Crafted Gift Mania

Long time no post…I’ve been crazy busy crafting up a holiday gift storm.  I have packed away all my pencils, oil pastels, paints, paper, and canvases in order to pull out my sewing machine, fabric, yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks.  I am particularly LOVING the act of crocheting lately.  It’s a wonderful thing!

In no particular order I have made dishcloths, bedside book pockets, fleece jammie pants, flannel pillow cases, hats, and a 6 foot long stuffed snake for a certain lucky young recipient.  Here is said snake in mid construction:

 

 

He will have eyes soon..

We set up our tree early, about two and a half weeks ago, and the urge just blindsided me as it does every year around this time: MUST MAKE GIFTS.  There are times when I question myself and say things like, why don’t I focus more on one artistic style and take that artwork to the next level?  I seem to have art/craft ADD, or ADD anyway, because I simply can’t focus on one thing for too long.  It doesn’t sustain my interest.  I must move around the creative arena and visit and revisit it all.

So is the culprit that put me in this inescapable craft trance  our tree?  Keep in mind this tree is brimming with handmade ornaments that date back over five decades and come from three generations of crafty women.

A lightly stuffed bell made by my grandmother, circa 1960

 

A beaded pin-cushion-style ball made by my mother in 1997

 

A quilted picture of my daughter that I made several years ago

 

Or was it the Santa Claus collection that recently went up on the mantel, comprised of many locally purchased, hand-painted, wooden Santas?  Most of these guys were given to me by my grandmother a few years back.  She divided up her collection and passed it on to us grandkids.  There are only two eligible grandkids so I made out like a bandit!  Thanks Grammy!

I really like the blue Santa, he’s my favorite this year…

 

Whatever it is, I can’t fight it.  I’ll get sick of it eventually and move on but for now I must craft gifts.  I love it.  It’s what generations of women did before me.  It could be inherited.  There’s cotton crochet thread twisted up in my DNA, like a crocheted double helix, which is totally possible to make by the way!

 

 

 

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Big Paper Holiday Earrings Tutorial Using A Tim Holtz Vagabond Machine Rosette Diecut

That’s a big title!  Just right for these big beauties!  I love wearing humongous earrings but can’t stand it when they’re too heavy.  While these paper ones won’t last forever, they are super lightweight and quite easy to make.  Plus they are ever so festive!

 

First, you will need a paper rosette cutout.  I cut mine using the Tim Holtz Vagabond die cut machine by Sissix.  I used thick glittered cardstock from a Martha Stewart paper pack.  After creasing the cutout accordion style, I overlapped and glued the ends as such:

 

After the glued dried I removed the paper clips and was left with this:

 

I flattened the center and glued a scalloped circle to the top of it.  The above scalloped circles were actually cut using a Cricut machine, but any small circular cutout will work (including the one that comes with the rosette die).  In order for the rosette to stay flat, you must weight it while the glue dries.  Here I used a stapler:

 

You must also glue a circular cutout to the back side of the rosette for stability.  Repeat to make a second rosette.

 

Next use a head pin and poke through one of the rosette’s outer perforations to make a small hole.  Then, bend the head pin 90 degrees at the very base using your round nose pliers as shown below:

 

Stick the bent headpin from back to front through the hole you just made:

Carefully make a wire wrapped loop and attach an earwire:

Repeat the process using a bent headpin to hang a decorative connector from the very bottom of the rosette.  I make a wire wrapped loop with the connecting piece already inside the loop during the wrapping process, as shown below:

If this proves too difficult, simply make the wire wrapped loop without the connecting piece inside of it.  Afterward connect the two using a jump ring.

I attached a jingle bell to hang from the connector using a jumpring.  Repeat to finish the second earring.

I decorated the center cutout with some sticky gems but you could do just about anything here.  I can easily picture a paper cutout of a vintage holiday scene in the center instead of the gemmed scallop cutout.

Have fun making and wearing these big holiday earrings!

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Cute Mini Booklet Tutorial Using Fiskars Fuse

I have this pretty neat crafty job.  Like any job, it’s got it’s ups and downs.  However, one very sweet benefit of working where I do, is that I get to borrow the big guns, meaning the crafty machines that do all sorts of fun and amazing things.  The following tutorial shows how to make these easy little booklets using a Fiskars Fuse die cut machine.  These are super quick to make and a perfect little gift to give.

 

You will need scrap paper (including a small sheet of cardstock for the front and back cover), the Fiskars Fuse machine, the large scalloped edge circle die that usually comes with the machine, a few decorative cutouts, and a sewing machine.

First, cut 6 sheets of paper, each about 4 1/2 inches wide by 9 inches long.  Stack them on top of each other and fold the entire stack in half, creasing the spine well.

Place the folded stack on top of the scalloped edge die, keeping 4 or 5 scallops exposed beyond the creased edge, as shown below, near my darling cat’s face.

Run the die/paperstack sandwich through the Fuse machine.  Remove the paper sheets from the die carefully.  Use some sort of tool, like scissors or a knitting needle, to get them out, not your finger!  Spread the booklet open and lay it face down on your sewing machine and sew slowly down the spine, as shown below.  Do not back-stitch.

You can either trim the threads close to the booklet or tie the ends together near the middle of the spine.

Lastly stitch some sort of decorative cut out to the cover.  For this step I used some leaves and flowers but you can do anything you’d like, just remember not to back-stitch or you’ll end up cutting right through the paper.

 

And voila, admire your sweet little booklet, no bigger than the head of a house cat!

 

 

 

 

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Winners Announced and Another New “Mixed-Media” Giveaway Posted!

So here I sit about to draw a name quite literally, out of a hat!  And I thank you gals for your “what winter means to you” remarks.  I suppose living in a flesh-melting desert would rival my wintery cabin fever here in Maine.  And yes, crafting is quite a wonderful therapy for those long, cold, and gray days.  Unless you happen to love those days (you know who you are).  Sadly, out of my three commentees, I can only choose one so here goes…Drumroll please…And out of my hand-knit hat I draw the name…Amanda W!  Congrats!  Just email me your address Amanda, and I’ll send your items right off to you.  And don’t despair Shari or Sonja, because here is another giveaway just below!

I have collected over the last several years so much art-making bits and baubles that I don’t know what to do with it all.  I suppose I could be classified as a hoarder (somewhere in the low spectrum).  I have recently realized that I will never be able to use it all in my lifetime, so I’m getting quite a kick out putting it out there and sharing it with the universe.  Above is a collection of some “mixed-media” objects now up for grabs.  It includes a small seed bead soup, a large square mother-of-pearl bead with a vintage candy cabochon adhered to it (assembled by yours truly), some little wooden barrels, and a few more fun goodies.  All I ask for again is a quick comment.  This time I’m curious about what you would choose to bring in the way of 5 art/craft supply items for a week long stay on a deserted island.  No worries, it’s stocked with food.  And the weather there is lovely.  I’ll pick the winner in week.

I close with a pic of my most recent drawing.  I drew from an enlarged photo, circa 1930, that I found at a local flea market.  I had the most fun drawing the nuts ‘n’ bolts!

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Bead, Bauble, and Earrings Giveaway!

It’s that time again when I must purge my studio space.  Saying that it’s cluttered is putting it lightly.  So my goal over the next several weeks is to announce different giveaways.  You heard right, it’s plural this time.  There will be beads, baubles, a few finished pieces of jewelry and some mixed media oddities.  The first of said giveaways is comprised of a chunky bead stew, a pair of earrings with sterling silver earwires, a handmade polymer clay owl pendant, and some base metal charms.

 

Here’s an up-close shot of the earrings and owl pendant made by yours truly:

 

All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment regarding winter.  It’s fast approaching here in Maine and while I love the holidays and our fireplace, I do not like the cold.  The snow gets a bit old after a while too… So maybe you love winter.  Or maybe you live somewhere warm all year.  Just let me know in one sentence (or more if you like) about what winter means to you.  In one weeks time I’ll draw a name and announce the winner.

Now I’m off to conquer the housework.  Laundry and dishes beware!

 

 

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