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Greeting Card Organisation System – A Tutorial

Up until recently we had everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries displayed on a huge poster stuck to our kitchen wall. Then I succumbed and treated us to a new, outsized kitchen wall clock (well, the other one had no glass anymore!)

Follow the tutorial to make sure that you never forget a birthday again by making and using this card organisation system.

Suddenly there was no more room for the poster that had seen us through the last ten years. But how to replace it?

Our wall poster recording the dates of everyones birthdays would no longer fit. So I made an alternative.

I kept trying to make my own, smaller version of the poster to fit inside a kitchen cupboard door but I could never get all the months to fit onto an A3 size and it became an Albatross (“Albatross, fresh Albatross”, anyone?!)

Then I realised whilst looking for a card for my Godson’s birthday that we may have the dates sussed but we certainly did not have the greetings card situation sorted! We had this huge box and plastic wallet files. Anyway, see below to see what I mean.

A huge box with loads of cards was difficult to access and heavy to lift.

I didn’t know in advance which cards we did or did not have in stock, I could not see their designs through the folders and the whole thing was heavy and cumbersome.

What about combining the two?

You will need

  • A cardboard box (I opted for one I had that was around the right size but you may find that a shoe box works well).
  • Cute wrapping paper, wallpaper or fabric to cover the box with.
  • More cute paper to make the dividers (I cheated and bought double sided wrapping paper so my dividers would be nice on BOTH sides!).
  • Thick card board for a template.
  • Self-Adhesive printable paper (or alternatively plain paper and something to stick it on with).
  • A laminator and A4 laminating pouches.
  • Scissors
  • A craft knife, cutting surface and steel edge for cutting along.
  • A Computer and Printer
  • Tape Measure AND Ruler.

Step One

If you have a stash of cards already measure the biggest one. If you are just starting a stash buy one that is pretty much the biggest size you usually buy (mine is not that big because I resent paying huge amounts for cards!).

Use this as the template to find an appropriate box to use. You want one it will fit in width ways but that is at least half the height of the card to support it.

A cardboard box that will fit your cards is the first requirement. Shoe boxes work well

Step Two

One sheet of wrapping paper was not enough to cover my entire box so I cut it into half along its longest side so that it would wrap around the sides and not cover the base completely (who looks underneath!)

Use good quality wrapping paper that you really love to cover the box. If one sheet wont cover the whole thing think about where you place your joins!

Step Three

I found that glue saturated the paper too much so I used double sided tape strips placed on the box (rather than the paper) to stick one side at a time. I worked around the outsides of the box in turn.

Glue will saturated your paper, making it wrinkle. Use double sided tape to attach the paper to the box.

Step Four

Fold the bottom edges under the base as if you were wrapping a present. Secure with more strips of tape near the edge of the paper. (Tip: Press down from the corner towards the edge to avoid bumps).

Make sure that joins are hidden near corners and work down towards the base to make sure corners are neat.

Step Five

Using scissors cut slits in the paper at each corner, down to the edge of the box, slant them slightly so you are left with a small, roughly triangular shape at the middle of each corner. Using tape or glue stick the central pieces down first and then the sides. Again, put the tape near the edge of the paper.

Use good quality wrapping paper that you really love to cover the box. If one sheet wont cover the whole thing think about where you place your joins!

Step Six

Leave the box for a while and move onto the dividers (all will be revealed as to why, don’t worry!).

Step Seven

Using the thick card board create a template for your dividers. I drew a rectangle that was the same height as my tallest card and 5-8 mm narrower than my box interior (make sure you measure the interior with a flexible measuring tape!).

If you already have a stash of cards, measure the largest one that you have.

Step Eight

I then worked out the width measurement of my card and divided it by six. This was the size of my “tabs”.

I found something that was the right size and shape that I wanted for my tab and drew around it (in my case it was a Two Pence Piece). I cut out this shape separate from my rectangle template.

Step Nine

I used masking tape to tape the “Tab” to the template in the correct place. I needed four of each position so I drew around the template, fitting as many onto the sheet of wrapping paper as possible, in my case six per sheet.

Use a two pence coin to make a semi circle template for your divider tab. Attach this to the main divider template with masking tape so that it can be moved around.

WARNING: Make sure that you do the correct number of each “Tab” position. If you decide to reverse the pattern on alternate dividers like I did you need to keep track of this too. I found the easiest way was to put them into the box in the correct order as I did them then I had an easy visual reminder!

Step Ten

Put aside the left over strips from each piece of wrapping paper – we will use these to line the box!

Step Eleven

Print out your sticker for dividers. I used A4 sheets of self-adhesive office labels (the whole sheet is one big label!) and cut them into the shape I wanted.

Step Twelve

Stick the labels onto the dividers – again, I did this whilst keeping the label pile and the divider pile in the correct order so that I got the right one in the right place!

It is worth keeping your dividers in the right order inside your box as you work. Otherwise they coudl get muddled.

Step Thirteen

Use a laminating machine to laminate each divider. If you are lucky you can get more than one in a plastic pocket to save money. If you don’t have a laminator many copy shops offer this service at reasonable prices.

Step Fourteen

Cut out each divider using scissors. Cut about 2-3 mm out from the edge of the paper inside (this was why we made the divider smaller than the box interior). Check they fit and trim a little more if necessary.

Step Fifteen

Print out your “Event Grids” and glue one to the front of each month’s divider. Keep them fairly high so they can be seen easily as you flick through the box.

Greetings Card Organiser-3

Step Sixteen

Using my measuring tape I decided that the lining had to be 16 cm tall to cover the edges folded over at the top and cut my strip of left over wrapping paper to that height.

Step Seventeen

Instead of measuring I bent the strip of leftover wrapping paper gently into the box and pressed in a fold once I had the entire side covered. I then did the same thing for the adjacent side. One strip of paper covered the inside of two sides nicely but no more so I cut it to precisely that length.

Step Eighteen

Repeat step seventeen for the other two interior walls!

Greetings Card Organiser-17

Step Nineteen:

Write the birthdays and anniversaries of your nearest and dearest on the grids and enjoy! If I buy a card for a specific occasion I stick a post-it note on the front with who it is for so I don’t get to the posting date and forget (yes, I do this quite regularly, which is why we have spare Mother’s and Father’s Day cards!).

Greetings Card Organiser-5

Step Twenty?

I’m just wondering if I should cover the box with transparent sticky backed plastic to protect it from muck. What do you think?

Greetings Card Organiser-4

In a bid to get some more opinions this week I am linking to; Handmade Monday, It’s Overflowing!, “Work it Wednesday” at the Turquoise Home, Fabulously Creative Friday at Jennifer Rizzo and Remodelaholic.

Up-cycled Door Garden Trellis

 

We up-cycled an old interior door into a really lovely  trellis for a climbing Clematis in our back garden.  The entire project cost around £10 and I think that is it sturdier and looks better than most of the flimsy trellises you can buy at garden centres.

The cost was minimal as we already had a lot of the materials from other projects.  If you had to buy the paint etc. from scratch it would still be under £20 with plenty of materials left over for other projects at the end.

As I mentioned in my “DIY French Style Door Finger Plates” post we are gradually replacing all the interior doors in our home with nicer ones and the next to be replaced is the one in our living room.

Up-cycled Trellis-5

We have an ugly compost bin in our back garden I have been desperate to hide for a while and I bought a gorgeous Clematis a few weeks ago and had been meaning to get round to putting some trellis up to block the compost bin and allow it to grow along.

Up-cycled Trellis-4

Inspiration struck and thanks to some wonderful hard graft by my wonderful “Boffin” it became a reality.  Here’s how:

What Kit Do You Need:
  • Old interior door. (I think the panelled kind would work best but feel free to experiment).
  • Screwdriver
  • A gorgeous assistant ( to hold and help move the door).
  • Outdoor wood paint (I used Cuprinol Garden Shades in Pale Jasmine).
  • A paint brush.
  • Galvanised outdoor wood screws (I needed at ones that were 60mm long).
  • An electric drill.
  • A 6mm drill bit suitable for use on wood.
  • A pilot drill for the screws you are using.
  • A jigsaw with a blade suitable for wood.
  • Clamps
  • A work surface you can clamp your work to (a work-mate or similar).
  • Chicken wire (approximately 2m in length, the roll we bought was 75cm wide).
  • Tin snips or wire cutters.
  • Padded gloves.
  • A staple gun and staples.
Step One:

Take the door off of it’s hinges and remove all the other furniture ( I left a couple of bit on because I like the interest they added but you may want to remove absolutely everything).

StepTwo:

Using the 6mm drill bit and drill make holes in all four corners of every panel you wish to remove. (Boffin did this so quickly I didn’t get to take a photo but you can see remnants of the holes in this shot!).

Up-cycled Trellis-2

Step Three:

Use the jigsaw to cut out the panels (please wear goggles and remember to clamp your work securely so it doesn’t move whilst you are using the saw).

The holes should make turning the corners simple.

Up-cycled Trellis-1

Step Four:

Paint the bottom edge of the door with the exterior wood paint (to stop the damp from the ground below rotting the wood).  Allow to dry thoroughly.

Up-cycled Trellis-9

Step Five:

Spread the roll of wire along the back of the door an use tin snips to trim it to length (you might want to wear gloves for this as chicken wire can be quite nasty).  You can fold the ends over to make sure that they don’t stick out and catch on anything.

Up-cycled Trellis-3

Step Six:

Using the staple gun staple down the solid middle of the door.

Up-cycled Trellis-6

Step Seven:

Again, using the staple gun staple around the edges of the piece of wire.

Up-cycled Trellis-7

Step Eight:

Work out where you want to put your screws to secure the trellis to your post or wall.  Pilot drill holes and use enough screws to hold your trellis securely in place.

Up-cycled Trellis-10

Use a spirit level to make sure that the trellis is level.

Up-cycled Trellis-13

Step Nine:

Paint the rest of the door with the exterior paint and allow to dry.

Up-cycled Trellis-16

Step Ten:

Plant up your plants as you wish and secure them to the wire with soft string or ties made specially for the job!

Enjoy your new improved view!

Up-cycled Trellis-19

I hope you enjoy your trellis as much as I am going to enjoy mine, happy summer days x

I’m linking up this week to “The Scoop”, “Link It or Lump It”, “Work It Wednesday” and “Share your Creativity”  come over and see what else there is.

DIY French-Style Door Fingerplates

 

I am really excited with this project and completely thrilled how this turned out!

We fitted a new restaurant style swinging door to our kitchen recently but it was missing the finishing touch of some funky finger plates to stop it getting dirty finger prints everywhere.

I looked all over the internet, DIY stores and Ebay and I couldn’t find anything I really liked without shipping it from America at huge cost.  Then we discovered these floral beauties in a local antique/bric-a-brac shop for £1.00 the pair!

Floral

Whilst they are quite pretty, they are not really my style but they were a complete bargain so I started thinking what I could do with them.  I didn’t want huge amounts of fuss and bother and so one thought sprang to mind…spray paint!

Looking around for inspiration I stumbled across one of my holiday photos from last year.

Plates-17

I have always loved French enamel street signs (this one means “broken neck road”!) and thought that a touch a French chic might be just what was needed.

Step One:

I wanted a white base and the floral transfers would have show through.  I bought this paint in matt white, night blue and a clear top coat.

Paint

As luck would have it the rain stayed away and I put the plates inside a box we had left over from our new kitchen clock to avoid me spraying the lawn white!.

Tip; make sure the wind is behind you, spray outdoors if at all possible and it is also a good idea to wear a face mask as the fumes are pretty strong!

White

I sprayed several coats of the white (enough to empty the can) using long smooth movements across the entire piece.  Lots of thin coats are better than thick ones for the finish.  The white did not completely cover the pattern but it was enough for an undercoat where only parts of it would show through.

The lid of the clock box came in really handy for keeping insects and bits of leaf off of the wet paint whilst it dried.

Step Two:

After the white paint was completely dry (around four hours).  I used card making stickers to mask off a simple border and the words “Bonjour” and “Au Revoir”.  I used a strip of masking tape to line up the letters so they were (almost) straight!

Lettering

The scalpel or a pair of tweezers were essential as the stickers are pretty delicate and can distort if you don’t take your time.

Finally they were ready for the blue stage.

Stickers

Step Three:

Using the blue spray paint in the same way I added about four coats of the night blue and again left it to dry

Blue

 

Step Four:

I left the paint for around eight hours before trying to remove the stickers.  I used the tip of the scalpel to lift the edges and just in case I had to cut the paint layer in order to lift it without wrecking the paint.

However it was easier than I expected and the stickers came away easily with no damage!  The paint had crept under the adhesive in a couple of spots but it was easily scraped gently away with the tip of the scalpel.

Lifting

 

Step Five:

I then sprayed four or five coats of the transparent top coat onto it because I realised that these plates were going to take a lot of abuse from people going in and out of the kitchen all the time.

This time I left them a full twenty-four hours to dry.

Step Six:

Finished

Final

I LOVE the result, it makes me smile every time I go through the door!  What do you think a little bit of Oh La La?!  What else could be done with other ones if I can find them?

In fact I am so chuffed with this project I am going to show it off a bit around the Interweb.  I’m linking up to Remodelaholic’s Anonymous  and Make It and Love It! link parties!

 

How to “Live With” Childhood Medals.

 

Our son (like many kids) has a prolific list of youthful sporting “achievements” and has accumulated a lot of medals and trophies over the course of the last ten years or so. Now he is off at University I can’t help thinking that one day he will (hopefully) get his own place.  I wanted to do something with the heap of medals that both looked good and showed them off to their best advantage.

I wanted to be proud of his achievements but let’s be honest the medals they give out at young one’s sporting events are not the most chic of things and they’re a swine to dust and keep clean!

Mess

So I bought a 20 cm square “shadow box” style frame and began to think how to get them all in and looking good.  I hope you like my solution!

What do you need?:

  • A “shadow box” frame in the colour and size of your choice.
  • The medals and their ribbons.
  • Backing fabric of your choice, 10 cm bigger than your frame all around. ( I used a neutral coloured linen).
  • Self adhesive mount board.
  • Permanent craft “glue dots”.
  • Sewing machine.
  • Sewing thread in colours to match the medal ribbons.
  • Scissors and pinking shears.
  • Pins
  • Craft knife and steel rule to cut with.

Step One:

Remove the backing board from the frame and draw around it (about 10cm in from two edges)  I initially used an air vanishing marker but it vanished too quickly so I resorted to ordinary pencil!

Outline

 Step Two:

Position your medals as you like.  I opted for laying the ribbons over each other from different directions and weaving them over and under each other to get best use of the colours.

Layout

When I had a layout I was happy with I then took a photo of it (the one on the right!) so that I could remember where I had placed everything.

Step Three:

Tip everything off the fabric and, using your photo as a guide) start pinning the medals in position again.  Start with the one that looks like it is “at the bottom”.  You may need to unpin odd bits to slide ribbons and medals underneath but it is quick and easy to re-pin them again.

Pinning

Step Four:

Set your sewing machine up with thread that coordinates with one of your medal ribbon colours and sew it onto the backing fabric.  I used a small straight stitch to do this but I thought you didn’t need lots of close ups of a sewing machine for this one!  Swap colour threads and remove pinning as you need to.

I did sew out beyond the border of the square by four to five centimetres in most cases as the edges will have to wrap securely around the back board.

Warning – Don’t do what I did and sew a pin completely enclosed under another ribbon,  unpicking and re-sewing is a pain. The picture below shows the back of the piece once everything was sewn on. (You can see that I had fun and games with the tension on the yellow thread!).

Back

Step Five:

Trim the excess ribbon off of the piece (I used Pinking shears and cut the ribbons off well outside the border of the square that would be on display).

Ends

 Step Six:

I trimmed all the edges of the piece with pinking shears to neaten them up.

Edges

Step Seven:

I cut a square of self adhesive mount board 20 cm square from a piece bought at Hobbycraft.

I peeled the backing off and laid it sticky side up on the table.  I could then position the piece of fabric over it in approximately the right place and bring it down.

Backboard

Working from the middle out to the edges smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric and fold the edges over to the back.

I have to admit is didn’t finish the back properly as you are supposed to do  for embroidery and tapestry pieces but it didn’t seem to need it!

Step Eight:

The medals themselves were still hanging loose so I put four craft glue dots (the permanent type that are acid free just in case) on the back of each medal (I did put more than four on particularly heavy medals).

Glue Dot

A little pressure on each one and it was in position.

Step Nine:

I put the whole piece into the shadow frame, put the back in and bent over those annoying little metal bits that massacre your nails and fingers.

Step Ten:

Hang it up and admire 🙂

Medal-2

Finally something that is easy to clean, fits in well with the rest of the house and helps to show off what a proud Mum I am!

“Make Do” May – Scarves to Cushions

 

During a spring clean we found our son’s much loved but now sadly neglected football scarf (now, aged 20 he won’t wear it out!).  We also found our own university scarves.  We couldn’t bring ourselves to throw them out but they were taking up space that we needed for other things!

So I set about making a surprise for him when he gets home from University for the summer (I’m safe here he doesn’t read my random ramblings!).

What do you need?:

  • About an hour and a half of time per cushion.
  • A sewing machine.
  • Fabric scissors.
  • Pinking shears.
  • Thread.
  • Pins.
  • Stuffing ( or a cushion pad if you can find one to fit!

Firstly I laid the scarf out and decided which parts of the design I wanted to show on the front of the cushion.  Once this was done I trimmed off the tasselled ends using Pinking shears to minimize fraying.

Scarf 1

I pinned the ends together with the reverse side facing outwards.

Scarf 2

Using the over-locking foot and settings on my sewing machine to stop the ends fraying I joined the ends together.

Tip:  At this point I would also put another line of straight stitching approximately three quarters of a centimetre in from the end.  This avoids putting a lot of strain near the end of the scarf.  I didn’t do this and I regretted it!

Scarf 3

I laid the “loop” out and pinned the long sides together.  Using a longish stitch length I sewed the edges closed leaving a hole in one side that was wide enough to fit the bowl of a wooden spoon.

Scarf 4

 

I then stuffed the cushion with hollow fibre stuffing and used a wooden spoon to get it into the corners and push it down. I then closed the hole with a whip stitch.

Scarf 5

Et voila! A finished surprise for Best Boy when he comes home…

Scarf 6

 

For the University scarves I cut the scarf in half and joined the two halves together to make a wider working area.  I loved the manufacturers label so kept that towards the centre as a feature.

Scarf 7

I squared up the other end and over-locked it to prevent fraying.  The fabric was really thick to start with and the scarf was made from a double thickness of it so a simple fold over hem was the only sensible option on this edge.

Scarf 8

I didn’t have any spare zips around so I opted for a simple envelope cushion style which meant pinning the cover together (right side facing inwards) and overlapped the edges on the join by 5-10 cm.

Scarves-17

A simple line of stitching (again using a longish stitch length of 4) finished off the cushion which now looks very at home in our second sitting room/library!

Scarf 9

I think there is loads more scope for upcycling with scarves. What ideas do you have?

I’m linking up to “Fabulously Creative Friday” .

“Make do May” – Week 3 – Tin Can Garden Lanterns

 

As summer approaches and we are soon to be hosting a barbecue for a visiting friend from Australia.  I dropped everything this weekend to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and made something to cast a warm glow on the festivities, and all it cost was the goodwill of some good friends and a couple of hours of my time!

What I think marks out my version of these lanterns is the terribly efficient hanger shape (dreamed up by Boffin in one of his finest moments!)

Lantern 4

 

As with a lot of families that visit Ikea we have a LOT of night light candles. Having seen variations on these lanterns via Pinterest (the link will take you to my garden idea board where I have a couple of tutorials pinned).

What do you need to do this?:
  1. Empty tins
  2. Wire coat hangers
  3. Wire snips
  4. Pliers
  5. A nail
  6. A Hammer
  7. Some type of vice or work mate to hold the tins
  8. Goggles
  9. A freezer (not pictured!)
  10. A tea towel

Kit

Step One:

We removed the labels and scrubbed the tins.  The we filled them with water and put them in the freezer for 24 hours.

Step Two:

I clamped the can in the vice (as the vice had wooden jaws it didn’t mark the can) and used the tip of the nail to draw a pattern shape into the frost. I actually found it a lot easier to be sat down to do this part.  My hand was much steadier.

Lantern 5

Step Three:

Wearing  goggles (as much in case of flying ice chips as flying metal). Use the nail to punch holes around the edge of the shape.  It is MUCH easier than you think it is going to be!

Lantern 7

Have fun, play with patterns and shapes, experiment!

Shapes

Step Four:

Don’t forget to put holes into the base so that any rain water drains out.

Lantern 8

 Step Five:

Punch one hole opposite each other on either side of the top of the can for the handle.

Lantern 9

 Step Six:

Using wire cutters or tin snips cut away the bulk of the hanger so that you are left with the hook and two “arms” about 10-15 cm long.

Lantern 9a

 Step Seven:

Thread each of the “arms” through one of the holes at the top.

Lantern 11

 Step Eight:

Using pliers bend the ends up onto themselves to hold them in place.

Alone

 Step Nine:

Hang the lanterns up somewhere that allows the ice to melt away (or leave them on the ground).

 

Step Ten:

Put in a night light candle, light and enjoy! (Warning the cans can get hot to the touch when lit for a while).

Beauty

Here’s to many warm nights and relaxed evenings with friends to enjoy them…

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