Sunday, January 31, 2010

I *heart* this box!

Finally, it is done--the heart version of the box made from recycled boxes. This one takes more time because you are, essentially, making two boxes, but it is not hard.

I made a box that is approximately 6 1/2 inches at the widest part of the heart, 6 1/2 inches from top to bottom and 2 inches deep. I also made the lid deeper than the bottom because I wanted to make sure the lid completely covered the bottom section of my box. I wanted it to be large enough to hold something substantial such as cookies or truffles or something else yummy. Not quite sure what I want to do with it so I had to be open about it. If you want a smaller or larger one, change your measurements accordingly.
heart template
clean, empty food boxes
masking tape
Mod Podge
scrapbook paper--two 12x12 sheets for outside
scrapbook paper--two 12x12 sheets for inside (contrasting color)
paper cutter

Cutting Your Materials:
Trace heart template on cardboard once for the lid and once for the bottom. Maybe I should have called it a base--I just said bottom for everything! Label each piece as "lid" or "bottom" so you don't get confused later on. I used a Sharpie marker so I could cut the bottom slightly smaller than the lid.

Trace cardboard piece (not template) twice on each color of scrapbook paper. You will use one color for the outside (Color A) and one for the inside (Color B). When tracing, flip your cardboard to trace so you know which scrapbook paper will be on which side of your cardboard and then write that immediately on the wrong side of the scrapbook paper. This isn't crucial, but it makes it easier later because now you know you have the right fit. Since your heart might be slightly fuller on one side than another, it will save time later if you don't have to trim. You should have one Color A bottom piece and one Color A lid piece. You should also have one Color B bottom piece and one Color B lid piece.

Cut the bottom pieces out just inside your Sharpie line. Cut the lid pieces out just outside the Sharpie line. This ensures the lid will fit over the box bottom, but will not be loose.

You will need two strips of cardboard for the lid and two strips for the bottom. I actually ran out of boxes so I used poster board. You need to cut these on a paper cutter so your edges are straight and your measurements are accurate. The strips for the lid are 2 inches and the strips for the bottom are 1 1/2 inches. Make sure the strip is long enough to go around the entire half of your heart. You really don't want to join pieces together for this project. Try to make them a little longer than you need. You will cut them off later.

You will also need two sets of strips of scrapbook paper to cover the cardboard with. For the wider strip (2 inch) cut 2 strips of scrapbook paper Color A into 2 1/2 x 12 inches and 2 strips 2 x 12 inches . For Color B, cut 2 strips 1 3/4 x 12 inches and 2 strips 2 1/4 x 12 inches.

Here's what you should have for each section (this set for the bottom and a similar set for the lid):

At this point, I recommend separating the box lid materials from the box bottom materials because it gets a little confusing. Just focus on one section at a time. We'll start with the lid. The bottom will be made the exact same way.

To attach the sides, start at the center of the heart. You will use small pieces of masking tape--1/2 inch wide at the most seems to work the best--to tape the cardboard strip to the cardboard lid. Put about 3 pieces on the strip at intervals to get started. The first one is a little tricky if you are working alone. I kind of pressed it against the counter I was working on to get everything in the right place. After the first three tape pieces were on and holding the side strip where I wanted it, I flipped it over and pulled them off one at a time and smoothed them back into place because they never seemed to get there the first time. You want the tape to be as flat as possible.

After the strip is attached around one side, trim the end at the point of the heart so it is even with the end. Attach the other side in the same way as the first except put a piece of tape along the short edge of the strip where you are starting at the center of the heart. Fold it back while you attach the first two or three pieces of tape just like you did the first time. Once the side strip is in place, go back and tape both strips together at the center of the heart. Do this on the inside as well. Pinch the edges together to crease the tape in the center.
When both strips are in place, go back and fill in the spaces on the outside with more tape pieces so that the side strip is held firmly in place. Use little pieces (1/4 to 1/2 inch wide) so you can get around the curves smoothly.

Tape up the end strips at the point of the heart. Pinch ends together to form a crease.

Next you will cover the strips with scrapbook paper. I drew a line along the length of the paper about 1/4 inch in so that I knew how far to cut the little tabs that I will be using to wrap the paper around the strip of cardboard and then hold it on. On the widest scrapbook paper strips (the outside pieces or Color A) of both the lid and the bottom, you will need to draw a line on the length of each side so you can cut the tabs on both sides.

Cut tabs into the strips and fold the tabs to the inside. On the Color B pieces, you will actually be folding them the other way, but it is easy to do after they are folded to the inside and that way you can tell where to fold because you can see your line. Fold one short edge of your scrapbook paper strip back about 1/2 inch.

Starting just past the center of the heart, glue the strip down on the outside of your lid section using Mod Podge. Smooth out any air bubbles as you glue Color A along the entire cardboard strip. When you get to the end at the point, crease the paper at the end and go past the end about 1/2 inch. Glue it down the whole way.

For the other half of the heart, start gluing just past the crease. Since your first paper is already past the crease, you can start at the crease and there is no cardboard showing. Glue around to the point at the end and cut off just before the crease. (Don't get confused by the writing on my scrapbook paper. Since it doesn't really match up, it makes this part look crazy. In the end it worked, albeit upside down--I confused myself even!)

Using little pieces of tape again, tape down the strips on the inside and the outside of the box.
Glue Color A heart to the outside of the lid covering all tape and the cardboard. Be sure you glue the right piece--check your labels. Trim any excess if necessary.

For the inside strip (this is the easiest one) you may have to trim it down just a little along the length. Use a paper cutter so it is an even cut. Dry fit it first. If it all looks good, glue it in the same way you did the outside strip by going past the creases by about 1/2 inch for the first strip and then even for the second strip. I held mine on with clip thingies so it would dry smoothly against the cardboard.

Glue Color B heart to the inside of the lid of your box.

Repeat this whole process to make the bottom of your box which is really just another, slightly smaller, box.

Fill your box with something fun or just display it!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

These Boots Have Done Some Walkin'

The last few weeks have been crazy--more than the usual chaos. My husband has been in Haiti and the Domincan Republic on assignment for his job. Even in all of the craziness in our home while he was gone, I have been accutely aware of the blessings that we enjoy. He arrived home safely late last night and I am so grateful. We stayed up late (late!) talking about what is going on--both here and there--and I was reminded yet again about how abundantly blessed I am and how grateful I am for this husband of mine. He has worked long, long days. He is sunburned. He had cold showers most days and was just grateful to get one. He was lucky to get a meal some days. I have struggled with all of this and yet, again, I am reminded that he had wonderful things to come home to. I am grateful for our home and family!

Besides the obvious ways people can help those who are suffering in Haiti, other places around the world and around our own neigborhoods, I think there is something else we can all do regardless of our personal circumstances. I think it would do us all some good to be more grateful for what we have whatever it is and wherever we are. Imagine how much more able we will feel we can help others if we can recognize how richly we are blessed in our own lives. When we lived in Africa, I missed so many things from the US. When we moved back, I missed a lot of things from Africa. I wasted a lot of time missing what I did not have. What I need to do is be grateful for what we have right now in the place we are right now. And, today, I am grateful.

I celebrated a birthday while my husband was away. It was kind of sad, but I chose to focus on one of the best things ever:  two 8-year-olds and one two-year-old spent every spare minute the week prior to my birthday crafting in the basement. Every gift, card, and decoration I received was handmade just for me by my children. And one gift was made by one child so another child could give it to me. I have wonderful children and I am grateful.

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, January 29, 2010

The math is right--

Five prizes and five opinions/committed Valentine's--doesn't get better than that!

I appreciate your help! I am still trying to fix up my craft and will post the final result soon.

I just need an address from my 5 sweet Valentine's friends:
Gonna Be His Mrs.

Please send me an email ( with your mailing address and I will send you your cute little Valentine lettering prizes. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When Simple is Difficult

(Did you see my little giveaway? Check it out here!)

I consider myself at the advanced sewing level and yet, some things trip me up quickly!

This little potholder/oven mitt is the perfect example. I bought the fabric to make the cute oven mitt from The Idea Room (here) as a Valentine's gift. Then, a friend told me about a similar potholder from Martha Stewart. I thought Martha's was a little small and Amy's directions were way better than Martha's (sorry Martha!) so this is how it all ended up.

Don't turn it over. The front is passable, but I am not so sure about the back! Some projects just don't turn out the way you want them to. I think it was all of those curves and the slippery bias tape and the thickness of the fabric.

Now I want to try it again--a chance to do a better job. Next time, there will be no fancy heart shapes for me; just a regular ol' potholder!

Just a note: I used the bias tape along the pocket edges instead of ribbon the way Amy makes her oven mitt.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Be My Valentine, Please!


I know you want to be my Valentine.

Or at least you want to fix my Valentine.

These are little gifts, but they are not right. And I can't figure out what to do to make them right. I could list everything that is wrong, but that's not very positive. I think I may need to start all over, but I really don't want to do that.

What do you think?

Can this craft be saved?

Leave a comment and tell me what you think and 5 of you could win your own lettering.

Please include your email address in your comment. I will randomly pick 5 people from the comments and you can win your own set of burgundy/wine/this dark red color cardstock lettering that says be my valentine in the same font as my project.

And, if you sign up to be a follower, I will put your name in again to make you commit to being my Valentine increase your odds of winning!

The giveaway sets are a little smaller than these 'cause you can see these aren't working at this size anyhow! The giveaway lettering is about 1 1/2 inches tall for the tallest letters (l and t) and 1+ inches tall for the shorter tall letters (b and y).

Contest is open until midnight EST on Thursday, January 28. I will announce the winners on Friday, January 29, so be sure to check back.

Ready or not!

Only 11 months to go until Christmas 2010.
I'm sure you are wondering if I am off my rocker and the answer is "No!"

Last year (just a few weeks ago) was the first year that I was SO late that none of my mailed packages made it out on time. My Christmas letters are still sitting on my desk (only partially my fault--really!) and let's face it, that's just embarrassing. I had great ideas and great intentions. But, I fell short. And, I stressed over the gift ideas, changing my mind many times and settling even when I wasn't sure I was happy with the final idea.

So, I am planning ahead this year. Way ahead. Please join along and we can be ready for Christmas in time for Christmas so we can enjoy the holidays and enjoy the gifts we give this year. And, really, I think spending time throughout the year preparing for Christmas is another way of spending time throughout the year being thoughtful of those for whom you are sending gifts. So, let's be thoughtful together.

This month's assignment is easy: make a list.

Make a good list. Write it in a place where you will look at it and write it so you can add notes and ideas to it. And write it right now. It's quick. Mine is simple--a piece of printer paper folded into rectangles. Each person's name is listed in a rectangle. I can fold it up and paper clip it to my calendar where it won't get lost. I can slide it into my purse when I shop. Yet, it is big enough that it won't get lost with all my other papers. Do it any way you want to, but do it now so it is done.

If you want to be part of the gifted and talented group, start looking for ideas and writing them down on your list. If you find a good one, save it (staple it right to your list if it is on paper) or save a link online. Next month, we will share some of these great ideas so don't forget! If you are really advanced, you may be buying or making your gifts already. Just don't forget to write it down on your list.

Next meeting: February 25--don't miss it!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This red box is GREEN

Red for Valentine's Day and green because it is made out of recycled food boxes!

I needed a Valentine-looking bucket or pot or box or something to make this wonderful topiary found at The Idea Room here.

 I saw these at Target and thought they would be perfect!

Until I saw the price tag--$5. I think that is too much for a paper and cardboard box with a little glue thrown in, especially when I wanted several of them.

And that is when I remembered--I know how to make a box.

I have made several kinds of boxes out of posterboard and paper. So, I made another one and thought you might like to do it as well.

Since I bought one at Target, I used it as a pattern. You can use these measurements, but, really, once you understand what to do, you can use any measurement, size or shape you want to. You can make circles, ovals, and hearts, too. Those shapes are actually easier because you can use a bottom piece and one continuous piece for the sides, but we'll save that for another time.

Luckily, someone in my family eats fruit snacks as if it was an essential part of her daily diet. We had several fruit snack boxes and some others that I rescued from the recycling bin. I didn't want regular cardboard because it is a little too thick. These work perfectly, but I doubled them to make them stiffer.

clean, empty, cardboard food boxes
masking tape
Mod Podge or other glue of your choice
Scrapbook paper

Make a template for the sides of your box. Hang on to it because you will use it again several times after your sides are completed. My shape (parallelogram?) was 5 inches across at the top and 3 1/2 at the bottom. The sides were each 5 inches. (Refer to pictures to see this shape.) Trace side template 8 times onto cardboard. Be sure to trace the same piece (your template) every time so every piece is the same.

Make a template for a 3 1/2 inch square. Trace 2 times on cardboard and set template aside for later. On one of the squares, draw another square around it about 1/4 inch (maybe a little bit more) outside of the original square.

Cut off the corners of the double square like this:

Snip about every inch along the edges of the outside square up to the inside square. This isn't that important with a box this shape, but it makes it easier to fold and it is extremely important if using a box with curves. (Your next one!) Go ahead and fold the snipped edges towards the inside. For the rest of the tutorial, I folded them back the other way so that the waxed or shiny sides got covered up. This was so it was easier to see what was going on in the pictures not because it made a big difference.

Tape the bottom edge of a side piece to the snipped edges of the bottom square. Put the side piece edge right up against the folded edge.

Flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. This time you will lay your side piece directly on top of the one you just taped.

Tape the sides, first, of the two side pieces together. Trim off any excess so it doesn't make a bulge on any edge. Then, tape the top edges together and trim any excess.

Continue sandwiching the snipped edges between side pieces with masking tape until you have done all four sides and used all 8 side pieces.

This part is tricky to explain, but all you are doing is attaching your sides to each other. You will need tape on the inside and on the outside, but do all of the inside first and then the outside. Just put a piece of tape along the side edge of a side piece so it is half on and half off. Do both side edges of two sides--across from each other--so that, when you fold it up into a box shape, you can tape the sides together.

Fold your box up into a box shape, pulling your tape towards the inside as you go up. Masking tape is easy since it pulls off and on easily. As the sides meet, tape the side edge that isn't taped to the one you just taped. On the outside, crease the tape as you make sure the side edges are "hinged" together evenly and right next to each other. After you do the insides, put a length of tape on the outside edges as well. Trim any excess.

Now it's time for the fun part--covering your box in something pretty.
Trace around your side piece template onto your scrapbook paper. Watch which way you trace it if your scrapbook paper has a direction to it like mine did.

This time, add a little to the sides and the top of two of your pieces. At the top and bottom, angle towards the center a little. I went straight on the bottom, but a slight angle would work better.

Cut off the corners (refer to picture) as you cut around your shape.

Flip it over and tape along the edges. You will put tape on one complete side edge and then little pieces on all of the other edges. (Sorry this is sideways--my skills are limited.)

Gently tape your scrapbook paper onto the outside of your box by taping the long taped edge first. Carefully fold over the excess paper around each edge to make sure it fits properly. Tape it down gently as you go so you can remove after it is straight and you are sure if fits correctly. Then, remove it, and crease all of your folds.

Cover the side of your box in Mod Podge. Don't worry about the little folded edges yet.

After glueing on the big side, go back and put glue on the little flaps and tape/glue them down. Smooth out any bubbles. You may have to hold the flaps down while it dries, but that's okay because it goes fast!

Do this all over again for the side across from the one you just did.

Next you are going to make the last two sides. These do not need the side flaps because the first two already wrap around the edges. Trace around the template onto your scrapbook paper two more times. Then add a little extra to the top and the bottom. It should look something like this picture.

Glue it on the same way as the previous two sides, but do not put tape along the side edges which do not have flaps. Be sure the glue goes all of the way to the edge of the scapbook paper. I put the glue on the paper this time because I didn't want any excess glue on the paper I just put on the box.

Once all four sides are covered, you are ready to cover the bottom. Trace around your square template one time. It shouldn't matter which way you turn it. Glue this piece to the bottom of your box.

Now you are ready for the inside. I used cardstock to make it a little stiffer and it was easier to put glue on the cardboard and then slide the cardstock on top of it without it flapping around. Trace around your side edge template 4 times and your square one time onto your cardstock. Because of all of the tape, you will probably have to trim these pieces a little. I did it one at a time and then placed them around the outside of the box face up so I didn't forget which one went where.

Glue the sides into place. Cover your last cardboard square with your cardstock square. Trim if needed and glue into the bottom of your box.

After I trimmed (apparently a little too much) and glued, there was a little extra edge showing which bothered me. Next time, I would either use similar colored tape on my inside "hinge" or I would make the inside the same way I did the outside except without the top flaps--it is just a little more awkward to manipulate to glue it into the box. The inside of my box will be completely covered for my project so it is fine for this project.

So, let's go head-to-head and see what you think. . .

So add a handle (or not), fill it with treats (or not), gift it (or not), but just be sure you enjoy it!

Think of the possibilities--homemade heart boxes for homemade chocolate, Easter baskets, decorative holder for spring flowers. Oh, the possibilities are endless!

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