My my! What a long name for such a simple project! I was sick of looking at the plastic generic soap container that I have been refilling like a dutiful conservative lady...so I enhanced it a bit. I'm not sure I would use these colors again (it would be nice in metallics or in an antiqued color--maybe even just plain old white) but its a bit late now for such thoughts, I just used what I had on hand. So now after much delay and a bit of rambling, I present to you my DIY faux-milk glass Polluck-inspired hand soap dispenser!!! (I still think the name is too long)

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You will need: paint (your choice, I used regular craft paint), mod podge (or equivalent, for finishing coat), paint brushes (or paper towel, or cloth), hot glue gun (low temp glue is best, unless you don't mind burns) and of course your soap dispenser (cheapo generic variety with label peeled off)

For this simple project you will need: paint, brushes, paper towel (or cloth), mod podge, hot glue and your soap dispenser.

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Apply hot glue to bottle to make small dots
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Cover the entire bottle (mine could definitely be more symmetrical, but I find I don't care)

Using your glue gun, apply small blobs of glue to the dispenser, covering the entire surface. I recommend using low-temp hot glue (not that I had any), to spare your finger tips...oooor you could just avoid touching the hot glue (I am just incapable). If you only slightly depress your trigger, so that the glue releases very slowly, your dots will be more even, however you may end up with slight points from where you've released the trigger (or strings, which can be clipped later--unless you're a bit lazy, like I am, then you can just leave em be).

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Cover the bottle with paint of choice, use a paint brush to fill in gaps between dots

Once your glue dots have dried, cover the bottle in paint. I started with a brush, became impatient and used a paper towel to blot paint and cover the surface a bit quicker. I then touched up areas that I missed or where I chipped the paint (do be sure to let the paint dry between coats). I used a towel to blot on additional coats of colors, (purple and white) to achieve the speckled "Polluck" look.

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When happy with the paint, cover in mod podge to seal, using a paper towel to get better coverage.
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Don't be afraid of the mod podge! (But do try to avoid getting it in the dispenser top cracks--which will make the dispenser difficult to use)

After you are happy with the paint job, and it has dried completely, use mod podge to finish and help protect against future wear and tear. I used a paper towel and blobbed on a thick coat of mod podge to cover the entire bottle. Try to avoid getting glue in the cracks of the dispenser top, since it might make the dispenser difficult to use.

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Voila, the final result, in its home...this was so easy I might make more for different seasonal decor!

And that's it really! Once dry, the dispenser is ready to use! The mod podge will make it a bit more difficult to chip, and it can be rinsed in the sink to clean (I recommend not using very hot water, since you will risk melting the glue).

 
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A lovely DIY spring table arrangement using my DIY no-sew placemats, coasters, napkins and silver wear fasteners.
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They're washable!

Today I would like to share one of my more clever ideas (if I do say so myself). I made some lovely fabric placemats which can be very easily washed with a wet cloth and soap (or your favorite cleaning agent--tho I don't recommend bleach, since it will discolor your fabric), or by rinsing briefly under weakly flowing water (warning: water that is too hot or a high pressure will melt the mod podge and can cause spotting).

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For this project you will need a piece of fabric, a piece of cardstock, a magazine, scissors and mod podge

To begin this project you will need a few supplies (most of which I usually have on hand). If you are wondering, I got this nice floral patterned quarter and the cardstock from Walmart, but if you have a spare piece of fabric, that will work too.

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Cut the cardstock to your desired size. If you are more clever than I, you will consider measuring the length, and tracing a line with a ruler before cutting
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Line up the precut cardstock against the fabric (you can use spray adhesive to temporarily stick the pieces together, just make sure to use the wrong side of the fabric

I use fabric shears (danka dear mother), and regular craft scissors (don't ever cut paper with your fabric shears!). Measure out the desired width of your placemat (I recommend tracing with a ruler so that you will not have crooked edges like I do) and cut the cardstock. Use your measured cardstock to cut down the fat quarter, leaving an inch or so of fabric as a border (you can use more or less, or cover the whole piece of cardstock, depending on your tastes--this will be the back of the placemat.

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Place your magazine article between the cardstock and the fabric, use enough to cover the whole piece of cardstock
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Leave a border around the cardstock to make nice edges and place the cardstock, magazine side down on the wrong side of the fabric

I used pages from a magazine to add extra support to my placemat. I thought that the waxy pages might help to protect the paper from water damage. I am not sure that it actually works, but hey---it doesn't hurt! If your fabric is especially thin, you may want to use an extra piece of cardstock so that you cannot see the magazine through the fabric (or you could just skip this bit). If you've decided to proceed, use a paintbrush and some mod podge to stick the magazine to the cardstock. Then place the cardstock, magazine side down on the wrong side of the fabric. The excess mod podge on the magazine will adhere it to the fabric (don't worry if its not, we will be adding more mod podge later).

Cover the whole piece of cardstock with mod podge. Fold the edges of your fabric border around the cardstock; add more mod podge on top of the fabric. Try to smooth out any wrinkles with your fingers. You will notice that my raw edges left a few strings, but not to fear--if you've been careful and have trim neat edges, this won't be an issue, if not--try to push the strings into the edges of the border to hide them (you will need to do this before the glue dries). Allow the back of the placemat to dry before proceeding (otherwise you will get junk stuck to it).

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You can use a paper towel or a large brush to cover more area quicker.

Once your back is dry, cover the whole front of the placemat with mod podge. You can use a paper towel or a large brush to cover more area quicker.  Smooth out wrinkles with your fingers. Allow the whole mat to dry before attempting to use or handle it...and that's it. You're done! The placemat will be stiff, but flexible, with a water resistant, easy to clean surface (and they're awfully pretty!)

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When it's dry, your placemat will be stiff but flexible--and reversible
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Hopefully your mat isn't quite this uneven! Chalk it up to my poor cutting skills and my inability to remember to use a ruler!
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The back of my placemat is not as well done as it could be, (I got better with #2...but still failed to follow some of my own simple tips) but if you are a bit more patient, you may be able to smooth the wrinkles, trim the edges and not stick a bunch of crumbs to it before its dry
 
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A grapevine wreath is decorated with paper flowers, a map to my heart and a burlap bow.
Today I want to share this lovely spring wreath that I put together recently. I used some paper flowers that I made from colored paper and a map that I printed from the interwebs. For some extra fun, I also added a "map-to-my-heart", which is hard to see in the above picture. To finish the wreath I attached a piece of burlap that I tied into a bow.
For detailed instructions on making the paper flowers above, please check out my Plethora of Paper Flowers blog post. You can also find some great tutorials and printables online or make your own pattern from your favorite flower. To attach the flowers to the wreath, I cut and hot glued floral wire to the base of the flower and allowed them to dry. For a more finished look, wrap floral tape around the glue blob to hide it
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Hot glue floral wire to the base of your paper flower buds and allow to dry with the wire pointed upward.
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Try to center the hot glue in the middle of the bud. I used a lot to give my wire something to really hold onto.
With the floral wire thoroughly stuck, it's easy to bend and arrange the flowers on the grapevine. Simply twist the wire through a few pieces of the wreath (being careful not to break anything off) and voila! Now when you want to change the wreath for the seasons you can simply detattch the flowers and redecorate as you see fit!
Believe it or not, I also used floral wire to stick the bow and the heart (check out this tutorial to make the heart) to the wreath. To hide the wire, I bunched up a bit inside the center knot and slipped it through the wires of the wreath, wrapping it around the grapevine as with the flowers. You could probably also hot glue these into place, but I like the semi-permanence of the wire. Watch out though, the placement of the wire could warp the heart. Good luck and have fun!
 
For this easy project, I washed some used kitchen jars and made vases to hold some of my paper flowers (to see how I made them, check out this blog post). I have been making so many of these guys lately that I just needed somewhere to put them until I am ready to use them in other crafts (I think a wreath is in order!).
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This was an olive oil bottle that I transformed using a spare piece of lace!
The first of these three was made using a spare piece of lace and some twine. I simply wrapped the lace around the bottle and secured it in place with the twine. My lace is wrapped twice, which makes it stiff enough to support itself at the neck of the bottle. I also simply folded the excess lace ubdrneath the bottle. If you'd like a more transparant look, or have less lace, you could cut a measured amount and use mod podge to seal the fabric to the glass. Alternatively, you can stiffen lace with fabric starch to make a delicate vase minus the glass olive oil bottle.
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Burlap wrapped spaghetti jar
Similar to the above oilve oil vase, here I used a piece of burlap and secured it with twine at the top and bottom of the jar. Since burlap frays easily, I recommend cutting in between squares to get a straight edge. Also, as above, mod podge will seal the burlap in place and help prevent fraying (but make sure to trim any strings before you do this or they'll stay there!)
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Hot sauce bottle with pearlescent mardi-gras beads
For this simple vase, I painted a spare mardi gras bead necklace with a pearlescent paint. This was a little tricky, since the plastic material of the beads is resistant to paint. After using several coats, you can still sort of see the gold through, but I think they look much better! I didn't want to hide the fun shape of this bottle, so I simply wrapped my faux-pearls around the bottle! I am thinking about making another by painting the inside...maybe a peach or a light blue? What do you think? 
 
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With spring finally underway (ish) here in Colorado, I've decided to attempt some gardening this year (wish me luck!). I have a few plants from my office that were started for me by some green-thumbed colleagues, but they're starting to overgrow their little pots (or cups of water...I'm a very devoted horticulturist, if you couldn't guess by now--the one in the mug is what've been taking care of myself--ha!). I've been staring at this little pot problem for a while--since fall really, (hey let's keep politics out of it! ba-dum-pum pssht!--okay, back to work) and spring, as well as some glaring from aforementioned colleagues, has finally convinced me to do something about it!

 I of course turned to our ever-steady friends, google and pintrest to get some crafty ideas for resolving my spacing issues.  (I've shared some of my search results below!) 
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image source: The Graphics Fairy http://www.graphicsfairy-diy.com/2011/06/french-flower-pots.html
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image source: Market Nine http://kristieshelton.com/?p=595#more-595


I just love all these lovely whitewashed pots! I don't have any terracotta, unfortunately, but I do have some old plastic pots that I found in the garage...and what a great way to give them a little shine! (or rust--ha!) 
I found this super cute vintage-esque flower pot on The Graphics Fairy. It was submitted by a blog reader named Bernadette, who used terracotta pots and liquitex to transfer a "vintage french image" to the flower pot. 
Needless to say, these flower pots are gorgeous! And apparently this trend went a little viral, since I found tutorials all over the blog-o-sphere...and here's the best part--you can make these pretty pots with Mod Podge! (my favorite!) 
If you haven't the patience for the video, I've also linked to some blog tutorials from Heaven's Walk, Market Nine (left), and Town and Country (below), who has shared a cute stool with the same transfer method...or you could scroll down to see my version of this flower pot! 
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image source: Town and Country Living http://www.town-n-country-living.com/how-to-transfer-graphics-with-mod-podge.html
To begin, I took one of my little plastic pots and painted it white using some regular craft paint. I think a streaky look is okay here, so don't worry above completely covering the pot. 
Here's my pot after I've painted it. I thought it looked a little too shiny so I took a paper towel and blotted the paint (be sure to use a towel with a simple pattern, since it will transfer onto the paint--and sometimes you don't want cars on your flowerpots.
                                           Happy with my white, I added a bit of age to the pot by blotting it with gray paint. 

I think it looks nice to lightly press the gray into the pot, so as to not overwhelm it--I also think it makes the pot look a little more weathered--but you can see the examples above and choose your own level of color blending.  If you think you've added too much, just blot it with a clean paper towel or add more white paint.
Just blot till you're happy! I think mine came out okay, i may smear it a bit more next time--since I quite like the way the bottom looks on my finished pot. I tried not to fuss too much with the paint, since I'll be covering it anyway with this lovely toile print that I got from the interwebs.
The image transfer is pretty easy to do with mod podge, although I recommend using a darker image than the one I am using here, since you will be loosing some detail with the transfer...also the ink color does change a bit, mine looks more blue in the finished project...but since I need to replace my printer ink, this is as good as it gets.  Also, if you want to transfer words, remember the mirror effect and print backwards. 
Cover the whole image to be transferred in mod podge. I probably didn't use enough...I think in this case more is better, and allows more detail to be transferred. 
Make sure your painted pot is completely dry before you stick the image to the pot, mod podge side down. Be sure to center the image where you would like it before pressing it into the pot...if you try to move it after sticking, you may end up with wrinkles the way I have here. If you do have wrinkles, try to smooth them with your thumb and press all areas of the image into the pot.  Let the paper dry completely. I have read that some people will speed up drying with a hair dryer, but since I was pretty tired at this point, I just let mine sit over night. I think it was probably dry much sooner than that, but in the end, laziness won out. 
The next morning, I dipped paper towel in water and completely saturated my image. 
With the paper completely wet, you can rub it off using your thumbs and leave the image (and a bit of mod podge stain) behind. It took me a few tries to find a good spot to rub the paper (I recommend starting from a corner) and I ended up chipping some paint off by rubbing too hard, but I think it makes the image look more natural. 
Here's the finished product! I added a little bit of paint to the corners of the image, using a paper towel to blend it. If you'd like, you can seal the pot with a top coat. Now I just need to decide if I should cover the whole pot with more toile ...I may just have to make more! Happy crafting!
 
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faux-antiqued frame with burlap and fabric.
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image source: The Wilted Magnolia. http://thewiltedmagnolia.blogspot.com/2011/11/blue-mason-jars-and-silver.html
I love the way this silver is displayed in mason jars for the table setting
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image source: http://frenchlarkspur.blogspot.com/2010/09/junk-bonanza-part-two.html
Silver displayed in rusty springs from French Larkspur--it's very pretty, but I would be nervous about ruining my silver but touching the oxidized metal! Maybe you could cover the interior with fabric or lace to protect the silver?
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image source: http://www.aperfectgray.com/2010/01/i-refuse-to-polish-silver-in-my-kitchen.html
I have been trying to think of a nice way to display my silver, a lovely surprise that my grandma bequeathed to me this year at Christmas. --I don't have any kind of aurmoire or other similar display, and my cabinets are not ideal either (my childhood home has beautiful overhead cabinets with glass doors! sigh) 
For now, I have the box that the silver came in (the one  my grandma gave me), opened and sitting on top of an end table--but it is not a great way to see the pretty detailing in the daffodil pattern. Eventually I'd like to polish my set and supplement it with some of the pieces  I've found online.  
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image source: http://www.amazon.com/Rogers-Bros-Daffodil-Silverware-Advertisement/dp/B004J8AW0W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364362919&sr=8-1&keywords=1847+Rogers+Bros+Silverware+Daffodil
I love this advertisement for my Grandma's silver pattern that I found for sale on amazon. It reads: "Lilting new design that has more brides agreeing 'Its the thing to own!" Is it sad that my first thought, delight aside, was that the word "lilting" would never appear in an advertisement today. 
One of my favorite things about silver is the way that it can tarnish and still look so lovely! Sometimes that patina is even nicer than the polished variety.  When my Grandma gave me her silver-plated flatware, I decided to frame a few pieces with that unpolished look intact (I plan to polish and use the rest!). After some thinking, I remembered a frame that I purchased for some DIY halloween decorations last year and decided to revamp it a little. 
I saw this framed display on pintrest from A Perfect Gray---and thought it was so beautiful, that i must give it a shot!  I especially love the way the gold in the frames picks up the tarnish in the silver. (oh and how cute is that little fork?)  I even have a space just like this, so I that may even steal that idea! with a few modifications, of course! I decided to use burlap and fabric to revamp my ce
I already had aroll of burlap (walmart $5), which I bought on a pay-day high. Since I'd never used burlap before, I thought it best to get used to it in a small strip rather than trying to handle a whole ream; although I have since seen that many websites and even home depot  carry bulk varieties to help you save your pennies. I think that I may take this route if I go forward with some of my burlap wreath plans. To add a little something extra, I used fabric squares that I purchased a while ago (when I was making my floral place-mats). You can buy a pretty decent sized sample square of fabric at most craft stores, which may not be terribly economical, but is highly convenient if you only need a little bit of fabric, or if like me, you have some need to buy lots of different types of fabric but don't want to spend too much.  To create the faux-antique frame, I used a few colors of regular craft paint. I happen to have a decent (if not oldish) supply of paint from my sorority days back at the wag--so I'm rarely in short supply there, and I generally encourage you to try and use what you have around the house...paint can be so expensive! For this project, I used purple to add some low-lights and a mix of gold and white paints to add the highlights.  Lastly, I used some sandpaper to wear some of the edges a bit---oh and of course, I also used mod-podge to seal the frame and keep it from shedding too much (after the sandpapering). I wasn't entirely sure how it would turn out, since I'd originally planned on using silver paint--only to find that I was out, and my gold paint required thinning since it was so old and gungky.

With the frame completed, I could concentrate on creating the backing that would hold my silver. I decided to try and preserve my materials (so that I could take this apart and reuse, just in case)--so if you are less material-concsious, I would suggest using mod-podge or some other similar sealent to attach the burlap and fabric to the frame backing. In my "thrifty" state-of-mind, I used clear packing tape to hold the fabric together. 
This old black plastic frame is from Walmart. I purchased it around Halloween time for some spooky art projects. Needless to say, I abused it and it fell off the wall (I continually make the mistake of trusting wall mounting tape...it doesn't really seem to work for anything that weighs more than a poster--I'm not sure how I used to hang so many things in my dorm room except that maybe the concrete walls were more susceptible to the sticky glue pads...ha!)
I decided to paint it prior to gluing it together, for some un-remembered reason,and after making it more difficult for myself than necessary, I recommend gluing first. To "antique" the frame, I started with my darkest colored paint, the purple, which I selected to add a bit of warmth and dimension--to try and make the frame look less plastic. You could probably also use brown or red to accomplish this.
Next I added (a lot of) gold paint on top. (Originally I planned on using silver metallic paint, but I still can't seem to find it anywhere!) I purposefully glopped the paint into cracks in the frame, and tried to paint on the sides and edges in patches to make it look more natural and "weathered". Finally, I finished the paint by highlighting in white. I tried to make sure not to use too much of the white in one place--since I wanted it to highlight and not overwhelm the frame. 
After painting, I added mod-podge to the frame and then immediately began sanding down a few of the places (corners and various patches so as to make it look weathered. A bit of a warning, since I did use a plastic frame, and they aren't really meant to be sanded, and so I removed quite a bit of paint and made a huge mess at this step...so lay down some paper! (or an old magazine, like I frequently use) 
After I was done sanding these, I hot-glued the frame together (I ended up painting over the glue with black...and have recently been thinking about purposely decorating the frame corners with hot glue "vines"---perhaps I'll save that project for later. 
To decorate the back of the frame, start by cutting your burlap. I recommend testing the length by wrapping it before cutting (so that you don't end up with too little or too much!) You can also tape down the arm support (if you plan on hanging your frame. 
When cutting your burlap, try to cut a straight line between the squares--if your cut is not straight, the fabric will fray!


Once your burlap is securely in place, make sure your lines are straight in the front (if you've used mod-podge, it should be wet enough to allow a minimum of adjusting, and the tape is easy enough to readjust, as needed. If you are using mod-podge, add a top-coat layer to the burlap covered frame to hold it in place, prevent fraying, and make it sticky enough to add your fabric layer. If you are securing your fabric layer with tape (which, after doing it this way, I do not recommend). You can add "double-sided" tape by folding a piece in thirds and sticking it to itself and then to the burlap. Press the fabric firmly to stick. Then add another piece of tape to the back of the frame. If you're wisely using mod-podge, sandwich the fabric with sealant by adding a coat to the burlap and coat to cover. 





I also added a little bit of twine to the largest spoon, and looped it through the backside of the fabric. 
After messing with my display several times, I had to add more tape to keep the fabric in place--next time I will use mod-podge to secure the edges, since I really hate the way the tape looks....of course adding in extra tape would not have been necessary had I decided on a way to display the silver before trying to secure it in place. So again, I recommend testing things out before you make anything permanent. 
Tape the raw edge of the fabric to the frame (or, use mod-podge to get a permanent seal) and wrap the burlap around the frame. Use tape to keep the burlap  in place, but try to hide it on the backside of the frame. It's okay if some gaps remain in the wrapping, but center those messy areas in the back so they are not visible. 
Now that you've got your back covered, tape or glue down any raw edges (if you feel so inclined). 
Now to add the silver to the frame, I sewed fishing line to the fabric portions. A note here;  if mod-podging,  you may want to sew the fabric first and then lay it on the burlap so that the fabric is not so stiff as to break your needle.
Arrange your silver on the fabric before sewing to figure out how you'd like it displayed...otherwise, if you're hasty like I am, you may have to take the stitching apart a few times before it looks right.  I recommend adding the fishing line directly below the widest part of your silver, in this case, the spoon ladle. Also, if you loop the fishing line a few times loosely, leaving the needle attached, you can easily tighten and knot the fishing line after slipping the silver through your loose loop. I attempted to hide my knot on the wrong side of my fabric, but since I'd already attached it, the knot ended up on the "right side"--but I don't think it's too obnoxious as long as the ends are well trimmed. It really depends on how anal-retentive you are; for instance, I must have fixed my stitches three or four times in order to get the silver to lie straight--and it's still, annoyingly, a little crooked.  I eventually discovered that if you loop the needle through the same entry hole, it will be relatively straight--also try not to stitch your silver too close to the edges of the fabric, unless you are planning on sealing the edges with mod-podge, since the weight of the silver will strain the fabric and make the edges curl up. 
To finish, secure the frame to the decorated back with hot glue. You could also try to tie the frame to the back with fishing line (if you do not want to make your frame permanent). If you use fishing line, tie the sting like a package around the length and width of the frame and knot it in the back (Make sure this is very tight--otherwise your whole display will fall apart when you go to hang it!) Actually, for this step, I recommend using hot glue. If you need to remove it later, you can try reheating the glue and cleaning it off with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Take a look at these tips for removing hot-glue.  I think the next time I make this, I may be tempted to add some additional decoration to the frame, though I recommend keeping it simple the first time around, sometimes adding that extra detail is just a little bit too much! In any case, I quite like the way it turned out...despite not having that metallic paint I specifically purchased for this project...I blame the dogs (since they can't defend themselves!) Happy crafting!
 
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image source: http://gardendancing.blogspot.com/2010/06/amazing-world-of-succulents.html
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image source: http://prudentbaby.com/2010/12/prudent-home/diy-simple-stunning-living-succulent-wreath-2/
I have been noticing a lot of these pretty succulents included in wreaths and in centerpieces lately.  Since I'm a bit, shall we say, thrifty, I wasn't sure where to get these without spending waaay more than I wanted (which is any amount, really--I love flowers, but have a hard time convincing myself that purchasing them is a valuable investment, especially when I could easily make them!). 


Even this beautiful `$10 wreath made with faux-succulents from the craft store featured on Milk and Cuddles is a bit out of my price range--although I do love the way the greenery looks on the grapevine, and since I've recently bought one from the thrift store, I may use it in my succulent project. I have also seen some beautiful window boxes and window frames made with succulents... With so much inspiration, how can you go wrong? 

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image source: http://milkandcuddles.com/2013/02/make-a-wreath/
That being said, I began my search for a DIY paper succulent tutorial. After some quick googling, I discovered this tutorial by Twigg Studios. After some modifications of my own, I created a lovely paper succulent to share with you all. 

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image source: http://www.twiggstudios.com/2012/07/diy-paper-succulents.html
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image source: http://www.twiggstudios.com/2012/07/diy-paper-succulents.html
In the lovely Twigg Studios  tutorial, they use paper, which is hand-painted with water colors and then delicately curled. I quite like the effect, but was looking for something a bit stiffer.  Having made several versions of paper flowers, I thought that paper towel rolls, which were already close to the right color, would be ideal. I also used a bit of colored paper to add some dimension and texture to the succulent. 
For my paper succulents, I used a paper-towel roll to cut leaves. I cut half of my leaves in the regular brown and the other half I cut from a paper towel roll that had I sprayed with adhesive and stuck a piece of green-colored paper.
Once all the leaves were cut, into triangles of different sizes, I began gluing them together in a sort of "throwing-star" (pinwheel) shape, so that the corners touched and there was a hole left in the middle. I layered gradually smaller pieces on top of one another, with the corners pointing in the empty spaces, so that each empty space was eventually covered with a leaf. I also tried to intersperse the green and brown leaves, to add a little dimension to my faux-succulent. 
After I finished stacking my leaves for my succulent, I bent some of the edges with my fingers to make them look a little more natural, and less stiff.  For a few finishing touches, I rounded a few of the edges (to make it look a little softer, and more natural). I then added some purple paint to the leaves edges and centers....and voila! My version of the paper succulent. Now I only need to make ten or so more for my wreath! (sheesh!) I think I will try a different kind next, maybe with fewer leaves...check back for updates. 
 
After seeing these pop up on pintrest a few times, I decided they were just too cute to not try! So after a few days of collecting toilet paper rolls (sad to think it took little over a week), I was ready to give it a shot.
For this craft, you will need some leftover paper towel and/or toilet paper rolls in addition to whatever you will be using to decorate your bunnies. I made a few of different sizes, in different colors, using tissue paper and construction paper to create polka dots (for the tallest bunny). I also used tissue paper to make the little bow ties for my bunnies and duckies. If I make more of these, I would consider using paint, or decoupaging with magazines or written words, which I think might look very nice.(Also a burlap bunny would be pretty cute--but I never seem to have any burlap)
To begin, assemble the cardboard rolls to be used for your paper animals. You can cut paper rolls to make animals of different sizes. Since I did this both ways, I would recommend cutting before decorating (it's just easier when you have the forsight!). Once you have your cardboard for your animals, spray some adhesive onto the entire surface of your cardboard and roll it onto the tissue paper, completing covering the roll. You could probably use mod-podge if you don't have spray adhesive, but be careful, since tissue paper will not be able to be moved once placed ontop of the mod-podge (it may rip if you try to move it!). Alternatively, you could also place a few dots of hot glue onto the seam and wrap the tissue paper around, pressing into the glue seam to hold in place (just don't burn yourself!).
Trim the ends of the tissue paper and tuck into the tube. Press the tucked paper into the cardboard, if you've sprayed the tube thoroughly, the paper will probably stick. If it does not, you can use some dots of hot glue to hold the paper in place.
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Trim cardstock or construction paper to make ears for your bunnies
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use spray adhesive to stick tissue paper to your construction paper or cardstock to make interesting color combos
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Cheesecloth makes a great fluffy tail in lieu of cotton balls
Now that your bunnies (or ducks etc) have their faux hair, cut the ears, feet, noses, eyes, whiskers, and wings (for the ducks!). You can use construction paper, cardboard or cardstock paper to make these details. I had some scraps leftover from my paper heart garland, so I used cardstock that had been sprayed and stuck to tissue paper, which gave my ears a fun, funky look, but I realized I wanted a bit more detail, so I sprayed adhesive and stuck a lighter piece of tissue to the ears. I recommend stacking paper to create matching pairs of ears, feet, etc. this helps ensure unique shapes are about the same size and look even. It also allows you to make more decorations, easier. As another time saver, (as mentioned above)I used a lot of scrap material for decoration, including for my noses, whiskers and feet. I suppose they might be cuter with shaped feet (big rabbit feet or webbed ones for the ducks) but I was feeling pretty lazy, and so scraps were soo good enough for these little guys. I did, as an afterthought, give them big bunny teeth and poofy tails that I made out of a bit of cheesecloth I had lying around.
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Coat your polka dot print in mod-podge to seal and finish.
If you're really up for a challenge, try making your own pattern using cut up paper and hot glue. You can make polka dots, stripes, or decoupage written words or photos or something to add extra preaonalization. For this bunny, I stacked a few colors of tissue paper, folded it into a square and cut the square into a circle to make polka dots. I then got glued these to my tube. Be careful at this step, since its easy to burn yourself... I guess you could use mod-podge or regular craft glue to stick these (the spray adhesive would work nicely too), but where's the danger in that? Also, I like the way the paper sinks into the hot glue, making it look like buttons. After the tube is completely decorated and has dried, you can cover it in mod-podge to finish it, but know that you will need to let it dry before any other decoration can be added, and really it might make more sense to finish decorating (add ears, eyes etc) before sealing with mod-podge...which is of course not how I did it. Learn from my mistakes ye clumsy crafters...
Add decoration to your animals using hot glue. Be careful not to burn yourself, and keep a pair of scissors handy to take care if your glue strings. Try not to overdo it, I constantly use too much glue and end up with a very whiskery end product...but I figure that you don't often pick up nick-knacks and so as long as they look good from the shelf, I am generally statisfied. I think that the animals look better with more detail so I suppose a little hot glue is the price we pay... Add as much detail as you have the energy to craft...my tolerance was pretty low when making these, oh well, they still look pretty cute...and I'm glad I added the tufts of hair to the ducks, I really think it adds something. Maybe next time they will get little tuxedos...I've also thought about making them little baskets to carry out of cardboard. So have fun with these little guys, they're easy to make and soo customizable. Plus you can use them as little containers for Easter candy, and who doesn't love that?!
 
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Oops! What a messy cut!
Edges make a difference!
Now for those of you, like me, who stubbornly refuse to adhere to common sense and wisdom, and who continue to not use stencils, rulers, or to sketch ahead of time, it can be suprisingly hard to draw a straight line, let alone cut one--or maybe I just missed that lesson in kindy-garten. While it really is in your benefit to use the aforementioned tools, there are some alternatives. You can fold and tape edges of paper and fabric to hide excess material. If you've already gone ahead and made a messy cut, errors can sometimes be fixed or can be compensated for with a little creativity. Make scalloped edges where you've cut a little unevenly, and fringe hides many errors! If you've over-compensated for a messy edge by making fringe and then accidentally cut a piece of the fringe incorrectly (this will leave an obvious empty chunk), you can sometimes glue missing pieces back into place using hot glue, or the adhesive of choice for your project...not that I've ever done this. So, happy crafting clumsy ones--and remember, sometimes it's just easier to use a ruler..
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A lovely fringe can hide many errors!
 
So it's a little late, but better that than never-- I've decided to share some of my February decorations (mostly heart crafts).
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Paper Heart Chains! Tissue paper is adhered to cardstock with spray adhesive , cut into strips, folded like V's with each end rolled towards the center and secured into hearts using hot glue.
I always love festive linked chains, so I thought I'd try my hand at these little paper hearts. They were surprisingly easy to make, and I love the way that each heart is a little different. I hung some from short chains (below) all over the house. They spin and at quite lovely. ;)
As with all my crafting projects, you may notice some clumsy errors, such as the tissue paper peeling from the edges of each strip...this is fixed if you add sufficient adhesive when initially sticking, or afterword, touch up with some hot glue (careful--the paper is thin and the glue is very hot, unless you've been clever enough to get the low temperature hot glue) Also, be aware that the spray adhesive will discolor tissue paper-I kind of like being able to see the tint of the cardstock through the tissue, but it's something to keep in mind when selecting cardstock.
I just love the way they dangle! As you can see, I also made a long chain (using fishing line) to hang above my windows in addition to the short vertical chains. These are strung in the same way, using a needle that has been single-threaded through each heart and knotted at the ends. This allows the hearts to move around on the chain unless you secure them in place ie: tie them individually onto the string. If you are like me, and want to minimize effort, pull the fishing line string through several places of the heart...or you could use thicker string, but I like the floating effect of fishing line. Now that I have a plethora of these paper hearts, I can make them into a wreath, and save them for next year--and start on the Easter crafts (chickies anyone?)