Giving Thanks Through Charitable Donations

Give!Guide from Willamette Weekly

It’s the holiday season officially now. Which means I’m getting lots of requests for donations, as we all are. It’s frustrating to be asked by everyone and their mother, but I still try to give some money at this time of year as a reminder to myself that even if I don’t have much, I still have more than some.

If you are in the Portland Area you’re probably aware of the Give!Guide from Willamette Weekly. It recommends itself to me for a couple of reasons: they vet the organizations that are included in it; offer incentives for as little as a $10 donation; and a number of the organizations in it have private donors willing to match the amount raised publicly through the Give!Guide.

So I want to highlight a few of the organizations in the Give!Guide this year that offer crafty or DIY services to the community.

Independent Publishing Resource Center has a great zine library, a print workshop, plus lots of cool classes and events. Donate here
Portland Tool Libraries makes it possible for people to borrow tools of all shapes and sizes for lots of different projects. It’s a really great resource for DIY projects. Donate here
SCRAP is one of my favorite places for off- the-wall craft projects. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some of the great things that I’ve found there. I also love that it’s keeping a lot of the supplies out of the landfill and giving them new homes to excited creative people. Donate here

Whether you choose to donate any money to one of these organizations or another, I think the most valuable thing is to choose one that means something to you. Sometimes I choose one that means something to someone that I’m having trouble finding a gift for instead and put the donation in their name. Either way it leaves me feeling like I’m helping to make a difference.

Tutorial: Mini Dioramas

First a heads up: We will be making these at November’s craft night next Tuesday. You should come. Please RSVP here.

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Mini dioramas can be as complex and crazy, or as old school (elementary school, I mean) as you’d like. I knew I wanted mind to involve woodland creatures or mermaids. But I chose woodland creatures because I recently saw an amazing mermaid creation that I basically wanted to recreate. Not cool, self.

There are lot of ways to create these. I love the compact ones in altoid tins where you’re basically layering paper on each other until you reach the edge. Mine is more of a tribute to the ones we did in school with a background and things in the foreground.

Follow along, so you can see how I made mine. Feel free to copy it or make your own adjustments. Obviously your box is going to be a different size and have slightly different requirements. I have included a printable of the shrubs, tree and animals for you to print out and color, if you’d like.


MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Printable Woodland Flora and Fauna
A Small Box
Pen & Pencil
Coloring Tools (Colored Pencils, Markers, Paint, Crayon, etc)
Paper Scraps
Bits of Cardboard & Cardstock
Optional: Tape, hole punches, glitter, stickers, stamps, etc.

Optional Step 0: Make A Plan

Some people are not planners. I drew out a little sketch of what I wanted and then drew some little characters (fox and squirrel) and still had to go backwards a little when I realized it needed a moon. But if you know what you want to include, it’s easiest to start at the back and work your way forward. It’s not the end of the world if you have to stick your fingers back behind things to add something here or there though.

Step 1: The Background

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

I took some paper scraps that I had lying around that looked vaguely night-like. I didn’t want something too dark like actual night would be. And then I cut magazine scraps to look like a horizon and vaguely green earth. If you want anything to overlap, glue that down first. Draw anything you’ll want on your background before gluing it down, trust it me it works better that way.

Step 2: Make Your Characters

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Whatever you want to fill in your box. Draw it, color it, cut it out. If you’re printing out my creatures, print them on cardstock so they’ll stand up easily. If you’re cutting out things from magazines, glue them onto cardstock or other thick paper.

If you look at my photo above, the trees and shrubs have white tabs on the bottom and side that will get glued to the side and bottom of my box. I colored in the part of the shrub that I glued in before I thought about it.

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

To make your little creatures stand up, cut a small rectangle of cardstock and fold it in half. One half glue to the back of the creature. The other half will be glued to the inside bottom of the box.

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

This is my little fire. I cut out some vaguely flame-shaped pieces from both orange and red papers and then layered them with a bit of cardboard in between them to get some depth. Then I stuck a folded piece of cardstock behind it so they will get glued in the same way that the squirrel and fox do.

If you are looking closely at my diorama, you’ll notice that I have a little grey fire pit around my flames. I made that by cutting a rectangle of grey card stock, folding it in half long-ways and snipping the bottom half long-ways up to the fold. Then when I bent it into a curve, I was left with a bunch of tiny tabs to glue down and keep a semi-circle of grey paper standing.

Cut out a moon too, if you’d like. I used two circles of the same paper with a bit of cardboard inbetween them for depth.

Step 3: Put It All Together

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Remember to start at the back and work your way forward. I should have started with the moon, then the fox, then the fire pit, then the fire (the fire pit tabs need to go underneath the fire tab), then the shrubs, then the squirrel, then the tree.

Dab a bit of glue and hold each tab down for a moment or two until it sets. It’s very sad to not have let something dry enough before you move on and end up disturbing it with your next piece.

Also, I recommend holding a few pieces in place at a time so you can get a feel for how they’ll look together before you glue a piece on.

Most importantly, have fun with it. It’s intended for silliness, not perfection.

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Holiday Market: Vendors Wanted

Holiday Market 2014 | Red Circle Crafts

You may have seen the tab at the top of the site that recently showed up: “Holiday Market“. If you click on it, you’ll find information about the upcoming Holiday Market. I’ll be talking a lot about it in the next month and half.

Today I want to reach out to all you crafty people in the Portland Metro. I’m looking for vendors. We have some confirmed already and the space is limited. But we have early bird pricing through November 18th. So you should get on that.

Check out the vendor page and download an application if you’re interested. I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have. Email or leave a comment!

Thanksgiving Decor Crafts

Felt Fall Leaf Garland | Red Circle Crafts

For me, Thanksgiving is a time for food and family, chosen or the one you were born to. I’ve seen some intense table decor for this holiday, but I always think that it doesn’t leave any room for food. I prefer Thanksgiving crafts that will make a home feel inviting, warm, and cozy, the perfect place for your family to gather, but don’t get in the way. I don’t want my decor to be the focus of the gathering.

Some simple things you can do to add light and festivity to your home for the beginning of the Holiday Season (yes, it deserves capitalization):

Juniper and Bittersweet Rake Wreath from Better Homes & Gardens I love this non-traditional wreath idea from Better Homes & Gardens. It adds color and definitely a fall feel.

DIY Calligraphy Leaf Name Cards from the Fledgling SongAs a kid, it was my job to set the table. I took great pride in arranging everything and adding my own touches. These DIY Calligraphy Leaf Name Cards from The Fledgling Song are definitely something I would have done and it would be a great project to keep kids busy and out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Leaf Napkin RingsI love these plaster leaves so much that I made them into Christmas Ornaments last year. Find the tutorial to make them as napkin rings on Design Mom.

DIY Twig Candle HoldersIt’s getting darker earlier and earlier. Adding light through decor seems to be a theme this time of year. I try to use natural materials as much as possible for crafts. You could take this even further and use upcycled peanut butter jars (or jam jars or chipped glasses) instead of glass candle holders to make these twig candle holders found on Homedit.

The first image is from my Felt Fall Leaf Garland that I made last fall.

Mail a Piece of Cake

Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts

Back in July I posted about a faux Ice Cream Sandwich Postcard, which created a monster. I now want to mail EVERYTHING! There’s a whole movement about mailing weirdly shaped items (flip flops, teddy bears, 2-liter bottles, etc.). As long as you can stick the requisite stamps to it and it’s 13 oz or less you can pretty much mail whatever.

Despite all that, I was a little nervous that the postal person was going to say, “Sorry, you can’t mail that.” Turns out she just wanted to check and make sure I had enough stamps on it.

Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts

So this particular piece of cake was made using the tutorial from She Knows. Mine is a little messier. I imagine that practice makes perfect. To be honest, the cake looks about as good as a real cake I would make. Frosting is a little uneven and smooshed here and there and the slice is not cut exactly perfectly. It was however made with much enthusiasm. I think that counts for something, right?

Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts

It was remarkably easy to make overall, assuming you already know how to pipe frosting and are maybe better at than I am or at least don’t mind it being imperfect. I hear the rustic look is in.

I highly recommend this project, especially if you want to be the “cool” aunt and send this to your niece for her birthday, like I did.

Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts

P.S. My slice of cake required six 49ยข stamps.

Happy Halloween!

Witch Hat Cupcake Toppers | Red Circle Crafts

J and I are attending a Witches Dinner tonight. So we are unsurprisingly going as witches!

This is maybe my favorite holiday of the year, so I suspect we’ll be out haunting well past my normal bed time. Wishing all the ghouls and goblins much tricks and treats!

Thanksgiving Glass Etching Class

Thanksgiving Glass Etching Class | Nov 8 | Red Circle Crafts

[Edit] Sadly this class has been canceled. Expect a glass etching tutorial in the future!

I know, it’s not even Halloween yet, why do you care about Thanksgiving already? But I’m teaching this really awesome class on glass etching at a Thanksgiving-themed Skillshare next month. I keep thinking it’s much further away than it actually is.


November 8th – 1pm – 3pm
Old Salt Marketplace (5027 NE 42nd Ave, Portland)

You can purchase tickets here. More information about the whole event here.

The class isn’t very much, and most of the proceeds are going towards being able to put on another free, all-day event like they did in July (remember the free screenprinting class I did?).

In this class you will make a stencil (either using your own brilliant idea or one of the templates I will provide) and use it to turn old glass jars and bottles into beautiful works of art. You can then take this idea home with you and use it to etch everything glass (drinking glasses, vases, pyrex, jelly jars, wine bottles, everything).

Drawing of the stencil | Red Circle Crafts Etching the glass | Red Circle Crafts All lit up | Red Circle Crafts


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