Archive for December, 2013

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

The Circle of Life (and Crafts)

full circle The Circle of Life (and Crafts)


Celebrating a fellow crafter’s legacy

A friend of mine recently lost her mum. I had never met her mum but, after she died, her daughter offered me some of her craft supplies. I said a resounding “Yes” and, in time, was given a couple of big boxes of bits and bobs and four containers of thread that you can see above.

Now I am a sort of organized person. I know where most things are but I’m a bit of a “stuff it all in and close the drawer” kind of person. And my friend’s mum was not. She was seriously organized. The bins of DMC thread I was given were all boxed neatly, each thread was wound onto a paper bobbin, numbered and stored in bins in number order. The bins themselves were numbered too. Wow!

Well, I felt just a wee bit guilty about my DMC stash when I saw hers. So, I got out my paper bobbins and started winding, numbering and sorting. Seems as though my friend’s mum and I shared some color preferences and I now have multiple bobbins of some thread colors but there were others that I had and she didn’t and vice versa.

I’ve now added all my colors to her boxes and I still have a little bit of room to grow. I am staying organized too – when I finish with a color it gets put back into the right box in the right order.

It’s lovely to be able to pull out a color of thread and use it – I now have so many colors to choose from and some have her writing and some have mine. Her thread has found a new home and will be used and treasured as the legacy of one crafter to another.

I think that’s something worthy of being celebrated, don’t you?



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Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Recolor ClipArt for your crafting projects

how to edit and recolor clip art in ms word Recolor ClipArt for your crafting projects

When you find clip art that is cute but Oh! so wrong color-wise – here’s how to change its colors

I use clip art from time to time in my personal crafting. Clip art images are great for making cards and decorating other projects but often while the art is cute, the colors are all wrong.

Luckily if the art is in a format that you can break apart, and if you have access to Microsoft Word (which, by the way, has heaps of awesome clip art available for it), you can customize the art to suit your needs.

Over at my other blog, is a post on how to edit clip art to recolor it.

And, if you’re more of a visual person, here is a youtube video I made showing you how it is done.

Have fun!

Helen Bradley

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Friday, December 13th, 2013

Mini embroidery – sail boat

embroidered boat 1 1 Mini embroidery   sail boat

Simple shapes and mini embroidery hoops add up to a quick and fun project

I am a big fan of small embroidery hoops – they are inexpensive, cute, fun to use and they let you make a project in a short time. Don’t get me wrong – I love longer projects – it’s just sometimes I only have a short time. In fact I made this project in about an hour, while chatting on Skype with a friend in New York.

The embroidery hoop is an interesting one. It has a hook at the top but it is so small it doesn’t have a screw to hold it together – instead the outer rim is a bit elastic so it stretches over the inner ring. This might sound like it is insecure but I’ve found the fabric gets held tighter with this hoop than many of the screw to tighten ones. I got these faux wood ones and some colored plastic ones from an Etsy shop.

The base fabric is from another Etsy shop. I bought a few stacks of 3 inch square fabric pieces for using for small projects and this fabric was one of the pieces in that stash. Since the embroidery hoop is a tiny 2.5 inches – the fabric fits perfectly.

The sail boat is felt – I buy wool felt when I can. It’s more robust and it is natural – it’s made from sheep wool! This too is from Etsy – can you see that I love Etsy? The shop owners there catch onto trends more quickly that many bricks and mortar stores and, when you support them, you’re supporting small business not big business and I like that.

To make the boat, place the backing piece for the embroidery into the hoop so it is held securely. Cut the pieces from felt for the boat – here I used a complementary color scheme – colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. They provide a vibrance which works well for such a tiny project – if it is going to be noticed the shapes need to be simple and the colors need to attract your eye.

Here is a template you can use to trace and cut your felt pieces for the sail boat:

sailboat template e1384787637561 Mini embroidery   sail boat

Sew the shapes onto the backing fabric using a simple running stitch and a matching color thread.

Then, when you are done, flip it over and cut another piece of felt slightly smaller than the inside of the hoop – I used a spare hoop as a template to cut the circle but you could make a template and cut the backing felt before you begin.

Finish the back by sewing around the felt backing to cover up the uneven edges of the fabric and the stitches and make it all look neat. A mini project like this really calls out to be finished neatly. It might be small but it’s not like we should be cutting corners with it.

embroidered boat 1 2 Mini embroidery   sail boat

Helen Bradley

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Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Quick and Easy Burlap Bunting from Wired Ribbon

burlap bunting no sew no glue cut and go 1 Quick and Easy Burlap Bunting from Wired Ribbon

Bunting is simple to make and fun to decorate with so here’s my no sew, no glue version of it!

Whenever I am at Michaels, JoAnn or Beverly’s I always check out the discounted items. You can often find things that can be used in your craft projects at ridiculous prices.

Some time ago Making Memories rub-ons were being discounted to $3 a set. These used to retail at many times that price so I grabbed a heap of them and tucked them away.

More recently I happened upon some burlap wired ribbon. It is around 3″ wide, which is amazing, it is in a green that will work wonderfully for Christmas and it was quite a few yards marked down to $1. I grabbed it. There is so much potential in using burlap or jute ribbon if you think of it as a medium for embroidery as well as a heap of decorative uses.

However, the first thing that came to my mind was bunting. No sew, no glue, cut it and go bunting! The perfect lazy crafter’s solution to making bunting.

So, all I had to do was to make a paper template triangle for my bunting. It needs to be long enough to stretch nearly all the way across the ribbon. You will use the edges to hang the bunting so DON’T cut through it!

I put the template triangle down and used a pencil (or you can use a felt tip marker) to roughly mark the triangle. Move along and mark the next one starting where the last one ends. Continue along the ribbon – I wanted 15 triangles – enough to spell out Merry Christmas with one triangle for the space. I marked the back with a hunking big black felt tip marker – it didn’t show through the front so it was a quick and easy solution.

burlap bunting no sew no glue cut and go 3 Quick and Easy Burlap Bunting from Wired Ribbon

Before you cut – look at your ribbon from both sides – see! you have two pieces of bunting marked out – one attached to each side of the ribbon. Provided you are careful when you cut through your marked lines and if you don’t cut through the edge of the ribbon at any point you will end up with two pieces of bunting all ready to decorate and hang. You don’t have to sew it or glue it or anything. I did remove the wire from mine as I wanted mine to be a bit softer and to hang more organically but you can leave it in if you prefer.

To spell out the message I just added rub-on letters direct to the burlap – they stick wonderfully. If you don’t have rub-ons you can use sticker letters, you can write or paint them, or stamp them. I used rub-ons as I wanted a quick result and I didn’t want to have to clean up all those stamps! Call me lazy!
burlap bunting no sew no glue cut and go 2 Quick and Easy Burlap Bunting from Wired Ribbon

Helen Bradley

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