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Author: Kathy Kaczor

Recycled Comic Book Projects Continued

While the Recycled Comic Book Roses were a lot of fun, there are lots of items to be made from old comic books.

I made some book marks for the upcoming fair season. We have a super hero themed fundraiser for the “Lowe Syndrome Association” and the Comic Con at Haverhill Public Library. These bookmarks were fun and straightforward. I enjoyed searching through the books to find just the right panels to use for the bookmarks.

I also took some of the mini notebooks we’ve decorated and covered them with comic book pages. I made a template of the notebook and used that to determine if an image would make a good cover. Then I cut out the cover and glued it over the notebook. I used washi tape for the spine. Everything got a healthy coating of modge podge for durability and a light sealant spray to finish the book.

Look for these items at our upcoming fairs or custom order your own. They are great party favors and will make fun stocking stuffers for the upcoming Christmas season. (Yes I know it is only May but we crafters have to plan ahead!)

Unicorns!

I have always loved unicorns. My childhood bedroom contained a vast collection of unicorn items and I had a Lisa Frank Unicorn Sticker collection that filled an entire binder. I don’t have quite as many unicorns decorating my home these days but I do have some lovely unicorn accessories and one very fun pair of unicorn leggings. My love for unicorns has tempered just slightly and I was thrilled to have the chance to make these unicorn card and giftbox sets for our upcoming fair:

Originally I was inspired by the unicorn boxes in this blog post by Crush on Color. I wanted something slightly different though and I had just finished making bunnies for Easter that can be found at the bottom of this post. With visions of unicorns floating in my head I altered the bunny design I had been using. I hand cut some concept horns and used the same ovals from my Layering Ovals to make both the bunny ears and the unicorn ears. I punched the flower crown using the now retired Blossom Bunch Punch from Stampin’ Up!

I then sat with my husband after the Easter fair feedback and we made a horn we then cut with the Silhouette. We kept the layering ovals for ears. I am still drawing on the eyes because I like the closed eye look better than the round eyes I used on the bunnies and I don’t have a better way than with a marker at the moment. I did swap the flowers for the also retired Pansy Punch from Stampin’ Up! and I added some coordinating bling to the prominent flowers.

Custom Mary Poppins Bouquet

It is spring time in Massachusetts – not that the four Noreasters we’ve gotten this March really seem to care – but that means my daughter will be performing in her high school’s spring musical very soon. It is time then for a new custom bouquet to match the musical: Mary Poppins.

I started out with half an idea based on the popularity of the Comic Book Roses I made a few weeks ago. I found a “Little Golden Book” version of Mary Poppins and proceeded to cut out all of the pages to make flowers. I used a 3×3 square for these roses because it worked more naturally with the book page’s 6 inch width.

My husband got me all propped in bed with my foot elevated and all of my tools within easy reach and I assembled roses while we binge watched Altered Carbon on Netflix. Here is the book I began with and the finished bucket of roses waiting for the next steps:

Those next steps involved inordinate amounts of hot glue and modge podge. The cover of the book was cut into a tall rectangular handle for the bouquet. The roses were all attached to floral wire stems. Once everything was suitably dry and ready for assembly, I put floral foam into the book handle. I then poked all the flower stems into the foam. Lastly, I tied the Mary Poppins Funko Pop to the handle with ribbon and the bouquet is ready to present to my daughter this weekend!

Crafting while Broken

It has been almost two weeks since I broke my foot. I will spare everyone the gory details and the pictures from the emergency room. You’re welcome! But a broken foot brings a lot of logistical problems into my extremely busy life. I cannot walk, nor drive, nor shower. Even the little things require big preparation and are far more complicated and exhausting than I ever imagined.

That said, I am nothing if not determined, so I’ve been working at keeping the crafting happening even with my limitations. Instead of working in my crafting area, we have compartmentalized the various steps in each project and brought just those supplies to me.

I’ve been working on balancing a small work surface on my lap. This has presented some challenges as my broken foot needs to be elevated pretty high. I use a silicone mat to keep things from sliding whenever possible. I also balance the tray with blankets to help level the surface. I’m currently writing this blog post from my laptop on said tray. The other day I was busy making flowers:

Elevated foot makes for an interesting balancing act.

We have a fair to prepare for and that won’t wait until after my foot has healed. I’m fortunate enough to have a knee scooter for around the house. I’ve been making liberal use of the basket on the front to carry supplies around:

 

Clothesline Project

We all wear many hats in our lives. I’m a crafter and co-founder of this “Crafty Coop” business. I am a wife, mother, volunteer, survivor.

I am also the Activities Coordinator for my friend Lisa’s Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial Chapter – 142 here in Haverhill. Last year we participated in Earth Day Cleanup, helped fund new equipment for the HHS girls swim and dive team, raised money for the Hillview Montessori School’s outdoor classroom, and we learned how college financial planning works. In partnership with our youth group we raised money for the local animal shelter.

This year our chapter is helping our local homeless shelter and our local YWCA. The YWCA is raising awareness for sexual assault through their hosting of the “Clothesline Project.” In this project survivors of sexual assault and abuse can make a Tshirt for display in various key points around the city. Our chapter is donating shirts and markers and helping with the making of shirts as well.

The Crafty Coop is donating custom thank you cards for the YWCA to use to thank those who have supported this project along the way. Here is the design we’ve made:

Easter Favors for our Upcoming Craft Fair

Since Easter is coming – and so is our Spring Craft Fair at the Haverhill Amvets – we’ve been working on some fun holiday favors.

I had a pack of mini egg cartons left over from the previous Stampin’ Up! catalog so I made toppers from the Hey Chick! stamp set and the layering squares and circles. I really love the chicken with the crazy feathered “hair.” That chicken really embodies us as “Sacrificial Chickens.”

Inside is shredded paper “grass” and egg-shaped candy with some Hershey Kisses.

I also made some bunnies using the Stampin’ Up! Curvy Keepsake box thinlits and the inspiration from the picture linked at the bottom of this post from Bloglovin. I didn’t have instructions, just the photo, so I took some liberty in substitutions that fit with the tools and papers I had on hand.

 

Bunch of bunnies

  

We weren’t sure about adding these to our Etsy Shop because they seemed awkward to ship but upon further review, they will flatten out nicely to allow for straightforward mailing so they should be appearing there soon!

 

 

Kathy

A Very Pastafarian Holiday

In our home we have added some extra holidays to spend with our very best friends who are family. We’ve themed them after the Pastafarian holidays and celebrate with pirates and pasta. These special holidays are Friendsgiving, Friendsmas, and Feaster.

We’ve been building a small cache of Pirate decor that we use for all of our celebrations. We also have our skulls from Halloween play double duty as pirate skulls. We have some decorative netting that makes any box look sea worthy and our ring toss doubles as a pirate treasure map:

But for me the most fun is always in the food. I love to have fun things for people to eat:

I’d love to link to instructions but going back through Pinterest all I found were dead links.

The Oreos are sprayed with Wilton’s Silver Color Mist to resemble doubloons.

The strawberry crabs are sitting on a Nilla Wafer and some cream cheese frosting. Their antennae are red licorice whips and the eyes are from Wilton.

There are so many different inspirational posts for different ways to cut a watermelon that I cannot possibly list them all. Here we went for a rather simple ship held together with toothpicks and decorated with stickers.

Lastly, the chests are made from Hershey Nugget Candies and stuffed with Mini M&M Candies held together with Chocolate Melting Wafers.

Bon Voyage and Aaargh Matey!

Kathy

Recycled Comic Book Roses

Back in college, and for a while afterwards, my husband collected comic books. He would pick up new books each week to follow the story arcs he liked. At some point this stopped and the books ended up in a box that we moved twice. The books sat forgotten until our children found them. Nothing in the box was rare or expensive so we let the kids read them – repeatedly – until their favorites stopped resembling books and started to look more like an unkempt sheaf of colorful paper.

The books ended up back in the box a lot worse for wear. I couldn’t toss them into the recycle bin though. I felt they had something else yet to do. I didn’t know what until I found this tutorial on making paper roses out of old books.

It took me until after I had made all the roses to find my toothpicks so I used a wooden skewer instead to curl the petals. This didn’t seem to impact the overall result and I am very happy with the roses.

Including the cover, I made a total of 34 roses from one issue of Superman, The Man of Steel. I added some leaves and shiny leaf-like doilies to a dozen of the roses to put in a vase for display. The rest of the roses are waiting for a proper purpose. I’d like to get some pins and turn a few into boutonnieres. I think they would be a great accessory for a super hero themed wedding!

Custom Bouquets

In our house we can’t have flowers. The cats eat them. When my daughter started participating in her school theater group I needed to come up with something non-floral to give her when everyone else was getting beautiful bouquets.

The first crazy bouquet (for my favorite “unimportant nun” in The Sound of Music) was made of stuffed flamingos and wooden roses:

Then Meghann asked me to make one for her daughter, Sophia, and we chose Goldfish Crackers as an inside joke:

The girls were in a summer program that did a kid’s version of Alice in Wonderland. Sophia was the Red Queen and Cara was the White Rabbit. They got coordinating bouquets with corresponding “red queen” and “white rabbit” plushies, wooden roses, Alice in Wonderland decorations, and in each of the silver boxes was a piece of jewelry:

Cara was part of the ensemble in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. For this she got her favorite flamingos again but in chocolate form this time:

Followed quickly by Sophia’s performance in Aladdin Junior with this chocolate genie and lamp bouquet:

Cara is currently rehearsing her ensemble songs for Mary Poppins and Sophia is a muse in Xanadu Junior. I need to determine appropriate bouquets for them and soon!

Eco-Friendly Events – Cutlery

One of our priorities at the Crafty Coop is to be as environmentally conscious as possible when planning our events. Our personal events have evolved as we’ve learned more about how plastic impacts us all on a global scale. Single use plastics should be the absolute court of last resort when doing anything – not just when hosting events. Are we perfect? No. But we’re working hard every day to learn more and do better. We will use this blog to help share what we learn along the way and hopefully inspire some of you to make simple changes with big impact.

When throwing events at home I’ve struggled with how to feed more people than I have cutlery for. I admit to using plastic cutlery for events in the past. You might even see photos from older events with colorful plastic cutlery. I made a simple change to eliminate that need. I went to our local Savers and picked up a variety of mismatched stainless steel cutlery to use when we have more guests than place settings. The second hand settings were inexpensive; I won’t be sad if an overzealous helper tosses one by accident at a barbecue. They are also far sturdier than even the highest quality plastic choices. I can dress them up to match any occasion with colorful (and compostable) napkins and paper rings or baker’s twine:

As consumers we need to make renting place settings popular again. Pay someone to wash the dishes at your local venue. My hope is the more we ask to use real cutlery the more venues will return to offering these services.

Sometimes there isn’t really any other option but to use something disposable. When that happens it is important to think about where your trash is headed after the party. I’ve been experimenting with my family and friends to get an idea of the products available and their merits vs limitations and these two are the best I’ve found depending on your circumstances:

Do you have access to a commercial compost facility? If you don’t know what that means then odds are you don’t. Not a lot of people do yet in America. We’re fortunate here in Haverhill. I have a service called Roots Compost that picks up my home compost weekly. Some of the most progressive cities in Massachusetts provide curbside composting but in light of the ban on food waste about half of the municipalities have compost sites available.

If you do have access to a commercial facility then I recommend this PLA cutlery. PLA is a plant based plastic, and what we use for our 3D printed projects, that breaks down in a commercial composting facility. This won’t break down appropriately if tossed in your regular trash and sent to a landfill or if put in your backyard compost. The cutlery is well made and if not for the “100% compostable” imprint on the handle – almost indistinguishable from its plastic counterparts.  They have an upper temperature limit so if you’re serving super hot foods these might not be an option. We had some break during use but not many. I’ve had similar results with typical plastic cutlery.

If you don’t have a facility for compost then consider this wooden option. They aren’t fancy but they are useful. They don’t have the heat limits of PLA. This form factor is sturdier than some of the ones modeled after typical cutlery. We didn’t have any breakage when we used these. The one complaint we heard was that it seemed like “eating with a tongue depressor.” Not all of my guests felt this way but it was a deal breaker for a few. We gave those people our everyday forks instead.

Kathy