Monday, March 9, 2015

Coffee Filter Cherry Blossom Tutorial

I needed a super cheap table decoration that would represent Japan and give height to our display.
So I went to Pinterest for some ideas.  
I knew I had some coffee filters that were too small for our machine.
I have lots of funky tree limbs I could trim and a plethara of vases.
...and sand and glass rocks.  

Hello, my name's Christine and I'm a craft hoarder.

My first attempt at a cherry blossom involved paint...
it's too embarrassing to post.  
So I found another pin.
This one suggested food color and 24-hours.

Um... no.  I had 12 tops.

Another showed how to cut them to shape but used fancy wires and glue and expensive beads and what the heck?  I need CHEAP!  Free preferable.  

So I just made it up as I went.   

What you'll need:
Coffee filters
Food color
Bowl with warm water
Twist ties or pipe cleaners
Something sharp to poke holes

Red food color, I could tell you 15 to 20 drops but does anyone really count them?

Submerge them, I left them in for less than a minute. 
Squeeze the excess out.

I wasn't going to wait 24-hours to dry. 
Just lay them out one by one.

It took like 15 to 20-minutes to dry.  For real. 

Ain't they purty?!

Now get to folding.  Half, half and half again.

Cut it like a heart.  Not the half heart but a full heart. 
Totally makes sense right?

Doesn't matter if the shape is funky.  At least not to me.  I like funky.

  The idea is to pre-punch 2 holes in the center so they don't rip when pushing the twist ties through. 
Yes, in the jewelry business we sometimes use dental tools.  ;)

I pull 1/4 of the twist tie threw one side and use it to twist the center of the filter/flower tight.

When you open it up it's all smushy in the center. 
Us the extra twist tie to attach to a branch, twinkle lights, just about anything.  Have fun! 

The branch I cut was a good 6' long so finding a wall space blank that large.. not easy for me. 
But you get the general idea. 

Still can't get it all in one photo.  :)

A few extras on the bathroom lights. 

If you are doing this for the house and not just a quick display.  Try using red marker on the wet edges of the filters to make darker tips.
You can also leave the filters in longer or add more food color to darken some.
Cherry blossoms come in varies shades so have fun.
You can't mess them up.  Pinky swear! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Get back to work America!

When I worked in my 6X6X6 cubical,
(No, the numbers were never lost on me.)
I had so many rubber-bands coming in with paperwork that I began making rubber-band balls.
Just knot a few of them together and then start wrapping others around the core.
In no time I had the solar system displayed on my desk, the sun as big as a basketball.
I began making them for coworkers. It was better than stress balls and you could bounce them, thereby ticking the departments off downstairs. Win win.
So you can imagine how upset I was to see premade rubber-band balls.
Come on America. Let's get back to the basics and start making stuff again.

So as promised, a picture tutorial on making a rubber-band ball...

2oz bag of rubber-bands, $1.00

Less than 15-minutes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Loofa, Loofah, Loufah, Luffa... that scrubby thing!

Each year I plant a garden I try to pick a plant I wouldn't normally grow.  Last year it was watermelon.  Because it requires so much water and we live on the edge of the desert, it's not easy to grow for a lazy gardener like myself.  Needless to say I didn't have much luck and only had two that were edible, the rest just went into the compost.
This year I tried another vine but this time I wasn't looking for food, but a scrubber.  I trained the plant to go up a tree that shades part of my garden.  Early on the plant did well, I saw lots of flowers, much like you'd see from cucumbers, and then small gourds started to grow.  But early on the base of the vine was stepped on by some 'helpful' 5-year olds.  <sigh>  After that I didn't expect much from the plants and just left them alone.
A few days ago the kids came in asking about the gourds in the trees and I decided maybe I should at least see what became of them.  So Sunday the husband and I pulled out the ladder and started to cut them down one by one.  I had a total of 10 decent sized ones and a few I just added to the growing compost pile.
I went on YouTube to see how and when to open them.  Seems that some of mine had already dried on the vine, so those I opened with pretty good results.  Others I'll let sit outside for a few more days, possibly weeks till they dry out.  

*By the way, this is an edible plant.  If you harvest them early they are used in Chinese and Vietnamese dishes.  

I have this ugly, scraggly tree in the garden that the husband won't let me cut down, so I made it a trellis.

No, they aren't pretty.

This one was a bit green, but you could feel the sides were separated from the fiber so I opened it.  It peeled very easy, but the fibers are still sticky and the seeds weren't dry enough to pour out.  This one will remain outside till it dries more.

The brown gourd was harder to peel, but the fibers were much dryer and the seeds poured right out.  *These are all cell phone photos so my fingers sometimes get in the way.  ;)

To give you a better idea of how it looks as you peel it. 

This is a 3rd, smaller gourd and much dryer than both.  The skin came off in about 20 pieces.  But it was ready to go.  You can see the seeds and that these are just store bought plants.  *I'll be saving the new seeds for next year.

The two on the left will need to dry more and I'll wait to open the others.

The 3rd, smaller gourd I cut into pieces to make soap with.  A bread knife works great.

Once I washed the fiber they fluffed up.

I made several different soaps, these are the scents I like for my gardening soap.

Mercy wanted Lavender in purple.

Justice wanted a sweet smell in pink.
The guys decided they wanted green and a manly smell, of course. 

I used to go all out and make lye and olive oil soap, but the mess and time it took to get it just right wasn't worth it to me.  I don't sell the stuff, I just want to use it, so melt and pour is perfect for me.  This batch is made from olive oil glycerine soap that you can find at Micheal's.  It runs about $10.00 for 2lbs, but if you have their app you can usually get it for $6 to $5.  That makes 7 to 8 good size bars.  *I still have 4 cubes left I'll make a kitchen soap with, lemon and eucalyptus.  Maybe even with yellow dye for fun.

Soon after pouring, the girls wanted glitter added to the hexagon, a paintbrush still wasn't gentle enough so the soap was wampy.  But they don't care.  Also, my molds are 8-years old.  I'd recommend better ones if you're making to sell or gift.  Since these are staying in the family... not an issue. 

I had some purple left so I added a layer to the natural bar.  It now has a nice lavender kick. 

In the sun you can see the shredded loofah pieces.
The pink and green bars have slices of loofah, they look cool up close.

Aren't they purty?!

It's harder to see through the purple and green, but I'm pleased. 

So as I started to type this blog it bothered me that I hadn't finished the block of soap, so I went ahead and made the last kitchen soap.  From start to finish it took all of 10-minutes.  That included melting the soap and clean up.  Which of course is easy since your cleaning up soap.  ;)

Simple kitchen soap.

A container, a touch of Vaseline to coat the sides so it releases easier, cut up loofah (hard to see but inside the glass lid), melt and pour with essential oil and color (I heat the soap before I add the scent and color), the alcohol is to spray on the soap after it's poured so the bubbles will pop and the surface is smooth.

Four squares make a small bar of soap, perfect for my sink.  It will take about 40-minutes to harden.  Faster if you set in the fridge. 

The husband said this one is his favorite.  SCORE!

So there you go.  Loofa added to melt and pour soap; super easy and useful.  My kind of craft. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dollhouse to Library

Late 1980's; decorated for Christmas to show my aunts I still had it.

2010 I redecorated it for our oldest daughter.

Less than a year later the twins had broken much of the original furntire so I put what was left away. I've used it to separate the oldest books from the twins, but you can see all the wear and tear.

This update I decided to chalkboard paint the roof.  Cause you know, why not.

Since the oldest has a Kindle she doesn't have many books these days, but the ones she has she doesn't want her brother and sister to mess with.  Can't say that I blame her.  ;)