Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valentine String Art: LOVE

At first I had an idea to make a Heart shaped String Art wall hanging - but I wanted something that our entire family could create together.  I modified my plans and changed the design to be a 4 letter word.

4 members in our family + 4 letter word = Perfect fit

I used a piece of scrap wood from my stash.  It should have been a little bit longer, but I managed to squeeze the letters to fit OK.  I sanded the board lightly to smooth away any splinters and rough edges and wiped away any dust with a cloth.

I printed the outline of the letters using a Word document, each of the letters are sized so they fill one entire 8 1/2" X 11" sheet of paper. 

The letters are spaced evenly across the board and then taped into place along the top edge only.

Next, a large piece of graphite paper was slipped underneath and the letters were traced to transfer the letter shape onto the board.  It's not important if the lines are not perfectly straight.

The letter outlines are used as a guide to where the nails will be hammered in.  I marked freehand dots spaced along the lines (approximately 1" apart) for where I wanted each of the nails.  Don't worry too much about getting everything lined up, it will be nearly impossible.  That's what gives this Art Piece it's homespun feel.

I used 18 gauge X 3/4" long nails.  Make sure the nails have a head (not finishing nails or brads) so the string/embroidery floss doesn't slip off the top of the nail.  Hammer the nails along the outline of each letter, leaving half of the nail sticking up.

I managed not to hit my finger, but it wasn't easy keeping the nail straight.  This is another part that will be impossible to get perfect.  The nails won't be straight and they won't all be in the same distance.  It will look just fine in the end.

Once all the nails were in place - I took the board outside and sprayed the front and sides with black spray paint, and allowed it to dry for a few hours.

Now it was time for the FUN part.  With the family gathered around, we each picked a color of embroidery floss (I used Red, White, Light Pink and Dark Pink).

Each letter required 2 skeins of embroidery floss.  Start by tying one end of the floss securely around one of the nails, and begin to wrap from nail to nail across the letters.

There was No specific pattern that we used, but it could be done in a very orderly fashion to create a completely different appearance.  I like the fun of going random.

  After the letters were filled with string - we used the last section of floss to wrap around the outside of the letters to highlight the letter shape. At the end of each skein of floss - tie securely to a nail and trim the excess close to the knot.

You can see the nails are not even and we made some mistakes when we wrapped the floss, but it's really not noticeable. 

I love how each of us went about wrapping our letters in a slightly different random way.  The differences are subtle, but I can tell each letter was done by someone different.

The end result is a very impactful Wall Art Piece.  

This will be added to our Valentine Decor this year and Little K is already planning what she wants to make (on her own) for her room.

I remember doing a similar kind of yarn art as a kid,  I love how all those retro crafts are making a comeback, with a modern twist.  

Happy Crafting - I would love to see what  you make with this project idea, so please share.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Project Life: Week three

I fell a little behind this week, but I did manage to get the layout done and I'm happy.

I don't love the color combination - I call it Melon and Blue.  I was hoping it would turn out more exciting, but it falls a little flat.

I try to pull colors from my weekly photos when choosing the cards and embellishments.  Some weeks flow together easily - this was not one of those weeks.

The Title and "Remember This" cards are from the Seafoam Core Kit.  Other Cards and embellishments are from the January Studio Calico Project Life kit.

I tend to take a lot of vertical pictures, so I like the vertical slots of Pocket Page Design B, but it really bugs me to have a Vertical Title Card the following week.  

I'm trying to get over it......

I used large Letter Stickers on the Title Card.  I like to keep some of the elements consistent through out the year, so you will see some version of this each week in my 2014 album.

I pulled out my vintage Rotex Label Maker to add some black label accents.

The Studio Calico kit included these cute puffy asterisk stickers in coordinating colors.

I used them on several of the cards, as well as some washi tape to add color onto the mostly white journaling cards.  

Not much handwriting this week - most of the journaling cards were printed on the computer.  I push myself to  include my handwriting because I know it's important....but I doesn't have to be all the time. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Valentine Card Round-Up

... "Now that Little K is in Middle School" ...

I seem to say that a lot these days.  It's true - they really do grow up so fast.

Most times I'm excited to see how she has matured into a beautiful and kind young girl who is confident and independent.

Other times - I miss some of the Good Old Times from when she was in Elementary School.

One of those times is Now - around Valentines Day.

We LOVED making Class Valentines Together.

Here is a Round Up of some of our favorites we made in Past Years:
(click on the links below each picture for details)

If you have kids in Elementary School - it's time to start thinking about making those Valentine Cards.  Hope these ideas spark something creative in you.

If Not - I am always happy to consult.  I've got dozens of Kid Valentine Card Ideas that I'll probably never get to make.

In Middle School - they send each other flowers - Aaargh.  
It's way too soon for that. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Project Life: Week Two

Not too many embellishments in this weeks Project Life spread.

I usually let the colors in the photos dictate what the color scheme for the week is.  As usual, this spread is a combination of various core kits and subscription kits, as well as other pocket cards. 


Keeping with my plan for the year, I used stickers for the Week number on the Title Card.

I decided to jump on the sequin band wagon (albeit a little later than everyone else).

I never saw what the appeal was of random scattered sequins, but since they have been in my Studio Calico Project Life kits nearly every month - I figured it was time to give them a try.  There was a little packet that contained a small mix of sequins in exactly the right colors.

I'm still undecided as to weather I like them or not, but I'm happy to give them a try.  One of the reasons I like getting the kits - it makes me use things I might otherwise pass on.  

They are growing on me!


I've always liked using arrows to match jouranling cards to the corresponding pictures.  I know many people never used the arrow stickers that came with the original Project Life core kits - I actually ran out of them my first year.

This Arrow Punch is one of my favorite tools and you will see it throughout my pages.

This week I added some iridescent glitter glue on top of the punched card arrows for an extra shine - I couldn't let the sequins on the page be the only thing that sparkled.

 I'm running behind for Week 3.  Usually by now (Thursday) I have several pictures already printed.  I'm not even sure I have taken any pictures this week.  Hopefully next week won't be a complete fail, but I have a feeling there will be some extra filler cards used.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oilcloth Lunch Bag

Now that Little K is in Middle School - and has to carry around her lunch (since her school doesn't have lockers) - we try to use smaller lunch bags that don't take up too much space in her back pack.

Usually that means I pack her lunch in a Paper Bag (decorated with drawings and Washi Tape of course).

I try to include re-usable containers.  Because I still like making {simple} Bento Lunches, plus it helps reduce the amount of wasted plastic baggies.

This sweet stack able set from Paper Chase is one of our favorites.  Unfortunately the containers are just a bit too big to sit flat in the bottom of a paper bag (as are most of our Bento containers).

I decided it was time to maker a New Lunch Bag that fit all our needs:

Not too bulky
Big enough to hold Bento Containers
Washable & Foldable

Here Is My Creation

A colorful, re-usable Lunch Bag made from durable/washable Oilcloth Fabric.

I have had several pieces of Oilcloth in my stash for some time.  
I purchased them from an Online retailer - back when it was hard to find Oilcloth.  Now most of the big fabric stores carry lots of adorable designs in stock every day.  

I think this Pink Strawberry and Green Gingham was originally planned to be a Splat Mat for Little K.  She's almost 13 now - and pretty tidy these days - so probably won't need to make that project. 

Because the fabric had been folded for several years - there were deep set creases that I was afraid I would not get out.  I was pleased to discover that they were easily removed by ironing on the reverse side using medium heat.  The Oilcloth will get very soft under the heat of the iron and can easily be stretched out of shape (be careful not to pull too much), but it quickly cools down and regains it's stiff form.  

I decided the dimensions wanted for this little lunch bag - and cut them out using a Rotary Cutter.  

There are only 3 Pieces needed - so the cutting is pretty quick.  

Only basic sewing skills are needed to put this bag together.  The oilcloth fabric is a little sticky and can be tricky getting it through the machine - with a little gentle coaxing and some patience it moved along as needed.

Thanks to my Mum for doing the sewing while I took pictures.

You can download the complete tutorial for free HERE.

I added a unique feature on my Original design:

Gross Grain Ribbon Ties to keep the bag closed.

Most often these bags have a velcro closure
(I found the stress of daily opening causes the oilcloth fabric to quickly wear and tear away)

They also look very sweet using an old fashioned clothes pin clipped to the top
(but its not very practical for a lunch bag that gets smashed into a back pack)

The ribbon tie solution is working perfectly.
(Little K has been using her new bag for a week)

Plus it adds another opportunity for some color coordinated details.  

Some of the bags we made had contrasting side panels.

And some had self fabric.

With just these 4 fabric patterns - there were so many fun combinations....I could stop.

And I still have some oilcloth fabric left - so there may be more to come.

I hope you enjoy making some of these cute lunch totes.  

If you don't feel like sewing them up yourself - I have listed a few of the extras for sale in the SHOP if you would like to buy one pre-made and ready used. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Project Life: Week One

It's only Wednesday and I've finished Week One and I'm already Posting about it.  

Last year I did a good job keeping current (at least for the first 6 months) but never made time to upload/post/blog.  I've gotten so much inspiration form all the other PL participants - I'm committed to sharing my pics this year.  

I used only a few simple embellishments this week - mostly from the Studio Calico monthly kit.  Loving the transparent overlays.

Every year I like to keep the format of the Title Cards somewhat consistent throughout the album.  This year  I plan on using Thickers to call out the Weeks.  I won't necessarily use the same color/style each week, but the fact that they will all be dimensional, and directly placed  onto the Title Card will 
keep them unified.  

Close Up of the Left Hand Page.

One thing I consistently struggle with, is hand written journaling.  I know it's important to have my personal handwriting included as part of these memories...but I really don't like how it looks.  Mostly because I'm a terrible speller, plus if the words aren't positioned aesthetically on the card - it drives me NUTS (yes....I know I have issues).
I may have found a solution.  Instead of journaling in black or brown as I have done mostly in the past.  I used a complimentary (lighter) color.  Any mistakes that I don't like - blend into the page better - instead of Jumping Up and screaming...."Look at what a mess this is".  

Close Up of the Right Hand Page. 

I probably need more explanation of what's going on in these pictures, but instead of stressing about it - I forged ahead and completed the week with minimal journaling.  

There are 51 more weeks to go - plenty of time to write more later. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Project Life 2014: Cover Page

I am excited to be starting Project Life again this year. 

This time with some revised - more realistic - expectations. 

You can read more about my plan in the Project Life Tab above.


I used family photos taken for our Holiday Card.   Since we were wearing Red and Grey, that became the color scheme for the Cover.  

The card inserts are mostly from the Midnight Edition Core Kit as well as pieces from the Studio Calico Monthly Project Life kits

I wanted to embellish with Black Numbers and Letters, but I didn't have any.  My solution was to modify some existing chipboard numbers/letters. 

The ones I used had an antique map print.

I temporarily stuck them to a leftover piece of plastic packaging.

Then I squeezed on basic black glitter glue.  This is not scrapbook glitter or glue - just plain craft glitter glue that you get in the kids craft section.  

It goes on very goopy, but have no fear.  You don't need to spread it out evenly when you apply, it dries perfectly flat.  I did go back and add some extra in spots where the beige showed through.  

The finished Black Glitter chipboard letter.  

I think it's a great transformation.  You would never know it was the same brown letter I began with. 

One of my favorite parts of the cover - was actually my Least favorite to begin with. 
I added this blank (Happy Thoughts) card because it gave the right amount of both grey and white to balance the page, but I had no idea what kinds of Happy Thoughts to include.  

I ended up including a few thoughts that I want to be the focus of our year of 2014.  Like a little Mission Statement for our family.  A simple reminder of some simple things to keep us (and by US I mean ME) on track.

It's only Tuesday - and I've already gotten Week 1 done as well.  I'll be posting about that next.

I'm off to a good start - fingers crossed it continues this way.