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Book Page Garland for a Graduation Party

Posted by on Jul 27, 2017 in Craft | 0 comments

Book page garland

Phillip finished grad school, after seven years of working full time and taking classes part-time. So we needed to have a party.

Graduation cap

We ended up reserving space in a restaurant near where the commencement ceremony was, so friends and family could just go there directly afterward. I wanted to add some festive touches but knew I’d have little to no time to decorate before people got there. (It turned out to be the latter.)

I kept it super simple with a few school-themed items that I could set up in a flash – all using things I had on hand.

Book page garland

How I made the book page pennants:

1. Ripped out several pages of a ridiculous conspiracy theory novel that I had picked up from free bin outside Changing Hands. (I mean, I’m not going to cut up a good book!)

Book page garland

Book page garland

2. Found the center of the page by folding it in half, only creasing the very bottom of it and making a mark. You could also actually measure and/or use a template if you’re into precision.Book page garland

3. Made a cut from the top right corner of the page to my center mark. Then repeated from the top left.

What I wish I would’ve done: cut from the top right and left margins of the page instead, so that the text would run all the way to the edge.

Book page garland

4. Punched a couple holes near the top of each pennant.

Then I just threaded some bakers’ twine through the holes and added the tassels.

Book page garland - tassel


In keeping with the graduation theme, I made paper tassels for each end of the garland, loosely based on instructions I found on A Subtle Revelry.

Here’s how I adapted the project:

  1. Cut about 4 thin strips of paper. (These don’t need to be the same width – or even cut straight.)
  2. Folded over 3 of the strips, leaving a loop at the top. I made mine with a smaller loop and longer “tails” than the ones in the tassel tutorial, because I wanted the proportions more like the tassel on a graduation cap.
  3. Fanned out the strips just a bit.
  4. Stapled them in place.
  5. Covered the staple by winding that last paper strip around the tassel and securing it with double stick tape.
  6. Added a tassel to each side of the garland by threading the baker’s twine through the top loop.

Book page craft

What Didn’t Work…


I thought about adding some color with watercolors. However, my test pages totally curled up, even when I used the smallest amount of water possible or painted just part of the page.

Book page garland

The Pages

Another thing that could’ve been cool was using a book or notes from Phillip’s classes. But he didn’t have anything like that around – at least nothing that he was willing to sacrifice to the craft gods.

So I went with the conspiracy book, because I liked the page size.

I tried to make sure there wasn’t any murder on the pages I used, but it was hard to avoid. And there were still black helicopters and government officials typing things out on Blackberries – not very festive or on theme.

Book page garland at grad party

I hoped people would see it as decor and not try to read it.

No such luck.

One family member said they had been trying to figure out if the pages had some significance or clues. (Nope.) Another one asked me what the garland spelled. (Nothing.) It took me awhile to convince her that what she thought were large letters were actually backwards chapter numbers showing through some of the backlit pages.

I obviously should have come up with more for people to do.


What Worked (Mostly): The Decoration Bag

I loaded up a large ziploc bag with everything I (or whoever) would need to set up the decorations at the restaurant:

  • Chalkboard sign with “Phillip’s grad party!” already written on it – with chalk markers, so it wouldn’t smear.
  • A jar for markers and pens that had a chalkboard label on the front. I wrote “Please sign the program” on it with a little arrow pointing down.
  • Chalk markers in case one of my signs needed a touch-up.
  • Regular markers and pens, so people could sign the commencement ceremony program like a yearbook. These were just regular kids’ markers you’d find in the back-to-school aisle.
  • A wooden ruler to hold the program open. (Also because it was cute and school-y.)
  • The garland, carefully folded and placed between things so it wouldn’t get crunched up.
  • Washi tape to hang the garland.
  • Scissors.
  • This Yoobi kit in case we required a tiny stapler or scotch tape for some reason.

I had hoped to hand the bag off to my parents, who were designated to get the party started, since I guessed (correcty) that Phillip and I wouldn’t be able to leave the place where the ceremony was and get over there right away. But they were so focused on their mission that they left before I could give them the Decoration Bag.

So I set things up halfway through the party. Less than ideal, but that’s life.

At least having everything in one bag meant I could get it done in record time. And at least the guests didn’t have to wait on the food.
Grad party garland


– More info on DIY party decor –

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Southwest Maker Fest 2017

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 in Craft | 0 comments

SWMF envelope journal

I did an envelope journal workshop again this year at Southwest Maker Fest.

SWMF 2017

Once again, the attendees were super creative, coming up with their own clever modifications to the project, including one multifunctional journal that doubled as a wallet and a paper airplane!

SWMF envelope journal

This year, my assigned room was in a different area within the i.d.e.a. Museum that seemed less hectic.

SWMF envelope journal

Also, I had help! Several friends showed up and pitched in with explaining the project to latecomers and helping answer questions, etc. A big thank you to Anne, Katie, Trish (who also brought extra art supplies), and the ever-patient Phillip!

SWMF 2017

It was a lot of fun, and it always gets me thinking about how to make it better the next year!

P.S. You can make this too!

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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Hang in There! 9 Unique Wind Chime and Mobile Ideas

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 in Craft | 4 comments

Mobiles and wind chimes can brighten up your garden, patio, or a bare corner of your living room. And you probably have the stuff to make one right now!

Here are some unexpected objects you can use to make your own.

Colorful mobile

1. Wooden Discs

Emily Neuburger’s Simple Color Mobile could work inside or outside. I like the simplicity of the rainbow-colored circles, but you could also add a wooden initial or other shape.

(Side note: You know the wood-stuff-for-painting aisle in the craft store? I always have to browse through it, and, even though I don’t usually do wood craft projects, I always kind of want to buy everything in there.)

Jungalow Boho mobile

2. Souvenirs

Justina Blakeney made this Boho Mobile from an old lamp shade frame and small decorative items her in-laws brought back from India. If you have a lot of little knick knacks from trips taking up shelf space, this would be another way to display them. Like an oversized charm bracelet.

Paint Swatch Mobile By Natalme

3. Paint Swatches

Love this minimal Paint Swatch Mobile from Natalme! You can mix up the colors like she did or use a gradient of shades for an ombre or rainbow effect, which would look especially rad spinning around.

Embroidery hoop mobile by natalme

4. Embroidery Hoops

Another Natalme inspiration: turn embroidery hoops into a place to hold photos (or holiday cards or kids’ artwork)!

Ceramic bell

5. Clay and Copper Pipes

Decorative ceramic bells made from Sculpey by A Beautiful Mess. Apparently, these are purely decorative, since they don’t actually ring. I’m wondering whether you could change that with some metal inside the clay. Or what if you hung more than one copper pipe from each bell, making every bell into kind of a mini-wind-chime?

Sea Glass DIY Wind Chimes
6. Sea Glass

Crafts Unleashed has a turorial for displaying your beach-combing finds as sea glass wind chimes!

Key Mobile

7. House Keys

You can also make a wind chime from old keys, like this one from Inner Child Fun.

FYI I found this on a list by The Garden Glove (with about a dozen more DIY ideas).
Bottle Cap mobile

8. Bottle Caps

Trina Lyn (of Trina Is Artsy Fartsy) shared this tutorial of how to make a bottle cap wind chime, as frequently seen – but not always explained – on Pinterest.

Junk Windchime by Trina Lyn

9. Random Junk

Trina also combined a variety of found objects, including a smashed vintage beer can, into The Junk Windchime. It brings together a lot of the materials in the other projects above, like bottle caps, glass, beads, and a key.

What materials would you use for a mobile creation? Chime in!


For Your Inspiration

A few more shareworthy (and shoppable) mobiles and wind chimes:

Photos via their respective sites.

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Playing Card Mini Journal (WIP) and Las Vegas Trip

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 6 comments

Vegas has never seemed like my scene, but Phillip and I are planning to be there in a couple weeks. His longtime friend Michael, who now calls the area home, is getting married, so we’re taking a road trip! image It’ll be my first time in Las Vegas (outside of a brief layover en route from Indiana, which doesn’t really count). So I’ve been researching things we might want to see – both on The Strip and beyond it.

I also started making a mini scrapbook with playing card pages.



Even if the glitz and excess I associate with Vegas isn’t so appealing to me, there’s more to every place than meets the eye. I’m looking forward to searching out spots that tell different stories.


PS In case you can’t see them, the Instagram shots are a photo of Mr. Cheeseface on a slot machine and a video of take-off over the lights of The Vegas Strip.

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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Chile Pepper Festival in Phoenix

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

Chile Pepper Festival – The Vig

As far as I’m concerned, the annual Roosevelt Row Chile Pepper Festival is mostly an excuse to sample really delicious food from a bunch of Phoenix restaurants. The spicy selection includes items like tacos, stuffed chiles, donuts, desserts, and even beverages.

The next festival is this weekend, so here’s the scoop!

Chile Pepper Festival

How it Works

You buy the number of tasting tickets and/or beer tokens you want at a table near the entrance – there’s no admission cost. Then you wander around the different booths and trade tastings for one or two tickets each. There’s also live music and market areas.

Otro cafe booth at Chile Pepper Festival

Proceeds raised help support the Growhouse Community Garden’s urban agriculture and education programs.

Chile pepper festival

Last year, we went early, so we could go to Ballet Under the Stars afterwards. We bought our tasting tickets right as the festival opened, and there was practically no line. By the time we left, however, an hour or two in, a lot of people were waiting. Of course, it’s cooler later on. So…pick your battles, I guess.

Chile Pepper Festival – Stuffed jalapeño

Food + Drink

If you can’t eat spicy food, this is probably not the festival for you. I mean, you could just go and enjoy the live music. But all the tastings range from mildly to make-you-cry hot.

Chile pepper festival - welcome donuts

A few of our favorites:

Corn at chile festival

At one point, I was ready to douse the fire in my mouth, so I got a smoothie, which was deceptively sweet at first – then the sweet disappeared and the crazy burn kicked in. It was unexpected. Like the photobomb from the smoothie guy.

Chile Pepper Festival – Smoothie, donut, and photobomb

Although beverage-wise we stuck with water and a bottle of Mexican Coke (and that one mouth-searing smoothie), there’s also a beer garden and margarita station.

Chile Pepper Festival – Mama Chelo's art

Art, Craft + Community

On the market side of the festival, there were a handful of community and artist booths.

Chile Pepper Festival – artist Keisha Jones

I dug the collage work of the multitalented Keisha J. Jones, who also models and makes delicious baked goods!

Chile Pepper Festival – DIY seedling pot

Chile Pepper Festival – Valley Permaculture volunteer Kathy

At the Valley Permaculture Alliance (Trees Matter) booth, you could make newspaper seed-starter pots, which inspired a CraftHack project.

Chile Pepper Festival – Flamenco por la Vida


When the music started, we watched Flamenco por la Vida. They perform flamenco music and dance superbly.

Chile Pepper Festival – Flamenco

Some of their adorable pint-sized students danced, as well.

This Saturday, Flamenco por la Vida will be on stage at 9pm. I’m not sure if students will be joining them or if that’s past their bedtime.

There are several other performances during the festival, as well as cooking demonstrations and pepper-eating contests.

Chile Pepper Festival – Taco

The band Mariachi Luna de Mexico played after we’d left. In fact, they strode in like some kind of guitar-wielding posse, just as we were headed to the parking lot.

Chile pepper festival - mariachi

– Festival Info –

  • The 2016 Chile Pepper Festival will be Saturday, October 1 from 5-10pm.
  • New location: 128 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix (Roosevelt/2nd St.)
  • Limited street parking will be available.
  • Light rail: Central Ave & Roosevelt St. stop is only about a block away (0.1 mile)!
  • All-ages event. If you plan to drink alcohol, be ready to show your ID and get a wristband at the entry.
  • There is no admission fee. Food, beverages, and handcrafted items will be for sale.
  • Details at

Chile pepper festival

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