Tuesday, March 21

Spring-Summer wreath DIY

It's that time of the year when tendrils on branches turn a feast for your eyes. In the tropics it's summer already. Out here where I live, the last snow melts quick with the rising temperatures. The clock just sprang forward, and home-sters wait eagerly to fix their yard decor. As during any season, wreaths are common to door decor in the West.

A good wreath can cost your pocket too much though. If you are willing to spend a few dollars, and arm yourself with loads of patience, you can make wreaths at home. This project is available on the internet in plenty.

I used a pizza carton lid that was not soiled with the cooked pizza, and cut out a ring from it.

What you really need for this project, is a ton of gift-wrap tissue paper, or the paper we use to make kites in India, also known as Kite paper.

You will need:

Besides a pizza carton lid,

A pair of scissors

Gift wrap tissue paper or Kite paper (at least 15 sheets) in colours of your choice

Hot glue gun with a bunch of glue sticks for refill

pressing tool or maybe a popsicle stick

Tissue paper to wipe after using your glue gun

Plates of two sizes to draw out a wreath form or ring


It's common for stores to entice you into buying wreaths for each season. So grab your scissors and spread out the sheets.

Use a steel plate that fits the pizza carton lid, and draw a circle.

Use a smaller plate and draw out another circle. This circle becomes a ring, allowing you to begin decorating.

I cut pieces from the colour sheets, of five inches by seven inches. The diameter of this circle ?(big one) is 8 inches. Now, roll the tissue pieces into irregularly shaped flowers. 

One end of the piece must be narrow, which you can twist. Stick this in with hot glue.Work on the outer part of this ring and then move towards the inner side.

The wreath I made looks like this, with the gap being hidden. But it is really the ring. Be careful when you work with hot glue gun. Keep it away from children, and certainly not in the proximity of your study. Also, when you work with the piece, use the vertical narrow end to twist and turn. And then stick. Fill in the gaps after sticking the outward looking folds by spreading out the broader end of the vertical rectangle piece.  Use a ribbon to hold the wreath.

When you use the glue gun, hot glue may stick to your hands, causing the fingers to burn. Keep a first aid kit ready. I love how the greens protrude.

Cut ribbon, about two feet long, so you can tie up the wreath to a door.

Enjoy the green wreath.

Pictures and content: Radhika M B

Write to: radiscribe@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 14

Pompom garland or wreath DIY

As kids, we loved carrying a steel basket around the house of my grandmother to pluck flowers for her morning worship every day. It was an activity we competed with each other to complete. Cut to today, and my heart breaks to a million pieces when I see plastic flowers adorning pictures of Gods. Interesting, but wool can come to your rescue if you want to decorate pictures and tables with garlands. Make pom poms and string them together. 

Making a pom pom with wool is very simple. I did not use a drop of glue for this project. All it required was a pair of scissors, some old barrette clip and a strip of cardboard to roll the wool over for pom pom making!

So you will need

-- wool - I used accented shades from the same yarn, and some dark red

-- a pair of scissors

-- a tapestry needle ( embroidery skein to match is optional)

Start by rolling the yarn over your index finger and middle finger. Make it a bundle. Or, roll it over a small barrette clip, or a tape ring.

Ease out the bundle, cut a strand and tie the bundle up in the middle. Use the scissors and cut off the bends where you rolled the yarn over.

Use your palms to fluff it up. And it turns to a soft wool ball...make a whole bunch of such pom poms. You may leave some thread hanging. My wool skein came in different shades of red. I put it to use alongside another colour.

Cut another piece of wool, string into the tapestry needle and insert through the centre of each ball. Play with colours and combinations.
Add a bead with wide hole on each end by either tying up or using the tapestry needle.

If you want a wreath, you can simply join its two beaded ends and stick it up the wall or door. You may use this as party decor, to decorate your altar, or let it hang on an indoor plant.

It makes for inexpensive festival decor.

Pictures and content courtesy: Radhika M B

Write for permission to radiscribe@gmail.com 

Tuesday, February 28

Coin purse with felt DIY

The hardest part about small change, is not finding it when you need it the most. Ever got mad when you thought you spotted coins around home, or in the handbag, but when the time came to pay a toll, or buy a toffee, you struggled?

I remembered making a Christmas tree ornament a few months back with felt. And thought of putting it to use again. The felt sheets we get in USA are soft, more of a cloth variety and easy to work with like fabric. And so I made a coin purse. I hope to make more of them, just to tuck them away in corners so I can stash away not just coins, but buttons, beads, twist-ties and more.

You will need:

-- a pair of scissors

-- some felt sheets, ideally one

-- embroidery skeins to either match the felt sheet or contrast

-- embellishments such as sequins, or cloth flowers

-- thread to match the embellishments

-- a marker pen

-- a pair of magnets or press buttons, or velcro tape

-- optional is a hot glue gun or super glue

Start by cutting a piece off the felt sheet, about five inches wide and 10-12 inches long. Fold this sheet into three-folds, in such a way that the upper flap is about half an inch or one inch lesser than the second fold. This serves as the flap of purse.

Where the second fold meets the first, mark with your pen.

Round off the corners of the flap. Use a matching coloured embroidery skein, and stitch up some cloth flowers on to this flap. Make sure you spare enough space to do the Blanket stitch.

You may use extra sequins like the flower stamen that you get from craft stores.

Start the Blanket stitch along the flap. Once you have finished with the flap, move to join the first and second folds on the edges using the stitch.

You need not use the stitch on the bottom of the purse.Once you have rounded off the Blanket stitch on one side of the purse edges, move to the other side. Your purse is almost ready.

Here is where you get those small magnets out, or maybe press-buttons or velcro tape. Magnets that I had were self-adhesive. So it was just about peel-and-stick. You may use the hot glue gun or super glue if you have no self-adhesive magnets.

Stick one magnet under the flap, and the other to pair with it on the purse .

Use this to hide your coins. If lying around your living room, it makes for a cute decor piece. It makes for a good pull-out for your vanity bag. Or a gift for your friends and colleagues.

Pictures and content: Radhika M B

For permissions to reuse, write to radiscribe@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 21

Basket ball for your office cubilcle DIY

An entire industry thrives on the office cubicle or corporate desk products. From desktop gods to photoframes, pen-stands, mobile-holders and expensive pen sets, the product list goes endlessly. I once made a miniature golf set for the office desk. This week, I got attracted to the idea of making a basket-ball set for the desk or a wall with a hook, or simply a shelf with door knobs, by hardly spending a penny on it. 

I love how in front of homes in our neighbourhood, basket-ball baskets are a must-fixture for kids to play. And all you need is a container to throw ball in. I had containers in the form of glasses, but no ball. The ping pong balls stash in my home has gone missing. And I have not been in the mood to shop afresh.

You need a few things for this project-in-a-jiffy.

-- a used gift bag (in paper) or cardboard -- the hard surface for it

-- used paper cup (I had a plastic cup, but a paper cup is anyday a better idea)

-- a small hold paper punch

-- ball point head pins (jewelry findings)

-- hot glue gun with glue sticks (optional) or tacky glue (optional)

-- tacky glue is optional or a stapler if you choose

I also kept handy some gift wrap tissue paper or kite paper. And a toothpick.

If you want to use a sheet of cardboard, the hard variety, punch holes towards its center along the top edge and fix a hanging loop with twine or wool. I started by using some tacky glue to stick up the folded end of the bag's bottom.

This is meant to firm up the bag's base.

Now hold the plastic cup against the gift bag, under the handles but centered enough.  Roughly gauge in your head, how much space you need to leave out before punching it.

The next bit is to punch holes in the paper cup by leaving about half an inch towards the center.

I then twisted two ball-point head pins together as one was not enough for the punched holes. The next bit was about inserting this into not just the glass but the other paper cup as well, and once this is done, secure it by twisting further, and bending it inwards into the paper cup. Your desktop or office shelf basket ball set is ready. I was only too eager to play, and so crumpled some gift wrap tissue paper that is helpful for the presents packaging.

You really do not need expensive toys for the office space. This sort of a project can work well for kids too, who have less attention span and tend to throw toys away after the first few days.

This is one way to reuse gift bags. You can involve your bored kids into this project. No sharp items around, not even a pair of scissors.

Pictures and content: Radhika M B

Write to: radiscribegmail.com