Sunday, 10 April 2016

Making very large paper flowers

At the start of the Easter school holidays, Missy Moo told me that for her holiday school homework, she had to make a big colourful paper flower. All the kids in her class were tasked with making large paper flowers for a spring display at school.

A browse through Pinterest drew us to Linda @ Craftaholics Anonymous's Rainbow Paper Dahlia Flowers. Linda has a great tutorial there for making these gorgeous paper dahlias. Missy Moo really liked the look of Linda's gorgeous paper blooms so we decided to try our hand at making flowers like these. We thought we might do them slightly differently from Linda - sort of like putting our own little spin on it. I thought you might like to see what we came up with so I took some photos as we went along to share our process with you.

So here's how ours turned out.

Here's another one we made.

We started with A4 coloured paper and cut our sheets into 4. So we ended up with A6 rectangles of coloured paper. Like Linda, we wanted to make three rings of different coloured petals. Our outermost ring of petals used between 16 to 18 A6 rectangles. Our second ring of petals used between 12 to 15 A6 rectangles of paper and the third ring used about 9 to 10 pieces of A6 rectangles. Incidentally, we also used some crepe paper but I will come on to that later.

For speed, I decided to staple my petal tubes instead of using glue. So here's what we did. Have a look at the sequence below please. Those black arrows in picture 1 are just for illustration purposes! You don't need to draw those on yours, ok? If you brought those two arrow-marked corners towards each other like I did in picture 2 and made a tube or cone with a pointy tip like I did in picture 3, you would be able to slide the stapler into the cone and stick a staple in there to hold the cone together (picture 4).

We stapled the bottom of each cone too.

We made up all the cones we needed. For the outermost ring of petals and the second one, the petal cones were left just as they were. For the third ring of petals, we needed the cones to be about an inch and half shorter. So we cut the ends off and stapled the bottom. You can see the three colours of petals in this next picture. Note that the cream cone has had the end cut off so it's shorter than the other two.

We now need to make the base for the flower. I cut a 6 inch diameter circle from some cardboard.

Here is another sequence of photos for you. In picture 1, you can see that I poked two holes into the cardboard circle. You really don't have to be very precise with these holes. Halfway between the middle and the edge will do. I then took a 6inch piece of pipecleaner and fed the ends into the holes like you can see in picture 2. Fix the ends with some glue and a bit of sticky tape (see picture 3). This little curve of fuzzy pipecleaner wire forms a hanging loop for hanging your flower up later. On the same side as the ends of the wire, mark out some circles roughly in pen. (See picture 4) I marked out a circle about an inch and a half in from the edge and a second circle roughly an inch inside the first one.

So we have our base and we have our three sets of petal cones. Now comes the part where we glue it all together. Ready? Ok. I have a cool melt glue gun ... And I also have a hot melt glue gun. I love both my glue guns equally. This part is a lot easier if you do have a glue gun. Missy Moo wasn't very confident using the glue gun so I did the gluing part whilst she stood by and handed me the petal cones one at a time. Using my glue gun, I stuck my first set of petal cones down along that first pen line I drew onto my base (picture 1) and just kept going all the way around (picture 2).

Then I glued in the second set of petal cones following that second pen line on my base. Each one of the second set of petals sits in between the petals from the first set.

Finally, I glued in the third set of petals. These are the stumpy ones that we had cut the ends off.

There was now a hole in the middle of our flower that needed filling. We cut a 3 inch wide by roughly 3 feet long piece of crepe paper. Our crepe paper was quite thin - almost like tissue paper. Missy Moo scrunched the crepe paper up like this ...

I then glued this along the edge of the cones so we got a frilled ring going all around the middle.

Missy Moo made a frilly disc for the middle of our flower. Here is how she did it - brace yourself for another sequence! She cut two A4 sheets of paper lengthways into thirds. So we had 6 strips. She folded each strip lengthways (1). She then carefully made small cuts just halfway down, all the way along the folded edge of each strip (2). When all the strips were cut, she rolled one of the strips up (3 and 4) and when she got to the end, joined another strip in with a bit of sticky tape. She just kept going until we got to the end of all 6 strips. This left us with a little crown like the one Missy Moo is holding in her hand (5).

We glued this flower crown into the middle of the crepe frilled circle to complete our paper flower.

There you have it - a gorgeous larger-than-your-head paper flower. You can make these in whatever colours take your fancy.

We thought they might make fabulous fascinators or fancy hats. Here is Missy Moo modelling our lovely flower which looks like it could be one of the amazing millinery creations that race goers might wear to 'Ladies Day' at the Royal Ascot races. What do you think?

We hope you've enjoyed this photo tutorial and will have a go at making your own giant paper flowers. Happy crafting, friends!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Happiness is a self-made dress that actually fits!

Hello everyone! It's been pretty busy here at Chez Craftady. Hence the lack of postings of late. Sorry! I hope to make up for it very soon with a neat little tutorial of a paper flower the girl child and I made recently for her school Easter holiday project. Anyhow, I wanted to share with you something I made for myself recently. It's been a while since I made myself any clothes. I had the Simplicity 2444 pattern in my stash for some time and finally decided to pull it out after seeing all the lovely versions out there on the Internet.

It's a Project Runway pattern with lots of different options and variations. I decided to go for the sleeveless. I have had this particular fabric in my stash for a year. I bought it last summer intending to make a dress with it but never did. Aren't the flamingoes adorable?

Instead of using facings, I decided to line the whole dress with a navy coloured lightweight poplin. This meant making two of everything .... Except for pockets. The bodice is fitted with four darts on the front and two in the back. The skirt is lovely and wide with darts at the waist. Best of all, it's got pockets!!

I really took my time with this one. I made the lining of the bodice first and used that as a toile to make sure it fitted. I had cut a straight size 16 out of the packet. There is a zip at the back which went in surprisingly easy.

I am very pleased with the finished dress. It fits, it's comfortable .... It has pockets! See? What do you think?

I was so thrilled with it that I just started cutting out a second one. LOL! With summer approaching, it would be great to have a couple of new dresses for work.

It's Friday soon. Yay! Do you have any nice plans for the weekend? I am going to try to get some more sewing in, then I have market on Saturday morning and Missy Moo and I hope to finish the tutorial and post that for you next week.
Until next time, happy crafting!

Friday, 4 March 2016

Getting ready for Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day in the UK this Sunday - actually to be more precise, it is Mothering Sunday. At Wythall & Hollywood Country Market, producers like myself are getting ready for tomorrow's market where we will be showcasing all sorts of wonderful gifts for mums, nans and grannies. There will be activities for our younger visitors too. Unfortunately I am not going to be able to attend in person. There's an open day at work which means that my team and I are going to be on campus looking after our visitors. I am however, sending my craft goodies in to market ... goodies like these lovely things celebrating mums, nans and grans.

I also made a few boxes like these ...

Mothering Sunday is traditionally a Christian celebration here in the UK - falling on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three Sundays before Easter. During the early 1900’s, young children who were ‘in service’ as household servants, were given a day off to accompany their mothers and family to attend the ‘mother church’ - a large church or cathedral - rather than the local chapel that they would usually attend for Sunday service near to their place of work. The children would pick wild flowers on their way to this special service for decoration within the church or to give as gifts to their mothers.

Although fundamentally Mothering Sunday was much more of a religious event than anything else in those days, the essence of giving was still apparent. Today, we give beautiful gifts of flower bouquets, cards and chocolates. I personally love giving something handmade. Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day has become so very commercialised and so much more lavish than those simple wild flowers. However at the very heart of it, I believe that the gesture of giving is the same. We celebrate our mothers, thanking them for their endless support and guidance, just as those boys and girls did back then.

I will be thinking of my lovely mum on the other side of the world, sending loving thoughts and missing her lots.

Whether you are celebrate Mothering Sunday this weekend, or Mother's Day in May, wherever you are, have a wonderful weekend, friends.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

That old adage of the apple not falling far from the tree.

Some 10 days ago, very randomly, the 13-year old Dinoboy casually asked if I would take him to buy some spray paint cans. Now I instantly thought "Oh, he wants to have a go at graffiti art." So I prodded some more and asked a ton of questions. After several monosyllabic replies to my inquiries, he eventually said that he didn't want them for graffiti art and that he just wanted to have a go at spray paint art. Also, he intended using his saved up pocket money to purchase said cans. I have to admit, I was initially a little skeptical.

 Off we went on Saturday to scope out a couple of specialist spray paint shops in the city. He went in asking for a very specific brand of paint. He had obviously spent some time researching this online. When the chap in the shop asked "So you've used those paints before?" and got a "No" from Dinoboy, I got a raised eyebrow look from the chap who then proceeded to try to steer Dinoboy towards more 'beginner' paints. Dinoboy was having none of that - he knew what he wanted and his mind would not be changed.

 We left the shop sans cans since they didn't have any of the ones he wanted in stock. So we traipsed on over to Hobbycraft where he bought 4 pretty pricey Plasti-kote cans and some foam-board to start with. I had decided I wasn't going to interfere - it was his project and he obviously knew where he was going with this. We got home and he went out into the back yard to set up his new stuff. I left him to it and went off to do some chores.

When I came back some hour and a bit later, he proudly showed me this.

I was stunned to say the least and he was so proud of what he had achieved - so was I! It was the first time he'd ever picked up a spray paint can. Pretty awesome first painting, right?! Once he started, there was no stopping him. Here he was the next day making more art. 

This is his piece from Sunday afternoon. His second ever painting. He'd gathered a whole bunch of supplies, raided the recycle tub for pot lids and took possession of my old painting palette knives and sponges.

So far he's done 4 paintings - the third one was a bit of a dud because he hadn't accounted for a slightly faulty cap. It is very encouraging to see him pursue this creative outlet. I have so far steered clear of experimenting with his cans - I want this to be something he 'owns'. This is his art. 

Here is the last one he did just the other day after he got home from school. He did his homework first, then headed outside with his box of supplies to paint. He was still outside when I got home from work. I believe he is only going to get better and better with practice. I am hugely proud of his initiative and his obvious talent. 

I hope this interest continues. He was talking the other day of possibly selling some of his work to pay for more cans of paint. His sister has already bought a foam board with her pocket money and has asked him to paint something for her.

I hope your week has been going well. The weekend is almost upon us, friends. What are you up to this weekend? I will be at work instead of being at market this Saturday as we have an open day happening. Until next time, happy crafting!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Amour armoire - dreams of lovely storage

I had not heard of Chairish before. So when they got in touch with me to see if I'd be interested to have a look at their website and maybe share a few crafty storage ideas, I was both intrigued and delighted. Little did I realise how much time I would spend browsing the site! Oh my! There is a ton of really great stuff there. 

Chairish, for the uninitiated, is an online site that offers a rather special social shopping experience. They facilitate peer-to-peer selling and buying of vintage items like furniture, accessories, jewellery and decor. On their website, Chairish say that they make it "fun and easy for design lovers to buy and sell vintage furniture and decor to one another." But here's the other big thing - Chairish only exclusively features curator-approved items. This provides a safe and trust-worthy environment for both buyers and sellers. Pretty neat, right? On the one hand, I am gutted that Chairish isn't operating in the UK yet - on the other hand, I can totally see how Mr Craftyady (and my purse) might heave a massive sigh of relief for now.

Here are a few things I have found there which have great potential for being terrific craft storage.
Armoires are gorgeous vintage cupboards with heaps of potential to be repurposed into craft storage. There are many excellent examples of armoires on Chairish (check out their collections here) like these lovely Asian-inspired ones ...

... Which can be turned into wonderful storage like these ones I found off Pinterest.

Mr Craftyady and I have been thinking about undertaking a renovation project on our house and expanding on some of the space we currently have. Missy Moo could do with a larger room now she's growing up. We've talked about how the expansion could also incorporate a craft space for me. All the talk of possibilities has got me dreaming of storage for all my craft related stuff. And boy, do I have a LOT of stuff!! There's sewing stuff, card-making stuff, pyrography stuff, art stuff, leather-work stuff, chainmaille stuff ... Seriously, there's tons! Right now, most of it is stashed away in clear plastic boxes up in our loft and I have to pop up there ever so often to get something I need. I'd love to have an armoire to meet my storage needs ... And a space to put it.

Do you have a craft room? What's your favourite storage item? Have you ever repurposed anything into storage for your craft supplies?

Until next time, friends, happy crafting!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Ain't modern technology great?!

At work, one of the departments bought themselves a laser cutting machine. I was invited to view it and was offered the opportunity to use it during my lunch hour if I wished. I did have to provide my own materials and bring along a compatible vector file that the software could use to direct the laser to cut.

I had been playing around over the past few days with a couple of freeware packages that can turn jpeg files into vector files that the laser cutting machine could read and use. Finally yesterday, I was able to get some time on the machine. I had drawn up a simple five petal flower outline with a hole in the top of one of the petals. The idea was that it would be a flower tag.

Here's what the first run through using my flower vector file produced. Aren't they great?! I am so excited!

Using these lovely tags, I was able to make these last night for our country market craft table.

This new resource has so much potential and I have so many ideas rattling around in my head of other things to draw up for the laser cutter to cut for me. So excited!!

Well, it's Saturday - country market day! Yay!! I am off to pack my boxes up for market.

Wherever you are, have a lovely weekend, friends! 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Rejuvenating my red Swedish clogs with a bit of burning

Once I had discovered how much I loved flexing my crafty muscle all over my new tan Lotta From Stockholm Swedish clogs (see previous post), I decided that my trusty old pair of red Swedish clogs (also from Lotta) needed a bit of rejuvenation. I sanded down the heels a little to clean them off and get the surface ready to burn on.

I found a little bird design in my collection of carving patterns. I believe this is a Lora Irish pattern from one of her collections. I had to modify the pattern to fit the wooden heel of my clog.

I cut a piece of tracing paper the exact size of the heel surface I wanted to burn on. This way, I could adjust the positioning and make sure the final pattern was exactly how I wanted it.

Once I got the pattern paper exactly right, I taped the corners down with a bit of tape and started to transfer the pattern onto the wood.

I wanted the birds lined up exactly in the middle.

Then the burning commenced. Burning on the heel of a shoe is a little tricky - especially when working around the curved part of the heel.

Those little birds turned out super cute, don't you think?

I've fallen in love with these lovely red clogs all over again. Can't wait for summer so I can wear them. There's something really special about red shoes.

Hope your week has been going well. The weekend is almost upon us, friends. What are you up to this weekend? I will be at our little country market on Saturday morning. I will take some pictures and share them with you in a future post. Until next time, happy crafting!