Messy DIY and Crafting

Photo Jan 27, 5 53 19 PMwedding card box 1

Photo Jan 27, 6 03 30 PM

It started the weekend as a mere cardboard box my karaoke machine came in. It is now our weeding card box -or- “mailbox” to be more descriptive.

I was browsing vintage mailboxes and got inspired. This may be the most fru-fru thing I’ve ever made. And just to make sure it reaches cute overload, I made a pop-up sign that says “Thank You!” when one opens the drawer to put the card in. Yes, when a guest opens the front drawer flap to put their card in, the sign on top will pop up and say thank you. ¬†It’s sure be a hit with the kids at the wedding ūüôā

I don’t have a tutorial, but basically:

1. Find a box.
2. Cut a flap in the front on three sides leaving the bottom attached. This will be your drawer front. Duct tape the inside of the bottom of the flap (maybe the outside too-you can cover it later) so it will have more strength as it gets bent (opened) multiple times.
3. Cut two drawer side pieces with an arc between the edges. Here is someone else’s tutorial on that.
Attach side pieces with duct tape –after you make sure they fit ūüôāPhoto Jan 27, 5 57 02 PM

4. Punch three holes in the flap: one in center for the knob, and one in each corner for the ribbon or string.
5. Make your pop-up sign for on top out of card stock. Punch one hole in each corner of it for the ribbon. You will need two pieces card stock (the other piece get used in step 7). I recommend a thin piece of cardboard for the middle of the sign for extra sturdiness.
6. Sit the sign where you want it on top. Punch two holes in the box top behind the sign for the ribbon to feed through.

Photo Jan 27, 5 56 38 PM
7. Duct tape the sign to the box by running tape over the back of your sign onto the box (the tape is shaped like an “L” when the sign stands up. Use your other piece of card stock to cover the tape in the back of the sign. You will also want to attach a piece of wood, marble, or something right behind the sign. This will keep it from flopping backwards. I just use hot glue to attach some flowers.
8. Optional Step: paper m√Ęch√© the entire box to cover all duct tape and to make a nice paint suface.
9. Tie thin ribbon (or string) to each corner of the sign, feed them through the holes on the top of the box, open the drawer (flap), grab the ribbon and tie to the corners of the front flap (where you punched the holes). Adjust tension of the ribbon as necessary so the sign pops up. Optional: glue washers where the ribbon feeds through the holes for looks and for strength.
10. Decorate your mailbox. I found that I had to make the sign top heavy so it would fall back down when the drawer was closed. So I hot glued on some flat sided marbles on top.

Sorry I didn’t take pics as I went. It was all trial an error for me. It went through several iterations. I took several pics of the final product, all painted. Hopefully, you’ll be able to figure it out.

Notice the flowers on top? They are my previous blog -Painted Paper Flowers. In fact all the decorations on my box are paper (except the knob & pearls).

Final list of supplies for this: box, duct tape, thin ribbon, hole punch, paper, paint, knob, 6 washers, flat marbles.

Cost: Well I had everything, so maybe about $5 of supplies.

Here are some more pics.

Photo Jan 27, 5 56 10 PM Photo Jan 27, 6 03 30 PM   Photo Jan 27, 5 53 19 PM Wedding card box

Photo Jan 27, 5 57 25 PMwedding card box pop-up collage

Two nieces married, now it’s my turn. I’m getting married!

I’ve been experimenting with paper flowers for a while. I love the stylized look. They don’t wilt, require no water, and can be done way in advance.

To make it just wee bit more messy, and since I love the look, I paint the petals. I’ve made several styles thus far, but the pics below show my favorite.









*Regular copy paper (or drawing paper)
*Hot glue gun
*2 colors (or more) craft acrylic paint
*Paint brush (for painting and rolling)

CuriousPurplePig Rating: 8.5 oinks, could be messier. I do manage to get paint in my hair though.  Very easy. Takes about 30 minutes per flower.


Each petal is cut from regular 8×11 paper, free form “teardrop” shape. The outside petals take 1/4 of the sheet, the inside ones, 1/6th. I advise at least 5 petals of each size (10 total). I stack the paper and do them all at once. I cut waves into the edges too.

Lightly fold the paper in 4ths for the larger petals:



And into 6ths for the smaller, inside petals (fold in half, then into thirds):



Using two colors of watered down craft acrylic paint, I quickly paint each side of the petals. The water helps to blend the colors. Just follow the form of the petal with your strokes. Only use one brush for both colors. Don’t worry too much how it looks.



I used more darker color on the smaller inside petals, and went lighter on the outside. More water mixed in lightens the paint too.



{{{{{paint drying}}}}}


Find a center stick. I have a bunch of old dried stems lying around that I use. But a skewer stick will work too (or a stick from your yard–even better). The larger the flower, the larger the diameter the stick.

I use a paint brush handle to roll the paper edges.

Low temp glue glue gun, my best friend. Attach the petals by gluing at the base.

If the paper tears a bit, just dab with glue to seal it. Keep working around until you like it.












I used more glue and then florist tape to secure it more to the stick.






Cat, for scale.


Some of my other large, and very small, paper flowers…


Here it is the end of July and my thoughts turn to Halloween?

School starts up in August so back to 60 hour plus work weeks and little time for party planning.  Our annual Halloween party is an event.  Just 70 or so of our favorite fun people and lots of great costumes.

I start the planning by thinking of what worked well last year, what didn’t work so well. ¬†And always: the food.

Here are some of my previous “hits.” ¬†All the pictures are {mine} from the food I made, but the recipes have been borrowed and adapted from many creative people.

Meat Head

Meat Head was new last year. ¬†Funny, people would eat the sliced deli meats around the head, but not off the head ūüôā

Having a lighted plastic skull is a must again for this year!

Pumpkin Burger

I like having the food in multiple locations for Halloween to keep the party flowing and everyone eating.  Pumpkin Burger took a lot of skewers and toothpicks to hold together, but people seemed more willing to pick the deli off of it rather than the skull (squeamish guests).

Although still one of my favorites is the pumpkin throwing up that I used as a menu stand one year–


Is any Halloween party complete without eyeballs to eat? ¬†I’ve tried many over the years.

The jello-based eyeballs are the most realistic looking.  However, they have to be painted the night before and kept chilled on the table.

After many of late night eyeball painting sessions, last year I switched to candy eyeballs that could be painted way in advance (melted white chocolate, mint molds):

Candy fingers were a bonus.

Cheese Balls

You can do so much with cheese, and it is tasty too!  But, if you make your cheese balls too fancy, people maybe reluctant to tear into it.

Finger Food

These went fast!  Luckily, there were about the easiest thing to make.

Bleeding Eyeball Punch

Yes I am obsessed with eyeballs on Halloween. ¬†But this is just too cool and my guests love it. ¬†They fill their glasses up directly from the squirting eye. ¬†Put a few glow sticks in the pot for extra effect. ¬†Always serve under a black light ūüôā

I’m sure I’ll do the standard kitty litter cake and chips and salsa served in the coffin too this year. ¬†These are my old standbys. But as always, I’ll start scouring the internet for more gruesome and fun foods to serve this year. Who knows, meat head may turn into a full blown cadaver!

[all photos on this page are original and credited as such]

It’s done. ¬†My sweetie turned 50 years old a few days ago. He certainly doesn’t look, or act, middle age ūüôā


It’s another major party event. ¬†While it has been in the back of my mind for several months, I finally settled on a theme. ¬†His birthday is St. Patricks day, but he doesn’t need another green-themed 4-leaf clover party. ¬†Also, the old “over the hill” & other “black” themed parties are too obvious and just don’t suit him.

The Theme: Super Hero

I’m going super hero. ¬†After all, he collects vintage comics (did I mention he doesn’t act his age). ¬†A party with a theme is just so much easier to put together, I believe. ¬†Otherwise, I get too scattered. ¬†Super hero is easy, lots of primary colors.

The Invitations: Comic Book

I believe in physical, hand-crafted invitations. ¬†I found that if I take some time and creative inspiration in the invites, the guests will come. ¬†I probably get more comments on my invites than the parties themselves. The invites for this party were easy once I had the super hero theme, a comic book cover and story strip. ¬†I just finished them…

Invitation Front

Invitation Flipside

I took photos of him and “painted” on the super hero costume (painted via a paint app on my iPad). ¬†Although those of you who are great scrapbookers could do the same.¬†¬†The address is across the top (blocked out) and the date & time is where the comic book price is on vintage Marvel covers.¬†Now just 75 or so color photo copies on regular card stock (cost around $25 total) and at least one thing will be ready for the party! ¬†FYI: “Captain Canada” is his hockey playing nickname.

[The next sections written after the party]

The Food:

With out of town guests, I kept the food simple to minimize the amount of cooking and food prep. ¬†A large cutting board with different cheeses, a plate of smoked salmon –I purchased salmon trimmings at half-price to cut down this cost, and used the more expensive whole pieces on top. ¬†Breads, humus, crackers, fruit completed the menu. ¬†A hollowed out pineapple held blueberries, large strawberries always look delicious.

And the cake–I had fun coloring a cartoon and had the cake shop do a photo cake of it:

For drinks-Jello shots are always fun (and contain very little alcohol), a coffee punch to keep all of us old people awake, sodas, beer, a basic bar.


Coffee punch recipe:

1/2 gallon ice cream (vanilla or chocolate, or a little of both)

1 can evaporated milk

1 pot (10-12 cups) strong coffee

Mix all ingredients until melted. ¬†Re-freeze in plastic containers or freezer bags. Serve “Slushy”–with sprinkled cinnamon and/or shaved chocolate. ¬†It is delicious!

The Decorations:

Red & White to go with the Captain Canada theme.

Glow Sticks inside balloons to decorate the front yard (and identify our house) was a nice and easy touch.

The extra glow sticks served as a party favor and all of us “older adults” had fun with them. ¬†Don’t overlook simple “kids stuff” as possibilities for adult parties.

The best was a photo collage of photos throughout his life that spelled out “50.”

The Result:

About 70 guests, lots of singing (we have a simple karaoke machine), lots of fun.

Special Hints:

Puts lots of trash bins around to make it easier for guests to dispose of disposables. ¬†I use re-useable plastic plates & silverware and have those bins marked for dirty dishes. ¬†It makes clean-up a snap. ¬†Invest in an inexpensive karaoke machine. ¬†Have the food and drink spread out throughout different rooms for little “mini” parties to develop and keep the flow going.

Have fun.

Wind & Still

I love it when I finish a painting. ¬†OK, I don’t ever really finish, but I make the decision to stop messing with it.

Today, I finished two: “Wind” and “Still” (hopefully you will be able to tell which is which). ¬†Not my usual style. ¬†These are acrylic paint with a pallet knife, and a touch of glazing.

They are now hanging in our bedroom, representing our two sleeping styles. ¬†I’m still.

{{{Sorry, but I’m not a great photographer}}}

I adapted this project from simple paper flowers by Jeffery Rudell.

These flowering branches will eventually form the center of the centerpiece for my niece’s wedding.


Paper in varying shades of your color for the flower. Bits of tissue paper/napkin for the center, branches (I pick mine up from the yard), white glue.

Time Commitment:

About 20 minutes to make the flowers and glue to the branch (bigger branches = more flowers = more time).


Do you remember how to make a spit wad?

Purple Pig Rating:

7.5 oinks out of 10. ¬†The flowers are really sweet and very easy. ¬†The cost is nothing (doesn’t everyone have paper, glue, and yard debris?) Making a lot of flowers is a bit tedious, but again very easy. ¬†Gluing to the branch takes some time. ¬†Hot glue is faster, but shows. ¬†Using white glue takes time to let it dry, but is invisible. ¬†Minimal messy factor, in fact it requires cleaning up your yard of branches.

Detailed Step by Step:

1. Trace a round circle onto your paper in the size you want your flower. ¬†I used a 2″ diameter lid. ¬†Cut out your circles. ¬†Fold/layer your paper to make several circles at once.

2. Fold the circle in half, then in half again, then in half again.  You will have a little cone.  Cut a rounded edge to form the petal shape.  Unfold.

3. Cut out two triangular sections from the flower (to make a more open flower, cut out one section, to make a smaller bud, cut out three sections).  Glue the two end sections together by overlapping.

4. To make a flat base (so you can glue it to a branch), I placed a blunt-ended pencil inside the flower and pressed down onto the table.

5. Make “spit wads” out of a contrasting color from bits of napkin or tissue paper. ¬†A dab of glue in the center of flower will hold them. A shiny bead would look pretty too. Shape the petals by pinching each rounded end between your fingers.

6. Glue to your branch.  Repeat.

6a. (Optional Step): Making smaller buds from your left over cut out bits.

6b. (Optional Step): Use tissue paper (or napkins) and make even smaller circles/flowers for a completely different look. ¬†The small blue flowers are made from 1″ napkin circles, cut “pointy” instead of rounded, and the flower base doesn’t need to be flattened.

This is an easy paper flower made from crepe paper streamers.  I adapted this flower from the Brides Cafe which used sheets of crepe paper.  However, streamers are more readily available, less expensive, and it cuts down on cutting.


Crepe paper streamer in your choice of colors (be sure to buy green if you want to add leaves & stems). ¬†It’s about $1 for two rolls, each roll will make about 20 flowers.¬†Skewer sticks (or you can use wire). Again about $1 for 50 sticks. ¬†White school glue.


Time Commitment:

About 2 minutes per flower, with some drying time.


Have to be able to hold a stick.

Purple Pig Rating:

8 oinks out of 10.  A decent messy factor since I manage to get glue all over my hands and eventually in my hair.  Very easy and cheap.  They look great, but making a whole bunch can get tedious.  I recommend mini-flower making sessions.

Detailed Step by Step:

1. Cut about a two foot length of streamer.

2. Fold the streamer in half, then in half again, then again…until it is about 1 inch or so wide. ¬†Cut a rounded “petal” shape along the top. ¬†Unfold & lie flat.

3.  Lightly squirt some glue along one short edge and along the bottom for a few inches.  Place your stick (I used a skewer) about 1/2 way up on the edge.  Remember, this is crepe paper, so a little glue goes a long way.  You also do not need complete, uniform glue coverage along the bottom.

4. Roll the stick a few turns to make the inside petal. ¬†How many turns exactly? Just until you like the look–but at least 1 complete turn so it will be glued to the stick when you are finished.

5. Add more glue to extend your glue line along the bottom a by a few inches more (you’ll keep doing this as you go) and start rolling the stick slowly while you use your fingers to gently gather the streamer to the stick. ¬†Just keep rolling, gathering, and sticking the crepe paper. ¬†Here’s lots of pictures:

When you get to the end of the stream, add glue along the short end and finish rolling/gathering.

6.  Pinch the paper along the bottom where it meets the stick to make sure there is good contact with glue, paper, and stick.  I add just a bit more glue around the bottom as a just in case measure.  Then you just need to let it dry (hang upside down while drying if you used a lot of glue along the base).

6a. (Optional Step) Stem & Base with green crepe paper streamer–Cut about 2 inches of green, fold in half, fold in half again (and again) cut a point on BOTH short ends. ¬†Unfold & lie flat. ¬†Then fold in half long ways so the point ends do NOT line up. ¬†Glue along the bottom straight edge and roll onto the base of the flower. ¬†You can then continue to wrap the stick in green paper if you like (or paint it).

6b. (Optional Dual or triple, or ? colored flowers): Do the same procedure as above, but cut some alternate colors and glue at the base.  I did this at random intervals.

And that’s it. ¬†I could have made 10-15 flowers in the time it took me to write this tutorial, it’s that easy.

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