Project #18: FREE Printables! Christmas Wall Art

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There’s really no crafting to this one.  BUT, I have provided free downloads of the simple wall art I made! Take a look at the PDFs so you can see the details (patterns in the letters). I found the cute red frame on clearance at Michael’s and the others are just a value pack.

Click here to download the two 8.5 x 11 PDFs.  These are the red ones – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Click here to download the 11×17 PDF. This is the white one with “Silver Bells” lyrics.

Only two steps to this one.  Well, actually three.

1. Print the designs (the Silver Bells one is 11×17, the other 2 are 8.5×11).

2. Curse when you break a nail opening the frames.

3. Frame and hang!

Merry Christmas! Happy Crafting!

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Project #18: Pumpkin Pots

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OK, I know you’re thinking, “Gee… did you give yourself a concussion thinking up this SUPER creative and interesting idea?”  No.  I did not. I admit this one isn’t exactly rocket surgery, but it was easy, turned out cute, and is very kid friendly.

There are only a few materials for this one.  You’ll need a terra cotta pot (conveniently already orange!), a  Sharpie, black craft acrylic paint, and a small paintbrush.  If you’re doing with this kids, or if you’re messy like I am, put down some newspaper.

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Using the Sharpie, sketch out the jack-o-lantern face.  You can see my lines weren’t perfect… that’s OK.  You’re going to paint over them.  If you want some ideas for jack-o-lantern faces, check out this slideshow from Reader’s Digest.

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Carefully paint the shapes.  Terra cotta is very porous and it will suck up and dry the paint almost instantly.  If you make a mistake, it’s tough to undo.  You can, however, just use the other side of the pot and put the bad side toward the wall.  That’s what I did with my ugly first try.

That’s it on this one! Including cleaning the brush, I made 3 pots in about 45 minutes.  Stay tuned over the next couple of  weeks for more fall/Halloween projects.

Happy Halloween! Happy Crafting!

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Race Bling Holder from Liz

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Here is a project based on Project #16: Race Bib & Medal Holder, made by my friend Liz.  She puts her race bibs in a scrapbook, so this is just the medal holder.  The unfinished wood she bought already had the frame on it, and she painted the hooks to match the rest of the project.  Credit to our friend Jodi for the phrase “Race Bling.”

Liz is running her first half marathon this Sunday! Go Liz!

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Project #17: DIY Workout Headband

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Another running project! If you’re not much on exercise, it’s cool… I’ll be posting some Halloween projects over the next couple of weeks.  That snazzy green headband I’m wearing is the latest thing I’ve made and it was SUPER easy.  I help plan a 5K run every summer; last year, one of the race directors made these headbands to give to our runners. I reverse engineered that one so I could add a few more to my collection.  Oh, P.S. – you might be asking yourself, “Did Dana put makeup on at 9:00 at night just to take that picture?” You bet I did.

As always, let’s start with materials.  This one is pretty simple… you need spandex fabric (usually sold in the fabric store as “Swim/Dance” or “Performance.”  A cut of 6″ will make you probably 4 headbands.  You’ll also need good scissors (seriously, they need to be good, sharp scissors), a tape measure, and a sewing machine and thread.  You could do this by hand, but a machine will be WAY easier.

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Cut the fabric into  strips that are 3″ wide by 18″ long.  The 18″ length makes a nice snug headband. If you have a giant noggin, you might want to add an inch.  The edges of the fabric are going to roll up – that’s OK.  The weave of spandex/performance fabric is such that the edges won’t fray.  I should warn you that as we get into the sewing instructions, there are a lot of  “turn it right side out” or “fold toward the inside” directions.  I hope they’re not too hard to follow, but rely on the pictures if you have to.

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With the right sides together (the sides without the rolled edges), sew a seam on the short end, to make the headband shape.  I used a half-inch seam allowance,  then trimmed a little of the extra fabric away.

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Turn the headband right side out and fold in both sides at the seam, toward the inside.  Put a couple pins in to keep the folds in place.  I know you’re probably thinking, “Oh blah I don’t need pins.”  Seriously, just use them.   Spandex is tricky.  This is the fabric that brought the world wedgies, so let’s not pretend it’s easy to tame.

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With the pins holding the folds in place, top stitch on either side of the seam.  This will give the headband a nice shape and help keep it in place on your head.  I used white thread so it showed in the photos, but you can use thread closer to the color of your fabric if you want.

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Trim away the threads and you’re done!  Here is what it will look like in a drawer or basket, or on your floor:

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Here is a close-up of this thing on my head. Wish I’d brushed my hair.  Or made an attempt at editing that fluorescent spot on my forehead.

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Happy Crafting! Happy Running!

Project #16: Race Bib & Medal Holder

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How do you know someone is training for a marathon? Just wait a bit – they’ll tell you.  (Thanks, Liz.)

OK, technically I only ran a half  marathon, but I was very proud and wanted a way to save my bib and finisher “medal” (which was actually a necklace).  I’ve seen  a lot of different medal holders on Etsy and decided to go for it.  If you’re a crafter/runner (or some other activity that ends with medals), maybe you can give it a shot, too!

Let’s start with materials.  You’ll need a wood block (mine was a 9×12 from the craft store – you could try a piece of plywood or something similar), sandpaper, paint and varnish, a cheapo foam brush, super glue, repositionable glue, hooks, clips, and letters (I used my Cricut – you can also try stickers or freehand painting).

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First off, sand the wood block. I needed to do a lot of sanding because the plaque I bought was in rough shape.  It was the last one the store had and I was feeling crafty so I decided to go for it.   If my Dad is reading this (and he’s probably not because his use of the internet is limited to emails about his golf league), he would probably be embarrassed I bought a sanding block instead of being tough and using  sandpaper over a scrap of wood… but I say it was four dollars well spent.  Side note: do the sanding outside.  Trust me – it’s messy.

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Next, choose a  base color and paint the whole thing.  The base color is what you want the letters to be because we’ll be using a masking technique.  It will also be the color that shows through when we do the weathering.   I used cheap craft acrylic and a cheapo foam brush.  You’ll probably need two coats.

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Sorry about the crappy picture. It’s hard to paint with your right hand and take a picture with your left. Also, it shows as an interesting shade of electric blue. It’s not.  It’s turquoise.  PS – let the paint dry completely before moving on.

Then you need to cut letters and stick them down.   I used my Cricut but if you don’t have one, try stickers for the masking technique.  You might also try rub-ons or freehand painting (if you’re feeling brave).  Use the repositionable glue because that will allow us to easily peel them up later.  I went for a really easy statement (and a play on the band Fun. – who really are fun), but you can try a favorite quote or your name or whatever you want.

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Then go ahead and  paint on the top coat.  This is the color that will mostly show – in my case, gray.  You may have to kind of blot/sponge around the letters to really get the paint over the letters.  Again, let the paint dry completely before you move on to the next step.

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Now it’s time to peel away the letters.  Hopefully by now, you’re seeing how the mask technique works.  If you opted for stickers instead of repositionable glue, be really careful here.  The stickers could leave that annoying sticky white paper mess behind.  If you’re using rub-ons or paint instead  of the masking technique,  apply your letters after  the next step – sanding.

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The next step is to sand.  I have no picture of the sanding – only the finished product.  It’s impossible to sand and photog and the same time.  Basically, you sand the edges and different areas to reveal the base coat color underneath and give it a “weathered” look. Again, do the sanding outside.  You will probably want to wipe away the dust with a damp cloth. The more sanding you do, the more weathered the look.  remember, a good chunk of the final project will be covered by race bibs – so you don’t need to do much sanding in the middle.

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Now, paint on the varnish.  Follow the directions on the label.  Let it dry THOROUGHLY before you add the finishing touches.   It might take a  few hours.

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The finishing touches – add the clips and hooks.  I used miniature clothespins (I painted them) and glued them down using Gorilla Glue.  I used one of my larger race bibs to determine the placement.

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Then, add the hooks at the bottom.  I found these really cool push-pin hooks at the hardware store.  WARNING! Make sure you put them low enough that the race bibs won’t cover them.  I definitely had to pull out my first attempt with the claw end of a hammer and move them.  Curse words were involved.  Also,  measure to make sure they’re placed evenly.

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That’s it!  All that’s left is to clip on your bibs and hang your medals.  All of my medals are “finisher” medals, but maybe if I keep up with running, eventually I’ll place in my age group. Or – maybe I’ll get lucky with a small race that only has 3 people in my age group.

Happy Crafting! Happy Running!

Project #15: Jam Jar Covers

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Well, the time has come to post a new project. I feel like Jimmy Chitwood in Hoosiers…”I figure it’s about time I start playing ball again.”  If you don’t get a Hoosiers reference, we probably can’t be friends.

Anyway, this is a very easy project that requires essentially zero skill.  There are a lot of pictures, but each jar cover takes about 2 minutes.  There are some other tutorials on the web… I looked at a few of them and did a little experimenting to see what works best.  What is not in today’s blog is how to make the actual jam… this isn’t a cooking blog and absolutely NOBODY would take it seriously if it was. But, I made this jam myself using local farm-fresh strawberries and the Ball Blue Book recipe.

We’ll start with supplies.  You need fabric (gingham is my number one choice because jam jar covers are supposed to be done in gingham.  But I suppose a trendy chevron or burlap might be cute), pinking shears (work a ton better if they’re pinkers and not regular), rubber bands, and ribbon.  You also need a small round template for tracing… I used a tupperware lid.

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First, trace the circle on fabric. I use a fabric pencil that disappears over time, but anything will work.  You probably don’t want to use anything heavy like a sharpie, though (it will soak through).  I can’t believe I just said not to use a sharpie.   I carry a sharpie with me everywhere I go.  Also, my photo editing seems to have blurred away the part where you can see dog bite marks in this tupperware lid. My parents have a remarkably stupid dog.  Also, my mom will comment on this blog post defending their stupid dog.

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Next, use your pinking shears to cut out the circle.  For those who may not know, pinking shears are the ones that make the zig-zag edge.  The zig-zag edge keeps the edges of the fabric from fraying. They’ll still fray a little bit, but not nearly how they would with straight scissors.  The circle doesn’t have to be perfect (mine’s sure not!).

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Center the circle over the jar lid.  If you’re using homemade jam, leave the lid ring on.  Use the rubber band to secure the fabric to the lid.  Here’s a hint – smaller, thinner rubber bands work best.

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You may have to do some re-arranging to get the cover to look neat and straight.  You may also have to pull down a little to keep the fabric tight under the rubber band.  A lot of this re-arranging is dependent on your personal preference.  Fiddle with it until it looks how you like.

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All that’s left is to cover the rubber band.  I tied a ribbon around the lid and then used my fingertips to push it down over the rubber band.  Maybe if this blog ever gets some sponsors, I’ll use the money to get a manicure.

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Ta da! My brother-in-law totally laughed at me for making my jam “cute.”  As if there’s any other way.  Happy Crafting!

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Graham Crafter is BACK!

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If we were still in elementary school, I should have to write “I have neglected my blog.” 50 times as punishment.  We’re not, so I’ll just claim that I’ve been busy. But, it’s a good busy… I bought a house! It has needed a lot of work.  So basically, I’ve purchased the most expensive craft project in history.

I’m going to use GrahamCrafter to post a few before and after shots, and also to post some how-to projects.  I’ll continue with regular craft projects, as well.

I’ll start with the master bedroom redo.  Here are a few “before” shots:

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Let me start by saying I don’t care for blue.  At all.  And this was a lot of blue.  Here is the after…

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The re-decorating included: Behr “Plum Smoke” paint, new carpet, new blinds, Martha Stewart bedding, some new furniture, some refreshed old furniture, a new light fixture, new lamps,  and new wall hangings.  Here is another shot:

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I probably should have pushed the fabric drawers in a little more neatly before I took the picture, but I didn’t think of it until later.  You might be looking at this photo wondering, “what are those little doors for?” Well, I’ll tell you… they’re for the best spot in the house:

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