Pipe Cleaner Cake Sun Catcher

It is so satisfying when I try something new and it works. It took some experimenting to make this sun catcher out of pipe cleaners and tissue paper, but I'm really happy with the results. It looks so pretty sitting in the window. Affiliate links below.

Pipe Cleaner Cake Sun Catcher



I started with the easiest part of this project, the flames of the candles. Cut a gold pipe cleaner into thirds (use the wire cutters - don't ruin your scissors), then bend each to form a teardrop shape. There's no need to twist the ends together; the bend should hold. You can put a drop of glue between the ends if you want. Put glue onto one side of each teardrop, then place them on pieces of gold tissue paper. Hold them in place for a minute to let the glue set. When the glue is dry, carefully trim away the excess tissue paper. 

Use the same technique for the base of the cake and the frosting. For the cake, bend one white pipe cleaner into rough thirds to make a U-shape. Glue this to a piece of white tissue paper. Use a second white pipe cleaner to cut the piece that forms the layer of the cake. Glue it in place. 

Bend one blue pipe cleaner into an arc that will be the top of the frosting. Use a second pipe cleaner to make the frosting drips. Unless you are extremely lucky or skilled, the frosting won't fit perfectly on the cake the first time you try. Just make adjustments until it's correct, then glue it to blue tissue paper. Again, hold it in place for a minute while it sets so that it doesn't spring out of position.

Cut three lengths of pipe cleaner for the candles. As you can see above, I originally planned to use plain red pipe cleaners. I decided purple glitter candles would look better. 

Trim the cake and frosting. Fit everything together on the table, then cut a piece of contact paper that is slightly larger than the width and height of the assembled project. Peel away the paper backing with the sticky side of the contact paper facing up. Move the cake base to the contact paper and press it down firmly.    

Put glue along the edges of the frosting drips, since they will be touching the cake and not the contact paper. Put the frosting in place. Add glue to the bottom portion of the candles (where they will be touching the frosting) but not to the upper portions (where the contact paper will hold them) and place them where they belong. Then adhere the flames to the contact paper. Let the glue dry completely. 

Not all designs will require this, but because the candles have such narrow attachment points, they could flop forward if not better supported. Through experimentation, I found that adding a second layer of contact paper eliminated the problem without affecting the translucency. Do this by peeling away the backing paper on a second piece of contact paper and placing the assembled cake on top of it. 
Carefully cut away the excess contact paper.  

I showed you what it looks like in a window at the top of the post. This is how it looks against white paper.

Obviously, you can use the same technique for any design. I have some ideas I'm eager to try!


I Love Cats Photo Frame

Today's project is a cat-themed photo frame with a heart-shaped opening. I'm calling it the "I Love Cats Photo Frame," but I feel compelled to say that I don't love cats. I don't hate them or anything, but I don't love them. For starters, they're not nearly as awesome as rabbits

  • Rabbits never bring you dead stuff like cats do. 
  • Cats eat cat food, which is one of the worst smelling substances ever, while rabbit food smells like a fresh-cut lawn. 
  • Cats have the uncanny ability to cough up hairballs in the worst places. Rabbits physically can't vomit.   

Despite the clear superiority of rabbits, there are plenty of people who love cats. My niece, Allison, is one of them. I made this frame for her, featuring a photo of her favorite cat, Tips. Tips does not belong to Allison, but that doesn't stop her from dressing her up. Affiliate links below. 

I Love Cats Photo Frame



Paint a thin coat of gesso on the wood frame. Let it dry completely, then use a very fine grain sandpaper over the whole surface. You could technically skip this step, but it makes all the difference in having a smooth surface for adhering stickers. Wipe the frame clean so no dust remains, then paint it white. 

When the paint dries, adhere the stickers. I started with the cats at the bottom, then positioned the cat tree at the top, to make it look like it's in the background. I had to do some minor snipping to fit it in, which you can see by comparing my results with the original sticker sheet. I added the toys next, then the word bubbles, then filled in the extra space with paw prints. 

Because I used high quality stickers on a perfectly smooth surface, I didn't bother to seal the finished frame. If I had, I would have done a test of Mod Podge Ultra on an extra sticker to make sure it would hold up before spraying the actual frame. 


50 State Album: Arkansas (#43) and Oklahoma (#44)

Trevor completed the 43rd and 44th pages in his 50 State Album, following our recent time in Arkansas and Oklahoma


I love seeing the album nearly full. Only 6 pages to go! With Arkansas now in the album (which is arranged alphabetically), the first blank page is page 7, Connecticut. That trip is coming up soon and I'm really excited.

When I posted the most recent pages before these, I asked for your thoughts about arranging the pages alphabetically or chronologically in a slideshow. I'm leaning towards chronological for a number of reasons. For now, I'm continuing to put the images alphabetically side by side below the flags on my US Travel page. Having both might be the answer. 


Trevor's Eagle Project, Documented

I blogged about Trevor's Eagle project right away, but now it's finally in the album 13 months later. 
Trevor's Eagle Project (affiliate link)

I really struggled with this page. I wanted to show a lot of pictures of Trevor's two workdays, but I also wanted to include the before and after photos from the installation. That meant a double-pager. Once I finally got the photos the way I liked them, I went back and forth with the colors. I switched out the papers countless times before settling on the khaki with a small black border for the photos and the green patterned paper as a background. It took awhile to figure out how to do the title. I added the journaling and thought I was done. 

At the last minute, I decided there was too much empty green space. I added the 12 flags along the left that list the points of the Scout law. I liked the way it looked and decided the layout was definitely done. I scanned the page and put it in the album.

I liked it in the album, but when I saw it on my monitor, it looked really unbalanced. I added the 7 Scout ranks on the right and I'm much happier with the page. 


Decoupage Watermelon Flower Pot

I don't know why, but I have an abnormal love of things that look like food but aren't actually food. While the flower pot I made is a bit small for growing an actual watermelon plant, you can use the same technique for a larger pot, preferably at least 7 gallons. Affiliate links below. 

Decoupage Watermelon Flower Pot



Paint the entire clay pot, inside and out, with a coat of gesso. When that is dry, paint the pot red and the saucer green. 

Tear the two shades of green tissue paper into strips. Put a coat of Mod Podge on the inside of the saucer, then add strips of light green radiating out from the center. Paint each strip in place with more Mod Podge. Then add dark green strips to fill gaps between the light green. 

As an aside, you'll see classic Gloss Mod Podge in the photo above. A few minutes after I took this picture, I realized that a flower pot needs to be waterproof. So I switched to Outdoor Mod Podge for the rest of the project. 

Speaking of Mod Podge, this beloved craft supply turned 56 on Friday! Since I'm 51, it's no wonder I feel like Mod Podge has been around forever. On Friday, I took a quick photo of my paint shelves and discovered I have 17 different types of Mod Podge within easy reach. Believe it or not, there are more bottles in my craft closet. 

When you have decoupaged the inside of the saucer, let it dry completely and start covering the inside of the pot with red tissue paper. I like to put projects on these paint stands while they're drying. 

Use the same process as before to decoupage the underside of the saucer and the outside of the pot. You can add as many (or few) layers of tissue paper as you want. Use scissors to cut teardrop shapes from the black tissue paper and decoupage them around the rim of the pot. Let everything dry completely, then add an additional coat of Outdoor Mod Podge to make sure it is completely sealed. 

Since my watermelon flower pot is too small for growing healthy watermelons, how will I use it? It'd be great for growing smaller plants, like flowers or herbs. Or, it would make an adorable container to hold plastic silverware or whatnot for an outdoor BBQ or party. I made a piñata for a strawberry-themed party years ago; this could be the inspiration for a watermelon-themed party. Lots of possibilities!