Friday, May 28, 2010

Tutorial for Paper-Covered Canisters, Tins, etc.

"My name is Megan and I hoard containers." 
That'd be my line if I attended a hoarder's anonymous meeting.

My weakness is for cylindrical containers, mostly.  Tea tins (my favorite), baby formula cans, that tall and skinny tube that Crystal Light comes get the picture.  After I wash and dry them thoroughly I cover them in fancy paper (and maybe some ribbon or other accessories) and use them for gift-giving.  They can be filled with any manner of gift - baked goods, candy, bath salts, drink mixes, etc. 

I'm sure there are many methods and sources for inspiration out there, and with the addition of this tutorial, a Google search for "covered tins" will yield yet another.

You'll need:
a cylindrical container
measuring tape
scrapbook paper
scissors (a paper trimmer is handy too)
spray-on adhesive
craft glue
rubber bands
ribbon or any other accessories

Start with a clean, empty tin.  Remove any labels that may show through the paper.

Measure the height of tin.  This measurement should be only the area that you want covered with paper.  For the tin in this example I couldn't cover the entire height of the tin because the metal ring from the clasp was in the way.  Also keep in mind that some lids won't fit correctly over the paper, so you may need to measure up to the rim of the lid and not up to the rim of the tin.

Measure the circumference of the tin and add about a half an inch for some overlap.

Cut a piece of fancy paper to these dimensions.

Before applying any glue, hold the paper onto the tin and eyeball it to make sure it's going to fit snugly.  Trim your paper if necessary.

Apply spray-on adhesive to the back of the paper according to the directions on the label.  You're going to need a ventilated area (like the garage) and a surface that you don't mind getting sticky (like a piece of scrap paper). 

Apply the paper to the tin, smoothing it down as you go.  If there's a definite front and back to your tin you'll want to position the paper so the seam is on the back.  There should be a bit of overlap at the seam. 

Depending on the thickness/weight of the paper you chose, you may need to secure the seam with some craft glue.  I found that regular weight paper didn't need any reinforcement but heavier (like cardstock) did.  I gently lifted the seam and applied a line of clear craft glue.  Then I pressed it back down and used a couple of rubber bands to hold it in place while it dried. 

Cut a piece of ribbon that's your circumference measurement plus an extra 1/4 inch.  Apply a line of glue to the first inch or so of ribbon and press it onto the tin.  Keep in mind that you'll want the seam to be in the back of tin.

Let it dry completely and then apply more glue to a couple of inches of the tin.  Press the ribbon down onto it and let it dry completely before doing this again and again - until your ribbon is securely adorning your tin.

If you have a tricky spot (like a space between the tin and the hinge for the lid) make sure your seam does not end there because it's too difficult to get your fingers in there and press down the end of the ribbon.  Instead, apply some glue to the ribbon and shimmy it into the tight space. 

Now you're done.  Unless, of course, you want to further accessorize your tin.  You can also add a little gift tag as a finishing touch! 

If you want more tin inspiration, check out this post where I got a little carried away covering cylindrical containers.  Or take a look at this tin that I filled with peppermint bark and gave to Susannah's preschool teacher.

One last thing before you go.  Share some photos of your covered creations with me if you give this tutorial a try.  Just email them my way!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Practical Baby Shower Gift

I'm churning out the owl-themed baby gifts over here because I'm invited to a shower with a woodland creature thing goin' on. 

Pay no attention to the imperfect stitching.  Instead, focus on the practicality of this cute gift.  How handy to have your wipes, diaper, and changing pad all in one little clutch!  I wish I'd had something like this when Susannah was a youngin'. 

I'm pairing this on-the-go-mom-gift with the owl bib I just crocheted.  While both gifts are totally cute, one is handy and useful and the other is terribly impractical.  The yin and yang of owl gifts.   

I used an incredibly simple tutorial that I found at Cluck. Cluck. Sew (a fun blog worthy of a visit). 

On a slightly related note:  If any of my friends are reading this, I'd like to urge you to get pregnant so I can make you some baby shower stuff - it's really fun!  I found so many tutorials for adorable baby gifts and it'd be a shame for them to go to waste!

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Crocheting is a Hoot!

Well, eventually it was a hoot.  Initially I struggled with this owl bib, which is not surprising since this is the first crochet project I've ever undertaken.  For the past few months I've been slowly teaching myself the basic stitches and I finally felt confident enough with my skills to actually try and make something.  Something for a baby shower gift, no less, so I really wanted it to turn out nicely.  Overall I think it did.  I hope the flaws are only obvious to me because I have such an intimate relationship with them!

A crocheted bib (owl or otherwise) might just be the most impractical baby item ever, but it's darn cute!  I found the pattern at the Lion Brand Yarn website and altered it just slightly.  I had to use a simple half-circle for the wings because I struggled so much with the wings in the pattern.  (The skill level is rated as easy but apparently not easy enough for this first-timer!)  I also changed up the colors.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

An Apron for Giveaway Day!

Sew Mama Sew is having another Giveaway Day and I'm hoppin' aboard with this pear apron!

It's just your basic waist apron that ties in the back.  I used this summer-y pear and apple fabric that I've been hanging on to for just such an occasion.  The trim is solid red.

Here are some close-ups for your viewing pleasure:

Try not to look too closely though, because I am by no means a great seamstress...I'm still learning the tricks of the trade.  Anyhoo, if you're interested in making this beauty yours you'll need to know this stuff:

*Leave a comment for a chance to win.
*I'll use a random number generator to select the winner on Thursday, May 20th at 7:00 AM (PST).
*Please be sure that your email address is available to me because that's the method I'll be using to contact the winner.
*I will ship internationally so friends from near and far can join in the fun!
*I will send the apron to the lucky winner by May 24th....I promise!

Good luck and have fun checking out all the other giveaways going on in Blogland for the next few days!  You can find the list of participants here:

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Sweet Tutorial for Beehive Cupcakes

Let me start out by saying that these beehive cupcakes are in no way an original idea from yours truly.  I saw a photo of them somewhere - a magazine, a blog, flickr?  I don't know for sure where I spotted them first, but it was love at first sight!  I Googled the heck out of "beehive cupcakes" and gleaned all the information I could from my search results.  Then, I tried my hand at these sweet morsels and took photos along the way.  That being said, this tutorial is brought to you in part by this recipe at, a handful of beehive cupcake photos floating around on the world wide web, and what I learned from trial and error.

View my original beehive cupcake post here.

You're going to need:
white chocolate chips
chocolate covered almonds
slivered almonds
yellow food coloring
red food coloring
wax paper
some cooled cupcakes
pastry bag or a plastic Ziploc bag

The trickiest part is making the stripes.
Put 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Add four or so drops of yellow food coloring (you can add more at any point if you want to change the color) and toss/mix it around with a spoon.  Add 1/2 tsp. of shortening.

Microwave at 70% power for 30 seconds.  Stir it well even though it's not very melted yet.  Microwave for 30 more seconds (all microwaving should be at 70% power) and stir again.  Microwave for another 15 seconds and stir again.  This should be the last round of nuking.  Your concoction should be yellow, totally melted and drizzle easily off of your spoon when you lift it above the bowl.  At any point you can microwave for another 10-15 seconds to get the consistency where you want it.

Lay out about six chocolate covered almonds on a piece of wax paper with plenty of space between each.  Use your spoon to lift a scoop of melted concoction and let it begin to drizzle off.  You want to have a steady drizzle going throughout these next steps so that your stripes are straight and consistent.   

Drizzle on the wax paper next to an almond and slowly move the drizzle across the surface of the almond and end at the wax paper on the other side of the almond.  You'll probably have to re-load your spoon every couple of stripes.  This'll take a couple of tries to get the hang of it.  These pictures show my first couple attempts and will help you get the idea of how best to execute your' shizzle.

You'll notice that there's quite a bit of "wasted" drizzle on the wax paper, but that's the best method I found for making straight lines.  You'll also notice a lot of drizzle on the bowl.

Make as many almonds as you think you'll need for your cupcakes.  I used two bees on each cupcake but they'd look just as cute with one or three or four!

Leave these bees alone for awhile.  They can dry/harden/set while you frost the cupcakes.

The sweetest beehive you'll ever taste!
First, you have to do a bit of construction.  Cut one of your cupcakes into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Then cut them into squares.  See the photo below to get a better idea of the size  you'll need.  Use a dab of frosting to secure the square to the top of a cupcake.  This'll give your hive a nice height without having to apply a ton of frosting and it'll prevent the frosting from caving in on itself.  You're going to need one square for each beehive you want to make.

Now make your frosting whatever color you think a beehive should be.  I started with a tub of cream cheese frosting and added two drops of yellow food coloring and one drop of red.  It made a really light - but not bright - yellowish color.

Scoop your frosting into a pastry bag or one corner of a Ziploc bag.  I didn't have a circle tip large enough so I went without a tip and the opening of the pastry bag happened to be the perfect size.  About a 1/2 inch diameter is what you want, so if you're using a Ziploc bag snip off the corner accordingly.

Beginning at the base of the cupcake and squeeze the frosting around the cupcake in a spiral fashion...slowly working up to the top.

There's a nice hive shape for ya.  The stripes on your bees should be set by now, so press a couple of them into the frosting.  Now use the slivered almonds to make some wings.  Just poke them into the frosting on either side of the bee body. 

Refrigerate so no drooping or sliding-off-of-the-frosting occurs. 

Thanks for sticking with me while I bumbled through these directions.  I hope my incessant rambling didn't sting too much.  What?  Did you really think I could make it through a whole post with no puns?

One last thing before I go.  I love seeing what other people have made using my rambling tutorials and I'll feature them on my blog if you give me permission.  So, if you try this tutorial, share some photos with me!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Hooray! Hooray! The First of May!

I started writing this post on May 1st, but life happened and now it's May 3rd.  Happy belated May Day!

I'm so happy I found a tutorial for this umbrella craft over at Everything Except the Grill...just in time for May Day!  Susannah and I whipped some up yesterday and then stuffed them with bluebells this morning. 

They made for some darn cute May baskets which we delivered to family and friends late this morning.  Susannah had a blast sneaking up to front porches and quietly hanging the umbrellas from doorknobs and mailboxes.  Then, we'd make a mad dash back to the car and fumble with her carseat buckles before Dad drove us away to the next stop.  I should have had a sign taped to my rear end that said "Happy May Day" because that's what most people saw when they answered their doorbells this morning.  It's hard to be quick and stealthy when your kid's still in a carseat!

I know it's a little late for this year, but perhaps next May you might want to try these.  Check out the link above for a great tutorial.  Susannah and I tweaked ours a bit because we wanted to use fresh flowers and I had some leftover spring-colored candy canes that made perfect umbrella handles.

We cut the umbrella shape out of dessert-sized paper plates and then painted them with watercolors - by far the most enjoyable part for Susannah.

Then we used the other half of the paper plate (with the scallops cut off to make a smooth edge) as a back piece so that our umbrella shape could actually be a container for short-stemmed flowers.  We glued a little knob fashioned from paper to the very tip of the umbrella and then used tacky glue to stick the two plate pieces together, back to back.  Some clothespins came in handy to hold the pieces in place while they dried.  We glued and taped the candy cane to the inside of the back plate and gave it plenty of time to dry.  We also ran out of candy canes and had to use construction paper for some of the handles.

I printed out (onto cardstock) this delightful May Day poem that I found over at Skip to My Lou.  I didn't use it, but the site actually has a .pdf version of these tags that you can print out.  We glued our tags to the back of the umbrellas.

Then we stuffed them with flowers and delivered them!  Some of the umbrellas had to be suspended from a loop of ribbon because the crook of the candycane was too narrow to fit over some of the doorknobs we encountered. 

Happy Belated May Day, Everyone!

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