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St. Patrick’s Day Watercolor Painted Pillow Cover

Posted in CRAFTS, DECOR, DIY, HOLIDAYS, St. Patrick's Day
on February 27, 2017

Top O’ the mornin’ to ya! Are you looking to do a bit of decorating for St. Patrick’s Day? One of the easiest ways to dress up a room with a theme is with a throw pillow. “Lucky” for you, I’ve got a fun idea for a painted watercolor 4-leaf clover pillow cover to share! #seewhatididthere

 

I didn’t use to do a lot of decorating or anything else for St.Patrick’s Day, but my family loves to celebrate it in some way every year. When I met Shay, I had no idea how much he loved St. Patrick’s Day. Little did I know that we would become the people eating corned beef and cabbage every year and drinking green beer. Well, I probably knew that we’d be drinking green beer, because Shay does like beer, but I had no idea on the corned beef and cabbage. I don’t like corned beef, and I’m indifferent to cabbage. I mean, I like cabbage in cabbage rolls, and of course, in coleslaw, but by itself, especially boiled, cabbage is just kinda.. eww. My man loves it – at least on St. Patrick’s Day. We once had an entire conversation about corned beef and cabbage that ended with Puff the Magic Dragon. True story. The point to my story is, over the years, I’ve had to up my St. Patrick’s Day decor and celebration game. A few years ago I whipped up these fun rainbow frosted brownie bites. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do this year, so you can bet I was super excited when my friend Meg of Green with Decor invited me to share a St. Patrick’s Day project idea, along with a group of fun and talented bloggers! Instant plan! Well, save for what we’ll be eating… but you work with what you have! On to the pillow cover!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pillow form – Mine was a 10″x10″ form I already had. I wish I’d had a down filled form, but I didn’t have one the size I needed! If I’d had time, I’d have ordered this one.
  • Fabric to cover pillow – I had a package of white cotton napkins that were the perfect size for my pillow form, so I used that for the front of my pillow, and some velvet that I had in my fabric stock for the back.
  • Watercolor paints – Any type will do – they do not need to be fabric paints. I used this cake set, and I’ve also used this liquid version as well. You could potentially use your kids Crayola paints, but the colors won’t be as vibrant.
  • -Fine-tip black sharpie
  • -Iron
  •  -Fabric Medium –  This bottle of magic, when added to paint, allows you to use any type paint on fabric without leaving the fabric feeling stiff. I found this FolkArt brand at JoAnn’s, and was happy with the results, but could only find the small bottle there. If you’re using this for a larger pillow, it’s cheaper for the larger bottle on Amazon.
  • -Two small containers for water
  • -Two brushes

To begin, transfer the clover and text pattern onto your pillow using the marker. (Right-click on the link and save to your computer). I used my Cricut to do this, drawing it directly on the fabric with the fine tip pen. Because I wasn’t cutting the fabric, I was able to write onto the fabric without applying Wonder-under first.

If you don’t have a die-cut machine,  you can also apply the design with a fine point sharpie pen using one of these transfer methods, printing on fabric using printable fabric, or if your fabric is sheer enough, tracing the design by hand.

Whichever method you choose to use, you’ll need to heat-set your design before adding watercolor to the fabric. Do this by applying dry heat to the drawing from the highest setting of your iron.

Once your design is sealed, you can add your watercolor accents – the fun part! Fill your two containers with water – one for cleaning your brush and one for the fabric medium. You don’t need alot.. probably about 1/4 cup. Add about a 1/8 of a cup of fabric medium to one of the water cups.

Use one of the brushes dipped in water to wet your paint, keeping in mind, the less water you use, the more color your brush will pick up, the less water, the lighter the color and the more it will spread on your fabric.

Begin applying the color to your fabric, filling in the design, staying in the lines.. just like kindergarten! I used various colors of green to give the drawing dimension – there isn’t a right or wrong way to do this.

Once you have painted your fabric as desired, use the water with the paint medium added to it and paint over the entire surface. You may see a slight amount of run from the outline, but it should be minimal if you’ve heat set the marker.

Your fabric will be quite wet at this point. Allow your fabric to dry – My fabric took a few hours to dry in the air.  Once dry, carefully go over your lines if necessary, then again, heat set the design using a dry, very hot iron.

You’re ready to create your cover! I like a pillow cover with a zipper, but an envelope style pillow cover would also work here. Until I get around to writing a tutorial on how to create one, I like this one for creating a cover with a zipper a lot – it’s very thorough and easy to understand.

I added handmade pompoms in the corners of my pillow cover for just a little bit extra – I pinned the pompom strings from the inside to each corner before stitching.

I love how this cute little pillow turned out, and despite the fact that we’ll likely be eating the dreaded corned-beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, adding this to our decor means at least we’ll be doing it in style! How about you? How will you be celebrating St. Paddy’s Day? Do you do any decorating? Do you have any “authentic” Irish dishes to share?

Before you go, be sure to drop by and visit these talented ladies for a peek at their St. Patrick’s Day projects!

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Get Started With Cricut Explore Air 2 and Brighten Up Winter

Posted in CRAFTS, CRICUT, DIY, KITCHEN
on February 15, 2017

So, you just brought your new Cricut Explore Air 2 home. You’ve opened up the box, taken your shiny, gorgeous new machine out – I’m dying to know what color you chose  – you’ve plugged it in, and then… Well, that’s where you start asking yourself, “What am I going to DO with this thing?” Amiright? I was right there with you a few weeks ago when I opened up my new machine! But don’t fret! I’m here today to share some tips and a simple beginner project to get you started.

This project was born out of a need for green and a gentle reminder that Winter isn’t going to last forever.  The skies seem always to be gray, the ground hard, and covered in winter debris – twigs, dead leaves, it’s like nature’s litter out there! The days, while lengthening, are still short and dark. My lips are chapped. My skin is dry, and I’m itchy. I’m sick of sweaters. I might even be tired of boots – oh, the blasphemy! I’m irritated with coats that make me look like a linebacker. Since it’ll be a while before we see any real green on the ground, I decided to take matters into my hands.

I had these adorable faux herb planters that I’d picked up at Joann’s last spring. Yes, I know, faux is passe` bu let’s face it, even if it were spring, I’m a plant-killer which makes faux the only plants for me. They were cute on their own, but I thought it would be fun to add a bit of an embellishment with a wee bit of color.

Let’s get started. First things first, if you’ve not done so already,  and if you’ve not signed up for a login with Cricut in the past, you’ll need to create an account at Cricut.com. If you already have an account,  you’ll login using this account by clicking the login link in the top left corner.

Next, you’ll want to download the plugin and go through the New Machine Setup. Connect your machine using the provided cables, or you can also connect using blue tooth. To do that, set your Ipad or Iphone’s blue tooth settings to your Cricut Explore Air 2 and enter the provided pin. Just like that, you’re connected!

No matter how you choose to connect, you’ll want to go through the “Getting Started” rubric which will automatically walk you through your very first project, which is an excellent way to get a feel for what the Cricut Explore Air 2 can do.

Now that you’re logged in take a look at the Cricut Design Space. The Design Space is where all of the magic happens.

When you log in, you’ll see a list of projects. These projects are what are called “Make it Now” projects. In these projects, Cricut has done all of the work for you. Clicking on a project will show you a list of materials you’ll use, the cost to purchase the project, as well as the directions to create a project. I would encourage you to look around as there is a project for every need and check back often as they are always adding to the library.

Our project today uses the Southwest Pottery Wraps “Make it Now” project. To get started, you’ll click on the picture of the project. First, you’ll see the details of the project, the supplies required and you’ll also see the “Customize” button. Clicking this would allow you to change the design to your preferences – we aren’t going to do that with this project, but it’s good to know that it’s possible to do if you’d like!

I decided to change up the design slightly, using vinyl instead of the leather. The vinyl is self-adhesive, so I also didn’t need the spray adhesive. So, for my version we’ll need the following materials:

Let’s get started! Clicking on the ” Make it Now” button takes us directly to the mat window.

To use your mat, remove the plastic sheet – put it aside to protect your mat when you’re done. Load your vinyl sheet by lining it up to the top left corner and smoothing it with your hand.

Load your machine, aligning and feeding the mat through the guides, then pressing the feed button.

 

Be sure to set your blade to the correct material setting, in this case, vinyl.

 

In the Design Space, push the go button, then press the flashing Cricut button on your Cricut Explore Air 2 to begin cutting.

 

I decided to layer two colors of vinyl and therefore cut the design twice. What I love is that you can just reload your material, reload the mat and it will automatically reset, allowing you to cut by just pressing the Cricut button rather than having to resend from Design Space.

When you’ve finished cutting, press the Finish button in Design Space.

The vinyl is self-adhesive and comes with a backing. Remove the backing from around the cut design, leaving the design on the backing. Use the weeding tool to remove the center of the design that did not come away when you removed the backing.

For this project, I found it easiest to peel the design and place it by hand rather than to use transfer paper.

Once completed, the pots made their way to their new home – my kitchen window sill!

I love the little bit of green and the contrast between gold and stainless steel, giving them a bit of a modern/industrial look and is a great reminder that Winter is only temporary. The fact that my Cricut Explore Air 2 makes this such a simple and quick project makes me love it even more!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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DIY Valentine’s Day Heart-shaped Candy Boxes

Posted in CRAFTS, CRICUT, DIY, HOLIDAYS
on February 13, 2017

Do you remember the first year that Valentine’s Day mattered to you? I do. I was in the sixth grade and was boy-crazy over this kid named Warren. He had the cutest little bowl cut and the biggest teeth I’ve ever seen. He was my Mr. Dreamy. Every time someone accused me of liking him my voice would rise to an octave that only dogs can hear as I shrilly said: “I do NOT!” Only I did. On that Valentine’s Day, after finally admitting I maybe liked him a little bit,  we started “going out.” You know, the going out, which means we were thinking of holding hands some day when our palms weren’t sweaty and the planets aligned. Still, on that Valentine’s Day, he gave me a decorated teddy bear cookie that said, “I love you ‘beary’ much!”. I swooned, and vowed never to eat the cookie – it was just far too romantic gesture ever to eat it, and knowing my love of cookies, I must have liked this boy even to consider not eating it. In my heart, I just knew I’d be cherishing that cookie on our wedding anniversary some day!

 

Flash forward a few years – okay, a few decades – and now I’m married to the most excellent Valentine who, lucky me, will have to put up with me forever. Now, I have a whole slew of young people all worried about whether or not they’ll be getting an “I love you ‘beary’ much!” cookie, or something equally as heartwarming, on February 14th. Of course, I can’t guarantee that for them, but I can make sure they know how much I love them.

Every year, without fail, we have a little Valentine’s Day party, where we exchange little cards and candy and finish the day off with one or two of our favorite Rom-coms. This year’s movies were “10 Things I Hate About You” and “A Knights Tale” – it was just a Heath Ledger kind of day!

My youngest knock-it-off-crafter spent an entire day crafting his Valentine’s, everyone made a box or a bag to hold their goodies, and I surprised everyone with these personalized candy boxes. We sat around talking about how dumb boys are sometimes (truth) and how impossible girls are to understand (won’t ever happen), nibbling on our sweets and getting lost in the rom-com giggles. Each box reflected the current personality of the receiver – as you can see I’ve passed on my love of leopard print to one of my mini-me’s.

With the varied card stock patterns, it was easy to have each box reflect the current personality of the receiver – as you can see I’ve passed on my love of leopard print to one of my mini-me’s.

* This post contains affiliate links for your convenience

I made my boxes with my Cricut Explore Air 2 – by the way, I’m STILL loving this machine –  but if you don’t have a craft cutting machine, you could easily create the project by cutting the template by hand.  If you’re interested in creating these candy boxes for yourself or loved ones, the template files are available to subscribers to my weekly newsletter. If you’re using a newer Cricut or Silhouette import the images into the designer software and enlarge the image to cut on a 12″x12″ card stock sheet. If you’re cutting by hand, print the images at full size. Either way, you’ll need to cut one of each sheet.

The boxes go together in a snap with hot glue. Here are the basic steps (shown using a Cricut):

Gather your supplies:

  • 12″x12″ mid-weight cardstock in your choice of colors
  • Cricut or Silhouette cutting machine OR scissors
  • If cutting by hand, a printer
  • Glue and Glue gun
  • Embellishments (optional)
  • Mini cupcake liners
  • Candy of your choice

Step 1: Cut out your template patterns, one sheet of all three files.

Step 2: Trace the liner hearts (smaller of the two) to the back side of the base hearts (larger).

Step 3: Connect the two pieces of the solid band in the center, aligning the edges. Attach the solid band to the back side of the bottom base heart, using your traced line as a guide. Bend the tabs, then attach by gluing the circle tabs slightly INSIDE the line onto the base, starting from the tip of the heart and working around to the top of the heart.

Step 4: Connect the two pieces of the contrast band in the center, aligning the edges. Attach the contrast band to the back side of the top base heart, using your traced line as a guide. Be sure to check fit over the bottom band before gluing, and cut to fit as needed – The top band provided is longer than necessary to allow for a custom fit. Attach by gluing the circle tabs slightly OUTSIDE the line, starting from the top of the heart and working around to the bottom of the heart.

Step 5: Add liners to both top and bottom lid and embellish, if desired.

Step 7: Add cupcake liners and fill with candy.

Step 8: Gift to make someone happy!

 

 

I found it easiest to work from the bottom up to ensure the contrast band fits inside the peek-a-boo band.

Although the boxes were cute without any further decoration, I had found these fun embellishments in the Target Dollar Aisle. They were the perfect finish to compliment the different cardstock designs.

The best part of creating your candy boxes is that you can fill them with all of your favorite sweets! Mini cupcake liners are perfect for holding each treat or chocolate – I was able to nest seven liners into each box. I filled the boxes with Mike & Ikes, Skittles, Peanut M&Ms, Cinnamon hearts, Gummy Roses, Milk Duds, and Lindor Truffles, but you can fill yours whatever you like.

It’s a very personal way for you to show your Valentine’s, large and small, how much they are loved!

So, I bet you’re wondering what happened to Warren and the cookie? Well, he broke up with me the day after Valentine’s Day, and although I did keep the cookie, it eventually disintegrated. It goes without saying that if someone were to give me a cookie today, I’d eat it right there on the spot – with age comes wisdom. I eventually moved away and have no idea what happened to the boy that gave me my first lesson in “boy dumbness”. It’s probably for the best, though – between his teeth and mine one can only wonder what would have happened to our children!

Whether you have a Warren or not, I wish you the happiest Valentine’s Day. I’m off to finish my shopping – I want to make sure my Valentine knows that, without a doubt, “I love him ‘beary’ much!” Since I love him, I may even be persuaded to share a cookie with him!

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