Random Experiment

So, I have these stamping inks…

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…and in the post the other day I received these stencils that I’d ordered from eBay.

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I had the random thought that the stamps could make a really pretty pattern if  used the whole stencil at once.  First I did some random stamping to test…

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I wasn’t doing it in the best of conditions however, and it didn’t turn out too well…

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I was doing it on my lap, not a particularly stable surface.  And the paper might not have been great.  More experimentation will occur.

35,000 Origami Elephants

I’m subscribed to quite a few YouTube channels for various crafty things, and last week I got an email alerting me that EzOrigami had released a new video; a tutorial for an origami elephant.  I liked the look of the elephant at the start….

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..so I watched the video.

Before the tutorial Evan explains that he’s making the elephant for a campaign run by the 96 Elephants organisation.  Named after the 96 elephants a day that are killed in Africa, this organisation works to stop the ivory trade.  On their homepage is a petition you can sign that says…

We cannot be the generation that allows elephants to disappear.

I pledge to support measures aimed at combating the global ivory trade.

The origami campaign is an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Display of Origami Elephants.  The current record is 33,764.  96 Elephants are aiming for 35,000 – which is the number of African elephants killed each year for their ivory.

You can join this campaign and help by posting them some origami elephants.  That’s all you have to do.

I made these ones..

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I used the EzOrigami video, but you can make any style of elephant – as long as it is obviously recognisable as an elephant – then just post them off.

All the information is on this page here, including some templates for origami elephants if you don’t have one.

The deadline to receive the elephants is September 16th 2016, so get folding!

Workshop Review

At the Make It exhibition way back in February, Cayden and I attended a two hour workshop.   It was run by a representative of a company called Powertex, who make fabric and textile stiffeners and associated bits and pieces.   The particular workshop we attended was to, as the workshop programme said: “decorate a bottle using a range of Powertex products and various pigments.”

Cayden and I love to do workshops and we’d tried most of the other crafts on offer, so we turned up excitedly for this one.  It was quite a long session, but that’s because there was so much to learn.  It was a little difficult to see what was going on in the demonstration because of the way they’d positioned us, but we managed.

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The original demonstration was a little bit dull, but it was choc-a-block full of information.  And there were some tips from the other participants too.  Powertex works best on certain types of fabric, and apparently if you burn a scrap of cotton it turns to ash rather than melting.  I never knew that, although it does make sense now.

Once the demo was over, we got stuck in.  Literally.  There was a lot of goo.

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We’d been told several times by the demonstrator not to over saturate our scraps of fabric, so everyone was a little bit timid.  It took us a long time to get things properly saturated.

The basic method was to soak fabric pieces in the Powertex stiffener and apply to your bottle, adding anything you’d like to add texture, like the little clay faces and hearts they provided us with.

Once you’d got your bottle fully covered, without getting too much on yourself if possible, the bottles need to dry.  They had a fantastically genius method of doing this at the workshop.  They had an old display cabinet that they’d cut a hole in the top and applied a hair dryer to, so we only had to wait twenty minutes or so rather than the two days it would take naturally.

The next step was adding the highlights with the pigments.  Pretty pretty pigments.

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I’m not so good with brushes.  I have very little control, and can be very heavy handed.  There were some excellent tips from the demonstrators, such as brushing as much off as you can onto a scrap of paper… or the handy table wrapping.

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But I did manage to come up with a completed bottle.  Eventually.

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It’s not so great.  Cayden did a much, much better job with his.

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I’m very intrigued by this Powertex.  I have a few ideas for it in the future, but they’ll have to be quite a way in the future.  My ideas list is quite long 🙂

 

Craft Haul!

I love the internet trend of posting craft hauls.  I love seeing what bits and pieces other people have been buying.  And since I did a “wee bit” of shopping at the Make It exhibition a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d show you all what I got.

I showed you a few pictures in the main post, so lets start with some of those.

Papers!  Lots of craft paper books.  All so very pretty.  I use them for card making, and origami, and cutting up to make cabochons.  So far anyway.  I’m sure I’ll find more uses for them as I gather more crafts under my belt.

I got a big hunk of A4 white card for general card needing purposes, as well as some A3 white card.  The plan for that is some wrapping paper templates that have been requested/suggested.  But plain paper is kinda boring, so lets move on to more pretty things.

YARN!  Given how many yarn stalls there were, I was very well behaved.  Only two balls!

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Yes, I know there’s only one ball in that picture, but by the time I got around to taking photos I’d already turned the red ball into some of these little guys…

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You can buy my adorable mini aliens here.

One of the workshops that was on offer at Make It was to make a beaded snowflake.  (Picture taken from the Make It blog).  snowflake

Cayden and I were both interested, but we’d already booked a workshop, and we figured they were fairly simple to do.  Which is very true.  I’d had an attempt before, a long time ago.  But I discovered that the wire needs to be much much stiffer.

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So when my eagle-eyed friend spotted these at one of the many beading stalls, I snapped up a pack.  Look for pretty snowflakes at some point in the future..

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One of my favourite stalls last year was Every Craft’s £1, and I really hoped they’d be there this year too.  They were, and they’re responsible for more than one of those packs of paper.  I also stocked up on sheets of A4 magnet, although I have discovered since that the one I picked is a little too thick to cut smoothly.  While we were perusing their wares, I spotted these…

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… and picked up a few.  I have a bunch of ideas for decorating them and making them beautiful enough to add to the store.  They’re on the ever-expanding to do list 🙂

There were a few bits and pieces I’d been after for a while and finally got a chance to pick up.  Like embroidery thread spools.

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A pair of snips, which I have become completely obsessed with.  I have to say the word “snips” every time I use them, and I may have been on eBay since to buy a few more pairs.

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A sample of the E6000 glue that the internet raves about.

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And a heat gun!  This had been on my list for ages, and there was a stall selling a couple at half price, so I couldn’t resist.

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I also bought a couple of pairs of eyeglass holder loop thingies.  I’m supposed to wear glasses, but always forget.  It was suggested to me that I need a chain, and I figured I could easily make something pretty.  So these loop thingies are currently sitting on my desk waiting to be transformed.

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I bought buttons.  Because I love buttons!  And because my box of buttons sorted nicely into rainbow colours was severely lacking in some areas.

One of my favourite purchases from last year was a £5 goody bag, containing lots of randomness.  It was something I’d planned on getting again this year.  And inside was, as promised, lots of goodies.

See… many many goodies.  I used a few of them to make a poster for Mother’s Day that my my sister and I hung around the neck of the 4ft gnome we got her.

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And that’s my first craft haul blog.  What do you think?  Should I do more, or abandon the idea altogether?

Stocking Up

As well as this online store, I’ve been to a few craft fairs and school fetes to sell my wares in the last year.  I haven’t done a lot, but I look to do a lot more.

Every one that I attend brings new ideas and new acquaintances.  I have a very long list of ideas that I will one day get through.

One thing I have definitely learned though is that – at school fetes at least – cheap sells well.  There tend to be a lot of kids, and they like things that they can afford with their pocket money.  My best seller by far at these fairs has been these bangles:

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You can click on the image to find them in my store.

They sell for just 50p, but they sell like hotcakes.

With plans to do many more fairs this year, I decided I should stock up.  I may have gotten a bit carried away.

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There are 160 there.  Like I say, I may have gotten a bit carried away.  But in theory I won’t have to make any more for a while.

PicMonkey Collage

 

 

Trial and Error – Cabochon Pendants

One of the things I like to do is go onto eBay and look for auctions that are ending soon. When you filter to things from the outside of the UK especially, with free postage, you can find things going for pennies.

Recently I’ve been collecting a lot of cabochons and settings using this method. A cabochon is a glass dome piece, like this..

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They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, as do the settings.

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Once I received my bits and pieces it was time to get experimenting. I tried four different methods for decorating the back of the cabochons. There are some that I bought from eBay with pictures already on them.

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(I got these from seller Pandahall1972 who has a jewellery store and sells all kinds of goodies for excellent prices.)

The bottom right is a picture I drew myself, the bottom left is cut from a magazine, and the top right is origami paper.  I modpodged the paper onto the flat side of my cabochons, and this seemed to work best.  The top left cabochon I actually decorated with layers of nail polish.

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The modpodging paper worked brilliantly, although the hand drawn piece bled which I should have foreseen.

But overall I was happy with my cabochons.  Next stage – putting them in the settings.  This is where the real trial and error started.

First thing I learned?  Don’t just dump a load of modpodge in the setting and press the cabochon in.

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Seriously, you don’t need even half as much as that.

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In fact, just scrape a tiny teeny bit onto the back of the cabochon.

I tried other glues too.  Superglue…

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..and hot glue.  The hot glue dries VERY quickly, so you have to be fast or your cabochon won’t sit properly in the setting.

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Once everything dried, it became clear which method I’d be continuing with.

Superglue – no.  Definitely not.

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Hot glue worked, but left the cabochons feeling not-quite-steady in the setting.  Lots of modpodge was acceptable, but you have to peel off all the excess which can leave your setting with marks.

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You don’t need a lot of modpodge.  The light scrape worked fine – and I banged it around a bit to make sure the cabochon was secure.  With a successful method in the bag, I made up a few more.

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And then I high-tailed it to eBay.  Now I’ve got all sorts of different shapes and sizes waiting to be made up into beautiful pendants.