Thursday, July 28, 2011

Embroidery on Paper

white on paper

Found this site today through Pinterest Paper Stitch and am thoroughly enamored with what she's doing, embroidery on paper. I think I might have to try it for myself!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Paper Bag Scrapbooks

For anyone who scrapbooks regularly you're probably already familiar with the term "paper bag scrapbook."  For those who aren't, let me me show you what it's all about.

Sometimes I find that I want to put together a small scrapbook that focuses on a single event, person, place, etc. I want it to be aesthetically pleasing but don't necessarily want to go to a lot of expense or time putting it together. Several years ago several unique and fun solutions made the rounds of the scrapbook community. Crafters began making scrapbooks out of common objects found in their homes such as envelopes, cd's, tags, and paper bags. I've done them all and today would like to share with you one of my paper bag scrapbooks.

It started with a stack of photographs from a 1998 trip to Fernandina Beach, Florida. 

I went through my stash of paper bags and chose brown lunch bags for this project. (Just a side note here, if at all possible I recommend using unused bags whenever possible. Somehow I don't think a scrapbook that smells like tuna fish sandwich is necessarily something you want to show your friends).

I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to use this stash of small shells

I also raided my offices supplies - labels, staples, brads, all make excellent embellishments.

Next I pulled out my tote of paper scraps. Yes, I have a FULL 64 quart plastic tote full of scraps of paper. For the record, I NEVER throw paper out.

It was time to get started. First step was to cut the bottoms off two bags. I removed the bottoms because I wanted all open ends for creating pockets .... you can leave them intact if you want to.

Next I stacked the bags and folded them in half, making sure to press down on the fold.

I opened the bags back up and using my sewing machine (one used just for sewing on paper) stitched along the fold mark. If you don't have a machine to dedicate to paper you can always use a sharp tool and pierce along the fold mark and then go back and hand stitch your pages together.

If you find your edges uneven and that sort of thing bothers you, use your paper trimmer to even them up. I personally like the unevenness and usually leave it as is.

Now comes the fun part, creating a scrapbook using photos, paper, and embellishments. Before you know it, you'll come up with something like this

This side view shows the pockets that were created with the bags. Notice inside each pocket are several removable miniature pages.

Opened the scrapbook to the center you can see the stitching that keeps the book together.  You will also notice punched holes which in this case are purely decorative touches. However, if you don't want to sew your scrapbooks together, you can use the punched holes along with ribbon or string to hold the pages together.

On the flip side, the ribbons are tied

For this scrapbook, I chose to use background paper on each page, however that's a personal preference. Many people adhere their photos and embellishments directly to the brown paper. I think it depends on the "look" you're going for, and remember, there are no set rules!

Here you will see a separate "page" that really looks like a giant tag. The ribbon on the end is not only decorative but also makes it easier to pull the tag from its pocket.

Both sides of tags are treated as scrapbook pages and easily slide

in and out of the pockets.

Sometimes when scrapbooking you will find pictures that aren't necessarily good photographs. Don't throw them out! If you look close enough I'm sure you'll find something in them that can help tell your story

Here is an example.  In the original photo all the people were making less than photogenic faces. I chose to focus on their tired but happy little feet!

Another example can be seen on the front cover. All of the photos used here are small background pieces cut from photographs. As background they seem small and insignificant, but here they provide a collage of scenes that depict the theme of my scrapbook - Sunset at the Marina

Another technique utilized, one that will make some scrapbookers gasp, was
 cutting people out of the photograph and mounting them directly to the page. I'm going for a fun and playful look and this technique plays right into it.

Last but not least, the back cover - nothing special, just a mix of all the patterned papers used. I should have included a label with the date and place but never got around to it....maybe I should add it now?!

Paper bag scrapbooks are fun and easy to pull together. Lunch bags are not the only options out there. I love to use wine bags and these white ones which come from iHop 
I collect bags wherever I go .... much to the amused embarrassment of my family.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Soumak Weaving

I'm not sure where I first heard about Soumak weaving but a lot of what I learned was from this site soumak weaving. At the time I was part of a fiber arts small group at church and while everyone else was knitting and crocheting I chose to do something different. I got the extra bonus of receiving all the leftover yarn from my friends so basically all it cost me was the materials for making my loom!

As I began churning out pieces I discovered that some of them needed a little extra punch, 

thus the addition of embroidery, buttons, sticks, polymer clay beads, etc.

This was a good craft for working with colors and textures. Here are a couple of pieces waiting to be completed.

I haven't done much lately (remember I craft in spurts) but I've got everything ready, waiting for me to be bit by the bug again. 

look how different this piece  is depending on the background!

Where do you like it best?

My creative solution to displaying all the earrings I've made

Not only does it give me a place to store the earrings but it also brightens up the room!

mmmm, like candy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hand Embroidery Tutorials

Hand Embroidery Tutorials

Found this amazing website with Embroidery tutorials on, just about any stitch you can image. Awesome site!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Felt Advent Calendar

Last Fall I wanted to make something special for my friend's birthday. I wanted it to be something along a Christmas theme since her November birthday comes just before the holiday season and because she loves decorating for Christmas. Also there's a nine-year old in the home and I felt it would be nice to make something that he would enjoy too. I decided that an Advent calendar would fit the bill.

I started with a sketch  which depicted a cheery holiday scene. It featured many traditional elements that are commonly associated with Christmas. A Christmas tree of course, along with a fireplace complete with stockings and a wreath hanging over the mantle, and a kitty resting on a pillow basking in the warmth of the fire. Placed in front of a window that showcased a cold winter scene was a soft, cushiony chair waiting for Santa to come and relax in while eating cookies left especially for him. There would be presents under the tree and a toy train completing the picture- perfect holiday scene.

My original intent was for individual pieces of the scene to be unattached and over the course of Advent a new piece would be added each day until final the scene would be complete. After much thought, considering the wear and tear of taking pieces off and on, I changed my plan and decided to make the scene complete and intact and make numbered pockets that would be used to count down the days to the big day.

I re-drew the sketch to scale  and set about making individual patterns for each piece of the "puzzle."

Here's an example  of the chair which is  made up of eight separate pieces. And here you see several baggies of different elements and all their pieces just waiting to be cut, pieced, and sewn together.

In this close up you see the "glass" and the "milk" 
And finally a close up of the chair with its side table with milk and cookies on it.  The closeup gives you a sense of some of the detail involved: embroidered to show depth in the chair and tiny delica bead chocolate chips in the cookies. If you look close, to the right and behind the chair, you can see the "wood grain" of the hardwood floor.

With a few of the key pieces complete it was time to start putting it all together. I found myself constantly altering things as I went along, a lot of pinning and unpinning was involved in putting it all together. But in the end the overall result was pretty true to the initial vision.

A photograph of the finished product followed by a few more closeups

The fireplace ... 
If I had it to do over again I would make one big change ... the stockings would not be sewn down, but would hang freely. They do however, remain open at the top to allow for stuffing candy canes in. I also would have made the wreath more 3-D by sewing individual holly leaves on it but would definitely keep the bead "berries."

Here's a little closer view of the candlesticks which were made with bugle beads  and the curtain made of patterned fabric instead of felt, complete with curtain rod and finial.

What's Christmas without a fuzzy grey kitten
  perched on a lime green pillow. For some reason it looks like kitty only has whiskers on one side but I know that's not the case.

Nestled beside the easy-chair is mama's basket of knitting. The basket is complete with balls of yarn and tiny knitting needles.

Another closeup of the chair includes a look out the window    where you 'll see sparkly snowflakes falling as well as a snowman, tree branch, and shivering robin.

A view of the other side of the room shows the tree and the train. To be honest, the train was my least favorite part of the calendar. It did not come out as 3-D as I wanted nor did the track. You do get another view of the "hardwood" floor and the rug that covers it. I used a patterned felt for the rug and added fringe to the edges, though it is hard to see in the photograph.

One more closeup, this time of the tree, shows more of its details.   Tiny strings of lights, miniature red bells, and white snowflakes deck the tiered tree made of sparkly felt.

Once again, the finished result.  I hope my friend will get many years of enjoyment out of her Advent calendar. She is a kind and generous person and this gift was made with love, in appreciation and admiration for the person she is.