I've been meaning to share some of my recent greeting cards, which I have made for various folks and sundry holidays etc.
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Happy Easter! This little bunny card was made from thick colored paper cut into strips and covered in mod podge to adhere it to a piece of brown paper bag that I cut up. I then cut the bunny outline from a plain piece of letter paper and gave him a tail made from a balled up piece of cheese cloth. The flag was made by cutting little triangles from scrap paper and gluing a piece of hemp on top to serve as a string for the garland. I also added a piece of a paper heart-shaped doily that I cut up and painted. To be honest, I can't recall what the back of this card looks like (I think it's just brown paper with a short message)...so sorry!
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Welcome to our sisterhood! I made this sorority card for my favorite spring pearl '13 to welcome her home! It is made from a DSW bag that I stitched together with hemp. The heart on the front is hand painted, using a paper heart doily as a stencil, it is admittedly a bit sloppy (though made with love!). I traced the painted pattern with pen to clean it up a little bit. The Alpha Sigma Alpha is hand cut (obviously--it is a bit raw) card stock to which I stuck some tissue paper (I didn't like the orange color of the card stock). FYI the inside is opposite, so the top is black stripes and the bottom (where the message is pasted) is brown paper.
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Tis the season! Last year, I had a peacock themed christmas! Both of these cards are hand painted with a bit of ink outline. This one probably took the longest to make, and weighs twice as much from all the glitter paint...
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The glitter here is meant to be falling snow...also I've decided never to make snowflakes like this again..they're way hard for someone who's not that artistic...but they looked so easy!
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and finally, a card for a spring-time thank you. This one is hand drawn and painted, though it looks like it was made by an elementary schooler, i think it has a certain rustic charm, though maybe the butterflies are a bit much...
 
I have excellent intentions of making a dozen or more of these and hanging them on twine to look like lovely streamers. I had wanted to do this originally for Valentines, but lost all ambition (or got wrapped up in something else) and so I am only just now getting a chance to share this with you...better late than never, I suppose. 
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I printed some maps using my handy-dandy inkjet and the interwebs for inspiration. These get cut into thin strips of differing sizes.
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Curl one side of the V inward to make a half-heart..
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Spread extra mod podge around the area to add a finish to the strip, The mod podge acts as a sealer to help prevent fading, and ink running.
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Try to cut in pairs so that you have two strips the same size for each increment. You will need one longer one to be used as a stem.
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Attach each end of the half heart to the center stem piece so that they meet at the top and bottom to form a full heart.
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I recommend leaving a large stem accessible at the top of the heart (to easily allow you to attach these to twine and hang)--i did not do this, which caused the heart to warp later after having been hung from one side.
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Bend each strip in half and pinch to make a v shape. You can cut these in half to make more layers.
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seal the bottom and the top of the half heart with mod podge, starting with the smallest pieces closest to the center and adding larger pieces to the outside.
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...and repeat until you're satisfied.
I think I probably added a few too many layers here, and some of the pieces didn't curl as well as I wanted but that's okay, it's definitely good enough for my grapevine wreath... and I envision many of them hanging in garlands. What fun things will you make with this technique?
 
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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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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. 
 
Originally posted 02/15/13
I have been browsing lately, looking for a good tutorial for paper flowers. I see them everywhere and love them always. They are excellent on top of a simply wrapped package, beautiful paired on long stems in a vase, and elegant on a wreath. They dazzel in brilliant bright colors and understated ivories, with script or type-face telling secret messages, they can be tailored to interests--being made out of maps, or favorite photos. Best of all, they are easy peasy to make. I made these using a very nice template, (lovely prints!) from Ellinee.com but they can be made without a template easily enough.
Sketch (if you're the type) a "flower" shape, think simple to start, onto regular weighted printer paper. On the ellinee.com blog, you'll notice the petal layers (flower shapes that you drew) have v shaped cuts in them (see above). This helps you later on in getting the right shape from each differently sized layer. If you're not using one of ellinee's fabulous templates, cutting a V shaped slice out of your petal layer is good enough (don't bother with the "glue tab" appendage on the side of the V). You can later hot glue each half of the V into the cone shape.
Also, if you've bravely decided not to use the template (you should really try it!) it may be easier to cut out the desired shape in a heavy cardstock material and trace this onto the lightweight flower paper. Each layer should be slightly smaller than the next so as to allow them to nicely fit together. I recommend cutting many at once to save time.
I think it looks very nice to curl the sides of the individual petals in each layer and it gives the effect of an opening flower. This can be done pretty easily using scissors--as long as you are careful not to shred your petals in the process (after doing this several times, I discovered that the rips can be rather easily repaired using hot glue). But do be careful to try and cut the glue strings, and hide these layers best as you can, because it is pretty obvious, (see if you can spot the tears in the finished product-it's like a game!)
After you have your shapes cut, you can fold them into little cones, or cups, which will be nestled like Russian dolls. I like to build my cups so that the petals curl underneath the cup, and folding allows you to see the shape of your petals before you secure them, thereby allowing time to trim any excess etc.
To make the center of the flower, cut out the shape of a single petal, you can make several of these to change the way the center of the flower looks. Curl the rounded edges of the petal to add dimension and roll it into a tube shape (you can use a pencil, or bamboo stick as a way to hold the shape). Glue the tube closed. I suggest cutting glue strings and trying to be relatively neat, but you'll see I've made even this messy center passable in the end...
With the center glued, add additional petals in a spiraling pattern. I suggest doing this loosely, unless you're going for a "closed" flower effect..this can be a little tricky so I recommend holding (or temporarily sticking) the petals in place so that you can look at the overall affect before gluing them in place.
Now let's return to the petal layers; secure the pre-folded cup shape with hot glue (be careful, or maybe buy the low temperature hot glue to spare your fingers...paper is very thin). After you've glued all of your petal layers into cups, stack them to visualize the end effect, make any edits to the design now before securing the layers. I trimmed a few petals, and glued a few I ripped while trying to increase the curl.
After you are happy with all the layers of your flower, secure them together with a dot of hot-glue in the center. Note that the glue doesn't dry immediately and adding too much will cause your layers to slide in and out of place, this is helpful if you want to adjust/rotate the layers, but can be a nusiance if you've set it to dry leaning on one side. I left these alone overnight to dry, since I am eapecially clumsy with drying (must be the millenial impatience), but they're likely dry in less than a half hour if you haven't splurged on glue.
If you'd like, you can add some leaves to your flower (I've cut some for this display but didn't bother attaching, you can see them at the top). They look nice peeking out from the large base, especially if you fold them with lovely dimples down the middle... In any case, you're done now! And that didn't take too long did it?

Updated: 3/12/13
I have been working on a LOT of these guys lately for some various projects, and along with applying for various part time jobs, have been lagging in my blogging...soo sorry to my random occasional (likely accidental) viewers (haha!). So in the delay, I've decided to share some more paper flowers! Get pumped!
I made a few roses with the above template in different sizes and colors, but i really love the ivory ones on the left (get the pattern for free by ellinee.com). Unfortunately, these rosesgot squished in my messy crafting bin, so, after fluffing a bit...I have found a new place for them! I intend to use these guys in a wreath, maybe with some blue ribbon? Or some burlap?
Anyway...the little guys in the front are spiral roses, for which you can find a super simple tutorial on ellinee. I love their idea for sticking these to branches, and will be stealing it (thanks for sharing!) I have these annoying tumbleweed-esque brambles that continually blow against my house and are just begging to be torn up, sparkled, and thrown in a vase. So look forward to that happening in a post near you...as soon as I find one the dogs haven't peed on...(yucky)
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I just love the way the green and blush look together in the rose variant of the ellinee tutorial above.
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I used the above template to design a rose on this faux vintage sheet music. You can find this online to print for free over at Tip Junkie
I used the above template to design a few of my own patterns and color arrangements. You can find free vintage sheet music printables over at Tip Junkie if you don't want to waste your sheet music. And I recommend mixing colors and patterns--I like the way that the blush and green look in the above flower.
 
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?!