Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Teacher Appreciation (Garden) Gifts

At the end of the school year, we like to show our appreciation to the teachers who teach and instruct the kiddos every day. This year I put together garden themed baskets for their 3 main teachers. Of course, being on a tight budget I made them as inexpensive as possible.
We hit the Dollar Store and found solid garden trowels, pretty gloves, and cute flower pots for $1.00 each. We also got flower seed packets at 4/$1.00.

At home, I made some yummy smelling cucumber melon sugar hand scrub. It smells really fresh and summery and is great to use after you've been in the garden or if your hands are rough and dry.

It's super easy to make too! Simply fill your jar about 3/4 full with granulated sugar. Then add a scented liquid soap (like Softsoap or Dawn dish detergent), leaving about 1 1/2" of room at the top. Mix well with a spatula or spoon. As the soap mixes in, the sugar level goes down. Add more soap or sugar until it has a nice consistency, not too thin or too clumpy. You want it to be like baby cereal or oatmeal.

I used Word to create a circle shape and then typed out the hand scrub label. I printed it on patterned scrapbook paper from my stash and then used my Nestabilities circles to cut them out. I stuck them on top of the regular canning jar seal with a bit of scrapbook adhesive. A little twine wrapped around the top dresses up the jar lid and holds the little teaspoon in place ($0.99 each at a kitchen store in our nearby outlet mall.)

All the goodies went into baskets from my gift-giving stash along with a little shredded filler (also a stash item.) To finish it off, I made little tags to attach to each. Using my Sizzix, I cut 3 Super Traditional Tags out of scrap paper. Then I stamped the gardener image from TAC's Old Friend stamp set. I used TAC's Ordinary Greetings for the sentiment and Bloomin' Boxes for the flower stems.

After coloring in the gardener, I cut strips of green patterned paper left over from the hand scrub labels and used the Martha Stewart grass punch on the top edge. I attached the grass strip and little Jolee's flowers above the stems. On the back of each, I wrote "Thank you for helping me 'grow' this year." and had my kids sign their names for their respective teachers. A bit of ribbon from my stash attaches them to the baskets.

Since I had soap and sugar on-hand along with my stash of papercrafting supplies, they only cost $4.25 each! I think they came out cute---something pretty and useful that will hopefully show our teachers that we do appreciate how much they do throughout the school year!

Linking up to these great parties.

This project was featured here

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fabric Picture Mats

So after a brief hiatus to prepare for summer, I'm back to working on living room decor projects.
On the to-do list are:
* A rag garland for my everyday/spring mantel in the living room (DONE)
* Mat the Williamsburg pictures in the living room with fabric so they match better like this
* Sew fabric runners for the piano and the entry cupboard
* Paint magazine holders for the living room to coordinate with our color scheme (DONE)* Dress up the bay window sill (no ideas for this yet, I'm still looking)
* Make pillow covers for the living room pillows (DONE)* Make a sheet music wreath to hang above the fireplace in the living room (DONE)
* Make a seashell garland for my summer mantel

This week I tackled matting prints that we had already framed. The pics have a slightly off-white background and the plain white mats that came with the frames didn't fit quite right and looked terrible, color-wise. I found a great tutorial online from Martha Stewart that shows how to cover matboard with fabric. Check it out here:

I got a yard of Osnaburg fabric at JoAnn's (with a 40% off coupon, of course) and cut it to fit each of the existing mats. Then using some spray adhesive, I adhered the fabric to the mats. (Caution: I don't know if it's the brand of spray I used but it was quite sticky and had a lot of overspray. It's not really an indoor project. Plus it smells! And it sticks your nose hairs together if you breathe while spraying. Just keeping it real folks! For your health and safety, of course! LOL)

After the mats dried sufficiently, I reassembled the frames with the new matching mats and prints. They now hang above our sofa in the living room as a gallery. I love the calm colors in these pictures. We got the large chapel picture on our honeymoon in Williamsburg, and the other 2 large pics at a yard sale. The smaller ones are actually greeting cards we purchased as a set on our 5th anniversary trip to Williamsburg.

Linking to these parties.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Music Wreath Project--Fail?

My next project is done! Being a musician, making a wreath of sheet music looked pretty cool to me. Ripping pages out of a music book was really hard though! I found 2 books of random opera arias at Goodwill for $0.50 each. (After playing through them to make sure I could part with them, I tore 'em apart.) I tea-stained the pages in a cookie sheet using a couple of tea bags.
Then they had to dry.... all over my basement floor and everywhere else I could find space.

Using the great tutorial here, I cut a circle out of a piece of cardboard and then rolled and hot glued each sheet of music into a cone shape. After I glued what seemed like a million cones, I started gluing the bottom layer onto the cardboard backer.

Once I squished in as many as I could for the bottom layer, I glued cones on top to make the next layer. Then I finished off the center with a fabric rosette using this great tutorial. I think next time I make a rosette, I'll glue it onto a backer fabric as I twist it around. The method I used got very sticky.

Now for my little tip if you want to make your own (aka why this is sort of a 'fail')... measure your music paper first. Then multiply the length by 2 and add a few inches (to account for the space in the center). This figure will be your total diameter. I didn't measure and had a large book so the wreath when it was first made was 3 1/2 feet around. It was HUGE and didn't fit on my mirror at all! I had to cut down the first layer, cone by cone, and then the second to shrink the size. It took me 3 passes of trimming to get the wreath to be the right size for me. It also made the edges a little raggy looking. So figure out how big you want your wreath to be first. Then trim your paper before gluing it into cones.

I added a little burlap fabric for a hanger on the back but you can't see it because the wreath is still rather large. A potential 'fail' but if you don't get too close, it works great in my living room/music room, and it's another item to cross off the to-do list.

Linkin' to these parties.
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