Paper Lace Cards

Hello again!  So, yes, once again I’ve been a bum and not been able to blog for awhile.  I have, however, made some more cards to send to people.  Two of them are just because cards, and the third (in the middle) is my mother-in-law’s Mother’s Day card.

I found a really interesting technique on Pinterest (of course) that I really wanted to try called Paper Lace or Paper Braiding.  I found it here.  They have a straight braid template that you can print out on the website.  But not the round one.  In their tutorial, they used nice, plasticky templates that you could use more than once.  Sadly, however, when I tried to search them, I came up with nada.  Zilch.  Nothing.  Zippo.  But never fear!  Because what does a crafter do when she can’t find a template?  She makes her own.  See:

The straight one, I copied it from the website and pasted it in Microsoft Word.  Then, I shrank it to the size of my card.  The round one was a bit different.  I wanted to get a nice template the size that I wanted, but I also didn’t want to waste a lot of ink.  So, I copied one of the website photos into Word, cropped the extra stuff you don’t need out, so that it was just a picture of the circle template.  Then, I upped the contrast, put a round frame on it, and changed the colours to black and white.  I also changed the size to a size that I wanted.  And voila!  My own personal template.  Please ignore the big, black blob on it.  That was part of the pen that was in the photo.

Next is the fun part.  Tape your template down to where you want, and start cutting.  Just use an exacto knife and cut down the lines.  Only cut where the lines are.  When you’re done, take your template off, and you’ll have a bunch of arrows on your card.

This will be where you want to have a look at the original tutorial, because, in my brilliance, I forgot to take photos.  Basically you, you have to look at the cuts you’ve made in pairs.  You’ve got a larger V over a smaller one, and it creates a V that you can fold out.  You fold all of them out and tuck them behind the small tab that’s left.  Definitely have a look at the original tutorial.  Then that’s it.  No glue.  Nothing.

And you’re done.  Braided Lace cards.  I’m quite happy with how they turned out.  I got the inspiration for the flower card here.  I really like how the lace look and the flowers go together.  I will definitely be making some more of these soon.

 

Happy crafting everyone!

S xx

 

 

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Believing in Faeries

So my quest to create my li’l Bug the ultimate dress up box for Christmas 2012 continues. Tada!  Faery wings!  And yes, I did create a full outfit, because I am slightly mental in that way.

To make the faery wings was actually pretty easy but pretty time consuming as well, since I had to keep letting the paint dry.  I’m quite happy with them in the end, even if I wanted to pull my hair out a number of times.

Here’s the mask and tutu I made to go with them:

They both took a fair bit of time as well.  The mask because the paint and glue had to dry, and the tutu because there’s 10 metres of dress net in that tutu.  It took ages to tie it all on. By ages, I mean somewhere in the region of 4-6 hours.  I got distracted by the TV at times.

I’m really excited, and I can’t wait for her to see them.  However, her dress up box is nearly done.  I’m just waiting on my brother to get one more measurement, and then I’ll be making a 2-sided hooded cloak and a 2-sided cape.  Both red and black.

In the meantime, I’m going to focus on some blankets that I need to get done for family.  I’ve got 3 months to get 3 blankets done.  4 blankets actually.  Yikes.  Better get cracking.

Happy crafting everyone!

S

White and Sage Diamond Blanket

Woohoo!  I got a baby blanket done!  And for once it’s actually baby blanket sized!  If you know me, you know that I have a serious problem making any thing baby blanket sized.  I don’t like making blankets or gifts that are essentially ‘obsolete’ after a very short time.  Blankets that are less than throw-sized are ‘obsolete’ in my opinion.  An adult cannot really use them, and I like creating lifetime gifts.  Baby blankets get stored away after a year, two at most.  I don’t like that.  For example, my nephew’s baby blanket was the size of a twin bed top.  I was 13, nearly 14, when he was born.  I was 23 when my niece was born, and her baby blanket was the size of a queen bed top.  I’ve found that the blankets seem to grow proportionally with my age.

I’m not sure if this is one of the ones that I wrote about in my previous post.  It is for my boss at work.  He and his fiance have been trying for kids for years, and I wanted to make them something for it.  That said, they aren’t very good friends, so hence the proper baby blanket size.  It was 32″ x 45″.

The design is based on “Pretty Puffs” in Li’l Sweetheart Baby Afghans.  I got it from Walmart years ago, on sale.  It is essentially a granny square blanket, 7 by 9 squares.  Each square is 3 rounds, with a chain and single crochet stitch border and chain stitch joinery.  I altered the design of the granny square a bit, and changed the colour scheme.  I also cut off the border squares and did a simple chain and single crochet stitch border around the whole blanket.  I did keep the lace-like joinery in the original pattern, though.  It helped keep the blanket soft and light.

If you would like more detailed instructions, please feel free to contact me.  I’m always happy to help out a fellow crafter 🙂

In other fun news, this blanket is also my first blanket to have a lily rose tag on it.  I used satin ribbon and iron-on transfer, which I found on Pinterest. Here‘s the website that the pin links to.  See:

The other thing I added on the tag was washing instructions.  You can see them in the upper left corner.  I usually give the recipient one of the wrappers from a skein that I used, but I know that those get lost usually.  I thought that if I’m going to put my label in it, I may as well put a washing label in it that won’t get lost.  So, I fold the strip of ribbon in half to form a loop and stitch it in.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Hopefully by the end of the week, I will have some fairy wings, a fairy tutu, and a matching mask to go with them.  All in pink and purple.  Yeah, Bug is in that stage.  I have nothing against it; I went through it too.  But it does mean that I feel a bit like I’m stuck in a cotton candy machine.

Happy crafting everyone!

S

Yay for cheap, finished projects! Ladybug Wings and Tile Coasters

I’ve finally had a chance to finish some projects.  Yay!!  And they were all cheap!

The first one is dead easy.  It’s tile coasters.  In the end, each set ended up costing a little under £3.  I would list a source for them, but they’re all over the internet right now.  I must have seen at least a dozen different versions.  I decided to go with the scrapbook method.  Basically, there are a few easy steps.

  1. Measure you tiles to see how big they are.
  2. Find some scrapbook paper that you like the look of.  I found this really great cutout paper (the orange/ yellow tiles) at Hobbycraft.  I love it.  I cutout just the corners of the paper for the tiles.  I did the same with the black and white graphic paper.  The plaid I cut out just to leave as compact a sheet of paper as possible.
  3. Measure out squares on the scrapbook paper where you like the look of it, whether it’s the corners of the paper or other parts of it.  Make sure you measure about 1/8″ to 1/4″ smaller than your tile.  That way it sits on the surface of the tile rather than trying to wrapping over the edges.  Cut out the squares.
  4. Take Modge Podge and brush a thick layer over the tiles.  Put your cut out scrapbook squares on the wet Modge Podge.  Let that sit for just a few seconds to adhere and then brush a thick layer of Modge Podge over the top of your scrapbook paper.  Be sure to let the Modge Podge dry really well.  You can put a second coat on if you like, or you can just do the one.  I did 2 layers myself.
  5. Once your desired number of layers is dry, spray a layer of clear coat over the tiles to seal them.  If you already have a clear coat that you have to paint on, that’s fine too.  I spray my tiles with 2 layers.
  6. Really, really, really let everything dry before you put the backs on.  Then, cut some felt or cork to the same size as the scrapbook squares on the top of the tile.  Glue them to the back of the tile and let the glue dry.  Once everything is all nice and dry, you can tie a pretty ribbon around the set you’re giving.  Then, you end up with this:

The other project that I finished was a little complicated.  Basically, I’m making my niece (her nickname is Ladybug, Bug for short) a dress up box.  Because she grows SO quickly, I’m trying to avoid making her actual clothes.  So, I’m making stuff like fairy wings, tutu’s, masks, etc.  One day I was in my local Hobbycraft with my very patient husband (I could spend all day in craft stores), and we came across some red and black spotty fabric, and I immediately had to have it because of my niece’s nickname.  I told my husband, “I have no idea what I’m going to do with this, but I have to have it.”  He turns to me and said,”Make Bug ladybug wings, then she can live up to her nickname.”  Genius!

So I set about trying to make ladybug wings.  I used a fair amount of items, but you wouldn’t have to.  There was obviously the spotty fabric and wire for the wing frame, but I also made a second, sheer under layer out of black tights.  I also used paint and little black stones to decorate them, and I used a large, fake, red gerbera to hide the back strap.  You may not want to.

I had an idea of what I wanted to do.  I couldn’t really find any tutorials anywhere that really fit what I needed, so I just ended up searching images of ladybug wings and sketching up my ideas.  The biggest things was that the wings have to be able to fold down to fit in my suitcase for when we go visit in the spring.  So it ended up being a bit trial and error.  I also had to deal with wire snagging on tights and having to redo the sheer layer of wings because of it.

In the end, though, I LOVE what I came up with, and I can’t wait till my niece sees them.  And the best part: my niece has got a fantabulous dress up piece for £5!!  That’s all they cost me!  And I got this:

Well, I’m off to work on some unexpected baby blankets, before I start on fairy wings and tutu’s for the dress up kit.  Please feel free to leave me any comments or criticisms on any projects I do.  I’m happy to get the feedback, and when crafters leave ideas you can end up with a much better item.

I’ll try to have some more projects up, much sooner than it took to get these up.

Happy crafting everyone!

S xx

Ongoing Projects

Hiya!

So I am lame and haven’t posted in awhile.  That’s because I am waiting to get supplies for a couple of project that I’m working on.  Once I get those, I should post a fair few projects in pretty quick succession.  That said, I’ll also be starting a new job soon, so my crafting may be limited to just the weekend soon, as I’ll be commuting to London everyday.

The good part about having a commute, though, is having time to work on ongoing projects.  Portable ones, of course, which means crocheting, knitting, cross stitch, etc.

I always have ongoing projects, because I am a terrible finisher.  I get bored with projects that are too long and they get set aside and never finished.  Ask my parents.  There must be a trillion of my projects/ supplies for unfinished projects sitting around their house.  Although, I don’t think my mom minded inheriting all those craft supplies when I moved to the UK…  That’s another discussion.

Right now, I have 4 ongoing projects.  3 blankets and some film scanning.  The blankets are all knit.  I’ve never done all knit blankets before.  Until about 2-3 years ago, I was a crocheter.  I had known how to knit, but crocheting was so much faster.  But then I started realising that knitting can have such a great texture and finish about it, and can look so much more sophisticated than crocheting.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love crocheting but I do quite like knitting now, even if I’m not nearly as fast.

Blanket A – This one is for my cousin who just had a beautiful baby girl.  It’s actually made up of hexagons.  I’m going to piece them together and knit a border around the edge in a round.  There will be a colour pattern as well as a really subtle texture pattern.  I’m using white and a soft lime green, and and there will be a little pink flower and letter A (the baby’s name begins with A) as an accent.  I really think it’s going to be gorgeous (or that’s what I’m hoping anyway).

Blanket B – This is for my cousin in law, who has also just had a baby, but a baby boy.  He’s the first boy in his generation, so he is a little bit special.  His mom asked for me to use white and light grey for the colours, as they didn’t know what they were going to have.  Then, he decided to show up early!  I’ve been thinking about add a little bit of a light blue accent, maybe just a letter H (the first letter of his name) or a full monogram.  His mom likes really elegant, sophisticated looks, so I’m thinking the monogram may win.  I am doing an open, lace knit in white for the main centre of the blanket, and working a section of entrelac , in a round, in white and light grey around the edge of that, followed by a plain border, also in the round.  I think this blanket has a lot of potential to be beautiful, but it has a lot of stitches and techniques that I’ve never used.  There could be bumps along the way.

Blanket C – For my cousin’s little girl, L.  She was born literally days before I moved to the UK, and about 6-8 weeks early.  Thankfully, she was perfectly healthy, but because I was doing a strenuous post-grad course, I never got to finish her baby blanket.  She’s now a little over 2.  And now that I have time,  I am making her blanket.  I’m using bright, basic colours because I want it to be really fun and nice for a 2 year old.  I am going to use knitted mitre squares in various sizes.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep all the squares one colour or mix them up.  I might do a bit of both.

The film scanning isn’t so portable but my husband is going to help me with those, if needs be.  Basically, about 10 years ago, I was helping my Aunt R clear some things out my grandparents’s house.  We came across some old 120, 35 mm, and other negatives of my father’s generation (my aunts and uncles) from when they were all wee, back in the 50’s and 60’s. My aunt wanted to just bin them (WHAT?!?!).  Being into photography, I saw what a massive potential there was to keep alive family memories – getting them re-developed, etc.  So I kept them.  When I went to university, I realised that I could get them scanned and turned into digital photos as well.  But there’s over 500 negatives.  It would cost too much to have a photo place do, so I would have to get a scanner myself.  I kind of wanted one anyway, as I have loads of my old film that I wanted to scan.  But scanners are expensive.  Lately, I’ve been feeling like this is a project that I need to get done.  My grandparents are in their 80’s, and so is my great-aunt.  I want them to be able to see what I’ve done.  As none of them are in the best of health, I need to get this done.  I just happen to have an amazing husband, who understands when I hold things close to my heart, like this project.  He bought me a film scanner as an early birthday present (5 months early).  This is the one project that I absolutely need to get done before this trip in May.  I’d like to get all the photos edited before then, cleaning up scratches, smudges, etc, but as long as they’re scanned, that’s the most important thing.  I just want to be able to show my family that I’ve taken old memories and I’ve been able to make them last for future generations to come.

The scanning, I have to get done.  The blankets, I have to get done by May because they’ll be to heavy to ship.  Plus, all my nieces Christmas presents if I can.  Her presents will be quite small but will take time to make.  I’m essentially making her a dress up box.  But her stuff is light.  If I have to ship it.  Oh well.  My nephew, well I have no idea what to make him.  He’s nearly a teenager, and that means presents are going to start getting tricky.  I’ve got a couple of ideas but I’ll need to speak to my brother first.

That’s all for me now.  I’ll try and get a project posted soon.

Byeeee

Hand-Stitched Thank You Cards

My thank you cards this year.

My cards were inspired by the hand-stitched cards done by Leigh-Ann over at the Freckled Nest.  If you’re interested in them, go here.  They’re fab!!

So, anywho, I was all set to start working with polymer clay (my new ‘thing’), and I realised that I actually have one project that I need to do first: thank you cards.  I was terrible at doing them when I was a kid (I apologise to any of my family that may be reading this), but as I have been getting more presents from people who are not my family and are less likely to forgive my poor manners, I’ve realised that I need to do them more.  That said, yes, I do have a stash of cards to send out when needed, but using them does seem to defeat the point of this hand-crafted year a bit.  Especially, when I have all the things to make cards and don’t actually need to buy any of it.

So, my cards.  Here’s everything I used:

  • Card stock to make the card- I already had blank cards, so I’ve used them
  • Needle
  • Embroidery floss – I don’t have any at the minute, so I just used 2 long lengths of thread doubled up to make it 4 strong
  • Scrap paper
  • Pencil
  • Tack or piercing tool
  • Scrap card stock to make the card pretty
  • Glue – I like spray adhesive or glue sticks
  • Scrapbooking scissors (completely optional)

Personally, I like layered cards.  So, I decided to stitch on bits of card and layer them on top of other card.  I figured that it would keep the inside of the card looking neat and hide the fact that I’m not the best seamstress in the world.  Unlike Leigh-Ann over at Freckled Nest, I think my handwriting is horrible!  I always avoid using it.  Plus, I think that you can have a lot of fun with fonts.

1.  I sketched what I wanted my cards to look like.  If there’s a font you really like online or on your computer, you could just print what you want it to say.  Here’s mine:

2.  Then, cut out around your saying, quite close to it.  That way you have a better view for placement.

3.  When you’ve decided where you’re putting your saying on your card, poke holes in the key bits of the word.  For instance, on my font, I’ve poked it in all the corners and the key bits of the curves.  I wanted a little room to play with how long to make my stitches, etc, so I didn’t do any more than that.

4.  Once you’ve poked all the holes you want, thread your needle and start stitching.  Like I said, I don’t have any embroidery floss at the minute.  My cross-stitching supplies are at my parents’ house in a little town in Illinois.  So, I quadrupled my sewing thread instead of going to buy some.  I’ve used a back-stitch, but, if you’d rather use something else, go for it.  Stitch all the way around your saying until you have something like this:

5.  Find some more card that contrasts or compliments your stitched theme, and glue it to the back.  You may want to cut around the edge of your scrap with scrapbooking or decorative scissors first.  I was going to, but then I changed my mind.

Normally, I’d use spray adhesive because you can re-position things as you need to without much hassle.  Today, I’m using glue sticks as my spray adhesive has gone walkabout.

You can layer up as many different colours of card as you like.  Just remember that It will add to the overall thickness and weight of your card.  If you’re sending your card partway around the world (as I am), remember, lighter is better/ less expensive (which is better).

6.  When you’ve layered all you’re going to layer, glue your bits to the front of your card where you want them to go.  Now, I’ll admit, I’m very much an in-the-centre kind of a girl with handmade cards.  I’m trying to change that a bit with these cards.

I have to make 5 of these, so they’ll take a bit of time, but I’ll post what they look like when they’re done.  I’m also going to put some heavy books on them while they dry.  The post office can be pretty rough on mail sometimes, and I didn’t want the glue to shake loose.

Stay tuned for my next venture: polymer clay caning.  I’ve never done it before.  I’m waiting on an acrylic roller from the craft store, so it may be a few days before I can start.  I may try to work on some existing projects that I have going.  I’ll let you know.

Update: Here are my cards!  The ones on the left I kept a bit plain, but with lots of colour.  The ones on the right are the ones that I experimented on with embroidery techiniques, like french knots for polka dots, making stripes, etc.  I think my favourite is the brown one with the green vines.  I really like how these turned out.  Now I just have to write them and send them off.

Toodles!  Happy Crafting!

S xx

 

Hello world!

Hmmm, I guess it’s best to tell you who I am first.  Who am I?

I am an avid crafter and creator.  I knit, I crochet.  I am photographer.  I sew and cross stitch.  I design furniture and houses.  I love making jewellery and working with beads.  I carry the proud scars from working with hot molten glass and blowing it into glass and other shapes.  Scrapbooking is my way of honouring cherished memories.  I have dabbled in painting, stain glass, clay and basket weaving.  I am an adventurous baker and cook.  I have been all of these my whole life.  I’ve grown up in it.

My father was a builder for a large portion of his life, who was constantly creating new furniture, designing houses, and fixing things around the house.  He taught me how to use most tools by the time I was 10.  That, in turn, taught me how to spot the potential beauty in useful items that most people consider grubby or dirty, or maybe wouldn’t even consider at all.  He was always someone that I could go to when I couldn’t quite figure out how to make a design work.  He wouldn’t always work it out for me, but he would help me understand the materials I was working with and, many times, the design I was trying to complete.  He is largely  the reason I can intertwine industrial elements with traditional crafts and make them beautiful.

My mother was a hobby crafter.  She taught me how to sew, bake and cook.  More importantly, she and my father always allowed me to create things.  Any time I wanted to try something new, I knew that all I needed was to ask.  She encourage every creative inkling I ever had.  She helped me see all the potential things I could do.  It was why I branched into jewellery and cross stitch, scrapbooking and basket weaving.  What’s more she encouraged me to mix the mediums that I learned to create beautiful, mixed media pieces.  She has often, and continues to be, my muse.

My maternal grandmother is potentially the rock of my creative soul.  She and I may not be as close as I would like at times, but it was the crafts that she taught me that continue to be the ones that I consider home.  They are knitting and crocheting, and they are what I do when I feel lost or like I need to make something to get my creative juices flowing.  They are the ones that I use most often.  I make blankets, scarves, hats, and bags.  But she herself is a very creative woman.  She does some bead work that I could only ream of being accomplished enough of doing, and she is also a reason why I branched into bead work.  My grandmother has also encouraged every creative endeavor.  I once made her a Christmas present at school, as most children do.  It was a styrofoam ball that was covered in multi-coloured glitter and had a ribbon loop to hang it from something.  Looking back on it, it was probably the simplest, and possibly the messiest looking, gift I could have given her.  Yet that Christmas ornament hangs from a shelf in her kitchen that everyone can see as they walk in, and has hung there every day since I gave it to her when I was 5 or 6

My brothers are creative buffs themselves.  Both have picked up carpentry skills from my father.  Both were always very good at drawing and sketching, and probably have more skill in their pinkies than I can ever achieve.  My oldest brother has also become something of a decorating buff in his old age (not really, he’s only 40, but I do like to get a good dig in – he called me old at 25!).  My oldest brother has also done everything that he can to encourage my niece and nephew to follow their creative desires – painting, drawing, etc.
I am surrounded by creativity and always have been.  It is and will always be the heart and soul of who I am.

That is why I am taking the next year to do a project.  You see, I was married a little over six months ago.  My husband and I have agreed that this is a time in our life that we want to enjoy each other for a little while, so we are going to wait to have children.  We are also hoping to buy a house and, in general, save money.  Therefore, for the next year, I want to make every gift that I give this year, including the Christmas cards I send out and all the Christmas gifts I give in 2012.  Some gifts will be more homemade than others, like knitting full blankets versus painting some clay pots and buying some seeds to give as a kit to an avid gardener, but like the title says, it’s the thought that counts

I also want to use this year as an opportunity to explore those crafts that I have been putting off because they seem difficult.  After all crafting and mixed media art are like any sport or other hobby that you need to practice and teach yourself new things.  The more you do, the faster and more creative you can be. The first of my new endeavors is going to be working with polymer clay and caning.  Some of my other potential gifts this year may include:

Knitted blankets (at least 3,  I have to make 2 baby blankets and a toddler’s blanket)
Aprons
Bath and body items
Gardening gifts
Storage items

I want this blog to be a record of all of my trials, attempts, and, hopefully, successes.  I will try to include pictures where I can.  For the simpler projects, I’ll try to include the instructions.  For the more complicated ones, I’ll see if there’s any interest before I bore you with the step-by-step.   Maybe, hopefully, you might be inspired by my creations and decide to craft your way through the year.