Friday, September 27, 2019

Super Easy Holly Berry Garland

Closeup of Holly Berry Ribbon Garland
I was not in the mood to make holiday pins or napkin holders. But I wanted to do right by the big bag of holly berries my neighbor bequeathed me when she retired from crafting. Finally, recently, I thought of using them to make this easy swag garland for a holiday tree, doorway, mantle, or even gift wrap.

All you need is a roll of wire-edge ribbon and some big ole holly berries from my Etsy shop. You could also use a ruler to check your spacing between clumps. Work at a long table or on the floor, if possible. Try to keep your ribbon flat while you work.

1. Pinch a spot on your ribbon to make a place to wrap the berries. Pleat it a little as you pinch, but don't fold it. Try not to twist the ribbon while you work.
Use 3 stems for 2-3 inch ribbon, more if your ribbon is wider.
2. Next, grab 3 stems (they are double tipped so that's 6 berries) and line them up evenly.

3. Fold the berries in half, right on top of the pinched part. Then grab the stems (not the berries) right under the ribbon, and twist a couple of times. (It's best not to tighten the clumps too much until you're sure about your spacing.)
Pinch the ribbon, fold the stems and twist!
4. Repeat those steps -- pinch the ribbon, fold 3 berry stems, then twist.

Sorry, didn't have a tree to wrap this around. ;-)
Hint: You might want to "fluff" the wire-edge ribbon as you work, especially right next to the berry clumps, and press things flat as you work.

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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Altered Plastic Cameo Cabochons for Art and Jewelry

This week I've been restocking my Etsy shop with some of my vintage cameo cabochons. They're not real carved shell cameos, they're plastic imitations, but they're great for vintage style jewelry because they fit into standard cabochon tray settings (30mm x 40mm). However, I never seem to be able to just leave them alone and use them as-is so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite altering techniques.

Vintage acrylic faux-carved coral cabochons, altered with paint and polish.
The cab on the left is the original floral cabochon in green and ivory.

Faux tarnished silver altered art technique
TARNISHED SILVER: The middle cabochon is painted and then highlighted with silver wax finish.
  1. First, mush dark brown acrylic paint (the artist quality kind from the tube) over the entire cabochon and use a stiff brush to push it down into all the little nooks and crannies.
  2. Before the paint dries completely, gently wipe off only the high areas with a slightly damp cloth, to get an aged look.
  3. Let the paint dry completely, then dab on the wax metallic polish (I like Rub n Buff the best).
  4. Once the polish dries (I wait until the next day), you can buff it to a satin finish and your cabochon will look like tarnished silver!
Hand painted altered vintage faux coral cabochons
HAND PAINTED: The third cab is painted with two colors of all-surface acrylic craft paint.
  1. Use a small brush or dauber to paint a couple of flowers with each of your two colors (here I grabbed baby pink and goldenrod yellow).
  2. Then, mix the colors together in different amounts to create new colors and dab them on as well.
  3. You can seal these if you like. I'm thinking about adding metallic gold highlights here and there...
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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

New Vintage Sequins in My Etsy Shop!

Been listing new vintage sequin strands all week, and here we are with 9 new offerings to add to the 70+ colors and styles in my Etsy shop. Click any image to go straight to the listings. (Ask me about designer discounts on 5+ strands -- I can set up a reserved listing for you and you'll save on shipping too.)

Raspberry Wine (Celluloid) 5mm flat
Rainbow Pumpkin Ice Cream 8mm cups
Transparent Yellow Rainbow 6mm cups
Crystal Clear Rainbow 6mm cupped
Pink Lustre 5mm cups
Matte Black 4mm flat
Transparent Green Opal 6mm cups
Petite Gold 5mm cups
White Rainbow 4mm flat


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Dollar Store Decoupaged Notebook

Here's an easy way to decoupage a notebook with a couple of dollar store items and a few basic art supplies.

You'll Need:

  • 1 paper or chipboard covered blank notebook
  • 1 large printed paper napkin, split into layers
  • Tinted decoupage medium, Mod Podge, or bookbinding glue
  • Flat paintbrush or sponge brush, 1-2" wide
  • Old plastic credit card or hotel room card
  • Craft knife or single edge razor blade
  • Sheet of printer paper or plain scrap paper
  • Metallic rubber stamping ink
  • Rubber stamp to coordinate with napkin paper
  • Pencil
  • Damp paper towel

Tools and supplies you'll need for this project
1. Unfold a napkin and split the layers apart. Discard the white layer and save only the printed layer. This thin layer will become semi-transparent when you apply the glue, and blend with the notebook color.

Discard all but the printed layer of the napkin.
2. Position the napkin wherever you want it on the cover. With your pencil, lightly mark the corners and sides of the cover on your napkin. Set it aside -- don't cut it yet.

3. Open the notebook so that you're only working with the front cover. Apply an even layer of the decoupage medium to the entire cover, all the way to the edges. Work quickly or the medium will soak in.

Open the notebook while working, but don't trim the edges yet!
4. Grab the napkin and, using the pencil marks as a guide, lay it down onto the cover. Spread it out. Don't worry if you get a few wrinkles and tears, the decoupage medium will darken and "age" those areas. Gently dab the napkin down onto the cover until it's pretty flat.
Wrinkled and torn is ok!
5. Here's how to burnish down the napkin -- lay your white paper on top of the wet cover, and, using a long edge of your old credit card to press out the excess medium. Start in the middle and burnish out toward each edge. Repeat, starting in the center and scraping out in a different direction each time. Clean up any extra medium with a slightly damp paper towel.

Burnish from the center out to the edges with an old credit card.
Trim with a single edge razor or your favorite craft knife.
6. Set aside the white paper cover and let the cover dry completely. You will probably have extra napkin hanging over the edges. Resist the temptation to trim the edges!

7. Once the first coat is dry, apply another thin coat. It will protect the napkin. Dab up any extra and let dry completely again.

Don't be alarmed if your cover warps. It should flatten when dry, but if not, you can press it until a big book later.

8. Now you're ready to trim the excess napkin. Turn the notebook over and, using your razor or craft knife, trim carefully right along the edge. If you burnished well, the edges should be completely glued down. If not, just touch it up with a little more medium.

9. I like to add more napkin scraps here and there, and a little more medium to give the piece an aged look. Don't add too much more moisture though, or your cover could start to fall apart.

10. I always like to add a metallic touch, so in this example I stamped a leaf-and-stem motif with fast-drying gold Delicata ink.

Delicata metallic inks dry faster than pigment inks.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A La Amigurumi! (Japanese crochet dolls)

I was sure stymied when the MOTH came home with a little collection of miniature vintage Japanese crochet dolls. And for some reason, this collector had 2 of everything -- twins?

Pair of vintage amigurumi (crochet) dolls in "sailor suits"
Fortunately, I found a similar doll (thank you Google image search) and learned a little bit about the interesting craft of Japanese amigurumi.
Miniature Japanese crochet doll (amigurumi) crawling along in a purple onesie and bonnet.
Here's a little bit about the ones we found: Ami is the Japanese word for "knit/crochet," and nuigurumi is Japanese for "doll." They became more popular after WWII and on into the two-thousandsies. Mine are crocheted and stuffed, and their faces are hand painted. They measure about 2-3 inches in height and each one is slightly different. These make nice little gifts, but I would not use them as toys, they're mainly for collecting, a la other Japanese Kawaii-style items.

Enjoy!
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