July 5, 2011 § 10 Comments
Hope you had a wonderful Canada Day and 4th of July holiday weekend! I spent mine in Michigan at my parents’ with newfound relatives and without a moment to craft. And I couldn’t wait until today to show you my latest contribution to CRAFT. It feels like a while since I last posted a crafts tutorial using a totally random household material, so today I’m excited to introduce a technique that allows us all to design and illustrate our own stamps without having to carve rubber or linoleum or block or anything at all.
I illustrated and made my own peony, dahlia, and lilac clear rubber stamps to create these prints inspired by vintage botanicals, in celebration of summer, using a very simple technique with one household object that most of us would otherwise pass with little consideration for craft projects.
Yes, the random household object is silicone rubber caulking, which some of you may recognize as window or tub sealant. Head straight over to CRAFT to read my super duper simple tutorial. I promise it is easy and absolutely no carving is needed! Please show me the designs you come up with using this technique, as I’d love to see them. Enjoy!
June 17, 2011 § 4 Comments
I was in the rough for a while. Finally mustered up the drive to get a grip, break out of my rut, get my head out of the sand, repair the chip off my shoulder, and here fore present you this last minute idea for Father’s Day. Yes. I’m back and unafraid to use a score of puns.
Here’s to the golfer dads in our lives — an accordion-folding, flag-raising, puntastic golf-themed greeting card — designed so you can tell him in a fair way:
DAD, you’re below par…
on the green
BUT, you’re above all else
You will need cardstock, bamboo skewers, double-sided tape, mounting tape/foam adhesive, and 1/4″ hole punch.
Without much fuss, you can very quickly design a card using none other than your word processor. I made simple arrows and chevrons to create a design, as well as diamond-shapes to create flags. It’s not apparent — I printed blue ink on light green cardstock and green ink on light blue cardstock. The front and back panels are 3-3/4″ x 9-1/2″, to perfectly fit a size-10 envelope. The inner green panel is scored such that there would be three 3-3/4″ squares, plus 1/2″ on each end for adhesive. Each “hole” is made of randomly-shaped green cardstock, punched with a hole.
Now let’s putt it all together:
1. Using double-sided tape, affix your front and back panels to the inner panel to form an accordion-folding card.
2. Using double-sided tape, affix one flag to the end of a bamboo skewer.
3. Trim the skewers in different heights, ensuring they are not longer than the length of the front and back panels of the card.
4. Take your “on” flag and feed the skewer through the hole and secure on the back with double-sided tape. Affix mounting tape.
5. Tape down the skewer and the hole on one panel of the green.
6. Continue with the “the” and “green” flags to complete your card.
There it is, a father’s day card, crafted to a tee. Now if I’ve missed other golfing lingo, please feel free to gimme!
Happy Father’s Day!
June 10, 2011 § 8 Comments
I’ll be heading to a henna party this evening for one of my friends who is a bride-to-be. In some Middle Eastern, East and West Indian cultures, it is customary for women to apply a decorative design with henna, called mehndi, on hands and feet before a wedding — a bridal shower of sorts. Last night, I decided to design this congratulatory greeting card for her, made in the likeness of mehndi.
I had a lot of fun creating this design, which is composed almost entirely of hearts (fit for a bride-to-be) with some added swirls and lines to keep within the typical style of mehndi patterns. The flower and leaves are nothing but a repetition of hearts.
1. I made a 5″ x 7″ card, with a sleeve made of kraft cardstock. The folded sleeve has a final measurement of 6-1/2″. I made a 1/2″ allowance on two edges for double-sided tape. I punched the center of the edge of the sleeve where I want a design to peek through.
2. I cut a sheet of light purple card stock to a final size of 5″ x 7″, so that 1/2″ would peek through the sleeve. I doodled away with my pencil.
3. I went over my design with my black Sharpie felt pen.
4. I added the rhinestones for some sparkle.
5. I applied double-sided tape to the 1/2″ allowances I made and folded the sleeve shut.
I have never attended a henna party before. I am excited to see the designs the mehndi artist will create for my friend and her bridesmaids.
May 7, 2011 § 25 Comments
Mother’s Day is hours away, but there’s still lots of time to make these beautiful foam roses in minutes. They’re much more dainty than the no-fuss paper roses I made for Valentine’s, and perhaps far more versatile. In a few simple steps, you can make these sweet rose magnets, rose pushpins, and rose jewelry.
You have probably made paper roses before by cutting and rolling spirals of paper. This applies the very same technique, however, I’ve added the petal details by employing a simple tool that many of us have stowed in our crafting bins — scalloped scissors.
You will need: scallop-blade scissors, hot glue gun with glue sticks, and thin foam sheets. I purchased a multi-colored package of 36 – 4″x6″ foam sheets from the dollar store. They quality is much thinner than what you would find at the craft stores, however, they are the perfect thickness for this purpose. The thinner the foam sheet, the smaller you can make your roses.
1. Cut your foam sheet into 2″x2″ squares. A 4″x6″ foam sheet can yield six roses.
2. Using your scalloped scissors, cut each square into a spiral. Two and a half revolutions around the spiral should be sufficient.
3. Starting from the outside of the spiral, roll the foam sheet inward.
4. Apply hot glue to the bottom of the rose.
While the glue is still hot, you can apply the rose immediately to a magnet, thumb tack, earring backing, or fashion ring.
Happy Mother’s Day!
March 2, 2011 § 30 Comments
Now, Kill Bill was never nominated for the Academy Awards (it did, however, get best actress and best supporting actor nominations for the Golden Globes). But it was the first movie that popped up in my head after reading the challenge description, perhaps for various reasons. First, I truly enjoyed the Kill Bill movies, lauded for their visually graphic, push-the-envelope, cheeky, not-take-itself-too-seriously approach. Second, I had already crafted a Kill Bill papier maché project many years ago, back in 2003 when Vol. 1 came out and my group of friends decided to dress up as Kill Bill characters for Halloween.
I was Gogo and I devoted a few hours into making a ball and chain weapon using a balloon, newspaper, glue, metallic paint, and a few feet of metal chain from the hardware store. I don’t ever know what happened to that craft and I only have these pictures to remember it. There I am in my cheap black wig, almost eight years ago, flailing my papier maché ball and chain.
Well, I didn’t want to remake the ball and chain from Vol. 1. I feel its duplication would rob me of the experience of creating something entirely new. And sometimes, I really don’t know what overcomes me to come up with some very random crafts. But after googling Kill Bill for this challenge, I wanted to make use of the graphic conveyed in the poster for Vol. 2, and the thought process transpired as follows: death list — grocery list — sword — push pins. Just like that, this one idea came within seconds, which does not happen nearly often enough in my culling of ideas.
The thought process of how-to came rather quickly, too. I had a paperclip right beside my keyboard, and I knew instantly that a miniature sword push pin could be constructed by the simple bending of a paper clip, some 1-1/2″ square paper scraps, glue, black electrical tape, and faux-metal Con-Tact paper (which I’ve recently used to make a faux metal bib necklace and faux metal flowers).
To create your own sword push pins:
1. Stretch a paperclip and bend in half, ensuring that the sides are straight, parallel, and 1/4″ apart. Apply glue on one 1-1/2″ square scrap of paper. Place the paperclip along the edge of the paper and roll, making sure the bend is covered and the two paperclip ends are exposed.
2. Cut a 1-1/2″ x 3/4″ piece of Con-Tact metallic paper.
3. Wrap the Con-Tact paper around the paper-covered paperclip.
4. Cut a 1″ strip of electrical tape. Fold 1/8″ from the edge, sticky sides facing away from each other. Snip 3 little triangles. Unfold and you’ll have 3 diamonds.
5. Affix electrical tape on the top end of the paper-covered paperclip. Again, snip 3 little triangles to appear on the back side.
6. Wrap electrical tape around and trim any excess. This makes the handle.
7. Cut a 1-1/2″ strip of electrical tape. Fold in half, sticky sides facing each other, to make a double-sided square of electrical tape.
8. Cut electrical tape square into a circle. Cut a 1/4″ slit along the center.
9. Slide the paper-covered paperclip through the slit until the circle reaches the bottom of the handle. Trim the circle and round the corners of the handle.
Now, tack onto your cork board to help you attack your lists of to-do’s!
February 21, 2011 § 19 Comments
Last night was one of those sad drives from the airport — a recurring event in my life. O.T. flew back to California and I’m in withdrawal. For two and a half years, I’ve coped with a long distance relationship by repressing the matter from my consciousness. But there are times like today when all worries are rampant.
It dawned on me: I have not seen California in five and a half months! That is a record. O.T. has been making the sacrifices to come to my neck of the woods. He has spent a total of a month’s worth of time in Toronto over the past four months alone. It adds up to a lot of time away from home. Come to think of it, last year in the nine months between January and September, I spent a combined three and a half months in California. In all of 2010, between the two of us, we spent nearly five months combined of being away from our own respective homes. Five months out of twelve! In the past two and a half years, we’ve probably spent nearly a combined ten months on vacation. THAT is how we go the distance.
But things are changing. Back in the fall, I put my wedding stationery business on hiatus indefinitely, due to a combination of an expired business license, a feeble economy, burn-out, and a dying dream. As of last month, I terminated the website for good. It’s been a big decision and a long time coming.
I look back and my eyes well up. Four and a half years ago, shy of my 27th birthday, I gave my two weeks’ notice at my steady job at a civil engineering firm. I was armored with the hope that I would beat the odds (what is it — 99% of small businesses fail?). Well, it wasn’t going to happen to me. And not to out-of-the-box ideas (it stings to mention the name now, which I admit I’ve deliberately avoided since starting this blog). Within eighteen months, I suffered burn-out and slowly and surely lost my will, but continued with numbness for three more long years. In hindsight, I understand how I met my failure. I was good when things were good, but I was an utter disaster when the littlest things were awry. I simply didn’t have the maturity to trudge through hardship at the time.
The beauty is I went through some of my most creative moments while steering the course of my own ship. I know I had great things to offer, but I also know I still had a lot of growing up to do. One day, I’ll be back and I’ll do it right.
I am blessed with good graces. And I rest assured the higher powers-that-be are watching over me and making sure of my survival. Just days after I closed down the website for out-of-the-box ideas, three weeks ago I got two important calls from two unrelated companies (a school and a civil engineering firm) with offers of employment. The real miracle is that I didn’t seek them out. (Have faith that when the time is right, things do fall on our laps). Even more miraculous is that both companies are willing to work around my current part-time teaching schedule (which I’ve had for almost three school years). So for now, until further notice, I juggle three jobs, a blog, and small steps towards a sideline in freelance writing. I am blessed and ever grateful.
Now with my life drastically changing, how do we narrow the distance between me and O.T.? As I have done all my life, I am keeping the faith.