Posts Tagged ‘papercraft’

Potato-Stamped Postcard Set (March 2010)

I’ve been busy.  The last few months have been a flurry of activity: first AWP and a million department events, then turning in my thesis, then finals, then graduation, then a nice long visit with D & friends (and another IV wedding!) in NorCal; then I moved back to the East Coast (I’m living with my parents for the summer) and promptly got sick and lay around flat on my back for four days, after which I then proceeded to spend a week living in a cave while I was working on putting up the first issue of Lantern Review.  In short: no time for personal blogging.

Case in point: Back in what must have been February, I committed to blog for Ada Lovelace Day (in March).  Unfortunately, (as you can see) I never got around to that.  I did write a poem about Ada Lovelace, though.  Does that count?

However (as the photo at the top of this post — which shows some potato stamped reply postcards I made to send with a fellowship app — indicates), I have still been crafting and baking and gift wrapping (bento, not so much), despite my silence here.  And since I took pictures of most of the mini projects I completed, anyway, I thought I would share them now.

Cookie Thank You Gift (March 2010)

Back in March, when I applied to the fellowship for which I sent the postcards I mentioned earlier, I baked up some of Katie Goodman’s White Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies to thank the professors who wrote letters of recommendation for me.  I colored the stars on the tags red to complement the cute polka-dotted ribbon I picked up in the dollar bin at Michael’s.  I didn’t get that fellowship in the end, but apparently the cookies went over quite well with their recipients.  So that, at least, was encouraging. 🙂

Refashioned Rosette Tee (March 2010)

The idea for this tee was inspired by Charissa’s beautiful Double Ruffle Gift Topper post over at The Gifted Blog.  I’d been seeing a lot of embellished tees in the stores for some time and had been thinking that I might be able to find some way to do it myself.  Charissa’s technique gave me both the idea and the impetus to actually attempt the project.  So I took an old, rather faded t-shirt, recut the neckline, chopped the sleeves to 3/4 length (which you can’t, unfortunately, see in this set of photos), and used the scraps to sew little rosettes in the yoke area.  I’ve worn this tee several times since, and I’m pleased to say that despite my initial worries, it turned out to stand up pretty well to machine washing (I usually turn it inside out and line dry it just to be safe, but I think it would still survive a trip through the dryer if one day I forgot to take it out before transferring the load).

Lime Cookie Gift (March 2010)

I baked a batch of Simply Recipes’ Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime (although they weren’t exactly that, as I subbed chocolate chips for the cocoa nibs–I cook on a budget and your average Indiana supermarket does not carry such niceties) and sent them off with some candy and a card to D for our 5-year dating anniversary.  The tag on this box matched the card and the tag on the candy box.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I did the best job coordinating everything else in the suite of gifts, so I’m just showing you this one, which came out the best, in my opinion).

The end of March and all of April was incredibly nuts (seriously: I attended four conferences, D visited, and there seemed to be a department-sponsored panel or reading almost every free night that month), so not much crafting or baking (let alone sleeping or breathing) happened then.  But when graduation time rolled around, I found myself back in crafty mode once again, what with goodbye gifts and thank-you gifts.

Nest Necklace & Box (Late April 2010)

I created this bird’s nest necklace using this tutorial as a thank you and goodbye gift for my friend R.  She’s doing a publishing internship in the city this summer, so I modeled it after the ModCloth-ish kind of jewelry I used to see some of the Brooklynite types in my office wearing last summer. The chain is longish — around 18″ I think? — and the nest itself is about an inch and a half in diameter. I used my last two faux pearls (they are vintage, from my late paternal grandparents’ stock, and the finish is chipped, but I liked the feel of that in this necklace), and a filigree bead (also from my grandparents’ stock).  The box was created with thin white cardstock, using Patricia Zapata’s matchbox project (though I messed up the final set of instructions; hence the slightly wonky sides).  I cut the butterflies out of cardstock with an X-acto knife and used rolly tape (out of a dispenser-applicator that looks like one of those rolling tape white-out dispensers — I officially love that stuff now) to stick them onto the top.

Blue & Brown Gift (Late April 2010)

This is a more successful version of the same box as above.  This time, I used it to wrap a thank you gift for a professor.  This time I followed the instructions correctly (though I’ve discovered that you have to notch the long sides before folding them in at the end to get them to fit snugly with the added thickness of the cardboard on the short sides), and used a Triscuit box. I lined the inside bottom with the same blue cardstock I used for the sheath and cut the tag out of the Triscuit box, too.  The ribbon is also (sort of) recycled — originally the gift had been wrapped in another box, but that box got rather crushed in transit, so I just reused the old ribbon on the new box.

ED's Bracelet (May 2010)

Another handmade gift and its wrapping.  Stretchy green glass bracelet for a friend who loves the color (once again, all the beads except the white focal are vintage), and the wrapped version (makeshift mini-box from the leftover bits of the Triscuit box wrapped in cream tissue I’d recycled from another gift, twine, and a red heart cut out of scrap paper).

Wrapped Sweet Pea (May 2010)

This thank-you gift was one of the miniature versions of Kim Westad’s “Sweet Pea” pieces, which I packaged securely into a kraft box from Michaels, tied up with twine, and topped with a red-rimmed tag (the inside of the vessel is glazed in a deep terra-cotta red, so I tried to reflect earthy tones in the packaging) and a Martha-Stewart style tissue flower (made from the tissue that had wrapped a graduation gift I’d received, no less!).  I tucked the ceramist’s card in under the string so that the recipient would know where it came from.

M's Gift (May 2010)

My friend M loves a particular roll of striped wrapping paper that I have, and has borrowed it to wrap gifts before.  So I thought I’d use a square of it to decorate her gift.  The idea of using a graphic, sans-serif initial on the square was inspired by this post at Bugs and Fishes.  (Please excuse the weird stripey texture — that is a result of my taking this photo too close to my screen door, which gets good light in the morning).  As you can see, the box is another one of Patricia Zapata’s matchboxes.  I was a huge fan of them by that point (and still am!)  What’s inside, you ask? A pair of handmade earrings.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to snap a photo before I wrapped them.

Bananagrams Replacement Bag (May 2010)

This was part of D’s birthday present.  (I always try to give him one thing that’s store-bought, and a little something that’s handmade).  We both love to play the game Bananagrams together (partly, I’ll admit, because I am incompetent at most board games, but actually “get,” and get excited about, this one) — but unfortunately the cute banana-shaped case that holds the game broke recently, so D had been temporarily storing his Bananagrams tiles in his Scrabble tile bag.  Which, we both commented, was sort of a shame, because the banana-shaped bag is part of what makes Bananagrams Bananagrams.  Hence, I decided to surprise him with my version of a replacement for his birthday.  I am, admittedly, very much a beginner sewer.  And I don’t own a machine.  So a simple, rectangular drawstring was the most I could do (no banana shapes for me – figuring out how to line it was hard enough!)  To compensate for that, though, I added a little embroidered felt monogram in the shape of a banana, and used banana colors (white fabric, yellow ribbon).  I even wrapped the thing in white tissue and yellow ribbon (didn’t get a picture of that, though).  D liked the bag a lot, but the best payoff came the next day at his party when his brother and sister-in-law asked, “Where did you get a Banagrams bag that has a banana with your name on it?” To which D replied, “Take a guess: it’s hand-sewn and hand-embroidered,” and pointed at me.  🙂

J&J's Wedding Card (May 2010)

Okay, this is the last one, I promise (and then I really have to go to bed).  As usual, I couldn’t find a wedding card that wasn’t dripping with sappy sentiment in the store, so I made one.  the invitation was cream and light purple, so I decided to follow a similar theme.  The caption under the hugging pears says “To a perfect pair (pear?)”  Which is cheesy, I’ll admit, but — in my opinion — at least rather more cute than sappy (plus, I got to write the bride and groom a nice long personal note inside, which was nice).

And now — to bed.  But now you know, in part, what I’ve been up to since March.  Hopefully I’ll have more time to post this summer.


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Who’s this?

Someone poised for a long postal journey to California . . .

Bearing a little heart and a message.  He even has a matching card!

(He’s an owl, by the way; even though I know he looks kind of like a penguin with ears.  I misjudged the shape of the face this time heh).  I was originally going to send my new little friend off with a packet of cookies, but snow prevented me from getting to the grocery store on time that week, so my messenger went solo (well, except for his card).  He’s made from a singleton, felted wool sock, acrylic craft felt, and stuffed with fabric scraps (including much of the rest of the sock) and rice in the butt to keep him sitting upright.  I say “him” but I guess it could really be a “her,” too.  I left the gender up to D to decide upon receipt.  I’m pleased with my handiwork, though I could definitely have done a better job with making him look more like an owl. Thankfully the card looked a little more recognizably like an owl than the original; D did say he was a bit confused at first, but the reference drawing and verbal hints inside helped! [Update: D has informed me that the owl is a boy, and that his name is “Glimfeather,” after the owl who helped Eustace and Jill in The Silver Chair].

And look what I received in return! (Well, actually, his gift arrived first)

Orchids, D told me, not just for Valentine’s Day, but also for Chinese New Year’s day, which coincided with Valentine’s this year.  I loved that he thought to send me something a little different than the standard roses.  The orchids were beautiful and delicate and are only just now (a week later) beginning to droop.  Speaking of Chinese New Year, since I always like to do a little something for my girl friends on Valentine’s Day, this year I made my roommates hybrid valentine-hong bao cards that consisted of little yellow cards with tigers on them inside little handmade red paper envelopes, and served them up with a big New Year’s dinner of dumplings and fried noodles.  I eventually wrote their names on the origami hearts, but that wasn’t until after I’d already taken the picture:

Last but not least, a little Wonderland whimsy; one of my classmates’ birthdays is on the 14th of February, so someone hosted a Wonderland-themed tea party for her.  I went dressed as the white rabbit (unfortunately I haven’t got a picture of my costume but I was pretty proud of it, since — with the exception of paper ears, white gloves, and a felt heart pin — I put it together almost entirely from things that were already in my closet), and brought the birthday girl (whom they dressed up as Alice) a little corsage of white paper roses painted red:

Unfortunately, the stem portion proved to be a little too scratchy and the curling ribbon would not hold the heavy corsage fast to her wrist.  If I were to attempt this craft again, I think I’d use fabric (jersey from old t-shirts for the roses, perhaps, felt for the leaves, and satin ribbon for the tie) instead of stiff paper and tape!

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If you remember, I posted last year about how I like to reserve most of my Valentine’s Day energies for celebrating my friendships rather than buying into all of the sugar-crazed, hyper-commercialized craziness.  This year, since I’m long distance with D, I sent him a little package of homemade goodies just to mark the day (I’ll post pictures of it later in the week), but really, we’ve already done our celebrating (he surprised me with a nice lunch at a Thai place while I in CA for a conference last month).  So instead I spent a week or so cooking up stuff for my roommates.  This year, I decided to try and teach myself to use Illustrator, since D gave me a copy of Creative Suite for Christmas.  So I designed a little image of a girl flying a kite and turned into cards and matching sets of matchbook notebooks:

The notebooks. (One set of three per roommate – I threw the monogrammed ones in there on a last minute whim just to give them a touch of something special). The pages are cut from the leftover sheets in a class notebook that I wasn’t able to fill during the course of a quarter.

The cards. I don’t have a color printer so I had my pdf templates printed on ivory cardstock at FedEx/Kinko’s. The front image printed a little smaller than I’d imagined it would be, but I still think it works.

Since I didn’t have any thin red satin ribbon, I bought some kitchen twine to wrap up each little set. I love the homey touch the raveling ends add (and my bank account liked the price of twine vs. ribbon, too!)

The envelopes came in a pack of 10 from Meijer, on sale. I drew the little kite motif onto the corner of each just to tie everything together nicely. (I didn’t smudge the ink on my roommates’ names, by the way; I purposely blurred them out of the photo for privacy reasons).

My roommates will receive their gifts a few days early, as I’ll be in Chicago for the 2009 AWP Conference on the 14th proper. Hopefully they won’t mind. 🙂

And, because I feel a little silly having spent so much time on a design that will only be used for three gifts (I like to do something new each year) – I figure that the random people who read this might as well get some use out of it, too. So here’s a .pdf file with templates and instructions to make some matchbook notebooks of your own (using the Kite Girl image). Print them out on cardstock, cut, fold, and staple. A few tips: 1) score the folds before you make them. the fold lines will print on the side opposite the one you need to score, so what I did was hold each notebook against a lit lampshade, printed side to lamp, and trace little guide notches on the blank side where I needed to score. 2) be careful to cut inside the black lines. i cut outside at first, and had to trim every edge down; it ended up being kind of a pain. 3) staple as close to the base of the notebook as possible (you want the top flap to have a substantial lip to slip into), but not so close to the base that you staple the cover to itself and miss the pages.

Kite Girl Notebook Template (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Each template makes six notebooks. Enjoy!

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Hi, happy readers. I’m asking for your help.

I’m designing the invitation for a mini bridal shower that I’m helping to plan for one of my close school friends, and I’d like some feedback on the mockup I’ve made:

What do you think? Should I get rid of the words on top? Should I choose a less-busy pattern for the teacup? Is the flower distracting? I’d love your feedback. Please tell me how to proceed.

I’ll be going to hunt for cornflower blue paper and doo-dads tomorrow (her wedding color is cornflower blue). You wouldn’t believe it, but I spent my afternoon scouring three different stores for cornflower blue paper, and came up utterly empty! You’d think it’d be part of the normal range of colors for scrapbookers, but apparently it’s not – they had aqua, yes; and teal, yes; and purple, yes – but nothing close to cornflower…no wedgewood/periwinkle/indigo…not even slate! Hopefully I will have better luck at Village Stationers’ and University Arts tomorrow.

I was, however, able to pick up some lovely chocolate brown cards and envelopes and pretty shell grey ribbon at JoAnn Fabrics today. At a good price, too! The cards were $3.99 for a box of 10 (not the best price in the world, but cheaper than buying a box of invitations), and I got two 9-ft. spools of ribbon at $0.10 each (The labels said $0.50 in the clearance basket, but it rung up at the register as $0.10, so I guess the higher price must have been an earlier markdown…) For those of you who are texturally-oriented, like me, feast your eyes (courtesy of my new lens, which finally arrived about 2.5 weeks ago):

And while I’m at it, I think I’ll show you the mother’s day cards I made for my mom and my maternal grandmother (she and my grandpa live with my parents at home; my paternal grandparents are deceased).

These actually aren’t the final versions. I added a few solid metallic hearts to balance out the composition after I took these photos. (By the way, for those of you who follow my very intermittent posts, do you recognize the washi paper?)

A crane for my grandmother:

Bunny rabbits for my mom (both she and my grandma were born in the year of the rabbit – in different decades, of course – but my grandmother is afraid of rabbits because their pointy noses remind her of rats, so I gave the bunny card to my mom instead):


– s.

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Bento 12Not a very exciting lunch for Valentine’s Day. I disappointed myself. I had been planning something special but ran out of time (the day itself was crazy – in full, it lasted from 7:30 am to 11:30ish and I was running on 1.5 hrs of sleep for most of that time…a few short naps between classes helped, but not much; I was exhausted by the end of Fellowship Meeting and skipped out on a dessert outing that some of the other senior girls had planned). The only thing remotely valentine-y about it was the heart cookie i put on top to hold everything in place, and that isn’t even shown in the picture. Contents of the box were fried rice, applesauce, and cucumber wheels, all grabbed hastily from the dining hall at the very last minute…I was able to go to the Chinese bakery yesterday, though, so I’m planning something a little more pretty for this Tuesday. 🙂

On a different note, since uchikuchi has received her prize in the mail (thanks for letting me know!), it’s now safe to post some pictures of what I sent her:

Full Lovebirds Set

Completed Heart Ornament

Last year’s drawmates (and a couple other friends) on campus, whom I don’t see nearly enough of on a regular basis, received cards similar to the ones pictured above, except that I used mini coin-sized manila envelopes instead (much easier – I didn’t have to make all of them).

I made a card featuring two bookworms for my boyfriend (we’re both humanities majors – he’s American Studies and I’m English). He took me out for breakfast and we had our celebration early, before the chaos of the rest of the day – it was nice, even though I’m sorry to say I was kind of grumpy from lack of sleep; there was barely anybody else in Hobee’s…I know if we’d gone out to dinner the crowd would have been ridiculous. Here’s what his card looked like:

Bookworm card

And finally, here are the two cards that I made for people in my dorm (it’s a tradition in many of the dorms here that the guys dress up and “roll out” – or wake up – all of the girls early in the morning on Valentine’s day, present them with roses, and take them downstairs for breakfast; in most dorms, the girls also do something for the guys in return – in our case, we handmade cards for each guy and pinned them to their doors so that they’d see them when they woke up):

Dorm guys’ vday cards

The “Maxian peas” feature from a ridiculous genetics problem on the first midterm of the biology core during sophomore year, which almost nobody got right. We were supposed to figure out some things about the genetics of mutant peas “from the planet Max” with the information given (you had to realize the peas were triploid to get it right – very tricky; few people were able to answer the question). The recipient of that card is an acquaintance who was in that class (as well as a few others) with me – I thought he’d get a kick out of it. (Yes, before I decided to major in English I wanted to be a plant biologist…). As for the rockstar goldfish – I just thought it would look cool (I was particularly proud of the tattoo – it, along with the rest of the details, is hand-drawn and colored).

– s.

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Yesterday we celebrated the 21st birthday of one of my best friends from college. I’ve been trying to handmake as many gifts as possible since I’m a bit low on funds at the moment (thanks, grad school application fees!), so even though i found out about the celebration late-ish, I still made an effort to put something nice together. This notebook set was put together using materials I had around my dorm room — pages from a half-filled sketchbook that a delegate abandoned at this year’s SMUNC conference, embroidery thread for binding, and a blue tissue box from my “things to be recycled into crafts one day stash.” I’ve been saving pretty cardboard boxes to make notebook sets since last year, when I first got the idea and made a few sets for Christmas presents, but I’ve been so busy since then that I just haven’t gotten around to doing any until now. This time I used an improved binding technique (last year’s books were saddle-stitched and then the binding was taped over — this was problematic because it meant the notebooks didn’t stay closed too well). This time I actually went and learned a more complicated technique from this tutorial. It’s kind of a fun technique (though an awl would’ve been very helpful; I wish I hadn’t left all my jewelry supplies at home but I am trying to reduce the number of things I will have to transport home in June so I left all non-necessities behind after break). I was very proud of the results.
Anyway, here go the pictures…

The full set (the recipient’s name appears curving along the border of the circle with the colored-pencil-and-ink flower, but I’ve blurred it out for privacy purposes)

Blue Flower Notebook Set 1

Close-ups of the art on the circular emblems that appear on each piece (LH: notebook; RH: bookmark)

Blue Flower Notebook Set 2

This shot shows the binding a bit better:

Blue Flower Notebook Set 3

Wrapped up into a set.

Blue Flower Notebook Set 4

Gift-wrapped (I was so proud of myself; I even made the gift tag match!)

Blue Flower Notebook Set 5

– s.

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It was someone’s birthday yesterday, and, being the eternally-late person that I am, I only went to the store today to buy her a card — it wasn’t until I got there that I remembered why I stopped buying greeting cards two years ago. Cards cost something like an average of $3!!! It’s so much cheaper, and plenty more fun, to make my own.

So I came home and got out my micron pen and prismacolors (I had time to do this, btw, because I actually TURNED IN MY LAST GRAD SCHOOL APP TODAY. (Yayyyy!!!)

Here is what resulted from my creative frenzy…


Forest Child Card 1

Inside :

Forest Child Card 2

The very best part, however, is the following:

Forest Child Card 3

When you put it in the envelope, he appears to be peeking out!! (You have to put him in sideways to fit properly, but the envelope still reveals one curious eye and part of a pudgy nose).

I’ve outrun my store of creativity for the day. And don’t want to write my 1 page response paper that’s due tomorrow. So it’s to bed now, and up early tomorrow morning.

– s.

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