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21  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 72 ENTRIES / Re: Opposites, Antonyms, Fast, Slow, Hare, Tortoise on: March 02, 2012 04:00:06 PM
Wow!  How does it switch from hare to tortoise?  Do you turn it inside out?  This is very clever!
22  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Re: Yarn Ball Christmas Wreath on: December 16, 2011 02:04:20 PM
How cute!  And good for you for avoiding styrofoam.  Save your $ and the planet at the same time!!!
23  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Window shades on: December 13, 2011 08:24:19 PM
I can't take credit for the idea, although I do wish I had thought of it.  I saw it in a book from the 80's which contained hundreds of ideas for how to reuse things.  It was a very hippy kind of book with a few really cool ideas and some really weird ones.  I think it was Re/Uses by Carolyn Jabs, which you may be able to request from your local library.

I had another thought along the same lines.  Maybe you can use the reverse side of the shade as a dry erase board.  Try writing on it with dry erase markers and see if you can wipe it off.  If the ink doesn't just wipe off, you can probably use rubbing alcohol to get it off.
24  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Tacky/Festive Christmas Wreath made from recycled balloons on: December 13, 2011 02:18:04 PM
My 4 year old son and I have the bad habit of hanging on to things that normal people would get rid of, because we figure we'll make something out of them, some day.  Recently he wanted to make a Christmas wreath.  So, we hauled out the deflated mylar balloons we had been keeping (to make glitzy gift wrap for small gifts) and found 2 star balloons, one lime green and one kelly green.  I used my rotary cutter to cut them into strips an inch wide and 4 - 6 inches long.  We would have used a wire hanger for the base of the wreath, but I wasn't sure we had enough balloon strips to cover a full hanger and I didn't want to have to cut through that thick wire to shorten it.  Instead I just unwound a bunch of craft wire and we started tying the strips onto the wire.  Elliot did much of the tying himself (a nice way to keep him out of trouble while I was busy) and when we ran out of balloon strips, he took it upon himself to snip the (flimsy) craft wire with his little kid scissors and twist the wire ends together to form a wreath.  Of course it needed a bow, so we used the red plastic mesh stuff we had saved from a package of clementines to make a little bow.  The photo is not very clear, but I guess you can get the general idea of it.  The balloon material is colored on one side and silver on the other and is very shiny.  If you enjoy bright shiny decorations, you'll like this one:

25  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Re: Felt Christmas ornaments on: December 12, 2011 08:39:25 PM
These are terrific.  Who wouldn't love them?
26  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Tree-shaped gift box made from recycled cereal box on: December 12, 2011 08:28:33 PM
This is the first time I am posting a project, so I hope I am doing it correctly!  Here is a little gift box I made from a cereal box.  After constructing the box top and bottom, I used a sponge to swipe on green craft paint.  For the trunk, I cut a strip of the cereal box, coiled it up, and glued it together.  After the paint and glue were dried, I put the box top upside down in a glass to hold it with the bottom facing up so I could glue the stem in place with white glue.  With the box in this position, I didn't need to find a way to hold the trunk in position while it dried.  (Someone who is less klutzy would probably just use a hot glue gun.) The photos are not very clear, but it is a cute little box that would be good for a small gift like jewelry or a gift card.
  This shows the box top, and the inside of the bottom.  The cereal box was Kashi Island Vanilla.  Yum!

  This shows the coiled trunk.

27  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Window shades on: December 11, 2011 08:59:22 PM
You could make a portable chalkboard out of your shade.  You can find chalkboard paint at craft stores and home improvement stores, and just paint it on the shade.  I bet you could also just use regular acrylic craft paint, although the chalk might not erase so easily in that case.  Anyhow, you could bring out your chalkboard when you want to use it, and roll it up and shove it in the closet when you are done with it.  Or you could mount it to the wall using the brackets that were on the window, making sure to position them so that the shade hangs close to the wall (that is, hangs behind the roller rather than in front of it).  This would be fun for a kid's room.
28  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Cotton Gingham and dress shirts. Please help! on: December 11, 2011 08:46:52 PM
If the body of the shirt is intact, you can make a cute slipcover for a throw pillow in just a few minutes.  Measure the pillow you want to cover.  Make yourself a paper pattern that is the size of the pillow, plus about .5" seam allowance on each side.  (So if your pillow is 20" square, make a pattern that is 21" square.)  Button your shirt and turn it inside out.  Lay it flat with the front of the shirt facing up.  Place your pattern on top, positioning it so that the buttons run down the center of the pattern.  Make sure that none of the buttons will be too close to the seam allowance or you will have trouble stitching your seams.  When you have it positioned the way you want, pin the pattern down (or draw around it if you prefer) and cut it out, cutting through both the front and back of the shirt.  Next remove the pattern and stitch your seams all around using a .5" seam allowance.  You don't need to leave a gap for turning, because you can unbutton the shirt to turn it right side out.  Then just put your pillow inside and button it up.  This is a fun way to cover old pillows that have faded or gotten dingy or just don't match the rest of your stuff.  I have made a bunch of these Stuffed Shirt pillows out of old denim shirts and blue dress shirts, and they get tons of use in my living room.  When they get dirty (and in my house, everything gets dirty), I just throw them in with the laundry and they are good as new.  If your shirts are loosely woven and you expect to wash the pillow covers a lot, you might want to pink the raw edges or apply a seam sealer to prevent fraying in the washer.
29  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Re: Upcycled Holiday Wrapping! on: December 07, 2011 03:43:26 PM
That's really cute.  Much cuter than I would have thought, based on the description!

Another fun thing to use for making bows is the plastic mesh stuff some fruit is packaged in.  I recently bought clementines and the top of the package was covered with a rectangle of red plastic mesh.  My 4-year old, whose motto is "we can do a project with that (so don't throw it out)" had to keep it.  We tied it in a knot and it ended up looking like a bow tie.  I just put a small piece of double sided tape on it and stuck it to a package we had wrapped in brown paper (grocery store bag) and decorated with dot markers (or bingo daubers).  It was festive and free and made me feel virtuous for reusing the mesh.  Saving the planet, one craft project at a time...
30  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: recycled food gift bags mini tutorial on: December 07, 2011 03:05:25 PM
I make these too, but haven't bothered to wrap them.  Depending on the food box you use, it can be part of your gift's theme.  For example, you could use a microwave popcorn box and fill it with DVDs and movie theater candy.  You could use a popsicle box (the Edy's Fruit Bars boxes are pretty) to make a bag for a pair of sunglasses and a trashy novel for a friend taking a beach vacation.  I have used the tiny boxes that conversation hearts (valentine's candy) come in to make a tiny bag for a gift card.  And so on.

For handles, I have re-used the handles from old gift bags that had worn out.  I have also used worn out shoe laces (after a trip through the washer) and the curling ribbon that comes on balloons to make handles.  I have also seen the same idea on the Family Fun magazine website where they just cut an oval shape the width of a hand instead of adding handles.
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