Holiday Card Holder

My boyfriend and I live in a small-ish apartment here in San Francisco. I say small-ish because it’s not actually that small by city standards. It’s a really decent sized one bedroom, but with two people, a dog with a crate, two sets of golf clubs (you get where I’m going), that can sometimes feel a little crowded. Since moving here we’ve acquired a lot of stuff, which has made it feel a little smaller. Anyway, finding space for our belongings and hobbies can sometimes be like trying to fit pieces of a puzzle together. And, that only gets harder around the holidays because of decorations!

I always try to send holiday cards and I love it when people send them to us! Over the years I’ve been having a hard time finding a place to display the cards we receive. The real estate for cards becomes even thinner because my boyfriend’s birthday is also in December. I’ve been meaning to invest in a card holder for the door or wall, but instead of buying one, I decided to make one. It was pretty simple and here’s how you can make one too!

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What you’ll need:

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Cardboard
Paint (I used white, blue, and red)
Scissors
Paint brushes
Gold paint pen
Mini clothespins
Hot Glue Gun
Ribbon – I used a lighter ribbon for two hanging strips, but if you are not going to put cardboard behind the hanging strips, I’d recommend using ribbon with wire in it. My middle strip uses wire ribbon.

Instructions:

1. Cut your cardboard. I cut a rectangle for the “Merry Christmas” part of the sign that was 16″ x 10″. If you’d like a more heavy duty sign, I’d also recommend cutting cardboard for the hanging strips. In my example I cut only ribbon and sometimes it is hard to hold heavier cards.

2. Cut your ribbon to line the “Merry Christmas” part of the sign. Also, cut three pieces of ribbon for the hanging strips. These should all be the same length and can be however long you’d like. Mine are 16″.

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3. Paint your sign. I used red paint to go with my color scheme and contrast the green ribbon.

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4. Using the hot glue gun, glue down the ribbon on the sign. I took the ribbon and folded it in half on the top of the sign so it went on both sides. Put a line of glue on both sides of the sign so the ribbon stays down. I folded the sides in on the back and glued those down. Do this for all four sides and pieces of ribbon.

5. Glue on your hanging strips to the back of the sign. Again, if you’d like a more sturdy sign, I’d recommend lining the back of the ribbon with some cardboard.

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6. Paint the mini clothespins.

7. Once the mini clothespins are done drying, glue them on the ribbon using the hot glue gun. I would recommend staggering them and gluing them facing both sides.

8. Assuming your painted sign is totally dry, use the gold paint pen to write “Merry Christmas” (or the holiday greeting of your choice) on the face of the sign.

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9. Lastly, glue on a piece of ribbon to use as a hanger and hang it up! Add your cards as they come!

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xmas card holder

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Turkey Pilgrim Pumpkin

My favorite time of year is finally here!  I feel like this year has flown by and I can’t believe it’s basically already Thanksgiving, which might just be my favorite holiday.  It’s super low key, meaning you don’t have to get gifts for anyone and its main focus is eating.  What more do you want in a holiday?  Also, while I do love decorating, there’s just less pressure to decorate for Thanksgiving and I enjoy the subtly of decorations for Thanksgiving.  Although, I have seen some light decorations for Thanksgiving on peoples’ houses here in San Francisco.

Today I’m featuring a super easy craft – a turkey pilgrim pumpkin.  I found something similar on Etsy and thought “I could make that!”  However, if you don’t want to make it, you should buy one from WoodNDoodads.  Also, my version is definitely the “cheap way” because it’s made with cardboard instead of wood.

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Here’s what you’ll need:
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A few cardboard boxes
Acrylic paint of various colors – brown, red, green, yellow/gold, black, white
Sharpie
Scissors
Duct Tape
Round wooden sticks
A more heavy duty scissor/cutter
Pencil

Here’s how to make it:

1. Using a pencil , trace feathers, beak, and head with hat.  You’ll want three large feathers and two smaller ones.  I did this freehand, so it might take a few tries.  The head with the hat is definitely the oddest part since it’s hard to envision those as one.  Cut them out.
2. Paint all of the parts. You can use whatever color scheme you like!  I used brown for the feathers with green, red, and yellow for the feather accents.

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3. Add sharpie tracking along the feathers, bib, and hat.
4. Glue the nose on your turkey’s face!
5. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, you will want to adjust the length of the skinny wood sticks.  Cut them using the more heavy duty scissors (I actually used garden shears).  Tape them to the back of your feathers and turkey head.
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6. Take the skinny wood sticks (now attached to the turkey pieces) and stick them into pumpkin in a way that they all fit.  This shouldn’t be too difficult, but if there’s a pointy end of the wooden sticks, you might want to use those to make the hole first and then put the rest of the sticks in.
7. Enjoy and have a great Thanksgiving!
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Fall Wreath

Happy (day after) Thanksgiving!  I was seriously behind on my Thanksgiving crafts this year.  I meant to make a few things in the beginning of November, but didn’t have time to head out to Michael’s or JoAnne Fabric to get supplies.  But, I was finally able to find some time last weekend to make the trip.  In addition to getting some fall craft supplies, I was also able to stock up on some holiday supplies, which is always good.  Although we are nosediving right into the holiday season,  I still wanted to post this super cute fall wreath I made yesterday on Thanksgiving.  There are still a few days left in “fall” (aka November!).

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Materials:

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Styrofoam wreath 12″ diameter
Yarn (you want the color to look like a snowy branch)
Felt squares (fall foliage colors)
Squirrel ornament
Mini pinecones and acorns
64″ Burlap ribbon
Pencil
Hot glue gun & extra glue sticks

Directions:

1. Freehand or using a printed template, trace and cut out multiple leaves out of your fall foliage color felts.  I ended up cutting out 4 of each color (20 total).

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2. Using the hot glue gun, glue the yarn onto the styrofoam wreath.  You’ll need to keep the yarn together, so I just looped the entire bundle through the wreath each time.  I would also put a small line of hot glue on the top and underside of the wreath, and wrap the yarn around the wreath, attaching with the glue.  This is a tedious process, but necessary so the yarn doesn’t slip around.  When I arrived back at the beginning, I did another quick loop with the yarn around the styrofoam to make sure I didn’t have any of the styrofoam peaking through.  The second go does not have to be as tight as the first.

3. Once your yarn is set, arrange your leaves how you’d like to them to be clustered.

4. Flip the cluster of leaves over (kind of like flipping a pancake) and glue the cluster together.  You can do this by seeing which parts of the leaf overlap another and just glue that little part.  Your cluster should basically be one entity when you pick it up.

5. Glue your cluster of leaves onto the wreath, leaving space for your squirrel ornament.

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6. Glue on your squirrel ornament, pinecones, and acorn.

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7. Take your burlap ribbon and loop it into the wreath.  Tie a bow at the top and hang!

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Felted Fish Tank

I received a Fido Felts for my birthday from my boyfriend’s parents and I was very excited. I had never tried felting and it seemed like a really cool new craft to try.  I also love dogs, so I was excited to make the mini felted dogs the kit offered.  If you’re not familiar with felting, it’s pretty simple.  You take some wool and essentially stab and shape it with a needle until it’s in the shape you want.  The dogs from the kit are actually quite difficult to make, but I still had a good time making them.

Recently my grandfather has been in the hospital and a rehabilitation center, so I wanted to get him something.  He lives on the other side of the country, so it’s not easy for me to visit.  I figured flowers are very cliche, and I like making things.  I did a lot of googling on things I could make or get for him other than flowers and I came across a post on radmegan where she made a goldfish aquarium.  I thought this was a great idea!  My grandparents have a huge fish tank in their living room, so I thought this might give my grandfather a touch of home at the hospital.  I made some tweaks to what radmegan did, so here is my take on a felted fish tank.

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Materials:

Felt for felting – specifically orange, yellow, black and white felt
Felting kit (needles, styrofoam, etc)
Large jar (I used an old pickle jar)
Blue ribbon
Aquarium gravel
Pipe cleaners – blue for fish stands, green for plants, purple for starfish
Silver & white small pom poms
Hot glue gun

Instructions:

  1. Ensure your jar is clean.  If you’re using a repurposed jar, there might be lingering smells, so be sure to clean thoroughly.  If you want to keep the top, you can definitely do that, but I find it difficult to completely remove smells from the jar top.
  2. Felt your fish.  I created a large goldfish and two smaller yellow fish. I used this tutorial on Youtube and thought it was very helpful.  The changes I made were that I added felt eyes by felting some white onto the body and then two small black dots inside.  I also added a smile.  For the yellow fish, I did not add a top dorsel fin and I made their tails slightly longer than the goldfish.

  3. Once your fish are complete,  take the green pipe cleaners and mold them into a wavy pattern for the plants.  I used 4 pipe cleaners that were cut down a little, but depending on the size of your jar you may want more or less.  Fold the bottom of the pipe cleaner into an “L” shape and using the glue gun, glue the bottom part of the “L” onto the bottom of the jar.
  4.  Use the hot glue gun to glue pipe cleaners onto the fish.  You’ll want to cut your pipe cleaners to the lengths you’d like your fish to be at.  Then, fold the pipe cleaners in a “]” shape, glue gunning the top part to the bottom of the fish, and (when that part is dry) the bottom to the bottom of the jar. I used the same pipe cleaner for the two small yellow fish.

bottom-of-tank15. Once the glue is dry, pour your aquarium gravel into the bottom of the jar until the glued bottoms of the fish and plants are no longer visible.
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6. Create a starfish out of pipe cleaners and place into jar.
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7. Take one or two silver and white pom poms and drop into jar (I imagined these as sea urchins).
8. Lastly, take your blue ribbon and tie it around the top of the jar.  I glue gunned it down in a few places so it would not slip around.
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9. Enjoy!

Halloween Crow Wreath

My favorite season, Fall, is here and Halloween is fast approaching.  I’m not afraid to admit that I essentially love everything “basic” about this season.  Although I do find pumpkin spice lattes a bit too sweet, I love decorating, going to pumpkin patches, and the impending chilly weather (but in SF it’s more like the weather finally matches the season).  In the past I had put some maize corn on our door as a decoration, but last year I saw some really cute fall wreaths on Pinterest and decided to make my own.  Here’s how you can make this really cute wreath yourself!

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Materials:

materialsStyrofoam “donut circle” – 12in diameter
1 yard black ribbon
2 yards chevron orange and white ribbon
Toy crow
Gold felt pen
1 ft twine
Hot glue gun & extra glue
Black felt square
Small piece of fabric of your pattern choice – I purchased 1 yard at the store because I knew I’d use it again, but really you only need enough to make your crow a large enough hat.

Instructions:

1. Start with the chevron orange ribbon and styrofoam. Using the hot glue gun, glue the beginning end to what you’ll deem the back of the wreath. Then, slowly wrap the ribbon around the styrofoam.  Every two wrap-arounds, use the hot glue gun to glue down the ribbon.  In the image below, I would put a small line of glue where the ribbon is hitting the styrofoam.  Do this until you have again reached your starting point (it’s OK if it overlaps a little), and make sure the end part of the ribbon is glued on the back.

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2. Take the twine and measure the length you’ll have the “boo” sign reach one side of the styrofoam to the other and cut.  You’ll want a bit of slack so it looks like the sign is hanging.  Do NOT glue on styrofoam yet.

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3. Cut out three small triangles from the black felt and write out “BOO” with each letter on a separate triangle.

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4. Using the hot glue gun, glue each triangle onto the twine.  Once the glue has dried, glue the twine onto styrofoam at the points where you previously measured.

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5. Time to make a cute hat for your crow!  Take a piece of fabric and roll it into a cylinder hat shape that is an appropriate size for the crow.  Use the hot glue gun to glue it together.  If you’d like, you can take a piece of twine and make a bottom liner for the hat and glue on with the hot glue gun.  Once you’ve created your hat, glue onto the crow.  I found the easiest way to do this was to put some glue on the crow’s head approximately how wide the hat is and press down lightly.

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6. Hot glue gun your crow onto the wreath wherever you’d like him to sit.  I also took some twine and feathered the edges to make it look as though he was sitting on a broom.  Hot glue gun that near his feet!

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7.  Lastly, figure out where you’d like to hang the wreath.  Take your black ribbon and loop in around the top of your wreath and tie the top into a nice bow.  You can shorten your ribbon if you’d like the wreath to hang higher. boo-close-up

8. Hang your wreath and enjoy!  Happy Halloween!

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Dim Sum Steamer Round Shelf

As I’m sure many of you also do, I rent.  I also have a bunch of tchatskis/pictures/etc and not a lot of space, so I need to utilize some vertical space to display them.  I bought some shelves from Urban Outfitters that I thought were really cool, but would have required 4 screws each.  Eight holes in the wall is not really the best situation when you’re renting.  My boyfriend and I kept getting cold feet before putting them up, so I started exploring more options for shelving that required only one small hole.  (Ps – If you’re interested in two really cute shelves from Urban Outfitters and are not concerned about holes, hit me up.)  What initially came to mind was some type of shelf/shelves that hung with rope or string and therefore required only one or two holes each (thus creating little damage to the walls).  I found a round shelf I really liked on some site, but waited too long and it somehow totally disappeared.  I wasn’t able to find a similar style, which really surprised me.  Anyway, upon looking endlessly for DIY round shelves, I came across this post from A Pair and A Spare DIY and thought it was a really great idea!  I think she found her dim sum steamer just walking on the streets in Hong Kong, so I was initially a little skeptical of how I was going to replicate this.  However, my boyfriend mentioned that we could probably find one at a restaurant warehouse store.  HE WAS RIGHT!   A google search just happened to bring up Kamei Restaurant Supply in San Francisco, and it just happens to specialize in Asian restaurant supplies.  Jackpot!  Were able to find a fairly large one that would nicely match the size of our wall (and fit a bunch of stuff!).  Anyway, this is a great project for those of us who want something a little unique with little damage to the walls.  Now here’s what you’re really looking for…how to make it!

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You’ll need:

A Dim Sum Steamer of your size choice

Piece of plywood – got this from Home Depot

Rope – I used Wellington 28764 Manila Rope, 1/4″ X 50′ (you can find it on Amazon)

Wood Glue

Hacksaw

Wood file

Drill

Measuring tape

Hanging materials (Hercules hook, picture hook, nail, etc)

 

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Directions:

1. Remove the criss cross backing of the dim sum steamer.  This was actually pretty easy and you just need to wiggle the pieces to get them to come out.

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2. Cut the plywood down with the hacksaw so it is an appropriate size to fit approximately where you’d like the shelf to stand.  I put mine about 3/4 of the way down, but you can make it higher or lower as you please.

3. We cut wedges in the plywood so it sat comfortably and fit like a puzzle in the sides of the steamer.  This also required some use of the wood file to make it exact. (Thanks to my awesome boyfriend for helping me with this step!)

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4. Use the wood glue to glue the shelf onto the sides of the dim sum steamer.  The shelf should fit snug and stay put naturally, but it was very hard to get it that way, and still wasn’t completely exact, so I’d recommend using some glue to ensure it stays.

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5. Use the drill to drill two holes on both sides of the steamer.  Be sure to measure so that the holes are even!

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6.  Thread the rope through the holes and tie.

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7. Hang up on your wall using whatever hanging materials you deem necessary for the wall you are hanging it on.  We choose a picture hook.  Decorate however you please!

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Darby Smart Box Review

I was quite excited to have come across Darby Smart via Tried & Glue way, way back in early October.  I was so excited that I actually bought 3 of them in a matter of a few days.  Well, really excited and I somehow snagged two $10 off coupons, which brought two of the boxes down to $9 each, which is a pretty awesome price (plus there’s free shipping).  PS if you sign up via this link, you’ll get $10 off your first purchase, too.

If you’re not familiar with Darby Smart, here’s a quick rundown of one of the services they offer.  I think they’ve expanded to adding a seller platform as well, but back in early October their main squeeze were these DIY kits you could purchase one at a time (not a subscription).  Basically you pick a project you want to do, and they send you all the materials you need to make that project, which is really cool.  I was extremely excited to have basically everything I need to complete a craft sent to me in a box.  Another great part was that they sent you enough materials that you could potentially make another project by just replacing certain items that they sold individually on their site.  So for instance, one of the boxes I bought was printed kitchen towels.  They came with the two towels, ink, brushes, and stencils.  So if I wanted to make more than just the two towels that were initially sent, I had the materials to make more.  All I had to do was purchase the same towels (sold separately outside the box) on their site.  Perfect.  Further, they give you a link to instructions on how to do the craft if you need a little help.

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The stuff they offer is all really, really cute.  Overall, I had an OK experience with it and enjoyed doing the craft boxes I bought.  I was a little disappointed that my experience was only OK though, and I’ll go into specifically why with each craft box I bought.  I picked Stenciled Tea Towels, Pocket Terrarium Necklaces, and Agate Cuff bracelet.  Here’s my experiences with each of the boxes I received.

1. Kitchen Towels – $17 (1 star out of 5) – Unfortunately, these did not work out for me.  I’m pretty sure I followed all the directions properly and everything, but after I “set” the ink, it continued to smudge, even after I did it a second time where I set the ink for twice as long and let the towel sit for a few days.  I was quite disappointed with this one because the towels came out super cute, but were basically useless.  Unfortunately, I didn’t grab any pictures before I tossed the towels.

2. Terrarium Necklace – $19 (2.5 stars out of 5) – I thought this one was really really cool because we all know I love plants, and I do still think it’s cool.  However, I have a few problems with this one.  First, the gold necklace portion is super cheap looking.  I get this is only a $19 kit and I’m not expecting a 14 carrot gold chain, but I feel a different chain could be used that’s not so “cheap looking” (and I really hate saying that).  Second, when you wear this chain, the sand that’s in the little bottles inevitably gets knocked around.  When that happens, for some reason the sand residue sticks on the sides of the inside of the bottle and makes it look super cloudy. You can barely see the grass in mine these days.  I still wear this occasionally and it was fun to make, but the quality is lacking unfortunately.

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3. Agate Cuff – $19 (5 stars out of 5) – This one I would definitely recommend.  What a cool bracelet!  Easy to make and is now one of my favorite jewelry pieces.  Like I mentioned before, with this one there is extra glue, extra gold wire, and they even gave me a second stone in a different color, so I actually just ordered another cuff and will make a second.  Only issue I had with this one is that it states the glue only needs to set for 10 minutes.  Try 10 hours.

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Overall, making the items was the most fun, but it would be really great if they were better quality and I could actually use them.  Overall, I’d definitely say Darby Smart is worth trying because I had a lot of fun creating the items, regardless if they ended up working out or not, and will probably purchase again.