Thursday, November 21st, 2013

OMG Canva (for making simple graphics) is Awesome!

Designing with canva OMG Canva (for making simple graphics) is Awesome!

Get started with the new app Canva for designing cool images online for print and web

I signed up to be told when Canva launched about an age ago. Of course, by the time the invite came out I’d forgotten all about it. However, when reminded I clicked the big purple button and signed up and signed in.

The program is totally awesome. You choose the type of design you want to make – such as blog graphic, facebook cover, card, collage or you can create a custom size design. Then you get to choose a layout and the elements to use in it. Many of the things you will use are free and others are $1 which you only pay when you’re happy with the design and ready to publish it. You can also upload your own images as I did with the background here – but the text objects are all built in and they are really good looking and very easy to customize.

canva2 OMG Canva (for making simple graphics) is Awesome!

Canva’s designers have made a handy getting started guide and some mini challenges you can take which get you familiar with the program. It’s all run in a browser and its very fast, the designs are great and it is fun and easy.

What’s not to like about it? Well only one thing – the web images are downloaded as png and really, on the web, I still prefer to use jpg so they are 100% compatible with all browsers. So I’ve been opening the designs in a photo editor and resaving them as jpegs. It’s no biggie but it would be nice if the download was in this format.

Right now Canva is by invitation only. BUT – I have 4 invites left for friends. If you want to be my friend – email me at helen@helenbradley.com and I’ll send you one of my 4 remaining invites. However, when they are gone – they are gone!

 

 

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Recycled Clothing Tag Project continues

recycled clothing tags with images Recycled Clothing Tag Project continues

Take a look at the tags you pull off your new clothes – they’re full of creative goodness

For a while now a friend has been saving all their clothing tags for me and I, of course, save all those from our house. I also save tags from jars of stuff and other things we buy. I have a wonderful collection needless to say.

I’ve been using these tags in my crafts and, in particular, in my blog post series on recycling clothing price tags. In that series I’ve been doing everything from re-purposing them into woven earrings to painting them with chalkboard paint and a whole lot more.

Some tags, however, haven’t yet found their ideal home, so I wanted to share them with you today so you can see them in all their glory.

recycled clothing tags with images 2 Recycled Clothing Tag Project continues

Why not take a look at the tags you pull off your clothes and the other things you buy. Each of them is  potentially a tag for a scrapbook page, a card embellishment, an earring or whatever you dream up to use it for. And, by giving it a new life, you’ll be buying less ‘stuff’, keeping old tags out of landfill and making the world a better place. All that by saving one little tag!

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Recycled clothing tag earrings with acetate images

recycled clothing tags earrings with acetate black 12 Recycled clothing tag earrings with acetate images

Create earrings with hand drawn images printed on acetate and recycled clothing tags

I’ve been on a bit of a kick using recycled clothing tags for all sorts of things. Today they are being used for earrings. I started out by painting the tags in black and then I printed some of my hand drawn house images onto acetate to use to decorate them. I use a laser printer and overhead transparencies to make my images but you can use an inkjet printer and inkjet transparencies if that’s what you have.

I flipped the acetate over and painted the houses on the back. This ensures that the outlines are on the front over the top of the paint.

Once the acetate was dry I placed it over the tags (paint side towards the tag), and punched the same hole in the acetate as I did in the tag. Then I added an eyelet to each tag. I used red to match the roofs of the houses. Once that was done I cut the acetate to match the size of the tag so it is neat all around.
recycled clothing tags earrings with acetate black 11 Recycled clothing tag earrings with acetate images

To finish off the project add a jump ring to each and an earring wire. I happened to have some left from another project that had been partially painted red – again they worked great for this project.

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Flying house

how to draw a flying house Flying house

Give a house wings and make it fly

I’ve been captivated by drawing houses lately and one of my favorite designs shows a tall house with one set of small windows and a door. I’ve done quite a few things with this design including making it into fabric at Spoonflower and making a pillow from it. I also used the design for a set of recycled earrings.

Today I gave it wings and made it fly! I uses some Zentangle style artwork on the mountains below the house, some of the trees I have drawn before and which I give away as brushes for Photoshop and added some fun clouds and a streamer of bunting fluttering below.

Right now I am ok with the basic look but I think the house will look better tilted slightly to suggest movement.  The wings I spent a bit of time researching to make sure I got the feel of how they should look. Everything was done in pencil to begin then inked and the pencil erased.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, November 4th, 2013

How to draw a house on stilts

how to draw a house on stilts How to draw a house on stilts

See, step by step, how to draw a house on stilts

 

To draw a house on stilts it is best to start with a reference image and a grid. Using a grid ensures that the elements of the house will be upright so it doesn’t look like it is falling over – very important for tall buildings!

Pencil in the rough outline of the building from your reference drawing and using the grid as a guide. Don’t hesitate to use a ruler (or the edge of a business card!) to make the lines perfectly straight. If you’re penciling in the details perfection is great at this stage.

Then, when you are done, go over the design in ink and this time don’t use the ruler. The lines will get a nice handdrawn look but the basic structure will be sound and not crooked. Once the ink is dry go ahead and erase the lines.

 

 

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 41 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Part 4 in a series on folding and cutting out paper flowers – today – the very tricky 7 petal flower

Today is the final part of this series on folding and cutting paper flowers. In previous posts we’ve looked at 5 petal flowers, 6 petal flowers and 8 petal flowers.  Today it is the 7 petal flower. This isn’t easy – in fact until you know how to do it, it is downright hard. I searched a lot online for a pattern and ended up making my own. However, this was based on work I found on the web which you can find in the resources below. I used the basic math that would divide a shape into 7 equal pieces but I found I still had problems folding it reliably and without making measurements.

I finally came up with this folding pattern which includes a check half way through the process so that you know if it is working or not and so you can undo it and try again if it isn’t. This is a good idea as the folds are so small that you can lose track of them quickly.

If you have trouble with it, try it with a sheet of regular copy paper before using a heavier paper, that might help. And, make it with a bigger sheet of paper – small shapes are harder to fold.

Start with a square of paper. Fold in half as shown.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 31 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

And then in half again. Make sure the fold is well creased.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 32 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Open out the last fold and fold the paper in half the other way.  Make sure the fold is well creased.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 33 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Open up the last fold.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 34 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Now, with the fold at the bottom closest to you, take the bottom right corner and fold at the middle crease. It is important to get this fold in the right position. Press flat with a bone folder.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 35 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Flip the entire piece over and then fold the back of the project in half. This gives you a guide for the remainder of the folding. Each of these two pieces you just folded now get folded in three.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 36 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

So, open up that last fold so you are back at this step.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 35 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Now, use the fold that you have here as a guide, accordian (concertina) fold the piece over twice more so you have a stack of folds and the piece looks like this.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 37 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower
This is a half way point. If you don’t have the right number of folds, stop, undo it and start over.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 38 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Flip it all over and do the same with the rest of the piece – two more concertina folds using the already folded pieces as a guide to how big to make the folds.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 39 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

When you are done, mark the half petal shape over one of the folded edges.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 40 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Cut out the petal and unfold to a 7 petal flower.

fold and cut 7 petal paper flower 41 Fold and cut a 7 petal flower

Of course, a 14 petal flower is now easy to make – just draw the petal in the middle of the shape – instead of over a folded edge and cut – and you have a 14 petal flower.

So, now you know how to fold and cut 5, 6, 7 and 8 petal paper flowers the question is – what will you do with them?

It’s time to get out your favourite markers and get coloring. When you cut these flowers from brown paper bags there is plenty of room for some creative coloring before assembling the flowers.

Resources:

Steven Dutch 7 pointed star approximate construction

Foldings and cuttings from the square and circle

 

 

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Fold and cut an 8 petal flower

fold and cut 8 petal paper flower 29 Fold and cut an 8 petal flower

Part 3 in a series on folding and cutting paper flowers – without diecut machines or any tools beyond paper, pen and scissors

In previous installments of this series I have shown you how to fold and cut a 5 petal (or 10) petal flower and how to fold and cut a 6 (or 12) petal one. Today it is time for an 8 petal flower. This one is ridiculously simple.

Start with a square of paper and fold it in half along the diagonal.

fold and cut 8 petal paper flower 24 Fold and cut an 8 petal flower

 

Then fold the paper in half again so you have a small triangle.

fold and cut 8 petal paper flower 25 Fold and cut an 8 petal flower

 

Turn the shape around so the long edge is at the top. One side will have a single fold on it and the other will have two folds. Find the one with two folds and fold the topmost flap across the shape.

fold and cut 8 petal paper flower 26 Fold and cut an 8 petal flower

Flip the shape over and fold the other flap the same way. You should now have a very small triangle.

fold and cut 8 petal paper flower 27 Fold and cut an 8 petal flower

Rotate your triangle so that the right angle is at the top and draw a petal across the middle of the shape.

fold and cut 8 petal paper flower 28 Fold and cut an 8 petal flower

Cut out the petal and voila! an 8 petal flower.

fold and cut 8 petal paper flower 29 Fold and cut an 8 petal flower

 

 

 

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Fold and cut a 6 petal flower

fold and cut 6 petal paper flower 231 Fold and cut a 6 petal flower

Part 2 in a series on folding and cutting paper flowers

In the previous installment of this series I showed you how to fold and cut a 5 petal (or 10 petal) flower. Today we’ll look at a 6 petal flower which can be extended to make a 12 petal flower.

This fold is a tiny bit tricky because you have to fold it in 3 but it is doable and, in keeping with the theme of this series, it needs nothing more than paper and scissors – you don’t have to measure anything or use any fancy equipment – that’s the way I wanted these flowers to work – inexpensive and smart.

Start with a square of paper and fold in half diagonally.

fold and cut 6 petal paper flower 181 Fold and cut a 6 petal flower

Fold in half again along the long edge – this time don’t actually finish the fold – all you want to do is to pinch the halfway point on the long edge. So you want a small crease but just on the edge – this is the pivot point that you will be folding around in the next step.

Now, this is tricky – well just a bit tricky. With the long edge closest to you, take the right point towards the left and the left point towards the right to make a sort of funnel shape. I found it easiest if I pulled the  corners tight so they nestled in close to the shape – once everything looks good, press the folds. This is how you fold something into 3 equal pieces!

fold and cut 6 petal paper flower 191 Fold and cut a 6 petal flower

If you don’t get it right, open it up and try again. It took me a couple of goes to really get a feel for pulling the corners to make the shape and really get it nice and neat and firm. Since then it is all really easy.

Now draw the petal shape across the middle of your folded piece. You can also fold in half once more and draw the petal along the fold if you want it to be symmetrical.

fold and cut 6 petal paper flower 201 Fold and cut a 6 petal flower

 

Then cut and unfold your 6 petal paper flower.

fold and cut 6 petal paper flower 211 Fold and cut a 6 petal flower

To make a 12 petal flower, fold the shape in half and draw your petal in the middle and then cut out. If you fold in half and draw half a petal over the fold you get a 6 petal flower – it’s all about the choices you make!

fold and cut 6 petal paper flower 221 Fold and cut a 6 petal flower

Here are a range of 6 and 12 petal flowers. Vary the shape of the petals if you wish to get different types of flowers. These are some that I cut from a single printed brown paper bag – some show the front of the bag and some the inside.

 

fold and cut 6 petal paper flower 231 Fold and cut a 6 petal flower

 

A star is just a variation on a petal so, if you can fold and cut a flower  you can fold and cut a star!

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Union Jack embroidered pouch

union jack embroidered pouch 1 Union Jack embroidered pouch

More Union Jack goodness – this time an embroidered pouch

I’ve been thinking all things Union Jack lately and in my research I found a wonderful pouch from my favourite store – Accessorize. It was from their catalog over a year ago so you’d never get one new. However, I was only looking for ideas so I decided to make my own knock off. Here’s the original design:

accessorize union jack embroidered pouch Union Jack embroidered pouch

I used a burlap pouch from Target. They had these in the $1 area about a year ago. I bought a lot of them – but it turns out too few of them because they are awesome. And of course, you can’t get them any more! I did a post here on making your own if you need to make one to use.

I managed to find one that hadn’t been used so I had a good starting point. What I gleaned from the Accessorize pouch was the idea of using different fabrics for the ‘blue’ in the flag. I had some great 3″ squares I had purchased from Etsy which gave me plenty of good fabrics to use. A search of my ribbon stash turned up a yummy pink velvet ribbon and some pink satin ribbon.

I also planned to use some beads or something dimensional – I ended up using some faux pearls that I bought years ago – they are permanently fixed to the string base so they are easy to sew on – I’ve used them here and there for projects and I’ll be sad when they finally run out – right now there is still a few feet of them to go.

Like the previous Union Jack project I made a template by measuring around the burlap pouch and then I drew the flag onto the shape allowing around an extra 1/8 inch just to be sure it all fit. I cut the fabric to the exact size – no seam allowance as I didn’t plan to turn under the edges – rather just sew it roughly to the pouch. What I did do was to use an iron on fabric adhesive which is a filament with glue both sides. It is great for applique and fixes everything in place while you sew and also ensures that the piece will be a bit more resilient in use.

I ironed on the fabric pieces and sewed around each of them. I then added the ribbon pieces and sewed them in place. I finished off with the pearls.

The final result is a bit shabby chic – way more so than the original – but since it is built on a burlap base it seems to work.

union jack embroidered pouch 2 Union Jack embroidered pouch

 

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Union Jack Felt Hoop

union jack felt embroidery frame Union Jack Felt Hoop

Create a Union Jack Felt Hanging

I’ve been on a bit of a Union Jack craze lately. Not sure why but the flag has been on my mind and on my worktable. Today it is rendered as a felt wall hanging made inside an embroidery hoop.

Because the flag is a rectangle and the hoop a circle some design decisions had to be made. I decided to place the flag off center and have it fill the hoop. I started out drawing the circle on paper and then I drew the flag inside it to get the dimensions.

Once this is done I traced the shapes I need. I like to design this way – starting with pencil and paper and then using tracing paper to trace the design and create the pattern pieces. I made the pattern pieces wider and longer than they needed to be so they would tuck neatly into the hoop along with the backing fabric.

I assembled everything on blue felt so part of the flag itself is the background fabric. This left me with the red and white pieces to cut out – again these are wool felt. Once I had the pieces cut out, I used a fabric glue stick to adhere the felt pieces so they would hold still while being sewn in place. I still don’t have the glue thing down pat  - I’m using a fabric glue stick but the results on felt aren’t great – I think that glue is a “work in progress” right now – not convinced that I have the right tool here.

I sewed the pieces using a fine nylon filament thread which is clear so it doesn’t show. I made very tiny stitches around all the pieces to sew them in place. One thing about using nylon is that you can’t iron it later on so, while it works on felt, I wouldn’t use it to sew anything needing ironing!

To assemble everything I undid the frame completely. You’ll need to unwind the screw so you can pull the frame far enough apart that you an get all the thicknesses of the felt into the hoop. Then tighten the screw at the same time making sure that the fabric is nicely stretched – it doesn’t have to be really tight but it does need to look flat and not bunched up.

Then decide how to hang it – my preference is for a loop of ribbon or felt through the screw fitting and hang it from that.

This was assembled in a small hoop – but you can make it as big or as small as you like.

This project would also look great done in pastel colors – like a dusty pink and blue. Remember that you don’t have to go with traditional colors – the design itself is so recognizable that it will work in practically any color combo.