Robert’s DIY Easter Chicks

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/robertm
Instagram: http://instagram.com/mrmahar
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaharCraft

Robert’s Pinterest Easter Inspiration Board: http://www.pinterest.com/robertm/easter/

Materials:
Crepe paper
Styrofoam balls
Styrofoam eggs
Black paper and orange paper
Pipe cleaners
Toothpicks
Ribbon

Tools:
Glue
Flat head pins
¼” paper punch
Jewelry pliers (optional)

Directions:
1) Begin with either crepe paper streamers or cut down a larger roll of crepe paper into strips approximately 2” wide by 2’ in length. Fold a strip in half two to three times and then cut it into thirds, creating smaller strips of paper .

2) The egg shaped Styrofoam will become the chick’s body. Take one of the small strips of crepe paper, fold over the end about ¼” and pin it to the Styrofoam using a flat head pin. Then, pulling slightly to create a bit of tension, begin wrapping the crepe paper around the egg, overlapping each strip slightly. When you get to the end of the strip, secure it with a bit of glue and then glue on a second strip to continue wrapping until the egg is completely covered.

3) Now take another strip of crepe paper approximately 2” wide by 2’ in length, fold a strip in half two to three times and then cut it into fourths, creating even smaller strips of paper .

4) The round Styrofoam ball will become the chick’s head. Take one of the smaller strips of crepe paper, fold over the end about ¼” and pin it to the Styrofoam using a flat head pin. Then, pulling slightly to create a bit of tension, begin wrapping the crepe paper around the ball, overlapping each strip slightly. When you get to the end of the strip, secure it with a bit of glue and then glue on a second strip to continue wrapping until the ball is completely covered.

5) Cut two pieces of crepe paper measuring approximately 2” wide — 6” in length. Fold them accordion style and then fan them out slightly to create the wings. Pin these on either side of the egg-shaped body. Then take one of the small strips of crepe paper that you used to wrap the body and overlap the top of each wing to conceal the seam and the pin — glue the paper in place.

6) Next create the facial features. Fold a small piece of orange paper in half and then cut out a triangle shape — this will serve as your beak. Place a small line of glue along the folded edge and position it on the head, holding it in place until the glue is secure. Punch out two small circles from black paper using a standard ¼” paper punch — these will serve as your eyes. Place a small amount of glue on the back of each and position them on the head. You may find it helpful to hold the eyes with a pair of tweezers and apply the glue with the aid of a toothpick.

7) Connect the head to the body by cutting a toothpick in half, take one of your halves and push it up into the neck and the press the head down onto the body. If you have issues pressing the toothpick into the head or body, consider using another toothpick to pre-puncture small starter holes. You may also want to place a small amount of glue on the toothpick to help secure the head and body together.

8) Now we’ll create the legs and feet using a standard 12” length of pipe cleaner. Cut the pipe cleaner into two 3 ½” pieces and two 2 ½” pieces. Take a 3 ½” long piece and bend the end of it to resemble a letter Z shape — you may find it helpful to use a pair of jewelry pliers when doing this. Next take one of the 2 ½” and bend it in half to resemble a letter V. Slide the V back into the bottom notch of the Z, twist it around and bend it towards the front so all three toes are now facing the same direction. Trim the toes so that they’re all similar in length. Repeat this to create the second leg and foot

9) Pre-puncture two holes in the body where you would like the legs positioned. Place a small amount of glue on the top of each pipe cleaner leg and press them into the holes.

10) Finally, take a length of ribbon and tie it into a bow. Poke a flat head pin through the back of the bow’s knot and then press it into the body right below the chin. Your chick is now ready to sit in your Easter basket and watch over your candy!

Helpful Tips:
Experiment creating these Easter chicks in a variety of sizes and colors! While they look great in your Easter basket, they would also be a fun addition to your mantles, book shelves and dining table.

Robert’s Living Easter Basket

Robert’s Easter Inspiration Pinterest Board:http://www.pinterest.com/robertm/easter/

Materials:
A basket
A basket liner
Good quality potting soil
Flowers to be transplanted
Live or preserved moss

Directions:

  1. Select an Easter basket and then purchase a liner to fit the interior. Most stores that carry seasonal merchandise will carry a large variety of baskets. Liners can be found in plant nurseries, craft supply stores, hardware store and garden centers.
  2. Place your liner in your basket and fill it ½ to ¾ full of potting soil.
  3. Arrange your plants on top of the soil to determine placement. You can opt to fill the entire liner with flowers or leave room to place Easter eggs. Once you’ve decided on your placement, loosen the flower roots and press gently into the soil. Cover the roots with an additional inch of soil.
  4. Lightly water the soil. Be mindful not to over-water as your liner does not have drainage holes.
  5. Surround the plants with a layer of live or preserved moss — this will cover the soil, disguise the edges of the liner and provide a layer of cushion for your Easter eggs.
  6. Arrange Easter eggs amongst the flowers and display!


Helpful Tips:
• Take your selected basket with you when you go shopping for a liner — this way there is no guesswork as to whether or not it will fit!
• Once the holiday has passed, transplant your flowers to your outdoor container garden or flower beds.


Robert’s Fruit & Vegetable Container Garden

Web: http://maharcraft.tumblr.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/robertm
Instagram: http://instagram.com/mrmahar
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaharCraft

Materials:
Good quality potting soil
Herb clippings
Fruit and vegetable cuttings

Tools:
Containers/pots for planting
Shallow dishes and cups with water for rooting

Directions:
This simple DIY is a wonderful way to recycle the scraps from fruits and vegetable to recreate a home container garden. Much of the process is trial and error, but you will be amazed by some of the results!


• HERBS: Take clippings, roughly 4 to 5 inches in length from live herb plants and place in a glass of water. Place in indirect sunlight and typically within the course of 2 weeks the clipping will sprout new root. Once the clipping has begun to generate new roots, allow it 2 additional weeks to become established in the water before transplanting it to a size approporaiet container of potting soil.


• LETTUCE & ROOT VEGETABLES: Take a cutting from the end of a root vegetable (such as a radish, onion or carrot) or a head of lettuce and place it cut side down into a shallow dish of water. Place in indirect sunlight and typically within the course of 2 weeks the vegetable cuttings will take root. Once the cutting have begun to generate new roots, allow them 2 additional weeks to become established in the water before transplanting them to size appropriate containers of potting soil. Once planted in soil, it will take approximately 2 to 3 weeks for the plants to mature.


• FRUIT HYBRIDS: Slice the ends of two comparably sized fruits (apples & pears, bananas & kiwis) making certain that there are visible seeds present in the fruit. Place the cuttings flesh sides together and place in a container of good quality potting soil. Cover with an additional inch of soil and moisten lightly. Over the course of 1 to 2 weeks the cutting will begin to heal together and commence growing as one plant. Place the container in indirect sunlight and maintain moderately moist soil. Once established, plants will require 2 to 3 weeks to mature and produce fully formed, edible fruits.

Helpful Tips:
• You can experiment with all manner of fruit and vegetable peels, clipping and cuttings. To aid in the establishment of your new plants, many home and garden centers sell vitamin boosts with assist new plants in establishing their roots.
• New fruit hybrids are often a hit and miss process of experimentation and results are not guaranteed. However, if you are able to successfully grow the beautiful banana and kiwi combination demonstrated in this video, we recommend you proceed directly to your corner market and purchase a lottery ticket. Wishing you a very happy April Fool’s Day!

Robert’s Perler Bead Cord Organizer

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/robertm
Instagram: http://instagram.com/mrmahar
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaharCraft

Materials:
Perler beads*
*Online source for DIY perler beads: http://www.joann.com/perler-fun-fusio…
color/zprd_12358313a.html#q=perler+beads

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Tools:
Perler bead peg board (round and/or square)*
Perler bead ironing paper**
Iron
Tweezers
Hot glue & hot glue gun
Bamboo skewer (optional)
*Online source for perler bead peg board http://www.joann.com/perler-pegboards…
**Online source for perler bead ironing paper: http://www.joann.com/perler-ironing-p…

Directions:
1) Create a circle on a round peg board that is 11 beads across — this will create the first cookie of the sandwich cookie. I created the circle using a light brown color perler bead. You may find it easier to pick up and place the perler beads using the aid of a bamboo skewer.

2) Once you’ve filled in the entire circle remove a few of the beads using tweezers or a bamboo skewer and replace them with darker brown perler beads to resemble chocolate chips.

3) Then remove a line of three perler beads on either side of the circle, directly cross from one another. These will create the notches to organize the plug and earbuds on either end of the cord.

4) Pre-heat your iron to medium or medium high. Place the ironing paper that comes with your perler beads over your circle and then iron in a circular motion for 10 seconds. Carefully lift the paper to see if the beads have melted together — if not, iron for another ten seconds. Allow the cookie to cool for a second and then peel the paper off, flip the cookie over, place the paper back down and iron the second side. Allow to cool, peel away the paper and you’ve created the first cookie of your sandwich cookie.

5) Create and iron a second circle shaped cookie identical to the first but without the notches.

6) Next create and iron a circle that is two rows smaller than the cookie to resemble the filling. Then remove a single perler beads on either side of the circle, directly cross from one another — this accommodates the organizing notches in the cookie. I created this circle using white perler beads. Create and iron two filling layers

7) Now we’ll combine all four layers to create the three-dimensional sandwich cookie. Using hot glue connect one filling layer to the cookie with the notches making sure the spaces are aligned. Glue on the second layer of filling and then top it off with the second cookie. Allow the hot glue to cool.

8) To use your cord organizer, place your ear buds in one notch, wrap the cord around the center filling layers and then tuck the plug into the second notch. The wrapped cord ends up looking like more delicious filling!

Helpful Tips:

• You can create all manner of cookie varieties! Try a second rectangular-shaped wafer cookie as shown in the video.

• Ear buds come in wide range of colors — create a cookie using similar color perler beads for the filling layers

Robert’s DIY Custom Scented Nail Polish

Materials:
Nail polish bottles (1/2 oz) with brush caps
Suspending nail polish base
Mini funnels
Mixing beads
Micas and glitters
Your choice of fragrance
*Online source for DIY nail polish kit that includes all of the above materials: http://www.brambleberry.com/Shimmery-…

Optional materials:
Your choice of fragrance
Online source for fragrance oils:http://www.brambleberry.com/Fragrance…
Mini scoops
Online source for mini scoops: http://www.brambleberry.com/15-CC-Sco…


Directions:
1. Carefully fill your empty glass nail polish bottles about 90% full with suspending nail polish base and then insert a couple of the mixing beads.  Note!  Don’t use the mini funnels to pur your base into the bottles — the base is too thick and the funnel opening is too narrow.


2. Place your small funnel on the top of the bottle neck.  Select your choice of micas and/or glitters and scoop them into the funnel.  Add just one scoop at a time and tap the funnel between each addition to get the colorants down into the bottle.


3. If you’d like to add fragrance to your nail polish, add it at this time.  Only use about one mL of fragrance so as not to dilute the nail polish.
4. Insert the brush down into the neck of the bottle and the screw on the cap.  This action will connect these two separate elements.


5. Now shake the bottle for at least one minute to completely combine all of the ingredients.  You can now test your nail polish by brushing it directly onto your nails or a piece of paper.  If you want to add additional colorants, you can do so at this time and then cap and shake thoroughly again.


6. To keep track of your custom nail polish combinations, consider keeping a DIY recipe book listing out your ingredients and painting a small swatch of the finished polish.

Robert’s Paper Marbling Tutorial 101

Web: http://maharcraft.tumblr.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/robertm
Instagram: http://instagram.com/mrmahar
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaharCraft

Materials:
Suminagashi marbling inks*
White construction paper
*Online source for Suminagashi marbling inks:http://www.dickblick.com/products/ait…

Tools:
Shallow tray & water
Scrap newsprint paper
Two paint brushes
Paint palette
Drinking straw
Paper towels

Directions:
1. Fill a shallow tray or pan one half to two thirds full with water.


2. Select a couple of ink colors and place five drops of each into separate compartments of your paint palette.  


3. Take your two brushes, one in each hand, and dip them each into a different ink color, allowing the ink to soak up into the bristles.


4. Gently touch the surface of the water with one of the brushes.  Be mindful to just touch the surface of the water versus dipping the brush down into the water.  Next touch the surface of the water with your second brush.  Alternate between the two brushes, building up a pattern of concentric rings on the surface of the water.  When it appears the brushes are running out of ink, return to the paint palette and reload the brushes.  Build the pattern on the surface of the water as large as you’d like.


5. You can create your print leaving the inks as they (in a concentric ring pattern) are or you can manipulate them on the surface of the water.  One method is to take the handle of your paint brush and gently swirl it through the inks.  Another method is to take a drinking straw and gently blow onto the surface of the water causing the inks to swirl and move.


6. Now carefully lay a sheet of paper onto the surface of the water and allow it to sit for three to five seconds.  Lift the paper off of the water, holding it by the corners, and lay it on paper towels.  Blot excess water off of the paper with additional paper towels.  Set it aside to dry on a flat surface.


7. You can use the same tray of water to create multiple prints — however, between each print you need to clean away the excess inks.  Take a strip of scrap newsprint and skim it along the surface of the water and then you’re ready to add new ink for your next print.

Helpful Tips:
• Your paper may warp and wrinkle during the drying process.  If so, place the dry marbled paper under a stack of heavy books overnight to help flatten them.
• You can use your finished marbled paper to create all manner of projects: collage, gift wrapping, book making, paper chain garlands and more!  Some of your prints may turn out so well you want to simply frame them!
• Consider using a 9”x 13” baking dish or a dish pan as your water trays.

Robert’s DIY Russian Nesting Dolls

Robert’s Matryoshka Inspiration Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/robertm/matryoshka/

Materials:

Blank set of nesting dolls*

Chalkboard paint

*Online source for blank set of nesting dolls: http://www.goldencockerel.com/en-us/nesting-dolls/blanks-and-craft-ideas/blank-nesting-doll-3pc-4-inches.html

Chalk

Tools:

Fine-grain sand paper

Painter’s tape

Foam brush

Directions:

  1. Begin by lightly sanding your blank wood set of nesting dolls, using a fine-grain sandpaper.  Wipe down with a soft cloth or paper towel.
  2. Tape off the connecting portions of the dolls using painter’s tape.  The tops and bottoms fit snugly and you don’t want to get paint in these areas, potentially affecting how they open and close.
  3. To create a set of ombre colored set of nesting dolls use one primary shade of chalkboard paint and pour a little into a series of disposable cups – one cup for each doll.  Paint one doll with the undiluted paint.  Add an increasing amount of white acrylic paint to each cup, creating a series of lighter shades to paint each of the subsequent dolls.  Paint your first coat using vertical brush strokes and then allow the paint to dry for about an hour.  Paint your second coat using horizontal strokes - this cross-hatched surface will be better for drawing.  After your second coat of paint dries, look over your pieces to determine if you need to paint and third coat for complete coverage.  Allow your final coat of chalkboard paint to cure overnight.
  4. Once your paint has dried and cured, take a stick of white chalk and rub the side all over the surface of your dolls and rub it off with a soft cloth or paper towel.  This step is called seasoning the chalkboard paint and makes it easier to draw and erase the chalk.
  5. Now you can draw on your dolls with chalk, erase and redraw over and over!

Helpful Tips:

  • You can use standard chalk sticks to draw on your nesting dolls or to draw finer lines, use chalk pencils from your local art supply store.  Note that the darker colored chalk pencils may need to be erased with a damp cloth.
  • You can draw your nesting dolls to look like traditional matryoshka or get creative and draw them to resemble your family, friends or pets!

Robert’s St. Patrick’s Day DIY Clovers

Robert’s St. Patrick’s Day Inspiration Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/robertm/st-p…

Click here for how to use these on a St. Patrick’s Day Cake! http://bit.ly/O4mbD9

Materials:
Crepe paper*
28 gage cloth covered floral wire**
*Online source for double-sided German crepe paper: https://www.castleintheair.biz/shoppe…
**Online source for 28 gauge cloth covered floral wire: http://www.calcastlecraft.com/Cloth_C…

Tools:
Scissors
White glue
Heart shaped paper punch*
*Online source for heart shaped paper punch: http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-12-7442…

Directions:
1. Begin by cutting heart shapes out of the green crepe paper (with the grain of the crepe positioned vertically) either by using a heart shaped paper punch or by creating a heart shaped template in cardboard, tracing it onto the crepe paper and cutting them out by hand.  If you chose to use a paper punch it often works best to layer a piece of copy paper over the crepe paper and then feeding then both into the paper punch — without the copy paper layer, the soft crepe paper may stretch and tear.  Punch three hearts for each clover and then fold each in half.


2. Cut three identical pieces of 28 gauge cloth covered floral wire for each clover.


3. Take one piece of wire and lightly coat the end in white glue, about ¼”.  Place the glue covered wire in the fold of one of the folded heart positioning it in the bottom center at the point of the heart.  Close the folded heart and pinch the crepe paper around the end of the wire to secure it in place and then partially open the fold to create one of the clover leaves.  Repeat this to create all three leaves and then allow them to try for a couple of minutes each.


4. Once the glue had dried, stack the leaves on top of one another, aligning them evenly.  Begin twisting the wires together just below the crepe paper leaves — twist the wire together all the way down to the end creating one continuous stem.


5. Reposition the leaves to form the clover shape.  You’ve created your first crepe paper clover!

Helpful Tips:
• Create a lucky four leaf clover by adding in one additional leaf!
• Bundle a small cluster of clovers together, bind and toe them with a length of jute twine and place them on a folded napkin to create a festive St. Patrick’s Day table place setting.
• Wrap the end of the clover stems in aluminum foil and then use them as cupcake or cake toppers.
• Create small tabletop arrangements by placing the stems into moss-covered Styrofoam balls.

Robert’s Glow in the Dark Star Mobile

Web: http://maharcraft.tumblr.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/robertm
Instagram: http://instagram.com/mrmahar
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaharCraft

Materials:
Glow in the dark hot glue sticks*
16 gage jewelry wire
White thread
*Online source for glow in the dark hot glue sticks: http://www.joann.com/ad-tech-glow-in-…

Tools:
High temp hot glue gun
Silicone mold*
Wire cutters
Marker
A short piece of dowel, a pencil or a chop stick
Scissors
Gallon paint can
Tape
*Online source for silicone mold: http://www.joann.com/wilton-fondant-a…

Directions:
1. Load a glow in the dark glue stick into a high temp hot glue gun and allow it to pre-heat for five minutes.  Fill the star molds with hot glue and then gently bang the back of the mold on your work surface to help the glue settle into all of the points and corners of the mold.  Allow to cool for three minutes and then remove the stars from the mold.  The mobile in the video used 15 stars.
2. To create the hanging element of the mobile, begin by cutting an 18” length of wire and mark the center point (9”) with a marker.  Center the dowel over the 9” mark and wrap the wire around it twice — this creates the top hanging loop.
3. Measure 10” around the side of a gallon pant can and mark the beginning and end of the 10” length with a piece of tape.  Also mark the center point, or 5” mark.
4. Take your piece of wire, center the dowel over the 5” mark and bend the wire around the sides of the can to create and arch shape.  Mark the wire at the beginning and end of the 10” length with the marker.
5. Place the dowel over the mark on one end of the wire.  Wrap the wire around the dowel twice and trim the excess with the wire cutter — this creates one of the side hanging loops.  Repeat this on the other end of the wire to create a second side hanging loop.  Create three of these metal wire elements.
6. Lay the wire elements out in a triangular configuration on your work surface and then begin to connect them with the white thread.  Connect the side hanging loops of the top metal element to the top center of the two bottom metal elements with loops of thread.  
7. Next create hanging loops for the stars.  Create loops of any length extending down from the side hanging loops of the two bottom metal elements, and from the center of all three metal elements.
8. Lay out your stars and tape them to the thread loops — be mindful to hang the same number and size of stars from the side hanging loops on each metal element.  Once all of your stars are taped to the thread loops, lift up the mobile to make certain it hangs evenly and not lopsided.  Adjust as necessary.
9. Lay the mobile back down on your work surface, remove the tape and hot glue the string to the back of the stars.  Allow the glue to cool for a few minutes and then your mobile is ready to hang!

Helpful Tips:
• The glow in the dark stars are reactivated by light.  Hang your mobile in a spot where it will be exposed to natural light from your windows or electrical lights in your house during the day — it will then glow for a few hours each night.
• These mobiles are not toys, but are for decorative purposes only.  Be certain to hang them out of reach of small children.
• You can easily hang your mobile from your ceiling using a removable hook, such as: http://www.joann.com/command-small-cl…

This is going to be a good one friends! Join me on Saturday, April 5th for a workshop at French General in Los Angeles. For a complete description and to sign up visit frenchgeneral.com under the ‘workshops’ tab or call the shop at 323-668-0488. Can’t wait to see you there! High-res

This is going to be a good one friends! Join me on Saturday, April 5th for a workshop at French General in Los Angeles. For a complete description and to sign up visit frenchgeneral.com under the ‘workshops’ tab or call the shop at 323-668-0488. Can’t wait to see you there!

Hey friends!  I know Spring can’t get here soon enough - so let’s get a head start on Mother Nature and make some flowers, giant paper flowers!

Robert’s Paper Flower Inspiration Pinterest Board: http://pinterest.com/robertm/paper-fl…

Materials:
Construction paper
Cardstock or lightweight cardboard for the templates

Tools:
Scissors
Multi-blade scissors (optional)
Pencil or pen
Bowls and/or plates to trace for templates
Ruler
Paper clips (optional)
Stapler
Hot glue gun with glue

Directions:
1. Begin by creating templates for your petals.  Trace a bowl or small plate onto cardstock or lightweight cardboard to create the upper portion of the petal.  Use a ruler to create the sides of the petal, tapering it slightly at the base.  Depending on how large you’d like to make your flower, create this same shape petal template in two to three sizes — the flower demonstrated in the video uses three (small, medium and large).  Once you’ve drawn your petal templates, cut them out.


2. Next trace your templates onto construction paper.  The flower demonstrated in the video requires five large petals, three medium and three small.  To avoid having to cut each petal out individually, stack two to three sheets of paper, trace the template on top sheet, clip the paper together and then cut.  The clips will prevent the paper from shifting while you cut.


3. When you’ve finished cutting out all of your petals, stack the respective sizes together , take your scissors and create a roughly 3” vertical cut in the center of the tapered petal base.  Take the tab of paper one either side of the cut and overlap them — you’ll see this causes the paper cup creating a three dimensional petal.  Begin with the large petals first — as the exterior petals we want these to be fairly open — so overlap the two sides slightly and then staple them together.  Moving on to the medium sized petals — we want these to sit up higher than the large petals — so overlap the two sides even more and staple  together.  Finally the small petals — we want these to sit up almost vertically — so overlap the two sides even more and staple together.


4. Assemble the petals together to construct the flower, beginning with the large petals.  Overlap each large petal slightly at the base and secure them together using hot glue.  Connect all five large petals to create a cup-like form — this is the exterior ring of petals.  Then apply hot glue to the underside base of the three medium petals, pressing them into the interior of the cup-like form, position them so they overlap slightly — this creates the second ring of petals.  Repeat this process for the three small petals — this creates the inner ring of petals.


5. To create the interior or stamen of the flower, take a sheet of construction paper and cut in half lengthwise.  Take these two pieces and fold them in half lengthwise.  Using regular or multi-blade scissors create a series of cuts down the entire length of the folded edge.  Unfold these two sheets and refold them in the opposite direction — this will create extra dimension to the stamen.  Secure one end with a couple staples and then begin to wrap this piece around a pencil — when you get to the end of the strip secure it with some hot glue.  Glue the second strip and continuing wrapping around the first piece — finishing with additional glue.  The end result will look somewhat like a paper pom pom!  Apply a generous amount of hot glue to the underside and press down into the center of the flower.


6. Finish your flower with some foliage!  Create a leaf by folding a piece of construction paper in half lengthwise and then cut half of a tear drop shape.  To add dimension to the leaf, fold it accordion style on an angle.  Unfold the leaf, apply hot glue to the underside of the flower and position the leaf.

Helpful Tips:
• These flowers sit flat, making them perfect party decorations!  Consider using them as centerpieces or to decorate your mantle or coffee table.  You can also use temporary adhesive to mount them on your wall!
• Experiment with different petal shapes to create a variety of flower forms.
• These giant paper flowers can be created from almost any kind of sturdy paper — solid text weight or card stock, patterned scrapbooking paper or even heavier wrapping paper.

Brrrrr….!  I know it’s down-right cold where many of you live right now!  Stay warm with this easy no-sew project.

Robert’s No-Sew Hand Warmers

Materials:
Cotton flannel fabric
Iron-on letters*
Peel & stick fabric fusing**
Uncooked rice
*Online source for iron-on letters:  http://www.amazon.com/Dritz-White-Flo…
**Online source for peel & stick fabric fusing: https://www.fabric.com/buy/0293649/pe…

Tools:
Fabric scissors
Pinking shears
Craft scissors
Ruler
Rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)
Iron

Directions:
1. Measure and cut your fabric into 5” squares using your fabric scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting mat.  You will need two squares for each hand warmer.
2. Apply an iron-on letter to one of your fabric squares.  Follow the package instructions.
3. Using your craft scissors cut and apply a strip of peel & stick fabric fusing along all four sides of your second fabric square.  Place the fabric fusing about ¼” from the outer edge of your fabric and position them so the pieces butt up against one another — this ensures a complete seal and will prevent the hand warmer contents from spilling out.  Adhere the two fabric squares one side at a time — peel away the paper back from the fabric fusing, align the fabric edges and then firmly press them together.  Repeat this on three side of the square, leaving the fourth side open!
4. Trim the three sealed sides of the hand warmer with pinking shears.
5. Fill the hand warmer with ½ to ¾ cup of uncooked rice.  
6. Careful not to spill the rice, seal the fourth side — again peel away the paper backing from the fabric fusing, align the fabric edges and then press them firmly together.  Trim this fourth sealed edge with pinking shears.  Gently shake the hand warmer over a bowl to make certain all four sides are securely sealed.
7. Your hand warmer is now ready to use!  Place it in a microwave for 30 seconds on high.  Remove and place in your coat pocket.  The hand warmer should keep your fingers toasty for about 20-30 minutes.

Helpful Tips:
• NO NOT OVERHEAT YOUR HAND WARMERS.  Use common sense when heating your hand warmers — you want to warm your hands, not burn them!
• I used cotton flannel for these hand warmers, contrasting a plaid fabric with a solid one.  Because this project requires so little fabric it’s a great way to use up scraps from previous projects!  Or perhaps you’ll want to consider recycling an old flannel shirt..
• Using iron-on letters is a fun way to personalize this project, but it is an optional step.  If you do choose to use iron-on letters, just be certain to use a natural fiber fabric (like cotton) versus a synthetic fabric (like polyester fleece) because synthetic fabrics can melt when ironed.
• Create hand warmers in pairs for a thoughtful cold-weather gift!

Hey friends, happy almost Valentine’s Day!  Here’s a fun and fast, sugar-free Valentine for your family and friends.  This video was also part of a collaboration with several other channels featuring great Valentine themed DIY projects - scroll down past the project instructions for links to all of their videos!

Robert Chocolate Valentine Lip Balm

Robert’s Valentine’s Day Inspiration Pinterest Board:  http://www.pinterest.com/robertm/vale…

Materials:
1 ounce beeswax
.4 ounces castor oil
.8 ounces vitamin E oil
.9 ounces avocado oil
1 ounce shea butter
1 ounce cocoa powder
Lip balm containers

Online sources for all materials (except cocoa powder):
beeswax: http://www.brambleberry.com/Beeswax-Y…
castor oil: http://www.brambleberry.com/Castor-Oi…
vitamin E oil: http://www.brambleberry.com/Vitamin-E…
avocado oil: http://www.brambleberry.com/Avocado-O…
shea butter: http://www.brambleberry.com/Shea-Butt…
heart-shaped lip balm containers: http://www.brambleberry.com/Heart-Lip…

Tools:
Microwave-safe bowl
Popsicle sticks or spoon for stirring
Microwave

Directions:
1) Combine beeswax, castor oil, vitamin E oil and avocado oil in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for one minute, remove and stir ingredients.  Return to microwave for one additional minute on high to finish melting ingredients.
2) Stir the shea butter into the melted oil and wax.  If the shea butter does not completely melt with gentle stirring, place in the microwave for 30 seconds.
3) Once all of the ingredients have melted, stir in the cocoa powder.  Stir well to eliminate any lumps.
4) Pour the lip balm mixture into your lip balm containers.  This recipe makes enough to fill approximately 25 of the heart shaped lip balm containers.  Allow the lip balm to sit, untouched, for 15 to 20 minutes to set.  You’re now set to gift all of your friends and family with a sweet, sugar-free Valentine!

Helpful Tips:
• You can optionally add a flavoring oil to this lip balm recipe.  It has a lovely, chocolate flavor — but consider chocolate in addition to buttercreme, caramel or coconut -yum!  See a large selection of flavoring oils here: http://www.brambleberry.com/Flavoring…

Thank you to the Soap Queen for her amazing lip balm recipe!  See her tutorial here: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-bod…

Other YouTube Channels participating in this collaboration!
Subscribe to Himani Wright: http://bit.ly/IndianGlamPrincess9
Subscribe to Paper Pastels: http://bit.ly/PaperPastels9
Subscribe to Karen Kavett: http://bit.ly/KarenKavett9
Subscribe to Studio Knit: http://bit.ly/StudioKnit9
Subscribe to Too Too Amy: http://bit.ly/TooTooAmy9
Subscribe to Pretty Frugal Living: http://bit.ly/FrugalistaCanada9
Subscribe to Debi’s Design Diary: http://bit.ly/DebiBeard9
Subscribe to Sea Lemon: http://bitly.com/SeaLemon9

Other places you can find me on the web:
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/robertm
Instagram: http://instagram.com/mrmahar
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaharCraft

Robert’s Valentine Party Crackers

Robert’s Party Cracker Inspiration Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/robertm/part…

Robert’s Valentine’s Day Inspiration Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/robertm/vale…

Materials:
Lightweight wrapping paper
Cardstock (60-70# weight works great)
Cardboard tubes (2” x 4”)*
Cracker snaps*
Cracker contents (paper crowns*, sweets, trinkets, etc.)
Curling ribbon
Tinsel (optional)
Crepe paper
*Online source for cardboard tubes, cracker snaps and paper crowns: http://www.oldenglishcrackers.com/chr…

Tools:
Scissors
Hot glue gun with glue
Heart paper punch (optional)

Directions:
1. Begin by cutting your lightweight wrapping paper into 7.5” x 12” pieces. You’ll need one piece for each party cracker.

2. Position a piece of the wrapping paper horizontally and place one cardboard tube also horizontally in the center. Center a cracker snap underneath the cardboard tube. Roll the wrapping paper around to make certain the edge align and then open back up. To prevent the paper from rolling back on itself while you apply glue weigh it down temporaily with a second cardboard tube. Apply a thin bead of hot glue about ¼” along one edge of the wrapping paper piece. Remove the second cardboard tube and roll the paper around sealing both sides together. Run your finger along the seam to insure contact, but be cautious not to burn yourself on the hot glue!

3. Cut the cardstock into 2.25” x 7” piece to create stiffener cuffs for each end of the cracker. You’ll need two pieces for each party cracker.

4. Roll a stiffener cuff into smaller diameter than the cracker tube and tuck into one end of the cracker — position to align with edge of the wrapping paper. Be certain that the end of the cracker snap is inside the stiffener cuff and not sandwiched between the stiffener cuff and the wrapping paper. Spread the stiffener cuff along the inside wall of the cracker and secure in place with hot glue. Repeat this process, inserting a stiffener cuff in the opposite end of the cracker as well.

5. Using your fingers crimp and gather the paper on one end of the cracker between the cardboard tube and the stiffener cuff. Cut a length of curling ribbon (about 10”) and tie around the gathered paper, double knot and cut ribbon ends.

6. Place cracker contents onto the open end. Traditional party crackers contain a toy or trinket, a sweet, a paper hat and a riddle or joke. Once your cracker is filled, repeat the previous step, gathering and tying off the open end.

7. There are many ways to decorate your party cracker! Consider tying leftover holiday tinsel around the ribbon ties or add additional curling ribbon leaving long tails to curl with the edge of your scissors. You can create a band to wrap around the center of the cracker — in the video I cut a 3.25” x 7” piece of crepe paper, wrapped it and secured with hot glue. Finish off your band with a punched or hand cut paper heart!

Helpful Tips:

  • If you decorate your party cracker with holiday tinsel, know that you can strip a couple of inches of the tinsel at each end to reveal the wire — this make it easier to tie!
  • While I used crepe paper to create the center band, know that you can use any type of decorative paper — construction paper, newsprint, scrapbooking paper, etc.
  • While traditional party crackers contain a joke or riddle, consider writing out a little love note or note of appreciation to include in your Valentine Party Cracker.
  • Rather than purchase pre-cut 2” x 4” cardboard tubes you can also cut down a large 2” diameter mailing tube. You might also consider cutting down toilet paper or paper towel tube and adjusting the size of the wrapping paper accordingly.

Thank you to Old English Crackers for originally showing me how to construct crackers! See their tutorial here: http://www.oldenglishcrackers.com/mak…