Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

Hump day crafts: drawing digistamps again

September 18, 2012

I’ve been working on drawing again — even though it’s my busy season at work, and I really should be spending time doing design and layouts. But there’s always the night before the deadline, right? I’ve been doing a few more tutorials, plus some work with Zenspirations. It’s fun, but I needed to see if I could draw something on my own. My biggest problem is scale. That and where to put limbs on humans and animals. I figured out that if I was having problems I could refer to a photo without actually tracing it. One problem solved (at least partially).

CDAC is having a digistamp challenge this month with a pets with fall (autumn) theme. I submitted a cat jumping after a leaf, but it was disqualified as being too close to the tutorial I followed. Still, I was pretty proud, since I had made some minor changes to the cat:

cat with leaf watermarked

I was pretty happy with it, and being disqualified almost made me walk away from the whole thing. Who was I to think I was talented enough to share my original art, anyway? But, after more thought, I decided to try again. Here’s what I came up with:

Autumn girl with dog watermarkedI can’t say it’s the best thing out there, but I like it. In part because it’s so personal. The idea came from a set of photos from a long time ago, although I shared one just last year. No, it wasn’t autumn (or maybe it was — hard to tell in Hawaii), and they were facing away from the camera, but the photos captured a sweet moment between my daughter and her best friend. Maybe if I can get inspired by moments like this more often I could come up with a lot more original ideas. Well, after I get caught up with work that is.

Happy crafting!

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Hump day crafts: Where did the summer go?

September 14, 2011

I’m a little sad that my last post had end of the school year gifts and here we are a week into the new school year. Where have I been? And where did my summer go? Last weekend it was in the 80s, this weekend they’re predicting rain and 60s. Bummer. But I’ll get over it. That’s what we moss backs in the Pacific Northwest do.

Even though my summer seems to have ended way too soon, we did get some crafting in. Here’s 10 crafts I did (some with help) during this short summer:

1. Knitted legwarmers – for my niece’s 8th birthday

2. Vinyled clipboards – made one for my sister-in-law as a gift, plus a couple for Things 1&2.

3. Knitted mini-Jayne Cobb hat – gift for my husband. (Yes, we’ve got a teeny bit of Firefly geek in us.)

4. Toilet paper roll joke book – The kids picked and illustrated the jokes to make a book to send to their dad.

5. Screenprinting – actually I should just say buying a Yudu since I’ve only done 2 projects so far.

6. I spy bottle – to entertain the kids on the pier while we waited for The Cat’s submarine.

7. Flannel boards – another pierside entertainer, except that we could only use these on the bus to and from the pier because the wind blew the laminated flannel backed pieces off the board.

8. Tie dye – my 10 & 13 year old niece and nephew visited from the midwest, so we had to break out the tie-dye kit to make some souvenirs. (I was too busy tying and dying to take pics of the process, but maybe I can get some from my mom later.)

9. Crafting for money – I sold some stuff this year — personalized for my mom’s soccer academy. She benefits from marketing and increased word of mouth, I make a little money to put toward a new cutter (hoping to be able to say goodbye to my cricut soon), and the kids get a special one-of-a-kind personalized useful something. I made water bottles for the kids and car decals for the parents.

10. Tenth anniversary print and cut card – I made this with SCAL and my cricut, plus my Canon MX870 printer.

I’d go on with details about each, but the school bus comes early this year, so I better call it a night. You can always post a comment asking for details. Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: puppet theater

April 6, 2011

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but my 5 year old daughter, Thing 1, loves to craft. She has her own craft table and hates to throw any of creations away. I thought maybe I’d help her graduate from papercrafts to something a little more durable. Something the Cat will be less likely to throw in the recycle bin. So I asked her if she would like to learn to sew. As if I didn’t know the answer.

For help, we turned to Wendi Gratz’ Shiny Happy World.  I’ve been using her embroidery school videos to help me get a little further with my embroidery skills. Her sewing videos and patterns were just what I needed to get my daughter started. It seems in kindergarten, there’s always a friend’s birthday right around the corner, so we decided to make some gifts. I choose the finger puppets (an affordable pattern from Wendi) and the puppet theater (a free pattern from Wendi). They were simple, but great patterns. We made the pirates and ninjas that Wendy had drawn. Then we got creative and I drew a fairy, mermaid and princess set of finger puppets. (The book How to Draw Fairies and Mermaids was very helpful given my lack of artistic skills.) Thing 1 did much better at sewing than I expected. She never pulled the thread out of needle, kept her stitches right on the line and only stabbed herself one time through the two puppets she completed. Her stitches were a little large and she wouldn’t do any backstitches, but I still was proud of her. And she was proud of herself.

I finished up the other puppets and quickly stitched up the “theater” to hang on tension rods. The only thing I added was some elastic slots to set stick puppets or scenery into. Oh, and of course some bags to gift and store in. But before we wrapped it up, we had to try it out ourselves.

We gave them to one of her best friends last weekend. Although the party was a madhouse (what party for a 6 year old isn’t?), they seemed to appreciate the effort and result. And now Thing 1 wants to sew more so we can have some for our house. I guess she has yet to learn one of the most important things about crafting: you hardly ever get keep anything cool you make.

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: Horton hears a who wall vinyl

March 30, 2011

Finally, news of my Cricut skills have traveled far and wide. Well, at least as far as my sister’s mother-in-law.

It seems she had promised her daughter a wall vinyl decoration for an grandson’s upcoming birthday party. She had the graphics, bought special vinyl, and … then her computer died. So she called in the cavalry. Me.

They wanted a Dr. Seuss quote from Horton Hears a Who. That part was easy, using SCAL and the Dr. Soos font. But Horton, well that was another story. I could not find a clean Horton that I felt would cut well from a white flocked and matte black vinyl. That’s when I called in the cavalry. My Smartbuygal forum friends. And they came through for me with a great Horton. (You can see the thread here.)

I cut Horton out of the white flocked vinyl (from Quickutz) and weeded out all the areas that were black in the original graphic. To make sure it would show up on any background, I had to bring the original graphic into Photoshop and fill it in so I could trace the outline in SCAL. That way I had a solid Horton to cut from black vinyl. I also drew a little clover for the who. Here’s how I turned out after weeding and layering.

They loved it, especially since the white on black actually made Horton look gray! They liked it so much that after the party they took it and put it on her grandson’s wall. (Gotta love removable vinyl!) And here’s a photo they sent me of it on the wall:

And my payment, besides the exhilaration from using the cricut skills for good? I got to keep the extra vinyl. Now to spend hours thinking about what to do with it. Oh the possibilities!

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: 100 day glasses

March 16, 2011

Last week Thing 1’s kindergarten class celebrated their 100th day of kindergarten. It was a big thing, with a 100 snack, a museum of their collections (of 100 items) and what-not. I would’ve loved to help, but can’t get in to volunteer too much, what with Thing 2 hanging out with me all the time. So, at the last minute, I had an idea to make glasses commemorating the day/number for all of her classmates.

This wasn’t hard to do in SCAL. The hardest part was doing it at 11 p.m. with cricut mats that had lost their sticky. I hate it when that happens. So, I did my shortcut sticky fix, threw some zig 2 way glue on those puppies, and was eventually able to cut out 25 glasses. (I made extras for teachers, volunteers and whomever else Thing 1 happened to give them too.)

When she got home from school, T1&2 decided to decorate theirs with stickers. Here’s the results.

Putting the glasses together in Sure Cuts A Lot to cut on my Cricut wasn’t hard. First, I measured a pair of kids sunglasses to get an idea of eye placement. In SCAL, I placed each number separately, rotated until I was happy with it and welded each of them. Then I used the pen tool to draw an arm (with a very slight curve at the end). It wasn’t perfect, but it looked like glasses. Then I copied, flipped, placed and welded them.  I designed it all to fit across a 12×12 sheet of paper. I think I fit 4 on a sheet. They did end up a little short. They kind of fit on the kids, but I couldn’t keep them on my small head and T2 had a tough time setting them on his ears. To help out, we reinforced and elongated the arms by gluing craft/popsicle sticks on. Perfecto!

If you’re looking to do this on your cutting machine, I’ve uploaded the SCAL2 file over at the SmartBuyGal forum under Paper Crafts: http://www.smartbuygal.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=6336&p=95958#p95958

Happy crafting — even if it’s with your kids!

Hump day crafts: Knitted hats

March 9, 2011

I taught myself to knit a couple of years ago, but kind of put it on hold. I wanted to take a class to unlearn any bad habits, before they took hold too strongly. I finally got that chance a few weeks ago at my  local yarn shop, A Good Yarn Shop (owned by author and knitter Debbie Macomber). I signed up for a hat class, so I could not only get feedback on my basic skills but learn to knit in the round and decrease stitches. From that class came my first hat, given to my mom, and now probably languishing in her closet because it didn’t match her coat. Four more hats have come in quick succession, since hints the instructor gave me in holding the yarn have helped me knit faster. (My new addi turbo needles probably don’t hurt. Love them!)

I’ve found most of the patterns through Ravelry, a great site for knitters, and much too big for me as of yet. On the one hand it makes me feel like a real newbie, reading people’s forum posts, but on the other hand it encourages me with the sheer number of free patterns that I have the skills to make. I’ve even altered patterns, exciting to think that I really am making something one of a kind even being a new knitter. Especially since they turned out okay. Does this sound like an ad to convert you to knitting yet? Well, just wait. I love knitting because I can do it while watching television with my husband (somedays our only time together), or throw together a row or two on a quick break from work or during the kids bath. Most of my other crafts aren’t that portable — space-wise or time-wise.

Enough cheerleading already. I don’t have many photos, but here are some of Thing 1 and 2 modeling their hats:

 

The grey hat is based on a classic WWII watchcap pattern which I altered the zigzag panels and decreases. (Maybe someday I’ll organize my chicken scratches and post my alterations.) The striped stockinette hat was from Liberty Wool Hat pattern. I followed it exactly, or at least as exactly as I could. You can check out my FOs (that’s Finished Objects) and queue (what I’m thinking about working on next) on Ravelry under joelle14. Maybe someday I’ll graduate to something more complicated, but for now I’m really enjoying hats!

Hump day crafts: Valentine special – Wobble spring valentine and TP roll album

February 15, 2011

This edition of hump day crafts is a day early in honor of Valentine’s day. (It would’ve been up on Valentine’s Day, but we lost power here for nearly 12 hours!)

These valentines were inspired by one of the ladies over at the smartbuygal.com forums. She had made a motion birthday card and shared a link to this video tutorial on using or making wobble springs. I knew Things 1 and 2 would love that, so I got on it.

Luckily I had everything I needed on hand. Some great graphics (they were freebies for Valentine’s Day!) from the great folks at Lettering Delights, some 28 gauge wire, a 1″circle cutter and some cards. I decided to go with 6×6 inch cards for some extra impact. I used various cardstocks from my stash and a Cuttlebug embossing folder that came in an cut and emboss set (something to do with love, maybe?).

(I took the video after the kids got a hold of the cards, thus the twisted look to them.) I also used the Lettering Delights Monster Love alphabet for the inside sentiment:

I showed them to The Cat and he said they were cool. (That’s saying something, because usually he just nods and hands them back.)

Speaking of The Cat, I made him something special for Valentine’s Day: a mini album! This was my first try at one of these. I’ve been collecting toilet paper rolls for a couple of months trying to decide what would make a good album theme. I finally decided on “10 things I love about you”.

For this album, I tried so many new things: sewing, inking and sanding edges (my new Close to My Heart distressing kit came in handy for this!), aging photos, spritzing Tim Holtz’ distress inks, and (best of all) binding. I got myself the Cinch for Christmas (The Cat was out to sea) and this is the first project I’ve used it on. It’s so much fun, I can’t wait to find time to put together some more books. Here are some photos of my toilet paper roll album with tag inserts:

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: vinyled cutting board

January 26, 2011

Not much time for posting right now. I’ve been sick — in fact our someone or other in our house has been sick since the holidays began it seems. I’m really loving cutting permanent/outdoor vinyl (Oracal 651 and GT5 I got from H and H sign supply) with SCAL2 and my Cricut Expression.

Here’s a cutting board I picked up at Walmart and vinyled for my sister’s housewarming gift. I was just going to put “Sweet memories made here”, but thought she might be jealous when everyone else got a personalized tile or glass block, so I added the icons and names. I even drew the cheesecake myself in Adobe Illustrator!

There’s been some discussion over the the SmartBuyGal forums over whether you vinyl the smooth or the pebbly side. After talking (surreptitiously) with my sister, I learned that she’d rather cut on the smooth side, so I vinyled the pebbly side. Not as easy, maybe, but hopefully it makes her happy.

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: Glass blocks

December 29, 2010

Christmas is finally over. Well, almost. The Cat still isn’t home, so we have a small cache of presents waiting for his return. It was a tough holiday with him gone. Emotionally, but also just finding time to get everything done. Things 1 & 2 were rambunctious, getting more and more excited for Santa’s visit, while I just needed to find some blocks of quiet time to finish, well, blocks. I found pre-drilled crafting blocks at Lowe’s for the holiday, so I picked a number of them up for presents. I did this with plenty of time left, but, well, my schedule has a way of slipping. I finally finished the last glass block 2 days before Christmas. Actually, I was probably still hot-gluing ribbon on on Christmas eve. Lesson learned, right? Ha! I’m sure next year I’ll be in the same rush those last days before Christmas. It’s just the nature of the beast. The beast being me, I suppose.

And now for the crafts. This first glass block I did for my mom to give as a work gift to a woman who loves penguins. It didn’t turn out as well as I imagined. I don’t think I like the Christmas lights and tinsel with such a delicate design. That is a lesson learned.

And side B:

I etched both sides (masking the edges with tape) and used Oracal 651 vinyl. I put some Stickles on the snowflakes on the Let it Snow side for added bling. The bow was made using a Bowdabra. The penguin is from a coloring page I found on the web, and the “Let it Snow” design is from Michelle over at http://michellesdigitalcreations.blogspot.com/2010/11/let-it-snow.html

So, one down and only three to go to complete my Christmas gifts. Here’s where I got bogged down. But, as I mentioned earlier, I pulled through and ended up thrilled with the results. Here are two I made for my nieces:

Front:

And back:

I did these a little different. On the monogram side, I glued vellum inside the block. (Thanks to rebmac over at SmartBuyGal forums for the vellum tips.) I etched the outside on the other side. Most of the graphics are JPGs that I traced using Illustrator or SCAL2. I’ll have to add a mini tutorial later for the monograms. (hint: I used “exclude” in SCAL2.)

There’s just one more to show here, my nephew’s block for his new Star Wars themed room:

(Thanks to Mardenz for the cut file.) This one I sprayed with Krylon frosted glass finish in pearl gray. I’ve heard that it can scratch off easily (unlike etching which is permanent), but this one shouldn’t be moved around a lot, so hopefully it will be okay. If not, we can always mask the vinyl off and respray it.

For my the last three, I used single C7 bulbs, found with other Christmas lights at Lowe’s, Joann’s and Walgreens. The six-foot cords have on/off switches and the C7 bulb is easily replacable. It’s even easy to take out and swap in a different color. (I put a red bulb in the Vader block.) These were big projects for me, but I’m glad I took on the challenge. I was happy with the way they turned out for the most part. And I think the recipients were all pretty happy too.

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: gifts for the coach

December 1, 2010

Thing 1 recently finished her first outdoor soccer season. I wouldn’t say she loved it, but she did love her coach. (She loves practices, but hates the pressure of games.) As the end of season party approached I, of course, had to use my Cricut to pull together some personalized gifts for the coach. I didn’t use SCAL since when I decorated the buckets I didn’t have SCAL yet. I had used Design Studio with the Cricut cartridges Life’s a Beach, Sports Mania and Cuttin’ Up. To keep things the same, I stuck with those cartridges. Another mom bought a “coach” necklace in our team colors that we put inside the mug. It was cute too, and from etsy, but I just don’t do jewelry anymore. That is, I don’t make it. I sure would wear it if I a got it as a gift. (That’s a hint to The Cat.) Enough already, here’s the goods:

The framed photo was a big hit. I brought my Bic markers, so the girls could sign it if Coach Carla wanted — and she did. I wasn’t sure if she would like the clean look or cherish their 4 and 5 year old signatures, so I’m glad I waited. Plus it gave the girls something fun to do at the party (besides eat pizza, get trophies and run around like mad that is.)

Now that I have more vinyl colors I definitely see a lot more vinyled projects in my future. They’re so fun and easy! Happy crafting.