Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tissue Paper Flowers

I recently helped organize an event with some teenage girls and we filled the room with bouquets of tissue flowers we made. They are really easy to make and they look real.

To make a basic flower yourself, click here for a tutorial I did on KCRA, the local TV station.

The video shows how to make poppies, but you can make almost any kind of flower just by changing the petal shape and centers. Don't worry about making everything exact. Nature is forgiving, and your flowers will look more real if they aren't perfect.

Try triangular or spiky centers, several layers of different-sized circles, or just a smaller version of the petal shape. For petals, study real flowers. Make sure the petal pieces are thick enough in the middle so the pipe cleaner won't rip through. Here are some ideas:

Klutz press makes a great book on making these flowers, complete with patterns and all the supplies you need. It's called, remarkably, Tissue Paper Flowers.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cat Sacks

Nothing is more exciting to my two cats than when I'm in my office crafting, especially if it involves yarn or little things to bat around on the hardwood floor. I enjoy their company, but if I leave a project to answer the phone or forget to put it away at the end of the day, it gets sat on. Doesn't matter what it is-- it's like my project is not initiated if it hasn't been sat on and thoroughly kneaded. Both cats, Moo and Sushi, don't shed much, but I can't sell a project or give it as a gift if it's been napped on by a kitty. You never know who is allergic or who would be ooked out by the thought of an animal using their new item as a napping pad. And it's not really "new" if it's been used for a cat-nap.

So, short of keeping them locked out, here is a solution that worked for me: I sewed each cat
their own cat sack. A cat sack is different from other pet beds because I filled it with those little styrofoam pellets that are used in regular bean bag chairs. I found mine at Tap Plastics. The cat sinks in a little and it makes a cozy nest. And if your cat likes to knead his or her bed before settling in, the texture of the pellets puts them in heaven. Purr purr. Moo and Sushi both love their cat sacks and don't sleep on anything but their own sack in my office. My projects stay pet-free and my cats are happy!


1. Cut two pieces of fabric 20 inches square. Choose soft, washable fabric.

2. Double stitch the two pieces together, wrong sides out. Leave a four-inch opening.

3. Turn right side out and fill 1/2 to 2/3 full with styrofoam pellets.

4. Double stitch the opening closed. Done!

If you want to go washable, or have a cat that easily tears things up, sew an inner pillow 1/2 inch smaller all the way around than the finished pillow. Sew the finished pillow on three side and leave the fourth side open. Sew in a zipper or Velcro strip on the fourth side so you can remove the outer layer for washing.

I sell these in my etsy store and in the description for the one with the gray cat (Sushi), I mentioned that Sushi was obese, so your cat will probably fit on the pillow better. A nice lady from the UK convo'd me and said that my poor kitty was certainly not "obese," just "sturdy and lovable." Well, I have to say she is lovable, but sturdy she is not. If she rolls over too quickly on the couch, sometimes her stomach blubs over the edge and brings the rest of her with it. (Not your typical cat-like grace.)