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21  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Birthday Book on: October 05, 2013 02:38:14 PM
My neighbor's son is having a birthday this weekend. A couple weeks back, I painted 4" x 4" with sea creatures corresponding with the letters in his name. And then I was stuck... what should I turn them into??

I posted them in art and got some great advice, ideas and encouragement from Craftster friends about what they could become. With their help, I made this book!

It's an accordion book with cardboard covers that I glued dictionary pages to. I painted a watercolor and acrylic background to look bubbly and then painted a number 2 over it since it's his second b-day.

I mounted each of the paintings onto card stock that I had painted a black checked border on. I mounted that on a bright colored construction paper for an extra pop and glued them to the accordion pages.

Craftster members encouraged me to make it in a way that it could be displayed so the accordion style works well. If he wants (or if Mom wants), it can be pulled out and put on a shelf or table.

I'll be delivering it later today. I sure hope he likes it!!
22   / MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Quarterly Featured Artist - thisbirdsabsurd!! on: October 03, 2013 07:28:22 PM
A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word!! Congratulations to our latest featured artist in the Miscellaneous category, thisbirdsabsurd!! I've long admired her work in swap galleries, Toys, Poly Clay and of course our little Miscellaneous corner of Craftster Smiley. I'm thrilled to recognize her talents and learn more about her crafty history and inspiration. Read her fun interview below - enjoy!!  

Fish Wind Chimes

How long have you been crafting? What's the first thing you remember crafting?
I've been crafting for as long as I can remember.  I have such great memories of sitting around the kitchen table learning how to do block printing with my mom, making Valentines with my grandmother, learning to embroider and make Christmas ornaments - all before I was seven years old. I think I was pretty lucky to grow up in an artistic family.

Tired Old Elf

What's your favorite media to work with?
This is a tricky question, in fact, I may not have even discovered my favorite medium yet!  I have a little bit of crafty ADD going on, always thinking of a new technique I want to try, but I'll say probably anything that includes fabric, (I am a self proclaimed fabric-aholic) and love to come up with new ideas for soft sculpture type projects.  I love to draw and paint too so I like to incorporate that into these creations.

Chicken Spoon

What inspires you?
Everything inspires me!!  I have to carry a notebook with me because I never know when I might have a light bulb moment.  I even have a notebook by my bed because ideas have a tricky way of sneaking up on me as I'm drifting off to sleep and I will TOTALLY forget what they were if I don't write them down. (They don't always make sense when I wake up in the morning, but once in a while it's something awesome.)  And of course, all the amazing Craftsters have been a HUGE inspiration to me - I don't even know what I did before I discovered this place!

Fish Wind Chimes

Do you have a creative philosophy?
My creative philosophy is - have no fear.  If you want to try something new- do it!  Don't ever tell yourself you can't.  Sometimes it'll be a complete and total failure, sometimes it'll be a masterpiece.  I am still a miserable knitter, but every year or so I pick up the needles and give it one more try.  Someday I plan on doing something more ambitious than a scarf.

OH MY! Sewing Kit

What's your favorite creation you've posted on Craftster?
I have trouble remembering everything I've posted on Craftster - but two that come to mind are my Gashlycrumb reaper doll and my chocolate cupcake Altoid tin.

What's your favorite item on Craftster created by someone else?
Okay, now this is a TOTALLY unfair question! I am so blown away by some of the work on here - how can I even begin to pick a favorite???  But once again, a few that come to mind are cackle's Baba Yaga house, Racky's grinning Halloween cat and Janesays13's fair isle gnome hat (because I am envious of all knitters!)  . But really, I see things on Craftster every week that truly amaze me- I could never pick just one!

Bird Mobile

Your username is so fun! Tell us how you came up with that.
Well, I will reluctantly tell you that I am the neighborhood bird lady - haha!  I have several parrots and I'm the one that gets the knock on the door to rescue a hawk in the house or the baby crow in the street or the hummingbird who's wings are glued together with tree sap. (Yes, all those things happened.)  My friends and family poke fun at me about it, so when it came time to come up with a "brand name", "thisbirdsabsurd" just seemed to fit the bill.  

Thanks, thisbridsabsurd! We can't wait to see what you come up with next!
23  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Happy Puppies Painting on: September 23, 2013 08:10:45 PM
I created this little painting for Onyxnox inspired by some artwork she had pinned and her sweet and beautiful doggies. One of her fur babies passed away so I represented him flying happily above the earth teasing the swallows and waving hi to his puppy siblings Smiley.

I was very nervous about this since I'm not a painter (and it shows!!) but I had a lot of fun creating it. I'm a dog owner and lover so the theme was special to me too.

Most importantly, Onyxnox liked it Smiley.
24  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / ATC Folio Tutorial on: September 22, 2013 09:08:02 PM
I've long admired the mini masterpieces I've seen done on Artist's Trading Cards (ATCs). They prove that good things can come in small packages!! I haven't made any myself but since I've been having so much fun with other paper crafts and painting lately, I figure it's time to take the plunge.

If I'm going to create, collect and trade ATCs, I'll need a place to keep them! That's where this folio comes in. It was so quick and easy to make, I want to craft up a dozen more! I'm actually a little afraid that I'm going to have hundreds of ATC folios and no cards to fill them with Smiley!

Step 1: Gather up your supplies
- Brown packaging paper
- 2 postcards or pieces of card stock (these will be your covers)
- Glue
- Scissors
- Ruler
- Ribbon
- Sewing machine (optional)

Step 2: Cut
Trim both post cards (or whatever you'll be using for your covers) to 3.5" x 4.5" and set them aside.

Cut a piece of brown packing paper 5"x25". This size will give you 6 pockets in your folio. If you want more than that, add 8" to the length. For example, if you want 8 pockets, cut a piece of paper 5"x33".

Step 3: Score and Fold
Score the length of the paper in two places - the first at 1/2" in and the second at 2" in from the right side.

Fold the 1/2" side under at the scored edge and then the 2" scored edge. Make sure your folds are as crisp as possible!

Step 4: Secure the 1/2" fold
Secure the 1/2" fold down by either gluing it or using a sewing machine for an extra detail. This is just like hiding a raw edge when sewing!<br />

Remember, you're making a pocket so don't accidentally sew or glue the 1/2" seam to the other side of the paper strip.

Step 5: Score and Fold - Accordion Style
To make the pages of the folio, you'll need to score and fold your paper at regular intervals.

Score and fold each end (the short sides) 1/2" under. This will just give you a nice edge on the first and last page.

Starting from the first 1/2" fold, measure a distance of 4" and score. From that score mark, measure another 4" and score again. Repeat this a total of 5 times (more if you added length for additional pockets).

Once all marks are scored, fold the paper accordion style.

Step 6: Glue the First and Last Pages to the Covers
Before gluing, double-check that your cover pages are facing the direction you want them. I had to rip and re-glue my back page because I wasn't paying attention Smiley.

Glue the backs of the first and last pages to the inside of your cover pages. I used a quick drying craft glue but glue dots or double-sided tape would also work well.

Step 6: Fill it
You're nearly done! Now you just have to fill it with miniature art! The pages of my folio are currently filled with blank canvases but I hope to have some colorful ATCs in it soon.

Step 7: Wrap it Up
To keep your folio secure and compact, you can simply tie a ribbon or piece of twine around it like you're wrapping up a present.

You can also make a simple band to slide over it, like this one! If you do make a band, be sure to measure it a bit longer than what's needed to cover an empty folio. You'll want to leave a little extra room so the band will still fit once your folio is crammed with ATCs!

If I subtract the time I spent working out the measurements and the time I spent running around the house trying to find decent light for photography on a rainy day, this folio only took about 30 minutes to make. With different measurements, I could see these being used for business cards, photos, travel memorabilia or even inchie artwork. Oh my gosh, I totally need to make an inchie folio now! Stay tuned for that Smiley.
25  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Name Painting - I need help on next steps! on: September 22, 2013 12:33:38 PM
Craftster friends, I need your help.

Our neighbors have a sweet boy who is turning 2 in a few weeks. For his birthday present I painted 4"x4" squares with a sea creature corresponding to each letter in his name. I had originally thought that I'd bind them into a book (somehow??) but now I'm not sure.

Do you think I should try to figure out a way to mount them together? How might I go about that without paying for an expensive custom frame? What about an accordion style book that could also be used as a display?

You are all so clever! I would love to hear your thoughts or ideas for the best way to finish these mini paintings because I'm STUCK!

J for Jellyfish

O for Octopus

R for Ray

D for Dolphin

A for Anemone

N for Narwhal

26  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Second Spring - Autumn Inspired Hoop on: September 20, 2013 02:24:20 PM
I was so happy to get to swap with Onyxnox recently. "Autumn" was one of the themes she had on her wish list so I did a quick search and found a lovely quote to inspire this hoop.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus

I stamped the words "second spring" onto a piece of linen. I then made the felt leaves and positioned them in a way that they'd look a bit like a flower - just like the quote suggests!

I used wool blended felt, DMC floss and some buttons and beads to embellish the fall leaves.

Three cheers for fall!!
27  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Mountain Ash (Rowan) Berry Jam - Anyone tried it? on: July 30, 2013 08:09:01 PM
We have a large mountain ash tree in our yard. It's lovely and the berries are so bright and red but unfortunately, the tree has to go to make room for a deck.

Before the tree meets it's demise, I wanted to attempt to make jam from the berries for us and for our neighbors.

I've found a few recipes but I'm curious if anyone has tried this jam or jelly before. I understand it might be somewhat common in the UK but I've never tasted it. Many of the recipes and reviews suggest that it's pretty bitter and not very good Smiley.

28  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Simple House Stamps on: July 18, 2013 06:22:32 PM
Hand carved stamps are my absolute favorite craft in the world. I have so much admiration for you master carvers out there!! Unfortunately, it happens to be a craft that I'm nearly incapable of doing!! I haven't entirely given up on learning though. Despite a zillion failed carving projects, I keep trying!!

These little houses fall into the stamp carving 101 category but I like their messy rustic look. I took some in progress shots when making these and I'm sharing them for anyone else looking for a simple introduction into stamp making!

You don't need any fancy tools for these stamps - just something to carve (an eraser works fine), an xacto knife and a pencil!

Start by drawing an "X" at the top of your carving block. This will make your roof line. Then draw two lines down from the "X" to make your walls and a line across the bottom for your floor. The inside of the intersecting lines is your future house!

Next, trace the lines you just drew with your xacto knife pressing into your carving block about 1/8 of an inch.

Now you'll turn your block on it's side and insert your xacto knife about 1/8 of an inch into the block and slowly pull down.

Since you already cut around the outline, this last slice will cause the area surrounding your house to fall right off.

Do this same thing around all of the sides! When you get to the roof, turn your block on the diagonal and slice that way.

You'll now have your simple house shape cut out! You can start stamping now or you can add doors or windows.

To add small details likes doors or windows, draw an outline of where you want them and then insert your xacto on an angle following the lines.<br />

Cutting at this angle will result in a pyramid shaped piece of your block popping right out! See the little teeny pyramid cut out?

And that's all there is to it!! This little guy took me about 3 minutes of actual working time. I experimented with different shapes and sizes so that I could stamp an entire neighborhood of homes!

We recently had some new neighbors move in across the street. I made a little card with my house stamps that we'll be delivering to them with a bottle of wine and a friendly note. I stitched the card to a piece of burlap for an extra detail.

We also have our neighborhood block party coming up! I'm not sure what I'm going to make but I was thinking that fresh baked cookies would look cute in these stamped fry containers with a little parchment.

These stamps are simple and imperfect but I like them just the same!

Update! I used these stamps on fabric and made a little boxy pouch. I used Staz On permanent ink.

29  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Scrappy Socks on: July 17, 2013 04:33:41 PM
I made these scrappy socks for the fun and funky, alteredmommy. They were inspired by similar projects that lapoli used to make. 

I have roughly a zillion little balls of Cascade 220 left over from other projects in my yarn hoard. This was the perfect project to use them up!

Someone mentioned that you could actually make a set of 3 of these since they are already mismatched! I wish I had thought of that. Maybe alteredmommy will receive a random scrappy sock in the mail one of these days Smiley.

I used a simple worsted weight bootie sock pattern that can be found here... http://www.kraemeryarns.com/patterns/.
30  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Wild Flower Seed Ornaments w/Tute on: April 14, 2013 05:36:46 PM
I'm seeing signs of spring all over in Seattle - even through a crazy hail storm and downpour we had yesterday Smiley. I made a bunch of these seed packet ornaments to give as a Spring celebration gift to friends and neighbors!

These are really easy to make and can be customized to your taste or the supplies you have on hand.

I used the following supplies:

- Wild flower seed mix
- Book pages
- Card stock
- Spring stamps + ink
- Sewing machine + thread
- Scissors
- Glue
- Hole punch
- Ribbon or twine

Start by cutting your book pages (or paper of your choice) into 2 3.5" squares. Place the two pieces together and head to your sewing machine! With a ~1/4" seam, stitch around the right, bottom and left sides of the pages, leaving the top open.

You'll now have a little paper pocket!

Pinch open the pocket and fill with a couple of small spoonfuls of your wild flower seeds. Don't over fill otherwise closing your pocket will get a bit messy!

Shake all of the seeds to the bottom of the pocket and head back to your sewing machine.

Stitch across the open pocket top being careful to hold the seeds at the bottom so they don't spill out or get in the way of your needle.

The wild flower seeds will now be secure in their pocket and you can start decorating it any way you'd like!

I used a bee stamp and a set of floral stamps to decorate card stock and glue it to the front of the pocket. You could stamp directly on the pocket or decorate with stickers or markers or anything else!

Once you're happy with the design, punch a whole in the top of the seed packet outside of the stitching and run your ribbon or twine through for hanging.

On the back, you'll want to provide some simple directions for planting. I used the instructions on the back of the seed bag I purchased but dummied them down a bit Smiley.

Lastly, give them away!! Try leaving one on your neighbors door, hanging one in the park, delivering one to a coworkers desk or give them away at a spring party! I think they could also make cute and simple wedding favors.

They are super simple to make so you can bang out a whole stack of them in an hour.

Happy spring!!

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