Sunday, June 27, 2010

new for the shop...maybe?

8 x 10 3D Paper Froggie

Hey, guys, need your feedback. In the midst of coming up with the 3D Paper Owl tutorial for STML recently, I got a bit over excited and developed some other paper cuts (like the froggie one above) that I had to set aside when I realized they were a little too complex for kids to do.

Soooo...since they are mostly designed anyway, I thought I might finish the tutorials, starting with the frog, and make them available as PDF downloads in my shop, if there was some interest out there. Among the other designs are a fox in the woods (the third one in the woods series to complement the owl and frog), a leaf collection, and a bug collection. What do you think?

The tutorials would leave as little chance of error as possible for novice paper cutters while still having a nice depth and complexity. Like the 3D owl, you would print all needed pieces onto colored cardstock, cut out on the lines and assemble them according to a detailed photographed set of instructions and guidelines. All materials needed are readily available at your local craft shop.

You can also frame the end result, if desired. Here it is mounted in a 11 x 14 inch shadow box. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

blog revamp

Blogger has come out with some great new templates and a cool new interface to edit the design. Thanks, Blogger! So I took the opportunity to spruce up the ol' blog around here. If you are looking for the old list of tutes and printables in the sidebar, they are now located at the top in the tab row just under the header, along with two new pages, a gallery and faq.

If there is a question you frequently wonder and it is missing from the FAQ let me know! I'll certainly attempt to answer it and I may add it to the FAQ.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

trouser jeans to shorts

These are some former trouser jeans of mine that had turned into high waters. Over time, so many of my jeans have gotten too short in the wash. I've since learned (thanks, Paula!) how to avoid this, mostly: Don't ever dry jeans in the machine, only hang them to dry (yes, very obvious but wait for it:) then AFTER they are dry, put them in the dryer to become wrinkle free and soft.

So, as I was saying, since these were unwearable anyhow, I cut them off into long shorts using the original hem to make them look more finished. This worked fine because the hem at the bottom was as wide or wider than the leg at the knee. If your hem is not flared, you may not have enough original hem to attach to the leg. Be sure to check this first before you do anything crazy.

First step is to try them on. Mark the length you want them to be when finished. Take them off, lay them flat, and subtract the width of the original hem at the bottom of the leg. Then add .25 inch. Make a mark at this new measurement on both legs and cut those babies off.

Also cut off both hems from the bottom of the legs. Make sure you leave some extra fabric above the hem.

Good idea to use a heavy needle in your machine and also jean thread, which is slightly thicker and stronger than regular thread.

Turn your hem pieces inside out and trim them down so there is about .25 inches of fabric above the hem.

Pin them on right sides facing and with raw edges even. If the hem is too wide for the leg, snip it open at the inside seam and overlap it.

Sew right next to the hem all the way around the leg and finish the raw edges by overlocking or zig zagging them.

This is what it looks like after sewing and overlocking, but before pressing. You'll definitely want to press it well with a hot iron so the new seam lays nice and flat. You could also topstitch around it about 1/8" above the hem, catching the seam allowance underneath to add a finishing touch (I was too lazy).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

make 3D owl art

This is a reprint of the guest post I did for Skip To My Lou's Craft Camp. Enjoy!

Hey, Craft Campers! I'm delighted to participate in this summer kid-craft lineup.

This 3D paper owl art project is for you and your crafty older kids, say around 11-ish years and up, who can wield a pair of scissors, handle smallish pieces and follow placement instructions carefully. Finished size of the art project is 8 x 10 inches.

Moms: You can definitely young this down by cutting out the shapes for younger kids, and skipping the pop dots and folding. Just cut off the folded flaps. You could also make just the owl and skip the whole background, and it will still be plenty o' fun!

Alrighty young crafters, here's what you will need to make the nighttime owl pictured above:
  • my PDF download with all the pattern pieces (get it here)
  • printer
  • ruler
  • clear tape
  • butter knife for scoring
  • 8.5 x 11 piece of poster board (you can cut one from a larger piece)
  • 8.5 x 11 inch heavy scrapbooking paper in the following colors: orange, brown, dark teal, black, light brown, red, and yellow. (if you want to make a daytime owl, see note at the end)
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • gel paper glue for the small pieces
  • 1 inch circle punch and 5/8 inch circle punch (see templates on the first page of the PDF file if you don't have a punch)
  • 1/2 inch diameter (1/8 in. thick) round pop dots
  • white or gray colored pencil
  • bold sense of crafting adventure
Got all that together? Let's make some mad paper art.

Step 1: Print out the pattern pieces!

Make a test print of the first page on regular paper and measure the guide box with a ruler to be sure you are printing at the correct size.

Once you are sure the scaling is good, follow the instructions on each page to print them on different colors of paper. You won't be printing on your yellow paper. NOTE: some will be printed on the front and some on the back of the page! If your paper is not textured and looks the same on both sides, don't bother with this.

Step 2: Score all your folds.

(the hand that would be holding the ruler was taking the picture, but you get the idea.)

There are three folds to score, two on the brown paper and one on the orange paper. Line up your ruler against the dotted line, and firmly score along the line using your butter knife. Do this a couple of times. This is making a nice dent in the paper so that when you bend the paper your fold will be easy and clean.

Step 3: Cut out one each of your pattern pieces with scissors.
Some of the pages will have duplicate pattern pieces, but these are extras just in case you mess up. When it comes to cutting, slow and steady wins the race. Here are some cutting tips for you:

  • Rough cut shapes away from the rest of the page first. Then cut them out on the lines.
  • Don't try to cut the whole shape in one continuous direction. Cut it in stages and from different directions to make it easier.
  • Cut inward-facing angles first from one side to the point, then from the other side to the point, and let the pointed piece fall out.
  • Turn your paper in your hand as you cut curves.
  • Remember it doesn't have to be perfect to look awesome!
Step 4: Punch out some circles.

Using a 1 inch punch, make three yellow circles. Using a 5/8 inch (or 1/2 inch) punch, make two black circles. Set them aside with the rest of the pieces.

If you don't have circle punches, use a compass or you can print the templates provided on the first page of the PDF file.

Step 5: Put the background together.

Use the glue stick on the back (the side with the lines) of the 8 x 10 inch dark teal piece. Get glue on all the edges and then zig zag it down the middle. Now place it on the letter sized piece of posterboard. It will probably stick better on the non-shiny side of the posterboard. Don't worry about lining it up with the edges, you'll be trimming the extra off. After you smooth it down, trim the extra poster board off the edges.

Use the glue stick on the back of the large black piece (the side without the oval on it). Carefully line it up with the left, top and bottom edges. Smooth it down.

Step 6: Put the owl together.

Hard to see here, but the guidelines will be showing on the red.

Use the glue stick on the back of the red oval (the side with no lines). Line it up with the oval guideline on the black piece and smooth it down. (Hopefully even though this is black paper you will still be able to see the guideline on the black like I can.)

Put two single pop dots on the back of the orange wing where shown. Line up the wing with the guideline on the red oval and stick it down. Ooh. It's 3D.

Cut a pop dot into quarters with scissors. Yep, that is small, but you don't want the pop dot to show from behind the beak. Put one tiny pop dot piece on the back of the black beak and place the beak on the light brown ruff using the guideline.

Use gel glue (less is more) on the black circles and place them in the center of two of the yellow circles. Now you have two owl eyes! Wait a minute or two for the gel to dry.

Place one pop dot in the middle of the back of both eyes. Stick them down over the guidelines on the light brown ruff piece.

Flip over the light brown ruff and put two single pop dots on the back. Place it on the red oval on the guidelines.

Now for the triangular orange...ears. Or whatever they actually are. Anyway, they look like ears. Fold the scored flap toward the pop dot side. Place two double pop dots where shown by the guide (double means two that are stacked together).

Flip it over and place it on the owl's head, centered with the beak and lined up with the remaining guideline. Man! Your owl looks wicked fierce. Make some hooing noises. You know you want to.

Step 7: Put the tree trunk together.

Flip your tree trunk pieces over to the blank side. Now, summon up your artistic muse and use a white or gray colored pencil to create bark lines all down the tree trunk. Curve them around the knot hole. Groovy. Very tree-like.

Fold the scored flaps toward the back and crease them. Unfold them.

Lay the left tree trunk bark side down, lined up to the left edge of the background. Tape it where the edges meet.

Place a stack of four pop dots on each place indicated.

Crease your flap again, then fold the whole piece carefully over and stick it down over the owl, making sure your fold is at right angles. Don't push it firmly down until you are sure the side is straight up and down.

Now repeat those steps for the other side, except this time line the right tree trunk up to the edge of the black paper on the right (NOT the edge of the art). Tape it where the edges meet. Place a stack of four pop dots on each place indicated.

Fold it over and stick it down over the owl, making sure your fold is at right angles before you press it down. The tree pieces should overlap slightly and hide the bottom of the owl. Voila! You are almost done!

Step 8: Put the moon and trees on.

Trim off 1/4 inch of the side of the remaining yellow circle. Put a pop dot on the back. Place it about an inch down from the top on the teal background, with the cut side against the tree trunk.

Put pop dots on the back of the black trees piece, three or four singles should do it. Place it lined up against the bottom edge and against the tree trunk.

Your awesome piece of 3D paper art is done! Step back and admire it. Whoooo's a paper artist? You are, that's who!

Want to do it again? Here are more options:

  • Try it again using light blue paper for the sky and green for the small trees to make it seem like day-time! Add rays to the moon to make it a sun. Maybe add a cloud or two. You could make the owl's eyes closed by layering a semi-circle on top of a circle. Owls like to sleep during the day! (Hmm. Kind of like kids who are out of school.)
  • Try making just the owl in different colors as decorations for your room.
  • Use your leftover paper pieces to create more paper art of your own design or recycle them.
  • Your finished owl art can be displayed in an 8 x 10 shadowbox frame or by itself.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

last minute father's day cards

Last minute. Seemingly the only way I function. I was inspired to make these by this more timely post from June Craft (via The Crafty Crow). She even has a template you can download and directions to make her card if Father's Day has snuck up on you this afternoon. For my version I used patterned cardstock and added a collar.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I couldn't not post this

sorry about photo quality -- think it was on a phone

Remember this tiny guy? He's a little older now. His mommy (who's also my niece), Erin, posted this photo and these words recently to me on FB:
Larissa, Tucker LOVES his monkey. He always stares at it on his shelf when he wakes up from his nap, and when he plays in his room. The other day I thought I'd get it down for him, and he is obsessed. He will play with him for hours. I think he loves the long arms, legs, and tail. If fact, he loves him so much, that is the only thing that he will attempt roll over to get.:-)

This of course makes me want to make him about twenty more monkeys. I do love me that little dimpled boy. Despite the Auburn onesie. (Roll Tide!)

photo by Bryan Griffin

Here's Tucker's whole pretty family. Hey, Erin, Tucker needs five more sisters and brothers!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

my really cool Saturday

The finished product from the workshop I attended! Made from two thrifted men's T-shirts and some elastic thread.

And here's the workshop teacher, Dana Willard, of the delightful blog MADE, with yours truly at Whipstitch in mid-town Atlanta. Could she be any friendlier? Uh uh. No way. Not possible.

Me and Mod Podge Maven, Amy Anderson. Just one of the many lovely and creative women I met on Saturday. If you want to use Mod Podge, Amy will show you 1001 ways on her aptly named blog, Mod Podge Rocks. Awesome T-shirt, by the way, Amy. Where'd you get it?

Here is the workshop area as the action unfolded. Can't you just hear all the right-brains buzzing and whirring? Dana gave us all a roll of elastic thread, a grab-bag filled with some great fabric pieces and notions, and a Challenge: come up with something fabulous in the next two hours using the technique du jour: shirring.

After some nervous deliberation, I forsook the pretty green woven cotton in my bag and stepped outside of my comfort zone. I chose to whack up a couple of the thrifted T-shirts they provided and try a babydoll shirt for my girls. I did it so I could finally get over my fear of knits while in the company of someone who could walk me through the process so ably (and nicely!). I also learned a brand new skill for me: sewing with elastic thread! So it was quite a productive afternoon. I would have been happy just to soak up the atmosphere, so, you know, bonus.

I got most of the shirring done while I was at the workshop, but I ran out of time. I finished sewing it this afternoon and took a few pictures. Incidentally, does anyone else have to bribe their children with watermelon Mentos to get them to model?

Whipstitch is a great little fabric shop, so I'm glad I had a convenient excuse to drive up to it. They also have an online store at etsy if you want to check it out. I took some time before and after the workshop to browse through their delicious fabrics. I had to have this beautiful red/yellow/turquoise madras (above) and also finally succumbed to the siren song of the latest Stitch mag. The rest of the items you see there are swag we received as part of the class.

Dana brought a bunch of her cute creations so we could look at them in person. It was great to see them up close. I was very inspired to make more Dana-ish things!

Memorable workshop moments:
  • The sudden downpour as I parked the car and got out to retrieve my sewing machine from the back. Hence the hair in the photos. Sigh. It's also 400 degrees here with 99% humidity so that helps a lot.
  • Hearing the excitement all round when all of a sudden the scary elastic thread started to produce pretty shirring on our projects.
  • The embarrassing wheezing/squeaking noises emanating from my machine the whole time I was shirring. I'm so sorry, Tiffany and Varinia! You nice gals who had to sit next to me. I don't know what the deal was. My poor hooptie machine. I don't think it liked the elastic thread on the bobbin.
  • Meeting Robyn and Amy who actually read my blog. How cool is that? And Robyn, Robyn wanted to give you props for spelling your name the cool way.
  • The nice commercial for Canon DSLR cameras as we stacked up about ten of them when it came time to get a group shot. We ladies do love our cameras.
  • Dana pausing to take a still shot of my green shoes. There's a girl after my own shoe fetish. (For those of you who have asked, they are Miz Mooz Devi mary janes. I bought them online, but not sure about availability. Google search, baby!)
  • Receiving a swag bag and gift certificate to Whipstitch, as well as a free pattern from Dana! Thanks so much WS and Dana! Yesssss! (pumping fist)
  • Leaving the shop and watching part of my sewing machine (the part holding all the tiny accessories of course) spill to the sidewalk because of the awkward way I was holding the machine. Nice. Always love making a memorable exit. After arriving home I clued into the most obvious thing. My machine actually has a perfectly good built-in CARRYING HANDLE. (slapping head) One day I will be cool. I just know it.