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...