Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Feather Toppers - From Felt

As promised, here is a more "fallish" version of a felt feather topper.  Earlier in the week, I put together watercolour pencils and feather toppers.  Today I applied the same DIY to knitting needles.  A quick little craft project to squeeze into your day.  It uses up little bits and pieces you might have on hand (or ones that can easily be found and your local craft store) and in the end of a few crafty moments you have a little prezzie for someone special :)

1.   Once again, I cut out the feathers from felt bits and pieces, free hand.
2.  I added a few wraps of yarn to the top of the needles to create a base to glue the feathers on.
3.  The watercolour pencils came in handy for a feather tag.
4.  I added the needles to a small ball of yarn I had in my stash.  These needles packaged up with a few small project ideas would make a great little present for a niece or babysitter.  (project cards are from knit knack kit)

I'm not quite ready to do a full on Christmas themed project so this little project has eased me into winter.  From neon feathers to these autumn sky shades - somehow these colours make me want to light a fire and knit up a storm ... but I can't relax until we have finished trying to sell our house ... so little projects like these will have to do.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Felt Feather Topper

Wow.  It's been awhile.  I've realized that when I am under stress, I find it hard to be very creative.  Yes my knitting of leg warmers or socks actually helps to alleviate a bit of stress - or pass the time at coffee shops when we have house showing.  I even found the time to knit up a couple of monkeys for the shop.  But the creation of projects for the blog or anything else.  Forget about it.  And to make matters worse - I can't make a mess ... it's hard to be creative if you can't make a mess.  At least for me.

So... this project is my attempt at alleviating my creative frustration, and hopefully a little bit of stress as well.

I took a watercolour class in the spring and realized - You know what?... it's not as easy as you think.  That's why I love watercolour pencils.  They let you create a painterly effect, with some sketchy colours here and there, that is much more difficult to achieve with standard watercolours and brushes.

Ali had some watercolour pencils and during the house purge I came across one of my old pocket sketchbooks.

Just like I did for my spring project for Amy, I wrapped up a pencil, in this case a watercolour pencil, with yarn.  A dab of glue at the pencil tip and another at the base is all you need to hold it in place.  (1) With my pile of felt bits I decided a feather was a great shape to go with.  I just cut the feather shapes free hand and about 3/4 's of an inch wide and 2 inches high. (3)  Another dab of glue for each feather and you have a topper for your pencil. (2)   Two feathers each pencil seemed to work well.

Now, based on my feather theme, I continued with a label.  Just a watercolour pencil feather sketch ... add water to your scratches and it is pretty effective.  I actually really loved how my feathers turned out.  I think I will play around with this style of watercolour painting again.

This is an example of an inexpensive little gift you can put together for teachers, babysitters... friends of your kids.  I loved how I could use up my stash of little bits and pieces and create something new (I'm not allowed to bring anything new into the house when we are trying to sell it ... house rules :)   )

It all came together, wrapped up with a bit of yarn.  It doesn't scream holiday but sometimes that's good.

Stayed tuned later this week I will show a more fallish version of this gift topper.  But for now,  my gift giving is bright and cheery ... and quick and easy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Staging 101 - Where have I been?

Wow - it's been awhile!!!!!
Just after my last post, I found out we had an opportunity to move somewhere new in our 'hood but it meant that I had to have the house ready for sale in just over a week  Wow - talk about stress.  I purged and I purged then I cleaned then I staged and now I just keep cleaning.  What a roller coaster.

To make up for my lack of posts ... this is going to be a long one!

Of course to stage for sale means streamlining.  My before was a few years ago now so I must say that I had already streamlined a fair bit before "the after" that you see.  The biggest difference is the wonderful pillows I had already ordered and added to this room, this summer.  They come from an online store called Tonic Living - really great service.  I actually found out about them from a blog outside of Canada but then I found out they are just down the street from me - too great right?

I needed a modern look to the room.  I have the habit of always picking washed out blues and linens - I needed a little infusion of colour!

Now the bedroom "before" was from when we moved in, 10 years ago.  Hand me down nightstands and a cute iron bed that was not at all practical.  I LOVE the space now - Cynthia Zamaria, that helped stage our place, makes a mean bed.  I actually had Scott take pictures so I could remember how she set it up.  She just won Four Houses and has started a design/staging business.

Our basement was a catchall for all the lonely pieces of furniture we have collected over the years.  The before was taken when the girls were little.  I had already added the Crate and Barrel couch but Cynthia really made this space a room.  She used my own pieces but added a shelf over the t.v. and a carpet (from a hardware store believe it or not) to anchor the space.  She beefed up the pillow quotient and if it didn't have to be so clean I think this would be "the hangout" for the girls.

I don't have a before for the office - just trust me...  It was a mess!!  We got rid of two desks, added Cynthia's great console table from Ikea (I think I am going to buy my own - it is so nice) and lots and lots of great accessories.  Still to do - paint that upper deck sign blue and green to match.  Note to self ... do that!

Normally I am making crafts and tutorials to share in this space but today since I have the pictures - I thought I would give you a tour of the space.  These pics aren't mine - by the way.  I broke my camera lens during the purging process.  These are the pics they use for the listing so the quality by the time they have reached me - isn't the greatest.  So forgive me.  The house isn't really that big but with the aid of a real estate's wide angle lens I have so much more room!!!

The one thing that is missing in these spaces is our personality.  Yes family photos have been replaced with images of surf, sand, rocks and the general theme of a beach house.  It was fun to do but it really lacks character - you'll see what I mean.

This is Ali's room - and the one little kind of how-to I had time for was to take fabric from pillows and bedding that we used in her room and wrap them around old canvas frames we already had.  It was a quick way to tie the room together.  She had a wonderful organic flow of magazine clippings, make-up, fashion, etc. all over the top of her bed - that had to go.  For now.

We decided to really play up the cosiness of our bedroom and not remove the big chair.  Cynthia's painting ties the colours all together - I really appreciate original art.  I guess she will want it back, though.  Oh well.  For now I can pretend it is mine and pretend I have time to relax in the window seat.

Helana's room is pretty much how it started out.  Only a bit neater with the addition of a throw and lamp... and a few zebra accessories.  She had pictures printed out of all her friends, camp, family, school etc all printed like polaroids - neatly covering an entire wall in the desk nook.  That had to go for now as well.

The guest room just had a little rejigging.  Cynthia's bed making talents made a big difference here.

The front of the house is what is so special about this spot.  Nestled amongst the trees it is sometimes hard to believe I am 10 minutes from downtown.

The family room is streamlined and clean.  Except when rufus is around.  I have to cover everything in sheets to save myself from vacuuming more than I already have to!

The kitchen was just de-cluttered with a few more blue/turquoise accents added.  I miss all my" mom scheduling" on the blackboard.  Oh well ... hope I don't forget a practice !

The living room/dining room was brightened up with some of Cynthia's gorgeous lamps.  I never really appreciated a good lamp until now.

That's the craft area behind the couch - all my craft books lined up and all my projects in baskets.  I can't wait to get back to it ... but for now it will have to wait.

I really love this house.  And to say there were some tears when I first saw the sign on the lawn is an understatement.  If all goes well, we can start again on another adventure - I think it is time for a change.   If it doesn't work out - that's okay.  I got rid of alot of stuff - of course you have to keep your sense of humour at a stressful time like this.  We have all our potential garage sale/purge items in storage - and Scott realized delivering them to storage and keeping it all there is costing probably more than what we will ever get for it.  

Oh well - you have to laugh right?  That is what is getting me through the cleaning, purging,wiping, fixing, painting ...

Thanks for putting up with me ... who knows when I can get back to this.  I am going to try and throw in a little tutorial here and there.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wrap it up Thursday - Back to School Teacher Gift

What is the connection between teaching and apples.  I did a little research and two theories emerge.  One, it was a gift of food for poorly paid teachers and the other,  it represented a gesture of good health.  Perhaps it is a combination of the two, but for whatever reason, apples have become representative of the relationship between teacher and student.

I thought it would be cute to take the little eos lip balm in melon (almost red don't you think?) and add a welcome back to some paper leaves and when that looked too plain I cut off an actual apple stem.  The leaves and stem were easily attached with a little sticky - tac.

A nice gesture for the first week of school, I thought.

But hey, if your teacher is really special (and what teacher isn't) and you have the time there are a few other little things you could do ...

The classic apple was reimagined as an adorable cupcake by the authors of  Hello Cupcake. (top picture)  I love the Back to the Grind from Jacolyn Murphy. (there is a tea one as well)  The sweet lined paper pouches are from Heather Shaw's Pi'losale on Etsy.  Bakerella opted to do pencils as a push- pop instead of a cakepop.  I really want to try to make cupcakes like that!   I struggle with cake pops but The Crafting Chicks via Skip to my Lou made an adorable mini oreo pop that might be a little easier than a traditional cakepop.

Well ... Back to School ... Back to Reality ... Back to the grind.  Just like the fresh new notebooks of school - I'm starting fresh this fall - into the throes of purging out the old and unnecessary and focusing on a clean fresh start for the new year of school.  Instead of feeling sad at the summer ending, I'm welcoming back clean, crisp air and a new year of possibilities.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Babysitting Craft Kit - Plastic Rings

Who knew you could repurpose plastic milk carton rings into fun jewelry?  Well,  I saw this a lifetime ago in American Girl or some kind of kid's craft magazine.  I can't find the original story but I decided to do a new version, for the babysitting gigs the girls start getting in the fall. 

They have a group of girls they babysit that love to craft and it is always fun to find something for them to do that doesn't require alot of supplies or make a huge mess.

With a layer of glue, a piece of yarn or twine (one with the addition of a paper initial) can be wrapped in a circular design starting at the center.  (top photo and lower left)

Layers of paper tape can be arranged in a design and then lifted onto the front of the ring and then clipped and wrapped to fit. (middle row)

With a dip of the top in glue,  I added beach glass to one, added sticker gems in a design and dipped another in glitter.  (top photo - center right)        *note- coat the glitter ring with clear coat or hairspray to stop it from shedding and cover the stones and gems with clear coat to help keep them on*

All the supplies fit a small cardboard suitcase and can easily be transported. (bottom right)

My girls used to love crafting with their babysitter and this craft is great because it is fast, easy and relatively mess free.  (moms love that :)  )

The girls wanted to wear the neon twine and yarn rings which makes me think you might not need "little" kids to make these rings...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wrap it up Thursday - the simple flower

A simple flower topper

From - link for tutorial here

I missed wrap it up Thursday last week so,  I had to finish off the summer with one final wrapping.  This one is so beautiful in it's simplicity.  It's been a big hit over on pinterest.  I am always overwhelmed when someone shares their hard work so generously and this wrapping is no exception.  With a download and print you are all set to create a simple and beautiful gift wrap that would fit a wedding, birthday, housewarming or shower gift.  All the hard work is done - now you can sit back and look like the thoughtful gift-giver you are.

Next week I hope to be back in full gear.  Kids back in school,  routines to establish and the last (hopefully) warm days to savour.  I've been playing around with pics for a new banner and I have a fun project for back to school babysitting gigs.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

D.I.Y. Ombre Espadrilles

I came back from the Keys and dove right into a little project I have been thinking of for awhile.  While out yesterday, picking up fall books, I scooted by JCrew and saw that the Soludos (espadrilles) for JCrew were on sale.  $14.95, down from $24, down from $39 dollars.  I have been wanting to try dying a pair all summer and at this price, how could I resist?  

I wasn't fully prepared to take the leap until I tried a few sample ideas on some similar scrap fabric I had.  I originally thought that I would do some kind of ikat print but when I tried that, and chevrons, stripes and ombre - it was the stripes and ombre that I thought came out the best.

It was very easy to do ... and fast.  I used a Tulip one-step dye kit that required minimal fuss.  The powder is already in the bottle - you add water and shake.  Ready to go.  When it came to my samples, I used a simple little brush and I liked that effect the most.  I threw on the ombre sample for the front and the stripe sample for the sides and thought it might work.  Worst case scenario - I would paint the hole thing with the dye.  I also slipped plastic wrap into the shoe to fill out folds to make it easier to paint and also to prevent the dye from running through the fabric.  (Note - I used such little dye on the brush that it never made it through the fabric.  Not even on the toes.)

1 - I stared with the toe and worked out.  The dye worked a little different on the shoes than in my sample but I got the hang of it before I ruined the first shoe.

2 - Once I liked the depth of the colour on the toe, I continued working layers of the dye so that I was almost just dry brushing the area around the top of the foot.

3 - I just went freehand with my stripes and even though they weren't perfect it all seems to work itself out when it dries.   In other words, the dye on canvas appears very forgiving.  My first stripe, the width of my brush (about a third of an inch) started at the middle of the foot where ombre layer finished.  I worked the stripes on one side to the heel, than began the stripes on the other side at the ombre layer and met the stripes up at the heel again, eyeballing so that the stripes were as even as possible.

4 - Once I had the general idea with one shoe I went on to the other with the exact same steps.

5 - I worked just a little dye with the brush and filled out any obvious imperfections and areas that didn't seem dark enough. 

I am not sure if I might use my steam iron tomorrow to set the dye.  The directions say to wash the garment after letting it set (wet and covered in plastic wrap) for 6 - 8 hours.  I applied this dry so that won't work.  I am going to let it dry for a few days then steam.  Hopefully the whole thing doesn't run in the rain ... I'll let you know if it does.  I tried wetting the samples and they ran just a little but they hadn't set for long, so we will see.

I kind of wished I started this project at the beginning of the summer.  I could have made a whole rainbow of colours but they wouldn't have been on sale ... and therefore I wouldn't have wanted to take a chance so maybe this is for the best.  It's August and I think there is still a little room for summertime crafting ... don't you?

I hope September is warm ... 

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