Monday, November 28, 2011

Lucky Bamboo Gift

My husband and I have always loved to look and symbolism of bamboo. When we were visiting Korea years ago when our daughter was young, these plants amazed me with their beauty while growing around some of the most breathtaking temples. Every time I see these plants, I am reminded of one of the best vacations I have had.
When my brother and sister-in-law got married they used these as centerpieces on their tables and I was instantly in love with homemade bamboo arrangements.  Arranging bamboo this way makes simple, inexpensive and versatile gifts. I have given these to family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers for Christmas, birthdays and any other occasion.
Bamboo is believed to provide fantastic Feng Shui to a home, if used in the right combination.
According to About.com the number of bamboo shoots represents different things:
  • "Two stalks represent love.
  • Three stalks represent Fu (happiness), Lu (wealth), and Soh (long life).
  • Five stalks represent the areas of life that represent wealth (e.g., spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and intuitive).
  • Six stalks represent good luck and wealth.
  • Seven stalks represent good health.
  • Eight stalks represent growth.
  • Nine stalks represent great luck.
  • Ten stalks represent perfection.
  • Twenty-one stalks represent a powerful blessing.
Important: you'll never find a traditional lucky bamboo arrangement with four stalks. In Chinese, the word for four is close to the word for death, so a gift of four bamboo stalks would be considered very rude, as if you had wished death on the recipient!"
Using the glass vase I etched here, three bamboo shoots and some decorative rocks, I created the bamboo arrangement. These bamboo gifts provides great height to a table without the bulk of most plants.
When I purchase bamboo, I like to make sure it has a nice green color to it, large roots and two stocks of leaved coming from the top. If you are ambitious, the second leaf stocks can be broken off and put in water to start another bamboo shoot.
 Carefully place a few inches of clean rocks on the bottom of the vase.
 Arrange the bamboo so the shoots are tight together and tops fit together well.
Gently place the roots on the rocks and carefully place rocks over the roots. I was not able to get my hand into the vase so I recruited my son and his small hands to help.
 Place another few inches of rocks over the bamboo roots until the shoots are stable.
Fill the vase with water to cover the rocks. I change the water on these arrangements every few weeks so the rocks don't get yucky.
For extra luck (and stability), tie a red ribbon around the three bamboo shoots. I wish I had a thicker red ribbon, but I don't have it on hand so you will have to see it with the thin Dollar store ribbon.

I purchase all the materials for this gift idea at Ikea for approximately $14 in total. $6 for the vase (you can find some cheaper), $6 for bamboo ($2 each) and $2 for the rocks.

The best part of this is you can keep the bamboo in the little holders it comes in for quit a while and assemble the vase at the last minute before you give the gift.

How is everyone's Christmas shopping coming? I am working through my list pretty quickly.

Have a great week,
Stephanie

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Glass Wedding Invitation Christmas Ornament

As you know from my wedding date art post, my brother got married this summer so I was hoping to create him a First Christmas ornament. After searching through Esty for some ideas (it is inspiration for me just like Pinterest is), I found these cute wedding invitation ornaments.  Adorable but the price tag was too steep for me. $20 each... Seriously!?! I know the saying goes "time is worth money" but as a crafter, saving money is worth more to me than time. Do you agree? 

I knew if it was on Etsy, someone created it elsewhere...so I searched and I think I found the original blogger who posted it. I might be wrong and please correct me if I am but Christy at ...from glitter to gumdrops posted this idea months ago...so I will give her credit for launching it into the Blogging world. Great idea Christy!

As you know, if I post an idea I always do it for a more reasonable price than the original item. This craft is by far more reasonable to make. I bought the glass ornament from Michaels for 6 balls for $4, I had the ribbon and glitter balls on hand. So for under $0.70, I have a great Christmas gift for my brother's first Christmas with his new wife.
It is rather funny that it is being sold on Etsy because this is the easiest ornaments I have ever made! If you have a pair of scissors, you too can make it. Plus, you can make it for so many people. Think about the possibilities, it can be done with a wedding invitation or any other announcement (i.e. birth, retirement).
I started with my brother's wedding invitation. With my rotary cutter, I cut the invitation into almost equal sized pieces. I tried my best to break the words up nicely.

I cut out the beautiful logo they designed for themselves and was stamped on the bottom of their invitation.
I slightly curled the names, date and logo and slipped them into the ornament. I made sure these were tight to the glass in all the same direction. I wanted them to lay against the front of the glass so that you could clearly see the information.
Following Christy's directions, I curled all the other strips of paper and carefully put them into the ornament. Word of caution, my glass ornament had a really sharp edge. So every time I was absent minded and stuck my finger into the top, I got a nice slice. So use something else to push the paper in.

I wanted to add a little color and make them a bit more Christmas, so I added some silver and red glitter balls I had on hand from the Dollar store. If you don't have these, you could always add a bit of glitter into the ball.

I tied some shiny red chord around the neck of the ornament and used the same to hang it on the tree.  It is much prettier in person with the Christmas lights behind it.

Easy as 1, 2, 3. The entire project took me under 5 minutes and cost under $1.00.

I am now going to go dig through all the stuff I have hoarded have in storage and see if I can find my wedding invitations and do the same for me and any other person I can.

I have yet to decide but I might etch 2011 on the back of the ornament. I will see how ambitious I am closer to Christmas.

Do you see the possibilities with this project like I do?
Enjoy,
Stephanie

Side note: I have felt horrible lately because so many of my posts have used my Cricut and I know many of you who read this do not have a electronic cutter. So I promise I will try to make more crafts without the use of my cutter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Highlights from Full of Great Ideas 2010

Over the past year, Full of Great Ideas has grown from a baby blog to a toddler blog. So for those of you who are new to Full of Great Ideas, I thought I would do a quick summary/highlight of my 2010 baby blogger Christmas posts.  Some of these ideas are creative and others are not; either way I thought it was worth a quick post to share them with all of you.  

If you have not seen my Frugal Gift Idea page, be sure to check it out too for some great DIY gift ideas.
So here goes...my 2010 Christmas crafts:
I made this simple but adorable ornament out of an old golf ball, sharpies and a picture hook.
Using pine cones I found in the woods (be careful..spiders love pine cones), an old basket and some Christmas lights, I made this beautiful lit Christmas basket.
We made these customized personal note pads for our kids teachers using printer paper and cement glue. They were great and very simple.
Using a little floral wire and some scrapbook paper, you can make this adorable Christmas ornament for next to nothing.
This simple and inexpensive ornament tree was made using a foam cone, garland tinsel and Dollar store ornaments. Be prepared you need lots of hot glue for this one.
Buy a cheap Dollar store ornament, paint your child's hand with white paint, draw faces with some Sharpies and you have an adorable Christmas ornament that you will cherish for years to come.
Using fabric paint, I made the snowmen out of my kids foot prints and the trees out of their hand prints.

I hope this gives you some inspiration over the holiday weekend.

Enjoy!
Stephanie

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Glass Etching - Very Simple Project with Amazing Results

I have to admit this is the first time I have ever etched glass...and I am officially addicted. Have you ever used this stuff?!? It is a little pricey for the etching cream but with a 40% off coupon at Michaels, I could justify it. Thankfully my husband was with me and he convinced me to buy the bigger bottle instead of the itty bitty one that would only do a couple of projects.
I bought a vase at Ikea ($6) along with some rocks and bamboo. I will share the rock and bamboo project with you soon. I share this only so you know why I spent full price on a vase when I could have got one at a thrift store for next to nothing.

I cut out a 3x3inch piece of vinyl  with my Cricut (you could easily used contact paper for this too but I had a scrap vinyl that size) using the K monogram SVG files from My Vinyl Designer (K monogram I used ). I have used these monograms for so many project and they have worked great every time.

If you don't have a Cricut or Silhouette, you can still do this. You can:
  • design and cut an image out, by hand, using painters tape or contact paper
  • use hot glue to make a design and etch around it
  • use sticker letters or dots
  • use stencils adhered with spray adhesive
I wanted a reverse image etched so I removed only the vinyl that I wanted to become etched glass. If you look at the image, the black will not be etched.


Using painters tape, I removed the vinyl image from the backing.

After measuring over and over again, I finally place the vinyl on the glass and removed the painters tape. I should have given a little extra room on the top of the image in case the etching cream creeps over the edges..but I didn't. So I added one row of painters tape. Be sure to remove all bubbles around the edges of the vinyl. If there are any bubbles, the etching cream will seep under the vinyl and you will not get a crisp line.

For some mysterious reason, the etching cream sold here in Canada is full of warnings and lovely danger symbols...but contains absolutely no instructions on how to use this wonderful product! I guess warnings are more important than telling someone how to use it :) As a result of not knowing how to use it, I watched a few (dozen) videos on this product and there seemed to be a lot of different ideas as to how it should be applied, how much, and how long it should stay on.


So armed with all the knowledge I could find on YouTube, I applied the Armour Etch cream with a foam brush. It seemed the people who applied it sparingly did not get a great result, so I applied A LOT of etching cream. Trust me, do this.
Then the next debate was how long to leave it on. There were four different times that people said to leave it for: 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 20 minutes. I decided on the 15 minutes and it worked great!
I wiped the large amounts off with paper towels and then rinsed the excess off with lots of water in my laundry sink.
I then removed the vinyl and squealed with joy at how it was looking.
Amazing! It is a little hard to see in the photos but it looks fantastic.

Just imagine what can be etched. I can etch coasters, glass plates (with cookies on them), vases, apothecary jars, mirrors, clear mugs...oh the possibilities are endless.Think about the gift ideas! My family might be getting these along with the Marble tiles.
Have you ever used this stuff? If not, run out to Michael's or Joanne's (with a coupon in hand) and grab some. You will not be disappointed.

Happy Etching,

Stephanie

Here is what I am planning already:
  • Glass plates etched with homemade cookies on them
  • My friend's company logo on clear mugs and coasters
  • Apothecary jars with my initials on them 
  • Beer steins for my brother and husband

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Wish Books - Annual Christmas Tradition

This is a 'read me' post...please don't rely in the pictures because that is not really what I am sharing :)

My husband and I have a few Christmas traditions we do with our kids every year; I might share them all with you in a later post. One of these that I truly love and have done since they were little, was to create a Christmas wish list with them. As soon as they were able to hold a pencil, I encouraged them write what they wanted from Santa (sometimes I interpreted below it).
My son's Christmas Wish Book
Three years ago I started a Christmas Wish Book for both of them. I wish I had started this tradition as soon as they were born but unfortunately I didn't. So I will share with all of you, so you can perhaps enjoy this from when your little ones are really little.

This part is not the important part..but I know I need to share it anyway:) I bought a hard cover coil note book at Michaels for $1. The kids selected two of their favorite Christmas scrapbook paper and they Mod Podged them on the front of the notebook. We secured a ribbon over the seam where the two pieces of paper met. I had cardboard letters from the Dollar store that they covered with glue and then glitter. They glued the letter to the front of the book and then the books were done.
 
What happened next was what I love. Over the next few weeks, the kids wrote their wish list for Santa (believe me it changes it a couple of times before Dec. 25), what they are thankful for and they drew a few pictures.  I wrote the day and year on every page after they were done. My one rule was that they were allowed to make changes, but no page could be ripped out of the book.
This page got a little crinkled in the wish list creation process but it is still amazing!
Every year these books come out of storage with our Christmas decorations and the kids repeat the process. And every year we look back as a family and see how thing have changed over the year from their penmanship and spelling to what they thought was important. Their wish lists have gone from asking for bubble gum to a PS3,what they were thankful before were small things and now they are thankful for profound things like a healthy loving family, and how they have grown so much from being our babies to our big kids.
This is my son's self portrait from a few years ago. To me it looks like he is beating up his sister :)
I have only been doing this for three years with my guys and it amazes me to look at how fast they grow.

I plan to continue this tradition until my kids are big enough to pass it on to their kids. At that time, I will give them their Christmas Wish Book so they can share with their little ones what they hoped and wished for when they were little too.
My son drew he wanted a DS. I guess that is what he thought it looked like
I wanted to share this with you so perhaps you can share these memories with your kids as they grow too.

What are the traditions you do that are special to you and your family? Are there any you did when you were a child that you wish you had carried on?

Would anyone be interested in having a 'Christmas Tradition Link Party' where everyone can share their Christmas traditions? I would love to see what everyone else does so we can start some new ones.

Enjoy!
Stephanie

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Knotty Picture Frame - Celtic Heart Knot

I have a few not so secrets to share with you...I am addicted to Pinterest (but who isn't), I seem to pin everything to do with hearts and I love Celtic knots! I actually love the Celtic knots so much, I gave my husband a wedding ring has the infinity knot the entire way around the band.

I have been trying to find a way to create the Trinity Knot out of rope to frame it for my in-laws for Christmas. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a way to do this. But in my searching I found something better, something that satisfies both my loves for hearts and Celtic knots...I found directions on how to tie a Celtic Heart Knot! Don't you love the internet?!
I bought 2 feet of 5/8 inch braided cotton rope at Lowe's for $0.50. Thinner rope would look very nice too, but Lowes didn't have any at the time and I was not patient enough to wait for it to come in :) Note: I originally tried this with polyester rope from the Dollar Store and it did not work well.
I burned the ends of the rope to prevent fraying with my handy dandy candle lighter.
This YouTube video clearly shows how to tie a Celtic Heart Knot. It takes maybe 2 minutes to tie this heart knot; you really will not believe how simple it is.
I bought a cheapo frame at the Dollar Store for $2. I selected this one because it has space between the glass (more like plastic) and where the photo is. This allows there to be room for the rope heart to fit behind the glass.
I used a piece of scrapbook paper that accented our family room and that provided a contrast to the white rope as the background.  This would also look great with burlap behind it.
It doesn't really look like much in the photo, but it looks great. I wish I could hide this until Christmas so I could give it to my husband as a gift. But as I have learned after his last gift (the marathon bib coasters) he reads my blog often.
 I was able to make this special gift for the bargain basement price of $2.50!
The next time I am at Lowe's or HomeDepot I am going to see if they have the thinner rope and make a couple of these as ornaments. I will let you know how that works :)

What do you think?
Stephanie

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