Thursday, December 27, 2012

South Africa Souvenirs

This summer we traveled to South Africa.  I found a few greeting cards made by a local artist using recycled objects and thought they would make a great souvenir.  Ranging from 35 to 50 Rand each (between $4 and $6 Canadian) these were a thrifty purchase.  They were small and flat and easy to pack in my suitcase, too!

I knew from the start that I wanted to frame and hang them, but I had a little trouble because the cards were a bit 3D and I quickly realized that they weren't sized to any standard North American frame.

The solution was to purchase some "adjustable depth" frames from Michaels.  These provided some addition space between the card and the glass.

They're actually a really neat idea: just pile as many mini frames behind/in front of the piece of art as you like and get the depth you need.

I mounted each card on burlap printed scrapbooking paper trimmed to fit.

Right now the pictures are hanging in our 1970s rec room,  ready to be the inspiration for a modern makeover to that floor of the house.  I'm so very pleased with their cuteness and originality.

Monday, December 24, 2012

'Tis the season...for wrapping gifts

I can't believe I found the time this week, but I'm glad I did!  I wrapped with paper, tissue, tape, string, ribbon, bows, and gift bags.  After about 5 hours, my lower back started to hurt, but I kept on going for just a little bit longer.  It's not that I had a ton of things to wrap, it's just that I had a lot of crafty fun with the process.

Here are a few peeks:

1.  Plain brown dollar store gift bags + simple black stamping = cute, unique, thrifty gift wrap.
The dollar store bags come in packs of 2 or three for a dollar.  The stamps are from Michael's for about $1.50 each.

2.  I've used the same ornament for about 4 or 5 weddings now, but I still love it.  The mirrored decoration is from the home decor aisle of the dollar store.  I wrinkled up and re-flattened tissue paper for the innermost layer, wrapped that in polka-dotted cellophane and wrapped that all up with a 2m x 40cm piece of silvery tulle.

Full Disclosure: Not everything got wrapped, I must admit.  In an act of true classiness, I handed two of my colleagues their gifts "wrapped" in the brown paper bags they came in from the LCBO. :)  They didn't seem to mind one bit!  Wrap some, leave some: it's all about balance, I guess. ;)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mug Shots

I kept seeing this little craft on Pinterest, and after my sister-in-law tried it, I just had to see for myself how it worked.

We have had a run of bad luck with breaking dishes lately.  More specifically, we're busting more mugs than a punch-drunk boxer.  So I decided to get Dan some coffee cups for Christmas.  I love it when a gift can be practical and personal at the same time.

I like to drink from soup-bowl sized vessels, but Dan prefers small cups that he can refill so the coffee stays hot.  I found two cute little cappuccino cups in the housewares section at Zehr's (a local grocery store) for $3.00 each.

A few minutes with a Sharpie marker and a half-hour in the oven at 350 degrees produced these:

I was too excited to wait until Christmas with all of the presents under our tree, so I've been getting Dan to open a gift a day for a while now!

I sense a coffee date on the couch in our near future.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hello again.

One hundred and forty-three days!  It has been one hundred and forty-three days since I last posted on this blog.  This was not an intentional fast, but more likely a sign that it has been a busy fall.  Now, on my first day of Christmas vacation, I'm knocked out on the couch with a cold.  What a perfect time to upload some photos from my camera and take a look at what I've been up to.

First things first: back to that Knobbly Noggin toque I posted back on August 1.  That was made with leftovers from this blanket:

Can you see the bumpy texture?  I thought it was a lot of fun.  I started off following a "Ruffles and Dots" pattern I found online.  I thought this big ball of yarn would be more than enough to complete the job.

The big chunky ball, however, disappeared before the blanket was square.

So rather than attempting to match dye lots, I decided to go funky and mix red and pink.

I didn't have enough yarn left to do the ruffled border from the original pattern (ruffles are yarn gobblers!), so I finished it off with a scallop border.

It ended up being a pretty big baby blanket for my cousin's baby girl, Shiloh, but hopefully she'll be able to enjoy it as a play mat as well.

The lesson in this little crochet adventure: starting with a plan is a good idea, but being flexible when the yarn runs out is how to get things done. ;)

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