Oversize Daisy Decoration

Go big or go home with a paper flower for the door

July was a very hot month this year in KC, and August rolled in with some beautiful weather. Well, actually, we had two flash floods within days of each that did a number on our basement, but fortunately, I have a short memory for things like that šŸ™‚

The improved temperatures mean we are outside again, working in the yard, bike riding and sitting on the screened porch, watching for the space station to pass over head at night.

For an end-of-summer tribute decoration for my door, I went with a big daisy. Going big is hard for me – I have a love of miniature things. But I’ve noticed my door decor always looks great on my work table, and then kind of disappears on the door itself, especially when viewed from the street.

So I tried hard to stay big with this one. Taking my cues from this project, I used the petal template and cut 10 big petals out of white paper using my Silhouette Cameo. The paper I used is 90# index, which is what we use at work to make index tabs from. Ā I added a scalloped edge to her template for the center, and cut that out of the yellow paper.

Petals and center for an oversized daisy decoration

I have a new tip for saving paper when you cut small items – pre-cut the paper to a size that is just a little larger than the artwork and save the rest for scrap. If you go the other way, and cut the small art and then peel the whole sheet off of the Cameo cutting mat, it may curl or tear, and then you can’t use it later for other small projects.

The directions called for folding the petals, which I did, and I was really amazed at the how that stiffened the paper, as well as the depth it gives the flower.

Because I was going to mount this on my door, I wanted it to be more sturdy the the backdrop in the original post, so I scrounged around in the glassware cabinet and found a couple of lids that I tried on for size to use as a pattern to cut a cereal box circle for backing.

choosing the size of the backer for the oversize daisy decoration

Once that was cut, I began assembling – I tested a few arrangements for the petals and then began gluing them down to the cereal box circle, using quick drying tacky glue. I used an unopened can of beans to weigh down the center until it dried.

When I went to glue down the scalloped centerpiece, I realized that it was too small for the look I was going for. I liked the look of that lid better, so I measured that lid and resized the scalloped circle to a little smaller, and recut it from the same yellow paper. Since I already had the first smaller one, I curled up the edges and then glued both of them onto the center of the flower. I used my trusty bean can again as a weight to help it dry flat.

While that was drying, I drew up a little (not too little, though) ladybug for an added decoration. I had already figured out how to draw a simple ladybug when I Sharpie painted my flower pot, so I just redid that in Adobe Illustrator. I colored the bug so I could figure out what needed to be cut from the black paper and what part came from the red.

a ladybug for the oversize daisy door decoration

Finally I used the Expand, Divide and Combine filters to work it down to just two pieces.

Parts to cut for the ladybug for the oversize daisy decoration

I exported that file as a DXF because the basic version of Silhouette Studio can’t work with AI or EPS files, but it can use the DXF format.

Cut file for the ladybug that goes on the oversize daisy decoration

Once those were cut and weeded, I used a glue stick to put the red part on top of the black, and then a blob of quick drying tacky glue to put the bug on the flower. I ended with a bumpy center from all the overlapped petals and probably using too much glue, but I’ve decided that was intentional (adding more depth to my 3-D project, right?).

I made a hanger from the fold tab from the cereal box, and then finally took down my July 4 wreath and spruced up my door for what’s left of August.

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Birds With Attitude

This idea came about when I was working on my Black Capped Chickadee garland. Because of their name, I just keptĀ envisioning those birds wearing a backwards black baseball cap, but I couldnā€™t quite figure out how I wanted to turn that into a paper craft.

Several weeks later, on our usual morning walk, a neighborhood Robin kept running in front of us, looking back as if we were stalking him.

Side note: Why do birds do that? If I could fly, I would definitely do that instead of running. Although truth be told, I’d rather do just about anything than run šŸ™‚

Mr. SuzerSpace made some comment about us being in the bird’s ā€œhoodā€ (if I remember correctly he flashed some fake gang sign to make me laugh) and now I had two funny (at least to me) bird ideas rolling around in my head, so it was time to act.

In Adobe Illustrator

I like to work in Adobe Illustrator because Iā€™ve used it for years, but this could be done in any drawing program you are comfortable in.

First I browsed around on the internet for a good basic bird shape. I wanted something with very large details, because I was going to set these up kind of like layered paper dolls where the details created the different bird types.

Birds with attitude drawn as basic shapes in illustrator

Once I found a couple, I morphed it into something to use as my guide. I canā€™t really draw anything from scratch, but if I can see the shapes that are used to create something, I can draw them and put them together in Illustrator.

After I drew the basic bird shape, I drew in and colored the pieces that would be needed to turn one into a Red Robin and the other into a Black Capped Chickadee. For that one, I also added a backwards black cap.

Using the Pathfinder tools in Illustrator, I was able to create the cutting files Iā€™d need to make the two birds. I exported this file as a DXF because the basic version of Silhouette Studio canā€™t use an Adobe Illustrator file, but it has no problem with a DXF format.

In Silhouette Studio

In Silhouette Studio, I set up my Design Page as 12 x 12, cutting with a 12 x 12 Cameo mat.

birds with an attitude cut file

In reality, Iā€™m going to cut these pieces from 6 x 6 card stock, but this is a neat trick I learned where if you place your artwork on the Design Page grid carefully, and line up the paper to match on the mat, you can cut more than one color at a time.

paper setup to cut birds with an attitude

As you can see from my photo, if you are even more careful with your placement, you can use up scrap paper.

Final Assembly

After I cut all the pieces and weeded them, I layered them and glued them up with a glue stick. I glued each one of those down to a piece of white cover stock that was cut to fit the opening of two frames I already had.

Pro tip: Make artwork the size of standard frames so you don’t have to pretend like you are going to get custom frames made. I say “pretend” because I think most people are like me and while I have good intentions of getting things framed, the truth is if I can’t just grab a frame off the shelf at the craft store or Ikea, it is never going to make it onto the wall.

birds with an attitude pieces to assemble

 

Iā€™m not a big fan of my own handwriting, so I cut the words for each in black vinyl and adhered that below the bird image.

birds with an attitude assembled

Once they were assembled I had my own custom bird artwork, perfect for hanging. I have them on my entryway hall, near a big mirror that has my paperclip feet birds perched on it.

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New life for old cushions

Simple sewing and a sale on towels upgrade an old glider

My former next door neighbor was a super lovely woman with an interesting life history. SheĀ also had a love of outdoor furniture, and I had asked her once where she had bought aĀ particular set because I was looking for something similar for our screened in porch. She didnā€™t
remember, but several years later when she decided to replace that set, she gifted it to us.

Technically she said it was a loan, but we both knew she was never going to ask for it back.

The main piece is a glider, and it was probably built in the late ā€˜60s. It isnā€™t that cool vintageĀ kind of piece, itā€™s just an old glider that had seen better days. Some scrubbing and someĀ WD-40 fixed up the metal glider part, but the cushions were a whole other story.

The main fabric was stiff and scratchy, and they had bare spots from use and from where miceĀ had burrowed into them when they were in winter storage.

new life for old cushions
Here’s a before look at one of the old cushions. And this is the “good” one without all the bitten off parts

My plan at the time was to replaceĀ them, so I threw an old sheet over them and we used the glider that season. At the end of theĀ season I saw cushions go on sale and tried to find three that matched in the size I needed, andĀ that wasnā€™t possible.

I repeated this scenario for, uh, 10 years. Didnā€™t mean to, just never remembered to do anythingĀ about it, or refused to pay the price for new cushions. I really donā€™t understand why outsideĀ furniture and accessories are so expensive.

At the beginning of this summer, Mom handed down a really great sewing machine. And I sawĀ on another blog a post about how to make simple cushion covers. The technique didnā€™t reallyĀ work for the cushions I had, but it got my wheels turning.

And then I saw this tutorial on makingĀ an envelope style pillow case, and I began to wonder if I could make something like that for my
cushions. Make cushion covers, not buy new cushions.

At the beginning of the summer, Target had a sale on beach towels. Boom! (thatā€™s the sound the confetti cannon in myĀ mind makes when a project comes together).

I didnā€™t use a pattern, but the process was pretty straightforward – sew two towels together onĀ  the short end, right sides together.

Towels give new life to old cushions

Set the cushion on the new double long towel and overlapĀ the top and bottom so the tucked in envelope portion would be invisible on the back.Ā towels create covers that give new life to old cushions

I measured and pinned the sides, and sewed using the stripes as my guideline.

Envelope style cover made from towels gives new life to old outdoor cushions

 

I sewed double seams to make this extra sturdy. And while each cover is defective in itā€™s ownĀ way (I often lose track of right sides and seam allowances when I work), they are light yearsĀ better than what was there before.

Towels sewn in an envelope style pillow cushion cover give new life to old outdoor furniture | suzerspace.com

Wrestling the cushions into the covers was also a littleĀ challenging, but it was worth it, because the finished look is great, and they can come off andĀ run through the wash if needed.

And if they get super grungy or I just get tired of the color scheme, I bet Target has a towel saleĀ again šŸ™‚

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Paper Cactus

Easy to make, even easier to take care of!

Paper cacti and other succulents have been all the rage this season, and for good reason. They are cute, unkillable and really easy to make.

I’ve pinned a bunch of these tutorials and then combined them all into two plants that fit my needs best.

Here’s how I made them:

In Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is my drawing program of choice because I’ve used it for years.

Before I could begin drawing, there was a little math. But don’t panic on that- the issue is I wanted these plants to fit two pots I already had, and it’s really not that tricky to get that to happen.

I measured across the top of the pot I wanted to use – the fancy math term for that is “diameter.” To make the plant sit snug in the mouth of the pot, I need the finished piece to be right at that measurement. If I made them smaller, then it would slip down into the pot and wouldn’t look real.

The cacti are made up of multiple folded and glued wedges, so I need to divide that diameter in half to get the measurement of the wide spot of each wedge.

 

Once I had those measurements, I drew half of a cactus piece.Ā half a cactus for a paper cactus project

This I then copied and mirrored so that my two halves were exactly even. This is important when you fold and glue them. I welded them together to get rid of that middle line because I didn’t want it cut in half, I want to fold them in half to create a ball-like shape.

two cactus halves for a paper cactus

I repeated this process for my second pot (getting the measurement and drawing a different shaped cactus wedge). And then a drew up a little flower circle, using a similar process from this project.

cactus drawing for a paper cactus

Once I had all my parts, I saved the file, and then exported it as a DXF file, because the basic version of Silhouette Studio software can’t read an Adobe Illustrator file, but it can work with the DXF format.

In Silhouette Studio

Silhouette Studio is the software that Silhouette America provides for using with the Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. I set my Design Settings for an 8.5 x 11 sheet, cutting with a 12 x 12 mat, and then brought in my artwork.

cactus files to cut for a paper cactus

I’ll need 6 wedges for each cacti, plus one flower. I cut the wedges out of two shades of green paper for variation, and the flower out of hot pink for one plant, and a scrap of yellow for the other.

paper parts for a paper cactus

Final Assembly

Once I had all the parts weeded, it was time to assemble. Fold all the wedges in half, and then glue one half of one piece to the half piece of the next. Continue doing this until you have a ball shaped cactus using all 6 pieces. The last one is the trickiest to fit in – my tip here is to make sure the remaining section is really pretty dry before trying to work that one in. I use paper clips as mini clamps as I go, and I use either glue stick or fast drying tacky glue for this project. This is really similar to how the tulips were assembled in the Watering Can and Tulip Mobile.

assemble the paper cactus

I curled up the edges of the flower and used a dollop of tacky glue to adhere it to the top of the cactus. This adds a little pop of color, and also hides any of the corners at the top that might not have been glued together perfectly even.

paper bag dirt for a paper cactus

For my “dirt” I used scalloped scissors on a paper bag, and then accordion folded and then cut those strips up smaller to fill the bottom of my pot.

After these were finished, I saw a super cute, super punny flowerpot in my Pinterest feed, so I cut a similar saying out of black vinyl and adhered that to one of the pots for a finishing touch.

punny saying for a paper cactus

 

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Hand Painted Ladybug Planter

Another quick Sharpie upcycle craft

Buoyed by my success with my Happy Face Planter, I set about to use my new skill set (tracing shapes and filling them in with Sharpies!).

Ladybugs seemed a good choice for this craft, since they are basically a bunch of circles.

I traced a quarter and a dime onto a cereal box and cut them out with scissors. And then IĀ cut out a pie shaped slice out of the quarter circle.

templates for the ladybug planter

Using a red Sharpie, I traced that shape onto my terra cotta pot. I didn’t even wash it, and I don’t care about the cracks. Switching to a black marker, I slid the dime size circle slightly downward into the big circleĀ for the head, and slightly upward into the big circleĀ to give me the guide for the reveal of the body. For the head and body parts, I didn’t trace the whole circle – just where it met the red one.

Outlined shapes for the ladybug planter

And then I colored them in. Just as with the Happy Face planter, you really only need a steady hand close to the edges; you can be pretty sloppy on the fill in area. I freehanded the swirls for the antennae. I let the red wing parts dry before free handing the little dots for the body.

I repeated the pattern mostly randomly around the pot, and now I have another cute planter for my deck.

 

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Etched Glasses

An easy way to personalize barware

 

Mr. SuzerSpace and I like ice-cold drinksĀ on the weekends. In fact, we even have a special recipe for a beer based drink.

Unfortunately, one of us tends to put down her glass and lose track of it, and then drink the other person’s drink.

The obvious solution would be to etch our names on our glasses. But what fun would be obvious be?

Instead, I chose to etch “Mine” and “Not Yours” on a set of glasses.

This is an easy craft – all of the instructions are on the back of the etching cream bottle. And using my Silhouette Cameo to create the stencil made it even easier.

In Silhouette Studio

I set up in Silhouette Studio two rectangles the maximum size of what I wanted the words to be. And then I typedĀ them inside that rectangle in a big bold font. From my paint stencil project, I knowĀ it’s best to give yourself extra taped off area so as not to drip on the finished piece.

words for etched glasses

I sent that to cut on contact paper, andĀ then weeded the letters out of the big rectangle. Ā The goal is to make a stencil for the etching cream. Contact paper is a good choice here because the stencil is going to be thrown away, but it needs to be super sticky to protect the areas you don’t want etched.

I used transfer tape to move the stencil to the glass. I probably could have moved the “Mine” one without the tape, but the “Not Yours” version has those little parts inside the “o” (those are called counters) and it’s easier to move that with the tape.

Final Assembly

After I washed the glass and cleaned it one last time with an alcohol wipe to get off any grease, I applied the contact paper stencil and then applied the etching cream. I wore gloves and worked outside for this project because etching cream is an acid and I don’t want to lose any skin (or countertop).

mask for etched glasses applied to with transfer tape
Gridded transfer tape makes moving a contact paper mask for etching glasses easier.

After the required time was up, I washed off the cream, washed and dried the glass and then repeated the process on the second glass.

And now I have a very unique set of glasses for weekend drinking!

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Small purse from a dress shirt

A quick upcycle sewing project

Recently I became the new owner of a really nice sewing machine (thanks mom!).

I hadn’t been sewing lately, so I didn’t really have much of a stash of fabric to work with. But Mr. SuzerSpace has recently lost quite a bit of weight, and he had a nice pile of old shirts in the give-away box. I decided to spend a rainy weekend morning cutting those shirts into usable sections. I didn’t have any real projects in mind ā€“ I was just looking to square up large sections and salvage interesting bits (cuffs, button plackets and buttons, etc.)

One particular shirt had a pocket on the front, and suddenly I had a quick project idea.

I didn’t use a pattern for this ā€“ I just centered the pocket left and right and cut straight down on the sides until the material could no longer be straight (the shirt had tapered seams, so I cut off above where that started). So the width of the bag was determined by that measurement.

To chose the height of the bag, I folded the material to simulate the bottom and then adjusted the top edge until I could fit in what I wanted (my wallet, phone, keys and sunglass case).Ā  I added a bit more for seam allowances, boxing the corners and general sewing mistakes šŸ™‚ , and then trimmed carefully.

I pressed down a hem on the short sides, and sewed it with a straight stitch. I turned the wrong sides together and sewed them on the long sides to make a bag. This quick tutorial helped me remember how to make a box corner. For the handle, I used the buttonhole side of the button placket ā€“ I stitched each short end inside to the side seam. I topstiched around the entire top to catch the handle again and to give it a nice finished edge.

This little bag is perfect on weekends when I only need essentials, or I can drop it into my backpack during the week to keep those items separate from all my other work items. I’m definitely going to make another (there were several shirts with pockets!) – next time I’m going to step up and tackle a lining.

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Glitter Star Wreath

A Fourth of July Decoration gets 3-D from digital and traditional techniques

Fourth of July Decorating is one of my favorites.

I’m not really that patriotic a person, it’s just that my birthday is a few days after the fourth, and I like to think the entire month is mine to celebrate.

Lately on the craft blogs and Pinterest, wreaths with big stars are popping up, some made out of tin, or wood. This one, made of paper, really caught my eye.

Of course I wanted to change it up a bit.

Instead of a vintage look, I went with a glitter version (not real glitter, that’s too messy), and took cues from the original craft post on how to make the paper stars really look more three-dimensional. Instead of using stamping ink, though, I did the whole thing digitally.

In Adobe Illustrator

In Illustrator, I drew up a star, and then resized it several times so I’d have some variety for my wreath. Using the pen tool, I drew straight lines from the center of each point to the opposite side. I changed the stroke to a brush effect, and then changed the opacity to 40% so that whatever I placed underneath it would show through a bit. These lines are going to create Ā a shaded effect on the ridges of the stars when they are folded.

Stars with shading for a glitter star wreath

I like to work in Illustrator because I’ve used it for many years, but you can accomplish this same look in whatever design program you are comfortable with.

DeviantArt designer harperfinch has a great assortment of free background digital files that are great for projects like this. I found files for red, white and blue glitter backgrounds.

glitter background for a glitter star wreath

Because I’m going to do this as a Silhouette Studio Print and Cut project, I placed the glitter backgrounds in on separate layers in my Illustrator document, and then exported the star shapes as DXF files, and the shading and glitter layers and PNG files.

I also set up a polygon to be cut as my wreath background shape. Most of it isn’t going to be visible, but I thought the extra corners on the polygon would give me more surface to glue the stars to in the end. I exported that file as a DXF file as well, because the standard version of Silhouette Studio cannot work with an Illustrator file, but it can open the DXF format.

In Silhouette Studio

In Silhouette Studio I set up a document that is 8.5 x 11 and turned the registration marks on. I then brought in my cut file and my image file for the white glitter version, and centered them to each other.

There are three small white squares added in to block off the digital glitter background where the registration marks are – you cannot have any printing in those shaded areas or the laser detection for print and cut will fail.

print and cut file for a glitter star wreath

I saved the file because I’m going to need it later for cutting. I then sent the file to my printer, and printed two sheets.

Two more versions of this file are needed, one each for the red and blue versions. I printed two sheets of each of those as well.

To finish the print and cut, I placed a sheet of the stars on my cutting mat, making sure to have the little square in the upper left corner, matching the screen. After changing the cut settings for the card stock I had printed on, I sent the file to print.

stars for a glitter star wreath

After all the sheets were cut and weeded, I set up and cut three pieces for my wreath form. I didn’t have any stock that was thick enough, so by cutting three and gluing them together, I made my own special cardstock.

frame shape for a glitter star wreath

Final Assembly

score stars for a glitter star wreath

Using a ruler and a scoring tool, I scored the back side of the stars from the center of each point to the opposite side.

folded and scored star for glitter star wreath

And then I folded the star along each of the lines, and pinched them into the final star shape. The shading effect is subtle, but it really helps the paper look much more sturdy than it really is.

I arranged the stars approximately how I wanted them to look on the form, and then hot glued them into place. Because the stars aren’t flat, it’s a little tricky getting them glued on. Use lots of glue only on the spots that actually touch the form or each other. And be careful to not get burned squishing them into place.

 

 

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Tiny Tip: Make Matching Art Accessories

A quick trick that doesn’t require a 500 word essay

I have this super cute shower curtain that I purchased at Ikea (sorry – no link, it’s no longer being offered).

Shower curtain for matching art

They had matching towels, but no wall artwork was available.

So I made my own.

I took a good, clear closeup photo of two of the fish on the curtain. And then I cleaned them up in Adobe Photoshop and auto traced the result in Adobe Illustrator. I changed the colors to be more vibrant, added a border and border background color and printed it as an oversize color print.

I have the luxury of working where I have access to an oversize color printer, but Staples/Kinkos/etc. will print these in the $1.99 to $9.99 range depending on size and paper stock.

I dropped it into a inexpensive frame (from Ikea, of course) and now Ā my bathroom is a one-of-a-kind designer masterpiece. And when I change shower curtains, I can make new matching artwork.

I’m only suggesting this for personal use, of course. I’m not a lawyer, but I’d guess that if you tried to sell an item created this way, you’d likely be violating every copyright law there is.

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Patriotic Paper Wreath

Perfect for Summer Holidays!

There are three holidays in the summer that cry out for patriotic decorations – Memorial Day, Flag Day and Fourth of July.

For this wreath, I used what I learned making the mini Happy Day spring wreath. By changing the shape of the “stems” and adding some correctly colored circles for berries, I created a fun door decoration I can use whenever it’s called for.

In Adobe Illustrator

I searched the web for images of berry laden stems, and then simplified them intoĀ two versions, a tall one and a short one. I also created an additional circle that was just a little larger than the ones on the branches so I could add the red, white and blue berries on later.

Branches drawn for a patriotic wreath

 

I exported the file as a DXF, since the basic version of Silhouette Studio can’t work with an AI, EPS or SVG file, but it can use the DXF format.

In Silhouette Studio

I set up my Design Page settings for 9 x 11 to match the paper I had selected.

Branches to cut for a patriotic wreath

I duplicated and moved the branches around until I could fit as many as possible on a sheet. I sent the file to cut, weeded it and repeated until I felt like I had more than enough pieces to fill out my shape.Ā This does not have to be an exact science – if you guess wrong you just go back and cut more.

Berries to cut for patriotic wreath

I then duplicated and aligned the circle that becomes the berry, and cut a sheet each of them on white, red and blue paper.

Final Assembly

I used my standard trick of cutting a circle out of a cereal box using a bowl for a guide, and just like in the other wreath project, I began in the upper left corner and used tacky glue to adhereĀ the stems down, working to cover the cereal box and keeping the wreath really natural looking. This means you don’t want to overlap the stems too perfectly – some should stick out a little bit higher or lower than others.

Weeded parts for a patriotic wreath

It turns out I had way more than enough stems cut, so I decided to go ahead and glue them on the back of the wreath. The back of the wreath won’t ever be seen, but by doing this, I added a little more dimension to the piece.

Assembled patriotic wreath

 

I let this stage of the project dry for a while so that it wouldn’t fall apart as I glued on the berries.

I eyeballed the wreath into thirds and began gluing on the circles of red, white and blue. At some point I realized I didn’t have enough of two of the colors and went back and cut additional circles to finish.

Once complete, this hangs on the nail on my front door.

I was featured at the MyBusyBeehives.com linkup party

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