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seed paper.

It’s Baby’s First Valentine’s Day so we put together a little something for all his baby friends. Since babies can’t indulge in your typical Valentine’s sweets, I picked a non-food Valentine’s treat: seed paper in heart confetti form so friends can watch love grow all year long. (Aww, sweetness.)

I am a big fan of nature confetti – what I’m deeming as dried leaves or fallen flowers harvested from the same area where you will toss the confetti – so I am all over this biodegradable confetti! I found this seed paper from Botanical PaperWorks. It came in so many colors – I picked three colors to mix and packaged them up. Here’s how I put it all together —

I gathered:

  • Seed paper confetti (I picked hearts but you can choose other shapes or punch out different shapes from full sheets of seed paper instead)
  • Bag/pouch (I had 4” x 6” plastic bags in my stash. You can also source something biodegradable if you want to keep with the earth-friendly theme)
  • Tag design (I’m sharing a downloadable file below)
  • Cardstock (65 lb)
  • Printer access
  • Paper cutter or scissors
  • Bone folder
  • Stapler

Mix confetti and fill your bags with the desired amount.

I designed tags to fit my bags – 4 inches across and 2 inches tall (the printed tag is 4 inches by 4 inches). To assemble, print tags, cut with a paper cutter, fold in half and crease with a bone folder, and attach to the plastic bag with a single staple.

Since these bags were on the long side, I folded the top part of the bags down and hid the excess under the tag. If you do this, too, make sure the staple goes through the folded layers.

Package it up with additional goodies (like a cute heart ornament) and detailed planting instructions (taken from the Botanical PaperWorks website), seal with a heart sticker and a tiny name tag, and you’ve got yourself a fun Valentine’s greeting!

I might need to put this gift idea on repeat.

Happy almost Valentine’s Day!

paper lanterns.

Gearing up for Lunar New Year!

I was recently asked to host a paper lantern workshop in celebration of Lunar New Year. I had never created a paper lantern before so I did some internetting to get design ideas. My friend Rebecca created a lantern template for me and you can download it here to create along.

Gather materials and tools:

  • Lantern template
  • Printer access
  • Red cardstock (8.5” x 11”)
  • Gold cardstock
  • Gold metallic marker
  • Gold metallic embroidery floss, or similar
  • Tassel maker (cardboard or other firm board works, too)
  • Sewing needle with large eye
  • Scissors (for paper and for fabric)
  • Hot glue (can use tacky glue or other glue)

Print the lantern template onto red cardstock. I like using 65lb cardstock. Cut out the lantern shapes. Use the gold metallic marker to outline each lantern. This can be done before cutting, too, if preferred.

Use a craft needle to poke holes on each lantern “petal” (use the black dots on the template as a guide) and in the center of the lantern. The petal tips will be the top of the lantern; the center will be the base.

Curl the lantern petals slightly with your fingers.

Cut strips of gold paper ~1/2” x 4”. Create a circle; secure with glue. Attach to the bottom of the lantern with glue.

Create a tassel with the gold metallic floss. Wrap the floss around the tassel maker ~15 times.

Tie a loose single knot to the top of the tassel with a 12” piece of floss. Remove from the tassel maker and tighten the knot; secure with a double knot. This is the hanging cord. Tie an over hand knot with the hanging cord a couple of inches above the top of the tassel.

Cut the tassel loops. Wrap the tassel with a 12” piece of floss and secure with a double knot. Trim excess knot floss and tassel ends.

Insert hanging cord into the bottom of the lantern (through the hole previously made). The double knot should be pulled all the way through so it sits on the inside of the lantern. Tie another overhand knot on top of the first one to secure the tassel inside the lantern. Trim excess floss.

Cut an 18” piece of floss. Knot one end and thread onto the needle. Sew through each of the lantern petals and pull until the petals overlap and form a lantern shape. Knot the floss on the top side of the lantern to hold the shape. Tie an additional overhand knot to create a hanging loop. Trim excess floss.

Make a few lanterns to create a garland. Use embroidery floss or other cord to string your lanterns.

This was such a fun project! I might need to make these lanterns in different colors for all the celebrations. Do you celebrate Lunar New Year? How do you decorate? Share below!

sunburst basket.

I made the Flax and Twine / Modern Macrame sunburst basket project! My stitching isn’t the best (also, left hand problems ~ everything is backwards!), but I loved all aspects of this project.

This project requires minimal materials: rope, twine, a tapestry needle, and scissors. I copied the sample colors because look how dreamy this brown rope is. The pattern comes with an accompanying video which I am a big fan of – it’s so much easier for me to follow a video versus written instructions when it’s my first time creating a project.

When I shared my progress with my parents my Dad shared that my Great-Grandfather was a basket maker! OMG, it all makes sense now why I’m basket obsessed! It’s in my blood! My Great-Grandfather’s repertoire was vast with baskets ranging in size from tabletop baskets for displaying food to large works meant for storing rice. Goals!

Here’s my finished piece. The sample was more of a plate-like shape; I went for more of a bowl since I like having containers for organizing around our home. I think I made the project more difficult because it was hard to keep the correct tension when building the basket’s rim, but I’m happy with how it turned out and now I want to make more and continue the family legacy. 😉

Have you tried your hand at creating stitched baskets? Share below!

more places.

More outdoor spaces to explore in the East Bay! Because eight wasn’t enough.

Keller Beach Park, Richmond / A small beach that’s worth the visit. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy watching the resident squirrels find and munch on human snacks.

San Pablo Park, Berkeley / There’s currently construction and upgrades happening at the park, but there’s a huge lawn area – perfect for setting up a socially distanced picnic and enjoying the sunshine.

Willard Park, Berkeley / Aww, I used to live near Willard Park. I even had a crafty birthday party here one year. There’s a playground and lots of grassy areas. I’m particularly fond of their redwood trees. Strolling the neighborhood is lovely, too, because there are so many things blooming year-round.

Point Pinole Regional Park Dotson Family Marsh, Richmond / The scenery is a bit dry, but I loved it here. An hour before sunset there wasn’t much of a crowd, and the trail is wide enough to stay a good distance away from folks going the opposite direction. There’s a small parking lot next to the trail entrance; FYI the lot closes just before sunset.

Miller Knox Regional Shoreline, Richmond / Lots of space for walking and biking, and lovely silhouette views of the City. You can walk to Keller Beach from here, too.

Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland / Well this was a fun find! I had no idea there was a rose garden in Oakland. On this visit (in November) there were a number of roses in bloom, and we met some resident kittens. There are lots of benches and a few water features to enjoy, too.

So fun to adventure around town. There are still so many places to visit. Have you discovered any new sites in your neck of the woods? Share below!

mala.

Another Michaels workshop in the books. This time I created a mala necklace, or at least a necklace inspired by a mala necklace. Traditional mala necklaces have 108 beads, but I did the cheat way of creating this necklace and was a bit more freestyle with my beads.

For the full tutorial and supply list see the online class and accompanying instructions. For my necklace I used:

  • bipyramid beads
  • 6mm beads
  • a pendant
  • assorted seed beads
  • silk bead cord
  • big eye beading needles (I ended up not needing these because my bead cord had an attached needle)
  • pliers
  • bead tweezers
  • scissors

Most of my beads came from local bead shop Blue Door Beads (During shelter in place I sent them a list and they shopped the store for me and shipped!). The pendant was from Michaels. I also used beads I acquired from craft swaps.

My how to:

I decided on a pattern and repeated the pattern four times for one side of the necklace, then mirrored the pattern on the other side of the necklace, starting and finishing at the bottom of the necklace (where the pendant sits). Then, I added an additional seed bead and the pendant (the pendant sits on the additional seed bead), tied the left and right sides of the necklace together with a double knot, and trimmed excess cord. Super simple!

In this class they featured a knotting tool; I tried to create knots with pliers and bead tweezers, but it didn’t quite work out so I skipped that part completely. Perhaps I’ll try the knotting tool next time. Regardless, I like how this one turned out!

Do you dabble in jewelry making? What have you made recently? Share below.

macrame basics.

Use these knots and techniques to create unique designs for your macrame pieces.

Lark’s Head Knot

The lark’s head knot is often used as an anchoring knot to start your piece. Fold rope cord in half. Place the midpoint underneath the dowel in a U fashion. Bring the top loose rope strands over the dowel and through the U. Pull loose rope strands all the way through to tighten the knot.

Square Knot

To create a square knot, work four cords at a time. Using the first four rope cords, place rope cord 1 over cords 2 and 3. Place rope cord 4 over rope cord 1, under rope cords 3 and 2, and through the loop made by rope cord 1. Pull rope cords 1 and 4 out and up to create the first half of the square knot.

To complete the square knot, perform a similar but opposite pattern. Place the now rope cord 4 over cords 3 and 2. Place rope cord 1 over rope cord 4, under rope cord 2 and 3, and through the loop made by rope cord 4. Pull rope cords 1 and 4 out and up to create the second half of the square knot.

Alternating Square Knot

To create an alternating square knot, skip the first two and last two rope cords for every other row of square knots. Below, the first row has four groups of two square knots each, the second row has three groups of two square knots each, and the third row has four single square knots

Finishing Knot

Use a finishing knot to gather loose cords together. Create a ‘C’ with your rope. One tail will be short. Hold all the rope cords in one hand and begin wrapping all the cords with the longer strand of the C. Wrap 4-6 times towards the C, then place the wrapping strand through the C.

Pull the short strand until the C disappears into the wrapped part of the finishing knot. Pull both the short and long strands outward to tighten the knot underneath the wrapped cords. Trim loose ends.

Attaching a hanging cord

Double knot cord on each side of the dowel and trim excess rope. 

Trimming your piece

Optional: Trim and/or unravel rope at the bottom of your piece. 

Happy macra-making!

plant people.

No more surface area for plants? Hang them! Here’s an easy macrame plant holder you can whip out in 30 minutes or less. This recipe creates a plant holder for 4-7 inch plant pot, up to 6-8 inches tall.

For this project, you will need:

  • 67 feet of 5mm rope, cut into:
    • 6 10-foot pieces
    • 1 3-foot piece
    • 1 4-foot piece
  • 2-3 inch hoop (metal, wood – your choice)
  • Scissors
  • S hook
  • Somewhere to hang your project as you work

Knots used (knot reference):

  • Finishing knot
  • Overhand knot
  • Square knot

How to:

Hang your project using an S hook. Find the midpoint of the 6 10-foot pieces and hang on the ring. Using the 3-foot cord, create a finishing knot to gather the 6 10-foot pieces of rope.

Working in cord pairs, create overhand knots approximately 4 inches from the bottom of the finishing knot. You will end up with 6 overhand knots.

Working in groups of four, create 3 square knots approximately 3 inches from the bottom of the overhand knots. You will end up with 3 groups of 3 square knots each. Make sure you are using cords that naturally hang ‘next to’ each other for your square knots.

Again, working in groups of four, create 3 square knots approximately 3 inches from the bottom of the first group of square knots. This time, using 2 cords from one group of the above square knots and 2 cords from the adjacent group of square knots. You will end up with 3 groups of 3 square knots each.

Using the 4-foot cord, create another finishing knot approximately 3 inches from the bottom of the second group of square knots.

Trim the loose cords to your desired length.

Insert plant, hang, and enjoy! Above features a 5-inch pot; below features a 7-inch pot.

Where my plant people at? What are some of your creative ways for displaying your plant babies? Share below!

reindeer.

Real talk – Santa scares me, but the reindeer are cool. Here’s a reindeer piñata idea for your Christmas celebrations. How cute would it be to create one for each of Santa’s reindeer?

You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Crepe streamers in reindeer colors (brown, creme, black, white)
  • Paper in browns, black, and white
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Paper scissors
  • Masking tape or similar

I used my burro template and reindeer-ified it with antlers and spots. Cut out two reindeer shapes plus strips of cardboard 2 inches in width for the perimeter. Make sure you can bend the cardboard into curvy shapes (corrugation should run across the 2 inch width).

Decide where you want to place the piñata opening and start wrapping one of the shapes with the cardboard strips above the flap. Use tape to attach strips to shapes. Continue to work around the piñata until you reach the flap opening. Attach the second shape to the opposite side. Since we’re not popping this piñata open, I used packing tape to make it extra secure. Add more tape as necessary for reinforcement.

Cut lots and lots of fringe. To begin covering your piñata, work one side at a time. First, add a non-fringed piece to the bottom. Add two layers if you can still see through to the cardboard. Begin adding fringe, one layer at a time. You can overlap as you see fit and change colors whenever you like. Once you finish one side, trim the overhang, then repeat the process on the opposite side. Do the same for perimeter.

For any spot that is on the underside (e.g., the chin), you may consider only adding non-fringed paper since it will lay flat.

For the chest tuft I layered fringe directly onto the reindeer chest. For the tuft of fur on the snout, I layered fringe, cut out a triangular shape, and glued the triangle fringe onto the reindeer.

Now to accessorize! Cut eyes out of paper. I added additional white circles for a cutesy look, plus eyelashes (curl them for a 3D effect). Glue eyes onto the reindeer.

Cut ears in a leaf shape with a flap for attaching. Cut antlers and a tail, again with a flap for attaching. Glue ears, antlers, and tail onto the reindeer, and reinforce with tape. Cover taped areas with more crepe paper fringe.

Add some spots and a nose. Et voila! A reindeer!

Fill with goodies and gift…or keep bc cute. Happy almost Christmas!

christmas hello.

Something I haven’t done in a few years because I pack my November/December with craft events and I wait until it’s too late to make it happen: creating and sending Christmas cards! I used to do it every year. These cards are four years in the making. I will now be sending Christmas cards every leap year…maybe.

This year’s Christmas card timeline:

  • Year 1: Buy the paper
  • Year 2: Cut the paper
  • Year 3: Assemble the paper
  • Year 4: Write messages on the paper, address envelopes, and mail!

Here’s what I used to make my cards:

  • 12″ x 12″ double sided card stock
  • 12″ x 12″ white card stock
  • Twine
  • Embellishments (I cut out reindeer images)
  • Envelopes
  • Paper cutter
  • Scissors (for fabric and for paper)
  • Bone folder
  • Double sided foam adhesive

Someone once described my cards as little booklets. I like to use 12″ x 12″ double sided cardstock (get the good heavyweight stuff!) for all of my handmade cards. They divide up into three 4″ x 6″ cards (cut two 8″ x 6″ pieces and one 4″ x 12″ piece with a paper cutter). I add a second layer of white cardstock for writing. I cut these slightly smaller than 4″ x 6″ so they fit snuggly after folding each piece in half (cut two <8″ x 6″ pieces and one 4″ x <12″ piece). Fold in half to create 4″ x 6″ cards. Use a bone folder to get that good crease.

I attach the two paper layers by creating a knot or bow with ribbon or twine, or by stapling the crease. Since it’s Christmas, I’m going with candy cane twine.

I’m simple with my embellishments. I found a really cute reindeer print cardstock and cut out all of the reindeer pairs. I attached the reindeer embellishment with foam adhesive strips to give it some dimension.

Gah! They are so cute!

These are ready for a handwritten note! Then, address envelopes, add a cute stamp, and mail off to spread Christmas cheer!

Merry early Christmas! Do you make your own greeting cards? Comment below.

christmas gift packs.

You know me – I love creating gift packs! Here’s a gift pack idea for Christmas. Gather: baskets, shredded paper filling, and locally sourced treats.

What’s great about giving gifts in baskets is that the recipient can either use the basket in their home or reuse the basket to give a gift to someone else. I had a few red baskets that I was previously using for craft events but was ready to give away.

Here are some tasty items I found locally!

Siren protein snacks made in San Francisco. These are plant based, gluten-free, and non-GMO.

Covered almonds by Feve Chocolates, also made in San Francisco. They give 5% of their profit in micro-loans to cocoa farmers. Hubby and I picked up an extra pack of the chai spiced almonds for ourselves – yum!

Jamnation jams are so delightful and punny. They were my booth neighbors at the SF Etsy Indie Holiday Emporium last year and they let me try all the flavors.

Wineforest Wild Foods rubs from Napa. Don’t the flavors sound exciting!

Tea blends by White Sage Wellness. These are perfect for warming up on cold winter nights.

Let’s build a basket! First, get a good helping of paper shreds in the basket and fluff them up. Then start by including the larger items. Make a ‘nest’ for each item and fluff the paper as you go.

Add smaller items in the front.

I also like to add a handmade element (I added some mini wreath ornaments) and a card (I got these cute Maligayang Pasko cards from local favorite Genevieve Santos).

What are some of your favorite local treats to share with loved ones? Share below!