oh yeah, I know — not another wreath, please!!! Sometimes too much of a good thing can just make you blurry-eyed.  But I really fell in love with those book page wreaths that I found first at Living with Lindsay .  I found other versions here and here and here

Well, I did post a lousy photo a while back of a wreath I made from the little foil snack bags but I was able to get a much better picture this time (but I saved it for almost last).  I had already made a few of the wreaths from the book pages using Lindsay’s tutorial.  Here they are:


My first Book Page Wreath: antique gold tip with red glittered floral picks



Another one with some splashes of green added


Anyway I had all these little plastic foil snack bags that I wanted to use, so I thought the bright colors would make a great wreath.   Again, using Lindsay’s tutorial as a guide, I cut the bags open then cut them into three (almost equal) pieces across the length and proceeded to heat up the glue gun.  One thing I discovered while gluing these in place was that the plastic foil gets extremely hot and you have to hold each piece in place a bit longer than with just paper.  My fingers were one major mass of tenderness for about 2 days.  It’s difficult to see in this photo, but I had enough pieces to put 2 rows around the outside edge and another 2 rows around the inside.  That left me with a big white space in between, so I filled it in with telephone book pages (probably a good thing – tone down that shiny glare from the foil) and then added some foil-lined wrapping paper that I cut to look like a tinsel garland (that’s the blue & white frilly-looking stuff in the middle).  Still needed something, so I glued in two different kusodama flowers I had laying around and splashed some acrylic bluewash onto the phonebook paper.  Not sure I like the way it looks in this photo, but it actually looks pretty decent hanging on the wall.



Plastic foil snack bags with telephone book pages


Okay, so I saved the best for last.  When I showed my friend Nik how to make a kusudama ball with the origami flowers, she played around with them and came up with this cute wreath.  It’s about `12 inches across.  I love it!! How about you?



Origami Wreath from foil-lined paper






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Flowers and Foam

April 2, 2011 at 4:00 PM (crafting, crafts) (, , , , , )


Craziness!  Where does the time go?  Last time I posted here was like 6 or 7 weeks ago — guess I’ve been pretty busy.  And the only real thing I have to show for all that time is the paperwork and communications related to the order we’re shipping out tomorrow.  Oh well!

One thing I did manage to get done during that time was to get a couple of  (better) photos for some of the crafts I’ve talked about in previous posts.  Yep.  Really loving these little carved snowman styrofoam sculptures.  We had them around our display of mini Bali trees during Christmas season.

I’ve talked about my friend, Nik, in previous posts, but for new readers – she is my friend and Creative Assistant.  Her family is from the village of Mas here in Bali, known for its skilled woodcarvers.   Nik is no exception – but she carves anything.  She made these in two days.  I finished them up with the paint, glitter and ribbons.  Love that girl!


Snowman vignettes hand-carved from styrofoam

Here’s another example of her styrofoam carving – the lotus flower base of our zen sculpture .  The meditating figure is made from cardboard tube and quilled/ filigreed foil paper.  That base (including the lotus blossoms) is a single piece of styrofoam, the bottom is covered with felt


Lotus Pond Meditation


We’ve done a few other models of both the snowmen and the zen sculpture with different bases.  Someday I’ll try to get some photos of those posted.   In the meantime, let me know what you think about these.   Have you ever tried carving styrofoam?  If so, feel free to post the link.



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Dust Bunnies Revealed

February 17, 2011 at 5:37 PM (crafting, crafts) (, , , , , )

So — finally! — I’ve pretty much finished my spring cleaning.  While I was unpacking closets and cabinets and drawers – oh my! – I rediscovered some earlier creative endeavors that had long since been put aside.  Have I mentioned that, years ago, I was quite adept at macrame (oh yeah, back in the day!).  Well, about 2 years ago, I remembered how much fun it could be.  So I made a few things and this is one that I really liked:


A Macrame Belt and Bracelet


Years later, I finally acted on my love of crocheted pieces, and taught myself how to crochet.  I spent many a frustrating evening while my kids were growing up, sitting in front of the tv and trying to “make it work”.  Eventually, my efforts paid off – won a couple of blue ribbons on some delicate thread projects at local/county fairs.  Last year, I made a wood-beaded twine belt and a few necklaces, bracelet rings and earrings.



Beaded Ribbon Crochet Necklace, Earrings and Ring











Crochet Cotton Twine Belt with Wood & Gold Beads











Thread Crochet Bracelet with Faux Pearls & Crystal


Beaded Silver Metallic Thread Crochet Bracelet and Ring


I’d love to get some comments on any of these photos, so please feel free to let me know what you like or don’t like.

And these:  (my favorite is the taupe-colored one in the middle – made with upholstery thread!)

Some more expamples of my crocheted jewelry

Sorry this one is so blurry – my regular camera is still on the fritz, so I’m having to make do with my crappy webcam.  I think the larger view may be a bit better.

Anyway, so I was also taken with the idea of crocheting with wire.  I once had a really good tutorial for this in my bookmarks, but that was before my last crash — haven’t yet been able to relocate it.  So, this was my first try:

Beaded Wire Crochet with waxed cotton cording & Matching Earrings

Okay, last three, I promise.  These were all first attempts:


Paper Bead Necklaces with Fabric Flower and/or Wood Bead Accents


Sheer Toyal

Sheer Royal Blue Ribbon Crochet Choker with White and Blue Faux Pearls

Desert Gold Ribbon-wrapped Natural Cording with Amber & Clear Glass Bead Drops

Well, that about “wraps it up” for now.  Don’t forget to leave me a comment.

Next time: paper yarn heart (work-in-progress) and …

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It’s All About the Box

December 16, 2010 at 6:15 PM (crafts, recycled) (, , , )


Our Handwoven Gift Boxes Made from Old Newspapers

I want to show you my new gift box.  It’s eco-friendly (made from old newspapers) and it’s handwoven.  We have these sitting under the tree(s) in the shop and they are getting plenty of attention from everyone who comes in to browse around.  They sell so quickly, we just had to hire a couple of school kids to fold a supply of  strips for us so we can just keep making them.

Okay, we’ve all seen the handwoven baskets make from old newspapers — matter of fact, that’s what got me started on this tack.  I ran across Jeffrey Rudell’s basket tutorial last year and made a few of those (much smaller versions – like tabletop catch-alls).  But I have this shop and sell handmade ornaments.  So I thought maybe I could make custom size gift boxes for them.  So, after experimenting a bit, these are what I came up with.  Of course, I also had to check them out with different colors.  They’re cute as is, but look fabulous with some ribbon and a fabric flower or other embellishment.


Testing..testing...Holiday splash on the outside - but still newspaper on the inside

What do you think?  Better with..or without?   I also tried some with a wood stain finish…(pardon the poor quality photo)

A more masculine gift box, finished in wood stain

I’d love to get some feedback on these little boxes.

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The Forest or the Trees?

December 14, 2010 at 6:00 PM (Christmas, trees) (, )

Yesterday, a young couple came into the shop and wanted to “borrow” one of our Bali trees to decorate for a Christmas Eve party they are hosting.  Kind of a strange request, but then again, we are in Bali – where Everyday is an Adventure. Well, to make a long story short,  we worked out a deal so that they can rent the tree, lights and decorations for the evening — go figure!  They’re regular visitors to the island, have no storage access and want their party to be, well – Christmas-y.  So for those of you who haven’t seen our Bali Tree, here’s a photo:

2010Model 2mtr Bali Tree

Undecorated 2 meter Bali Tree

Anyway, so I thought it would be a good idea to post all the different trees we have in the shop now.  All are handmade by Nik or myself, and the Bali Trees are my design but are handcrafted by a local bamboo master craftsman.  Please enjoy browsing through them, and feel free to comment.

Handcrafted bamboo & alang-alang Mini-Trees

Bali Mini-trees are handcrafted from bamboo & alang-alang

Made from foil-lined paper used in packaging

Pine Cone Tree on scrap piece of solid wood base

Quilt Tree of a different color

Luxe Fabric "Quilt" Tree

Modern & Sleek Silver Fabric Tree

"Quilted" Felt and Crochet-covered Trees













Anyway, so these are some of the trees we’ve done over the past year and a half.

Pine cone Tree: I made this by breaking some pine cones (cleaned, of course) and gluing them onto the gold painted styrofoam cone core, then I sprayed some gold on the pinecones to give a bit of a burnished look to it.  Using a piece of scrap wood for the base, stained it and painted the edges gold then glued the tree onto it.  I put a piece of felt on the bottom to protect whatever piece of furniture it might be set on.

Foil Floret Tree: This one was kind of a dual inspiration — Nik was making these cute little florets by rolling and squishing the foil-lined paper we got hold of somewhere.  I had been making the pinecone tree above, and when I saw the flowers, thought I’d try it out.  So this is what we came up with.  What do you think?   The red faux pearl accents really stand out.  Then I put it on one of our decorated scrap wood bases, glued some felt to the bottom and — voila!

Luxe “Quilt” Trees: These, of course, most people will recognize as a variation on the ever-popular “quilted” ball or egg ornaments, as seen on The Ornament Girl’s blog Her ornaments are beautiful and inspiring.  There’s also a great tutorial for the basic ball over at Crafter Without a Cat’s site .  These and other sites were my inspiration.

Modern & Sleek Silver Fabric Tree: This just basically started as an experiment.  I had this metallic thread silver fabric and a cone in hand, so I started wrapping and gluing the two together.   It needed a bit of pop, so I added the red velvet ribbon stripes and a red faux pearl on top.  Again, the base is a piece of scrap wood, painted silver and trimmed with some silver-infused lace edging and the red velvet ribbon.  Red felt is glued to the bottom.

“Quilted” Felt and Crochet-cover Trees: The crochet tree is from a pattern I had on hand (now lost), made to fit a red felt-covered styrofoam cone.  Attached to scrap wood base which I stained mahogany.  The quilted felt trees are just my variation of the fabric quilted trees.  I wanted to change them up to add a bit of interest — plus, the felt gets pretty thick with all that folding, so less is more in this case.  The one on the right actually looks okay up close and personal, but for some reason seems at an odd angle in this photo.

Okay, so those are the trees in our little forest.  I’m working on one now that’s actually a type of sea plant? animal? something.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get it posted here some day.

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‘Round Again

December 6, 2010 at 1:05 PM (Christmas, paper) (, )

It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery.  Well, I’d like to flatter two bloggers today:  first is Lindsay, over at Living With Lindsay whose paper book wreath tutorial is awesome .  I came across it a few months back and made one.  I must say that the instructions are easy to follow, and guarantee success.   Thanks, Lindsay!   The second blogger I’d like to flatter is Pizzazzie for reminding me about my wreath because I did want to post it here.  I’ve just finished another one using an old phone book.  I had to tear the pages in half horizontally for that one, but it looks pretty good too.

Paper Book Wreath

So that’s the first one.  I added a bit of gold spray paint to the tips and some other decoration in red just to spice it up a little.

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Gift Package Decos

December 6, 2010 at 10:17 AM (Christmas, crafts, recycled) (, , , , , )


Cute Gift Package Decos from Cardboard & Foil


Nik and I made these cute recycled package decorations that can double as ornaments.  We embellished them with a bit of ribbon and metallic cord.

Just cut your shape out of a piece of cardboard (cereal box is good);  for the butterfly we cut only the two wings.  Then we took some old (cleaned) foil and fitted and glued it to the cutout shapes.  For the butterfly’s body, take a strip of newspaper and twist and shape it until you have the body shape; wrap and glue on the foil, then make two slits along the side for the wings and glue them in.  Embellish to your heart’s delight!

These are pretty sturdy, so can be reused.

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