Monday, September 17, 2012

Retail is SO Boring

I went out a little while ago to try to find a picture album for Rosie's first baby pictures. Unless you want something severely overdecorated and ridiculous or something sadly bare, there is nothing out there for you. Frustrating, to say the least. Some of these people who decorate these things need to just edit themselves. Edit, people! So this is what we ended up getting.
This was the lesser of several evils but still horribly boring, right? It's a nice color so I can work with that. I thought to myself, "Self, you can add a pretty ribbon. That would be one small step for you and yet one giant leap for this horribly banal photo album.". Then I got to thinking, "Self, you could be really clever and connect it to her baby announcements that you still need to blog.". Good ideas all, Self. I'll try it.
I added 2 strips of cardstock; 1 patterned leftover from her baby announcements and 1 plain white; and I added a wide satin ribbon with a bow. So you see, retail doesn't HAVE to be boring. It just is. It is up to us as creative, wonderful crafting people to make life exciting sometimes. And it doesn't always take a lot of supplies, money or work. I was able to use supplies I already had (so this upgrade was essentially free) and about 10 minutes to make a completely new photo album. And this one has come leaps and bounds from the original.

So go out and be creative! I challenge you to accept the inevitable drab that comes from mass producing items and make it your own. I'd love to see what you can do!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Easiest Craft Ever - Olympic Edition

Yes, I realize the Olympics have been over for a little while now, but I haven't been able to shake Viktoria Komova's cute little button earrings. She is definitely a great gymnast, but those earrings! I love them. :) Hence, I decided to make some for myself. As mentioned, this is seriously the easiest craft ever.
You will need 3 things:

1) Buttons
2) Earring posts (I got mine at Joann's for $1.49)
3) Jewelry adhesive (I used Aileen's Jewelry & Metal Glue)

Then all you do is adhere the buttons to the earring post tops. If you're using Aileen's Jewelry & Metal Glue, don't lay the earrings button-top-down to dry. I did that the first time I made them, and the glue fumes deposited some kind of white powder on the button faces. It did NOT look pretty, but I was able to get it off by running the button faces under very hot water and brushing them with a bristle brush. Any leftover residue I removed with a toothpick. Just make sure the glue is dry before you do this. The second time I made button earrings, I laid them on their sides so the button faces were pointing out, and I didn't end up with white powder on them. The glue is quick-drying enough that you can lay the drying earrings on their sides without messing up the adhesive contact.

I did get a little obsessive, and, before I knew it, I had 8 pairs of button earings.
This is seriously the easiest craft ever and will put your ears in style with the lovely Viktoria Komova! Have fun and Happy Crafting!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wrapping with Yarn

Now that our little girl is here, I can FINALLY reveal some of the artwork I'd been working on for her. If any of you had been following my pinterest account, I had become a bit obsessed with wrapped yarn letters. There's so much you can do with them as far as certain looks and styles, and they're a very unique addition to your decor.

After much trial and error (unfortunately, it's inevitable), I finally came up with something I liked. I started out by pulling a couple bobbins out of the skein of yarn I bought for the occasion. It was easier to wrap the letter with a more reasonably sized yarn ball. When I was searching for help with this project, I was surprised by the lack of instruction I found. They pretty much said keep practicing until you get something you like. Here are some of the techniques I found worked very well with this project. You will have to practice a lot to get the effect you like, though. Sorry for that.

I got my wooden letter at Joann's for maybe a couple dollars, and I've got yarn all over the house so that wasn't hard. Some other things you'll want are a hot glue gun and some assorted clamps to hold wrapped sections in place. First, I cut several small pieces of yarn to wrap around the end caps of the letter.
You'll be wrapping the yarn around the stalks of the letter so this will help cover those hard-to-wrap ends. Use the glue gun to tack these pieces of yarn in place. After way too much practicing, I finally figured I would try to wrap the letter in the way that it is written. I made a diagram I used to keep this in mind.
This is how I draw my Rs, and I found it worked very well as a guideline for wrapping the yarn around my letter. Of course, I also had to choose one of the hardest letters in the alphabet, but that just figures. From here, I just wrapped each letter stalk as indicated in my diagram, being sure to wrap about twice as much yarn very carefully (the yarn will tend to stack up on itself if you wrap it too much) where stalks met. Then you can use your glue gun to tack in place any yarn strands that are moving on you. I did all my tacking on the back of the letter because if will seep through the yarn and make it very hard and unpleasant-looking.

I also used some of my clamps to hold in place yarn sections as I was working on other pieces of the letter. You'll also see in this picture that you will be wrapping over the end caps you wrapped at the very beginning. I was actually able to wrap pretty far over the end caps by using my glue gun to tack yarn sections.

So, after much frustration, I was finally left with a project of which I was extremely proud. I wasn't able to reveal it before Miss Rosie came because we were keeping her name a secret, and this is for her bedroom door. Joey has a J on his, too, but I used paper to decoupage his. Also very fun and easy. :)
Of course, I also had to knit her a little rose that I attached to her letter. So now Miss Rosetta has her very own wrapped yarn letter for her door, and I am still trying to think of other projects where I can make wrapped yarn letters. It's really fun and pretty addictive. Good luck and happy crafting!