Crafty, But Not Crazy: Three Easy Projects to Do On Your Own or With the Kids

It’s time for true confessions. It’s embarrassing, but true. I’ll try anything artsy once. Well…just about anything. Here’s the part that’s embarrassing: My successes have made me fearless – and rather messy. I wouldn’t want to throw that nifty scrap or tidbit away because I will, most definitely, encounter a friend, TV show, YouTube video or Pinterest pin that shows me exactly what to do with it. Then, believe it or not – I actually do it.

The house is full of things I’ve tackled in a fit of crafting passion and many of them, I might humbly state, are masterpieces in their own way. Some are just plain odd. Others – the ones that dragged me way too deep into the crafting waters – nearly got shoved under the sofa and never completed, but that’s fine, as they can always keep my marbles company under there, if you know what I mean.

Now we approach the time of year when I get super excited about making gifts. It’s also the time of year, at least in our neck of the woods, when falling temperatures bring us indoors more and it begins getting dark earlier…and earlier…and earlier. Before long we’ll have darkness by five o’clock, which leaves you with long evenings to fill if you’re not a writer or blogger or if you’re not Smuffy.

Smuffy has an organized series – yes, series – of to-do lists so detailed that they are filed neatly behind his master list, entitled, “LISTS”, which is, as the name implies, a list of his lists. I am not making this up, folks! I’ve known him to misplace this on rare occasions and it’s traumatic, to say the least.  I have lists, too – somewhere.

Sometimes, we all need something quick and fool-proof to spruce up the place, get ourselves organized or give as a hand-made gift. At other times, we need something to do with the kids or grandkids that doesn’t take forever or tear the whole house apart – something that keeps that last little marble from rolling under the sofa to join all the others.

I’m going go share some photos of three easy projects – and I mean falling-off-a-log-easy projects. So easy, in fact that you could make them on your own just by taking a quick look at the photo and pretty much ignoring any written instructions.

Get your creative self in gear and let’s go!

First, take a look at this photo and guess what this cute pumpkin was before it was a pumpkin:

Scrap Fabric Pumpkin

Pat yourself on the back (or, backside, perhaps?) if you guessed –

TP Roll

Yep, toilet tissue!

Once you have gathered some supplies, this project takes just a couple of minutes to complete. All you need is a roll of toilet tissue, an 18 inch (or ½ yard) square of fabric and some leftover fluff such as raffia, ribbon, greenery and a stick or what I thought made the ideal stem – a dried okra pod! Let’s give a round of cyber-applause to my friend, Robin, who demonstrated this last week to a gathering of ladies who promptly pounced on the table full of goodies and turned out some really cute pumpkins! Imagine how cute this would be wrapped in burlap or an orange polka-dot or chevron print! You could also use a little polyester fiberfill around the toilet tissue before you pull the fabric up and stuff it into the center of the roll in order to make your pumpkin a little fatter.  

What a cute idea for anywhere in the house or perhaps on the bathroom vanity as a spare hiding in plain sight!

Go ahead – say it: “This craft project is not too hard for me.” Seriously, if you mess this one up, I’m not sure I want you fixing me dinner or driving anywhere near me in a motor vehicle! You might just be dangerous.

Next up – a set of candle-holders made with your very own little hands! Don’t get all worked up about it. The pumpkin thing should have you feeling like an awesome artiste by now. All you need to do is see the “after” photo of this one –

Lentil Candle Holders

Start with a trip to a well-stocked grocery store for three bags of lentils. They come in the usual tan, but also in red, green and orange. Choose the three colors you want. Stop at your local discount store or Hobby Lobby and get a skein of twine, some varied-sized canning jars and some votive candles.

I also chose to paint the canning rings with Krylon Fusion paint (also available at Hobby Lobby) in a hammered metal finish in order to “antique” them a bit. I chose the chocolate brown color, but I think the black or copper would also look great.

Next, go home and raid Grandma’s button box and choose some colors to go along with your candles and lentils. String them together and tie them to the twine you’ve wrapped around the rings. Pour the lentils into the jars and nestle the votives into the lentils. What a cute an inexpensive gift or a quick way to switch up your own décor!

TIPS: If you are giving these as gifts, I recommend giving them with the canning lid on top as well as the ring to keep from spilling all your lentils before the gift is opened. Also a tiny dot of hot glue goes a long way in keeping the twine in place when you’re wrapping it around the ring.

I know you’ve got to be feeling unstoppable now, so let’s move on to something that is super-simple but may take just a little more time. Repeat after me, “I can. I know I can. Yes, I can, can, can!”

I’m talkin’ about cans!

Crafting Cans

Most households seem to end up with these, whether it’s from mixed nuts, protein shakes or, in my case, whole food nutrition. They seem to be pretty easy to accumulate. Instead of sending them all to the trash or recycle bin, why not save a few in varied sizes and give this a try –

Chic Recycled Cans

All I did was clean the cans out well and remove the labels. Then, I dug around in my stash of leftover pre-pasted wallpaper rolls for some coordinating prints and colors. You can always use scrap-booking paper, but keep in mind that it will not have its own adhesive and you’ll have to glue it on.

The only time-consuming part of this project is measuring and cutting the paper to fit exactly to the inside and outside of the cans. You’ll want to do this before wetting the wallpaper or applying glue to the paper. I also chose to spray paint the metal rims of the cans to coordinate with my paper choices. I used the drying time to do all my paper cutting. I received the added bonus of using up several of the almost empty cans of spray paint that accumulate in the basement cupboard! Hooray for wiggle room!

Once all the adhesive is dry, apply coordinating ribbon around the can, securing it with a dot of hot glue. I like fashioning a “faux bow” to the front to cover the seam in the ribbon.

Again, raid the button box or pick up a package of scrap-booking embellishments at Hobby Lobby. They add just the right final touch.

You can keep the plastic lids if you want to use the cans for giving out goodies this holiday season. If you do this, you’ll need to wrap the treats in plastic wrap or put them in a food-safe bag before inserting them into the cans to keep them from coming in contact with the glue and wallpaper.

These sets of three cans make a great way to organize the supplies on your desk or keep hair and make-up supplies from becoming out of control. Kids and teens will love receiving them or making them for a friend, especially when they are done in trendy prints or playful character papers. See how just a simple switching of the buttons changes the look.

I suppose some kid will get the bright idea of poking holes in the lids and inserting a frog or something with even more appendages, but I, in no way, advise or condone such usage. Just so you know.

Now that I’ve filled your head with creative, and – let’s be real – CHEAP ideas, get busy and start having fun! Be sure to post in the comments your photos and ideas for how you’ve completed and used the projects.

I’m sure you have some great ideas of your own. I’d love to hear them, even if it’s a tale of a crafty disaster! Just scroll back up to the top of this post and click on “LEAVE A COMMENT”.

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4 thoughts on “Crafty, But Not Crazy: Three Easy Projects to Do On Your Own or With the Kids

  1. You come up with some of the neatest ideas.
    I think I might be able to do a pumpkin,
    maybe even the candles. Don’t think I want
    to try the cans, yet. I’ll need to practice on
    the others first.

    1. I have faith that ANYBODY can handle that pumpkin! I had a good laugh the other day after a meeting when several people who had made those were chatting about the errands they had to run. One lady commented that if she didn’t make it to the store that day, she would have to go home and “un-punkin”. We all knew what she meant. I’m happy to say that my cupboard is stocked and my TP pumpkin is still intact!

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