Custom Crowns

I recently completed a custom order for a Pastor in Chicago who contacted me

via Etsy

. Her church is working on an Easter play, and she wanted a few paper crowns made that could rest on pillows. The crowns needed to sturdy and glittery, and in colors of biblical royalty (gold, silver, purple).

Here's what I made:

I used recycled cereal boxes as the base for these crowns, then decoupaged them with gold and purple paper purchased from

Paper Source

. Here is how one looked pre-decoupaged:

I then added glitter by using painter's tape to separate the area that I didn't want glitter applied. It created a nice, color-blocked effect. Finally, I applied an adhesive (one with

Modge Podge

, the other with

Paper Source PVA glue

) on the outside as a sealant and protectant. I actually prefer Modge Podge over Paper Source's PVA glue because it leaves a flat, matte texture without any stickiness. It was good to experiment, though. 

Check out

my Etsy shop

for more handmade goods, and vintage goods, too. If you would like to make your crowns, take a look at the tutorials




. You can also contact me for a custom order :) 

King David

I've always connected with King David in the Bible. Of course, I was named after him, but I feel a deeper connection than the name. I resonate with his emotions; his moments of desperation, of longing, of joy. I connect with his bravery in the face of a giant, and his human weakness with Bathsheba

I connect with his humanity, and the love God had for him in spite of and because of it. 

I've been really into making paper crowns lately (see another one that I made for Etsy here). I like the idea of wearing a crown, not because of its implied superiority, but because it is distinct. It's like a reminder to the world that I am somebody, just like all of us are somebodies. 

We are special precisely because we are who we are. Sometimes, it's good to remind yourself and others of that -- even if it's by wearing a woven paper crown.

Here's how you can make one. First, you will need the following supplies:
  • A paper cutter or pair of scissors
  • A few sheets of 8 ½ x 11 paper - I used Stardream Gold from Paper Source.
  • Modge Podge or some other strong adhesive
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • A bone folder

1). Fold one sheet of paper in half horizontally, then cut or tear them in half. 

I cut three pieces to match the circumference of my head. It would be best to measure your head first to determine how many pieces you will need. Please also include a ½ inch seam allowance in your measurement.

2). Fold each of your cut paper pieces in half horizontally.

3). With your ruler and a pencil, draw a ½ inch line from the bottom edge of each of your folded paper

4). With your ruler and pencil, draw vertical lines ½ inch apart from the top of your folded paper pieces to the vertical line you drew in the previous step, from edge to edge.

5). You will now need to glue your paper pieces together. Apply glue from the edge of one of your paper pieces to its first ½ inch vertical line you created, then place another paper piece on top, being careful to stay within this seam allowance.

Do this until all three are joined together.

6). With a paper cutter or scissors, cut directly on each vertical ½ inch mark you created, stopping at the horizontal ½ inch mark. Be careful to not cut your paper all the way. This is your crown base.

7). Lay your crown base off to the side. Now, cut paper strips that are ½ inch wide and at least 8 inches in length.

8). Glue your paper strips together until they are about 4 inches longer than your crown base. You will need about 5 or 6 of these long strips for your crown.

9). Now comes the weaving part! Insert one end of your paper strip into your crown base.

10). Then, pull it over the second cut strip, then through the third one. Repeat this pattern (over and through) until you reach the end.

11). Cut off the end and fold it inside your paper base. Glue the end to the paper base to keep it secure.

12). Repeat this step until you reach the top of your paper base. You can glue the bottom of your paper base closed, if you’d like. I didn’t find this necessary, though.

13). Wrap your crown around your head to determine where you can glue it closed comfortably. Mark the appropriate end point with a pencil.

14). Apply glue to the end of your crown to close it.

15). ..and you’re done. You now have a wonderfully woven paper crown!

Halloween with Goodwill Pt. 2 - Bunny

Oh, hey.

A recent trip to Goodwill inspired this DIY bunny ear headpiece. I love it so much. Really, I do. This is the second item I made for the New York/New Jersey Division of Goodwill's Halloween Challenge, in which they asked a few of their favorite bloggers to create thrifted Halloween looks for under $30. See the first one here.

The headband and wire base for my bunny ears were purchased from Goodwill. I used paper and yarn that I already owned to add the finishing touches. Aren't they adorable?!

I love these ears so much that I decided to make a second pair. Written below is how I did it.

To make this project, I used:
  • Thrifted wire stems. I'm not sure what gauge they were but I'm sure you can find something similar in a craft store.
  • 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper from Paper Source (I used the Peacock color)
  • Double-sided tape that is a half inch wide
  • Cotton Ease yarn from Lion Brand (I used the Hazelnut color - Lot 39024D)
  • Scissors
  • A cheap headband from the 99 cent store
  • A bone folder
  • Modge Podge glue
  • A plastic, disposable bowl
  • A paintbrush
  • A pair of needle-nose pliers (not shown in the image below)

These are the wire stems I purchased at Goodwill. They were a good find because they are thick yet pliable, and had a small circle at the top, which was very helpful for this project.

To begin making my bunny ears, I removed the sequins and beads that were attached to the stems.

Then, I bent the stem to create the bunny ear shape. 

Next, I inserted the stem end into the other end that had a hole (see why it was helpful?), then used a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the stem end in the opposite direction, in order to keep it from coming out of the hole.

This is what both ears looked like after these initial steps.

Since I purchased a headband that had a few decorative elements on it, I needed to removed them in order to create my bunny ears.

I then applied a layer of double-sided tape to the top side of the headband, then of course removing the covered portion of the tape. 

The tape will not hold the wire stems. Instead, I used yarn to secure my newly made ears to the headband.

I cut a long piece of yarn, then tightly wrapped over, under and through my bunny ears until they were as secure as possible. I did not want them to come off, and barely wanted them move. 

The small bent portion of my wire ears that I made with my needle nose pliers was flat against the headband. This portion needed to be completely wrapped with yarn, too.  

When the ears were tightly wrapped and secured to the headband, I tied a few knots in my yarn to secure it. Then, I cut the yarn ends, leaving about an inch or so left (these ends will soon be covered with more yarn). 

When both ears were wrapped securely around my headband, I gently squeezed the wire ears in order to create more of an oval, bunny ear-like shape. 

The next step is to cover the ears with paper. I used a small plastic bag to protect my counter space when applying the Modge Podge.

Next, I horizontally ripped two pieces of paper into strips. 

To cover my ears, I poured the Modge Podge in a plastic bowl, then applied it with a brush to one side of one strip of paper. I then wrapped it around the ears. When doing this project (I hope you will try and make a pair for yourself), press the strip firmly together and as close around your wire ears as possible. Feel free to cut off any excess paper.

Be sure to also firmly press the glued paper strip snugly around your wire stem. You want to still maintain the wire's original shape that you previously created. 

This is what one of the finished ears look like. I like how slightly distressed it looks.

I thought the back was a little too unsightly, so I cut a cover for it with a scrap piece of the paper, loosely in the shape of the ear. Then, I glued it to the back of the ear in order to cover the paper ends. 

The next step is to cover the headband with yarn. I began at the bottom, covering my yarn end with yarn as I wrap as tight as possible. You could also tie a knot at the end, if you'd like. The double-sided tape did a good job of keeping the yarn from moving as I wrapped it.

Wrap from one end of the headband to the other. When you reach the bunny ears, you can secure them further, if necessary, by wrapping the yarn around their bases.

When I finished wrapping, I weaved in the yarn ends with an embroidery needle, then cut the ends closely to hide them. 

And there you have it. Your very own handmade bunny ears!

They're so adorable that I really want to wear them outside as part of a regular outfit. Once I muster up the courage, I probably will :) 

Beaded Necklaces

I have so many beads. Big beads, small beads and in-between beads of varied shapes and colors. They're currently filling a large jar in my room. 

I have a growing need to use what I have, and to fill my hands with results. As a result, I need to use these beads somehow.

I decided to make three necklaces with three types of beads.

I used black waxed cording for the green and yellow beads. For the large brown ones, I used red hemp twine.

I cut two extra-long pieces for double the strength (I have a mild fear that my necklaces will break unexpectedly), then made a simple knot at the beginning.

 I then put five beads on at a time, then made a knot directly below the last bead, like a pearl knot. Since the cord was relatively thick, I just alternated between pushing the knot up with my fingers and pulling the end of the cord in the opposite direction to get it as close as possible to the last bead,  Sometimes, it took a few tries to get it just right, and oftentimes there was a little bit of space between the knot and the last bead, but that's alright. 

To close the necklace, I made a couple of tight knots with each ends, then pulled the yarn ends into a few of the beads closest to it using an embroidery needle. 

...and you're done!

Growth Takes Time


Life is an accumulation of moments; a slow, cyclical building. Isn't it profound to think about? Exhalation and inhalation. The stubborn progressiveness of life, in spite of tragedies that seem to halt us and loves that churn seconds into honeyed butter. Regardless of mistakes that break us, life does not stop to rebuild. It moves.

Accumulation, building and repetition (breathe in, breathe out) are things that I think about when working on my rug, my longest, ongoing project to-date. It is taking months to make this and I am not halfway done. It will be 75 inches when completed. Over 6 feet tall. Of those 75, as of Sunday, August 26th 2012 I have 15 1/2 completed.

Each row takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete. I do it mostly en route to work. The train is my quiet place, in spite of curious stares. I achieve as doors open and close.

I want this project to be the first of many large-scale creations that serve a purpose. Things that reuse and recycle; that puts discarded materials to good use; that confronts the human construct of waste. I want to help, and clean up. I want to understand, and be a reflection of that understanding.

I want to build, so I build.

Event: Upcycle with Me and Goodwill!

If you are in or near New York City, come and upcycle a garment with me on August 4th, 2012, starting at 2 pm. The event will be hosted at Goodwill's Village Boutique Store

See the flyers below for more information.

We'll be using the pencil eraser and stamping technique as seen here. If you also sign up for Goodwill's Reward Card program, you'll also receive a free T-shirt to upcycle with at the event. 

Please register for the event by calling Marco or Coco at (212) 477-7024 or via email at

It should be a lot of fun!

Wrapped and Knotted

Create a bohemian, carefree necklace using hemp twine and a simple macrame technique. 

This project requires very minimal materials. In addition to the hemp twine, all you need are scissors, a thumbtack and wall that you don't mind pushing the thumbtack through.

I purchased waxed hemp twine from

hempCRAFT on Etsy


To make the necklace, first cut two strands of the hemp twine, about 25 feet in length each. This proved to be way too much for my necklace, but I would rather have more than less. You can experiment with different lengths, if you prefer.

Place the two pieces of twine together, then make a simple knot in the middle. You should now have four strands of hemp twine to work with. 

Push your thumbtack through your wall. If you don't want to put a hole in your wall, you can take down a picture frame and use its nail. You could also use a piece of balsa wood to make this necklace, but I found using this be very difficult to maneuver the long pieces of hemp twine. 

This necklace is formed by a series of wraps and knots. To make the wrap:

  • Grab one strand of the hemp twine with your left hand, and hold the other three strands in your right hand. 
  • Pull the single piece in your left hand away from the other strands, then bring it under and over the strands, pulling somewhat tightly. 
  • Let go of the three strands with your right hand then pick up the single strand using that same hand.
  • Pick up the three strands with your left hand. Pull the single strand tightly and repeat, alternating between hands as you go along. 

As you are wrapping, periodically push the wrapped twine up with your thumb and index finger. This will help to make sure that your wrap is tight. 

Once you have about 3 inches of twine wrapped, grab all four strands of your twine and make a knot at the end of the wrap to keep it in place. 

Repeat the above steps until you have a necklace length that you like. 

Once you are finished, cut the extra, unwrapped portion of your hemp twine, leaving about 15 inches remaining. 

Remove the twine from the wall, then grab the loose ends and insert it through your original starting looping.

You now want to close your necklace. To do this, take one of the four pieces of loose twine and wrap it around both of the other three twine pieces, as well as the starting loop that they are pulled through. 

If you prefer, you can pin your necklace to a small piece of balsa wood in order to wrap it on a hard surface. This is optional though. You can do just as well by wrapping it only with your hands.

Once the cord is wrapped, insert the wrapped twine into a large-eye needle. Then, sew it back through the wrap you just made. This will secure the wrap.

The wrapped twine should now be at the opposite end of the other twine ends. 

For additional security, and if you have enough twine left, you can sew the twine end through the nearest knot in your necklace, then sew it back through the wrapped previously made. 

Once the wrap is secure, you can simply cut the remaining twine ends to complete your necklace. I decided, however, to braid the twine ends in order to incorporate it into the overall look of the necklace.

I like how it turned out. 

It also looks great when layered with other jewelry. 

Photo Filters

Make interesting photo filters using Sharpie markers and the lid on top of a can of Pringles. This is an extremely easy, 30-second DIY project.

First, clean the front and back of your lid with a household cleaner, or at least damp a paper towel with water and wipe any crumbs or dust out.

Then, use a Sharpie to draw any design that you want on the lid. The filter works best if you have lots of colors.

Voila! You have new filters. Please note that the Sharpie ink may smudge after it is applied on the top of the lid. It does not dry completely.

The pringles lid is too big to fit securely in front of my cameras, but it stayed when I propped it on the top edge of my Canon Rebel T3i. I also just held it in one hand sometimes when I took a few pictures.

Be especially careful that you do not accidentally smudge your camera lens. Also, please be careful that you do not scratch your lens. Make sure the smoothest side of the lid is facing toward it.

Hat Turned Bag Turned Hat

At last, I'm finally finished with my hat. In a past post, I mentioned that I would turn it into a bag. However, after making strap holes on it, I just didn't like the way it looked. I want everything I make to be something that I absolutely love and would use all the time, and I knew I wouldn't wear that bag. Besides, I carry way too many things throughout the day. I need big, sturdy bags. As a result, I re-transformed it into a hat and am really happy with the results.

Blocking it was a bit of a struggle, as I assumed it would be. It's very challenging to block cylindrical items. I spent a few weeks obsessing over purchasing a hat block that fit my head measurements, but I was afraid that it wouldn't work with a crocheted item, especially something made with wool yarn. There is a always a bit of elasticity in it, so I was worried that it would be too tight. Providentially, I found a bucket in my house that was the perfect size.

My head measures 22 1/2 inches, and the bucket measures 23 1/2 - 25 inches (it gets bigger at the top). I stopped at about 24 inches. This seemed a bit counterintuitive to block it at this width, but I'm assuming that the reason I needed it this wide is because I folded the hat twice to make a cuff. Anyway, it fits perfectly.

Note: I blocked the top of the hat by laying it flat before I blocked the width of the hat with the bucket.

I'm offering this hat as a made to order item in my shop. It's currently recommended for 22-23 inch head sizes, but more sizes will be added as soon as I figure out how to properly block them :)

Heart of Hearts

I love the idea that larger things are a composite of smaller things. We are a collection of cells and atoms. We are a part of the human population, which is in turn a part of the world population. We are a part of a whole, and that whole is a part of another whole. This nested dependency is never ending.

Here is a simple craft project that reminds me of this idea. I decided to use the backing of an old frame I had, but this can easily be done with a cardboard box or even a cereal box. It makes a fun craft that parents and children can do together, too.

The supplies I used were:

- scrap pieces of paper (the more diverse the better)
- a pencil
- a small heart paper punch
- glue sticks (one was really enough for me)
- a box cutter
- a cutting board
- Modge Podge
- a paintbrush
- a sheet of plastic, along with a plate or bowl
- sandpaper

First, I drew a shape of a heart on my picture frame with a pencil.

Then, I began punching out hearts from my scrap paper.

In order to get the most hearts out of each piece of paper, I found it helpful to have the back side of the paper punch facing me. That way I could determine the proper placement.

Once I had enough hearts, I applied some glue to their back side with my glue stick. Then, I glued them onto my frame backing.

It was a bit time-consuming to apply the hearts this way, but I found it very therapeutic (I love process). If you would like a faster solution, you can create heart stickers using a Xyron sticker maker.

Once I had enough hearts within my heart (*sigh*), I cut it out using a box cutter. My backing was thick, so this was a little challenging. Please be careful if you plan on trying this.

After the heart was cut out, I added a few coats of Modge Podge on the top as a sealer and finisher. Then, I sanded the edges a bit with sandpaper. 

It's now ready to be hung on the wall, propped up on a dresser or given as a gift.


For a recent Featured Project on CraftFoxes, I embellished a plain white T-shirt using fabric paint and a pencil eraser. I really like this simple stamping technique, so decided to apply it to a green shirt I found at the thrift store. 

I wanted it to have big circles, so decided to use embroidery hoops as stencils. The other materials I used were:

- Folk Art Fabric Paint from Plaid (colors #4425 and #4408)
- an unused pencil
- two pieces of thick cardboard
- and a plastic plate. 

To make my design, I first laid out my embroidery hoops in the design I wanted on my shirt.

Then using my disappearing ink pen, I traced the design onto my shirt. This pen is great because the ink really does disappear after a light wash or on its own after a few days. 

Once my design was completely transferred onto the shirt, I put the pieces of cardboard in between the shirt, in order to prevent the fabric paint from bleeding to its back side. The shirt I used was quite thick, but I still did this to be on the safe side. 

Then, I put a small amount of fabric paint on my plastic plate.

Using my pencil's eraser, I began to paint my shirt. I decided to fill each circle I stenciled with dots. 

I used orange fabric paint for one of the circles, and really like the overall look. 

I let the fabric paint dry for 24 hours, then used a towel and iron to heat-set it, according to the fabric paint's instructions. 

After about 72 hours, I hand-washed it in cold water, then placed it in the dryer on the low setting. You can also air dry it, if you want.  

Voila! My "new," painted shirt is now ready to be worn. 

A Yarn Infuser

If you are working on a small crochet or knitting project, store thin yarn in a tea infuser for safekeeping while traveling. It's sort of like your own mini, covered yarn bowl.

I purchased my tea infuser from a thrift store. After thoroughly cleaning it, here is how I transformed it into my "yarn infuser:"

The supplies I used were a pair of pliers (particularly made for jewelry-making), mercerized cotton yarn, a small clasp, a small jump ring, a pair of scissors and, of course, my thrifted tea infuser.

Make sure that the yarn you use is thin enough to go through your infuser's holes.

First, I removed the hook attached to my infuser with my pliers.

Then, I open up my jump ring with my pliers, and inserted the clasp in the jump ring. Once the clasp was inserted, I put the jump ring through the top of my tea infuser's chain and closed it. 

Then, I created a ball big enough to fit into my infuser from my yarn. A good tutorial for creating a yarn ball can be found here.

Then, I inserted the end of the yarn ball through one of the top holes of my infuser.

Finally, I put the lid on my infuser, and attached it to my favorite bag. 

If your crochet or knit project is small enough, you might be able to fit it in your infuser along with your yarn. Be sure that the top and bottom edges of your infuser are thoroughly cleaned, though. Otherwise, it may leave a mark on your yarn. 

If it is too big, you can simply carry a pouch to store your yarn infuser and your project together. 

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The Benjamin Bag

In a previous post, I showed a picture of a hat that I was in the middle of creating. Being a habitual multi-tasker (I'm working on fixing that), I set that project aside for a few months and created my Kim Shawl. Now that the Kim Shawl is completed, I resumed working on this project. Reuniting with it, I've decided that this hat-in-the-making is better suited as a bag. I have named it Benjamin.

The Benjamin bag, a work in progress.

An inside look at the Benjamin bag, with the remaining yarn to be stitched.

I am adding a little right triangle in the bag's design. I think I will add this to each order for this bag I get. I intend to sell it in my shop once it is finished.

I am adding a right triangle to the Benjamin bag.

The bottom of the Benjamin bag

This bag is similar to the "Process" bag I showed in my very first blog post. However, instead of having the strap wrap around the bag like that one, I am going to have a simple drawstring bag. It will also be unlined.

"The Benjamin Bag " by David Leon Morgan