Happy Mother’s Day

I have the best mom ever.  Like EVER.  She’s the type of mom who can hold my chunky monkey and talk on her bluetooth, while giving the camera a beauty queen smile.

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She’s the type of mom who you stop to listen to, no matter what she’s saying.

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The type of mom who will literally travel anywhere whenever you need her.

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..and she’ll do it with cowboy boots on, cause that’s how she rolls!

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My mom is selfless, truly inspirational, and filled with more love than anyone else I know. She’s always worked hard and never says never.  There’s no challenge too hard and no mountain too high.  She gives me courage and confidence to continue fighting through this difficult social experiment called motherhood.

And here’s my mamaw and me.  The smile runs in the family!

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And of course, where would I be without the special little ladies who made me a mom.  The loves of my life… and my fur-baby!

My gals and I had a difficult time trying to find out what to get Grandma for Mother’s Day.  Then my oldest had a brilliant idea- we’ll make her something and send her some of our special things!  Now I can’t reveal all here (what fun would that be?), but I can share this one part of our present to her:

Artwork

It’s their best artwork, and a special dragon drawing because Grandma loves dragons.

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Allie’s special painting (she did it in 2nd [3rd?] grade and is super proud of it).
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Allie’s Dragon for Grandma (has a special note in the back for Grandma)
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Abby’s honeybee (buzz)

We grabbed a few picture frames, cut the pictures to size, and ta-da!  And trust me, they are super adorable in person.

Best part yet?  They are thoughtful, loving gifts from my girls to the most loving woman I know.  Perfect.

Yours,

The Colourful Teacup

A Great Escape!

Oh April, how I love thee!

How did I bring in the new month?  With teepees and daffodils of course!

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Teepees
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Daffodils

And a healthy dose of cards and board games with the family!

As you can see not everyone is thrilled with mandatory fun time in the Ray household.  Some of us… ahem… would rather be playing Minecraft because it is so much MORE COOL than playing Uno with mom.  But in all fairness, at her age everything is more fun than mom. Le sigh.

Life is exhausting!  Especially if you are a mom…  and a wife… and a Girl Scout leader…  and active in your church…  Like, really, REALLY exhausting!

Lucky for me, April is Volunteer appreciation month in Girl Scouts which can only mean one thing:  Volunteer Retreat!

I live and breath for the month of April.  Not only is it my birthday month but I know that come April I will be whisked away to a cabin in the (semi-isolated) woods.  I will be  surrounded by trees, moss, water, and animals galore!  Every night is dark and lovely.  The stars shine bright, and the lightning bugs, which are super hard to find in Central Florida nowadays, blink their lovely beckoning call- come!  Come to the woods!

So off to the woods I went!

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Now this getaway is also special in another way.  Its a full weekend of nothing but Girl Scout traditions and crafts!!!  You get to select modules of craft tutorials led by other volunteers in the area.  My choices were: Calligraphy, Sparkling Juice and Paint Party, Card Making/Scrapbooking, Pool Time, and Button Trees.  Unfortunately, the instructor for the Calligraphy could not make the class.  But luckily, someone stepped in to teach the class some American Sign Language instead!  Also, it was freezing so I nixed the Pool Time and sat in on the cross stitching class instead.

Now this particular camp is a special one.  Mah-Kah-Wee (“Earth Maiden”) is a Girl Scout camp owned by the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council.  And it is beautiful!  No, I mean BEAUTIFUL!  Mah-Kah-Wee is everything you expect when you think of Florida.  A lovely lake is centered right in the middle, surrounded by trails, camp sites, cabins, lodges, pavilions, and buildings for activities.

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Looks like a postcard, doesn’t it?

And there are these adorable little walkways going every which way.

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My particular cabin was located in an area called Eagles Roost.  Its on the west side of the lake and takes for-frecking-ever to walk to the main lodge.  Not that I mind the walk.  I just didn’t like the walk with an arm full of crafting supplies!  I did manage to get away by myself at one point when I had to make an impromptu trip back to my cabin to change clothes.   Now, normally they stress the importance of the buddy system (where you walk around the camp two-by-two), but this was a special kind of circumstance and warranted an excursion onto the trails by my lonesome.  And, between you and I, I didn’t mind the peace and quiet not one bit.

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Oh yes!  It is nice to getaway every now and then.  One of the bad things about going away to camp is that there is usually so much to do during the day that you seldom get to enjoy the solitude and quiet of just being in the woods.  But not I!  I was on a quest for dry pants and there was plenty to see on my little 20 minute journey to my cabin.

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Full disclosure- I am a wonderer and I may or may not have gotten lost once or twice on this trip chasing sounds and quizzically examining mother nature.

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The pinecones were ginormous!

But there’s really no where to go and growing up in the mountains of Kentucky has made me well versed in critters and plant-life.  And although we are secluded, we are surrounded by city life, with perfect cell service, so in the big scheme of things I felt incredibly safe venturing out on my own.

And my cabin was delightful!  Not only are they clean cabins with strong working air conditioners (important when you live in Florida), but the beds are comfortable!  Have you ever?

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Eagles Roost
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My cabin
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Such clean rooms!  This is my bunk.

Best part of going to camp?  Making new friends and reconnecting with the old ones!

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My roomies!

Make new friends, but keep the old…

…one is silver and the other’s gold!

The Volunteer Retreats are also themed.  This year’s theme was A Journey Through Time and there were lots of Doctor Who references which was super exciting for me as a certifiably crazy Doctor Who fan.  The main lodge where we gathered for group time and meals was referred for the entirety of the trip as “The Tardis”.  Yay!

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Yes, it IS bigger on the inside!
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The main lodge, AKA, the Tardis

And now, for my favorite part- my crafts!!!  Look at all this crafty goodness!  Behold the bounty of my weekend!  Feast your eyes upon my craft-i-dom!

First up:  Sparkling Juice and Paint Party!

This class was actually led by my friend Kate, who is, as you might expect, throughly awesome!  I had personally never had this sparkling juice as I typically go for the slightly more adultier version.  But Girl Scouts has a strict no alcohol policy so, alas, sparkling juice it is.  But, surprisingly, it was unbelievably tasty!  I will be adding this to my shopping list permanently.

Now I am a horrible painter.  HOR. RI. BLE.  But Kate was so patient and is so good at what she does, that my painting actually kinda looks like a horse!  No one was more shocked than myself!

Are you ready to see?  Here goes!

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Suck it art teacher who thought I might be better suited for a different hobby!  That sun makes me super happy.  Kate was instructing us on how to blend in, and I was failing miserably at it.  Happily that choppiness ended up being my favorite part.

Next up:  Card making!

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Can you believe that these are made completely from scratch?  The designs are all stamps. Typically I hate using stamps because I just can’t figure out how to get the whole image to come out.  I always end up smearing the image or only half of it on paper.  I decided after this brilliant outcome of my class that it must be the materials that they were using.  I mean, you get what you pay for, right?  And these instructors were kind enough to allow me to take pictures of them!

Last, but certainly not least, button trees!  Now remember what I said about not being able to paint very well?  Yeah, well, I still couldn’t paint for my button tree class either.  Luckily, I have mad gluing and color palette skills.  So much so that when I got home my daughters fought over who got the button tree picture!  I remedied that situation by doing another, this time with flowers instead of buttons.  Check them both out!

And because the people in my button tree class were such lovely people, I have pictures of their projects as well, which they lovingly consented to my uploading for your viewing pleasure!

I also used some of my downtime to make a dreamcatcher for my littlest girl, since she was the only one left who did not have one.  I didn’t get a very good picture, but this will give you a good idea:

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The purple is actually much brighter in person.  Using a crocheted dolly in the middle was a fabulous idea and one that I will be repeating in the future.  Now it just needs some more ribbon, feathers, and beads attached and dangling to give it a more bohemian look and she will be all set.  Now if only I could pry it from her hands to make some adjustments…

I learned not only from my instructors, but I carefully picked the brains of my friends to learn their crafts as well!  Just check out some of these projects!

Spray paint art:

Super cool, right?

Also, french message boards:

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I will definitely be completing one of these projects soon!

Well, that is all my lovelies for today!  I’ll catch you later!

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Yours,

The Colourful Teacup

Crochet craftiness!

Hello lovely blog world!

It seems like ages since my last blog post and I can tell you it has been busy, busy, busy here at the Colourful Teacup!  Regrettably thats because I’ve had the flu and the littles and the DH have been practically on their own on the home-front while I  fight my bug.

But in the midst of my little sick spell, I’ve had amble opportunity to sit at home and piddle around with stuff in the bed.

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Let me introduce you to my reading material:

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This beauty was just sitting there at an outlet store begging to be purchased!  I snagged it, not realizing that I’d soon find myself with lots of opportunity for reading.

Personally, I love crocheting flowers!  They are adorable and look so impressive.  Most people don’t realize how easy they are to make and are left stunned with practically anything you crochet if you just stick a flower on there- ha!

 

Shall we take a look inside?

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Such lovely projects!  All are super easy to do as well, with minimal skill needed.  And it was just what I needed to lift my spirits and inspire me for the season ahead.

And of course, all that time in bed at home meant idle hands.  I hate idle hands.  The old saying “Idle hands are the devil’s work” is so true!  Southern ladies, am I right? I’m always getting in trouble when I’m “idle”.  For instance, the insane amount of money I’ve spent on LuLaRoe in the past few days.  (For those of you not familiar with LuLaRoe, its a direct sales clothing line here in the United States that is unbelievably soft, versatile, and slightly expensive.)  BUT, I did need some clothes and buying clothes that I can wear to church, work, and at home seemed like a great investment in my allowance from our meager tax refund!

Check out these puppies:

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Your eyes are not deceiving you- those are indeed sheep on there!

The woolie goodness is perfect for a day of crocheting in bed!

And since I was now inspired, and simultaneously mortified by my lack of dish towels to clean the kitchen, I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to embark upon on a crochet project.  A crochet quest, if you will.

A little background on me and crochet.  It is one of my favorite things in the world to do.  But I generally hate small projects.  If I am going to pull my basket of crochet out I like to work BIG!  I have four afghan WIPs right now, with no end in sight.  I like projects where I can just sit and crochet continually for hours.  It’s rhythmic and soothing for my “idle hands”.

Now, those cutesy dishcloths in my new book are… well, cute.  But they wouldn’t make it a day in my kitchen!  I need a more hefty dish towel to scrub my dishes. So, I fell back to a classic pattern I’ve used countless times before to make presents for others.  You can find it on The Good Life blog.  It is called the daydreaming dishcloth and uses a shell pattern to make a thick and quite cute dishcloth that feels good in your hands.  I made one alternation to her pattern, in completing my border in a shell stitch, rather than simple single stitches, to make it a little more dainty looking.  I also used my favorite yarn: I Love This Yarn, specifically the I Love This Cotton!

My color selection:  Apple Green, Pinkerton, Too Pink, Rosy

The pattern is super easy to follow and I made quick work completing several towels within a couple of hours.

Check out these stitches and edging up close!

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Super cute!  BUT…

That’s going to be great for large flat dishes, like baking sheets, but its hardly going to fit into a drinking glass.  Here in Florida we have very hard water and I basically have resolved to washing all my glasses by hand rather than stick them in the dishwasher and having to wipe off water spots later.  Enter in, an impromptu plan to create little mini dishcloths for scrubbing glasses and bowls!  Check out what I decided upon:

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It’s perfect!  After making a large dishcloth from each of my colors, there was enough yarn to make several small mini-clothes.

Would you like to know how to make your own?  It’s super easy! If you are familiar with winter hat patterns, we start out just the same!

First thing, first: a magic ring!  Do you know how to make a magic ring?

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You basically make a ring that you work your crochet stitches into, rather than “chain 5 and slip stitch together” type of beginning.  Your yarn looks like this when laid out.  That top loop you see there is your beginning “loop”.  You are going to chain 3 starting in that loop.  That will be your first DC (using U.S. measurement).

You will crochet 11 more DC in the magic ring, for a total of 12 DC (including your starter stitches).

 

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It will look like this on your hands once you get it started. (What you are seeing is the first 3-chain, which is technically your 1st DC, plus 3 DC)27_31616

Now, once you have completed the 12 DC, join with a slip stitch and pull the “tail” you have hanging from creating your magic ring.  That will tighten up the hole in the middle.  Pull as tightly as you can without breaking the string and it should look like this:

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That’s Round 1!

Got it?  Ready for the next step?

Round 2:  Chain three (for your 1st DC) and then stitch 2 DC in each stitch in the round (don’t forget to add the 2nd DC to your beginning stitch in the end!).  That’s 24 DCs in the 2nd round. Join with a slip stitch and move on to Round 3!

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Round 3:  By now you have gotten the hang of things.  In this round, chain 3 and then *crochet 2 DC in the next stitch, then 1 DC in the following stitch. Repeat from *for the remainder of the round.  Join with a slip stitch and move on to Round 4!

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Round 4:  Chain 2, and then we are going to shell stitch around the outside of round 3.  A shell stitch works like this:  *1sc, chain 2, 1 sc* in a stitch, then skip the next stitch completely, and then *1sc, chain 2, 1 sc* in the next stitch.  You are going to repeat that all the way around.  Shell, skip, Shell, skip, etc.

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Join with a slip stitch at the end and voila!  A quick mini dish cloth for working on glasses!

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But one last step- sew in those ends!  I stitch them in the smoothest way possible, to not draw attention to the fact that there is a string in there.  You want to make sure you leave enough in case you need to re-sew them back in.  It can happen after you launder your crochet items.  But don’t let those craft snobs fool you- there is no wrong way to do it!

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YAY!  Dish cloths and busy work.  LOVE!

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Abbreviated pattern:

Round 1:  magic ring, chain 3 for starter DC, DC 11 more in magic ring (12 total), join with slip stitch

Round 2:  chain 3, 2 DC in each stitch in the round (24 DC total), join with slip stitch

Round 3:  chain 3, *2 DC in the next stitch, 1 DC in the stitch that follows, *repeat to the end of the round, join with slip stitch.

Round 4:  Chain 2, *shell in next stitch, skip the next stitch, *repeat to the end of the round, join with slip stitch.

See you next time!  Hopefully a whole lot less sneezy 🙂

Yours,

The Colourful Teacup

Crafty goodness!

I love colorful things!  In fact I love it so much that I surround myself with as much color as possible. And what I love even more than colorful things are colorful crafty things!  So imagine my excitement when I found these journals.  They are by Molly and Rex and are delightful! They are lightweight, flexible and thin so they easily fit in my bag for inspirational thoughts on the go.


I already have mad love for this company!  Are you familiar with Molly and Rex?  Check out these other wonderful, yet thicker, journals I’ve gotten in the past:




The great thing about these journals are that they are also colorful inside.  So you feel inspired no matter what page you are on!



Adorable!  So when I saw these thinner journals I couldn’t pass them up!  They are not decorated inside but the covers are gorgeous and have gold accents in the decoration!  Let’s take a closer look, shall we?


  
I also found some cute pens from amazon that I thought would look great!


The colors are so bright!  There’s only one problem with them. The tips are so fine that it’s sometimes difficult to write with them and nearly impossible to do so smoothly.

Yup, it’s a colorful world out there! I hope you are loving every moment of it!!!


Yours,

The Colourful Teacup

P.S. That’s my bright, happy flowers reminding me that my Florida sunshine and warmth will return soon. And there’s a picture of my two little ones on one of the love lock bridges in Paris.  They constantly remind me that in this ugly world of gray, they are all the color I truly need.

The Definitive Guide to Paper Rosettes

Spring is in the air!  Ok, well, at least the Christmas merchandise has been cleared from store shelves!  And, as promised, I’ve got a great craft for you to banish those winter blues and brighten your space a little.  

First, some background!  At Christmas I saw some lovely paper rosettes (some of you may call these pinwheels or fans) while out shopping.  I mean LOVELY!  And expensive.  They were similar to these:  Vintage Paper Rosettes.  But, I, as a general rule, do not purchase rosettes sold in stores for a multitude of reasons.  

  1. They are expensive for only a few.
  2. They are often made of tissue or wrapping paper and will not withstand the holiday/celebration, making them unusable more than once.
  3. They are often glued together and come apart, leaving a half hanging rosette on your wall.  
  4. They are usually too small for my purposes.  I don’t want to hang scrapbooking sized rosettes on my wall!
  5. And lastly, they are usually made in solid colors or drab patterns.  Now we wouldn’t be called the Colourful Teacup if we were interested in drab color schemes!  

For these reasons I purchased a paper fan and set about deconstructing it!  

Now, rosettes are usually made 1 of 2 ways.  Either they are folded like this:  

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… a string tied around the middle, folded again in half, and then glued as so:  

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Such a method is inadequate as it is nearly impossible to get that sucker tightly folded, which means you end up with gapping holes near the middle.  And, need I point out, it is glued and not likely to stay together for very long.  This is fine if you are working with tissue paper or wrapping paper, which, don’t get me wrong, could be gorgeous- but I’ve a 9 and 6 year old here! Wrapping paper is just not going to cut it!  No, I needed another method.  A more substantial method.

The second way a rosette is made is by sewing. Most expensive ones are sewed  by machines.  This is the method that I settled upon, although we are going to sew them by hand!  

Here’s the supplies you are going to need:  

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  • Embroidery floss (you could also use fishing line)
  • 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper (I choose Imaginisce Welcome Spring by American Crafts)
  • a pair of scissors
  • tacky glue ( I used Allen’s Tacky Glue, which can be found everywhere)
  • Glue N’ Seal (I was introduced to this stuff by my friend Katy over at I like to Cut and Paste and it is phenomenal! You can buy it here:  Ranger Glue N Seal.  It’s like mod podge on steroids!  
  • a fan paintbrush to apply the glue and seal with 
  • a strong needle- none of those pansy needles here!  
  • optional:  clothespins
  • optional: embellishments 

Got them?  Are you ready for step 1?  

Step 1:  Pick your colors!!!  

Here’s mine!  (Pardon the poor lighting!)

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Fun, colorful, and spring-ish!

Step 2:  Cut each 12 x 12 paper into three 4in sections.  When complete this will make a rosette that is approximately 8in across.
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Step 3: Fold those puppies like an accordion!  Come on, you did this in grade school!  The paper is difficult to fold evenly, but use your finger tips and thumbs to help standardize your folds as much as possible, creasing as you go along.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t all line up!  It doesn’t need to be perfect to look good.

 

Once all three are folded move on to…

Step 4:  Glue your fans end to end.  No, the patterns don’t have to line up.  Yes, it’s perfectly ok if one is slightly bigger than the other.  Use clothespins to hold the sections together to save time and aching fingers!  

Don’t forget to glue the ends together!

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Step 5:  Allow to dry completely!  Don’t rush this step!  They have to be nice and strong before you can proceed.  I let mine set 24 hours before continuing.  

Step 6:  The sewing!!!  Using your needle, pierce through the middle of each fold like so:

If it’s too hard to push the needle through your paper, try using a thimble or pushing the needle upside down on a table or floor.  Continue sewing through the middle of each fold all the way around.  Be careful to sew with the gaps”, so to speak, rather than with the fold (otherwise your rosette will not fold correctly).  

Do not tie the string!  

When you are complete your string should look like this: 

Step 6:  Tighten the string while gently forming the rosette.  Don’t tie the string yet!  To form the rosette, cup your hand over the top and, while pulling the string, gently press down or pull out the bottom with your free hand, like so:

Make sure the the side with the pattern you want is facing down as you tighten the string and flatten your rosette, otherwise it will hang out in the front.  A lot of scrapbooking paper is printed on both sides.    

When you have pulled the string as tightly as possible, tie it off.  It is helpful to have someone hold the middle together.  The tighter the string the better, as this will be what determines if your rosette tries to fold up on itself.  You will have to try this multiple times to probably get it tight enough.  Be mindful of the fact that your knot has to go into the folds, and can sometimes get caught on a corner of one.  Even if your rosette does not lie flat, don’t throw it out!  I have a solution for that…

Step 7:  The Finishing Touches!

By the time you get to this point your fingers are probably hurting, there’s probably a gapping hole in the middle of your pinwheel, and no matter how much you beg and cry your rosette refuses to lie flat.  Yes, you could cut the string and try all over again, OR you can cover it up!  

Adding embellishments do more than just hide our mistakes.  They also help shore up the stability of the pinwheel, and give it a little more character.  You can use anything from buttons, to cardstock or chipboard stickers!  I have a wonderful supply of chipboard stickers which I desperately wanted to use on this project, but my little ones found some stickers at the dollar tree that they had to have and, let’s be honest here, they are probably going to end up “acquiring” all these rosettes in the end anyway.  

***We call it “acquiring” in our house when the girls end up with items that we’ve never told them they can have and yet one day, there they are!  Hidden under the pillow (candy)! Shoved under the bed (mommy’s craft supplies)!  Around the dog’s tummy (mommy’s scarves… ahem… fashion accessories, as the littlest calls them) ! ***

So who am I to pass up a cheaper alternative to my craft plans?  Plus they are pretty cute!  

I applied some Glue N’ Seal to the back of the stickers (cause they were not sticky enough) and to the rosettes with the fan brush, taking the opportunity to apply a little glue to the inside of the middle part of the folds.  I even made some extra rosettes so that my little ones could apply some stickers of their own.  

After your embellishments are applied, you can then hang your creation.  To do this you can either use the string you used to sew (applying a little bit of tape to the top of the pinwheel to keep it from spinning) or can go a little more elaborate with satin ribbon, which would hang beautifully.  Some have even gone as far as to actually attach wall decor hooks to the backs!  Those people don’t have children who “acquire” things, I’m sure!  🙂

Wow!

This post ended up being much longer than I anticipated!  

Are you ready to see the final product?  

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I hope I have inspired you to create your own fabulous, spring inspired rosettes!

Yours, 

the Colourful Teacup 

 

Happy New Year!

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Ah, a fresh new year! A clean slate to begin anew, develop new (or break old) habits, and maybe, just maybe, pick up a hobby or two.  That’s where you come in, my crafty little friends!  See, this lovely, little blog is one of my New Year’s resolutions.

Everyone needs a special place to escape from life’s hum drum, day to day aggravations.  A place all to themselves.  A place free from sticky wet hands and random Lego’s littering the floor. A place that inspires and colors our world and helps us remember why we create in the first place.

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I hope you will join me in 2016 as I try to create our own colorful little world!  It’s my hope that these crafts, tips, and recipes will help add a little sparkle to your world.  So, gather all your WIPs (works in progress), pour yourself a warm cup of tea, and get ready for a wonderful, colorful, and crafty new year!

Yours,
the Colourful Teacup

P.S. Check back this week for an easy spring craft to replace all those Christmas decorations you are putting away.  Its guaranteed to help banish your Winter blues!