Archive of ‘DIY & Crafting’ category

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Eco-friendly gift wrapEco-Friendly Wrapping Options

I love wrapping paper. Each year I love finding artistic paper options that aren’t typical Christmas designs (like the ones below!). But I definitely do not love throwing away the packaging after the gifts have been opened. For a few years now I’ve worked on my collection of pre-wrapped boxes that can be used year after year. There is a downside to those, and that’s storage space. This year, I experimented with the trend of minimalist, nature-inspired wrapping techniques. Here are my Eco-friendly gift wrap solutions to try.

Gift wrapBrown paper Packages, twine and greenery

They look elegant and well-designed, but these packages are covered with things you probably already have in the kitchen! All you need is brown paper, twine and greenery sprigs and you’re golden!

eco-friendly-gift-wrap-with-sprig-of-greenery“But where do you get these sprigs, Abbie?” You may be asking. Mine are taken floral arrangements. Greenery usually lasts longer than the blooms themselves, so you can  re-purpose it on your gifts. If you have a real Christmas tree you could also take a piece off of that in a place that’s not very noticeable…just throwing out ideas here!

eco-friendly gift wrappingFor the paper, I used a brown grocery bag, but you could also try newspaper or the beige paper than comes in shipping boxes. Eco-friendly twine and re-purposed ribbon tied them off. There’s something very personal about the appearance of these packages, don’t you think, like they’re designed with the recipient in mind.

Plaid and greenery: eco-friendly gift wrappingAnother option I discovered this year for re-usable gift wrap is a reusable shopping tote. They’re no more expensive than paper gift bags, and the recipient can use it again and again. I found a Minnesota-themed tote at Trader Joe’s this year and it was perfect for large gifts.

What are you wrapping your gifts with this year?

eco-friendly-gift-wrapping

A Mermaid Moment

handmade-mermaid-shellsHappy Halloween! Did you dress up (or dress the kids up) this year? After a lot of work, I finally realized my dream of becoming a mermaid! Despite the amount of effort it took to create, this is actually one of the more fun craft projects I’ve completed lately. Mermaids are mystical, mysterious and really fun to portray at a party. In the end, this costume and I mermaid for each other (I just HAD to use that line and I’m not sorry about it.)

Making the Mermaid Shell Top

mermaid-halloween-diyThe most important part of a mermaid costume: the shell top! This was easily the most enjoyable part of the project. I searched until I found a purple bra, but a nude one would do just as well. In the end I covered so much of it over that it hardly mattered what color I chose. The shells are real (get natural cooking shells), painted with acrylic paint and sprinkled with glitter. I’m sure E6000 adhesive provides a stronger bond, but I used hot glue and hand stitches to put the top together. I wore the top to two parties and didn’t have a problem. I circled the shells with lace trim, added plastic pearl strands and a starfish brooch I purchased at a fundraiser this summer. I haven’t found any inexpensive starfish pins since, but if I do I’ll update this post with a link.

Making the Mermaid Skirt

mermaid-halloween-diy-costumeOne of the things I’m most proud of about this costume is that I was able to upcycle some items I already had on hand to make it! I’m not personally comfortable creating a lot of waste with my costumes. The base of this skirt is actually a navy pencil skirt from my closet. I simply covered it with 5/8 yard of sequin material with hand sewn stitches. This was way easier for me than sewing a skirt from scratch. An added plus is that the skirt underneath provides a lining for the see-through sequin fabric. The fin part of the skirt is a child’s skirt sewed to the bottom of the sequin portion. You could gather and sew your own fin fabric, but the skirt came with built in elastic that made walking a little easier.

Making a mermaid hair clip

mermaid-halloween-hair-ornamentMermaids can be any color scheme. At one party I attended this weekend I met a beautiful mermaid with a handmade costume of her own in aqua and teal (even her hair). I wanted my costume to be very recognizable, so I went with coloring inspired by the iconic Little Mermaid Ariel: purple shells, green scale skirt, red hair and a little nod to her dinglehopper fork. This hair clip is made of 4 oval pieces of felt. The fork is a miniature plastic hors d’oeurve fork from a party store.

This whole project was super fun to create and I’m thrilled to share it with you all! Feel free to contact me with any questions about how this was made in the comments.

mermaid-costume-diy

The Creative Magic of Die Cuts & MN Blog Con Preview

die cut storage ideasThanks to Hefty for sponsoring today’s post.

About a year ago, I got access to a die cut machine. It’s a tool that uses molds to cut paper shapes out, and these shapes are perfect for uses in children’s crafts, card making and scrapbooking. And for about a year, I’ve been storing these little cutouts so they are ready for the occasions to use them.

On Saturday, I’m presenting at the Minnesota Blogger Conference and I’m totally using these cutouts in my workshop. Everyone who attends my session is going to get one of these to use in a creative exercise. I’m so excited to meet some other local bloggers and share ideas with them on my topic, Getting Unstuck: Using Writer’s Block to Your Creative Advantage!

In the meantime, I found a great solution for storing these little cutouts. Because once you have over 100 of these paper shapes, you start looking for die cut storage ideas beyond stuffing them in a box, which is how mine were for a while! I picked up a box of Hefty® Slider Bags at Walmart so I can easily sort and transport them. And since the brand is a sponsor for this post, I’m sharing a special offer for savings on slider bags.

Die cut storage Check out more clever ideas for crafts and recipes as well as household hacks.

And if you’re going to the Blogger Conference, make sure to say hi!

die cut storage solutionsOne thing I noticed while shopping is that they’re actually less expensive than Ziploc, plus you get the strength of the MaxLock® track design. These are not flimsy bags. They feel sturdy and could handle storage for crafts a lot heavier than my die-cuts. That’s just what I happened to have an urgent need for this week, since the blog conference is coming up fast!

Happy crafting! If you have a storage hack to share this fall, leave it in the comments.

Flag Bows for July 4th

A couple years ago, I wanted flag-inspired July 4th hair bows. I couldn’t find any, so I made my own.

Bow lovers this year can celebrate America all they want, because these beauties are easier to find than ever. And they’re all under $10! Case in point:

Cute, right? Perfect for you, your kids, or your dog. If you want to learn how to make them yourself (it’s so easy!) click on the image below to go to my tutorial.

DIY July 4th Hair Bows
July 4th hair bows

Wishing all my readers a happy and safe Independence Day weekend! Will you be wearing red, white and blue?

Upcycled DIY Corkboard

DIY Framed CorkboardI had a small space by my desk where I wanted a board to post important reminders and little notes. Most corkboards would be way to big for this space, so I made a custom one using upcycled materials. It’s covered in fabric so it looks very clean and matches the decor. It turned out just how I wanted. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to find anything like it available in a store. Best of all, it was so easy to make that I had to share how I did it so you can make your own corkboard too.

Materials to Make Your Own Corkboard

I used a laser cut wooden frame from the craft store that I had leftover from another project, but you could upcycle an old photo frame just as easily.

Acrylic paint to customize the color of the frame, if you choose. Natural wood is a great look too.

Cork board I salvaged from an office renovation with this project in mind. I happened to have the cork, but you could use recycled cardboard instead. Since it’s getting covered in fabric anyway, the difference won’t be visible.

Fabric. Any old leftover fabric will do! If you don’t have any, ask a friend who sews. Choosing the fabric is the best part. I went with an old upholstery swatch in a neutral woven silk, but patterns and bright colors would be fun too.

Craft glue and scissors.

Make your own corkboardHow to Make Your Own Corkboard

First I painted the frame using two coats of acrylic leftover from another project. Then I sized the corkboard to the size of the frame opening, plus 1/4 inch on each side for overlap. I did the same for the fabric covering. I glued the fabric to the corkboard, but realized later that stapling it on the edges is actually just as effective. Then I glued the edges of the covered corkboard to the frame. Let it sit until dry, then hang and enjoy!

More DIY Fun

You might also like my Tassel Necklace DIY and DIY Patriotic Hair Bows. If you’re interested in upcycling, follow my Pinterest board.

For more fun and easy DIY projects, check out and Craftsy (affiliate links) for Make In A Day Sewing Project Kits and Crocheting kits around $10 or less, excluding shipping.

This post is part of a link up with other bloggers who created fun Eco-friendly DIY projects.

Slow Fashion – Sashiko

How to make your own bug spray and bug bite sticks

How To Build Your Own Vermicompost Factory

DIY- Vegan Body Butter Bars

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