what this blog is about

This blog is an eclectic one, having a little bit of everything thrown in here. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Santa Wreath

I'm sure I saw this on Pinterest, but I apparently didn't pin it because I can find it on any of my boards! Good thing I remembered how to make it!

To make this Santa wreath you will need red and white feather boas (I had to use 3 6ft white boas and 2 6 ft red boas; go figure), wooden letters, black and gold/yellow felt, and a hot flue gun. Oh, and a wreath form.

 Start by wrapping the wreath form with the boas, half white and half red. I cut the black felt into 2 inch strips. It took three strips to make it all the way around the wreath. Hot glue the ends of the strips so that it fits snugly around the wreath. For the buckle, cut the yellow felt into a 2 1/2 inch square, a 2 inch black square, and a 1/2x1 1/2 inch rectangle of yellow. Hot glue pieces together and glue to belt.

Paint your wooden letters; I choose silver. I hot glued these on. You may find it necessary to secure them with thread that is the same color as your letters. Hang it with some ribbon and you're done!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Riddles In The Dark

So, as mentioned in my last post, we had a scavenger hunt at our Middle Earth party based on the Riddles in the Dark. I noticed as I was preparing the images for this post that two of the riddles got run together and I only carved one stamp. Oops!

Here is the riddle sheet they were given. Once they figured out the riddle, they could then look for where the stamp might be. For instance: "wind" was behind a fan in the kitchen and "teeth" were in the bathroom. Two of the stamps required the guest to give the answer to Carma in order to get a clue to find the stamp. This brought our love of letterboxing into the mix.

Here is the sheet again with the answers filled in and the stamps inked on the page.

We were having a problem trying to figure out where to put the fish. Out of nowhere, as fun ideas usually come, I thought: "We should put a bowl of candy fish out for the guests with a sign that says Smeagol's Food and put the stamp behind it!" Needless to say, once people found the stamp, the bowl of candy disappeared fast.

I also carved an additional two stamps to put on salt dough and clay tags/ornaments. The salt dough was too porous to stamp an image on well but the clay tags were perfect. The images are of J.R.R. Tolkien's symbol and the White Tree of Gondor.

I hope you've all enjoyed what we did for our party! Hopefully I've given some ideas for anyone planning a party of their own!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Middle Earth Party

Well, the party came and went and I'm still exhausted! I still have pretty much everything to put away from the party! It's always well worth it when everyone has a good time. I'm going to just get right down to what we did!

I had two wonderful co-hosts, Carma and Amy. Amy made some great signs for around the house (thank you Mom and Dad for letting us use your house!), and she also made made a wonderful backdrop for photos. I'm sad to say we didn't get around to taking photos in front of it, but it made for excellent decoration.

Amy also had a large map of Middle Earth printed up, which we did use for photos.

Photo by Becca Robins Photography

I'm sure dwarves wore bandanas, right?
Photo by Becca Robins Photography

I had made some dwarf beards for props. We also utilized the invisibility cloak from our Harry Potter party so that it could be an elven cloak. My nephew was kind enough to let us use his bow as well for photos.

The Crafts:

I prepared four crafts to be done. I had them make an arrow, which turned out to be the hardest craft to make. The guests definitely have a good idea of how hard it was to make arrows and they understand why they would retrieve as many as they could after hunting or a battle.

I found a tutorial for the arrows on Entropy House. The only thing I did differently was the tip. I had my amazing father cut the notches in the dowels for me. I had him cut a notch in the end for the tip about 1/2 in deep. Instead of using foam, I found some wooden hearts that we painted silver and then hot glued them into the one end.

The hardest part was getting the feathers glued on strait. I had prepared the feathers per the tutorial so all the guests had to do was glue them on then wrap the thread around, but the feathers were slightly curved. It ended up taking one person to hold the dowel and one person to glue the feather on. I somehow managed to do mine myself and my feathers ended up strait!

Another of the crafts was making leather stamped bracelets. I had a list of Tolkien quotes that they could choose from.

"Not all who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkien

The third craft was to make magnets. I printed out maps of Middle Earth and had them place flat backed marbles over the names of places. They traced the marbles and cut out the areas they had selected. They used their finger to wipe E6000 (glue) onto the back of the marble and place the marble on the cut-out of the map. I had round, flat magnets there that they then wiped glue on and put the marble on that.

I could not get a clear picture of the magnets. I tried different angels and surfaces, but this is the best I could get. They're the four round ones in the center. 

The last craft was to make the mallorn leaf wrappers and lembas bread. This tutorial, along with the recipe for the bread, can also be found on Entropy House.

Making lembas bread


We didn't want everything to be crafts, so we came up with a scavenger hunt based on the Riddles in the Dark. I will do a separate post next week on this called "Riddles in the Dark."

We also had a raffle for a $10.00 movie gift card and a replica of the One Ring.


Our party went through the lunch hour, so we decided to have stew. Our reason behind this? Po-tah-toes! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew! So, that's exactly what we did!

For dessert, we had cupcakes with these cute rings in them!

Everyone had fun and went away with a bag full of crafts. Carma and I will now be planning our next big party: Hunger Games. I warned her that someone would ask us to do a HG themed party, and sure enough, my sister asked!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Letterboxing Address Books

Back in April (this is how far behind I am on blogging my crafts!), I made address books for Carma and Joyce's birthday gifts. Of course I made one for myself as well. I couldn't just use a regular address book, or rather I didn't want to, because in letterboxing you use an alias known as your trailname. We do this for safety reasons because of the internet, and also because it's just fun to have an alias! My trailname, for those who don't know already, is Music Chick. So, back to the address books, because we usually don't know other letterboxer's real names, I wanted to make books that said "trailname" instead of "name".

The address area has room for the boxer's trailname, real name, address, phone, and an alternate e-mail (we have our own e-mail on Atlas Quest that you can contact other boxers with).

In the back are two extra areas. I use the first to list out the LTCs that I'm currently working on and what stage I'm in on them. The second I use for keeping track of when the due dates are for different trackers or groups that I'm in so that I can get things mailed out on time.

It's been really handy to have. Atlas Quest has an area to keep your contacts in, but I really enjoy having something tangible.

Below is a picture of the front. It's really hard to see because there are sparkles all over it, but it reads "Amanda's Letterbox Contacts".

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I got roped in again

I told myself after the Harry Potter party that I wouldn't do something on that kind of a scale for a very long time. Guess I lied.

About a month ago, one of the youth at church asked Carma and I if we would do a Lord of the Rings party to gear up for The Hobbit (in theaters December 14th). My first thought was "no way!", but as you might have guessed from the post title, the party is on!

This is going to be a Middle Earth Workshop. We'll be making numerous crafts and hopefully playing some games. We also want to enjoy some tasty hobbit foods.

So here's my plea: Does anyone have any cool Middle Earth related crafts? Any good recipes? Games? All of the Middle Earth/Tolkien parties I've seen on the web have been geared towards children. That's all great, but I'm going to have a wide age range in attendance. I've already got a list of ideas, but don't want to miss out on a really great idea that's floating around out there.

I look forward to your suggestions!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 4th Altered Pringles Cans

I've seen pins on Pinterest where people have altered Pringles cans to look like pencils for teachers gifts and snowmen for Christmas. I decided to make some into fireworks for the Fourth of July.

Altering Pringles cans can be very simple. I bought scrapbook paper with fireworks on it and cut it to the same height of the Pringles can. I used Mod Podge to apply to the paper.

I then went two directions with the decorating. I was taking some to church and didn't want to decorate the lids (I thought they would be too much of a distraction for church), so I simply wrapped some patriotic ribbon around the cans.

The ones I took to work, I went ahead and decorated the lids. I wanted it to look like sparks flying out of the firework. I found a centerpiece that had red, white, and blue wires with stars sticking out of it. I simply took some wire cutters and cut them out of the cement base of the centerpiece. I folded them in half and sewed them onto the lids. Then I just had to spread them out a bit.

The black tube sticking out of the top is a red, white, and blue glow stick necklace. I cut a hole on the edge of the lid and stuck it through. It worked really well, making it look like the fuse.

I threw some goodies inside. Twizzlers, firecracker cookies, and firecracker poop. The recipe for the firecracker cookies calls for an 18.25 oz box of cake mix. I couldn't find that size and so I used the smaller size (15 point some odd oz) and they turned out just fine.

It's just so great to give to others! I love seeing someone's face light up when they receive a gift. There are few feelings better than that of giving and service.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What is an LTC?

I've mentioned before that I'm a Letter Boxer. I carve my own stamps as part of the hobby and sometimes make LTC's with the stamps before planting them in the wild. So just what is a LTC? A LTC is the same thing as an ATC, which is to say that it is an Artist Trading Card, or, in Letterboxing terms,  a Letterbox Trading Card. The only thing that truly separates a LTC from an ATC is that LTCs must have at least one hand carved stamp used on them. The artist is free to embellish the card however they want. Some cards are very intricate while others very simple.

I wanted to share a few of the LTCs that I've created with you!

"Pirates Ahoy: Captain Jack Sparrow"                                         "Disney Movies: Will Turner"

The cards shown above where made using the same techniques. I made the background papers using alcohol inks. I wanted Jack's background to be gold because, well, he's a pirate! For Will, I wanted it to look like water. I was very pleased with how both backgrounds came out.

After the paper was made and cut to size (standard LTC size is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"), I took my hand carved stamps and embossed them onto the paper. I use a VersaMark Watermark stamp pad and detail black embossing powder. You can learn more about embossing techniques with simple searches on youtube, just expect to have to play around a bit to find what paper, ink, and powder work best for you.

Both of the cards above were made for trackers. Trackers are set up so that people can sign up and share their cards easily with others. Trackers usually have a theme and the owner (whoever set up and is in charge of the tracker) sets guidelines for all who join to follow. Everyone in the group ends up with a card from all the members.

Below are my Characters of Avonlea cards.

Gilbert Blythe                                                Anne Shirley                                               Diana Barry

These cards were not made for a tracker, but for individual trades. All three cards have info on the back about the character. I've always been a fan of Anne of Green Gables and wanted to make some LTCs with the three main characters.

Each card has three hand carved stamps. The names were carved and then embossed onto the background paper. I carved the picture frame used on each card and cut it out and glued it to the background paper. The characters were carved as well and embossed, colored with copic markers, cut our, then glued onto the frame.

I was going for a picture on the wall look. I wanted to use background paper that looked like it could be wallpaper.

I have many more LTCs that I hope to do posts about. I would like to create a LTC gallery on the blog for everyone to see.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March Pinterest Trial # 4: Spring Wreath

I saw this really cute spring wreath on Pinterest and just had to make one myself! I couldn't find the brand of yarn they used, but did find a suitable substitute using Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash Yarn. When wrapped around the wreath it looks like grass. I saw somewhere else that someone used a green boa instead of yarn.

The wreath I saw on Pinterest had white flowers on it, but seeing as green and purple are my favorite colors, I went with little purple flowers! They also had this cute little sign sticking out of the top:

We ran out of toothpicks a few months ago and haven't bought any more (they aren't exactly something you easily remember to buy when you're grocery shopping). Instead, I stuck a bent out paper clip end into the Styrofoam wreath form. Whatever works, right!

St. Patrick's Day Care Gifts

I wanted to make sure everyone in my office was well prepared for St. Patrick's Day. I pulled together tons of goodies for them and had a blast doing it! Here's what I did:

I found hats for the 2 boys and green pots for the 2 girls. I scrounged up as much St. Patty's Day goodies as I could find and filled in the rest with plenty of green items so no one gets pinched!

The Boy's

The Girl's

Some of the goodies were things I had seen on Pinterest. I got the labels here and here for the Lucky Charms, the water bottles, and the straws.

I also saw these cute pot of gold and rainbow treats on Pinterest. I didn't have time to make the tags for them, but it said "You're my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow". It was found on this blog, but there wasn't a printable/download for the tag.

So, instead of listing everything I put in the packages, I took pictures of it! Here they are:
Filler in the pots and hats

Everyone got this in their package

The bow ties for the boys along with the hat

The girl's stuff

It was so much easier to find green stuff for the girls! I felt a little bad about not getting a ton of neat stuff for the boys, but they didn't seem to mind.

Also, in our office, we like to do the puzzles in the paper everyday, so we always seem to get holiday pencils for each other. Everyone got the single pencil with the shamrock eraser in their package, the other pencils shown are for my primary kids on Sunday!

I had so much fun finding everything and putting the packages together! Sometimes it's nice to have a small office so that things like this are possible.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Pinterest Trial # 3: Nails

I wanted to try something off of the "My Style" board that I have on Pinterest. Since St. Patrick's Day is on Saturday, I decided to make sure I had some green on and did my nails.
This was so easy to do.

The supplies:
Two different colors of nail polish, a top coat, scrapbook fun edged scissors, and tape. I did find that the best tape to use is the off-brand, doesn't really stick to things well, type of tape. I tried it first with regular scotch tape and had some problems.

Put your bottom color on using however many coats desired.
Put on a layer of top coat.
Rip off a piece of tape long enough to cover your nail and cut with the scissors to create your edge.
Place on your nail in the desired spot. I did half and half with my colors, but you may only want your second color to take up 1/3 of your nail.
Brush on your second color and carefully remove the tape.
Put on another layer of top coat.

That's all! Next time, I think I might do it across the top of my nail so the tip is a different color.

March Pinterest Trial # 2: Primary Handout

I am the chorister for the primary in my ward. For those of you who don't know what that means, I get to teach church songs to the 3-11 year old kids for 20 minuets every Sunday. Every year, we have a set theme and about 8 songs that the kids need to learn for a program in the fall. The song that they just finished learning is the hymn for this year, "Choose the Right". Since they did such an amazing job on learning this, I wanted to give them something.

I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be perfect.
I made these in a hurry, and my laptop wasn't plugged into my printer, so while I was waiting for singing time at church I quickly put the labels on each of these. They enjoyed getting some gumballs (they are constantly asking me for gum after church) and I was happy to find a suitable reward for their hard work.

March Pinterest Trial # 1: Music Bracelet

I saw this bracelet on Pinterest that was pinned off of Etsy. I'm a music lover and play a couple instruments myself, so of course I wanted it. I have this problem when it comes to buying jewelry: If I can make it myself for cheaper, why should I buy it? So, naturally, I went to work on making it myself.

I'm not going to give instructions on how to make this, but will let you know that the beads are made from scrapbook paper. Here's the finished bracelet:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Pinterest Trial #2: Popsicle Stick Bracelets

I tried something from my craft board this time. I made bracelets out of large popsicle sticks! It was so easy! Here's what you need:

Popsicle sticks
rubber bands
a jar, vase, cup, or other round object that is about the same size as your wrist.

Here's what you do:

Step 1: Boil sticks for 15 minutes

Step 2: Gently start bending the sticks with your hands. I tried curving 7 sticks and one snapped. The instructions I followed said about 1 in 5 will snap, so I was lucky. By the way, it doesn't hurt when they snap so you don't have to flinch.

Step 3:Depending on the size of your wrist, and the size of your jar, vase, etc., either wrap the stick on the outside of the glass and secure with rubber bands, or put it inside the glass and just let it sit there.

Step 4: Okay, don't stress yourself with this one, wait for the sticks to dry. This took 4 days for me, but can take anywhere from 3-7 days. If you think they're dry, but aren't sure, pull one off and if it keeps it's form than it is most likely dry. You'll end up with wooden bracelets!
Step 5: Cover the bracelets with paper, twine, raffia, etc. I used red and straw colored raffia to cover two of mine. If you cover with paper, just use mod podge! I would suggest using a strait stick as a guide to cut your paper. And you're done! So easy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Celebrate the Little Holidays

February 4th is Mailman Appreciation Day. We (everyone at the office I work at) like to celebrate those strange, wacky, little holidays. Since the 4th was a Saturday, we celebrated a day early. This is what we had waiting for our wonderful mailman, Dave.
We all signed the card and left it on the counter with our out-going mail. I had written a little poem at about 11:00 one night when I couldn't sleep that we put on the card. Hope you can read it in the picture below. It was taken with my cell phone camera which isn't very good.
He loved his little card and brought us a thank you card the following Monday. We are now on even better terms with this wonderful man!