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Potpourri Mason Jars

Have a quart mason jar, a short string of lights, and some potpourri?

Put the lights inside the jar; fill with your favorite scented potpourri. Add a crocheted doily over the top of the jar (of course, leaving the end of the lights out to plug in). Once the doily is over the top, secure with a ribbon around the "neck" of the jar. Plug it in and you have yourself an attractive item for any place in your home. It also smells wonderful as the heat from the lights spreads the scent throughout your home.

Fabric Covered Mats

Fabric adds a touch of luxury to almost any project. By using fabric to cover mats, you can make ordinary photos or drawings look rich and special. Use the mats in conjunction with frames or use them on their own to frame snapshots, etc. This is a great project if you'd like to dress up a large grouping of photos. You can match the fabric to your decor and the cardboard can probably be found for free.

Mat/exacto knife
Fabric glue or hot glue gun with glue sticks
Fray check (a fabric glue that prevents fabric from fraying)
Scissors (for fabric)
Various trims: ribbon, cording, etc. (optional)

Using ruler and pencil, measure out the desired size of the mat. If the mat is to go in a frame, make the mat a little smaller than the recessed opening in the frame, taking into account the thickness of the fabric that will be used.
Cut cardboard to size. You should now have a rectangle/square/etc. with a corresponding opening in the middle.
Cut a piece of fabric that matches the shape of the mat, leaving an allowance of about one half inch on all sides (size may vary depending on the width of the mat).
Fold over one edge of the fabric and glue it onto the backside of the mat. Pull the opposite edge of fabric tight and glue it into place. Fold the remaining sides of the fabric over and glue them into place, making sure that you tuck and miter the corners.
Next, with scissors, snip a small hole in the middle of the fabric that is stretched over the mat's center opening. For rectangles and squares, cut an X shape that runs from inside corner to inside corner. For triangles, cut a Y shape that runs to almost each point. However, DO NOT cut the fabric flush to each corner.
Fold each flap of fabric over, pulling tight, and glue into place on the back of the mat. Trim any excess fabric that extends passed the edge of the mat.
Apply a small amount of fray check to raw, fabric edges at each inner corner and to any other areas that show signs of fraying.
Insert mat into frame or use on its own.

Any type of cardboard can be used: corrugated, mat board, paperboard (tissue boxes, twelve-pack soda boxes), pressboard (note pad backing). When choosing what type to use, do take into consideration whether the mat will eventually be used in a frame or on its own. Using a thick, corrugated cardboard, covering it with velvet and trying to place it in a frame with a shallow recess probably won't work.
Try different shapes, such as squares, triangles, trapezoids, etc., but remember that they should be easy enough for you to wrap the fabric around (circles or curved shapes are harder to cover than straight edges).
For a more upholstered look, cut some quilt batting to the same size a shape as the mat and glue it onto the mat before covering with the fabric.
You can make your own fray check by thinning down some craft/fabric glue (the type that dries clear) with water. Be sure to test it on an extra piece of fabric.
If desired, use fabric paints to decorated the fabric before or after covering the mat.
Use sheer fabrics (chiffon), tulle or lace as an overlay for the fabric you wrap around the mat. A black lace or tulle over silver, burgundy or other jewel-toned fabric would look fabulous.
When using the mat as a frame, try adding some nice ribbon or cording from which to hang it.

Metal Paneling

Metal paneling has become quite popular with the emergence of high tech home decor themes. Actual heavy, metal paneling and even metal-looking laminates have been used to achieve an industrial look for kitchens, bathrooms and dens. However, the expense, tools and skill required working with metal or laminates may be more than many of us can handle or wish to take on.
A similar look can be achieved by using a readily available, and less expensive, alternative: aluminum foil. Regular, kitchen foil or even foil candy wrappers (like the type Hershey's Kisses are wrapped in) are a lighter and easier to work with alternative to metal and laminate paneling. Protected with a few coats of varathane or other clear coat finish, the foil paneling will be able to stand up to wear and tear.

Object to be covered (box, table top, door, etc.)
Paint (flat latex)
Sizing, or spray adhesive
Foil (candy wrappers or aluminum foil)
Paint brush
Exacto knife or scissors
Antiquing gel (optional)
Upholstery tacks or flat-head thumbtacks (optional - to simulate rivets)
Glue (optional - to attach rivets)
Sealer/Clear coat

Give the object to be worked on a good base coat of the desired color. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.
If a crinkled look for the panels is desired, crumple foil slightly, then carefully unfold the foil, smoothing it out with your fingers.
Using a ruler and exacto knife cut foil to desired size. The size and shapes of the foil panels are entirely up to you.
Dry fit the foil onto the object, allowing a little space between panels so that the base color shows. Make any necessary adjustments. You may wish to lightly pencil in guide marks to make placement of panels easier once the sizing has been applied. Set the foil aside.
Apply sizing to object, and allow to dry until clear and tacky.
Begin placing foil onto the object, smoothing the foil with your fingers or a paintbrush. Be sure that all edges and corners are well adhered.
If desired, use upholstery tacks to simulate rivets. For thick surfaces, such as doors or tabletops, hammer them directly into the wood. For thinner surfaces, use wire snips or pliers to cut or break off the sharp ends and use glue to affix the rivets to the corners of the panels.
For a tarnished look, apply Antiquing gel according to manufacturer's directions.
Seal object with clear coat.

This would be a great project to re-finish old kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Cabinet frames painted black or dark blue with silver-foil paneled doors would look quite dramatic.
If you live in an apartment or rent and cannot permanently change your surroundings, do the foil paneling on pieces of laminate (the cheapest you can find) or cardboard, cut to the size of the doors and affixed with adhesive pads.
Smaller projects can be done using candy wrappers, but for larger objects, such as cabinets, doors or large tabletops, kitchen aluminum foil is better. You won't have to eat all that candy and can get larger sized foil shapes to fit the scale of the object.
Use either side of the aluminum foil: the shiny side for a shiny appearance or the dull side for a more muted look.
The foil from Hershey's Kisses and miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups work great for small projects. If you prefer red, green, pink, etc. foils, buy Kisses during the various seasons or holidays when they are wrapped in colored foil.
To smooth the wrinkles out of candy wrappers, place the wrapper on a hard, smooth surface and using the back of a spoon, gently rub out the wrinkles.
A good source for heavy-duty foil is from florist supply stores. You can find fancy, embossed, colored foils that are used for wrapping flowerpots.
For a brushed metal look, rub aluminum foil with some steel wool.
To emboss the foil, use a dull pencil to make impressions in the foil before applying it to the object.
An easy way to get lines to match up is to apply a large panel of foil onto the surface of an object and then carefully cut that panel into smaller sections.
For a tech look, keep the panel shapes simple. Squares, rectangles and even triangles would look great. For a more romantic, inlaid look, try fleur de lis or floral patterns.
Be sure to have plenty of extra blades on hand. Cutting through the aluminum foil quickly dulls the blades and dull blades result in ragged or torn edges on your foil.
If using heavy foil, be sure to use a super hold spray adhesive.
For objects that will get a lot of wear and tear, such as cabinets, doors and tabletops apply several coats of varathane/varnish/clearcoat.


Lengths of "flapper" fringe can be turned into cute, simple tassels with a bit of glue and some embroidery floss or thread. These tassels are perfect for decorating gifts, for sewing onto woven trim and for embellishing a lampshade. Taking only a few minutes of your time, they are a quick and easy way to add elegance to your projects.

"Flapper" fringe trim
Embroidery floss or thread
Sewing pins

The length of fringe trim that you will need for each tassel depends on how long the fringe is. For the examples shown here, I used two-inch long fringe cut into two-inch lengths. You'll need to decide for yourself how thick you would like your tassel to be.
Take a length of cording or embroidery floss and tie a knot in one end.
Lay your length of fringe trim flat on a table. Apply a small amount of glue all along the woven edge of the trim.
Place the cording onto the woven edge so that the knot is just below it.
Roll up the fringe trim jellyroll fashion. Use the sewing pins to secure the tassel so that it will not unroll. Wipe away any excess glue that might have oozed out. Allow drying.
Cut a length of floss and begin tightly wrapping just under the woven part of the fringe trim to form the binding (be sure to cover the starting end of the floss as you wrap).
Once you are satisfied with the width of the binding, insert the sewing needle well below the floss you have just wrapped. Thread the free end of the floss into the needle’s eye and pull the floss beneath the binding and trim the excess floss.
Trim the ends of the fringe, if necessary.

These tassels look great when attached to pillow corners.
Try making a whole bunch of these tassels and sewing them onto some simple trim.
Place tassels at both ends of a 12-inch length of cord, then use the tasseled cord to tie cloth napkins for a special dinner.

Embossing Velvet

Velvet is a fabric that is elegant all by itself. However, sometimes you want something more than just a plain piece of velvet, but can't find a pattern that you like (or the one you want is just too expensive). Embossing velvet could be your answer. Embossed velvet can be used for a myriad of projects: scarves, gift bags, upholstery, anything you'd use plain velvet for!
Embossing velvet requires shapes that you would like to use for your patterns. This can include cardboard cutouts, wire twisted into shapes, coins, rubber stamps, basically anything that can stand up to the heat of an iron (yes, rubber stamps can stand up to a lot of heat; high temperatures are part of their manufacturing process).
I'm not going to lie to you; embossing velvet is not the easiest thing in the world. It takes practice and experimentation to figure out what works best for you in terms of fabric blends, irons, heat, etc. However, once you get the hang of it, it can give beautiful results.
I can't stress this enough: Practice, practice, practice, experiment, experiment, and experiment!

Velvet (rayon/acetate)
Cardboard cutout, rubber stamps, wire or anything that can withstand the heat of an iron
Spray bottle with water
Wooden cutting board, cookie sheet or other rigid, heat-resistant surface
Measuring tape or ruler

NOTE: An ironing board does not work well for this project. It is too padded and will cause your shapes to sink into the padding, resulting in shiny areas on your velvet where the iron crushed the pile against the board instead of the cutout, stamp, etc.

Practice on scraps of velvet before trying it on a pristine length of velvet! You can try using a hand steamer to "erase" mistakes, however it does not always completely restore the pile.
Using the pins, mark the pattern out on the wrong side of the velvet.
Heat the iron, without steam, to its highest setting (usually this would be for fabrics such as cotton).
Place your cardboard cutout onto the cutting board.
Place the velvet, pile/fuzzy side down, on top of the cutout, aligning the cutout to your pin marks. Once it is aligned remove the pin.
Mist the back of your velvet with water from your spray bottle. Don't soak it, a couple of spritzes are enough.
Using your iron, press the velvet onto the cutout. Do not slide the iron across the fabric, this will only dislodge the fabric and give you multiple images overlapping each other. Continue pressing fabric for about 20 seconds.
Remove iron and carefully lift a corner of the fabric, making sure you do not dislodge the cutout. If the pile of the velvet is not yet flat and shiny in the correct areas, replace fabric and press for a little longer.
If the cutout is large or you need to continue with your pattern, lift the iron up, move it to the next area and repeat pressing.
Once you are satisfied with your image, remove velvet from the board and allow cooling.

Wreath Plaque

Materials Used:

1. Country Wreath Pen ‘n’ Ink sheet from Country Pen ‘n’ Ink Packet.
2. Acrylic paint (Delta: Indiana Rose, Gypsy Rose, Old Parchment, Deep River, Bambi, and Village Green. Mix Violet with white to make lavender.)
3. A #3-6 round paintbrush.
4. Raffia
5. A wooden heart 7” x 7”.
6. Mod Podge.
7. Hot glue gun.

Directions for the Wreath Plaque:
1. Paint the Country Wreath Pen ‘n’ Ink sheet.
2. Cut out the wreath along all edges.
3. Paint the back side of the wreath with Mod Podge and stick it onto the upper center of the wooden heart.
4. Paint over the front side of the wreath and the entire front of the wood heart with Mod Podge.
5. When the front is dry, “paint” the sides of the heart with Mod Podge.
6. Paint as many coats as desired.
7. When entirely dry, hot-glue a raffia bow to the bottom center of the wooden heart.
8. Tie knots in each end of a 12” strip of raffia.
9. Hot-glue each end of the raffia strip to the front sides of the wooden heart.
10. When completed, place the heart plaque on a door knob or hang from a peg shelf

Plant and Apple Basket

Items needed for a plant and apple basket are:
*Silk or real plant
*3 ft plaid ribbon
*5 dried apples
*2-3 plastic or wax apples
* Glue Gun

1. Place a silk or real plant in a basket.
2. Place a few strands of raffia onto a piece of ribbon. Tie a ribbon/raffia floral bow. If you are not familiar with this type of bow, tie 2 regular bows and wire both together at the center sections.
3. Cut the tail ends of the bow into upside-down V’s.
4. Attach the bow, with wire, to the lower handle area.
5. Glue the plastic or wax apples to the center of the bow.
6. Glue the dried apples around the plastic apples.

How to Punch Tissue

Tissue no longer needs to look plain and simple. Add some extra pizazz to your gift sack by adding punched tissue. All it takes is a few minutes, 1 sheet of tissue, and a long reach hand punch.

1. Due to the fragile nature of tissue, take more care than if you were punching paper.
2. Lay the entire sheet of tissue onto a flat surface.
3. Choose a long reach hand punch design that coordinates with the theme of the gift sack or craft project you are creating.
4. Carefully and evenly punch shapes into 1 row along each edge of the tissue.
5. Repeat this process creating a 2nd and 3rd row, alternating images if desired.
6. Gently place tissue into gift sack.

A great idea:
Glue the extra punched-out tissue shapes onto a gift sack and/or matching gift card.