Thursday, June 30, 2011

American Flag 4th of July decoration made from Christmas Ornaments

I'm in the process of doing a big clean out. While going through my stash of stuff I tend to get ideas. That is just where today's project came from. I didn't plan it, it just happened.

I was going through boxes and one contained Christmas ornaments. Rolling around in the back of my mind was the need to do some 4th of July decorating. My eye happened to catch red, white and blue ornaments and the light bulb went off! Or is it on????

So I grabbed the ornaments, some wire and wire cutters and off to the front gate. I was planning on wiring the ornaments in a wreath shape but as I realized that the ornaments dangled so nicely in the openings of the chain link I thought of doing an American Flag motif.

As I was beginning to wire the ornaments on a neighbor walked by and said, "Christmas in July?" and I pointed out the beginning of my flag motif and he thought it was a great idea!

This ornaments hanging in the spaces of a chain link fence has an added bonus-it shimmers and sparkles like the back of a Sparklets truck!

Have a Happy 4th of July ya'll!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The First Crafty Blogger Links of Summer 2011

"Car engine on a grocery store chassis"
Filed under yes a grocery store shopping cart can support an engine.

Lindsay Sews
Have you ever tried the quilt-as-you-go method? Lindsay wraps up a rainbow ticker-tape quilt this week and experiments with a disco-floor layout.

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is Year of the Rabbit knit pattern based on the kanji of the Chinese zodiac, a tutorial on how to make a hollow lampwork glass bead along with a chance to win a copy of the book- The Glass Artist's Studio Handbook it's from, a call for entries and a free cute clip art crab perfect for summer art.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has finished piecing and stitching her little bird quilt top, and now she needs advice on what to do with it!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Computer key ATC card inspired by the book Inner Excavations.

About Family Crafts
Learn how you can save money and enjoy quality family time by making your own fun craft supplies.

Aileen's Musings
Aileen shows you how she made her old faded patio umbrella festive again!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a new tutorial featuring the sweetest little elephants!

Craft Buds
Sewing with oilcloth is fresh and fun, and these sandwich bags will help you reduce waste! There's a little debate over whether or not laminated fabrics are safe for food. Do you know a food-safe alternative?

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy disovers some retro crochet items and has a brief moment of nostalgia.

Cross Stitch at About.com
You're the Designer! See what Irene did with Connie's Hummingbird Outline chart and try your own hand at designing and stitching too.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Here are a couple of ways to make hybrid cards to match a gift. Gift baskets of all sorts make lovely eye-appealing gift packages. Coordinating the elements is easier than you may think.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Computer Keys are the shape of most of my days it feels like

Today's ATC and card are inspired by the book Inner Excavation: Exploring Your Self Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media. One of the questions that is posed to help a creator make art is " What are the shapes of your day?"
Well, I feel like the computer keys on my desk are often the shapes that I spend the most time with. So they became my starting off point.
These are two additional keys I have added to my keyboard. The other main objective some days is to "find" things. If it were only as easy as hitting a key to make it happen.....
I have a book of clip art images that I love to use in my art and cards and funny enough there was an image of computer keys. Another element that is one of my favorites to include is a translation dictionary bit. I used a Spanish dictionary and the word "find".

Lastly I had this great picture of Brigitte Bardot looking like she is looking for something. Well there is the starting off point from Inner Excavation and where it took me. I look forward to trying more of the explorations in Inner Excavation.

More about the book from North Light Books:
Inner Excavation:
Exploring Your Self Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media


by

Liz Lamoreux

This book will guide you through the expressions of photography, poetry/journaling and mixed-media as they pertain to exploring how we not only currently see ourselves, but how we can learn to see new things hiding below the surface. Each of these sub-topics features a different contributing artist (or the author) and includes tips, prompts, meditations and other exercises, along with plenty of full color inspiration.

Liz Lamoreux is an editor, poet, photographer, yoga teacher and mixed-media artist living in the Pacific Northwest. She is the organizer of the Be Present Retreats where she teaches alongside nationally known instructors. She has been writing on her blog, Be Present, Be Here, for five years and has quite a following.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head out for a stroll

This is a little boy in my neighborhood I see a lot as we both go for lots of walks. This day was special as he was taking his Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head out for a stroll in his Jeep stroller. I would also like to point out how the bunny ears have been placed in the form of a mohawk. I love the creativity of kids!

And adults! Which brings me to crafty blogger links du jour!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to use spray starch to make a hand applique, a recipe for white chocolate cranberry blondies, tips on carving your own rubber stamps from the book Unfurling.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Most silk scarf painting/dying is done with a stretcher frame. But if you don’t want to spend the money on a stretcher and are not planning a detailed design, this easy dye method can yield beautiful results as well.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi continues her experiment using an antique trading card for quilt inspiration!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
See how to make a tiny scrap fabric dress decoration inspired by the book DIY Art at Home.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Great gifts for Dad for Father's Day or any other day. Do you stitch for Father's Day? Vote in the poll and let us know.

Crafty Princess Diaries
To give her hands a little bit of a break, Tammy is checking out the possibilities of loom knitting.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi debuts her project for the a special Canadian workshop at CHA.

Aileen's Musings
Aileen tells you how she created a inexpensive fabulously fun outdoor chandelier for her porch from a hanging wire candle holder.

About Family Crafts
Check out several Summer themed beaded safety pin patterns can be use to make fun jewelry to wear to celebrate summer and they also make great gifts!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to make a mini dress decoration inspired by the book DIY Art at Home by Lola Gavarry

Today's subtitle is "No scrap left behind" because that is what the primary ingredient is-the tiny little scraps of fabric I save.
Pretty cute little dress, hu?
This page from DIY Art at Home: 28 Simple Projects for Chic Decor on the Cheep with big wall dress decorations was my inspiration. Maybe some day I can make some big wall art like this but for now tiny it is.

How I made my tiny dress scrap fabric wall art:

I sketched a little dress silhouette on the back side of sticky back paper and then cut it out.
Then all I did was cut strips of fabric in varying widths and lay them onto the sticky side of the paper touching edge to edge.
This is what it looked like with all the strips of fabric on from the back side. All that was left to do was trim off the excess fabric.
On the right you can see my first mini dress. It was a bit small for my wire hanger so I mad a slightly bigger mini dress. I do have to say it makes me want to make a full size dress just using horizontal strips of scrap fabric!

More about the book from Watson-Guptill Publications:

DIY Art at Home: 28 Simple Projects for Chic Decor on the Cheep
By
Lola Gavarry

DIY Art at Home shows how easy it is to create modern masterpieces by using a few simple art supplies and the full-size templates that are also included. The book begins with The Practical Studio, which outlines the materials and tips that you'll need to get started. The five chapters that follow--Living Room Spirit, Kitchen Inspirations, Bedroom Influences, Office D├ęcor, and Sweet Expressions--offer 28 fresh, beautiful, step-by-step projects for every room, all with a clean, modern aesthetic that will complement virtually every style of decorating.

Lola Gavarry is a designer who creates artwork for residential clients throughout France. Hiroko Mori is a commercial photographer based in Paris.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chicken with its head cut off illustration and crafty links

This was one of my favorite t-shirt spottings from Maker Faire (not to mention plaid). So that's your giggle du jour. Now onto linky-love:

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there are two chances to score yourself copies of cooking and crafting books just by leaving a comment, a free eyeglass box template, along with a "ransom type" quote embellished mirror, step-by-step comic drawing and inside peeks into Astounding Knits! in honor of World Wide Knitting Day (this past Saturday).

Aileen's Musings
Aileen offers you a printable Dad banner for you to download and make for the dad in your life!

Beading Arts
Copper tubing makes wonderful copper beads!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a tutorial for the Crafter's Companion this week.

Craft Buds
Need to whip up a Father's Day gift? Craft Buds has a roundup of free sewing patterns for Father's Day, including a tie, an ebook reader cover and an interesting hat.

Crafty Princess Diaries
And the knitting goes on as Tammy graduates to smaller knitting needles.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Fans of variegated flosses and newbies will both find helpful information in these tips for using it. Also, be sure to vote in the poll!

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Here’s a cute idea for personalized ceramic wedding favors. If you don’t want to buy the dye sublimation equipment yourself, find someone who already has it.

Lindsay Sews
A creative way to wrap up a tie for the man in your life on Father's Day, with no wrapping paper involved!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
An interview with Jema "Emilly Ladybird" Hewitt, author of Steampunk Emporium along with a fun gear and Swarovski crystal earring project.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview with Jema "Emilly Ladybird" Hewitt, author of Steampunk Emporium

Today I have not only a fun project to share with you I have an interview with the author of the book the project is from! But wait there's more! If you want to win a copy of the book pop on over to Recycled Crafts at CraftGossip.com to enter to win your very own copy of Steampunk Emporium: Creating Fantastical Jewelry, Devices and Oddments from Assorted Cogs, Gears and Curios.
The cute little gear earrings in the top photo were so much fun to make! And talk about easy! It's one of those instant satisfaction kind of projects. All I did was grab two gears and a hand-full of of Swarovski crystals in assorted sizes and shapes and followed the great directions in Steampunk Emporium and I had a fun pair of Steampunk Gear earrings!

Now onto the interview with Jema "Emilly Ladybird" Hewitt.

How did you first find out about the Steampunk look?

"I trained as a costume designer and always loved the late Victorian bustle era, so I started making my own slightly odd versions of Victorian clothes for dressing up and having tea in, I loved the "almost historical" look of films like Dune and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but it wasn't until I read "The Difference Engine" I realised that a genre name had been invented! I suppose I started to notice the altered steampunk Victorian things creeping into books, films and art more and more over the years and thought wow this is so cool! I want to be more involved."

Have you always crafted and designed or did you start so that you could make Steampunk style things?

"I have always been a crafter, even as a small child I was always sewing, gluing or painting something!Although I did well academically at school I realised that I loved designing and making too much not to do it full time, even if that meant a deeply precarious career. I went to college and university to study theatrical design, and met lots of other wonderful creative people in those early years. The great thing is because we shared interests and admired a similar design ethos lots of them have been quietly creating steampunk style art too over the years, and now we are getting back in touch and going "wow" at each other!"

What did you find to be the most fun part of writing Steampunk Emporium?

"I loved thinking up the themes and the characters, imagining all the gadgets and accessories they might want and then working out what those things might look like. The character photography was great fun too, I got the models in my studio, they had fun trying on different looks for the characters then laughed at me as I snapped away, saying "oh no! there's a dinosaur, look scared, oh no actually look totally unconcerened because you haven't seen him yet..." we had a real fun time doing that, then Julian worked to my brief putting the backgrounds in and aging the pictures till the characters came to life! The models are all real steampunk people too, they weren't just hired for the day, they love steampunk too!"

What is your favorite Steampunk object to make?

"My favourite is making my weird gadgets in pocket watch cases, every single one is a totally unique piece of art, and there's lots of scope for modelling,sculpting and using mixed media in those pieces too which I enjoy. I'm a real experimenter, always trying out new materials and pushing things to their limits. I've got into resin in a big way recently so I'm going to have to think of some ways of combining that with my old favourite polymer clay. I like thinking about the functions of each gadget, what the parts might do, how pieces could move or be read in an imaginary situation."

Since most projects use recycled materials do you ever find it hard to use an object you only have one of in a design?

"Oh goodness yes, especially as most of my work is for sale, I have real problems sometimes letting an object go, it can take weeks for me to put a favourite bit into a piece, but it will just keep coming back to me that it's the perfect thing so I'll give in, then I see it being worn by a new owner who obviously adores it, and I think, I'm glad I used that, it's time it had new adventures with a new owner! It's also what makes steampunk so special I think, the importance of handmade one of a kind objects. I know you can buy mass produced "steampunk style" finished pieces of clothing or jewellery now, but to me that's kind of missing the point, as well as expensive..."

What is next on your "to try" list?

"Well, only today I have been playing with fantasy film and "dip it" film, experimenting with making tiny absinthe fairy wings. I'm going to be making more steampunk style tiaras, I want to play with more moving pieces too, gogs and gears that turn and do stuff. When I started writing the book there was hardly any steampunk specific supplies available, for example I had to beg manufacturers to design stamps for me in cog shapes! but now there's so much steampunk style components and tools to play with, I want to have it all! I would love love love to own a sissex big shot and all the tim holtz cutters and textures, mmmmmm."

What is your favorite swear word? (taken from Ravelry)

"lol! I try very hard not to swear too much, but I do say "pants" a lot, (as in the english "knickers"). I got that one from my friend the fantasy artist Jon Hodgson when we were at college. I'm quite a calm person so I don't often feel the need to swear, but if I mess up with the resin or run out of a certain type of bead then I will let a cross "Oh Pants!!!" fly."

What music is your favorite to have on while creating?

"I love electro swing, so when I'm working on the dining table I'll often have a mix of that with classical and blues too. My husband works from home so I usually let him sort the music out, we have similar taste in the main so that's OK. In my studio I listen to radio four pretty much exclusivly, for which most of my friends mock me. I like hearing peoples voices around, without being expected to answer, I get very focused when I'm working and can't form sentences to chat. Working alone can be lonely at times but radio four is always full of interesting educational programs, and plays and stories, I'm always learning something new! Oh dear, I sound like a crazy lady!"

What books are you currently engrossed in?

"I mainly read novels and historical reference books, and I read voraciously, often two or three books at a time, so my current bedside books are... "Cake and Ale" a history of victorian food and eating habits. "Heartstone" by CJ Sansom, a tudor thriller, and Philip Reeves "Mothstorm" which is a riproaring childrens steampunk adventure. My copy of "The Steampunk Bible" just arrived, (in which i'm a featured artist), so i'll be reading that next and I'm hoping to get "Android Karenina" for my birthday..."

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your answers to my questions!

I hope all you Sweater Surgery readers enjoyed the answers as much as I did!

More about Steampunk Emporium: Creating Fantastical Jewelry, Devices and Oddments from Assorted Cogs, Gears and Curios from the publisher North Light Books:

The steampunk genre takes Victorian charm and steam-powered machinery parts and combines that with modern day elements and technology. In Steampunk Emporium, you are introduced to the rich charm and harrowing adventures of the steampunk world. Follow along with author Jema "Miss Emilly Ladybird" Hewitt as she guides you through several beginning-level jewelry techniques (basic wire wraps, using basic findings and so on) as well as some basic work with polymer clay, resin, shrink plastic and other mixed-media techniques. She then takes you on a jaunt through 20 projects divided between five themed chapters, each its own fantastical story. Projects range from decadent jewelry, medals of great distinction, wine charms for imbibers, and many devices of note, all featuring authentic steampunk style and whimsy.

Jema Hewitt is a freelance craft writer, as well as a costume and jewelry designer. She has written articles for both ?Making Jewellery Magazine? and also ?Craft Stamper? on many projects in the steampunk genre. Jema has been at the forefront of the UK steampunk movement for several years and her alter ego, ?Emilly Ladybird?, has a large social media following. She is a regular lecturer and workshop leader in the UK and has written two books on beading and jewelry making with New Holland and has two best-selling DVDs on tiara making (Rainbow Disks).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wire hanger sculpture and crafty links

Watched a fun movie this weekend and this was a wire hanger sculpture featured in a shot. Can you guess what movie I saw?

Makes me want to make one too.

I was going to go for a cheesy "hangin' joke" here but couldn't quite come up with one right now so I guess I'll just move on to the crafty crafty links!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tips on fixing pressing errors, how to write a book proposal interview with Jennifer Worick, 2 free heart clip art images, a fun recycled rebus affirmation project and info on two events with author of Painted Pages, Sarah Ahearn.

Regarding Design
A Q & A with Jay Calderin, author of Fashion Design Essentials.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi explores how to combine soy silk fusion with other backgrounds!

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Come along for a virtual visit to Caracas, Venezuela, where artist Patty Sucre decoupages and sells beautifully-crafted trays, boxes and other wooden items. Que maravillosos!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
I share my experimentation with fabric circle pom poms and paint stick stamping, two of the techniques in the book Sharing Stitches.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Connie's free Musical Notes Collection will be the perfect pattern to use for a project to give to a musically-inclined person.

About Family Crafts
Drop by and participate in the current make-it-over craft challenge. What can you create using duct tape?

Aileen's Musings
Heads up all you Steampunk art lovers out there: Aileen is celebrating her husband's art being published in the 1000 Steampunk Creations book that was just released! Stop by and find all the ways you can enter.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Here is a great tip for adding embellishments to summer t-shirts.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Listen up to Tammy's recent interview on FaveCrafts Radio.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Circles of fabric pom poms and paint stick stamping, two techniques from the book Sharing Stitches

Do like to experiment with new techniques even when you don't have a specific project in mind? Well, that's what I have to share with you today. I tried reverse paint stick stamping on fabric and making little fabric circle pom poms both from the book Sharing Stitches: Exchanging Fabric and Inspiration to Sew One-of-a-Kind Projects.


I loved the idea of using my stamps on fabric by rubbing with fabric paint sticks. I used Pentel Arts Fabric Fun Pastel Dye Sticks. Worked like a charm with one exception, this technique doesn't work with word stamps as the image stays in reverse!
The next technique I tried from Sharing Stitches: Exchanging Fabric and Inspiration to Sew One-of-a-Kind Projects was the fabric circle embellishment. In Sharing Stitches these little elements are used to make earrings but I kind of like how it looks as a 3-d pom pom.
There is so much more fun to try in Sharing Stitches: Exchanging Fabric and Inspiration to Sew One-of-a-Kind Projects!

More about the book from the publisher, North Light Books:

Sharing Stitches: Exchanging Fabric and Inspiration to Sew One-of-a-Kind Projects
by
Chrissie Grace

Swap Stitch Share

Join Chrissie Grace and 15 talented artists as they exchange fabrics, collaborate on an art quilt and swap plenty of inspiration on the pages of Sharing Stitches. Stitch by stitch, Chrissie shows you how to create colorful and eclectic projects as unique as the group that sews them, including a patchwork pullover, a lace-embellished headband, a large-scale collaborative quilt and a round robin journal.

Inside Sharing Stitches, you’ll find:

· 22 step-by-step projects designed specifically for swaps and collaborations

· Tips on swapping fabric, as well as hosting and participating in smoothly run collaborations

· Projects and gallery pieces from your favorite artists, including Claudine Hellmuth, Liz Lamoreux, Ruth Rae and more!

Break out your sewing machine, round up your friends and start sewing!

Chrissie Grace is the author of Wild Tiles (North Light, 2006) and Tiles Gone Wild (North Light, 2008). In addition to honing her skills as an accomplished mosaic artist, Chrissie has recently embarked on licensing and is currently creating designs in stationery and wall d?cor. She has had passion for fabric for years and enjoys sewing for herself and family in her free time.
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