Category Archives: Crafts

Be a Band Geek!

Happy 28th Birthday, Ashley!

So, my bestie from college, Ashley, could give Pippa Middleton a run for her money at party planning. For her 28th birthday, she hosted a High School Reunion themed party – in honor of 28 being 10 years past high school. She asked that all attendees dress in their favorite high school stereotype. [You might remember Ashley from The Rubiks Cube Cake]

I was really torn as to how I should dress. Should I just show up in clothes I wore in high school? Na, that doesn’t really scream anything other than “Ginny!” (which doesn’t work when attending a party with people you hardly know and see once a year). Cheerleader was out, that was Ashley’s thing. Football player, sure I’ve got the jerseys, but that’s not creative. Finally, the night before I was leaving to go out of town, I decided on my costume: A Band Geek.

Now, we aren’t spending $ this year. So my costume had to be stuff I already have, or stuff I could fasten out of stuff I already have. I had two inspirations.
1. Ken, who has taken a liking to wearing bowls and plastic containers as hats.
2. The Waukee Warrior Regiment, and their beautiful hat plumes

Let’s get started.

What you’ll need:

Band Hat Ingredients

1. Plastic Container. I chose Country Crock, CoolWhip would also work great
2. Hot Glue Gun
3. Fabric scraps, solid colors work great. I used t-shirt sleeves.
4. Scissors
5. Pen, Paper
6. Sequins, beads, stringed embellishments
7. Feathers. Lots and lots of feathers.
8. [not pictured] A brooch or giant button

First things first, plug in that hot glue gun. Make sure you have it in an outlet that works. Just a little tip from me to you, this alone will save you a half hour of frantic “OMG MY HOT GLUE GUN DOESNT WORK!”

Next, trace around the bottom of the butter container. Cut yourself a piece of fabric to this size. Set it aside. If you’re using a knit fabric, cut a piece to use as a strap under your chin. Cut it so that it’s stretchy enough to get on and off – this isn’t an exact science. Cut a piece that is like 15 inches long also set it aside for later.

Take a larger piece of fabric and wrap the container. I used a t-shirt sleeve, and it was large enough to just fit the size of the container with minimal extra. I folded the extra and glued it to itself. Fold excess fabric into the hat and have fun gluing. No one will see this part, so do what you need to do to get it to stick.

Next, turn the hat over and glue down the top. I didn’t get an exact photo of this. Just fold and glue it down. Then, take your round piece of fabric, and glue it OVER the ugly part. I got excited and also glued on my embellishments, but you get the idea. See, no uglyness! Now is also the time to glue on any other stringed embellishments you want around your hat. Do it now, before you glue the feathers on.

Up next is my favorite part: The Plume

So, there should be a seam on the side of your hat. We’re going to cover it with feathers. Starting at the top of the hat, glue your feathers on one by one, from the top of the hat, down to the middle. Be generous. You want your plume to shine.

Once you get your feathers on, pin on your ugly brooch. I used this nice gold one. Pin it at the bottom of the feathers, to cover up the uglyness that comes along with hot glue and feathers. You know what I’m talking about.

I’ve also glued on a neck strap. Just more t-shirt scraps. Once I had the hat all decorated, I glued on one end of the strap. Once the glue was set, I held the hat on my head with one hand, and played around until I figured out where to glue the other side of the strap – the catch is being able to get the hat on and off WITH the strap glued on. It’s totally doable. Don’t make it too tight or too loose.

The rest of my costume consisted of black pants and a blazer (Thanx Lindsay!!!), a recorder, black socks and graduation tassels. I was going to wear white socks in spite of my old band director, but I decided to make him proud instead.

I also made cake balls for the party, which didn’t really fit the theme, but did fit my budget and cleaned out my freezer.

That's a lot of balls!

We also ate School Lunch Pizza and Jello shots.

There were also some extra costumes just in case you didn’t bring one. Here I am as a science nerd:

Let's go do science stuff!

Cupcake Wall Hanging

I love cupcakes. I know they are kinda cliche now and way overexposed, but I still love them. You cannot deny how delicious they are.

So, I was on a mission to make something cupcake themed to hang on a wall. I don’t have any canvas, or giant pieces of wood, so painting was out. I also didn’t want to sew fabric on fabric and expect it to hold it’s shape. The final idea was to sew on fabric, attach to cardboard and frame.

Here goes!

Step 1: Assemble the necessary items.
A. Find a frame.
B. Cut cardboard to fit in the frame
C. Print/draw your design (cupcakes)
D. Pick out the fabric (for design and background)

The important about this project for me, was to use stuff I already have on hand.  I spent some time in my scrap box trying to find top and bottom cupcake pieces that all matched, but weren’t too matchy matchy.

Step 2: Start working 
A. Cut out pattern.
B. Pin to background fabric.


Note: there are only three pieces in this photo, not four. I decided to try and tackle the hardest fabric last – so I took this photo before I sewed that one on. And then of course I switched fabrics to something easier to work with.

Step 3: Sew
Carefully sew your design onto your fabric. Take your time. Small corners are fun 🙂

Not much to explain here!

 Step 4: Embellish
As you’ll see in the final photos, I have sewed one button to the top of each cupcake. No cupcake is complete without something on top – a cherry, coffee beans, sprinkles, SOMETHING!

Step 5: Attach
I opted to hot glue my fabric right to the cardboard. To be honest, I was going to staple it out of sheer laziness, but the cardboard was too thin. This was much trickier than I thought it would be.

Once I got my fabric centered, I clipped the fabric to the cardboard on one side, so that I could pull the other side kinda sorta tight, but not too tight. Also tricky with giant buttons.
This step also includes attaching the photo to the frame, if you chose to. I went the route of more cardboard, but attached it so that it could be removed with minimal damage to the frame if necessary.

Step 6: Hang on wall and enjoy

Button Cupcake Wall Decor

A few weeks ago, I went on a Cupcake Craft Bender and made two cupcake wall hangings and my cupcake trays. I was on a roll!

The first one I made was a spinoff of another cupcake decor I found online. Except the one I saw was adhered to paper or something. I used one of the Trunky disks and had fun gluing.

Note to self: don’t try sewing on the smallest rick-rack you own. Glue it. Or hand sew it. Anything but from a machine.

It was also really important to get my other Trunky disks up on the wall before I forget and shove them in a box in my craft room. Our kitchen came equipped with lots of little nails on the walls, just perfect for the small decor.

Not sure if I included these yet, but my mom gave us all Cupcake Pot Holders for Christmas.

I love them! They work great too, I think I’ve used mine almost daily since receiving them. My pair is brown and yellow – stripes and sprinkles! I believe this is the pattern she used.

Redneck Wine Glass and Dessert Tray

I know I’ve mentioned how crafty my Mom is, but I may have failed to mention how equally crafty my Dad is. Actually, he is the handiest man I know. He can fix anything, and when he wants, he can build anything!

On Christmas, we were handed this:

Hmmmm, what are these???

This is a Redneck Wine Glass. The bottom is a candle holder, and the top is a canning jar, complete with lids! So, if you don’t finish your entire glass of wine, you can seal it up and put it in the fridge for later. So excited, we’re definitely going to make Lemonade Shake-ups in these this summer!!!

So cool! Dad has been working on this project for a while. He had to compile all of the pieces and them build them, and then make sure they held up. He was forced to drink a bunch of wine ensure the glasses could withstand The Rays.

His craftiness inspired a project for me as well. I’d like to say that did any work on these, but really, other than purchasing the supplies and picking out the trays, I did not do anything.

My Annual Cupcake Party is next month, and it’s already consuming all of my creative thoughts. One really important part about hosting a party is how to display your food. Last year, I just used random trays and plates. We host other events throughout the year and I’ve been wanting some trays. Just to really give that layered look to the food table.

I found some pretty simple instructions here: How To Make Interchangeable Cupcake Stands. I loved the idea of being able to take them apart for storage.

Well, ours don’t come apart for storage. 🙂 But who cares? They are really fucking cool! I bought candle holders from the Dollar Tree and plastic trays from the Salvation Army. Originally I planned on looking for plastic plates at Target, but found these at the SalVat instead. I think they are perfect!

Lets be honest. Brian did most of the work. I’m not really power tool savvy. He helped me buy the knobs and screws, and we got wine corks from our friends. He drilled the holes and assembled the trays. Once we were done, I ended up gluing the cork in the candle holder.

I didn’t follow the directions – which call for a candle holder that is hollow all the way through. Whoops. So it was too shallow to really get the cork in the hole and have it stay there. The other problem with taking them apart is on the gold tray, the knob I choose has a thing on it that doesn’t allow it to be unscrewed from it’s home. I had no idea, it just looked cool and was on clearance.

Here’s a look from the side, you can see the cork, but luckily you can’t see the glue 🙂

Trunky Decorating

My parents used to have a beautiful tree in their backyard. He was just a generic tree, but absolutely perfect. The perfect climbing tree, which would have been awesome if I had any upper body strength. His name was Trunky.

This was Trunky, a few years before his untimely death in 2010.

We loved Trunky. Well, most of us anyways. But eventually he got old, and my parents made the tough decision to end his poor life by chopping him down, into small pieces.

Here is Trunky today:

Bye, Trunky!

What does this have to do with a craft blog? Is this just some sappy dedication to your childhood tree?

It has everything to do with crafting! You might remember last year, the Ray Family Christmas Extravaganza had The Rocks Glass Invitational (which I won, of course) . I wanted to keep the competitive crafting tradition alive, and with the help of my sister, I suggested that we decorate Trunky disks as a family, as a competition. The idea was well accepted by all parties. You see, my dad had left a bunch of the branches in the driveway for firewood (or for decoration, not sure). My sister wanted to take a log to have on display in her living room. And that’s when the idea struck – we can cut up a log, then everyone can decorate a piece of this family history.

[a big THANK YOU to Leah, for getting these action shots!]

Everyone worked really hard! You could decorate any way you wished – we had three wood burners, paints and glitter glue. I am pretty sure all of us went the wood burning route, except some of the kids. And on a positive note, no one got injured.

Adult Division

Kids Division

The winner of the RFXX2011 Trunky Decorating Contest:

Congratulations, Andrew! This is the family crest he created for us.

If you’d like to check out the other contestants, here are links to all of their images:
Iowa (Ginny)
Playboy Bunny (Leah)
Ray Iowa (Ginny)
Drunk Face (Dan)
Ray Crest (Andrew, Winner)
Impatient Face (Brian)
Butterfly (Penny)
RIP (Becky)
Sun Star (Tim)

Christmas Card Wreaths

Wow. 2011 has gone by in a flash. I can’t believe the year is almost over! Don’t we say that cliche crap every year? Yes? Well it’s true.

Ok, so Christmas is here. It’s my favorite time of the year, for realz. As a kid, my mom would totally Christmafy the house. She has some really cool old decorations. The holidays are really special when you walk into the living room and you see that Christmas has puked over everything.

I was missing two things, a vintage cardboard fireplace and a wall decoration to hold Christmas cards. Brian decided that we needed a fireplace, and I made us a card wreath.

And here is my wreath!!!

This was super easy. And surprisingly enough, it’s not from Pinterest! It’s kinda my own creation! I am also proud to tell you that every item used in this craft was something I just had on hand. I didn’t have to run to the store for anything!

Wreath Ingredients

  • Large piece of cardboard or two small/medium pieces
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • XL t-shirt (or larger), in the color of your choice (I went with bright green)
  • paint (I choose red)
  • mini  close-pins (or regular sized)
  • string (hemp or embroidery floss are nice and thick)
  • beads (that fit on the string of your choice)
  • hot glue (lots)

Directions
With your cardboard, make a giant circle. To get an even circle, tie a piece of string to a pen/pencil. Hold the string in the middle of the cardboard, and trace a circle holding down the string. Then make a smaller circle inside the big circle. If you can wing it, just eye it. Cut out the wreath with scissors or the knife. If necessary, use multiple pieces of cardboard and duct tape them together once cut out.

Lay the t-shirt on a flat surface. Cut off the hem and discard it. Cut strips about 2-4 inches thick, starting from the bottom of the shirt, towards the top. It doesn’t really matter how big the strips are, they will overlap. So if you cut them all wonky, it’s all good. Once cut off the t-shirt, cut each strip on one side, so it is no longer connected and just one long piece of tshirt.

One at a time, wrap the t-shirt strips around the cardboard. Pin them to the board or something, but don’t glue them until you get all of the strips on the wreath. Make sure all loose ends are on the back of the wreath.

If you need to paint the close pins, do that now, or earlier. Paint all sides.

String the beads on to the hemp or embroidery floss. Or both! My beads wouldn’t fit on the hemp, so I strung them on white floss. Tie one end of floss to the wreath, leave some of the beads on the front of the wreath, and the knot on the back. Wrap the floss tight enough around the wreath that the beads wont be able to slide to the back. When complete, tie the floss again.

Now, you can either string the close pins on another piece of string, or just glue them to the wreath, your choice. I chose to string mine. Again, pull the string tight enough that the close pins don’t slide to the back. A small tip: have the close pins point in different directions so you have some options for your cards. Leave  a little slack in the close pin string so that you can glue each of the pins to the fabric. Take your time with gluing – we all love hot glue, but no one wants to see it!

Once everything is tied on/wrapped around the wreath, it’s time to get your glue on. I put small dabs under every layer of fabric, as well as adhering all knots to the wreath. Once everything was secure, I took an extra strip of fabric and glued it to the back of the wreath, in a circle, to cover some of the back of the wreath.

Then hang your wreath and wait for the mailman to deliver your cards!

Dresses, boots and peas

I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any new clothes until at least Jan 1, 2011. I failed. But how could I not when Walmart was clearancing this Miley Cyrus dress?! FOR $1. ONE DOLLER.

I know this is a creative arts and blog, so I have a point. This has a racer back (photo), elastic waist, stripes, ruffles and denim. Not sure what else this girl could ask for. 

Before I found this dress on Sunday, I had just (and I mean, that morning) finished the adult version:

This is Simplicity 2375 – I did the unthinkable. I used similar (as close as I could get) fabrics to the ones on the pattern. I know, I’m a traitor to pattern sewers everywhere. But I couldn’t help it, I really loved it! So, black and white stripeys on top, denim on bottom. This pattern was super easy – not only is the zipper a lie, but so is the skirt placket. I can’t wait to pair this with tights, boots and a turtleneck. 

Boots. It’s *almost* boot season. I needed wanted a new pair, so, I made my own. 

Sweater boots! I picked up this kids large sweater for a quarter at a garage sale last weekend (garage sales didn’t count in the no-clothes-buying promise), loosely followed this tutorial, and this is the outcome. I’m pretty jazzed. 

I say I loosely followed the tutorial, because its pretty basic. The photos will explain HOW to glue the sweater to the shoe – use plenty of glue. The last thing you want is your boot falling apart in the middle of the grocery store. I skipped the part about embroidering on the cuff, I chose a kick ass sweater instead. 

One issue I had was trying to figure out which sides to sew together to get the cuff to turn out correctly (as in, right side out). Oh, and before you get to the cuff, you have to turn the boot right side out (after gluing) – this was tough also. So although I recommend using a thicker sweater so the boots stand, a heavier sweater would be harder to turn right side out.

I’ve also been spending the last few weeks working on some recycled plastic bags and purses (entry for later). ALSO, been mass producing baby food – peas, squash, sweet potatoes. Ken has loved every food he has tried (knock on wood).

"More peas, please!"