General DIY

Washi Tape-Decorated Beer Bottle Holder

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For our beer-loving friends, Nick and I love to put together a custom selected offering of favorite beers for the lucky recipient. However, it’s always a challenge trying to wrap these tasty gift; we recycle all of our cardboard carriers and they’re always branded to a specific brand or brewery. While selecting a collection of beers to present to a pal of ours recently I realized it was time to invest in a stash of plain kraft bottle holders to use for situations just like this.

You can find many cardboard carrier options online, but I really like these 4-pack holders available on Amazon.

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I love the kraft paper because it’s just waiting to be decorated in washi tape! (At least that’s what I like to think…) The plain cardboard can be stamped, painted, taped… you name it. I added lines of diagonal washi tape on this particular gift. Try decorating the sides, adding matching gift tags, etc. It’s all up to you and what you think the thirsty recipient will love most.

A Zombie Terrarium for Dad

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What do you get your Halloween-loving dad for Father’s Day? A DIY zombie terrarium, of course. For this year’s big day I presented my dad with a terrarium I made for that was all about zombies.

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What I love about building terrariums is that the basics don’t really change from project to project, but the design does. I used a shallow bowl I found at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts as the vessel for this terrarium. It’s size was ideal for letting the taller plants stand out against all the zombies. I used a small fairy garden fence accessory, also from Jo-Ann, in the terrarium. It was a bit too bright to be hanging out with zombies, so I gave it a quick rub of dirt to make it a bit more “appropriate.”

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The plants for this terrarium came from my local English Gardens nursery and they fit in perfectly. I used two different types of moss to spill over the sides of the terrarium. And the zombies? Those came courtesy of an Amazaon Prime delivery.

Once all the finishing touches were in place, it was time to present to my dad. Needless to say, it was a hit.

Macramé on Exhibit: Sally England

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For Mother’s Day this year, Nick and I sponsored a few pieces of artwork at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for our moms. We took a day trip to spend some time at the museum to see the pieces for ourselves; as we explored the museum I was surprised and delighted to stumble across the last day of Sally England‘s “New Knots” exhibition.

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Sally is a Michigan native now living in California as an artist. Her pieces were a part of GRAM’s Michigan Artist Series, an offering of work from Michigan artists. Showcasing the work of Michigan natives and residents is key to the museum, and they’ve committed to offer space to artists who have, or still do, call Michigan home.

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Seeing the exhibit couldn’t have come at a better time. I’d just fallen back in love with macramé thanks to the Museum Makery workshop I attended just a few days prior in Detroit with the Cranbrook Art Museum. Sally’s pieces jumped out at me and make me want to practice my own knotting skills to create my own works of art.

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You can see more of Sally’s work on her website. Take a look at this video to learn more about her inspiration.

Michigan Artist Series Sally England: New Knots from Grand Rapids Art Museum on Vimeo.

Workshop Revisited: DIY Bangles

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My jewelry collection received an awesome fine-paper upgrade thanks to Paper Source. Team Birmingham offered a workshop on transforming a set of wood bangle bracelets into unique, paper-covered accessories.

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I was so surprised (and impressed) by how quickly these bracelets come together. Working with Paper Source’s fine papers, we wrapped our bangles with the gorgeous fibers and applied a liberal, liberal coating of PVA to the pieces to keep it all together. I’ve never used PVA as a Mod Podge-like sealant before, but after this workshop, I won’t use anything else.

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We had the chance to also experiment with washi tape and paints, but I fell in love so much with the papers that I dedicated my entire set to them.

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Since class I’ve made paper bangles for my family members as Mother’s Day gifts – they’re a perfect way to give something handmade that can be used every day.

If you’re curious about more bangle decorating ideas, make sure to check out Paper Source’s blog to see how you can turn old calendar pages into new bracelet decor.

Michigan DIY Pride: MADE Studio + Market

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I’m a sucker for a craft/DIY/hands-on learning opportunity, so I tend to take workshops and classes A LOT. You can usually find me learning about succulents and flower arranging, making cards at Paper Source, or practicing quilting techniques with teachers I admire. I’m excited to add MADE Studio + Market to my list of workshop destinations.

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Founded by Christy Brennan and Katheryn Hansen, MADE offers a space to create alongside a marketplace packed with pieces made primarily from local and regional artists. For the Michigan lover there’s a huge selection of mitten-friendly goods to fall in love with. The storefront covers shopping needs from adorable baby shirts to gorgeous ceramic air plant hangers.

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MADE is big on learning opportunities, especially when it brings likeminded folks together from different communities. They offer monthly Sip-and-Shop nights, usually featuring a special collaboration with a local maker or business. There are also many workshops to take at MADE. Last month I stopped by the studio to join them for a seed bomb class. We learned the importance of making our yards as nature friendly as possible. Gathered around the big workshop table in the back we got our hands dirty (literally) and made dozens of small seed bombs to take to our homes.

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If you’re excited to try something new or pick up a gift made by someone right down the road from you, MADE Studio + Market is for you.

The Museum Makery: Modern Macramé

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My dream evening is to work on a craft project with likeminded folks set against a great backdrop. Thanks to the Cranbrook Art Museum, I had a helluva Wednesday night last week.

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Our/Detroit was taken over on March 30 for an edition of the museum’s Museum Makery workshop series, Modern Macramé, as a group of craft-loving Michiganders each created a unique plant hanger. Artist Hannah Chalew was our host for the evening, teaching us the way of the crown and square knots. It had been years since I’d made any kind of macramé project, so I couldn’t wait to refresh my knotting knowledge.

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The bar tables were transformed into individual crafting workspaces for us. We selected a plant of our choice and a heaping handful of wooden beads to use as support throughout our plant hanger. Hannah walked us through the basics of macramé knots to get us started. Table partners quickly started helping one another out; it was a great feeling seeing everyone come together in the spirit of making.

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26171095681_0a1a3cdf30_oAfter a few delicious Our/Detroit vodka-based cocktails, we all emerged victorious with our new plant hangers. I forgot all that goes into making a macramé project, but I feel incredibly confident to make a matching plant hanger for our house after my visit to the Museum Makery.

Cranbrook Art Museum has a busy event schedule coming up this spring with the opening of Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, the inspiration for our macramé evening. Make sure to follow them on Facebook to see the latest events, like the April Museum Makery, Photography!