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Autumn Felt Garland

We have a Hazel branch in our living room that I decorate depending on the season.  With the start of September tomorrow I was feeling the need for something Autumnal but quick and easy.  This is what I came up with…

 

I sewed the leaves in a higgledy piggledy order to give the illusion of them falling from the trees, deliberately  using autumnal colours and templates found from the internet.

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I am chuffed with the effect but when I came to tidy up I discovered that the I had missed the oak leaves out entirely!

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Oh well, better luck next time!

Linking up this week to Hand-Made Monday, It’s Overflowing’s Grateful Heart Link Up and The Turquoise Home’s “Work it Wednesday”.

Now Crafter, sail thou forth, to craft and travel

Travel Crafting Header

(Firstly apologies to Walt Whitman but “Now Voyager” is one of my favourite films and in light of this famous photo of Bette Davis and her stand-in on set I thought it was appropriate!).

 

Photo Credit: http://vickielester.com (original photo credit unknown but happy to credit if anyone knows!)

Photo Credit: http://vickielester.com (original photo credit unknown but happy to credit if anyone knows!)

We are away this weekend visiting family in Suffolk.  I hate feeling that hours as a car passenger (or a passenger on any vehicle) are wasted but I suffer with travel sickness and so cannot read or look at a computer screen.

In this journey I have started using some leftover Sirdar “Baby Bamboo” yarn to make granny squares for a seat cover for the craft room chair.  I love the bright colours and it should be a cheerful addition.

I can crochet and knit in the car provided that it doesn’t require much pattern reading or keeping track of stitches.  I am very grateful for that as it means I can while away my time and still notice what is going on around me, but this journey set me thinking.  What other crafts might be travel compatible?

We have a much loved camper van (named “Basil”) so I hope to travel a lot and I have started a Pinterest board to pin any and all ideas I can find for things to do whilst I’m on the move.  I am happy to make this a group board so if you want to pin anything to it just get in touch!

I’ll leave you with a few images from our trip to Southwold today to stir the wanderlust in you…

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Linking up this week to “Handmade Monday” and the “Do Not Fear” Linky Party.

 

UFO Number 1 – Finished!

 

As any crafter knows UFO stands for “Un-Finished Object”.

Well, the stag’s head (which you may remember from this post) is no longer one of them.  It is finished and up!  It sits above the door frame at the end of our hall so that you see it when you walk in the front door.

I’m generally pleased but I think it needs a little something else…

I don’t want to draw in eyes because I think I will muck them up and I don’t know it needs eyes?

Maybe something bright hanging from the horns?  Maybe a moustache? A hat?

Time to put my thinking cap on but I’m out of inspiration just at the moment!

Finished Decoupage Stag's Head

Typographic Kitchen Wall Art

We are gradually trying to smarten our kitchen up a bit.  We inherited all the decor from the previous owners and we always thought we would completely re-do it.  However circumstances changed (not least of which was me giving up teaching) and we have never managed to get the money together.  Now I am finding ways to spruce it up without major investment.

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We had a set of three IKEA pictures that used to hang in our sitting room before we re-decorated.  Since then they have been relegated to the upstairs sitting room.  Neither or us were that enamoured of the sand dune scenes and they no longer seemed to fit anywhere (and yes, we still haven’t decided what colour to paint the walls!).

I love typography and I have long wanted to put some kind of outsize sign in the kitchen but not quite found the one that was “right”. So I made my own!

Materials:
  • Kitchen Foil (I used the extra wide stuff you usually use for the Christmas Turkey).
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • “Mod Podge” or PVA Glue
  • Pritt Stick
  • Double sided tape
  • Mount board in the colour of your choice.
  • Sellotape
Equipment Needed:
  • Computer and Printer
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting Mat (or smooth surface that you don’t mind getting ruined)
  • Steel rule (for cutting with)
  • Paintbrush or glue spreader
  • Tape Measure
  • Blu Tack
Step One:

Decide on the word that you want to feature (mine was partially dictated by the fact I had three frames to use!) and find a font on your computer that you like.

I used “Maxxi Serif” which I found and downloaded from “Dafont.com”.  If you haven’t discovered this website it is an amazing resource for what is fashionable in type right now and most of the downloads are free for personal use.

If you have Microsoft Publisher it will allow you to have sheet sizes that are larger than A4.  I don’t so I have a programme called Serif Draw Plus.  This is graphic design software and I have the free starter edition.

This allowed me to set up a page size the size of my frame and add type to it.  I then played around with the size until I was happy.  When it came to printing the programme splits the digital “page” evenly amongst certain number of A4 sheets.

Printing the Templates

Step Two:

Print the letters out and glue the sheets together.  The printer gives a 5mm overlap to each one and I made it easier to glue them together by drawing a line at the 5mm point to align the edge of the page with more easily.

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I used Pritt Stick to glue the sheets together but then sellotaped over the top of each join to help it hold together as I wanted to move on quite quickly.

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Step Three:

I cut the letters out and used Blu-tack to put them cut outs onto the frames so that I could check the size and proportions of the letters.

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 Step Four:

I stuck the paper cut outs FACE DOWN onto some card board boxes using Mod Podge spread out with an old children’s paint brush (in my experience brushes do not survive glue!)

I stuck them face down because I wanted the templates to be on the back of the final piece and the smoother surface on the front.

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 Step Five:

Whilst waiting for the templates to dry I used the one of the pictures from the frames to mark out the size on the back of the mount board.  Because of the size of the frames I had to use three pieces of mount board (a bit expensive at around £2.50 a sheet, but the only thing I bought for this project).

Because of the price of the board I drew my cutting lines in with pencil completely rather than cutting with my ruler lined up to marks!

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I continued until I had my three pieces of backing board ready to go.

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Step Six:

Using a craft knife I cut out the letters attached to the cardboard.  Once I thought they were cut out completely I would flip the cardboard over and check the back (it is a good way to spot bits you have not cut all the way through on and catch them before they tear and spoil the finish)

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Step Seven:

I spread the roll of kitchen foil out along the table carefully so as not to crease it.  I wanted a more industrial steel finish on my final piece so I placed it shiny side up.  Again I used Mod Podge to stick the shapes to the foil and weighted them down with books to dry (around two hours).

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 Step Eight:

Using a scalpel or craft knife cut the shapes from the foil leaving a border around each one.  Score into internal corners at 45 degrees and cut across external ones at the same angle (see the picture if that doesn’t make sense, I wasn’t sure how to  describe it!)

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I then put double sided tape around the edges and folded the edges tight around the cardboard.

Step Nine:

I used masking tape to mark onto my backing boards where I needed to line the letters up with to get them in the right position and used double sided tape to secure the letters to the back boards.

I put the boards into the frames (which I had painted white with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and waxed) and secured.

Step Ten:

Hang your pictures.  This was actually quite tricky as they had to be level and it took me quite a long time to tweak the hanging cords to the right level!

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I’m pretty pleased with result. They remind me of a slightly retro marquee sign and with three letters I have limited the amount of chaos Boffin and Best Boy can cause by re-arranging them!

This week I am linking to In a bid to get some more opinions this week I am linking to; Handmade Monday and Enjoying the Little Things.

Greeting Card Organisation System – A Tutorial

Up until recently we had everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries displayed on a huge poster stuck to our kitchen wall. Then I succumbed and treated us to a new, outsized kitchen wall clock (well, the other one had no glass anymore!)

Follow the tutorial to make sure that you never forget a birthday again by making and using this card organisation system.

Suddenly there was no more room for the poster that had seen us through the last ten years. But how to replace it?

Our wall poster recording the dates of everyones birthdays would no longer fit. So I made an alternative.

I kept trying to make my own, smaller version of the poster to fit inside a kitchen cupboard door but I could never get all the months to fit onto an A3 size and it became an Albatross (“Albatross, fresh Albatross”, anyone?!)

Then I realised whilst looking for a card for my Godson’s birthday that we may have the dates sussed but we certainly did not have the greetings card situation sorted! We had this huge box and plastic wallet files. Anyway, see below to see what I mean.

A huge box with loads of cards was difficult to access and heavy to lift.

I didn’t know in advance which cards we did or did not have in stock, I could not see their designs through the folders and the whole thing was heavy and cumbersome.

What about combining the two?

You will need

  • A cardboard box (I opted for one I had that was around the right size but you may find that a shoe box works well).
  • Cute wrapping paper, wallpaper or fabric to cover the box with.
  • More cute paper to make the dividers (I cheated and bought double sided wrapping paper so my dividers would be nice on BOTH sides!).
  • Thick card board for a template.
  • Self-Adhesive printable paper (or alternatively plain paper and something to stick it on with).
  • A laminator and A4 laminating pouches.
  • Scissors
  • A craft knife, cutting surface and steel edge for cutting along.
  • A Computer and Printer
  • Tape Measure AND Ruler.

Step One

If you have a stash of cards already measure the biggest one. If you are just starting a stash buy one that is pretty much the biggest size you usually buy (mine is not that big because I resent paying huge amounts for cards!).

Use this as the template to find an appropriate box to use. You want one it will fit in width ways but that is at least half the height of the card to support it.

A cardboard box that will fit your cards is the first requirement. Shoe boxes work well

Step Two

One sheet of wrapping paper was not enough to cover my entire box so I cut it into half along its longest side so that it would wrap around the sides and not cover the base completely (who looks underneath!)

Use good quality wrapping paper that you really love to cover the box. If one sheet wont cover the whole thing think about where you place your joins!

Step Three

I found that glue saturated the paper too much so I used double sided tape strips placed on the box (rather than the paper) to stick one side at a time. I worked around the outsides of the box in turn.

Glue will saturated your paper, making it wrinkle. Use double sided tape to attach the paper to the box.

Step Four

Fold the bottom edges under the base as if you were wrapping a present. Secure with more strips of tape near the edge of the paper. (Tip: Press down from the corner towards the edge to avoid bumps).

Make sure that joins are hidden near corners and work down towards the base to make sure corners are neat.

Step Five

Using scissors cut slits in the paper at each corner, down to the edge of the box, slant them slightly so you are left with a small, roughly triangular shape at the middle of each corner. Using tape or glue stick the central pieces down first and then the sides. Again, put the tape near the edge of the paper.

Use good quality wrapping paper that you really love to cover the box. If one sheet wont cover the whole thing think about where you place your joins!

Step Six

Leave the box for a while and move onto the dividers (all will be revealed as to why, don’t worry!).

Step Seven

Using the thick card board create a template for your dividers. I drew a rectangle that was the same height as my tallest card and 5-8 mm narrower than my box interior (make sure you measure the interior with a flexible measuring tape!).

If you already have a stash of cards, measure the largest one that you have.

Step Eight

I then worked out the width measurement of my card and divided it by six. This was the size of my “tabs”.

I found something that was the right size and shape that I wanted for my tab and drew around it (in my case it was a Two Pence Piece). I cut out this shape separate from my rectangle template.

Step Nine

I used masking tape to tape the “Tab” to the template in the correct place. I needed four of each position so I drew around the template, fitting as many onto the sheet of wrapping paper as possible, in my case six per sheet.

Use a two pence coin to make a semi circle template for your divider tab. Attach this to the main divider template with masking tape so that it can be moved around.

WARNING: Make sure that you do the correct number of each “Tab” position. If you decide to reverse the pattern on alternate dividers like I did you need to keep track of this too. I found the easiest way was to put them into the box in the correct order as I did them then I had an easy visual reminder!

Step Ten

Put aside the left over strips from each piece of wrapping paper – we will use these to line the box!

Step Eleven

Print out your sticker for dividers. I used A4 sheets of self-adhesive office labels (the whole sheet is one big label!) and cut them into the shape I wanted.

Step Twelve

Stick the labels onto the dividers – again, I did this whilst keeping the label pile and the divider pile in the correct order so that I got the right one in the right place!

It is worth keeping your dividers in the right order inside your box as you work. Otherwise they coudl get muddled.

Step Thirteen

Use a laminating machine to laminate each divider. If you are lucky you can get more than one in a plastic pocket to save money. If you don’t have a laminator many copy shops offer this service at reasonable prices.

Step Fourteen

Cut out each divider using scissors. Cut about 2-3 mm out from the edge of the paper inside (this was why we made the divider smaller than the box interior). Check they fit and trim a little more if necessary.

Step Fifteen

Print out your “Event Grids” and glue one to the front of each month’s divider. Keep them fairly high so they can be seen easily as you flick through the box.

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Step Sixteen

Using my measuring tape I decided that the lining had to be 16 cm tall to cover the edges folded over at the top and cut my strip of left over wrapping paper to that height.

Step Seventeen

Instead of measuring I bent the strip of leftover wrapping paper gently into the box and pressed in a fold once I had the entire side covered. I then did the same thing for the adjacent side. One strip of paper covered the inside of two sides nicely but no more so I cut it to precisely that length.

Step Eighteen

Repeat step seventeen for the other two interior walls!

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Step Nineteen:

Write the birthdays and anniversaries of your nearest and dearest on the grids and enjoy! If I buy a card for a specific occasion I stick a post-it note on the front with who it is for so I don’t get to the posting date and forget (yes, I do this quite regularly, which is why we have spare Mother’s and Father’s Day cards!).

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Step Twenty?

I’m just wondering if I should cover the box with transparent sticky backed plastic to protect it from muck. What do you think?

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In a bid to get some more opinions this week I am linking to; Handmade Monday, It’s Overflowing!, “Work it Wednesday” at the Turquoise Home, Fabulously Creative Friday at Jennifer Rizzo and Remodelaholic.

My Eight Crafting Essentials

Everyone who makes stuff has things that help them they CANNOT live without.  I’m sure you have some.

In case you hadn’t figured it out I am not the most patient crafter.  I like to see progress and this means not undertaking many things that are too fiddly.  Most of my favourite crafting things are things that save me time and/or effort. (I hasten to add that anything I recommend in this post I have bought and paid for.  I have no sponsors or advertisers at this time.  It is just my personal opinion).

  1. PVA Glue – Most of the crafting world is mad about “Mod Podge” and although it is good I find that good old PVA glue does most of the same stuff and is a fraction of the price!  Your remember this stuff, my primary school teachers used to call it “Marvin” for some reason.  Its the one that is still great fun to peel off of your fingers when dry.Stag-1
  2. Spray Paint – I first fell in love with this stuff whilst at University where we used it for model making.  That was made for cars NOW it’s available for all surfaces in all finishes. My favourites tend to be the Rustoleum range and the Plastikote range which which paint everything, including the kitchen sink! It is easy to use, gives a lovely finish and quick to dry.Paint
  3. A rotary cutter – Despite two years working in a fabric and habadashery shop I do not cut fabric in the straightest of lines.  A rotary cutter (plus a quilting ruler and a self healing cutting mat) removes that problem  It saves the wrist and I make the blades last longer by periodically cutting tin foil with them.
  4. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – I am a recent convert to this after using it to paint an old nest of tables.  It applies nicely to pretty much any surface and you don’t need to sand before applying it.  As you will find all over the internet there are loads of ways to apply it, distress it and generally make it look gorgeous in a myriad of styles!Annie Sloan Chalk Paint-1
  5. My Bosch PMF 190E Multifunction Power Tool. – I referred to this in Sunday’s post “Five Things Learnt About Up-cycling Pallets”.  It is a God-send. It is a detail sander, It has a plunge cut saw (useful for cutting nails on pallets or making rebates for hinges) and a segment saw (useful for cutting across planks ready to remove them from a pallet!Bosch Multi Tool-1
  6. Free versions of software – I have downloaded and use Open Office and Serif Draw Plus Starter.  I also use free on-line software PicMonkey to edit photos.  You just can’t afford to buy everything and these truncated versions do pretty much everything I want.
  7. Fabric Remnants – Nearly all the fabrics I use are remnants I do have to be careful though as some shops sell “remnants” that when you stop and work it out are actually the same price as you would pay for the same quantity off of the roll!Medal-2
  8. My Camera – I have a second hand Nikon D70 that I love.  I would be completely lost without it.  I only have the kit lens that came with it and no external flash.  I do have a Tripod (a gift from a wonderful friend) and a remote control shutter trigger that was part of the deal when I bought it.Someone's trying to keep me quiet!-2

What are your essentials?  The things that just make your crafting life a pleasure?  I would love to know so I can try them!

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