Monthly Archives: April 2012

Project #5: Wine Charms

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Another project involving the hooch! This is maybe my favorite thing I’ve ever made.  Everyone at Erin’s Bachelorette Weekend in Traverse City got one… we all needed to keep our drinks straight.  Everyone seemed to like them, so either Erin’s friends are good liars or this really is a cute project.

The  materials for this one are pretty straightforward: You need round wires (sold at Hobby Lobby as “stemware rings” or Michael’s in earring packages), beads/charms, a pair of pliers (needlenose are the best), and eventually a wine glass to put the thing on.  Wine is optional, but encouraged.  The tiny beads you see in the picture are helpful for keeping the charm in place.

First, depending on the type of wire ring you have – you might need to use the pliers to flatten out the kink.  This is so you can slip the beads on.  If you have the plain earring wires, you can skip this step.  I’m not sure “kink” is actually a technical term – so look at the photo and hopefully you’ll see what I’m getting at.

The next step requires some creativity on your part.  Slide your beads/charms onto the ring.  I used a cherry charm and red beads because the bachelorette weekend was a trip to Traverse City (and the Old Mission Peninsula for a wine tour).  We had a lot of cherry-themed items.  I tend to go a little overboard with a theme.

After you’ve finished with the beads, you need to either create a kink or re-create the kink.  This is what keeps the beads from falling off.  Again, take a look at the photo because I don’t think “make a kink” really “makes sense.”

You’re now pretty much done.  Slide the little kink into the hole at the other end of the ring.  This completes your loop.  You can now hook and unhook the charm around the stem of your wine glass.  Cheers!


Project #4: Bottle Cap Magnets

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This is maybe my best project so far, because, in addition to being a fun and easy project… it involves drinking! I first saw these fabulous nuggets of magnetism at my friend Margo’s wedding.  I figured they’d be easy enough to make and I finally got around to it years later (Margo and Chris are coming up on their 5-year anniversary).

Supplies: Beer! Well, actually, you have to drink the beer first and save the bottle caps.  Twist-offs work best, but you can pound out any little creases with a tack hammer.  You also need a hot glue gun (high temp is best), small round magnets, and 1/4″ hex nuts.  You can get the magnets at any craft store and the hex nuts anywhere hardware is sold (side note: they’re cheapest at Lowe’s).  Don’t have a hot glue gun? No worries – borrow one of mine – I have three.

From here on out, it’s pretty easy.  First, glue the hex nut to a magnet.  Insert your swear word of choice when the hot glue burns your fingertip.  Next, glue the magnet/hex combo into the bottle cap.  You need a lot of glue in the bottle cap.  I don’t know why, but it works better if you assemble in this order rather than gluing the nut into the cap.  Just trust me.  Also, my sister was my hand model this time.  Feel free to mock her left-handed gluing.

 

Once you’ve glued the pieces together, let it cool and dry.  You will need to do some quality control here… make sure the magnet is in there tightly and if you push/pull, it doesn’t come loose.  Some of the bottle caps have a film on them that is less compatible with the hot glue and will need a little extra help.

Also, you might be asking yourself, “Why put the stupid hex nut in there? Why not just glue the magnet into the cap and be done?” Good question, Grasshopper.  The hex nut acts as a little buffer – it keeps the edges of the bottle cap from scraping against your fridge.  It’s a little tough to see in this picture, but hopefully you get the idea:

That’s about it for this project.  Another really easy one – and with the added bonus of drinking! I now have a bottle cap obsession… I’m always checking for cool tops that are a little out of the ordinary (though the Bud Light staples deliver, as well).  Stay tuned… my next project (to be posted early next week) also involves drinking! Bottoms up!

Project #3: Lollipop Bouquet

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First, I need to apologize now for getting the moldy oldie stuck in your head… “Lollipop, Lollipop, ooh lolly lolly lolly Lollipop.” You’re singing along, aren’t you? Like I said, sorry about that.  Anyway, if you’re a long-time reader of GrahamCrafter (the entire week it’s been up and running), you’ll notice I’ve stepped up the photo game.  99 cents for a new iPhone app that allows for some fancy edits.  Best 99 cents  I spent all week.  Had I purchased to tickets to any of the three Tigers’ games this weekend, that would have been the best money I spent.  Instead, I got to enjoy the sweet tones of Rod and Mario.

So the latest project is a Lollipop Bouquet… lasts longer than flowers, and a heckuva lot tastier.  Since everyone likes candy, you could use this idea at anything from a kid’s birthday party to an Easter dinner.  And hopefully, people will each take a sucker, so half the cleanup is taken care of.  The best part of this project, though, is how insanely easy it is to do.  This is a great one for kids to help with or do on their own.

The supplies you need: Not only is this one easy, it’s also pretty cheap (considering you get a bunch of suckers to eat when you’re done).  You can buy lollipops pretty much anywhere, but if you look at PartyCity or Michael’s, or online at orientaltrading.com, you will find a lot of different colors.  So, pick something that matches your theme.  I went with red/white (cherry flavored) for an upcoming weekend in Traverse City (stay tuned – you’re going to see more cherries).  You also need floral styrofoam (I found mine at the Dollar Tree) and some gift bag filler (again, Dollar Tree).  You might also want to pick something like Spanish Moss for a more natural look. Find a pot that you like.  You can be creative here – if it’s a baseball party, use a Cracker Jack Box.  If you’re doing this for an Easter centerpiece, use a cute spring basket.  If you’re me, you use this cute green flower pot and anxiously wait for the party to be over so your black Sharpies can have their home back.  Right now, they’re mixed in with the colored Sharpies and I hate that.  Finally, pick a cute ribbon or some other  decoration for the outside of the pot.

Start by shoving the floral styrofoam into your pot.  You can use scissors or a box cutter to cut pieces to fit.  This part is not real scientific – just mash it in until it fits.  Next, put the gift bag filler over top of the styrofoam so the bouquet has a nice base.

Next, start arranging the lollipops the way you would flowers.  Stick them into the styrofoam so they don’t move around too much – it should feel pretty sturdy.  Just eyeball it until you get something you like, but keep in mind you’ll want the entire arrangement to look good from all sides.  Sidenote… I still need to paint my nails.

Continue in this manner until you have stuck all your lollipops into the arrangement, or until you like how it looks.  Add your bow or decoration to the pot and you’re done! Like I said, this is a very easy project, and quick.  I would say the actual assembly took me about 10 minutes (maybe less).  Cleaning up the styrofoam crumbs will take a few minutes, as well.

Project #2 – Photo Table Numbers for a Wedding

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So I won’t lie when I say that I find the prospect of wedding crafts  more exciting than the prospect of marriage (I enjoy eating cereal for dinner, I don’t want to share my closet, and I haven’t found anyone that I like better than my stuff).  I have found the perfect solution… be related to someone who is getting married! Tons of crafts and none of the lifetime commitment.

Project #2 is a very easy but adorable way to do table numbers for a wedding.  I would rate the difficult level at approximately “elementary school.”  The only real skills required are cutting and gluing.  And using the photo machines at Meijer… and since I’m pretty sure  a second grader would be more successful on those machines than say, my mother, I’m sticking with “elementary school.”

First things first… materials.  You need photos of the bride and groom at age 1, 2, 3, etc. (as many ages as you have tables).  Here is where I tell you that we will not be doing this at my wedding unless I only need like 9 tables, as ages 10-15 were pretty unpleasant and I’m not sharing those photos with 300 of my closest friends and family members.  Anyway, scan the photos into the machine at Meijer (or Target or wherever), and use the editing features to add borders and the appropriate numbers.  You also need cardstock in two colors (i.e. your wedding colors), glue, a paper trimmer, and a corner punch (optional – I went with round).

Cut one color of cardstock to be just a bit larger than the photos.  If you go with a standard 4″ x 6″ photo, cut the cardstock to 4.25″ x 6.25″.  Cut the other color (the one you want to be the main background) to 6.5″ square.  P.S. thank you to whomever invented the home paper trimmer.  Use a corner punch to make the corners round or fancy, as you prefer.  You can also leave them square if you want.

 

Next, glue the photo to the inside mat color.  Carefully line up the matted photo and glue it to the larger square.  It helps if you have a sharply-dressed little nugget in the photo.  Some may also enjoy the bare midriff on a five-year-old.  Toddlers in Tigers hats are also very popular.

 

That’s pretty much it.  Slide your finished photo number into one of those stick things that goes in the center of the table and you’re finished! Hopefully the guests will have fun looking at all the photos as they search for their table.  But, if they’re anything like me, they’ll look long enough to say “Oh, table 2 – here it is.  Where’s the bar?!”

Project #1 – Ribbon Pillow

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Well, here it is… the Graham Crafter Blog.  Sometimes I make things, and sometimes people like them.  This is the place where I’ll show you how to make them, too.  The first project is a relatively easy pillow.  I took my inspiration from a ridiculously overpriced version at Pier One.  And if you know me, I won’t buy it if I can make it.  And, my couch came from Ikea, so I felt like the pillow should not be the most expensive thing in the living room.  This project does require that you know how to sew, but it’s all straight line sewing – no need to read a pattern!

To start, choose your materials: 5 or 6 spools of ribbon in different colors.  You can be creative with the width and texture, but you probably don’t want to go less than 1/2″ wide.  Cut the ribbon into 19″ strips.  You’ll also need two pieces of fabric, cut 18″ square.  I chose an upholstery fabric because it’s a heavier – nice for a throw pillow.  Unless you want just a pillowcase and not an actual pillow, you will also need stuffing (available at pretty much any craft store).  Finally, you’ll need thread and fusible “stitch witchery” (also available at pretty much any craft store, or even grocery superstores that have craft sections).  “Stitch witchery” is also known as “that crap you use with the iron when you don’t want to actually hem your pants.”  Oh, and you should probably use a sewing machine, but if you’re brave enough to hand sew – go for it!

Materials

To start, cut a piece of stitch witchery the same length as your first ribbon.  Place it at the bottom edge of the ribbon and iron it to the top of a fabric square.  Follow the directions on the stitch witchery package to determine the temperature of the iron.  You’ll want to start at the top and work your way down.  Keep adding ribbons in this manner until you reach the bottom.  If you’re anything like me, the ribbon ironing will take a week, because you only do like 3 at a time before you get bored.

Note to Self: paint your nails next time you have to take pictures of your hand for the Graham Crafter Blog.

Eventually, you’ll have all the ribbons ironed down and your entire square filled.

Now, cut the edges so the ribbon is more even.  This will make for easier sewing and right-side-outing later.

Next, put the other fabric square on top of your ribbon piece.  Layer them right sides facing each other.   This  matters later when you turn it right-side out (your seams will be hidden on the inside).  Pin the pieces together (I know, I know… the pinning part sucks.  But it makes for better sewing).  Sew around the edges with about a 5/8″ seam allowance (but it’s just a pillow, so the seam allowance is negotiable). Don’t forget to leave yourself a small opening (about 3 inches) to add the stuffing later!

Yep, that’s the sewing machine Santa brought me when I was 13.  Because what 13-year-old girl doesn’t want a sewing machine? If I were 13 now, I would want the Justin Bieber singing toothbrush.  Actually, I’m 31 and I still want that toothbrush.

When you’re done sewing, turn the thing right-side-out (using your little opening), and start stuffing.  You might need to use a knitting needle or butter knife to square out the corners.  Speaking of 13-year-old me, stuffing is a skill that would have come in handy back then.  But enough about that… keep stuffing until your pillow is as soft and/or firm as you’d like it.

When fully stuffed, fold in the edges of your little opening and sew it closed.  Cut your threads and you’re done!

Woo hoo! You made something! Put it on your couch and show it off proudly to all who visit.