Friday, April 5th, 2013

DIY Finials with polymer clay and gingko clay molded shapes

finials clay oil paint molds 2 DIY Finials with polymer clay and gingko clay molded shapes

One cool thing about today’s crafts is that there are so many things to work with and so many great and inexpensive home decorative elements that you can embellish.

Here are some finials we made using polymer clay and molds. The wooden bases can be bought at any good hardware store – they are turned and unfinished with screw ends. They can be baked in the oven so they will take polymer clay as we did here.

These finials were covered with an ecru color clay mix – roll the polymer clay to around 1/4 inch thick and then cover the finial with it. Smooth it fairly evenly but then finish it off with some texturing – you can texture with anything that you have handy and which has a rough surface.

The gingko leaves are made from a mold. Choose a flattish type of mold and fill it with clay. Press the clay out of the mold and press to adhere to the finial. Repeat and place the molded shapes over the finials.

finials clay oil paint molds 1 DIY Finials with polymer clay and gingko clay molded shapes

When you are done, bake the finials in the oven following the clay manufacturer’s instructions. It is always a good idea to leave the pieces in the oven when done until they cool off. If you support the pieces with fiberfill in the oven they won’t get flat spots on them.

To age the pieces, paint with sepia colored oil paint. Cover with a light layer of the paint making sure to push the color into the texture surface and around the edges of the molds. Then clean off the paint with a soft cloth – leaving the paint in the creases and texture areas.

The molds used here are from Krafty Lady Art Molds.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

How to draw – a row house drawing exercise

beach houses row how to draw How to draw   a row house drawing exercise

Learn to draw row houses with this cute house drawing exercise

Here is a fun exercise for learning and practicing to draw houses and row houses. In this first example, above, is a series of beach bathing boxes like they have at some of the beaches in Australia such as Brighton Beach and Mornington Beach.

As with the example in my previous post, start with a line for the ground and then some little boxes. Pencil in the roof lines and then try for some variety in the decorations, doors and windows. Think of seaside things like striped paneling, life buoys, satellite dishes and large numbers. Pencil these in before going over everything with a pen.

I don’t usually color my pieces beyond some grey color applied using a Prismacolor pen. However in this case I scanned the drawing into a new document and opened it in Photoshop. I fixed the lines and then colored the background and the sand.

more cute row houses How to draw   a row house drawing exercise


Here is another set of houses, again little boxes with pointed roofs. I looked for some variety in roofs and even added a ladder, a shut up house and one with a Volkswagen in the carport.

If you want to see the earlier post with the step by step for creating the houses, here is what I drew and a link to the post.

row houses1 How to draw   a row house drawing exercise



Friday, March 29th, 2013

Free downloadable vintage Easter wonderfulness

Ok, it’s only two days away but I couldn’t pass by this wonderful Easter download.

Easter Printable by funkytime e1364580129122 Free downloadable vintage Easter wonderfulness

These are from and they are free and totally awesome. I plan to use the large rabbit – just so magical. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

How to Draw a Wind blown tree step by step

How to draw a tree step by step1 e1360794793755 How to Draw a Wind blown tree step by step

Learn to draw a leaning windblown tree – here’s how!

In a previous post I showed you how to draw a tree using a fractal method. In this post I’ll show you step by step how to draw a tree that leans.

For this tree you will start out with the lean so draw a line in the direction that the tree will lean. Then draw a couple of branches with the same lean and curve as the original trunk – just a little shorter.

Continue and add more branches – if you did two branches on the trunk in the last step, put two branches on each of the branches you did previously and make them just a little shorter each time.

In no time you’ll have a wonderful tree shape that you can then do something with – perhaps leave as it is for a winter look or add a few leaves for autumn or spring.

Drawing this way is fun and you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful tree by the end of the process.


Monday, March 25th, 2013

Free VW Bug Pattern download

vwbug template Free VW Bug Pattern download

Download a free VW bug crafting template

I’ve been drawing and crafting  a bit lately with VW bugs and along the way I created a great template to use for your bug inspired projects.

It has been filled where necessary so you can cut it from felt or make it in paper or clay.

Here is what it looks like, and click here to download your free pdf copy. BTW I love  tweets so if you’re so inclined, please tweet this link!

vwbug template1 Free VW Bug Pattern download

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

How to draw houses – step by step

row houses How to draw houses   step by step

Learn how to draw one house or a row of them, step by step

I love drawing houses but it took a fair bit of research and sketching until I found my style and then, I sometimes need to shake it up so I don’t repeat the basic shapes over and over.

If you’re starting out, as with anything worth learning, you will want to practice  until you find what you like to draw and find the styles that you like to use.

Here is a way to have fun drawing houses. It is a step by step approach and it starts with a line for the ground and some boxes on top. Use a nice soft pencil so it erases away at the end and press lightly. I like to use a 2B propelling pen – it’s hard to get leads for but it is awesome and never needs sharpening! I seldom erase anything but sometimes I have to draw over the lines a few time to get them right.

how to draw a set of row houses How to draw houses   step by step

Once the boxes are drawn I start drawing in the roof lines, windows and some other small details. You will want to have a few different shapes so experiment with them. Again, it is seldom necessary to erase lines and instead just draw those you want to use.

When that is done, start inking in the details. If I made a mistake in the pencil lines I’ll often correct these as I ink the shapes and not even redraw the line in pencil. I have a damaged .005 black pen which I use a lot and sometimes a .02 but seldom anything any wider. I use Sakura Pigma Micron markers and I really like them.

Finally, I thicken up the lines, in particular in the places where the lines join – I use a .005 for that.  Then I finish off with a Prismacolor marker in Cool Grey for the roofs and small details. If I scan the art then I remove the fill color by erasing it in Photoshop and then I color it digitally.



Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

How to draw a tree – step by step

How to draw a tree step by step e1360786550309 How to draw a tree   step by step

Step by step tutorial on how to draw a tree

I like using trees in my art but I struggle over them. That is until I found a way to draw fractal trees. I have a post on them on this blog which uses a downloadable tool to make them (see below for a link to this post).

But what if you want a hand drawn tree? Then this is all you need. The tree is a simple process, start with a single line for a trunk and then add the first branches – it’s a good idea if these are around 2/3 the length of the trunk. Then continue adding the exact same shape at the end of each branch – just a little smaller each time. In no time you have a fully fledged tree. Simple and smart.

If you want one created automatically for you, check out this blog post: Way too cool – create your own fractal trees.

And to see how to use trees in your Photoshop collages check out this youtube video: Create Fractal Trees online

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Make it yourself – felt bunting

bunting Make it yourself   felt bunting

Bunting made from felt and bakers twine is easy and fun to make.

I recently wrote a post showing how to make it over at the Craftsnthings blog and you can find it here.

I used it to decorate a showcase at a recent show. I had a very tall space to fill and I was concerned that there would be insufficient product to show. So, I made about 10 yards of bunting from felt to hang around – it filled the space and was easy to make. Wind it up carefully when you’re done and it will survive quite a bit of handling so you can use it over and over again.



Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Portable Table displays with PVC

showcase Portable Table displays with PVC

I exhibited at the Craft and Hobby Association a few weeks ago. One problem I always have there is how to display my stuff. I’m exhibiting with designers so it has to look – well – designed and it can’t be just thrown together. Because I have to fly to the show, I have to do something light weight or ship it or buy it there. I don’t like risking the buy it there option as I get to the show the night before and most times I have to teach the next day so there is precious little time to go shopping and make stuff.

I like to be able to carry stuff there and not rely on others to provide it. I’ve been in the position of waiting for things to arrive, having them not arrive or not being there when promised – or I’ve witnessed it happen to others and this just doesn’t do it for me. So, what to do? I looked around Pinterest for ideas and searched the web  and finally came up with an idea.

I was exhibiting fabric designs so I decided on a washing line theme – a back yard fence and a washing line. Then I designed it and as I did I realized I was painting myself into a corner – I needed too much help to do it and that, again, put me at the mercy of tradesmen – finding them and getting it done. A few calls around told me the job was too small for them and too big for me. Then, one night, I discovered the world of PVC pipe. Yeah! PVC pipe can be cut by hand and it is light. You can assemble it easily and it is cheap! What more can you ask?

I drew out my shape and made sure all pieces would be short enough to fit in a suitcase – if not I planned to cut them into pieces and join them with a connector. I worked out what I wanted and went out early to the hardware store. Early is good because I found someone there who would cut the 3/4 inch PVC into 6′ and 4′ lengths – it is 10′ in the store but I can’t carry that in my car! Luckily I had pen and paper with me because some connectors weren’t available and I had to do a quick redesign to determine which bits I wanted. I bought a few end caps, some three way connectors, elbows and straight connectors and lots of PVC pipe. All up it probably cost around $20 and I bought a set of ratchet cutters – they are essential – the PVC isn’t dead easy to cut but with these it is certainly doable – in fact I did it all myself.

The background I made from fabric. I simply designed an image the size of a yard of lightweight canvas fabric in Photoshop and had it printed at – that probably ended up cheaper than printing on paper at Kinkos! I sewed the fabric so it had pockets on three sides and so the pipe would thread through it.

With everything tested and assembled at home before I left it all went together seamlessly at the show. One thing I would do next time is to mark the pieces after testing everything and before taking it apart as it was a bit of a  puzzle to put things back together at the show. The cutters made a handy hammer for putting the  pieces together and I didn’t glue them as they were sturdy enough without. I also found a set of multi-grips were handy to get the ends off when I put them on the wrong way!

I colored some brown paper to cover the PVC uprights for the washing line and used string for the line and small scrapbooking pegs. I found some awesome blackbirds on paper clips that I pulled apart to put blackbirds on the line and I added one to the fence design too. I finished the display with some fake grass – you can buy it from in about any width and length and it worked well when stuck down to the table top with velcro tape.

You can find the blackbirds here:

 Portable Table displays with PVC


Would I do it again? Yes, without a doubt. The flexibility you have with PVC pipe to create things and the ease of working with it and assembling it and the low cost of getting custom fabric printed at Spoonflower makes this totally doable. It would work for a craft display or craft show and, if you glue the PVC to its connectors it won’t go anywhere and could hold children’s cl0thes or similar.


Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Flying High – sew a felt helicopter

felt helicopter opener Flying High – sew a felt helicopter

Recently I got inspired by a small wooden helicopter that I’ve had on my desk for some time. Frustratingly every time I move anything on the table the helicopter falls over. But it has a cute shape so each time it falls over I just stand it back up again. Recently I took a good look at it and decided it was time to do something with it.

The outcome is a cute little felt helicopter. It is a fun project that takes only an hour or two to complete. You can make your own design or use mine which you can download here.

What you need:

- Blue-gray, pink and white wool felt

- Recycled plastic container or plastic sheet

- Fiber fill

- Needle and embroidery thread in colors to match the felt

- Scissors

For my helicopter I used a small plastic drinking cup but I think next time I’d use a flat plastic sheet of some kind as the bend that the cup gives just isn’t really needed.

Start by cutting the felt following the pattern. You need two blue-grey pieces for the rotor, two pink pieces for the body and a single long body piece. Cut a couple of white windows, and four blue-grey pieces for the skids. Cut a couple of pieces of recycled plastic just a little smaller than the skids themselves. I always but always use wool felt – it just holds up so much better in use than the fake stuff which tears along the seams way too easily.

felt helicopter step1 Flying High – sew a felt helicopter

Using blanket stitch and matching thread, stitch the felt over the plastic to make the two skids. The plastic in them will help stabilize the helicopter later on. Note that the hole in the plastic for the skids is much larger than the hole in the felt!

felt helicopter step2 Flying High – sew a felt helicopter

Sew the windows onto the helicopter sides and then sew the sides to the long panel. The long panel ends attach at the tail so the widest part of it goes around the main body of the helicopter. On the pattern I’ve roughly marked out where each piece should match up with the body of the helicopter.

felt helicopter step3 Flying High – sew a felt helicopter

As you stitch up the helicopter body, stuff it firmly with fiberfill.

felt helicopter step4 Flying High – sew a felt helicopter

Put the two rotor pieces together and sew the pieces together using blanket stitch around the edges. Fill the rotor with fiberfill as you go and make sure you push the fiberfill right down into the ends of the rotors so they are pretty firmly stuffed.

felt helicopter step5 Flying High – sew a felt helicopter

Finish sewing up the rotor and attach it to the top of the helicopter. Before sewing the skids to the body pin them in place to test the placement. You need to make sure the body will stand on the skids and that it will balance there. Once pinned in place, sew the skids to the body.

felt helicopter step6 Flying High – sew a felt helicopter

I think this is a cute and fairly quick and easy project. You could make three or four and some stuffed clouds and use them as a mobile in a child’s room.