Mar 26, 2012

Divine Duct Tape in Haute Handbags!

I'm excited to announce that my first magazine article hits the stands on April 1st!  My duct tape purses were chosen to be featured in the Spring edition of Haute Handbags by Stampington.  Three of my designs are pictured in the magazine, along with step-by-step instructions on basic handbag construction.  

Stars and Stripes

This patriotic handbag features a shoulder strap, front flap, and red, white, and blue plaid lining.

The Sunflower

This tote has black and white striped lining and a shoulder strap that features eyelets and a buckle. The bright yellow sunflower is adorned with a vintage earring center.

You Are My Sunshine

This bright handbag sports an outer pocket and sunny plaid lining.  The pocket is adorned with a vintage button earring.

More of my duct tape purses can be viewed here.

I like to link up to these great parties.

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Sugar Bee Crafts

Mar 20, 2012

Mississippi Riverboat Cruise

All aboard the Robert E. Lee with a stop in New Orleans for dinner and a show!  I haven't done a lot of the usual crafting lately, but I have been busy in my quest for giving secondhand things new life by decorating for a church activity.  This one just happened to be a Mississippi Riverboat Cruise.  Over the years we have cruised to the Caribbean, the Orient, Italy, South of the Border, and even Gilligan's Island!  All in the comfort and convenience of our church's cultural hall.  The budget is usually on the frugal side so I love the challenge of decorating on a shoestring!  So come aboard the Robert E. Lee and I'll give you some tips that might come in handy the next time you need to decorate for an event.  All in all I was able to decorate for the entire event for under $100. 

In all the excitement of the activity, I forgot to get pictures of the entrance, so you'll just have to imagine it.  I used a large piece of cardboard on the floor leading up to the doors and painted it to look like wood planks for a dock.  I taped the edges down so no one would trip.  On our previous Gilligan's Island cruise I had cut some sturdy cardboard tubes (from carpet rolls) to about 15" in length and painted them to look like chunks of bamboo (these were then used for coconut bowling) but, for this activity they worked well for piers along the dock.  I placed them into groups of threes and tied rope around them, draping the rope from group to group.  This made a nice border for the dock.  Since the "piers" were hollow I added some silk fern fronds coming out of the tops.  I also had an old wooden barrel and some wooden crates and stuffed burlap bags sitting around the dock.  I had a CD player tucked into one of the crates continuously playing "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" as the passengers arrived.  There was a sign above the doors that read "Robert E. Lee."  

Once inside the cultural hall, they could hear dixieland jazz playing and see the silhouettes of jazz players.  These were cut from black paper and pinned to the walls.  The white posts were also cut from paper and taped to the wooden trim boards.  To make the gingerbread corner pieces, I cut a stencil using my Cricut and spray painted them with black spray paint onto white poster board.  Then I just cut around the edges...a lot easier than actually cutting out the intricate details!  

6 pieces of poster board = $3.00
spray paint = $0.96
roll of black paper = $5.00
roll of white paper = free

Cafe Orleans was 24' long and topped off by an awning made from two secondhand sheets.  I cut the sheets into 6" strips and stitched them together.  I made a frame from PVC pipe and my dear husband was kind enough to help me figure out how to attach it to the wall with minimal impact to the wall and trim.  I know the background is kind of dark (I ended up stringing some lights on the underside of the awning just before the activity) but, the walls were covered with sheets spray painted to look like stone walls.  We actually use these sheets often for other the city walls of Bethlehem at Christmas time!  The table clothes are actually white sheets with a long piece of secondhand fabric for some added color.  I painted the "stonework" in front of the cafe on heavy paper years ago for my daughter's wedding reception.  Thank goodness my parents have a barn that stores these kind of things!  I like to hang white icicle lights from the tables and cover them with plastic skirting.  It gives a nice glow and adds extra ambient lighting to the room.

PVC framework = $24.00
green secondhand sheet = $3.00
white secondhand sheets = free (check you local hotel chain for discarded sheets)
reused paper stonework = free
reused stone wall sheets = free
tablecloth borrowed from a friend = free
reused plastic table skirting (used more times than I can remember!) = free
my Christmas lights = free 

French Quarter was set up for picture-taking.  The brick walls in the back were more of the free hotel sheets.  I dyed them gray, then cut a stencil and sprayed them to look like bricks.  I stitched the two sheets together making a casing in the middle.  I also stitched a casing on each edge.  I then slipped a PVC pipe into all three casings.  TIP:  Stitch across the top edge of each casing so that your PVC pipe doesn't poke out the top.  The window was a leftover plastic mirror frame that came with an old dresser that we used as a vanity in one of our bathrooms.  The shutters were bifold doors purchased from a local reuse-it center.  The wrought iron fence piece I brought from home.  The lamp post I made years ago from an old outdoor light fixture, PVC pipe, and plastic planter.  The street sign was made using my Cricut.  The paper stonework was also from my daughter's wedding.

PVC pipes = $4.50
shutters = $8.00
poster board stencil = $0.50
spray paint = $10.00
dye for sheets = $2.50
second hand silk fern = $6.00
sheets for brick wall = free
window frame = free
fence from home = free
bench from home = free
reused paper stonework = free
reused lamp post = free

The bayou was probably my favorite scene.  This was where the kids could toss stuffed frogs onto lilly pads, or stand around the dock and try to get their plastic frogs to jump into the bucket.  I used the roll around chalkboard as the support for my shack with one the church's choir risers for the porch.  Side note...My husband designs homes for a living and I must admit that this shack was not built to code!  I was able to get nice big sheets of cardboard from a door and window business.  I am always on the look out for "oops" paint at the local paint store, so I just used paint from my stash to paint the shack and the shingled roof.  I cut out the window and hung a piece of fabric from my stash on the backside.  A light perched on the rail of the chalkboard gave it a nice glow.  All of the barrels, crates, etc. are props that we have used for other activities.  The plants are gathered from the "four quarters" of the church.  Burlap ground cloth was tucked around the base of the plants to cover the planters (also reused from other activities.)  The dock was just a small table covered in burlap and paper...drawn with a felt pen to look like wood planks.  The lilly pads were cut from my Cricut with a silk flower glued to each.  Sheets were dyed and hung in the background to cover the accordion curtains.  I scored three matching secondhand stuffed frogs for the lilly pad game for only 25¢ each.  I also downloaded a soundtrack of crickets and frogs from itunes and had it playing in the background.

roll of kraft paper = $3.00
three secondhand frogs = $0.75
dye for sheets = $2.50
lilly pads = $2.00
cardboard for the shack = free
paint for the shack = free
reused burlap = free
reused misc. props = free

A view of the lilly pads and dock.
 One of my favorite things in this scene was the firefly in a jar.  It was the greatest thing!  Now, I live in Oregon and we don't have fireflies, and I racked my brain trying to come up with an idea to make one.  Then I stumbled upon "My Pet Firefly."  In my searching, I found the best buy at Toys-R-Us ($10.)  But, Lowe's ($15) and Amazon ($20) also carry them.  The kids loved it...and the adults, too.  All you do is tap the lid and the firefly starts glowing and fluttering around in the jar.  Then it stops for a little while and gently flaps its wings, then it flies around again.  I was very pleased with this addition.  In fact, I purchased this with my own money so I could keep it.  So, I didn't include it in the cost of decorating.  BTW, the jar is actually plastic so you don't have to worry about it breaking.

I borrowed these battery operated candle fountains from my Mom, along with the greenery.  I found a wrought iron image on the internet and printed them out 12x12 on our oversized printer.  The black squares are dollar store rectangular table clothes cut to 36x36 (three from each package.)

table clothes = $4.00
batteries = $5.00
borrowed centerpieces = free
wrought iron paper centers = free

The stage was decorated with white lights across the front and patriotic buntings.  The backdrop was painted on heavy paper by my parents years ago.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  They also loaned me all of the colored lights that I used in decorating.

borrowed backdrop = free
lights from home = free
buntings from home = free

Okay, I know that I'm biased with this one, but my favorite entertainment were these cute guys.  My son is in the middle with four of his friends.  The hats were borrowed from my Mom.  I made the vests from a secondhand pottery barn curtain and a plaid sheet.  If you want to see why they were my favorite, you can view the video here.

vests, hat bands, ties = $7.00

So there you go...a very successful and fun activity.  Of course, no activity would be successful without the helping hands of many people, and I was blessed to have many willing volunteers!  The food was great!  The ladies at our church served gumbo, dirty rice, rice and beans, cornbread, king cake, and pralines.  We had games,  dixieland-style entertainment, and a also a themed movie showing in one of the side rooms.  It was a great evening filled with many happy memories!

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