Posts tagged ‘arts and crafts’

2013, December 18

Twinkle star decoration for your window – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…

As you may have noticed, I love love love Christmas decoration. I try and incorporate them anywhere there’s enough room to, and so, my window sills and windows are no exception.

After frantically searching the whole house and every single X-Mas box we could lay hands on for a similar window decoration we used to have, my mom remembered we gave it to my grandparents last year. That figures, I was sure I saw it not too long ago – and I have, just not in our house!

I still wanted to decorate the kitchen window with something, so decided to simply make another one. Christmas lights were bought, window finally got washed as well as the curtains, and so today, I sat down to make a new Twinkle Star decoration.

Here’s how you can make one, too:

page twinkle star 1

page twinkle star 2

Twinkle star decoration for your window

One set of shorter (100 light) LED Christmas lights – color of your choice
wooden sticks
nails and a hammer

Nail together wooden sticks into a star shape. You can use any type of sticks – I used some discarded ones I found in grandpa’s garage, but I’m positive this would look awesome with actual branches, too!

Plug the lights into an outlet and starting from there, measure lights next to where you want the finished twinkle star to be hung. Mark with a paperclip.

Then, start wrapping the lights all over the star shape starting from one tip, from the mark on the lights towards the other end. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have enough room to plug the star into the outlet without any issues, nor needing to unwrap so it’ll reach.

Decorate and fasten lights onto the wooden star shape with a few ribbons and tie bows. To the upper tip of your star, add a string as long as you need it to hang the decoration in the window.

Hang in your window and plug it in. Everyone will admire it when walking by your house!

* I personally wasn’t going to puncture my window frames with a nail, so I tied a larger knot to the end of the string, cracked the window open, pushed the knot outside and then just closed the window. This, of course, only works if you won’t open that side of the window until the star is decorating it.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 17

How Estrella does Pinterest – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 With the yearly pre-holiday cleaning out the whole house’s every nook and cranny (nearly!) done, tomorrow, I’m pulling out the big guns and decorating the house in anticipation of Christmas.

I’m talking garlands, X-Mas lights, wreaths, candles, and other Winter-y decorations that I haven’t displayed yet. All there will be left for the weekend and beginning of next week is the cooking and baking, and decorating the Christmas tree.

Having days off to actually enjoy the holidays turns out to be a good thing. It certainly gives me the time to do more writing and blogging, reading (met my goal of 30 books per year the other day – yay!), and also crafting! Boy, I’ve missed having time for all of these things!

While this is not a DIY blog post per se, it does lead to such, as Pinterest has been a huge help for me ever since I signed up. And I have resisted the urge for a long, long time!

What I’ve been doing lately, is spend time on Pinterest. Okay, I should correct that statement, since that website can rapidly turn into something quite time-consuming. There are sooo many wonderful ideas out there, and pinned there, that it’s really easy to get lost in the amount of information and tutorials available. I need ground rules unless I want to log in in the morning and still be sitting at my laptop pinning away by the evening.


So here’s a quick run-down of how I “do” Pinterest:

  • No specific searches on the website – unless I’m actually looking for something specific, I try to stay clear of doing a Pinterest search on things
  • Spend time mainly browsing my own Pinboards – For reading blogs and such, I use Feedly a lot and am subscribed to the things I’m most interested, so I pin what I like best, then look it up in my boards later
  • Turn off e-mail notifications – I can catch up on anything major happening there when I log in
  • Pin what you want to delete – In a (successful) attempt to “clean” my laptop I pinned everything I was interested in into my personal Pinboards, then deleted it all from my laptop. I’m happy with the free space and can find everything at any time
  • Edit and organize Pinboards – I like to categorize everything under the Sun, so yeah
  • Every once in a while, do indulge in a browsing session – The Pinboards I follow are super fun, so I do occasionally just browse and rePin people’s pins

I’m looking forward to trying some ideas for Christmas crafts and a few recipes I have pinned to my boards. No worries, I’ll show you what I make ;)

Do you have any tips for me?

2013, December 16

Gadget cozy – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 Because our phones, tablets, eReaders, laptops and various other gadgets also need to keep warm during Winter :)

I’ve looked around after buying my tablet for some kind of case for it, too. The choices were limited. Not the right color, too expensive, nice color but not a good design… So, I decided to find a design I liked which could also be handmade. It also gave me the chance to put to good use a pair of old, stained, pair of pants which I’ve successfully avoided throwing out.

This is an easy enough project, which will however require the use of a sewing machine (or a grandma who’ll put up with you hovering until the task is done and sew this for you – my grandma is awesome like that!).

If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could try making one from felt and sewing it together by hand. (I’ll post a tutorial, if I ever make something like that, too.)

I love my new tablet case, especially because given that I used both the front and back material of the pants just as they were, with pockets, if needed I can even keep my phone and tablet together when traveling.

page tablet cozy page gadget cozy

Gadget cozy

First off, I cut off a section of the upper part of my pants along its seams, which I eyeballed as being big enough to seam and still cover my tablet.

Then I took a scarf I never wore anymore, and cut that as well to fit the size of my other two pieces. This would become the padding.

I fastened the two layers together with a thread, and sewed them together. I flipped the material so that the outside would be on the inside, then with a few pins fastened the two front and back pieces together and made sure the tablet fit nicely in between.

Then it was time to get this seamed, trimmed, turned inside out and… voilá!

To make sure the gadget doesn’t wiggle around, I also had a small button sewn on near the top and made an eyelet (someone with a better sewing knowledge than my own, please tell me if that’s the word for it!) from another piece of the material I had.

Next, I want to try making another one of these just from the remaining pockets, for my phone since that comes with me all the time.

Happy crafting! ;)


PS: in hindsight, this might suggests that with some quick eyeballing, one can tell how many tablets it takes to cover one’s tushy *laughing*

2013, December 14

Adorable Sock Snowmen – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 For the second day of my #12DaysOfDIY, I thought to present to you the making of some adorable sock snowmen.

This time of year, we’re flooded with Santa’s, Angles, and Reindeer, Polar Bears, Penguins, Snowmen and the alike – complete with Santa hats and full winter attire – in shop displays, on TV and home decoration.
Of all, Snowmen are my favorite! Sure Santa’s have their flair – I mean, they do bring presents to all the good little boys and girls, right?

Still, for some reason, Snowmen are the ones that truly melt my heart into a puddle.

I came across many, many ideas on Pinterest (here’s my X-Mas inspiration board), but finally settled down to give the one from {then she made} a go. The snowmen made there looked simplest, and flat out adorable!

page - sock snowmen

Adorable Sock Snowmen

Cut off the top of the sock from the foot. Turn the sock inside out and attach a rubber band tightly to the top of the sock. Then turn the sock right-side out again.

Fill the sock with rice. Make sure to pack it down as you go so the sock gets a nice round base. Rubber band the top of the sock closed and put another rubber band 3/4 of the way to the top for the head of your snowman.

For decoration, tie a scarf around your snowman’s neck and add eyes, nose, and buttons. You can use sewing or map pins for eyes and holding the little scarves in place.

Sew or glue on your buttons, and add embellishments if needed, like twine, bows, ribbons, etc.

Use the toe of your cut socks to fashion a stocking cap. Or use colored argyle socks to create hats and sweaters for your snowman, as seen at {then she made}.

This is such a quick and easy craft that it would be simple to create a whole family of snowmen for your mantle!

2013, December 9

Mandarin Orange Candles or Candle Holders – & the Advent Wreath I made with them

(How’s that for a long title? Not sure I had one this long a blog post title before. And I am positive I haven’t had any blog posts start with a parenthesis. Anyhoo) ;)

These past few weeks sped by in a blur, and I am desperately trying to hold on to my creativity and make time for crafty endeavors. My sanity is on the line here.

So when it dawned on me on Friday, November 29th, that Sunday, December 1st, was not only here faster than I thought it would be but also the first Advent Sunday and I had only one day to think of what our Advent Wreath would look like this year… I kinda panicked. Okay I’ll admit. I fully panicked.

The wreath itself I had from previous years, but the candles I wanted to make more special. One afternoon was not enough time to come up with something interesting, shop for supplies and also get two of them done – one for us, one for the grandparents. Among everything else I needed to get done that weekend (my To-Do List had 16 items on it already!)

But guess what? Pinterest was really helpful. I recalled an idea I pinned during fall, and went to search for it in my boards (more on Pinterest and how I use it, in a following post.) I found what I was looking for and with a little planning ahead for the following day, managed to: go to work, go supply shopping, go back to work and set the which alarm both my colleague and I completely forgot about, go home and get to work. It was also a life saver that my mom really liked the idea and wanted to help, so we worked in parallel and finished the Advent wreath in no time.

Here’s the step-by-step :)

page mandarin orange candles

page mandarin orange candle advent wreath

mandarin orange candle holders

Mandarin Orange Candles or Candle Holders and an Advent Wreath made with them

Wash the Mandarin Oranges well and dry with a dish towel. This is important, since you can eat the fruit itself later.

You can use any citrus fruit really, as long as they don’t roll around. I needed them smaller-sized and orange-colored, but would’ve loved to try with limes if they weren’t green.

With a sharp knife, cut the peel around the orange so that it doesn’t cut the fruit inside. Set aside the “top” if you want to.

Take a tea spoon and carefully try to detach the fruit from the peels, loosening it more and more deeply. When you get to the “bottom”, you’ll be able to free the fruit in two halves (but no worries if you can’t and it tears, it’s just as tasty) ;)

If the fruit tore, set the empty orange peel with the top down on a paper towel until you work on the rest.

Next, you can either melt wax into the orange peels using this method, or use tea candles instead.

Given the lack of time to start melting wax into the orange peels, I
filled them with rice (kinda looks like snow for a winter-y effect) and added tea candles.

I placed pine branches into my existing wreath “outlines”, then placed the ready mandarin orange candle holders within and added some walnuts, cinnamon sticks, hazelnuts and ribbon for decoration.

Optionally place the tops back on, and take them off as you light one candle each Advent Sunday.

And of course, you can make any other type of arrangement with these, they look wonderful in any setting.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 2

Vintage-looking Teacup Candles

I first saw a teacup candle picture a few years ago. It was so cute, I decided to make one myself. So, naturally, I forgot all about it. Until now!

Below is what I had fun with a couple of nights these past weeks. My favorite cup is the one I featured more, it now decorates the top of my book case.

page teacup candles

page teacup candles lit

Vintage-looking Teacup Candles

a selection of teacups or coffee cups
wax (or discarded, half-burnt candles)
wax wicks
wooden skewers
candle-making dyes or old crayon pieces and essential oils
double boiler (a small pot you won’t regret ruining inside another pot with water inside it will also do)

Tie the wax wicks onto the wooden skewers, then place on your selection of teacups. Make sure they’re nice and straight, perpendicular to the bottom.

Add your wax to the smaller pot of your double-boiler. Chop or grate it ahead of time so you can speed the melting process. If you use paraffin wax, try adding some grated or chopped crayon pieces to add color to the candle, in place of candle dye.

I used discarded and half-burnt candles, so all the coloring was there for me to have fun with already.

Once the wax has all melted to a liquid state, remove the double-boiler from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Add your candle dye (if desired) and scents to it.

While your wax is still nice and liquid, pour it into the prepared teacups, leaving ½ an inch of space from the lip of the cup. Allow this to cool completely (4-6 hours is ideal), then trim your wicks and you’re done.

These are also super recyclable, as you can refill the cups endless times after they’ve burnt out!

I love that I now have beautiful, handmade teacup candles to give as gifts!

Happy candle-making! ;)

2013, September 30

DIY Pencil Holders

Usually I throw away tin cans. Last summer however, I decided to try and make myself a couple of new pencil holders. Not that I was in need of them per se, but I wanted to craft some.

At first, I made myself two – a smaller and a larger one with a nautical, summery feel to them. Then, in September, I made a couple more – in the same format for myself, and two larger ones as gifts for friends with a Fall theme.

page pencil holders

DIY Pencil Holders

tin cans (or paper tubes, or cores)

Start gluing the yarn from the top. If you find the yarn is a little difficult to attach to the tube, wait until the glue is tacky before wrapping the yarn around.

After wrapping a few rounds, turn the tube upside down and continue wrapping. I found that working from bottom to top is much easier than working from top to bottom.

You may change the color of the yarn or just keep to one color.

Decorate the pencil holder with embellishment when the yarn is securely affix to the tin can. As you can see, I used sea shells and rocks, ribbon, bows, felt leaves, a wood butterfly and interesting buttons.

Happy crafting! ;)

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