Upcycled Postcards.

I got this great idea from one of my new favorite sites, Design Sponge.  They have a full tutorial on that post, along with other ideas, so I thought I’d just share my take on it and what I did differently.

Materials I used:

  • Cutting Mat
  • Clear acrylic quilting ruler (I use it for cutting fabric for sewing along with paper for projects like this, but any clear ruler would work for you)
  • Rotary cutter (or exacto knife)
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Cover stock or card stock
  • Thank-you stamp
  • Inkpad
  • Bone folder (again, optional, you could use the edge of your ruler though I find the point on this helpful for getting the hand torn edges glued down firmly)

 

Step 1: Cut your scrap cardboard up into 4×6 pieces (this works with the template you can download below, but you can make a postcard that is anywhere from 3 1/2 x 5 to 4 1/4 by 6 according to the USPS). I used my rotary cutter for this as I’ve gotten a new blade for it, so if it’s too dull for fabric after cutting up this cardboard, I’m all set and ready to go.

Step 2: Design your postcard front and back. If you don’t want to make your own custom postcard back, you can download this blank template I created.  It’s just like what you see in the pics, minus my address and the flowers from my logo.  To create your own template for hand tearing, design a 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inch rectangle (or half an inch smaller then your card board size), and keep all your design work inside that area.  For the postcard front, any image that will fit in the same sort of area or smaller. I designed one that can be torn to a square because I wanted space to stamp the “thank you” on the side.  You could design the “thank you” as part of the front and save yourself a step, I just really liked the look of the stamp ink on the cardboard.

 

Step 3: Hand tear all your pieces of card stock apart.  To hand tear effectively, line your clear ruler up 1/4 of an inch past the line on your postcard template, with the part you’re keeping under the ruler. Grasp the margin firmly and pull.

Depending on the grain of your paper, some of it may rip easier one direction then another, so you may want to pull towards you or away from you depending on that.  Plan on a test sheet to get the hang of this.  Always keep the finished part under the ruler as the part that’s under the ruler gets the cooler edge then the part you’re tearing off.  To tear the front design, I just lined up the part of the design that stuck out the most a 1/4 from the edge of the ruler and ripped away.

Step 4: Glue your card stock pieces to your cardboard.  I used this awesome glue stick that I found in the scrap-booking section of either Joann’s or Hobby Lobby (probably Joann’s) and a bone folder to make this easier.

To glue, lay your finished card stock piece face down on some scrap paper, and make sure you get the glue all around the hand torn edges.  You don’t want a loose edge to that can be grabbed as they get sorted through the mail.  Position on cardboard, and smooth down from the middle to the edges.  Use the bone folder or the edge of the ruler to make sure all the glued card stock comes in contact with the cardboard, and I like the point on the bone folder to run all around the edges and get them as tight as possible.

This glue stick has a really good hold. I did a test run and I left a loose corner that I then pried up to see how good the hold was, and it ripped the cardboard apart before the paper would come off the back, so in other words, something glued down with this isn’t going anywhere in a hurry. 😉

After you’ve glued front and back designs onto your cards, you’re ready for:

Step 5: Stamp the “thank you” on the front.

And… Enjoy!

Easy Lip Balm

So in addition to the hand salve I made the other night, I also followed a recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs and made up a batch of Peppermint Cocoa Lip balm. It smells good enough to eat and is amazing on the lips now that I’ve been using it for a few days. And the guinea pigs friends I gave it to to test it have been giving it good reviews as well!

I plan to give some of this away, plus the recipe makes enough to fill ten lip balm tubes, so you can either save empty ones and re-use, or get these pretty translucent ones from Mountain Rose Herbs as well. I plan to re-use the ones I use for myself, but these are the most convenient in terms of giving the lip balm away. If you prefer small tins they also carry those, but I don’t like having to stick my finger in the lip balm in the middle of the day if my hands aren’t clean.

I’m re-posting their recipe here because the directions need a bit of clarification.  You can find the original here, second recipe down.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Cocoa Butter
2 Tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil
1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
12-15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
A few drops of Vitamin E Oil (optional, but recommended)

Step 1: Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place Beeswax, Cocoa Butter, Sweet Almond Oil and Avocado in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat (I interpreted this as getting the water to a simmer on medium to medium high instead of on high) in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax and butters have melted.

In the pic below, you see the butter and oils melting together in a measuring cup set in a small metal bowl that is over a simmering pan of water, my “double boiler.” This set up works so well (the metal bowl over a sauce pan) that I don’t see the need to every buy an actual double boiler!

Step 2: Once melted, remove from the stovetop and add essential oils and Vitamin E Oil.  To achieve this, I lowered the measuring cup straight into the simmering water for perhaps a minute tops because the beeswax wasn’t getting quite hot enough. It doesn’t seem to have affected the outcome.

Step 3: Immediately pour the mixture into lip balm containers. You can purchase lip balm tubes and jars, or you can reuse glass or plastic containers. Allow to cool completely before placing caps onto the lip balm containers. Your lip balm is finished! You can now add labels, ribbons, twine, or any other decorative elements. Makes approximately 1.5 oz of lip balm, enough to fill 10 lip balm tubes, 6 of our 1/4 oz plastic jars, or 3 1/2 oz tins or plastic jars.

And there you have it! This whole process took less than 20 minutes from start to finish, with about another 15 minutes or so (I didn’t really time it) to have the lip balm cool, but it cools pretty fast and you have simple, all organic lip balm and you know exactly what went into it.  Plus it’s yummy, a great gift, and satisfying to make.

Enjoy!

Hand Salve

So in my quest to be more organic and to know what’s in the stuff I use and eat and such (plus I’m still on this super creative kick where I just want to make stuff!), I decided to make my own hand salve today.  I had made a big order from Mountain Rose Herbs and the stuff all got here this week. It’s pricey to do at once, but much less per container of finished product.  Also on the list is home-made deodorant (I’ll post on that after I’ve used it for a while and see how it actually works!), and lip balm, which I made tonight too, but I’ll post it tomorrow.

I got this recipe from A Sonoma Garden, but tweaked it a little bit cause I didn’t have a scale to weigh the ingredients, so I went with parts and measured it with measuring spoons and added lavender to it cause I like the smell…

  • 4 Tbsp Shea Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Vitamin E Oil
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp Essential Lavender Oil (adjust to fragrance preference)

Step 1: Place Shea butter and avocado oil in a measuring cup and heat on medium low heat in a small sauce pan full of water until butter and oil melt (easy double boiler). Stir occasionally.

See, not melted.

Starting to melt…

Melted!

See? It looks like melted butter… oh wait… shea butter anyone?? 😛

Step 2: Stir in Vitamin E Oil and Lavender Oil.

Step 3: Pour into small bowl and place in sink that has several inches of ice water in it.

Step 4: As it cools, whip it to a meringue-like consistency.

Step 5: Smooth into containers of your choice.  I got the containers from Mountain Rose Herbs as well.

Ta Da! It’s awesome.  And I “licked” the bowl by scraping the last little bits off the sides with the spatula and rubbed them straight on my big ol’ preggo belly 😀 (with the spatula) Husband was amused.