Category Archives: crafts

DIY: Easy Washi Tape Tags

washitags2-jpg

As I shared in my last post, I’m a Big Shot Newbie and am loving my new machine.  I had fun creating some Washi Tape tags as my first DIY with the machine, and thought I’d share my simple little project with you. It’s super easy to make tags in a variety of colors and patterns.  Aside from the machine and die, the supplies are minimal.

Materials
*

Big Shot die cutting machine
Sizzix Tags die
Chipboard
Washi Tape
Other embellishments – optional

steps1-4-jpg

Directions
*

  1. Cut the chipboard into pieces slightly bigger than the tag shape you’ll cut out.
  2. Cover one side of the piece of chipboard with Washi Tape.
  3. Cut out the tag with your machine and die.
  4. Embellish the die further, if you choose.  Consider using eyelets, stickers, ribbon and rubber stamping to add to your tags.

The Washi Tape can be used to customize your tags in many different ways.  For example:

Color & Pattern: You can use one color/pattern per tag, or any number of tapes in combination.  Whether you’re making tags for a birthday gift and want to choose the recipient’s favorite color or are making orange and black tags for Halloween, this is a quick and easy way to customize a tag.

Tape Placement:  Lay down the tape horizontally, vertically, or on the diagonal.  You might also do crosses, a random pattern, or alternate strips of tape with strips of the base tage showing through underneath.  The choice is yours!

washitags1-jpg

Do you own any Washi Tape?  How many rolls?  What do you use your Washi Tape on?  Please share.  Oh, and stay tuned for a little giveaway I’m going to be doing in the next week or two.  I’m going to give away a roll of Washi Tape that I ordered from Aimee at Artsyville – it’s fab!

Warm regards,
Melody

Also posted in art supplies, DIY | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Adventures of a Sizzix Big Shot Newbie

big-shot-jpg

Every once in a while I stumble upon something that changes my creative life forever.  My most recent life-changing find?  A Sizzix Big Shot machine.  Yes, I know – personal die cutting & embossing machines have been around for some time.  I’m definitely on the late freight where this tool is concerned, and might’ve continued on as I was – unaware and missing out.  Luckily for me, I was hired to work at Ellison – the makers of Sizzix products.  Woo hoo!

Since late May I’ve been thoroughly immersed in the world of die cutting and embossing and I LOVE it.  And though I’ve gradually been learning the things Sizzix  machines can do and cut, I haven’t had the chance to do much crafting lately.  I’d been given a machine starter kit so I could get familiar with how everything worked back in May, but aside from a test run my first week I hadn’t had the chance to do much.  That changed this past weekend.

I pulled out an assortment of my art and crafting materials, and gave the machine a whirl.  I tried cutting an assortment of materials, and also did a quick DIY project.  I made some tags using a die, some chipboard, and Washi Tape, and will share that project on Tuesday – so stay tuned!

materials-jpg

Materials I Cut with My Big Shot and a Steel Rule Die:

Cardstock
Artist canvas
Watercolor paper
Sand paper
Metal embossing sheets
Fabric (cotton and lace)
Wire Mesh
Specialty paper (washi paper, etc.)
Felt
Photos
Mat board
Vintage ledger paper

Steel Rule Dies can also cut these materials:
Leather
Aluminum can
Magnet sheets
Cork
Crafting foam
– anything you can cut with scissors!

fabric_mesh_metal-jpg

mat_board-jpg

Die Cutting Rocks!  Why?
*

Dies cut perfectly.  No trying to follow your traced shape, over cutting, or under cutting.

You can cut multiple layers of materials at once depending on what you’re cutting.  For example, I can cut 6-8 layers of cardstock in one pass, depending on the paper.  I was also able to cut three layers of thin chipboard in one pass.  This is a huge time saver!

The creative possibilities are endless.  In addition to the machine and dies cutting a wide variety of materials, you can use the machine in oodles of creative endeavors.  Here are some projects you could use this kind of machine on – just off the top of my head:

Cards
Scrapbook pages
Collages
Garlands
Party Decorations
Invitations
Tags & other gift-wrapping elements
Journals
Enhancing bulletin boards
ATCs (Artist Trading Cards)
Food packaging (gifts)
Bookmarks
Banners
Mobiles
Jewelry (including pins & pendants)
Quilting
Wearable Art

tags-jpg

I was able to cut 18 tags at once by stacking 8 pieces of paper and running them through the Big Shot. Woo hoo! Quick and easy!

Embossing, too?  Yes!
*

My Big Shot also embosses, which allows me to customize papers in infinite combinations by mixing different embossing folders with different colors and types of paper.  Such fun and such variety. :]

embossed_paper-jpg

I Wish I’d Had One Sooner…
*

Some of the DIY projects I’ve posted here on this blog over the past three years would’ve benefitted from using this machine.  They would’ve been quicker and easier – no doubt about it.  Here are a few of the projects I could’ve used my Big Shot on if I’d had one back then:

Aluminum Star Ornaments
Cards from Scrap

The Tip of the Iceberg
*

I’m definitely a newbie when it comes to all the Big Shot can do, but I’ve seen enough to be impressed and excited by the possibilities.  I haven’t even mentioned chemically etched dies (like Thinlits & Framelits) stamp-to-cut, or embossing diffusers in this post.  Just wanted to share the bit I’ve learned and experimented with.  If you aren’t familiar with this kind of machine, and are a crafter or artist, you may want to check it out.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Warm regards,
Melody

*Disclosure: I was given a Big Shot and some dies free of charge, but there was no request, suggestion or expectation – verbal or implied – that I do a blog post in exchange for the product.  I’ve created this post of my own accord because I’m excited about the possibilities. :]  The butterfly die I used in the post is one I purchased – it’s from the Tim Holtz Alterations line.  I also purchased two of the embossing folders above – the bubble wrap pattern, and the beehive pattern.

Also posted in art supplies, DIY, inspiration | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

My Art Supply Drive: There’s Still Time to Donate!

img_9792
Greetings!  I hope your week is going well thus far.  I just thought I’d pop in and share that my annual Art Supply Drive is winding down.  This is the last week of my official drive.  Next I’ll do some shopping, and will then move on to creating a kit of supplies for each child.  So far I have enough supplies to teach two classrooms of children – my goal is six classrooms.

There’s Still Time!
*

Did you plan on donating – just haven’t gotten everything together yet?  Fear not!  Whether you plan on sending in assorted supplies, a check, or gift cards, I’ll happily accept your donations after August has come to an end.  However, I’d really appreciate it if you could email me and tell me what you plan to send – and your donation’s ETA.  :]

These are the items I currently need the most:

You’re welcome to send just about anything, though.  Whether you pull items from your personal stash of art and craft supplies or purchase something especially for the kids, it will all be put to good use. :]

img_1138-w
Big thanks to those of you who have already donated supplies for my at-risk students – SO kind of you! I’ll be sure to post photos that I take when I go in to teach.  I wish you could be there with me to see how excited the kids get, and to hear their many thank yous.  I’ll do my best to capture some of the fun and excitement by posting here on my blog after I’ve visited the classrooms…

Warm regards,
Melody

Also posted in art, art journaling, art supplies, helping others | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

DIY: Vintage Button Pendants

pendants-jpg
As you likely know by now, I LOVE vintage buttons.  I collect them, and have a box full of them.  I love using them in both art and craft projects, and have featured some of my button projects here in the past – like the button bracelets I made earlier this year.  Given my penchant for vintage buttons – and for necklaces/pendants – I truly have no idea why it’s taken me this long to make vintage button pendants. Silly me!

necklaces-jpg
I recently sat down to try making my first batch of pendants, and ended up making over 20.  Yep, I’m hooked!  Not only will these little beauties add a lot of options to my “jewelry wardrobe”, I love the idea of wearing some of the very bits and bobs that I love so much.  It’s much better than the buttons sitting in my box. :]  Button pendants are easy to make, and are so versatile.  And while I chose to pull buttons from my vintage stash, you can certainly use new buttons as well…

bails-jpg

Materials
*

Buttons
Bails (I purchased some at a bead store, and some on eBay – photo above)
Wire clippers
Sand paper
Quick-set Epoxy, E6000, or a permanent jewelry adhesive of your choice

adhesive-jpg

Instructions
*

1.  Decide which buttons you want to combine to create a pendant.  I used as little as two, and as many as four. Make sure they’ll stack together well.
2. Cut the shanks off the back of any buttons that have them.

cutters-jpg
3. Sand off any remaining pieces of the shank if desired.
4. Stack the buttons together and glue them together with your permanent adhesive.
5. Glue a bail on the back of your bottom-most button.  Let dry completely.
6. Wear and enjoy!

Here are some of the pendants I created…

ivory_pendant-jpg

reds-jpg

pinks_pendant-jpg

yellows-jpg

metallics_pendant-jpg

greens-jpg

gold_pendant-jpg
Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers.  Happy Creating!

Warm regards,
Melody

Also posted in DIY, vintage | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

My Blog’s 3rd Birthday!

third_birthday-jpg
Yep, it’s true.  My blog is now three years old! I launched my blog in August of 2010, and have been blogging away ever since.  I’ve really enjoyed creating art and craft projects to share with you.  I’ve also enjoyed baking up recipes to entice you with, and am happy to have shared some of my other interests and adventures with you as well.

From trips to hole-in-the-wall restaurants to far-flung locales like Peru and Ireland, I’ve posted some of my images and experiences getting out and about in the world.  What fun!

I’ve also posted about my furry baby bunnies, Cypress and Pinto, and have shared my goofy pet mom pictures of them taken at holidays like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.

I’ve tried to make giveaways bountiful, because winning free things is so much fun!  Many of you have won goodies over the past three years, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

Now What?
*

As I embark on my 4th year of blogging, I’d love to know: what would you like to see more of?

Fine art?  (Photography, collage, drawing, assemblage, etc.)
Crafts? (Card making, jewelry, gifts, tags, etc.)
Recipes? Do you prefer savory recipes, desserts, or both?
Giveaways? What are your favorite types? (Gift cards, books, art supplies, etc.)
Photo haikus?
Travel?
Ethnic markets?

I value your input, dear readers, and would appreciate you leaving a comment sharing some of the things you’d like to continue to see , and/or things you’d like me to consider adding or beefing up.

Onward!
*

I’m looking forward to more shared creativity and fun. Thanks for following my blog!  I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Warm regards,
Melody

p.s. If you’d like to “give my blog a birthday gift”, please consider making a donation to my Art Supply Drive to benefit at-risk children.  Details here.  Thanks!  :]

Also posted in art, baking, books, cooking, ethnic markets, life in general, photography, poetry, recipes, travel | Tagged , | 6 Comments

DIY: Cambria-Inspired Driftwood Necklace

necklace

I love driftwood – pieces that have been stripped of their bark and worn smooth by the sea.  This necklace’s foundation consists of two such pieces of driftwood – pieces I gathered on the beach in Cambria.  Cambria is a town on California’s central coast, and its slogan is “Pines by the Sea.”  It’s a charming, small town that combines a unique mountainy feel with that of a beachside community and I love it.  It’s my home away from home.

Not only does Cambria have pines and lots of driftwood, it’s also home to many deer.  I’m always entranced when I catch sight of them, and some of the gift-related stores in town feature antlers in one form or another.  And while I love these antlers and love the town they bring to my mind, I don’t want to have a real rack of antlers hanging about since I couldn’t be sure if they were obtained in a Bambi-friendly way.  They also don’t quite go with the decor here at home in Southern California.  :]

So, I love this necklace for two reasons.  Not only does it remind me of Cambria because that’s where I plucked the driftwood from the beach, but also because these two pieces of wood look a bit like antlers to me.  This simple and inexpensive statement necklace is a fun and animal-friendly way to embrace Cambria and some of the town’s natural beauty.

I’ve opted to keep this necklace very simple and natural, but there are many ways you could enhance this DIY jewelry project.  Whether you paint or burn designs into the wood, add beads and charms to your design, or even add more pieces of wood, the sky’s the limit!  It’s all a matter of personal preference.

wood

Materials
*

Driftwood – 2 small pieces
Fine sanding block or sand paper
Thick/sturdy pin, very thin nail, or something similar to poke holes into the wood
Epoxy (I used Devcon 5 Minute Epoxy)
Thin wire (I used 32 guage)
2 screw eyes: #216 – 1/2″
Silver chain (my chain measures 22″ long)
2 jump rings (optional)

screw_eye1

Instructions
*

  1. Sand any rough, scratchy edges with a fine sanding block or sand paper
  2. Decide how you’d like your wood pieces to lay out and where you’ll join the two pieces
  3. Poke or drill a hole through the two pieces of driftwood – work slowly and carefully to avoid splitting the wood
  4. Apply epoxy to the appropriate spot of the bottom piece of wood, then insert the stick pin through the holes in both pieces of wood, to ensure they’re properly aligned while the epoxy sets
  5. Sand any extra epoxy from around the place where your two wood pieces are joined after the pieces have set
  6. Thread your wire down between the two pieces and out the bottom. Wrap the wire around the two pieces to bind them in a way that appeals you and twist the ends together at the back when you’re done.  Trim wire ends.
  7. Attach screw eyes to the back of the tops of the two wood pieces – one on either side.  (You may find it easier to first start each hole with a push pin, as I did)  You’ll need to screw them at an angle, so they lay flatter to the surface of the wood instead of being completely perpendicular
  8. Attach your chain of choice to the screw eyes with jump rings, or attach your chain directly to to the screw eye as I did – by opening the screw eye with pliers, slipping on the chain, and then closing up the screw eye.

necklace_close

What Do You Think?
*

I’m thinking about adding a small piece of soft sea glass to the bottom of this piece.  It would hang off the end where the two pieces of wood are wrapped together with wire.  What do you think?  Should I add a piece of glass, or leave it as is?

I’m hoping this post will inspire you to create something with materials you’ve gathered from a favorite place.  Whether you use wood, stones, shells, or something else entirely, inspiration is all around! Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers.

Warm regards,
Melody

Also posted in DIY, inspiration, nature, travel | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Patriotic Vintage Doily Wreath

wreath1

Happy Tuesday!

I recently changed up my wreath – you know, the one I’ve decorated for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Spring thus far.  (Well, I also did a St. Patrick’s Day version, but guess who forgot to take a photo before switching to spring?  Ack!)  This incarnation features red, white and blue.  The wreath was switched up in time for Memorial Day, and will stay this way until after the 4th of July.

To create this look I pulled some blue doilies from my stash, as well as some red and white “bullseye” doilies.  I decided to add some simple foil stars and a bit of white ribbon to finish it off, and love the look. Because I pin the doilies on each time with T-pins it’s easy to take off the old doilies and add the new ones.

foil_star

What do you think?  I hope you like it.  Please let me know if you’ve been inspired to create a doily wreath of your own…

Warm regards,
Melody

Also posted in DIY, holidays, vintage | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bic Markers Giveaway Winner!

 illusion boat neckline sleeveless short knee length bridesmaid dress  knee length bridesmaid dress illusion boat neckline sleeveless short    2 ILLUSION BOAT NECKLINE SLEEVELESS SHORT KNEE LENGTH BRIDESMAID DRESS

Congratulations, Sandra Strait!  You won a set of Bic Mark-It Permanent markers!  Please contact me with your mailing address so I can send them off to you.

Thanks to all who entered.  I enjoyed reading your comments with your favorite colors, marker tips, and your feedback on my giveaways.

Speaking of giveaways, stay tuned – I’ll be announcing another giveaway later this week.  Back to back – woo hoo!

Warm and colorful regards,
Melody

Also posted in art, art supplies, giveaway | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Bic Markers Giveaway!

markers

It’s time for a giveaway, and this month I’m giving away a set of Bic Mark-It marker pens!

Markers are always good to have around the house for labeling boxes, addressing shipping envelopes, and so on. And if you’re an artsy or craftsy person, this set will be even more appealing.  It has 36 colors to choose from. Nice!  I decided to purchase a set for myself, and also bought a set for this giveaway since I love my readers.  :]

The package says they’re fine tip markers, but they can definitely mark with a thicker line if you hold the pen a bit more to the side.  Here are some of the product details for these markers:

  • Ultra comfy rubber grip for comfort and control
  • Fade resistant, acid free, vivid ink
  • Fine bullet nib, line width 1.1mm used for art and craft activities, labeling, classifying
  • Permanent alcohol-based ink, low-odor, quick-drying, plastic barrel
  • The range features: Original color collection, Paradise pastel collection, Earthly expressions collection

How To Enter
*

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this blog post with at least one of the following:

1. Your favorite color
2. A tip you may have for using markers in art/crafts, or around your home
3. Share which giveaways you’ve been most excited about here on my blog (gift cards, books, art/craft supplies, etc.)

The winner will be drawn at random, and will be announced this coming Tuesday, April 30th – so enter today!

Warm regards,
Melody

 

Also posted in art, art supplies, giveaway | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

A New Crocheted Wreath Variation: Spring!

I’m continuing to modify the crocheted wreath I created back in December – it’s so easy to do since the doilies are just pinned on!  Thus far I’ve shared two versions: Christmas and Valentine’s Day.  Today I’m showing my newest version: Spring!

wreath

I used crocheted doilies and floral pot holders in purples and yellows, and love how the wreath turned out. Two of my favorite flowers are irises and daffodils, and the color scheme of this wreath reminds me of those two flowers.
*
I didn’t make this a “strictly Easter” wreath since this version is likely to hang until June, when I’ll work on creating a 4th of July-themed wreath. So this wreath uses spring colors, but doesn’t include bunnies, chicks, or eggs – though I was tempted because I love all three of those things!
*
Spring begins tomorrow, so I’d like to wish you a Happy Spring a bit early.  If you live in a cold climate, I hope you enjoy nicer weather.  :]
*
Warm regards,
Melody
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Also posted in DIY, holidays, vintage | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment