Friday, July 4th, 2014

How to Draw a Hedgehog in 6 Easy Steps

hedgehog 6steps How to Draw a Hedgehog in 6 Easy Steps

Learn how to draw a cute hedgehog

Today’s how to draw step by step project is a cute hedgehog. This is one of my all time favourite projects and this little guy has even appeared in a magazine! Yep – I made him as a needle punch project and he looks so damned cute.

This how to is really simple and the results are so much fun. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Fun with Line Design drawing

colors Fun with Line Design drawing

Tip o’ the nib to Mr E and his line design project

A while ago I saw some line design drawings on Pinterest. I didn’t make a note of where I found them and, to my chagrin, that haunted me! I spent a lot of time trawling doodle boards trying to find the design. In time, thankfully I found it and more research took me to the wonderful Mr E! His website – is a treasure trove of art ideas for teachers. But it is his line design which is all over Pinterest having been picked up by a lot of pinners.

So, above is my second line design – it took a second go to really do it the way I wanted it to look. First one I colored with Prismacolor markers but this one is colored with Prismacolor pencils. These pencils are wonderfully waxy so they blend like a dream and the results are wonderful.

The entire exercise is very zen. There is a rhythm to it and it is very relaxing and fun to do. If you are interested – click the link above to go direct to the detailed instructions for making your own Mr E style Line design drawing.

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

How to paint cards with dimension and color

paint with dimension how to egg opener and 10 How to paint cards with dimension and color

See how to paint with dimension with acrylic paints and dimensional paste

I love to paint cards and one Christmas I made painted cards for all my family. I’ve also made painted Valentines cards. If you haven’t painted since high school then there are some tricks that can help you get awesome results that you may not have learned.

I paint cards like these using acrylic paints – the kind you find in craft stores that cost $1 a bottle. I never use water – either to thin the paint or clean the brush. The brush is cleaned, if at all, using a dry paper towel.

If you want some dimension to the painting you can start with a layer of something. It might be paper glued to the surface or corrugated cardboard or some dimensional paste such as Liquitex Light Modeling paste.

Adding modeling paste as a surface treatment gives a foundation and some dimension to your piece. For a Valentine heart, I would make a heart shape, for Easter an egg or for a birthday a cake shape.

Then when everything is dry I’ll start painting. If I want a white/pink piece I’ll use a range of colors including blues, greens, pink, red, crimson, and white. I’ll add small bits of color to a palette – I use a Ranger craft sheet as it is easy to clean and you can add paints to it and mix them there.

paint with dimension how to egg 4 green How to paint cards with dimension and color

Then I dry brush color onto the piece, building up layers of color as I go. Each card might have 20 or more layers of color on it. Not all layers of paint fully cover the piece – they might just be a touch of color here or there. Don’t be afraid to use some dark colors even if you are doing a light piece – they just add dimension to it.

paint with dimension how to egg 6 green How to paint cards with dimension and color

You may want to set aside the piece to dry from time to time and then keep building up color. Because you are using a dry brush and no water the piece will dry pretty quickly. If you like, you can add some glaze medium to the colors so they spread more widely and so they don’t paint on so thickly. This also slows down drying so make allowances for that.

When I am done with the paint I like to completely dry the piece and then glaze it with a sepia tone glaze. This can be sepia/brown paint and glaze brushed over the piece and then wiped off. It will pool in the creases and around the edges of the raised elements making an attractive result.

I always paint on a piece larger than the finished card so it can be trimmed to shape. You can either adhere the painting to the front of a card or make a frame for it and place it behind the mini frame.

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Valentine Houses – hand drawn and inked design

valentine houses Valentine Houses   hand drawn and inked design

How to draw Valentine houses as a framed image

This is another in my houses collection. This time I drew the houses inside a hand drawn oval frame. The houses lean together so I decided to give it a Valentine theme with one of the houses blowing heart shaped smoke from its chimney. The design was hand drawn and then inked with a permanent marker. I’ve been adding stairs to my houses a bit lately to give real folks access to them – of course the stairs don’t actually line up at a door – you can’t have everything!

The color is courtesy of a Tombow marker for the outside of the frame and the bunting. The inside colors are Prismacolor two tip markers – I use a Deco Pink, Cool Gray and some sort of blue – not sure what. The Prismacolor markers are kind of cool as you can build up color with them so you don’t get a necessarily flat color but you can make it more dimensional as I have here.



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?



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

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

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

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament9 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

Learn to cut and sew a 3D 5 pointed star

This is a fun and easy project to make and with the Holiday season just around the corner is it a great time to make some of these stars. The stars are great made in wool felt as they have some substance and they will show as being nicely dimensional. You could also make them with fabric but I would starch and iron it or perhaps use something like Beacon’s Stiffen Stuff to make it nice and crisp.

You will need: paper, pencil, ruler, protractor or set square to make 60 degree angle, compass or large circular object, scissors, felt, needle and thread.

You can buy a protractor or set square at a stationary store or raid your kid’s math kit and borrow theirs. I bought an inexpensive kit on Amazon that has everything in it including a compass for drawing circles, a protractor for measuring angles and two set squares. It all packs into a small case and I use it a lot.

To begin draw a large circle. The outside of this is just a bit bigger than the finished star so, if you want a star about 3 inches across make your circle a little bit bigger – say 3.25 inches.

Draw a line across the circle exactly through the middle of the circle – this is the diameter. Now use the protractor or the set square to measure a 60 degree angle from the diameter on either side and draw two more lines across the circle so you divide it into six pieces.

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament1 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

Join up each of the points to the point that is 2 to its left and 2 to its right using a ruler. Then join up the lines inside the middle of the shape to end up with a drawn shape that looks like this:

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament2 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

Cut out the six pointed star shape out of one piece of felt – yep! I know, we’re making a 5 pointed star but you need to cut 6 points to make it dimensional – trust me!

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament3 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star


Before you remove the paper, crease the paper along the lines shown below and make one additional cut from between two points through to the middle of the star:


make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament4 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

Remove the paper and let’s work with it for now:

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament5 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

Fold it so that the two pieces either side of the cut are positioned on top of each other. As you do this, push the middle of the star outwards so it looks dimensional. You will see it now looks like a 5 pointed star – tape or glue the paper into this shape. You can do the same with the felt piece only you will just pin the felt.

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament6 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

Place the paper star on top of a second sheet of plain paper and draw around it to make a pattern for the 5 pointed star.

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament7 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

Cut out the 5 pointed star shape from a second piece of felt. This will be the backing for the star and it will hold the shape firmly in place.

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament8 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star

Pin the two star shapes together – the dimensional one and the flat one. I attached them together with blanket stitch but you can use whatever stitch you like. From here you can continue and decorate your star as you like.

make a 5 pointed dimensional felt star ornament9 Make a dimensional felt 5 pointed star
This overall concept of turning a 6 pointed flat star into a 5 pointed dimensional star can be used for other star shapes – you can turn a 5 pointed star into a dimensional 4 pointed star, or a 7 pointed star into a 6 pointed dimensional star. Enjoy!
Helen Bradley

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Step by step how to draw a rabbit

step by step how to draw a rabbit Step by step how to draw a rabbit

See how to draw a rabbit step by step – no erasing!

One demand I have of my step by step drawing series is that you never have to erase anything. You might want to draw these shapes in pencil and go over them in pen but I want you to be able to just pick up a pen too and draw one with that. I don’t want you to have to erase any lines so I design the step by steps so that isn’t the case.

I also want to make the rabbits cute – of course – and repeatable. Once you’ve drawn a few rabbits you should be able to do it anytime – quickly and easily. And give them personality – big ears or not? Cute whiskers and a fluffy tail? Your choice!ears

For this rabbit, start with the head – it’s basically just an egg on the side not quite drawn to completion. Add an eye and nose and then add the ears – the front most ear fills the gap you left in the head. Then the front legs and the back and finally the finishing touches – whiskers and tail.

Once you’re happy with your rabbit, you’ll be ready to draw him in other positions – I’ll have a post showing my rabbits coming up soon.
Helen Bradley