State Plaque

Last year, I found a cute idea on Pinterest.  Someone had created this adorable plaque.  Unfortunately, the link attached to the pin didn’t lead to directions.  I decided to make similar plaques for my parents and my boyfriend’s parents for Christmas.  I detailed my improvised process below.  Sorry for the lack of pictures!

Texas Plaque Inspiration

Materials (and where I bought them):

  • A Plaque ( Hobby Lobby)
  • A Box of Small Nails (Home Depot)
  • A Small Finishing Hammer (Home Depot)
  • Ball of Cotton Crochet Thread (Hobby Lobby)
  • Masking Tape
  • Scissors
  • Access to a Computer/Printer

Instructions:

  1. Purchase your plaque so you are certain of the size.
  2. Print out a state map and a small heart using your computer and printer.  Make sure the sizes are appropriate for your plaque.  I copied my state map into PowerPoint so that I could scale it to fit my plaque well. Also in PowerPoint, I superimposed the heart on the map over the cities where my parents and my then boyfriend’s (now fiance’s!) parents live.
  3. Cut out the map and the heart using scissors.
  4. Create small rolls of masking tape and put the tape on the back of the map.
  5. Place the map on the plaque in the orientation desired.
  6. Line the paper map and heart with nails.  I would suggest using a spacer so the nails are evenly spaced.  I used a crochet hook.  A pen would be an appropriate size.
  7. After the paper map and heart are completely lined with nails, carefully remove the map.
  8. Tie the end of the thread to one of the heart nails.  Maintaining tension in the thread, wrap the thread around the nails alternating between heart nails and map nails.  Wrap thread around each map nail once and each heart nail several times.  When all of the nails are wrapped, tie the string to the final nail and cut the string close to the nail.

My Plaques

I was very pleased with the final product and both of our parents loved their gifts!

Difficulty:  Easy

Time Requited:  2 Movies

Overall Experience:  Excellent

About a month ago, I got an email from Uncommon Goods.  They are selling almost the exact same plaques for $85!  I wish that I had thought to paint the tips of the nails red for the heart.  That was a really cute idea!

Uncommon Goods Plaque

Burlap Roses

Shortly after Craig and I were engaged in December, one of my bridesmaids decided to throw us an engagement party.  The location she chose already had a rustic feel, so she wanted to go with the burlap and mason jar theme so popular on Pinterest.  I had pinned some burlap roses some time ago that I really wanted to try to make.  My original pin didn’t include a tutorial, so I went searching for a tutorial and found a great one on Snug as a Bug Baby’s blog.  The blog entry show step by step instructions for making beautiful burlap roses.  Each step even includes a picture for clarity.  If you choose to make these roses, here are my tips and suggestions:

  1. I didn’t actually know where to buy burlap since this was my first burlap craft project.  (I use it in concrete applications for research projects somewhat often.)  I discovered that you can buy it fairly cheap at Lowe’s or Home Depot.  This is very low quality, bulk burlap.  I ended up using this as the tablecloth at the party.  At JoAnn Fabric, I found all different colors of burlap and even burlap with different designs.  I picked up small amounts of several different types for decorating at the party.
  2. This project makes a huge mess.  You end up with burlap “strings” everywhere.  Be prepared to deal with that when you are finished.  It also smells like burlap.
  3. The tutorial does not explicitly say that you need to hot glue every petal.  It says to glue where needed.  Since hot glue does flow through the petals, I thought I might be able to get by with gluing every other petal.  This was a mistake.  Glue every petal.  Glue liberally.
  4. In the project, the crafter cuts strips of burlap.  Burlap ribbon is a thing (although I’ve never used it).  It might be worth trying the ribbon.  This would result in less mess and cleaner looking flowers.  I for one kind of like the “strings” coming off of the raw edge of the roses.  They add to the rustic feel.

This is once again a project I decided to do before the blog idea came into my head or I would have posted more pictures.  I love the way the flowers turned out.  The were a big hit at the party.  Many people came up to our table at the restaurant and asked where we got them.  The official restaurant photographer even took a picture of them and added it to the restaurant’s Facebook page!  After the party, I put all of the flowers in one mason jar and keep them on the coffee table in my living room.

Difficulty:  Easy

Time Required:  2 Movies

Overall Experience:  Good

Here are a few pictures of the party itself.  I love how the decorations turned out!

Cross-Stitch Portrait

I’m a big fan of the site Uncommon Goods.  As the name suggests, the company carries fun unique products.  A few months ago, I was pleased to see a cross-stitch item advertised.  I rarely see cross-stitching anywhere and greatly enjoyed it as a child.  The site offers custom cross-stitched portraits for the staggering fee of $175-$225.  I was shocked at the price.  The designs, while adorable, were extremely simple.

Cross-Stitch Portraits

Two of my friends, Nathan and Lara, were going to be married so I decided to make them a cross-stitch portrait to add to their wedding shower gift drawing inspiration from the Uncommon Goods portraits.   The pattern I developed is shown below.  (Click on the pattern to make it larger.)  The bold lines represent backstitching and the triangles are French knots.  The other symbols represent cross-stitching in different colors.  If you choose to follow the pattern, any color may be used.  I chose colors that matched Nathan and Lara’s wedding colors (pink and navy).

 

Portrait Cross-Stitch Pattern

Nathan&Lara

Difficulty:  Easy

The project is about as easy as cross-stitching gets.

Time Requited:  2 Movies

Overall Experience:  Excellent

The project was fast and simple.  Nathan, Lara, and everyone at the shower loved it.