Mixed Media Bird collages

I found these two wood Easter plaques at Goodwill, but they had come from Target’s Dollar spot.

I like the using ‘box type’ design for making collages.  The sides of these were already colors and designs that I liked and could work with!

I had some pretty new paper napkins with bird eggs on them that I was itchin’ to play with, so I decided on a bird theme for these two plaques.

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A few layers of book pages, then the napkin, then a couple more book pages cut into ‘fancy shapes’, then a rectangle from a Chinese magazine and a bird illustration from a bird book.  A quote from a book and of COURSE, a crown!

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What do you think of my new photo backdrop?

With all the warm and dry weather we’ve been having I got a few ‘personal’ painting projects done.  One of which was this shelf and the table it sits on.  This ‘shelf’ is actually 1/2 of an old coffee table that was once a display shelf in my booth at Stars.

These are the pictures from ‘back when’ I used them as display shelves in my booth.   I’m now using the half coffee table as  a shelf atop halr of a dining table that is in my ‘office’ (which should be the dining room!)

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The lamp has always been in this spot.  I bought it to go with this collection of similarly shaped bottles; which used to be on a shelf in my living room.  I had hoped to figure out a way to display them all together in the living room; but I just couldn’t make it work.  So I settled for this set up; which I like just fine.

And the second collage; styled fairly similarly to the first one.

I extended the napkins over the edges, and they are sheer enough that the original side color and design show through.

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This is really my FAVORITE part of them!  hehe

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Since the pieces were rectangular in shape, I oriented them in different directions.

They are available for purchase in my booth at Stars.

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Second life for a Chocolate box (belated Mother’s Day post)

For Mother’s Day, my sweet son and precious daughter-in-law took me out to lunch on Saturday*,  gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a ‘carefully selected’ box of (my favorite flavor, salted caramel!) Moonstruck chocolates.

*You couldn’t PAY me enough to get me to go out to eat ON Mother’s Day!!  After working in the restaurant biz for 27 years, I KNOW it’s one of the WORST days to go out to eat.  

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Oh!  And a pair of hand carved salad tongs they bought in Fiji while on their honeymoon in February.

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Isn’t this the most beautiful floral arrangements you’ve ever seen!  Simple but elegant!  The roses are as big ans my fist!!  I don’t know what the purple ones are, the buds look a lot like rosebuds.  ALL of them are hanging to dry right now so I can save them.

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This little box that the chocolates came in was emptied pretty quickly.  Much too cute of a box to just toss into the recycle bin.  Time for a craft project!

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So I wouldn’t need to cover the WHOLE thing, I found some paper that worked well with the gold on the bottom of the box.  The paper is actually wrapping paper that I bought on-line, specifically to use for craft projects.

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After looking at the photos I took, I realized that the ‘seams’ on the box bottom were VERY noticeable.  I probably should have covered the bottom too.  Instead I decided to fill the box with some brown paper shred.  (but I didn’t get a pic of that.)

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I rifled through several different metal charms I had on hand in search of something to decorate the top of the box.  Settled upon a pair of gold tome arrows because they worked best with re-using the gold elastic bow.

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I love prettying up little boxes like this!  I think if I could make a living doing so, I’d spend ALL my time doing this!

 

Mini mixed media easel collages

I did the ‘backgrounds’ on these a while ago, along with several others.  Set them aside for a while until I decided what MORE to do with them.

Assorted scrap papers, book pages, sheet music and pattern tissue papers.  No real ‘method’; just layer upon layer upon layer until it ‘feels’ right.

This is what the easels looked like when I bought them at Dollar Tree several years ago.

I decided they would make cute backgrounds for the Fimo fauxzen Charlotte’s that I make.  It’s really handy having the attached easel.

This first one I added just a ‘bust’; with kraft cardboard wings and cut one of my mini sheet music crowns in half to glue the flat side to the backing.

Some Monarch butterfly wings and a paper crown on this one.

Monarch butterfly wings #2; the other half of the previous sheet music crown and letters cut from a book.

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I’ve only taken this one to Stars; saving the rest for ?????

MORE banners

So, while I had all my banner making supplies spread out all over the living room; I found some MORE supplies to use up.

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These bigger, glitter-edged letters are pretty ‘fancy’ as is, so I opted for a simple vintage sheet music backing.  (after trying out a LOT of other design options!)  These cut-out  paper the letters are made from paper that looks like faded book pages.

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For these, and whenEVER possible, I do ‘hole punches’ for adding the hanging string to the banner.  MUCH less time-consuming than gluing string or ribbon to the back.

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I had three full sets of this particular lettering; with 2-3 of each letter; so after I used up all the D’s and M’s I had on these dream banners, I still had a LOT of letters left.  But not a lot of options for  words to spell, with some letters having been used up.  So I laid out all that I have left to see what other words I could spell.

 I had used up all the sheet music backings that I had pre-made, also; so I went with dictionary pages for the Paris banners.  (* I make the banner backings ahead of time and always have a stash of them on hand.  That way, when I’m in a creating mood I can get right to it; without as much ‘prep work’ before hand.  Plus I like to have ‘busy work’ to do while I am watching TV, and this kind of thing is perfect for that!)P1260790

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On this one, that I already took to Stars; I used tea stained sheet music for the backing.  (but I only had enough of the tea stained pages to do one banner)

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I sure hope ‘DREAM’ banners are popular because I now have a LOT of them.  NOW I just need to figure out what to do with all the left-over ‘odd’ letters . . . . Q – X – V = Z – J   . . . . .   Maybe for some altered art projects??

DREAM Banners

Believe it or not, I’m STILL using up some of the left-over supplies from back when we had our shop!  I donated a LOT of it before I moved last summer.  Sold quite a bit at a garage sale that I had after I moved last summer; and am continuing to ‘purge as I go’ in an attempt to make room to actually WORK in my craft room.

These “DREAM” scrapbook embellishment letters were my latest ‘victim’:

I had a LOT of them and really wanted to use the ALL up; and without needing to buy any new supplies to finish up with them.  (which is another challenge in and of itself; am I right, crafters???)

First I made the bigger ones, using up some burlap covered paper I had on hand; aqua paper doilies, dictionary page rosettes and scalloped edge die cuts.

When I ran out of the burlap paper, I made them using kraft card-stock for the backing.

When I ran out of the Kraft card-stock, but STILL had not used up all the letters;  I made some smaller sheet music backings; and used the same scallop edge die cut backings for the letters.  I COULD have made these as big as the burlap ones; and added the doily and rosette.  But I figured of they were going to be ‘different’ make them really DIFFERENT.

P1260265The smaller size banner has the advantage of being ‘package-able’; which is nice to protect them from damage.  I cut up ONE sheet of white poster board (2 for $1.00 at Dollar Tree!) and had enough to back all five of the small banners.  The cello ‘sleeves’ that I then covered them with are ‘re-used’ packaging from the stencils I buy.

I did package the bigger burlap banners, but they have to be folded up to do so.

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So, for displaying them in my booth at Stars, I hang one of them; and put the packages below.

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Another mixed media collage

I bought ‘a bunch’ of these wire topped wall plaques at the dollar store, YEARS ago!
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I didn’t really like them for what they WERE; rather for what they could BECOME.

That’s what I did with them ‘back when’ we had our own gift store.  I found ONE last one recently and decided it was time to use it up.

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First I covered with assorted papers; including some vintage pattern paper as the last coat.  Using them as the last coat adds a nice ‘softness’ to the look and sort of ‘blends them all together’.

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I painted a heart with wings; glittered the wings, and cut out words form a old book to put on the heart.

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NOW I just need to figure out what I want to do with the rest of these backgrounds that are ‘ready to go!

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Upcycled soap box

Hello, my name is aj; and I’m a ‘soapaholic’. 

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If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ve probably already figured that out!  I must confess that my addiction goes further than that.

I can’t resist ‘sniffing soaps’ at the store.

No, not the soaps in the soap aisle at the grocery store.  The ‘fancy’ soaps that come in pretty boxes.  Marshall’s is my favorite store for ‘soap sniffing’.  But I don’t sniff just ‘any soap’!  No ‘floral’ fragrances for me (except Lavender).  Other floral scents make me sneeze!  And I only like ‘neutral color’ soaps.P1260297I I was attracted to this box of soap because of the pretty box.  When I opened it and saw that it was PINK, I quickly put the lid back on and replaced it on the shelf withOUT even smelling it.  Because I don’t like pink soaps!

Just as I was starting to reach for the next box to open and sniff; the fragrance from that box with pink soap gently wafted by and it was AMAZING!  It smelled like a fresh strawberry pie.  I could NOT resist a full on sniff.  I HAD to buy it!

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The soap itself went directly into my shower and the box to my craft table.  I especially like how the box was decorated with the baker’s twine.  (will have to remember that trick!)

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I love upcycling these pretty soap boxes.  Usually I have to re-cover the entire box; but this one was already decorated so nicely that I only had to cover the ‘soap’ information.

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I found some print scrap book paper that coordinated with the paper on the box to cover the front label.

Used a piece of the same paper to cover the bottom of the box.

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There was a removable ‘riser’ in the bottom of the box that I wanted to leave in place because it SMELLED so good; so I added some of the same paper to it.

Easy peasey pretty (and fragrant!) little gift box ready to go!

Upcycled vintage candy box

Vintage wood candy box I found at an estate sale.

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The top was fairly beat up.

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Nice clean ‘innards’ though!

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I would have guessed that it was maybe a cigar box; but the label on the bottom tells otherwise.

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I sanded off the picture on the top with my orbital sander; then hand sanded the rest of the outside.  (it had a glossy varnish, so it HAD to be sanded before painting.)

Painted the whole thing aqua; then sanded.

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BEFORE I had decided how to decorate the top of the box, I decided to use this pretty turquoise glitter paper on the inside because . . . well because I just got it and was itchin’ to use it!  (probably should have waited until I finished the outside first though!)

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I selected this paper napkin for the top of the box.

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This particular design ‘opens out’ to cover the whole napkin.  (not ALL decorative napkins do though!)

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This was the napkin I wanted to use at first.

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Alas, this design just repeats, limiting how it can be used.

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The sheerness of the napkin allows the distressed wood to show though.  I used Mod Podge to apply the napkin to the box.

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Then I glued a reproduction skeleton key to the front.

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It’s available in my booth at Stars; along with several other upcycled little boxes!

Hard Cover Journals

Finally using up the last of this batch of hard cover journals.

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Plain ‘kraft’ covers with tea stained, lined pages.  I bought these WAAAAY back when we very first opened our shop in Hillsboro.  They were really popular back then and VERY hard to find.  I had to order them by the CASE of 50 from a wholesaler to get them.  I had completely forgotten that I even had a few left.  Came across them when I was packing to move last Spring.  Finally getting around to doing something with them!

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I only had 2 of them that had not been base coated with white paint.

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I just added some vintage book pages and key images to these two.

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These two have gone to my booth at Stars.

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Love how they look next to the old photos, and on this drop leaf table.  this just might be my new favorite color combo!  Kraft tan and aqua.

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The rest of them had been base coated black, then painted a creamy white.  I sanded them with my orbital sander before embellishing them.

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Remember this paper napkin design from the little trays  I did  a while back?

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The design covers the entire opened up napkin, so I could cover several journals with one napkin.

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I used Mod Podge to adhere the napkins to the journals.  A coat of Mod Podge to the cover; lay the image in place and smooth out as needed.  Let dry and apply a top coat of Mod Podge.  Pretty quick and easy.

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I ‘could have’ cut the image larger and extended over the edges of the front, but I kind of like the look of a bit of a border.

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I used this napkin for the rest of the journals.

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For some reason I was having a hard time removing the ‘second layer’ of the napkin on this design; to the point that I actually thought that maybe it WAS just a one-ply!

The journal on the right is the one WITH the second ply.  I finally figured that when I had cut the pieces to size using my paper cutter that it ‘sealed’ the edges of the two plys together.  I WAS able to remove that second ply on the rest of them.  Not sure it really makes that much of a difference though.  At least not with this color.

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I debating whether or not these are ‘done’ yet.  They might need a little quote of some kind added to the front??

Haven’t decided if these will go to Stars or my etsy shop.

TUTORIAL: Picture Perfect Crepe Paper Rosettes

I’ve been making, and crafting with crepe paper rosettes for a while now.  Actually I started with PAPER rosettes, then progressed to crepe paper.  I assumed that the ‘material’ used didn’t make any difference; and I made my first crepe paper rosettes using the exact same method as I had used on regular paper ones.

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EPIC FAIL!!  What the heck happened?!?!?  I folded it SO perfectly!  As soon as I glued on the backing though, it went all ‘cattywompus’ and smooshed up.  sigh.

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Trying as best I could, I just could not get them to look any better than this; looking like they’ve been stepped on by an elephant!    Heavy sigh!

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I wanted them to be PERFECT, like this paper rosette.

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The ‘smooshed’ ones weren’t entirely unusable; and by the time I added other embellishments the smooshiness was less noticeable.  Still, the perfectionist in me wanted to make PERFECT ones.

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This is how they look BEFORE gluing on the backing.  I wanted them to STILL look like this AFTER I added the backing.  The problem was that the crepe paper is so ‘delicate’.  Whereas regular paper ‘held up’ under the pressure of having the backing ‘pressed firmly into place’; this pressure was enough to smoosh and displace all those perfect little folds.

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So, I continued the TRY to make perfect ones, and continued to get not so perfect ones; but used them anyhow!  (I mean, it’s not like anyone was complaining that my crepe paper rosettes were too smooshed!)

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They were ‘passable’ . . . .but I still wanted perfect!

Yes, I realize that I am really dragging this post out!  Intentionally so; to emphasize my long-term frustration and ‘trial and error’ in perfecting this process.   

Yes, I finally DID figure out hot to make ‘picture perfect’ crepe paper rosettes.  Drum roll please . . . . .

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For the sake of those whom may not have made rosettes at all before; I’m starting at the VERY beginning.

 *** Cut a 30″ piece of crepe paper.

*** Fan fold the entire length in 1/4″ folds.

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I find it easiest to do this part ‘on my thigh’ as opposed to on a table or hard surface.  BUT, you will need a hard surface for the next steps.  That black with white dots thing in then picture is my little ‘lap desk’ that I use for my hard surface.

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*** Keeping your folds as uniformly as possible, fold the entire piece; trim off any extra end piece that hangs over the last fold. 

***  Hold your completely folded piece between both pairs of index fingers and thumbs and squish it together with all your might, to really crease those folds tightly.P1250859

*** Glue your fully folded piece, end to end, using the SMALLEST amount of TACKY glue possible.  Apply your glue to one end of your folded piece, then bring it ‘full circle’ to the other end; gently pinch between your fingers  to get it to hold.

 DO NOT use hot glue or regular white glue.  Regular white glue is too ‘wet’.  That, and/or too MUCH tacky glue will end up gluing together several LAYERS of your folds.  You want all your folds to ‘separate nicely’.

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NOW you will need your hard surface to work on.  I keep my little lap desk next to my ‘working chair’ within easy reach.

THIS is how your folded piece will look if you DON’T ‘crease your folds’ tight enough.  ‘Some’ crepe papers are thinner and less ‘crepe-ish’ than others, and those will also ‘sprawl out’ like this.  You will need to go around the circle the reinforce your creases if this happens.

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THIS is what you want your piece to look like when you lay it flat, after gluing the ends together.

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You will need a round piece of paper or card-stock for your backing.  I prefer card-stock; and I use a scalloped edge paper punch to make my backings.  Keep in mind that your backing might ‘show through’; so you might need to have it cut from a matching color.

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***With your rosette laying flat on your hard work surface; fully cover your backing piece with PLENTY of tacky glue.  This ‘seemingly excess amount of glue’ is KEY to making PERFECT crepe paper rosettes!  Don’t skimp on the glue on this step.

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This step can be a tad tricky, because you almost need THREE hands for it!  With practice you  will  learn how to maneuver your rosette so that the center is completely closed using just one hand.

*** Still working on your hard surface; With your glue covered backing all ready to go, after you have your rosette ‘closed tightly’, VERY GENTLY lay your glue covered backing onto your rosette; very gently tap around the edges to be sure the glue has ‘grabbed on’.

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IMPORTANT!!!  DO NOT PUSH HARD ON YOUR BACKING!!  That is what will smoosh all those perfect little folds and displace the spacing of them.  IF you have used enough glue on your backing, it will hold well enough for the next step.

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Your center might re-open a tad when you flip your rosette over.  Don’t worry, it’s fixable; as are any folds that are too clumped together or too spread out.

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***  THIS is another reason that you don’t apply too much pressure on the backing; you may need to ‘adjust the spacing of your folds’.  I use a small paint scraper for this.  With the scraper, gently move your folds as needed to evenly distribute them.  (You won’t ALWAYS need to do this; sometimes the folds are already perfect!)

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Once you are happy with the spacing of your folds, it’s time to make them stay that way.  Again I use my paint scraper, but a piece of stiff cardboard would probably work just as well.

THIS IS THE KEY STEP TO MAKING PERFECTLY SPACED AND ‘FLUFFY’ CREPE PAPER ROSTETTES!

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*** Place your paint scraper between each perfectly spaced fold, as close to the center as possible, and press down.  THIS is what makes the backing stick tightly to the rosette WITHOUT smooshing them. 

This might seem a bit tedious, but it really only takes a few seconds, and makes ALL the difference in creating a PERFECT rosette.

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*** Lastly, press FIRMLY in the very center with your index finger.  

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Look at those perfect folds!!

*** Let  your rosette lay flat for a few hours for the glue to completely dry.  

You might notice that the glue ‘bleeds’ through the crepe paper and leaves the whole thing a bit damp.  Just don’t stack them yet and they will dry just fine.

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Once completely dry, I store my rosettes on their side, like this, in a box.

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I like to keep a stash of rosettes ‘ready to use’ for when inspiration strikes.  I’ll usually make them while I watch TV in the evening.

Please let me know if this tutorial was helpful to you.