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 ... 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mini Inspiration Boards for your Desktop

How I want to feel, where I want to be and how I want my home, have been reduced to a mini desktop collage I created for daily inspiration.

A while back, I created some desktop inspiration stones (left) from recycled glass based on a framed inspiration board I created in a workshop (right).  You can see that project here.  

We have some mini canvas frames we have collected from dollar stores and art stores.  I thought it might be fun to put together another desktop inspiration.

 To make my mini inspirations on canvas I began with my magazine collection and cut out phrases and images that fit my themes. (1)

I checked to see what it would look like laid out on the canvas (2)

I used acrylic modge podge and painted it on the canvas and the back of my images and words. (3)

I started with the images I wanted in my background (4)

I finished it all up with a coat on the entire top of the collage (5)

For my board that relates to inspiration for mind - I simply added the words to the plain canvas and clear coated.  (left)  For my board that inspires my coastal dreams I added a turquoise wash of paint and created an ombre effect, for my background.

Dreams, mind and home - all reduced to a canvas measuring 2X3 inches.

You know what?  I think it might already be working.  I'm off for a quick trip with a girlfriend down to the Keys - my coastal dream has already been achieved.  Next up - finding peace and zen ...

I'll be back here the middle of next week.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wrap it up Thursday - Cottage Gifts

We've been invited to a couple of cottages this summer and I always struggle with what to bring to our generous hosts.  You want to be invited back again, right?, so besides helping out in the kitchen and cleaning up it's nice to let your hosts know how much you appreciate their hospitality.

Well, homemade goodies are always appreciated I think, but wrapped up in a nice package make them extra special. (first row)  The pancake mix left (Martha Stewart Weddings) and the homemade banana bread right (Jenny Steffens Hobick) are a nice way to elevate something simple.

(middle row left)  A new cottage owner would really appreciate a bucket of handy basics (Martha Stewart) and I think the fire starter right (Whole Living) piled up in a beautiful basket would be awesome.

(bottom row)  A simple jar of natural cleaning supplies (Julie Blanner) or cookies ready to make (Bakerella) would be an easy way to say thanks!

If you are really feeling crafty, and you have the time beforehand, wouldn't it be nice to make these coasters (Girl in Air) with map pieces of the lake or cabin you are going to.  I like this because they are super useful and the host will always remember your thoughtfulness, year after year.

This has been a gift I have put together a couple of times this summer.  The Zoku popsicle maker with the amazing watercolor popsicle tags from Creature Comforts.  They work so well together and for hosts with kids, I think it is a great gift that everyone can get together too make and enjoy. 

 Sometimes, those lazy days at the cottage affords all of us the time to play around with things like popsicle makers, where we may not take the time in a fast paced lives back in the city.    

I hope you are enjoying your last few weeks of the summer and even if you haven't had the chance to visit a lakeside cottage or cabin, these gifts still work for a barbecue for friends or why not have one yourself - maybe a popsicle making party? 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kool Aid Dyed Knitting Needle Toppers

After reading stitch | craft | create magazine in the spring, and their article on dying yarn with kool-aid, I knew I had to give it a try.  I decided instead of yarn I was going to have a go with wool roving and come up with a felted project with all the bright colours.  I left the roving immersed in the kool-aid (1/2 cup water added to one package for each colour) for the better part of 24 hours.  Then according to the girls at Craft Magazine, I needed to set it in the microwave.  I put each colour of roving in its own microwavable bowl and sealed it with plastic wrap.  In for 30 seconds on high to check.  Then another 1 minute and 30 seconds to set the colour.

I decided to make topper for knitting needles and made the balls by needle felting on a felting pad using the technique I showed with my heart knitting needles and my bird pencil toppers for inspired magazine.

After the initial needle felting, I like to give the balls a hot wash in net bag in the washing machine. See the above before (left) and after (right).  I find they come out nice and compact with a consistent shape.

A little snip into the bottom of each ball for the needle and a snip (if required) of the needle top, for insertion.  Into the pouch made in each ball by the slit, I add a squirt of fabric glue - and the newly snipped needle end, and you are good to go ... or knit:)

One quick note.  You may need to add a number to your needle with permanent ink so you know what size it is. Some of the needles I use just have the size on the wooden top that you will be snipping off.

And ...  A word of caution.  After the roving dried almost completely, I put it in an aluminum pie tray to completely dry.  We were off to a cottage and when I returned I found that the kool-aid dyed roving ate through the tray.  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT ?!  Did you ever do that experiment in school where you took a tooth meant for the tooth fairy and dropped it into a cup of coke for a week to see what would happen.  And you found that your tooth was well rotted by the end of the week. (That worked for me ... never wanted to drink coke again!)  Well this does it for me with kool-aid - not that we had it around here for but it does make me think of the amount of sugar our kids can be exposed to!!!!  I asked my chemical engineer father what caused it and he things it was the citric acid and ascorbic acid in the mix.

I think that the reaction with the aluminum took away from some of the vibrancy of the roving but it is still a pop of colour in another wise plain pot of needles.  With the August weather (and the feeling of fall just a few weeks away) I need to stock up on fun little projects like this.  It will make my fall knitting just that much more cheerier.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wrap it up Thursday - Faux Woodgrain Wrapping

 Well, let me begin by saying that this wrap it up post is later in the day because of a mess up, in a big way, that started early this morning.  It was a lovely morning and I thought I would finish up my post on wrapping up a knitting project I finally completed.  The trouble is I tried to carry too many things at once and the dark brown paint you see on this faux wood grain wrapping spilled over the carpet.  I mean all over and after finding someone, a professional - very early in the morning - to show up and try to get it out, to no avail - I had to resign myself to the fact that this little wrap it up cost me new basement flooring.  Oh well, I never liked it any way.

You see, it all started with this project from Purl Bee (upper 2 photographs)  A very simple, so I thought, but ambitious (for me) baby blanket inspired by the quintessentially Canadian,  Hudson Bay Blanket.  Now I normally knit small projects but I thought that it was time for me to take up something more substantial and in honour of my cousin's little guy's first birthday, I thought this might be just the thing to take on.  (and on and on)

That was back in February.   I even took this sucker to Florida in March, thinking I might be able to get it finished down there and mail it in the U.S., as my cousin lives in Colorado.  Boy did I look silly under the palm trees knitting away a Hudson Bay Blanket.  Well, finally, I finished - this week!!!!  I am proud I stuck it out. See it out on the front stone patio - I almost want to keep it myself!  It is alot bigger than a baby blanket, because of the thick yarn I used, which is a good thing because this little guy is almost a toddler now!!

My aunt is heading out for a visit and  I think I have convinced her to take it in her luggage.  So, I needed something to wrap it up that was light and airy - I couldn't put it in a box.  Inspired by Martha Stewart's wrapping (photograph 1), I set out to create a faux woodgrain wrapping on natural paper. 

After mixing brown paint with acrylic glaze, I painted small stripes of glaze on the paper and followed with a graining tool.  By using a brush the same width as the tool, you can almost create a planking effect. (photos 2, 3 and 4)  It's amazingly effective when it dries.(photograph 5 - bottom)

When the strip of planks dried, I made up a large square sheet by cutting the strip in three, and with the help of a glue stick, the seams virtually disappeared.

Since my Canadian cousin now lives in the rugged mountains of the U.S.,  I wanted to give her little guy a little piece of Canada. I hope that he is able to enjoy it for years to come.  I even included a little information on the history of the Hudson Bay Blanket,  all wrapped up in a "rugged" little package that included his initial as a tag.

Now that I have finished my big project (except I guess the new project of fixing the basement floor) it's time to take on something smaller.  Maybe a version of the gorgeous Smythe Jacket and their interpretation of the Hudson Bay Blanket.  Well ... maybe not ... maybe just a hat for the fall :)
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