Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
Recently a lot of companies – I think Amazon included – are using scrunched up brown paper as a packing material. It comes perforated and it is about 15 inches wide and each ‘piece’ is 8.5 inches deep. I’ve been saving it up because it is nice clean brown paper and it flattens and folds up pretty neatly.
I put mine in a stack under some heavy books so it flattens out nicely.
With all the paper I had mounted up I was thinking about what to actually do with it. Then Hanukkah came around – at Hanukkah you give 8 small presents so it can chew up a lot of paper – and I had a lot of paper!
Shortly before Hanukkah I was shopping at our local supermarket and they had foam stamps in Hanukkah shapes – a menorah, star and so on. The light bulb went off. I bought the stamps – they were about $4 and dug out my Ranger Adirondack Denim ink pad – it’s a great blue ink – and Hanukkah colors are blue and white so everything was ready.
Now you could iron your paper if you want to but I left it as I had it stored. I smooth and flatten it and fold it up so it is still a bit scrunched but it looks cute. I lined up the paper on my desk and got to work. All it needed was some stamped images – I did 8 images per panel and did a whole bundle in around 5 minutes. The ink dries pretty much as you work so I just folded the paper up concertina style as I had finished each set of panels.
The paper holds up well for wrapping. The perforations don’t tear open if you’re careful – and because it is perforated you don’t really need scissors except for small gifts. Because it is kraft paper you could finish by using string around the parcels for a cute look. It’s simple, effective, inexpensive and a great recycling project.
I am already making paper for Christmas – this time I’m making stamps using some foam sheets I have and for birthdays – think cupcakes, streamers, balloons – it’s too easy!
Labels: adirondack denim ink, diy hannukkah, foam stamps, hanukkah, menorah, paper, perforated kraft packaing paper, star, tim holtz ink
Monday, December 17th, 2012
One of my favorite applications to use to draw images on the iPad is Sketch Club.
One of the cool things about Sketch Club is that it has layers and blend modes and a mix of brushes. Some work a little bit more like procedural drawing brushes such as its fur brush and it has a Smudge brush too.
Here I created this owl image basically using the brush tool with a range of the different brush types used at different sizes and opacities.
I used a mix of colors with low opacity brushes to get a somewhat Seurat impressionist image. That way the dot and texture brushes do most of the work for you.
The eyes and marks on the owl’s chest were also done with brushes this time with a medium size, light opacity angled brush – I used a reduced opacity so that some of the underlying texture would come through.
Over the top of everything I added some very low opacity brush strokes in contrasting colors to give the image some texture.
Of all the apps on my iPad, Sketch Club is one of those that I keep coming back to. It’s just extremely smart, extremely easy to use and flexible. I don’t like spending hours selecting colors and brushes when I really just want to get to work. Other applications have more sophisticated brush options but Sketch Club is a good tool for getting down to painting without a lot of fuss.
Labels: blend, brush, fur, impressionist, ipad, layers, mode, procedural drawing, Seurat, sketch club, sketchclub, smudge, texture
Friday, December 14th, 2012
Have fun tuning a recycled MiO container into a super cute felt house.
With this project I finally nailed the recycled MiO container felt house. Yeah!
Inside this felt house is a MiO container filled with sand to weight it very nicely.
This one took a bit of time to make – I pulled the roof off a few times and continued to rework the shape until I got what I wanted. What I wanted was to give the impression that an inverted flower cap or something similar was the roof of the house.
To make this you can download the free pattern here.
You will need colored felt for the house. I used grey, dark crimson, a cream for the house and little bits for the decorative elements. You should always use wool felt or a blend that includes wool as this stands up to a lot more punishment than the fake/polyester stuff.
Cut your house shape from one color felt – use this for the back, front, sides and base of the house. Cut out a door, windows, hearts for the flowers and the roof pieces. You’ll probably want the underside of the roof to be a different color than the roof itself – I used a dark crimson.
Start by sewing on the windows and door of the house. Sew a French knot for the doorknob and then embroider the flowers on the rear of the house using mini hearts as flowers and adding beads if desired.
The stems of the flowers are a backstitch and detached lazy daisy stitch.
Once you’ve got the front and back of the house embroidered and finished sew up the house around the MiO container. You can add some stuffing front and back so that the house becomes slightly rounded rather than the exact shape of the MiO container, if desired.
Sew the pieces for the roof together. The roof is four pieces with a twisted top shape. Then sew up the piece for the underside of the roof. I made mine from multiple small pieces of felt sewed together with blanket stitch to give a ribbed effect but you can do it any way you like. I’ve given you the pattern for the basic shape for the underneath of the roof – how you prep the fabric before cutting is up to you.
Sew the underneath of the roof to the top of the roof and then stuff the roof and make sure to stuff in under the area that’s going to be attached to the house. At this point I suggest that you pin the roof to the house to make sure that you’ve got enough stuffing so it sits above the house and so you to see as much of the underneath of the roof as you want to.
Then finish off with a small neat stitches to stitch the roof to the house.
I was really pleased with this house and the stability that a MiO container filled with sand gives to it. It’s also a cool way to recycle MiO containers because they’re just such a cute shape – just crying out for some mini felt house goodness!
Labels: beads, blanket stitch, container, embroidered, embroidery, fairy, felt, felt house, french knot, gnome, heart, lazy daisy, min house, mio, recycle, recycle mio container, small flowers, straight stitch, woodland, wool felt
Monday, December 10th, 2012
Turn felt into a cute house and recycle MiO containers at the same time!
This step-by-step tutorial with a downloadable pattern shows you how to make a felt house complete with chimney and chimney stack and embroidered flowers.
I have been playing with felt houses a lot lately and this mini house was designed initially to be based on a MiO container.
Unfortunately I learned a lesson about sizing patterns with this project and my pattern was too small so this is a standalone project. It’s weighted down with a small sealed bag of sand and stuffed with fiberfill.
The basics of the project that you’ll need are a pattern which I’ve created that you can download here free of charge. You’ll need some white or light colored felt, some dark gray, red felt, blue and crimson. You’ll also need some embroidery thread.
At this point I was using regular six strand embroidery thread although I now prefer to use DMC size five embroidery thread if you can get it.
Either way basically anything will do for the project. Start by cutting out the pieces. I recommend that you use wool felt as it holds up just so much better than the other kind.
Cut a front and back in your basic house color felt and cut one wrap piece and the base.
Cut a front door, heart and chimney pot from the crimson felt, some mini hearts from red felt and four windows from the blue felt.
Then go ahead and cut the dark gray felt for the roof.
Sew the door and two windows onto one of the pieces of house felt and add a doorknob with a French knot.
On the second piece which will be the back of the house sew on two windows and then embroider some small plants using the hearts as flowers. I added a couple of small beads to each of my flowers and the embroidery was done in backstitch with lazy daisy leaves.
When you’ve got the house shape done sew up the sides and base, add a bit of weight to the base of the house and then begin to stuff it with fiberfill.
Now get to work on the roof. The roof is four pieces of gray felt sewed together with the chimney attached last of all. Add the heart to the front of the roof before you attach the roof to the house.
Before attaching the roof to the house make sure that you finish stuffing the house and the roof because that’s the last time that you’ll get to add stuffing to the project.
Sew the two pieces of the chimney together, stuffing them as you go and add a small semi-circle chimney stack in crimson. This is the first of a series of houses.
You can make more using this pattern or branch out and use your own.
You can also look out for an upcoming blog when I finally get to make a pattern large enough to make a MiO container house.
Labels: beads, blanket stitch, embroidered, embroidery, fairy, felt, felt house, french knot, gnome, heart, lazy daisy, min house, mio, recycle mio container, small flowers, straight stitch, woodland, wool felt
Friday, December 7th, 2012
This piece in tan, sand, purple and red really was fun to do and I did quite a lot of experimenting with stitches here including a multicolored one.
Row 1: Coral stitch – this is a pretty simple stitch to do and the knots are pretty easy – as with anything in a contrasting color you need to get it spaced right or it is pretty obvious you didn’t!
The bead is held on by a series of long stitches and they are enhanced with a few rounds of weaving around the stitches.
Row 2 – Chevron Stitch – not to be confused with Herringbone Stitch, this one has bars top and bottom and the angled pieces come from these. It is a cute stitch and works pretty well around the circle here.
Row 3 – At the very edge is a row of Pekinese stitch which is basically a row of running stitch with a contrasting color of thread looped through it. Here is it a bit lost because of the colors I used but it is a nice stitch.
Between the rows 2 & 3 are lines of running stitch two of which are laced with a contrasting color thread.
Labels: chevron stitch, Coral stitch, dmc, embroider, embroidery, felt, Pekinese stitch, running stitch, stitches, stitching, wool, woven stitch
Friday, November 30th, 2012
Make these cute burlap tags to gift your handmade Christmas gifts
Around our neck of the woods, handmade is all in for this season. In the spirit of making handmade items and hand baked goods this holiday season I’ve been making tags by hand too. I lucked on a heap of burlap ribbon at Cost Plus. Some of it is seamed on the side with green or red and some – that I haven’t used yet – is made with burlap on one weave and a plastic on the other – all in all very cool stuff and it comes in 5 yard lengths so you get a lot of tags for that!
Burlap is great for embroidery because you can do cross stitch on it. So I hunted down a cross stitch alphabet, adapted it to my burlap so the letters would be tall and thinner rather than short and squat and got to work. So far Anna, Leah, Judy and Pua are in line for tags!
I added a small cross stitched element to each tag – some are getting trees, some reindeers and some holly.
Then I hunted out some things to fix them with. I found some old Making Memories Christmas ribbon and some soft red fiber. I also found some soft string that works too.
The tops of the tags are folded and fixed to a point with large eyelets – the type you get in the sewing aisle not the scrapbooking one. I made the holes for them and fixed them in place with my Crop-o-Dile – gotta love that tool it makes holes in just about anything and you can set really big eyelets without having to hammer anything.
Labels: alphabet, burlap, christmas tree, crop-o-dile, cross stitch, crossstitch, dmc, embroider, embroidery, eyelet, holly, patterns, reindeer, ribbon, setting
Saturday, November 24th, 2012
This is one of my favourite color combinations and stitches. The black and green grey are saved from being too dark and sombre by the pink and grey circles.
Row 1: This is a form of Open Cretan Stitch where, instead of the stitches being offset they are in the same line – you might almost call this an alternating blanket stitch were the stitch alternates from being on the inside to the outside.
The bead is held on with long stitches ended with french knots.
Row 2 – Closed Blanket Stitch – this stitch makes a nice triangle shape stitch and if you make them further apart than they should be then you get the sense of triangles separated from each other – sort of like bunting.
Row 3: Straight stitches alternating in length go around the edge of the shape. Because of the color contrast here you need to get this quite even or it doesn’t look so good.
Between rows 2 & 3 are some French Knots alternating between light and dark gray color.
Labels: closed blanket stitch, dmc, embroider, embroidery, felt, french knot, open cretan stitch, stitches, stitching, straight stitch, wool
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
For this set of circles I thought it time to develop my own stitch – this one is inspired by sheet music and teams french knots with straight stitches. The felt color scheme is a bit brash – purple, turquoise and grey and the thread is tan and grey – after doing this one I went out and bought some more threads so I would have some more color alternatives!
Row 1: Straight stitch done over the edge – another simple stitch but when you work it in contrasting colors you really have to get it right.
The bead is stitched with alternating long stitches of tan and grey each finished with a French Knot
Row 2: Blanket stitch worked with the edge over the edge of the piece.
Row 3: Herringbone Stitch – this works well around a circle and here I worked one edge along the fabric edge and one well inside it.
Between rows 2 & 3 are my music stitch – a series of straight stitches and french knots.
Labels: blanket stitch, dmc, embroider, embroidery, felt, French knot stitches, herringbone stitch, stitches, stitching, straight stitch, wool