Month: May 2015

tools of the trade.

Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite craft tools! No endorsements here; just pure awesomeness. Paper trimmer I’ve had this Cutterpede brand cutter for years now. The blade lasts a really long time and the cutting cushion can be rotated and flipped for maximum use. I have yet to replace it. The side ruler swivels out and the clear ruler on top lifts up for easy paper placing. Scissors I use two types. For paper I have a Recollections brand pair (left). For felt, a Tim Holtz brand (right). The short blades allow for more control and precision. The finger loops are nicely cushioned. Fun fact: I used to use kitchen sheers for all of my craft cutting. Can you believe that? After finding these scissors I can never go back! Bone folder This makes folding paper effortless, and super fun, too. This definitely reduces my chances of getting a paper cut or paper burn (#realcraftproblems). Rotary cutter I didn’t realize how much I “needed” this tool until I bought one. It makes cutting fabric super easy. Pair with a really …

flowers in a box.

I don’t know about you, but I love receiving flowers. I am pretty picky though. I’m not a big fan of carnations, roses, or any flower that smells like death (you know what I’m talking about?). My favorites are gerber daisies — they don’t have a scent, the come in vibrant colors, and, depending on the color, are long lasting. The mini gerbers last even longer! Since I mostly receive flowers for special occasions like birthdays or monthaversaries (yea, my fiancé and I still celebrate those), I like to keep some dried petals in keepsake boxes. I use the 2″ x 2″ x 3/4″ Amac boxes from the Container Store. I simply fill the box with petals of choice and write the occasion on the box. One time I forgot to label my petals so now they are dubbed ‘mystery flowers’… Maybe one day I’ll create an even bigger project with these boxes. In the meantime, they live in a shoebox and it makes me happy to see my collection grow. Do you save your gifted flowers, too? …

watercolor workshop.

I recently attended a workshop with Alessa of Life After Breakfast on a mini-US workshop tour. Even before the workshop began all of us were going ga-ga over our art supplies for the evening. Pouches full of glorious brushes, vibrant pigments, and oh, this nifty & informative watercolor pamphlet! We used Dr. Ph. Martin’s watercolor paints. The colors were so vivid. We started with a lesson in paper types and brush techniques. For many of us, it was our first introduction to watercolor and lettering. Here is my first take on a watercolor alphabet. Notice how I drew guidelines and then completely ignored them. We spent most of the class lettering and then dabbled a tiny bit in gold leafing towards the end. The gold leaf pretty much ruined my piece, but let’s just say I meant to put the leaf there. Oh, and I got two ‘likes’ in our class vote. (Oh hey…) Here are some student works from the class. And here is a piece that our instructor created during her live demos at each table. Since this workshop, I’ve …

craft closet.

A couple of months ago I had the brilliant idea to empty out our walk-in closet and turn it into a craft supply store…er, space. Sure, we ended up keeping our clothes ALL OVER the bedroom floor until we purchased wardrobes, but the mess was worth it. Now, our bedroom is just that – a bedroom! And, assuming my craft supplies are put away nicely, the craft closet door can shut and hide away all of the boxes of fun supplies. On my bookshelf I’ve stored “high use” supplies – things like paper, glue, ribbon, and punches. Up top is where I keep my “low use” supplies, seasonal items, and booth displays. The larger storage containers on the right are home to my packing supplies, workshop materials, products for shows, and “craft queue.” In the corner I’ve stored craft tables and bigger display items. Sterilite made a lot of money off of me. I absolutely love their storage containers. They are durable, stackable, easy to open/close, and see-through – no need to label. On my bookshelf, I …

mystery cups.

I had been wanting to paint these lil cups for a while now, but it took me a while to figure out where to buy them. (I finally found them via Darby Smart.) Also, I didn’t know what they were called for the longest time. (They are called “bell cups.”) And now the next mystery — What are these things anyway? What are they made out of? The internets can’t seem to explain them. My friends think they are made of dried citrus fruit; I’m going to go with that. Now, let’s craft! Here’s what they look like blank. You can also purchase them with stems on. That makes me think that they are a dried flower pod of some sort. I grabbed some bright acrylics and started with painting the bottom half of each bell cup with a foam brush. I painted on two layers, drying in between. Next, with a regular flat paintbrush, I painted on some simple dots, sprinkles, and a line. Let the paint dry completely. That’s it! I’ve seen these bell cups used for …

floral backdrop.

So by now you’ve already got something  planned for Mom, right? Wait, what? You don’t? Well, here’s a quick DIY you can put together for Mom’s Day- a floral backdrop. It’s perfect for a Mom’s Day photoshoot! She is a (role) model afterall. 😉 All you need is a dowel, some twine, ribbon, faux (or real!) flowers, and hot glue. Keep in mind you can use any length ribbon/twine. Here’s what I used for each of my pieces. one dowel three 5-foot strands of twine two 2.5-foot strands of ribbon 14 flowers hot glue First, hot glue and wrap on some twine. Five loops around the dowel is plenty, but I really liked the green on tan look so I did a few more. Fold the ribbon in half and hot glue the midpoints onto the ends of the dowel. Tie a knot to secure. Next, lay out your flowers along the twine. Tie them on tight with a double knot starting from the top. Optional – you can place a dab of hot glue …

old things!

Over the weekend I visited the Alameda Point Antique Faire, the largest antique shopping experience in Northern California. They weren’t lying. They open gates at 6a, but I got there at 1p when admission is cheaper and it’s easier to get closer parking, and there are rows and rows of vendors with loads and loads of old things. It was quite an experience. Of course, I didn’t find anything that really grabbed my attention, but I did leave with two soft pretzels for a dollar each, an end-of-the-day special! The fair is held outside so it was dusty, cold, and windy, but sunny – in other words, a nice bay area day! There was so much to look at. I’m always impressed with the craftsmanship of older items. Things really were made to last. I had my eyes open for a typewriter and some small teak bowls; I’ll have to do a bit more searching. I almost bought this glass stand, though. I couldn’t think of a purpose except “soap dish,” but I only have so many …