Tuesday 31 January 2012

Project 5: Indiana Cards (?)

After an epic 8 hour craft explosion of productivity* I struggled what to use as this week’s post as the output was just fantastic. I’ve decided to put up the most random and the least likely to be repeated. This week we’re going to talk about US State themed cards. More specifically: Indiana themed cards.

I found these stickers in a craft store just after Christmas in a sale – I’d like to take the opportunity to point out they had all of the states and not just Indiana was in the sale – and thought this would be a lovely gift for my grandmother. She lives in Indiana and despite not being born there, is proud to be among the Hoosiers (for which there is no universally accepted etymology).

I wanted to use these stickers in a way that highlighted technique and tools so that the stickers could be almost anything. Grandma will like the Indiana-ness and I’ll like using foamy 3D stickers with fancy tools.

Making the afternoon of Indy fun even more exciting was the presence of Claire – my friend who has a wealth of knowledge experience and really super fun craft kit. This is our presentation of Indiana cards:

Card 1 – This one used a lovely border punch and I used my boldest and most awkward shaped stickers. It’s really simple but I think it works. Card 2 – This one is my favourite, I played with the red in 3 of the stickers and the teal in the license plate. I shouldn’t like an Indiana card this much but I’m really amused by this one.

Card 3 – This one used a scallop square with two smaller stickers in each. I used the shiny black strip to break it up a bit and I could post-rationalize this to say I was trying to invoke a sense of the famous Indy racetrack but that would be a lie and too close to my day job. I put the strip there because it was shiny.

Card 4 – This is the guest spot from Claire. She used a patterned background with a blingy strip and made the Indiana highway sticker standout from the printed paper. If you want to see more of Claire’s stuff (because she rocks) then see her blog.

So those are the Indiana cards that, I imagine, nobody would ever blog about again. This has been historical.

*Please note that I did not spend 8 hours making 3 Indiana-themed cards. That would be crazy. Well crafting for 8 hours is never sane but we varied it by setting our selves blog challenges, getting husband to set challenges, making up a rule like "must use a giraffe" and you know, generally passing the time sticking things on cards while gossiping. If you don't have a craft friend, you're missing out.

Saturday 28 January 2012

Project 4 - Crafting hits the craft supplies update

Just an update on the organizing front – this week turned out to be a bit manic so I didn’t pick up the crafting the craft stuff project until Saturday morning. But here we are and I have great news to report: Everything now lives in a wonderfully self-contained box that is labelled with the contents and stored near like-materials. ‘Tis a thing of beauty now.

I also came up with an easy way of storing ribbons, wrapping anything small enough around an embroidery thread card and stored those away in a little plastic box . For bigger ribbons I tied an end to a canvas bag and then let the rest of the ribbon fall inside the bag. That way I can see what I have by colour and style and only fish out what I need by untying the end. I can’t say I’ve seen this before so I’m going to declare myself a genius for the innovation.

Once I start buying full rolls of ribbon (instead of saving the scraps from packages and presents like a hobo) I really want to do something clever like put them on a rail inside a closet or something. But we’re not there yet. One day my craft room will look like this.

Monday 23 January 2012

Project 4: Crafting hits the craft supplies

This week I’ve decided that I need to do a project that will continue to give me happiness. I’m going to organize my craft stuff and call it a craft in its own right. Because, and I don’t start a sentence with “because” lightly, I think that if I’m going to continue to do crafts on a weekly basis I need to understand what materials I already have. If you saw my first post you know I love a list. If I could love any strategic thing more than a list, it would be compartmentalizing things. This is a new field of craft: the metacraft.

I thought that I had things pretty well sorted because of the following (and feel free to judge me when you see these “before” photos):

I had my very own craft shelf:

I keep all my papers in a blue plastic bag:

I keep all my card stock, envelopes, peel offs and tools in a blue bin:

I keep all my embellishments in a recycled laundry detergent bin:

And I keep all my ribbons in a bag:

For the record: I have not made these look worse to try to exaggerate the issue. I'm aware I was delusional to think this was a system in the first place. I have no idea where half these ribbons have come from as I rarely get to the bottom of the bag.

This needs to be split over the week because if I tackle this all on a Monday I’m not going to work tomorrow as I’ll stay up until 4am trying to crack this. Small steps before we run. Tonight we tackle paper, cards and tools.

I started with the paper and organized by colour and then size, smallest scraps to big 12x12 virgin sheets. I put these in A4 and 12x12 plastic files, sorted by colour.

Then I emptied the blue bin (I haven’t seen it empty in years) and filled this with envelopes by size, cards, stationery and peel-offs. I filled the sides with glues, tapes and foam pads as well as a bag of ready-made cards from previous adventures in craftland. There are cardboard labels to separate the sections but you can't really see them from above.

Finally I sorted out a box for stamps, one for ink pads and a bag for large punches and embossing folders.

Tomorrow I’ll do ribbons and embellishments but I’m feeling pretty, pretty, pretty good. (We’re going through a Curb phase.)

Thursday 19 January 2012

Project 3: Red and Yellow Cards

Over the holidays I spent time with my aunt who is also a crafter and showed her some of my cards I had prepared as Christmas thank-yous. I’m still unsure if she was just being nice (she’s wonderfully enthusiastic when it comes to encouraging me) but she said she was really into my stuff. Seeing as it was her birthday last week I decided to dedicate this post to her and asked her what her favourite colours were. She said red and yellow. I never make anything red or yellow; if you stick with me you’ll see a lot of purple. So challenge accepted.

The first one I made was a spinoff of another design I did recently using an embossed strip and a punch-out. This one uses a spotty embossing folder and a Martha Stewart punch (borrowed, not mine sadly!) and just the tiniest bit of ribbon for flair.

The second one here is just a permutation of that, using patterned card that I blinged up a bit. I like them both.

The third one didn’t photograph well so I’m not going to publish it. But it’s very cute and follows a similar layout to this one:

Super easy number 4, I used a patterned card and then did a solid red stripe with a scallop-punched yellow burst and then added an asymmetric gingham heart. It’s a bit twee but I’m a bit twee.

The last one I made for the set is this ribbon one. This has a bold patterned card so I kept it simple with a solid yellow card stripe, a strip of sparkly gold ribbon and a piece of textured coral tape. This is probably my favourite but that has more to do with the card pattern than the technique.

All in they aren’t a very cohesive set but I liked the colour challenge. Maybe I’ll come over to the bright side more often.

Monday 16 January 2012

Project 1 - baby blanket update

I have been working on the baby blanket for a week and few days now and it’s hard to find the time to keep it up. But, as previously discussed, baby won’t wait in my friend’s belly for the blanket so I have to crack on. I’ve got one “scarf” completed and one scarf nearly done:

I decided not to do the gingham pattern because I found some beautifully soft double knit yarn so I didn’t need to do the two strands together (as per the pattern to get the gingham checker board effect). I think the big squares will be quite cute when it’s all done. I went for yellow and white as the gender of the baby is unknown - I know this is supposed to be gender-neutral but is it maybe a bit more girly?

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Project 2: Boy birthday cards

It's my husband's birthday this weekend so I decided a good mid-week project would be to make a boy-birthday card. This is a sub-brand of projects (and particularly card projects) as I find I lean heavily toward the feminine, girly embellishments. And weirdly I find that when I do make a boy-card I've focused on some childish image or theme, like toy planes or trains or cartoon
lions. The other obvious route is a sports metaphor but I can’t draw a football (American or UK footballs for that matter).

Boy-coloured cards are also fairly dull so I’ve decided to go the print route for this one. It’s slightly childish still but I think the retro theme actually helps it rather than hurts it.

I used a Cath Kidston paper from a stationary set I had been given and glued it onto a normal A6 card. I used a brown and green birthday sticker I had from an old set (I’d filed this in “possible boy card stickers” – score) and I think it ties in pretty well. The corrugated green card was actually a wedding anniversary present (our paper anniversary – clever boy) so I thought this added a nice personal touch. He probably won’t remember this but it seems significant here. Will let you know how it goes down next post!

PS: One week in ad I’ve only made one of the “scarves” for the blanket. Poo. This has a hard deadline so I must get cracking on that.

Project 1 - Baby blanket

I have a first project to start that I definitely want to get cracking on. Project 1: a baby blanket. Our very awesome friends are pregnant and due in about 5 weeks so I really need to get cracking on this. I am terrible at reading knitting patterns so I'm going to try this one.

It’s a garter stitch that incorporates two different colours for a gingham effect and you knit just 19 stitches across like a scarf and then when you have a couple of the scarves that are long enough you knit/sew them together. It seems so easy, right? Off to the store tomorrow to get some baby-safe, machine-washable yarn. :)

Saturday 7 January 2012

Welcome 2012 - the year of the Craft Buddy

This is the first week of January and I'm, like many people, trying to
come to terms with the laundry-list of resolutions I have created for myself.
In addition to "try not to judge commuters you have to share a train with
everyday" and "drink more water, less white wine spritzers" I've
decided that this is the year I start to pick up the projects that I've been
pinning on Pinterest without starting. The year that I say "how'd you make
that?" instead of "that looks like something I could do." The
year that I utilize the brilliant independent craft store down the road for
more than just the occassional embellishment.

Let's get serious about ambitions (because I get excited by things
instantly and then allocate the interest to the craft of the day updates on
MarthaStewart.com) - how am I going to maintain the enthusiasm I have now
throughout the year? Well I've started with a list. A list is a friend, a
comrade in arms and a militant supervisor that keeps me on track. I love lists.
My list has all the projects I can think of roughly sorted into seasonal and
holiday-specific projects that I can map throughout the year. As soon as I
figure out how to do it I will post it up here to help keep me honest.

One rule before we crack on: I want to start a new project every week
but I don't think I'll be able to finish one a week. I want to tackle some
pretty big projects interspersed with smaller ones so my aim is to start and
then hopefully the looming deadline of starting the next one will keep me on
top of the first, and so on.

So we're off!