Tag Archives: DIY

The Year for Fabric Arts

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This year I am going to focus on FABRIC. I still crochet when I am watching TV, but I want to improve my applique and quilting skills.

So far this year, I have made an owl – stuffed one mounted on a lovely piece of driftwood I found…

And, today, I finished a pillow I have worked on for some time. The centerpiece is a square from a quilt my grandmother made me over 50 years ago. The quilt got so shabby and well-loved that I, oh-so-carefully, cut it apart to use as craft projects. I found an old chintz flowered fabric for the back, and since I wanted to use a 14 inch pillow form, I used that pansy fabric around the edges of the quilt block too. Each corner of the quilt block is accented with antique lace, made by my great-grandmother, and I added small dragonflies to the corners as well, since I love dragonflies.

I am so pleased with the way it came out. Next time I make my bed (!!) I will show you how it looks with the other pillows I have made. I had so much fun making this though, that I may sabotage the pillows I made before, to create other pillows with yet another family quilt that is too ratty to use anymore.

Below is a closer look at the corners of the quilt square and of the back:

 

I really do love coming up with ideas to use the materials I have on hand – I have a serious problem with letting go of toilet paper rolls, meat trays, tin foil, old pictures, fabric scraps and much more. I honestly thought I was doing better – until I finally admitted that I was still keeping S**T, I was just HIDING it better! ROFL

What’s on your plate (or crochet hook, knitting needles, sewing machine etc.) for this year? Are you going to try any new crafts? Are you going to fine tune some old ones? Share!

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Microcrafts – Book Review

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I love little things. I live in a little house, surrounded by my treasures, and many of them are small things tucked into my bookcases betwixt and between the books, or nestled on tables in whimsical profusion. I even have miniature dachshunds! 🙂 When I had an opportunity to review Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share, I jumped at it! Compiled by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz and Friends, it is a splendid look at the things you can make yourself to give as gifts, or tuck into your own bookcases.

This is one of those books where reading the How to Use This Book section is imperative. It gives you some perspective on how the book was compiled, and how to use the book to get the most out of your creative spirit. 25 projects are given in the book, all with great photos, directions, patterns and even some key tips and tricks. If you have never created in miniature before, you will be both challenged and delighted in the works you can make.

One of the things I enjoyed reading about was the things that are highly adaptable to using with children. Boats, for example, created with shells and leaves, are so reminiscent of my childhood that I can’t wait to share them with Xavier and Xander, my grandsons! The tiny creations called “Candy Charms” are delightful – earrings, necklaces, pins and more can be created with some “blobs of polymer clay…” and items you should have in your craft supplies.

I must admit that my favorite section was the one on Books. I collect miniature books, but none are as small or as clever as the little, tiny treasure books here. I don’t have all my craft supplies unpacked yet, but believe you me, making some of these are at the top of my list. Each item on the list of supplies is delineated carefully and in detail – not just a sheet of scrap paper, but one -1×1-1/8 inch sheet! There are even marvelous instructions on how to miniaturize the project even further to make tiny little earrings to match the necklace project. The actual size of the completed books is a mere 1×1-¼ inch, and the earring books are ¼ of that size! Tiny treasures indeed!

If you are a cat or dog person, there are crafts in this volume for you as well. You can create tiny dogs and cats with felt and fabric scraps – they would be great attached to Christmas presents or made into jewelry. The microtaxidermy made me laugh out loud, and the deer heads are absolutely adorable; the details and instructions make it simple even for those of us not experienced in working with polymer or modeling clay. The whimsical abounds here, and the possibilities are endless. The book has wonderful hints and tips (“Use a toothpick to apply small beads of adhesive to microcrafts without risking a giant glue blob emergency”) and appendix sections include Supplies and Techniques, Ideas for Modifying Microcrafts (adapting the instructions in the book to make the projects into jewelry, mobiles, toys and more.) There is a good column on Resources for various materials, tools and ideas.

Take the time to read the amusing and delightful miniature biographies. They will give you blog, website and contact information, and pictures of the talented designers and crafters who love working with “mini!” And don’t forget to take a look at the photo on the last page! It will make your day – and make you smile. Quirk Books and the compilers have done a terrific job in this book, so if you love creating or collecting tiny things this would be a charming book to add to your bookshelf. ENJOY!

 

Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share

Quirk Books, (quirkbooks.com) Philadelphia

978-59474-521-8 Hardback

 

 

NOTE: Reviewer received no compensation for her review, although a copy of the book was provided for review purposes.

Decorating with Crafts

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Finally settled, more or less, in our new home. I have my finished craftwork displayed where possible, and have a bit more organizing to do in order to set up my work table. There is something uniquely joyous about having my own handiwork around me – not because I think my work is so fabulous, but because they are of my own creation – a bit of me on the wall, so to speak!

Remember the wooden plaque I found hiking in Arizona? It is hanging on the wall now, and is absolutely perfect where I have it. IMHO. It is below a treasured find, a b/w photo of John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, at Yosemite, during the time of the formation of the National Parks system.

Here is a closeup >>>

Such fun, having it on the wall, where I can see it every day!

In my previous life in Rio Vista CA, I collected driftwood, as we lived on the Sacramento River. Two of these I have made into Candle holders. I found the globes in a dumpster, and was tickled to death to be able to recycle them this way!

Not the best pictures, I admit, but you get the idea!

                                                                                        ^More driftwood I have saved for later projects!

  One of my favorite projects. A found glass bottle, a piece of driftwood, and some collected sea glass, sea shells, a turkey feather, a dragonfly (one of my totems,) some lavender from my sister’s garden and a small snake pin (my other totem.) These reside now on the shelf under the window above my kitchen sink, and it makes me smile every time I see it! (closeup below)

<decoupaged on the wood, and then the word “mother” in different languages written around the petals of the flowers.  We use it by the door to hang the dogs’ leashes on – it is a fun memento of a job I loved.

>>Next up is  some of my painted houses. I was on a real kick for a while of painting on rocks. I quickly discovered that this was NOT my forte. Yet these little houses possess a piece of me, and have a charm and l that I simply adore. I didn’t make them to sell, or even give as gifts, but to experiment with a new craft, and create something that was original and “me.”

My home has lots of character and whimsy around – and that is the way I like it. You probably won’t find pictures of my living room in a decorating magazine, but neither will you see many designer magazines that show homes that are created by mixing family treasures, homemade crafts and a simplistic comfortable style meant to embrace doggie footprints, the smells of homemade baking, and piles of yarn and crafts in the making. Does your home make you smile and feel as if it expresses you and your family? If it doesn’t – you need to get busy crafting!

Some of my favorite handmade scarves live on this rack by the door, when they are not being worn.

Crocheted, dyed silk and fabric all have a place in my life…

I LOVE SCARVES!

Great Links and a Pattern!

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We leave Arizona to return home to California in 2-1/2 days. I should not be blogging. Yet here I am! It is called work avoidance. I indulge in it regularly, how about you?! I decided to take a break in the saying goodbye to new friends here, and getting ready to greet my old friends in California to share some links and project ideas with you. I haven’t jumped on the Halloween bandwagon because I simply don’t have time – maybe next year.! But these links will give you some fun ideas for gifts and for the upcoming holidays.

First up – click on this cute picture to go to the site where you can create your own Owl Calendar – FREE!

Owl Lover 2012 Calendar

Totally Kewl, Right?

Next – a quick picture of the last ruffle scarf I completed this week – an easy project, a variation on a pattern I found online.

Two shades of dusky blue…

Here is MY pattern

downloadable PDF

My first project (after unpacking and all the Crap that comes with doing that!) is to use this to make decoupage art.

and here is the map I want to use

http://www.donmeth.com What a strange mind! 🙂

I am waiting to hear back from Dan Meth on whether or not he will allow me to use this map… if not, I will go to the fabulously creative Karen over at The Graphics Fairy. EVERY day she posts printable graphics for decoration and creativity. Totally love her site, I have 127 graphics/pictures downloaded that I want to use!

A few other great links for blogs, designs and creative ideas that I have found in the last month or so:

Bugs and Fishes by Lupin has some fun felt projects – I am really into using felt right now! Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and all that jazz!

Stitched in Color has some great tutes – mostly quilting things – and I love her writing too – her blogs are always interesting and thoughtful.

Bits and Bobs is a family effort – I am going to try the Bobble Crochet Pillowcase Edging!

Do it Yourself Divas have a tute (for making your own decoupage glue!) I will be putting to good use when I get to decoupaging on my wonderful boards-find (as above…)

and the last one for the day:

I love this advent “calendar” on The Feminist Housewife   – this was published almost a year ago (this particular post) but she has much to offer and a fun outlook on her busy yet creative life.

That’s it for now – hope you enjoyed my notes – until sometime in November, I remain yours truly, the craft maven of The Crafter’s Cafe!

Boredom is the Crafter’s Friend

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I get bored easily. Especially now, living in a 30 foot trailer, without most of my craft stuff available. For the moment, thanks to Arthur (aka Arthritis) I am not crocheting.  I did manage to finish this crocheted cap for a child – a contribution to my current charitable endeavor for Kaps for Kendall. You can find out all about that here: http://www.kapsforkendall.com/

1000 caps by December 15th,2011. I am doing it via the web site Craftsy.com If you want to bypass all the folderol – mail your completed caps directly to Craftsy, who will deliver them to Kaps for Kendall. Send caps to:

Keep a Kid Warm
c/o Sympoz Inc.
1553 Platte #202
Denver, CO 80202

  • The hats can be in all sizes
  • The hats should be fun! Children like to wear bright colors
  • Hats for little boys are especially welcome
  • The hats don’t have to be knit or crochet, sewn hats are great, too!

So that solved the boredom problem for a while! Now, with a little over a month to go before I move back into a real house, with space for all my treasures,  I am doing two things: 1) searching for good craft projects for the future, including holiday ideas and 2) browsing the internet for patterns and ideas to share with my readers! SO here are today’s ideas for boredom busters!

In the mood to do some decorating for Halloween? (PLEASE, let’s wait until after Thanksgiving to do Christmas decorating, okay? Christmas gift planning is great, just skip putting out the santas and snowmen until the Friday after Thanksgiving!)

Andrea Kay Porter from Poppies at Play has posted a downloadable, printable set of Halloween letters for making Halloween Blocks. Too, Too cute! You can find all the details and the complete tute on her site. The tutorial is not as complete as I would like, since it doesn’t give the actual dimensions to cut, but I am going to print out the letters in B/W and using my Elmer’s Spray Adhesive – which will bond temporarily to the wood (see can instructions!) I can then use that as a template to cut the blocks before permanently attaching the design. Voila!

Another Halloween idea I simply adored was one for making a reader’s delight with “Well Mannered Pumpkins.” She calls them well-mannered because she used an old book of Etiquette tips! My book, for this project, is an old book of quotes. Use the above link to get to the tute – you will have to scroll down the blog a bit to this project, her September 13th post. Easy to make, inexpensive as all get out (around $2 each!) and something you can put your own unique spin on so easily! This project really appeals to me, because I am, as most of you know, an avid reader, and “Readerwoman” is my nickname!

Halloween is becoming America’s #2 holiday, behind Christmas, so break out your creativity and get going on some of these fun ideas for decorating your house for those trick or treaters!

Blogwise – I have come across some sites that I subscribed to because they scratched the itch of what to do next!

Crafter Hours has some marvelous ideas – especially this one for making a tank top out of a tee-shirt!

If you share my interest in Steampunk crafting and decorating, you will find this blog right up your alley! Gothic Rainbows has some simply awesome steampunk and goth ideas.  I intend to attempt to make the marvelous goth watch – there is no tute, but the picture is great, so I am going to go to Fire Mountain for some of the needed “parts” and give it a try when we get back to California!

A new favorite blog is The Long Thread. Ellen does wonderful things with needle and thread, and I adore her felt projects. Take some time here to browse the tutorials, and look at the projects. Simply Divine.

Here is a blog with a great giveaway – CASH! Nikki, In Stitches is offering $250 in cash! While you are there entering, take a look at the section of her blog called “Make it Together.”  Great projects and tutes in a variety of mediums – paper, fabric, jewelry, yarn and more. Nikki is a new blogger, and her ideas and projects are clever and inspiring.

Well – that’s it for today. I may set up my own tute for the Halloween Blocks to show you how it goes – it depends on how hot it gets – its 95 out there now – and it is only 10:30 in the morning!

Until we meet again – Happy Crafting!