Saturday, 6 April 2013

A Passion For Fashion

A passion for fashion, and for...recycling, and using up oddments that might otherwise get thrown away.  Remember Operation Pancake?  Here is a flat card with a summer appeal.

One set of items I wouldn't be without as a cardmaker and scrapbooker are my punches.  I didn't pay much for the smaller ones and they are great for using up oddments and making them look great with their crisp, professional edges and neat wee shapes.  These squares use two small flower ones, a six-petalled one and a many pointy petalled one, each measuring 10mm across.  You also need some bits of card or paper (preferably card) in colors that look well together, I have gone for a clashing but eye-catching orange, pink, white, black and another pink that truly does not look dusty gray in real life.

Here is the first square.  Cut a 3" square of orange card and stick a 2 1/2" square of white card on top.  Use this template to cut a pink handbag:
Stick it on top of the white card, and add some lines of purple and silver glitter.  Punch out flowers as shown, add glitter centers and top it off with a white feather.  I have a pair of herring gulls who live in my garden who supply me with these!

Let's make another:
Cut another square of orange card the same size, and then add the smaller square in pink.  Cut out two of these in white card:
Decorate as shown with silver glitter and punched flowers.  One more:
This one has a white base square (the black lines are just to show where the edges are) and a black smaller square.  Cut out one of these in orange:
and decorate by punching out siz-petalled flowers in one color and sticking the other flower shape on top in a different color.  Add a blob of silver glitter as a center, and stick all over the swimsuit cutting off at the edges to look like patterned fabric.  Add some more polka dots of silver glitter and your square is finished.

I've done squares, but you could use these to decorate ATCs or make them larger and put them on a memory album page.  You could also use oddments of patterned paper, fabric, felt or whatever you have at hand.  I decorated a waterfall card with them:
I have to admit that I love templates.  They are so versatile and easy to make from oddments of card.  Store them in plastic bags (I save the ones catalogs come in) and you have something for every occasion.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Fun With A Bun

I've not been a very good blogger despite good intentions; every time I sit down to add a new project something happens...excuses, excuses I know.  It is now April and should be spring, but despite flowers blooming outside my windows the trees are bare and it is bitterly cold.  I'm not a knitter so cannot give you instructions for a smart new jumper like the ones on those Scandinavian series I don't personally watch but here instead is a fashion item you can wear any time of the year...a bun ring!
Meet Bunty the stocking bun ring.  You can transform your mid length to long hair with this essential hair accessory.  Unlike a store-bought bun ring you can make it to exactly match the color of your hair.  All you need is some old tights or stockings…

Supplies Needed

  • Old tights or stockings in the relevant colours
  • Matching thread
  • Needle
  • Sharp scissors

Making Up

1. If you are working with tights you will first need to separate one leg from the other by cutting off the panty part at the top.  Cut off the end of the foot.

2. Hold the open end and start rolling, making a ring shape.  As you roll you will notice that the hole in the middle gets smaller.

3.  How many stockings/tights you use depends on the size of your head and what size you want your bun to be.  When you think it is the right size try it on; remember it will be covered with hair when you wear it.

4.  When it is the right size take a length of matching thread and oversew any loose ends making sure that the bun has a smooth surface.  It is now ready to wear.

Putting Up A Bun

Supplies Needed

·        Bun ring
·        Bun pins or hairgrips
·        Covered rubber band
·        Hair net (optional)

Putting Up

1. Put your hair into a ponytail using the covered rubber band, and position it until it is on top of your head in the centre.

2. Thread on the bun ring like a bead, and arrange the hair evenly all around it.

3.  Start to tuck the hair in underneath the ring; the end of a tail comb is often helpful with this.  Push in the pins as you go along until all the hair is underneath.  Finish with a net if desired.

Apologies too for the lack of  photographs of bun-related things.  It is not easy to take a photograph while putting up a bun and if anybody gets stuck do leave a message and I will lend a distant hand.

Anybody wondering what has happened to Pond Diary can rest assured that the pond is still there and awaiting stocks of water plants to come in at the local garden centers.  Peering in I can see daphnia dancing about among other things although anything larger has yet to appear.  Watch this space for more...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Make & Craft Issue 2 Now Out

Make & Craft magazine now has its second issue out - and you can see several of my projects on the cover.  Make a teacosy to keep your teapot hot this winter adorned with matryoshkas, and a matching egg cosy:
Here is a shot of the cosy, just before I took out the basting and attached the back.  It is a great use of those felt squares available everywhere, and also a good way of using up the leftovers.  It would make a good image for a greetings card too - pick the three smallest and instead of felt use lots of offcuts of paper and card in Christmassy colors.  You could even have them all holding presents!

You can also make some nice flat cards ready for mailing using embossing foil.  My project features three plus a matching tag, here is a picture of the church one being made:
It would look just as good in silver, or colored in with permanent marker pens.  Those outlines can be used for other things too - on fabric the lines could be picked out in metallic thread perhaps in chain stitch, or why not ice them onto a cake with a fine piping nozzle?

There is also a beaded bauble (I don't have a photo of that, you will just have to buy the magazine from here) On the first page inside you can see an advert for Mad Cow Beads and this features two more bauble covers, available to buy as kits from here.  Available in Blue Star or Red Holly, these fabulous bauble kits contain everything you need to make a beady decoration for your favourite bauble!

  • Includes a full bobbin of nymo D, a beading needle and all the beads and charms required.
  • Choose red and gold with holly charms, or a 'drapey' midnight sky design with star charms
  • Professionally written, full colour 'bead by bead'  instructions are downloadable - we send a llink with your kit
  • You need to buy a standard size bauble - 2 1/4" - 2 3/4" work well, although the pattern can easily be made bigger
  • these are suitable for beginners with some crafting experience, or beaders who want to try out seed beads! They are a little more challenging than our seed bead animals, but not too complicated.

You can also find instructions for a necklace to wear to all those Christmas parties (or just out for a nice lunch while shopping):
Plus a matching barrette for your pony tail:
A good reason for growing one if you don't already have one!  You could also clip it to the front of a bun, looks very effective.

Operation Pancake isn't forgotten either for as well as the embossed metal cards there are some patchwork ones.  These are just the thing for all you crafters who end up with lots of little bits of card, paper, fabric, ribbon whatever and wonder what to do with it all.  Make some patchwork cards that look like this:
This was cut up from an old flyer advertising a craft book, plus a few bits of white card left over from cutting some card blanks and a few peel off snowflakes plus a greeting.  It is all stitched on with some metallic thread so you need a sewing machine with a swing needle, but not a lot else.  There are two more, and if you wait a bit I will rustle up another one for you to make in a few days' time.

Plus it is gloriously, unashamedly FLAT AS A PANCAKE and at only 5 1/2" square it will easily slip through all the post office machinery at the lowest rate as long as you don't stuff a fat letter in with it.  Send an email instead...

Over to you.  Let's hear about what you have been up to, what you think of all this and anything else you can think of.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Operation Pancake - What A Waste?

Remember Operation Pancake?  This is my drive this year to make some flat cards that will qualify as standard (not large) letters.  The "waste" in my title refers to sequin waste, a most useful and green product that used to be thrown away.  After all, this is just what is left over when you have punched out all the sequins isn't it?  Yes, but look at what you can do with it...
You can make cards with it, like this one.  Here's how:

First off you need a sheet of white card 10"x7".  Score down the middle to make a card blank 5"x7" and cover with green paper.  Cut two right angled triangles of gold paper with equal sides of 3½" and stick down.  Thin strips of red paper have been laid along the top to cover the join and add interest.  It's cheaper than a peel off and looks nice and bright.

The glittery swirly background on the green paper was made with three colors (gold, green and red) of glitter glue swirled around and left to dry for a night.  I buy the big squeezy bottles of it from Anita's (DoCrafts) that come in eighteen colors.  This is the cheapest way to buy glitter glue, unless you know better.

Then you need this bell template, cut from a scrap of card: 
You now need some standard holed (usually about 5mm in the UK) sequin waste in red and gold.  I laid my bell onto the sequin waste and drew around it with a chinagraph pencil, but laying it underneath and making sure it does not move would also work.  You have to make sure that you end up with something made from only whole holes, which looks like this:
The purple line is the template, the green line is where you actually CUT.  Next, measure the hole diameter in your sequin waste.  Choose two papers that go with the gold/green/red theme and cut a few strips.  Here now is a weaving diagram, because these strips are not for quilling but for weaving in and out of the holes:
 This is a weaving diagram for the RED bell.  Here is the other one:

This one uses the GOLD sequin waste.  I hope you can see where you weave the papers, up one and down another in most cases.  When you get to the edge don't cut off the papers or they will fall out.  Instead, bend them over on the wrong side for about ½" and then cut.  Glue the bells down as shown using a suitable glue.

Here is the holly leaf template for the corner sprays.  The berries are red sequins, so you are not just using the waste.  Cut four green leaves and two gold ones, and use three sequins each corner.

Voila, you have a nice flat card.  It looks as though some time has been spent on it too so you ought to avoid the sort of comments you get if you have just stuck down a topper, added a bow and a greeting.  This usually runs something like "well, you can't have had much fun making this can you, why don't you buy some charity cards instead next time?"

I hate it when people say that!  Instead I buy other things from charities and make the cards...of course, you could always make these cards for charity as there is no copyright on them. Then you would have the best of both worlds!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Christmas Cute Critters - Get that Christmassy Feeling

There is nothing quite like curling up on the sofa in front of the TV on a dark late autumn evening and making something for Christmas.  If you go over to Mad Cow Beads and scroll down you will see a small picture of the Christmas Festive Seed Bead Kits - pack of 7 weenies!

If you remember a short while ago I posted up links to the same site for the Halloweenies then this is another larger kit of these beaded figures to make up.  I will introduce the cast to you.  First up alphabetically there is Angela The Angel looking innocent and lovely in white and gold:
Next if you fancy something a tad more pagan there is Holly the Christmas Fairy:
Next up there is O Christmas Tree:
And it wouldn't be Christmas without that garden favorite (recently voted #1 most popular British bird) good old Round Robin:
Ho ho ho here comes Santa, who gets given the sack every time he turns up for work:
And his best buddy Snowbody, who seems to have appropriated Wanda The Witch's broom:
And last but by no means least, let's do some stocking up:
All these make great decorations to hang on the upper branches of your tree.  However big a Christmas tree is the very topmost branches always lend themselves to small and light ornaments, but trying to get these in a store is not easy.  Christmas trees seem to get bigger every year and many baubles look more like footballs!  These are just the right size and very light for hanging on those fragile wee branches.  Or hanging up on a swag decorating a wall, or on a wreath, or how about adorning the fronts of crackers?  Each person then has a wee gift to take home even if they just get a plastic eye patch or pair of tweezers that don't work...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Make & Craft - New Magazine On The Block

There's a brand new craft magazine out called Make and Craft, starting this month.  You can find out all about it by clicking here.  It is a multi craft publication available both as a print copy and online and there are also many free projects you can look at to whet your appetite.  It comes out every month, and also contains a section with projects for the junior crafter which is always a good thing.  I spent many happy hours crafting as a child, making a mess but at least I was quiet while I did it!

One project I have submitted can be found on page 48 entitled In The Bag.  Using that pleasantly squidgy craft foam (Anita's, CraftTime etc) you can make some cute gift bags that double as a seasonal bag for the little girl in your life.  They weigh nothing unlike this crafter, and thus can be hung from even a modest sized Christmas tree with a gift inside it - not a heavy one of course.  Also a good way of transporting gifts and lasts far longer than a plastic bag.  You recycle it by using it many times.

I had to submit two designs but was stuck between a robin and a Christmas pudding.  The robin won as it was more colorful, but here is the pudding which is surely great for an edible gift.  
Here are the templates in black and white.  First the icing (cut one in white):
Now the large holly leaf (cut two in green):

Now the small holly leaf (cut another two in green):

Lastly the berry which doubles as a raisin.  You need three in red for berries, and as many as you like for the raisins studding the pudding in black foam:
You will also need a front and a back both in brown, and a handle in white.  You can find patterns for these and instructions on how to put it all together in the magazine, issue 1 October 2012.

You could also do a pumpkin in orange foam with black features but you can draw that for yourself...

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Halloweenies - Gavin The Ghost

Here is the fifth Halloweenie, Gavin the Ghost coming to haunt you along with his friends Jack O Lantern, Scary Skull, Wanda The Witch and Catkin.  Watch this space for the Christmas set of Cute Critters plus two beaded nets to dress up plain tree baubles.  Visit Mad Cow Beads to find out more...