Halloweening

I went trick-or-treating this year again, despite pretty much everyone in the world telling me I’m too old for it.

Which doesn’t make sense, by the way.  Why should someone’s age determine his or her eligibility for free candy?

I lost my chicken hat somewhere in my room, so I had to make one last-minute, which was super-stressful.  I don’t recommend leaving Halloween costume-finding until the last minute.  Literally.  I had two minutes to get to a party, and that was when I decided to start looking for my hat.

Anyway, moving on…

I found that whenever I knocked on a door, I could feel the person inside severely judging me for being “too old.”  I guess my friends and I just aren’t cute enough to be demanding candy from our neighbors that we only see on Halloween without giving anything back in return.  My sister went trick-or-treating with her friends in her Strawberry Shortcake Costume without my mom, so I didn’t end up taking her.

I’m thinking that maybe my friends are right.  Some things we just grow out of.  At least I can still live it vicariously through my sister, but I’ll just have to smile and nod on the sidewalk while she knocks on the doors, with all the boring parents.

I’ll be back soon with a birthday present I made for my friend!  Until then, tell me: at what age did you stop trick-or-treating?  Or did you never stop?

-Coco

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Strawberry Shortcake (2003) Preschooler’s Costume

Yay!  I’m finally doing it!  I finished this costume over a month ago, and I’m finally posting it!  Trust me to procrastinate until the weekend before Halloween to post this.

I was a big Strawberry Shortcake fan as a little kid, and back in my day (gosh, that makes me feel old), Strawberry Shortcake looked like this:

(link)

Now, she looks like this:

(link)

I don’t like the new one.  I think that she contains everything a girl is pressured to be and fuses those gender expectations into some kind of giggly, unattainable standard of “perfection” that we force onto little girls.  That might just be me overanalyzing it, but the 2003 Strawberry Shortcake is cuter anyway, and my sister likes her, so that’s what the costume is based off of.

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The first component of the costume is the hat.

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I modeled the shape after one of my sister’s hats, which looks like this:

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and I just traced the different sections onto pieces of cardstock for stencils.

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The crown of the hat is divided into six sections, while the brim is divided into four sections.  You could probably make the brim out of just two, or even just one, but my felt sheets were too small.

After cutting out the stencils, cut the required number of pieces out of pink felt.

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Sew the center six pieces together to make the crown by blanket stitching the sides together, like so:

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until all six end up in a chain.

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Sew the center parts together and flip the whole dome inside-out.

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After that, put the brim together, which pretty much just means blanket stitching the four pieces into a ring.

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Attach the brim to the crown by blanket stitching the outer edge of the crown to the inner circle of the brim, wrong sides together.

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Flip it inside out, and you now have a hat!

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(Note: at this point, the sun set, so the next few pictures are in ugly yellow light.)

Afterwards, cut out a simple stencil for a strawberry out of cardstock.

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Make as many of these as you think you need to decorate your hat (I made ten),

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and evenly distribute them around your hat.

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I attached them by sewing a straight line in red thread down the middle, like so:

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Once you’ve done that, sew a red ribbon around the hat in a ring.

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Make a bow out of green ribbon…

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and make a little strawberry to attach to that bow.  Make stencils out of cardstock,

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Cut out two of the body pieces and one leaf piece,

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sew seeds onto the red piece that will go in front,

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Sew the two pieces together, remembering to add some stuffing before sewing it closed.

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Sew the leaf piece on, and attach the entire strawberry to the center of the green bow, and attach the whole bow to the hat.

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Now, using thin ribbon, add straps to the hat.

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It’s now ready to wear!

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For the Strawberry Shortcake shirt, prepare some fabric paint.  I got fabric spray paint at first, but it clogged after the second spray and I couldn’t unclog it, so I just stuck with normal paint.  Also get a plain white shirt, scissors, thick masking tape, some brushes, and some scrap fabric.  Find two pieces of cardboard and a container for your paint, as well as a marker of some sort.

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Test your paint, to make sure it works.

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Now, cut a piece of cardboard to fit the inside of your shirt, so your paint doesn’t seep through both layers.  I did the body and the sleeves separately.  In hindsight, I should’ve put cardboard in both the sleeves and the body, because having to move the sleeves every time I flipped the shirt over ended up being a big hassle.

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Now, add masking tape to your shirt.  There should be three stripes on the body and three stripes on the sleeves.

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Now, paint!

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Repeat the same process with the sleeves.  There should also be three stripes for the sleeves.

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After about thirty minutes, take the tape and cardboard out, and let dry for three to four more hours.  After at least three days, turn inside out and wash.

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The shirt is done!

Now just pair with a pair of plain blue jeans…

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and tie a red jacket around the waist, and you’re done!

My sister’s red jacket was in the wash, so she doesn’t have it in these pictures.

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Yeah, there’s nothing in that basket.  But isn’t she cute?

Good luck with your Halloween exploits, and don’t be that one jerk who dumps the whole candy bowl into your candy holder!

-Coco

linked to Clever Chicks Blog Hop #162

How I Gift

Well, this is embarrassing.

I promised this post in August, yet here we are, more than two months later, scrapping this up because I’m procrastinating and not studying like I should be.

Presenting… How I Gift.

Being a person who is very particular about the dumbest things, the way I present gifts is a huge thing to me.  I decided to catalog my process for a friend of mine, whose birthday was at the end of the summer.

One thing I do for the majority of my friends is to bake brownies, because it’s the only thing I don’t fail at baking.  When I bake something, I always start out by laying paper towels over a whole section of my countertop, so that I have a clean place to put my measuring cups and things when I’m not using them:IMG_7878

(I know, bad picture, cut me a break here.)  After that, I like to get as many of my ingredients out as possible, because then I get to put them in one after another like the pros in baking tutorials:

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I’m not kidding.  That is actually the reason why I lay all of my ingredients out.  (Bakers, don’t kill me for using chocolate chips!  They’re easier than cocoa powder!)  After baking, I lay them out on my table to cool, which I know I couldn’t do, but I don’t have a wire rack.

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In this time, I made a panda plushie!  tutorial here

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After the brownies (or one huge brownie, however you interpret it) were done cooling, I put them on a cutting board and cut them into sixteen pieces.

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A nice, large knife is nice, so that you get a clean cut without without all of the annoying crumbs that serrated knives bring.  At this point, I stacked them into a wrap-able configuration.

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I had to play around with this a bit, but eventually I settled on a 4x2x2 rectangle, so that I could wrap it with the tinfoil I baked it in:

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Now, at this point, I got out the supplies I would need to wrap it:

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I don’t quite remember how many layers I folded the tissue paper into, but I think it was fourths.

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That way, it wrapped around the brownies perfectly.

After, I tied the whole bundle up with ribbon.  Christmas ribbon, but it was the least Christmas-y thick ribbon I had.

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After that was done, I packed both gift items into a long wine bag (Christmas again), which happened to be just the right size.

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And there you go!  How I gift.  This was a more informal party, so I didn’t pull out the full array of random gift-wrapping stuff, but another one of my friend’s birthdays is coming up, sooo….

I’ll be putting up another post tonight, so see you then!

-Coco

Panda Plushie

See?  I told you I would be posting.

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Today, I present to you this adorable little panda!  I made it for a friend’s birthday.  It actually took quite a bit of time because of all the pieces, but it was totally worth it!  What makes me really proud is that this was entirely my own design, so I wasn’t stealing from anyone for once!

So, shall we get started?

Materials:

-stencils

-thread

-needle

-felt

Start off by making your stencils.  To make mine, I just drew out a basic panda shape and labeled the pieces.

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Hopefully you can read that!  After I cut them out, they looked like this:

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You’ll notice there are folds down the middle of some of them because I was trying to get them symmetrical.  Using your stencils, cut out the indicated amount of each shape.

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You should be able to figure out which color is which.  Ignore the pink nose, I was delusional for a moment and convinced myself that pandas have pink noses.

Now that you have all of your pieces ready, start assembling them.  Start with the head.

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Get the eyes and nose on one side.  Attach your ears in the same position on both head pieces.

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Make sure they are in the same position!  This way, they line up later.

Also start assembling the body pieces together.

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They should line up and look exactly the same.

You can now begin sewing them together.  Start by sewing a backstitch around the two body parts, leaving the part where the head is attached, open.

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Stuff the thing.  Make sure you get stuffing into the arms and legs, or your panda will look weird and deflated.

Also go around the head, leaving the area between the ears open for stuffing.  When you get to attaching the body, you can either use the technique in this video so that stuffing can be inserted from the top of the head and all the way through to the feet, or you can sew them together so that the head is closed off from the body.

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After stuffing, close up the hole and your panda is complete!

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This plushie also makes an appearance on my post “How I Gift,” so be sure to check that out!

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Until then, have a nice summer!

-Coco

A Craft for Dummies: Decorative Pillow

I know, I know.  I have disappeared for an embarrassingly long amount of time.  And for all of the (two) people that have regularly checked this blog at any point in history, that probably pissed you off. But I’m back!  And I changed the title slightly.  Did you notice? Now, to the actual craft.

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Cute, right?  It’s made out of and 8.5in x 8.5in template (21.6cm x 21.6cm), so it isn’t exactly big enough for a human head, especially with those obnoxious roses on there.  But it does make a nice accent to anywhere boring, so… let’s get started on making it!

Materials:

-First, you will need felt.  This can come in any kind of shape or kind.  I just used generic polyester felt.  For my particular design, I used red and green felt.

-For the main part of the pillow, get some nice, soft fleece.  I used a fleece throw that I found at Ikea for $2.99.  It was a ton of material for cheap!  You can also just use for felt for this, but fleece is much softer and prettier to look at.

-Next, get a needle.  Felt is very easy to pierce, but needles also leave pretty prominent holes, so you can use a slightly duller (is that a word?) needle, but don’t use one of those yarn needles.

-As with any sewing project, you will also need thread.  Use thread that matches your fabric colors.  For example, it is probably a bad idea to use bright orange thread on white fleece, unless it matches your color scheme.

-Get some good quality cardstock.  This is for creating stencils.  To create the stencil, you will also need a pencil or some other writing utensil.

Now that you have all of your materials, you can get started!

Create your stencils first.  You can see a picture of mine here:

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Isn’t the quality of that picture just dazzling?  I deserve a photographer of the year award!  The point is, the square, labeled “pillow shape,” is an 8.5in by 8.5in piece of cardstock (pretty much just cutting 2.5in off the bottom,) and I also have a leaf shape labeled “leaf” and a circle labeled “rose petal (x4).”

Now, start cutting out your pieces.

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You will need two fleece pillow shapes, three sets of four red rose petal shapes, four circles a bit smaller than the rose petal (I just freehanded it), and two green leaf shapes.

To start, you will need to assemble the roses.

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Take one set of rose petals and a small circle.  (My small circle was a bit too small, you might want to make yours larger.)  Fold one rose petal into quarters, like so:

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Take your small circle, and sew the tip of the quarter-petal onto the center of the circle.

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Do the same with the second, third, and fourth petals.

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Secure the thread at the back with a knot.

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Proceed to make two more roses, and arrange them, along with the leaves, at the corner of one of the fleece pieces.

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Secure at the back.

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Now, you can begin the actual pillow part.  Line up the two fleece pieces, right sides facing out, and blanket stitch your way all the way around.

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Leave a small opening, stuff it with stuffing, close it up, and knot it.  I just use normal polyester fiberfill:

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Don’t be skimpy on stuffing, or your pillow will end up looking like a deflated sack of rice.

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Now you have a gorgeous (hopefully) pillow that has no useful function at all!  With this new pillow, you can…

Decorate this plastic chair!

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Decorate this porch swing!

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Decorate this outdoor bench!

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Decorate this swivel chair!

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And finally, give this random adorable Fuwa you happen to have from the 2008 Summer Olympics a place to snuggle!

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What other completely unnecessary functions are you going to use for your pillow?

I introduced my homeroom class to this lovely craft, and was immediately astonished at how such seemingly smart people could be so bad at understanding the concept of tying a knot.  And, they turned my beautiful pile of felt from this loveliness:

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To this unworkable monstrosity!

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Now, please excuse me while I go cry in a corner!  But that being said, there were some pretty creative people in my class, and I couldn’t help feel a surge of pride when one certain inept person managed to tie a knot all by himself.

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Above are some of the stencils I made for our little class project.  I’m sorry that the writing isn’t really clear, but the teardrop shape next to the bird is the bird’s wing, and the pointed oval right below the weird horned thing (which is an owl, by the way) is the owl’s wing.

So, shall you set forth and create your own useless pillow?  Ooh, and if you have any thimble substitutions, please let me know!

-Coco

P.S.- I am going to actually start posting again now that crafting season has started so stay tuned!  I already have some pretty cute stuff planned!  (Whoa, Coco planning?  Who would’ve thought that she actually had some direction in life?)

Upcycled Backpack from Old Jeans

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Remember when I made my little sister an adorable backpack in this post?  I may or may not have been extremely jealous afterwards.  I may or may not have tried to see if I could try and wear her backpack too.  And that may or may not have completely failed.

And then, one day, it struck me.  I would make a backpack out of a pair old jeans!  Not mine, because I don’t have any old jeans.  And I searched on the internet and out popped many very sophisticated backpacks… that would all take forever.  And I did not want to spend forever on this.

Until I discovered…

this video.  (The second part is here.)  The perfect little bag!

But… I didn’t want a purse.  (Or hold-all, as she called it, because it really does hold all.)  I needed a backpack!  So, pulling out my knowledge of making drawstring bags, I got to work.  Forgetting taking pictures along the way.  Sorry!

First, I did all of the cutting shown in the first video.  Most of the same sewing, too, until I got to sewing up the corners of the bag.

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At this point, I cut three strips of denim from the remainder of the pant leg to create a braid that would become the straps.  Both ends were sewn up.

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To attach the strap to the end of the bag, I pulled one strap inside the bag (which was inside-out at this point) so that one end was at the corner of the bag.  I then sewed that corner up.

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This is what it looks like from the outside.

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Two slits were cut in the waistband so that I could thread elastic into it.

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I finished it off with a simple knot, which I cannot untie no matter what.  Hopefully that won’t become a problem later.

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The top end of the strap was sewn in with a few stitches on the inside of the waistband.  It will probably fall out at some point, but until then, it’ll do.

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The pockets had to be repaired a bit, because they were developing holes.  Not the most beautiful pocket anymore, but no one will see it anyway.

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I threaded an old scarf through the belt loops to make it look nicer (and less like someone’s butt), also to tie up the top more securely.

Now I present you with the backpack from all angles!

The front!  (So what if it's suspended from a window cord?  No judging!)
The front! (So what if it’s suspended from a window cord? No judging!)
The back!  (Same window cord.)
The back! (Same window cord.)
The top!
The top!
The front pocket!
The front pocket! (One of them, at least)
The back pocket! (one of them)
The back pocket! (one of them)
The front laid out...
The front laid out…
And the back laid out.
And the back laid out.
The front inside-out...
The front inside-out…
And the back inside-out.
And the back inside-out.

Opinions?  Aren’t you just rushing home and digging out your old jeans to make this?  (Or, if you don’t have old jeans, “borrowing” your sister’s.)  No fancy materials needed, and it takes only a few stitches!  It only took me one day, and this is me we’re talking about!

And, just in case you forgot what it looks like, this is the fab backpack.

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Backpack is fab ~ Fab is backpack

(fab is not my comfy hoodie)

Have a very very nice Sunday, and don’t forget about Martin Luther King while you’re off on vacation!

Speaking of which, where are you all going on vacation?

Is it fun?

Can you invite me?

Actually, now I’m just getting creepy.

Signing off,

-Coco

Linked to the Crafts a la Mode Linky Party and the Clever Chicks Blog Hop #122.

Felt Baby Shoes

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This is not a tutorial.  It’s just an idea.

These are a pair of felt shoes that I made for a baby cousin this summer.  They’re for 3 month old babies, and my cousin was much older than that, so I had to enlarge the pattern a lot.  However, these could be the perfect gift at a baby shower, or just for a newborn baby.

I took the shoe pattern from this post on The Purl Bee and the little flower accessory from this post on Make it and Love it.  Do check them out, because there’s a lot of great stuff on there that I didn’t incorporate.

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I didn’t have wool felt, so I used normal felt instead.  The little flower was also made of normal felt.

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Also, instead of using elastic like the original tutorial, I sewed a button onto the bottom flap and cut a slit in the top.

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I used red thread for everything, which I think gives it a nice look.

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So, what do you think?  Please tell me, and also please visit the original tutorials!

Happy Saturday,

-Coco

Linked to: Clever Chicks Blog Hop #121 and the Crafts a la Mode Linky Party.