Button-spiration: Spring Flowers Pt. 3

Here is the third installment of our spring button flower inspiration. Thankfully, spring seems to have finally arrived in Calgary over the past few days. The snow is gone We woke to snow this morning, but the ground is turning into mud, and we’ve had much needed sunshine! Hopefully you’re starting to experience some of this too, where ever you may be. Or maybe you’re already delighting in the cherry blossoms & daffodils. Just a touch jealous. We have some crocuses starting to pop up.

To keep our spring hope alive, let us turn to this easy-peasy, but adorable project from indieBerries.All you need for supplies are a pile of buttons, different sizes & colours (how much variation or uniformity you want is up to you) and florist wire. She has cute step-by-step illustrations/cartoons on her blog to demonstrate the project. I so very wished I had time to make some of these right now. I feel like our kitchen could use a little bright colour. Alas, the little bits of free time I have are being dedicated to prepping for the Boutique Wedding Market. Perhaps you’ll have a spare moment in the coming days to give these a try? I do hope so. Enjoy!

Stacked button flowers

Button-spiration: Spring Flowers Pt. 2

Button flower pots by Flamingo Toes

Here is another adorable spring button flower project to keep you busy until we can enjoy actual flowers in the yard. The full tutorial can be found on the V Spot blog, by special guest blogger Flamingo Toes.

These little potted fabric flowers are actually quite small, only about 4″ tall. You can pick up all sorts of sizes of clay pots at the craft store these days (and they’re usually very inexpensive). You can either paint the pots, or leave them as is, depending on the look you’re going for. You’ll need some stuffing and faux green moss to fill the pots. Next choose some fabric and burlap to make your flowers. Really, you can use any fabric flower tutorial to create the blossoms, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the style she used here. I would likely use some of my scrappy flowers that I use to make the floral hair combs & brooches. However you decide to make your fabric flowers, just pop a button into the centre of each to finish them off.

Pretty darn adorable project to decorate a fireplace mantel, small shelf or Easter dinner centerpiece. In fact, they’re so simple to make, you could put together one for each Easter dinner guest to take home with them. Attach a little name tag to the pot and you’ve got adorable seating place markers. Lots of ways to use these guys! Have fun creating!

Button-spiration: Spring Flowers Pt.1

The official arrival date of spring has come and gone. In Calgary, that typically means we get more snow (no joke). This year is not much different, except that it is unusually cold out still. By now, the temperature is a little more mild, but the last few days have felt like full-on winter again. Le sigh. I am feeling VERY done with the snow & cold this year. I’m longing for those days when we can spend hours outside playing & discovering with Sam. Soon, soon, I keep repeating to myself. Well, not soon enough!

As we wait for the snow to fully melt, the ground to thaw, and a tiny hint of green to poke through, I thought we could embrace some simple spring flower button projects. This one is the first in a series of ideas, all collected on my Button-spiration Pinterest board. This cute egg carton button art project is brought to you by Mod Podge Rocks. She cut up a paper egg carton to form the flower blossoms, then had her kids paint and decorate them. When the blossoms were dry, they glued a button into the center of each. A bundle of pipe cleaners were tied with a ribbon to create the flower stems. Everything was then glued into place on a canvas (which she had painted beforehand, although you can now purchase coloured canvases from the craft store, if you’re short on time).

Egg carton button flower art

Sammy and I are using this flower egg carton idea to decorate a spring wreath. Hubby made a large twisted twig wreath several years ago, which we hang on the front door at this time of year. It needs a bit of colour to offset the current dreariness these days, but I don’t want to permanently attach anything to the wreath. I like the idea of having a wreath we can decorate a few different ways. I’ll get Sammy to paint & decorate the egg carton blossoms, then poke two holes through the bottom of each blossom & attach some yarn, so we can just tie them onto the wreath. Once the yarn is through the holes, we can cover it up with a button in the center of each blossom. I’ll try to remember to a) take pictures as we finish working on this and b) find the time to post them.

Until then, have fun playing around with your egg carton flower art!

Button-spiration: Stacking

This is such a cute idea! Little button stacking toys with wine corks. All I’m lacking are the self-adhesive velcro dots, otherwise, Sammy & I would be playing with these already. It’s the perfect project for this crazy mama who is determined to instill her love of buttons on everyone, especially her son. Find the full tutorial on the No Time for Flash Cards blog. If you’re looking for other button inspired kids games, check out the one I posted about back in July too.

button stackers

Sweetheart Treats

Valentine treats by Bubblegum Sass

Last month, I hosted a little get together for friends. There was lots of sweet treats and pretty decorations in pink & purple. Simple doilies, fresh carnations, and cute handmade details.

Cupcake liner bowls by Bubblegum Sass

Instead of trying to make my own little chocolates, I picked up some tasty Bernard Callebaut chocolates. I turned pretty paper cupcake liners inside-out to make little bowls for them.

Cinnamon heart shortbread cookies by Bubblegum Sass

These tasty Cinnamon Heart Shortbread cookies were a hit with my tummy and I’ll be sure to make them again next year for Valentine’s Day. You can find the recipe for these here. The recipe calls for cinnamon extract, which isn’t something I typically keep with my baking supplies. I found something suitable at Micheal’s. Start by adding a tiny amount, and continue to add more bit by bit until you achieve the flavor you like.

Doily Bowls by Bubblegum Sass

To make some cute little bowls for the cinnamon heart candies, I just folded small circular paper doilies and taped the corners with washi tape (similar idea as these bowls made from paper plates).

Chocolate dipped waffer cookies by Bubblegum Sass

These cookies were a super hit! I think I’ll have to make more of them soon, the very next time I have an excuse to serve super sweet sugar bombs! They’re really simple to make too. Sammy and I did these together (sort of). I dipped the wafer cookies in the melted white chocolate and Sam did some of the sprinkles (although mainly he waited for them to dry so he could get a bite or two). Find the recipe here.

Melted crayon hearts by Bubblegum Sass

And lastly, a little bit of festive decorating. These pretty hearts are made from crayons melted between wax paper. Two lessons learned while making these: First, make the crayon shavings small & don’t over do it. They turn out much better if you don’t use too many shavings. Second, keep the temperature on the iron low and press the wax paper between old tea towels (or t-shirts), otherwise you’ll end up with a very messy iron.

Have fun with all your baking and crafting, whatever the reason or season!

DIY Bird Seed Rolls

DIY Bird Seed Rolls by Bubblegum Sass

Our little man really does like watching birds. Two-years old and I’m already picturing him as a geeky birder. Plus, he looooves to look through all of his daddy’s seed catalogues, learning the names of plants and flowers. Definitely a future geek. Oh, I love him so!

We have several storybooks with birds in them. His two fave are Riki’s Birdhouse by Monica Wellington and Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies. Sam has been learning about different birds & what they eat. So when I suggested one morning that we “make a special treat to feed the birds”, Sam was super excited! He ran to the front door with his winter boots in hand! Once I got him to put his boot back for the moment, I quickly gathered the few supplies we would need:

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass, Ingredients

  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • Peanut butter
  • Plate (or baking sheet) with bird seed mix spread out on it (we used a variety of seeds, since I figured that both little & big birds would probably enjoy these, plus the occasional rascal squirrel)
  • Butter knife (the more dull, the better, if you’re going to let the kiddos to this craft)

From there, the project is pretty straight forward. Spread peanut butter onto the toilet paper rolls (TIP: if you’re using a type of peanut butter that normally resides in the fridge, you might want to pop it into the microwave briefly to soften it). I figured Sam would enjoy rolling the toilet paper rolls through the seeds best, but then I forgot how novel it was that he was getting to use a knife. Needless to say, he loved spreading the peanut butter! One roll kept him busy for quite a while. Oh, and as with all toddler projects, just embrace the mess!

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

Once you’ve got peanut butter spread all over the toilet roll, gently roll it through your bird seed mix. Sam kept trying to roll his “partially” peanut-butter-covered toilet roll in the seed mix. Next time, I won’t put the plate of seed mix out until he is done putting peanut butter on the rolls, just to keep things simple.

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

Ta-da! Homemade treats for the backyard critters!

Completed DIY Bird Seed Rolls By Bubblegum Sass

Now for the installation… really easy to do! Just slip the bird seed toilet paper rolls onto the branches of trees. I tucked ours into areas that would be protected from snow, and on branches that would be easy for birds to perch on and eat from. Once we had them hung on the trees, Sam & I sat in the backyard, listening to the birds and hoping that they would find our treats soon. Within a few days, the rolls were either picked completely clean (peanut butter and all) or the entire rolls disappeared (probably a squirrel or big crow made short work of ripping them off & dragging them back home).

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass, roll hanging on branch

This project is definitely on our list of things to do again! The supplies are things we often have on hand (if you have kids, I suggest you start an empty toilet paper roll collection), it was easy to do with a toddler without any frustration or tears, and clean-up just involved sweeping the kitchen a bit. Plus, it got us outside and into nature, probably the best benefit of the project! I’m sure all our feathered and furry friends were thankful for the surprise feast.

DIY Christmas Coupon Book

DIY Christmas Coupon by Bubblegum Sass

One of the little DIY Christmas gifts that I made this year was a simple coupon book for hubby, with gifts of time redeemable throughout the year. It was a perfect stocking stuffer! And once I got a template figured out, it was pretty easy to make. I started just by searching online for some various gifts of time ideas. It was a little tricky to find suitable ideas for hubby, which is why I picked a few general “gifts”, like bathroom cleaning & mowing the lawn. From there I came up with a few more personal “gifts”, like daddy free-time & reasons I love him.

DIY Christmas Coupon by Bubblegum Sass, Clean Bathroom Page

DIY Christmas Coupon by Bubblegum Sass, Lawn Mowed Page

Once I had a list of coupon ideas, I visited my fave stock photo site, Veer (my previous place of employment) and picked out a couple of stock illustrations to use in the design. It’s really easy to search their site, and make purchases. I think my total bill was just over $4. Not an expensive gift to put together, and the professional illustrations make it so much more classy.

DIY Christmas Coupon by Bubblegum Sass, Reasons I Love You Page

DIY Christmas Coupon by Bubblegum Sass, Daddy Free Time Page

The coupon book was printed on card stock and then stapled together. I used some pretty washi tape to cover up the staples & finish up the binding. Voila! A nice little gift ready to pop into a Christmas stocking. Or seeing as it is now January, you might want to consider this as a Valentine’s or Father’s or Mother’s Day gift (you’ve got several months to get this project done in time).

DIY Christmas Coupon by Bubblegum Sass, Washi Tape Binding

If you’re not up for making one of these coupon books from scratch, there are plenty of free printable versions available. Here’s some that might interest you:

  • Printable Gift Coupons from Life As Mom (both a colour and black & white version)
  • Printable Love Coupon Book from I Heart Nap Time (a good Valentine’s version)
  • Photo Gift Coupons from Bubby & Bean (this one uses your own photos for the design and she includes great instructions on using Photoshop Elements)

It’s In The Mail

Sam's Mail Art Postcards

Sammy and I have had a bit of fun lately making mail art for friends. I posted about my previous adventures in mail art, doing a postcard exchange with my art friends. It’s been years since all of that, but I continue to be fascinated with mail art, especially in light of all the postal changes coming to our Canada Post services (they’re phasing out home delivery of mail… we’ll all just have community post boxes). Maybe I’m just sentimental, but it makes me really sad to think of Sam’s generation growing up without knowing the joy of receiving mail right to your front door. Although, I realize that once we move out to the farm, we will likely have a PO box anyway. Does it make me old, that I still remember the joy of sorting the mail at home as a kid & discovering a letter or postcard from one of my pen pals living on the other side of the world? Who keeps pen pals anymore, when there’s Facebook? There’s still just something really wonderful about receiving a physical letter or card from someone, instead of a digital one or an instant message.

Sam's Mail Art Postcards 3

It with some of these thoughts in mind, that I put together little postcard making kits for two of Sammy’s dearest friends. I really meant to take photos of their kits before I gifted them, but le sigh, did not (I will add the postcard kits to the list of DIY projects/tutorials I want to share with you in the near future). One of Sammy’s friends has since moved to Ontario and we (ok, it’s mostly me at this stage) have loved receiving the colourful postcards from little Miss Summerlee. Sam is just reaching the stage when he will start to enjoy receiving the cards, after all, he now understands the concept of opening presents. And these postcards are really just little present that arrive in the mail. Sam finally returned the favor and got a few postcards off to friends before Christmas.

Sam's Mail Art Postcards 2

I used to glue the front & back of the postcards together, but that’s not exactly a toddler friendly activity to do. So I’ve opted instead to tape the postcard fronts & backs together with colourful washi tape. I also tacked them together a bit with double sided tape, which isn’t visible in the finished postcard. I do the cutting and taping, but Sam’s does all the “artwork”. He’s very fond of piling up stickers on top of each other. For these postcards being sent around Christmas, I also dug out some vintage Christmas stamps that my dad used to use. That was a slight mom fail, as I used some of my stamp ink, which is meant to be archival, and therefore not easily washable from little hands. Doh! Sam was a bit festive with red hands for the day, but it eventually came off once he soaked in the bath. Mom fails are a common occurrence in our home (and I know I’m not alone on these things).

Sarah's Mail Art Postcard

I also did a little mail art myself, with some shaped paper punches, scrap paper & the sewing machine. Simple, but cute, I think. It’s jut lacking a button. I blame all the crooked stitching on the fact that Sam insisted on sitting in my lap while I sewed. Not sure how long I’m going to be able to keep him from the sewing machine. That’s NOT another “mom fail” to come. He won’t be using it himself for years to come, but he does love to watch me & I can see the gears turning to figure out how it’s all working.

Don’t forget I keep a Pinterest board of inspirational mail art ideas. Do check it out, it you’re curious about some of the possibilities. There’s also an awesome book, which I should dig out & look through again, called A Good Mail Day by Jennie Hinchcliff. There’s also a tumblr feed to check out if you appreciate all the is associated with the “art” of real, honest-to-goodness mail. Enjoy!

Button-spiration: Journal

A new year, often means starting a new journal or diary. I haven’t personally kept one for years (other than the writing I do on here). Sometimes I wish I would make more of an effort to keep a daily or at least weekly journal of our lives. Maybe one day…

For now, I just wanted to share this adorable idea for a button journal cover from The Split Stitch:

button journal cover

The full tutorial actually entails making the entire journal. If you love paper crafts, then go for it. If you just want a cute, quick project to do, then might I suggest you just pick up a new Moleskine journal of your choice (or any soft/paper or thin leather covered-journal). Stitch your buttons on, use rubber stamps & ink to do any wording, a nice set of felt pens can be used to do some more decorating, and voila! A new, personalised journal to fill over the coming months.

DIY candy cane ornaments

DIY candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum SassFINALLY!! A tutorial. They’ve been so lacking on this blog, my sincere apologies. I always have the best intentions of trying to put them together to share with you, and then they get stuck at the needing-to-photograph-each-step stage or the needing-to-edit-things stage. But finally, here is one done & ready to share! A simple project to whip up, just in time for Christmas too! These DIY Candy Cane Ornaments were inspired by some yarn wrapped candy canes from Family Chic. I’ve added my own twist to them, of course, by adding an adorable button hanger! So let’s get crafting.

Supplies to make candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum Sass
Here’s what you need:

  • balls of yarn (I used two different colours per candy cane, a creamy white & either red or green)
  • box of edible, full-sized candy canes
  • hot glue gun & glue
  • scissors
  • twine
  • buttons (need to use buttons with four holes)

Cutting plastic from candy cane
First step, cut the extra bit of plastic wrap from both ends of the candy cane. I left the candy cane wrapped in plastic.

Choose colours of yarn for candy cane
Next, select the two colours of yarn and unwind a bit of each.

Begin attaching yarn to candy cane
Place a dab of hot glue on the very end of the candy cane & a dab on the side. Then, carefully press the ends of your two yarn strands into the glue. I started wrapping my candy canes from the hook end.

Glue yarn to candy cane
With the two strands of yarn side by side, continue to apply a small dab of glue to the candy cane & wrap the yarn around.

Continue to apply glue to candy cane
Keep applying small dabs of hot glue along the length of the candy cane, wrapping the two yarn strands around as you go. The yarn might become a little twisted near the balls of yarn, but just maintain a length of untwisted yarn to work with, and you will be able to achieve the stripe.

Finish attaching yarn to candy cane
Finish wrapping the yarn around the length of the candy cane. Once you reach the end, place a dab of hot glue on the very tip of the candy cane. Carefully press the two yarn strand into the glue. Place a tiny dab of glue along the side of the candy cane, & again, carefully press yarn into glue. Then snip the remaining unattached yarn.

Yarn wrapped candy cane
Ta-da! All done the first part. Now for the hanger. (Don't stress out if the first candy cane you wrap isn't quite as neat or if the stripe is a little wonky. You'll get better after making a couple more...The first one I made didn't look super great!)

Button hanger step one
Cut a length of twine anywhere between 9-11 inches (depending on how long of a loop you want). Fold the twine in half. Thread a button onto the twine, moving the button down toward the loop end (half-way point) of the twine, keeping both ends of the twine even. Leave about a 3/4 inch loop (just enough to wrap around the top of the candy cane).

Button hanger step two
Now, place the button along the front of the candy cane, in centre of the hook. Fold the little twine loop around & toward the back of the candy cane. Slip the two loose ends of twine through the loop.

Button hanger step three
Tighten the twine around the candy cane, pulling the loose ends of twine all the way through the loop. The button should sit fairly flat against the candy cane. If you find that the button seems loose, you made need to undo the twine & make the loop (near the half-way point of the twine) smaller.

Button hanger step four
Lastly, tie the two loose ends of twine into a simple knot. And DONE!

DIY candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum Sass, end view
DIY candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum Sass, detail view
DIY candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum Sass, group
I made a bunch of these to attach to our gift bags for friends & family this year. You could also attach them to the outside of wrapped gifts, instead of using a bow. I’m thinking that next year, I might need to make some into a pretty garland to hang from our fireplace mantel. Lots of possibilities!

Happy last-minute Christmas crafting!