Friday, May 31, 2013

Paper Flower Graduation Lei

Tonight my niece is graduating from high school.  Since we are not celebrating her graduation with a party until later in June I wanted to make and give her a little something special.  I'm planning to surprise her with this Paper Graduation Lei, made in her school colors, right after her graduation ceremony when friends and family are all able to go down on the Football field to spend a little time with the graduates before they jet off to their all-night Sober Grad celebration.  I didn't want to spend a bundle on a gift since we will be giving her a little something more at her graduation party in a few weeks, but I also wanted to do something unique and special for her that would stand out among the other grads.  I thought this would be something fun she could wear at her Sober Grad Party and something she could keep as a keepsake of her graduation night.  I had searched Pinterest for ideas and I found several flower leis or candy leis, but those seem to be fairly popular.  I wanted something different.  Since I'm a paper crafter, who loves nothing more than to craft with paper, I started thinking about things I could do with my paper supplies and tools.  That is how I came up with this Paper Flower Lei.

I posted a photo of it on my personal Facebook page and a scrapbook message board I frequent and several friends asked me for the how-to instructions so I decided to write up this quick and simple tutorial.  It really is a super easy craft and if you have all the supplies ready you can whip one out in no time.

Here is what you will need:

At least 2 sheets of 12"x12"  thick cardstock in at least two coordinating colors (I chose black and gold glitter cardstock since my niece's school colors are black and gold)  You will want to use the thick cardstock so that the lei holds up well.  Thinner printed scrapbook paper will not work well for this project since it is something that is going to be worn.

coordinating colored brads (one for each layered blossom)

An electric craft cutter - such as a Silhouette Cameo (that is what I used) or a Cricut and a flower shaped cutting file of your choice, or a flower shaped cutting die that has at least two different sized blossoms and a Big Shot (or similar die cutting machine).

A "Class of 2013" cutting file or similar image (I got my "Class of 2013" file and my blossom file from Silhouette Studios Online Store).  You can also use a die cut, you can make your own, choose a saying or image that fits your occasion or eliminate it all together and use more blossoms.

o rings (I used these 10mm sized rings from Darice)

a small hole punch (just large enough to cut a hole big enough for your jump rings)

paper piercer, Crop-A-Dile Big Bite, or other long reaching small hole punch (or do what I did add the small circle in the center of the flower cutting file and allow your electronic cutter to do the work)

small pliers (to close the o rings)


Using your cutting machine of choice cut out 11 large blossoms in your first color.  Then cut out 10 large blossoms in your second color.  Repeat for the smaller size blossoms, 11 of your first color and 10 of your second color.  My larger blossom measured about 2 1/2" and my smaller blossom was about 2" in size.  You can customize yours to fit your needs, but realize you may need more or less blossoms to make the lei your preferred length.

Punch or pierce a small hole in to the center of each blossom.

Using your fingers or a smooth barreled pen roll the petal on each blossom toward the center to give it some dimension. 

Layer a small blossom on top of a large blossom and secure with a brad to hold them together.  Make sure you alternate colors of your small blossom and large blossom so that they are two toned.

Next punch two small holes in the petals of your larger blossom.  Punch one on one petal and then the second on a petal closest to the opposite side of the first hole.

If you are using a "Class of 2013" die cut or similar type image, punch a hole in each side of the die cut and attach an o ring in each hole and then attach a blossom on the o ring on each side before securing them closed with pliers.  Next attach a second o ring to each blossom and again attach a blossom to each side before securing each o ring closed.  Be sure to alternate blossom colors as you go.  Once your lei is the length you like, close the circle by securing the final two blossoms together with an o ring.

There you have it, your very own Paper Flower Lei to give to someone special on their graduation day.

These would make the perfect fun accessory for any number of occasions.  Imagine the bride and bridal party wearing them at a bachelorette party or bridal shower, or the new mommy-to-be wearing one at her baby shower.  Really these would be fun to make and wear for any special party occasion.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 12 - Sharing a Special Moment with Our Grandma Rosie

Thankful November Day 12

Today I am thankful to have been able to share a special moment with my husband's grandma.

Grandma comes from a large family.  When she was a teenager her brother Carl joined the military and left home to go fight in WWII.  Sadly, he was killed in the war and she never got to see him alive again.  Carl was brought back to the States and was buried in San Bruno, California at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.

Grandma has shared stories with Greg and I about her brother being killed in the war and she told us the last time she was at his graveside was at his funeral and burial in 1945.  She has often expressed a desire to go back and visit his grave and Greg and I have wanted to make that dream come true for her for some time now.  Several months back, on a whim when we were in San Francisco for the day and grandma was with us, we tried to go visit the cemetery much to her surprise, but we arrived after closing time.  We promised her we would take a trip back to the cemetery when it was open so she could visit her brother's grave.

Greg, my husband, decided since he had the day off from work that today, the day after Veterans Day, would be a great time to take her to see her brother's grave.

We picked up grandma this afternoon for her first trip to see where her brother was buried since her last visit 67 years ago.  One of her friends, a florist, had made her an absolutely beautiful arrangement to leave at her brother's graveside.

It was a touching, emotional and beautiful moment to share with grandma and I am so glad we were able to be there for her during this special occasion.  It was also so very humbling to look out at the rows upon rows of headstones and be reminded that these were all the graves of men and women who have fought for our country, many of whom laid down their lives during that fight to allow us our freedoms!

How can we ever express our thanks enough!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 11 - Getting a Great Deal

Thankful November Day 11

Today I am thankful for awesome shopping bargains.

I was in major need of some new winter tops.  Some time back I was gifted a Visa gift card and I decided since I needed some clothes I would use that card toward my clothing needs.  One of my favorite places to shop, Fashion Bug, is getting ready to go out of business (I am so sad).  I honestly thought they had already closed until I drove by the store the other day and noticed they were having a big store closing sale, so I decided I would go back this weekend and see what I could find.

Boy did I score!  The store had everything for 40%-50% off plus an additional 10% on top of that.  I walked out of Fashion Bug with around $200 worth of clothes for under $100.  What a bargain!

I love when I score a great deal and get more for my buck!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 10

Thankful November Day 10

Today I am thankful for time spent with my mom and my aunt enjoying what has become an annual holiday tradition.

Every year for the past several years my mom and I have been taking a drive to Bay Area to visit The Decor Store and do a little shopping for Christmas decor.  It is always her and I and the past couple of years my aunt has joined us too.

I LOVE this store.  It is full of great home decor all year long, but during this time of year it is chock full of Christmas and holiday decor.  We always manage to find a few items to come home with and this year was no different.

After we got done at The Decor Store we decided to head back in to the Central Valley to the nearest Home Goods to see what fun decor or housewares we could find there.  I found some Christmas cookie cutters and Christmas colored sugar sprinkles, and my mom and I also found some great prizes for our annual ornament exchange party that we host each year.

We topped off our night with dinner before heading home.  All in all it was a great day and we had a lot of fun shopping together.

Friday, November 09, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 9 - Time Spent with my Aunt

Thankful November Day 9

Today I want to give thanks to my Aunt, Rene, for picking me up from the car dealership while my new Yukon was having some minor work done on it. 

It was nice spending the day together.  We ran a few errands, got to enjoy lunch at a place I had never been to before, and I helped her with a task she's been wanting to get done around her house.

It is so nice to have family so close to me who are so willing to go out of their way to help when I need it.

Thanks Aunt Rene!  I enjoyed our day together.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 8 - Good Health News for My Mom

Thankful November Day 8

Today I am so very thankful for good health news about my mom.  She had two different tests this week for health concerns and both tests came back with good results.  Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 7 - Being a Glass Half Full Girl

Thankful November Day 7

Today I am thankful that most of the time I am a girl that looks at the glass as being half full rather than half empty.

Today is one of those days.  Yesterday's election results may have not gone in the direction I was hoping and praying for, but I am still of the belief that the world will keep spinning and the sun will continue to come up each day.

As I scan my social media outlets today I am saddened by the number of people who only see doom and gloom.  I am not normally political by any means, so maybe others know more than me, but I am thankful that I have the outlook that we will get through this too and be just fine.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 6 - Time with Creative Friends

Thankful November Day 6

Today I am thankful for my circle of creative and crafty friends and the time I get to spend with them. 

I have a small group of friends that I get together with once a month and we make and exchange greeting cards.  I have grown to love this group of women and I look so forward to our time together.  Not only do they inspire me creatively, but they inspire me with their spirituality as well.  They are, simply, beautiful people inside and out! 

At a time in my life when I was feeling that I was missing and needing a network of girlfriends in my life God put in place the opportunity for me to meet these women and I am so thankful that He did!

Monday, November 05, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 5 - A Husband Who Works Hard, Good Credit and Good Luck

Thankful November Day 5

Today we traded in our 8 year old Trailblazer SUV for a new to us GMC Yukon.  Our faithful old Trailblazer was starting to show its age and it was time to say goodbye while it still had some trade-in value.  As we were going through the auto buying process and doing a lot of waiting in a salesman's office it gave me some time to think about what specifically I am thankful for today.

First, I am so thankful for my husband who is a hard worker with a really good job.  I know I don't tell him enough how much I appreciate all he does for us to be able to live this life.  Because of him we are able to live comfortably.  We are certainly not rich, but because of my hardworking husband we are able to have a nice home, drive nice vehicles and enjoy a comfortable existence.  It's not always easy,  we have had our struggles from time to time, but we certainly have so many blessings that  many others in this world do without and I realize how lucky I am to enjoy the life we do because of my husband willingness to work hard for what we have.

I am also thankful for all that we have done over the years since we first married to build good credit.  On days like today I realize how thankful I am that we have made decisions and worked hard over the years to build our credit rating up from a rating that wasn't so good when we were first married due to being young and naive.  It has definitely made life easier when it comes to certain financial affairs.

Lastly, I am thankful for good luck and for the good Lord guiding us to just the right new vehicle.  We needed to make this car purchase decision fairly quickly and we were lucky enough to find just what we were looking for online, in a price range that worked for our budget, and it was at a dealer close to where we live.  Our car buying experience was easy, quick and surprisingly hassle free, which made me very thankful, since car shopping is not exactly in my top 50 favorite things to do.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

2012 Thankful November Day 4 - Family Time

Thankful November Day 4

Today I am thankful for time spent with family. 

Today was my niece, Melanie's, 17th birthday and we all gathered at my sister and brother-in-law's home to celebrate her birthday.  Even my husband was able to take a day off from work and attend her birthday.  The only one missing was my nephew, Melanie's brother, as he was off hunting with his friends.  I know we all missed him being there with all of us.

I am so grateful that my husband and I live within just a few miles from our family members.  Both my husband's and my extended family all live in the general surrounding area of our hometown.  Our parents, siblings, those grandparents who remain living, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all just a few minutes drive from our front door and we all have a fairly close relationship with one another.

When I hear of families who live away from their loved ones and only get to visit them on holidays or other rare occasions it makes me appreciate being so close to my own family.  I appreciate that we can get together on a regular basis or be at their door step in a matter of minutes when needed.

I absolutely would not want it any other way!  So today I am thankful for family time spent with our loved ones.