I have a handful of new things to add to my Etsy shop this week, starting with a downloadable tutorial which shows you how to make Supergirl and her pals, Pirate, Sweet Japanese Girl, Music Fan, Ms Beehive and Wizard Who May Or May Not Be Harry Potter.
You can find the tutorial - all super-detailed 15 pages of it - right here, should you be on the lookout for such a thing.
The remaining updates will happen throughout this week, and to celebrate I'm hosting a giveaway. Comment numbers here on the blog are nearing a thousand, and although I'm going to be cagey about exactly how many more it'll take to get there (random is more fun), the 1000th commenter will win a $25 gift certificate to spend in the shop. You can comment on any post - old or new - and if you want to enter more than once, well that's ok, too. Just please don't leave multiple, spammy comments on any single blog post (although I know you wouldn't, because you're awesome like that).
NB. If you buy something in the shop this week and then turn out to be Lucky Commenter No.1000, you can choose whether to spend your gift certificate on something else, have your earlier purchase refunded or a combination of the two, depending on the amounts in question.
A couple of months ago, Jenny - the very lovely editor of PaperCraft Inspirations - asked me to work up a feature on different ways to use tissue paper. You can see the results in the September issue (on sale right about now), and alongside ruffles, twists, layers, buttons and twirly skirts, there's a miniature version of an old tissue-paper favourite.
I made these flowers for Halloween a couple of years ago, and although the large scale can look fantastic on card projects, it doesn't leave room for very much else. By scaling it down, you create a much more versatile embellishment and your tissue supplies will stretch a little further, too. This is especially useful if you're using patterned tissue (e.g. Decopatch), which is more expensive.
Tissue paper (plain or patterned)
Thin wire (e.g. fuse or jewellery wire)
Small button or circle of card
STEP BY STEP
Measure and cut out two strips of tissue paper, each around 20cm long and 5-6cm wide. With the sheets layered one on top of the other, concertina-fold along the full length.
You might be able to see in the image above that a little of the folded wire is still visible in the centre of the flower. To cover this up, glue a small button or circle of card in the centre of the flower.
Once you get the hang of it, these flowers are really simple to make, and you can keep adjusting their size to fit your projects exactly.
If you look closely at the giant flower card above, you'll also see it's possible to work your folds with two different tissue-paper colours - one on the top and one underneath. It looks slightly less effective on the smaller flowers, but makes a real statement on larger ones.
Don't be put off if you aren't a card-maker, either. You could try adding a single flower as a pretty finishing touch on a gift or parcel, fix a pin to the back and wear one as a corsage or, by using a longer length of wire to create a stem, make several to display in a vase.
Once you're done, you might also want to hang on to any tissue-paper leftovers. Because I just don't know when enough's enough, there's another super-simple, tissue-based DIY coming your way later in the week.
So, a few weeks ago, my lovely friend, Julie NotesOnPaper (yep, that's her name), sent me a message about her new blog series, Going Postal. It sounded pretty fantastic from the outset, but then she used the words 'epistolary' and 'larks', and I was sold.
I've got two postal-themed posts planned between now and the middle of August. The second will be along next week, but for today I have what might be the world's easiest DIY project.
Up until now, my love of security envelopes has been something of a secret shame, but it's time to come clean.
My name is Kirsty and I am obsessed with turning envelopes inside out.
When I get a bill, it goes something like this: You want to charge me how much, now? Oh, but look! Pretty grey houndstooth inside the envelope, and it's A5 size, too. Score.
If you recognise yourself in this little situation, welcome to the Club of Shame. If you don't, congratulations. But seriously, look inside the occasional envelope and find yourself some free patterned paper. You can use it for all sorts of things, like making strips of super-useful deco tape.
1. Open out a security envelope and place on a cutting mat, patterned side facing down.
2. Cut a length of double-sided sticky tape in a width of your choice.
3. Press the tape down onto the white (plain) side of your envelope.
4. Cut along the edges of the tape with a craft knife. You can use scissors if you prefer.
5. Trim ends to neaten, and then turn over to admire your finished strip of tape.
6. Make as many as you like. Keep them stored together so they're ready whenever you need a fancy-but-useful piece of tape.
. . . as a closure on parcels and gift bags . . .
For lots more postally-inspired projects, ideas and giveaways, head to Julie's blog (I'm especially in love with her postage-stamp cards) or the Going Postal Pinterest board. You can also find out how to take part yourself, even if it's just by posting a picture of how you used your DIY deco-tape, or writing a blog post about how some pestilential woman told you to start looking at the inside of envelopes and now you can't stop.
I'll be over any day now to apologise.
(Please note: no cupcakes were harmed in the making of this blog post. In order to avoid any 'cake, meet hideous amount of unknown post-office germs' situation, the paper strips wrapped around the cupcakes above were cut from brand new, straight-out-of-a-sealed-packet envelopes.)
So, apparently it's not possible to work, meet deadlines, keep house, look after a feisty pensioner with a broken hip and blog at the same time. Not for me anyway. Working, blogging mothers (and full-time parent-sitters) - you have my utmost respect and admiration once again.
The good news is that (a) Mr P's mother is recovering at the kind of speed many British Olypmians can only dream of, and (b) I have a little pre-prepared blog project to fill the posting gap.
You can find step-by-step tutorials to make both t-shirts here, or use the flower and pirate templates to decorate just about anything else that takes your fancy (personal use only, thank you very kindly).
And if you like the appliqué idea, but want an alternative design, you could always try a smartly-dressed rabbit...
A couple of years ago, I wrote a feature on Christmas gift ideas for a scrapbooking magazine. As you might remember, I'm not a scrapbooker but I do like hitting up their supplies.
The two hoop pictures below were my favourite of the projects I put together, not least because they were a very deliberate attempt at luring die-hard papercrafters over to the dark side. By which, obviously, I mean embroidery.
Each picture uses slightly different techniques, but both can be put together in under an hour, with only the most basic of skills and materials.
Like dogs, fruitcake and Macauley Culkin movies, they're not just for Christmas. They make excellent emergency gifts all year round, and are simple enough for creative children to try out, too. It's the summer holidays, you know. I've got your back.
I'm guessing you can work out the details from the pictures above and below, but in case you need a quick breakdown, here goes:
:: Paint the hoop or stain with coloured ink, then add dots with a paint pen.
:: Stretch light-coloured fabric over the hoop when dry.
:: Place something sturdy under the fabric (I used a wooden canister lid) and stamp stems using green ink.
:: Stitch a selection of buttons at different heights on each stem.
:: Trim or cover fabric to neaten and finish off the back of the hoop.
:: Stretch denim fabric over the hoop.
:: Sew four short running-stitched lines across the middle of the fabric to make stems.
:: Layer paper and/or fabric flowers above each one and fix in place with a fancy brad (a button would work, too).
Hopefully it goes without saying that you can mix the ideas up - stamped stems and brad-fixed flowers for a total no-sew project, or vice-versa if you're feeling stitchy. You could even get really fancy and make your own flowers.
Amazing as it seems (to me at least) this project is now a couple of years old. It's listed (along with lots of other tutorials) in the Makerie (seriously - you should go and have a look).
Overuse of brackets (or parentheses if you prefer. Oh. Bugger...) aside, I thought it was worth a quick revisit, partly in case you haven't seen it before, but also because we're heading fast into t-shirt weather, and you might have a few which could do with a little restyling. Although the one I used has long sleeves, it'll obviously work just as well with short sleeves or vest tops. You could even try something similar on a bag or cushion if that's more your thing.
So, here you go - one quick and easy t-shirt restyle, revisted:
A plain t-shirt
Needle and embroidery thread
Black Staz-On on Fabrico inkpad
Banana Frog Concentric stamps
Fusible webbing (e.g. BondaWeb, Wonder Under or Heat'n'Bond)
:: Iron your fabric scraps so they're flat and wrinkle-free. Ink up one of the stamps and press down firmly onto the fabric (place a piece of paper underneath if you need to protect your work surface from any ink that might bleed through). Stamp each of the six stamps on to a separate piece of fabric.
:: Iron a piece of BondaWeb (fusible webbing) to the back of each stamped fabric scrap.
:: Cut out the stamped images, leaving a small border around the edge of each one. Don't worry about being too neat – a frayed, imperfect look is fine.
:: Position the stamped fabric circles on the front of your t-shirt. When you're happy with how they look, lift off one at a time and peel away the paper backing from your BondaWeb. Replace the circles, and iron into place on the t-shirt.
:: Cut a square of fusible (iron-on) interfacing to fit behind your pattern of circles and iron to the inside front of your t-shirt.
:: Now you're ready to start adding some embroidery, following the lines and details of the stamps. I used three strands of black embroidery thread for most of them, and worked in plain running stitches with French knots for the dotted circles.
:: When you've finished stitching, iron once more and your shirt is ready to wear.
The last time I went to a street party, I had such bad sunburn my dad had to take me home less than an hour after it started. I spent the rest of the day sitting alone on the sofa, wearing just my underpants and a liberal coating of calamine lotion. Thanks to a fresh bottle of factor 50 and the showery forecast, it's pretty unlikely today will see a repeat performance, so when Zoe at The Making Spot asked if I wanted to join in with their virtual street party, I jumped at the chance.
I love outdoor celebrations, be they smart garden parties, picnics in the park or impromptu Saturday night barbecues. The fact they're only possible for a few months each year here in the UK makes them all the more special, and I really wanted to share a project which would work both today if you're heading off to a royal wedding party, and throughout the rest of the summer. Even if you don't have anything special planned, it would work as a quick, easy and inexpensive way to turn an outdoor lunch into something a little fancier.
:: Begin by cutting out a 7cm square of paper and folding it in half diagonally. Press along the fold to create a neat crease, then smooth the paper out and fold across the opposite diagonal. Crease this fold in the same way, then flatten the paper again.
:: Add a small amount of glue to one side of the straw (this is just to hold the windmill in place as you finish it off). Press the back of the folded paper shape down onto the glue, and take the thread around the back of the straw.
:: Pull the thread ends tight and knot together in front of the button to secure. Snip away any excess to finish off.
The (almost slightly) patriotic red, white and blue windmill above is made with fabric, rather than paper. You can just as easily work this project with material if you're more likely to have fabric than paper scraps on hand. Either stiffen a single square with starch or iron two pieces together with a layer of fusible webbing in between, then finish as per the paper instructions above.
If you're here via The Making Spot blog hop today, then I need to be super-cryptic and hand over the letter 'L' as part of your quest, before sending you off to visit the very lovely Shimelle (she's a treasure, and I happen to know she hosts the best parties, too). If you're a regular visitor, or occasional caller with no idea what I'm talking about, then you should probably go back to the beginning. Check out Zoe's post at The Making Spot, which will link you to everyone taking part in the virtual street party (we're celebrating a wedding . . . have you heard?), and also explain how you can enter a fantastic competition.
As a little extra, you can also enter here to win a prize of your choice from my Etsy shop, Hello Clementine. Just leave a message in the comments below, letting me know what you'd like and I'll pick a winner at random. The giveaway will be open until next Tuesday, 3rd May.
Good luck, and whether it's your first visit or your hundred-and-first, thanks so much for stopping by this morning.
This week, I'm working on a couple of little shop updates, the first of which is a new version of an existing product.
Yep, the animal finger puppets are now available as a digital pattern, as well as in kit form. If you already have plenty of felt and fabric scraps at home, this is a great way to use them up and it's also a pretty economical option for making children's birthday presents (I love the whole 'buy once, use as many times as you like' option digital offers). Similarly, if you're looking for Easter projects, they'd be great fun to make along with kidlets - yours or anyone else's - during the holidays.
You can find both the original kit and the new digi-version in le shop right now.
Happy Wednesday, chicas!
So, it's been a while since I've posted one of these, and I want to get back into the (occasional) habit. Earlier this week, I was tidying up and came across an old card which seemed particularly appropriate this week.
I love making these woven-paper Scandinavian hearts, and although they can seem just a bit tricky when you first try them, practise very quickly makes perfect. They work in all sorts of sizes and with different types of paper, depending on the look you're after. The one above is obviously mounted on a card, but they make beautiful stand-alone decorations, too. As you weave the pieces together, you're actually forming a pocket, rather than a flat shape, and it's perfect for holding little notes or messages. If you want to give it a try, you can download the tutorial here. To make a decoration instead of a card, just follow steps 1-6, and then add a length of ribbon or thread to the top edges of the heart (front and back) to hang it up. You can see something similar in my Flickr stream.
Please feel free to download the tutorial at any time of year, by the way (personal use only, thank you very kindly). Hearts are not just for Valentine's Day and weddings, y'know.
Although, come to think of it, how cute would these be as save-the-date cards? Or birth announcements. Or . . . well, you get the idea.
Hearts: good for almost anything.