Dec 022012
 

I’m nuts for gift guides, but the parade of “buy this” messages gets a bit much around the holidays. If you have the time and inclination, it’s also the perfect time of year for handmade gifts. Here are a few of my favorite easy DIY gifts:

Tabletop trees — fluffy yarn around a styrofoam base.

The Web offers approximately one million Christmas stocking tutorials. You can quilt fabrics for interest, cut stockings from unusual textiles like vintage quilts, sew together strips from felted wool sweaters, or go with simple felt-and-fringe.

Also one million options? Tree ornaments. Here are some cute and easy felt stars.

Plain dishware + ceramic marker = a pattern of your own design.

Cashmere mittens from an old sweater.

And while you’re cutting up that sweater, how about these sweet stuffed bunnies made from an old cashmere sweater? Or some quilt squares for an old-school stuffed Scottie Dog? Pieces for a monster stuffie or rag quilt letters and numbers?

If you’re the no-sew type, there’s squishy handmade play-doh or gilded crowns from lace and Mod Podge.

A baking whiz? Here are a few tasty-looking recipes for baked gifts from The Nifty Foodie, with ideas for packaging.

Finally, are you resorting to a gift card but still want to give it a crafty personal touch? Check out these completely adorable gift card envelopes.

Do you plan to DIY crafty gifts for the holidays?

Mar 162010
 

I am not part of the e-book generation.  You’ll have to pry a bound paper book from my cold, dead hands.  (Or however that quote goes.)  But this whimsical fabric cover is almost cute enough to convert me:

Fabric cover for a leather-covered ebook from Handmade Mommy (as seen on Whipup).  Have an ebook without a hard leather cover?  Check out this tutorial for a padded Kindle sleeve.

Mar 102010
 

Is spring taking forever to reach your corner of the world? Perhaps these lovely paper flowers could get you by until the real version arrives….

Tutorial and photo from Jeffrey Rudell on CraftStylish (August ‘08).

P.S. Have paper flowers down cold and looking for a more ambitious project? Check out this amazing chandelier that Jeffrey Rudell created for a Christmas window at Tiffany & Co!

Feb 162010
 

In the real world, the combination of illness and baby means our house is a mess, my to-do list remains un-done, and life generally falls apart around my ears.

But in the fantasy world in my head, everything is clean, organized, and beautiful.  Down to the tiniest details, such as these cheerfully colorful binder clips:

Photo and tutorial from How About Orange.  Tutorial uses fabric scraps, but paper and ModPodge (yes, again with the ModPodge!) would be even easier.

Feb 022010
 

Long ago, before I became distracted with little details like weddings and babies, Two Wishes began as a craft blog.  The “little distractions” have killed my crafting time, but I regularly save wonderful tutorials that sit, growing cobwebs, in my bookmark folders.

Enter Tutorial Tuesdays.  Each week I will share a different tutorial in the hope that you can use it.  (And if you do, please do email or blog about your final results — we’d love to see them!)

For our first Tutorial Tuesday, it seems fitting to share my own small tutorial — for Magazine Bowls.  What follows is a Two Wishes re-post from June 2007:

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1.  First, gather lots of colorful magazine pages.  You’ll be folding the pages into strips, so you’re really only interested in the strip of color that shows — roughly two inches on the clean (as opposed to torn) edge of the page.

2.  Fold each page horizontally into roughly equal strips.  I usually fold the strips about 1 1/2” wide.  I use a glue stick to glue down the outside edge so that the strip is compact and easier to work with later in the process.  (This is either a brilliant development on my part or an enormous waste of time and energy; I haven’t figured that out.)  There’s variation in this process between different crafters.  Some roll diagonally.  Others cut their strips to equal widths rather than folding.  I believe folding horizontally is easiest, and I’m all about the easy.  Here’s a small stack of finished strips:

Bowls_slats

3.  When you’ve got dozens of finished strips, start rolling them into a coil.  I usually glue-stick the entire length of my first 4 or 5 strips for extra stability because you want them to stay in a tight, smooth roll.  (But, again, maybe I just need to justify my purchase of that 12-pack of glue sticks!)  After that, you’ll start in with the Scotch tape.  Use a piece of clear tape to attach the end of each strip to the next in one long “snake.”  It’s often easiest to make a long snake of 10-12 strips in your lap and then add them to the coil all at once, rather than adding each strip to the coil as you go.  Meanwhile I keep a rubber band around the coil to ensure it’s tightly rolled when I’m not working with it.  Your coil will end up looking like a big coaster or trivet:

Bowls_coil

4.  To make your big coil into a 3-dimensional bowl or pot, place your thumbs into the center of the coil and pull up on the sides with your fingers.  The sides will “telescope” upwards until you wind up with a pot shape.  This part is fun!  You can keep sliding the slats around until you find what works best for you.  Sometimes it helps to use an existing pot or bowl as a guide for shape.

Bowls_plant

Once you find the shape you like, pull out your ModPodge and give the pot a few coats to keep it intact and give it strength.  And you’re done!  Here’s my new pot, still held together with its rubber band, waiting for ModPodge.  It’s being kept company by a couple of completed pots destined as a gift for a friend.  The pots make great gifts because they’re natural containers for chocolate or cookies or beauty products, baby gifts, or whatnot.

Bowls_done

My favorite part of magazine bowls is always the view from the top:

Bowls_top

Have you ever made magazine bowls? Have you seen similar products in stores?