Sunday, September 25, 2016

Makeful Challenge - The Apron

A few weeks ago I received a lovely package in the mail from Makeful. Inside, a blank apron for me to craft upon and enter into another awesome Makeful Challenge.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this challenge: A mash up potato stamp and painting repeat pattern of me, Kyle and Nomi’s faces!

To start I did a mock up of the pattern idea in Adobe sketch on my phone. Great little program for playing around with ideas. I highly recommend the download. Takes some getting used to, but very satisfying results once you get the hang of it.

With my pattern designed the next step was to gather my materials.

1. Potatoes (three different sizes)
2. Paints (fabric if you are intending on washing these guys, I actually used acrylic because I was
3. Paint Brushes
4. Jar of water
5. Newspaper to cover you work surface for easy clean up.
6. Felt (optional). To use as a stamping surface under your apron. Helps with unevenly cut potatoes, so you can press down and get a more even print.
7. Apron

Next step was a quick test on a piece of muslin. I wanted to test my colors and see how painting on the fabric would work. Once I was satisfied with the test results, I just dove in and started making the print.

I used my adobe sketch drawing as a guide, and laid down all the potato stamps faces and painted flowers first.
Once the base of the pattern was set and dry, I then began painting on the face and flower details. Final step was painting on the hair.

After that I let the apron dry and voila, my repeat pattern was complete.

I am absolutely thrilled with the results of my repeat pattern, something that doesn’t always happen. I think taking the time to sketch first and then do a test really helped. In fact I kind of love my test piece and want to do something with it!

I’ve decided to name the pattern Happy Home, because when I showed it to my daughter that’s what she said after seeing it. It seems fitting.

Here is a little insta story I made as well of the process:

This was a super simple and fun craft, and now my husband and I have a sweet little apron to dawn while cooking our traditional Saturday morning pancake breakfast! Mmm…

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Modern-Day Quilt Lore

Telling stories through textiles. It seemed like the logical next step on my creative adventure. I've fallen head over heels for quilt block design. So much to learn and so many stitches to sew.

A Quilt Cover

I’ve been obsessed with quilting lately, like can’t stop dreaming up geometric stories to tell through textiles obsessed! So when I received my blank canvas cell phone case for one of the Makeful challenges, I knew I had to try quilting up a cover!

To start I measured the case and got the dimensions and drew them out on graph paper.

My patterning process for quilting so far has been to sketch out my designs on the paper and then move to illustrator and trace out the pattern pieces and add on a quarter inch seam allowance. After, I print out the pattern pieces, and cut them out, and from there I’m ready to move to the fabrics and sewing.

I love using illustrator because it allows me to play with colors and easily fiddle around with the shapes and layout.

But for my quilted case, I wanted to just try free handing straight from the drawing, something I probably won’t try again. It was super fun to just sit down with my fabrics and start experimenting in front of the machine – almost like sketching with textiles – but I think I ultimately enjoy more having the direction of a printed pattern. The quilted stripes in my design are not a uniform width apart, which I was going for, but if I made this again I would keep a more consistently spaced distance. But one cool thing about free styling was that initially I didn’t have a nose on my design, something I felt I needed to add after I sewed it all up, so I just added it in.

I’m not 100% sure my quilted case was entirely successful either… even with some intense pressing, it was still a little too thick for the case, I mean it fit, but it was just not as flush as a piece of paper would have been. Regardless, I love the way the fabric and seams looks all pressed out under the case. Kind of a magical texture.

I feel like this project may have been a bit of a happy fail for me. I considered redoing the case again, and perfecting it for the challenge because I most certainly made mistakes. But for me it’s through mistakes that I learn. It’s through all these experiments, and mix ups and mess ups and through making a charming and funny quilted cell phone case that I discover exciting new adventures on my crafting journey! So please enjoy!
#makefulchallenge #bemakeful

Sunday, April 03, 2016

A Life In Flowers - A Pressed Memory Book

Flowers are a wonderful thing, and I don’t think I could properly capture their beauty in words. They’ve always somewhat seemed like real life magical creatures to me, and that is cool because, I’ll probably never see a unicorn, but I can always find a hot pink rose to add a little flash to my day. I’ve known many people who are blessed with the power to grow these wondrous beings, or piece them together into stunning arrangements that can steal your breath and leave you in tears. I am not a member of this talented pool of folks. But I do still have a strong passion for all things floral. I suppose I am more of a flower hunter and gatherer.

I enjoy the wildflowers I find on nature hikes or come across while strolling through the park. Floral motifs also play a large part in my illustration, they may be my ultimate muse, next to mythical creatures.

The project I’m sharing today is my pressed flower book. I began it the summer after my daughter was born. I wanted to create a tangible way for me to capture some of the fleeting memories of my time with my child. So my “Life In Flowers” was started. I found an old hand bound book I’d made years ago, that was full of beautiful scraps, and I deemed it’s pages the perfect place for me to mark up with petals. Once I had the book chosen, essentially I’ve just been making sure to snag a floral memento whenever I can. I bring it home, press it away between the book pages, and make a note of something special that happened that day. It’s simple and yet so effective. There is something so powerful about flipping through the book and seeing the dried and delicate beauty spread across the pages, with stories fluttering softly, in and out of the spine.
I’ve kept the book for over two years, and now with spring here, it will be time to start pressing our moments away again.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Marguciai - Lithuanian Easter Eggs

Easter, means easter eggs in our house. I was taught by my dad as a kid how to blow out eggs, dye them in an onion skin bath and then etch designs into their shells using a knife.

This year instead of onion skins I decided to try a different natural dye… red cabbage! I shredded up the cabbage, brought it to a boil in a pot of 4 cups of water and then simmered it for twenty minutes. When that was done, I strained out the left over cabbage, let it cool and then added a tablespoon of vinegar and a pinch of baking soda.

I plopped my blown out eggs into my jars of dye and let them sit over night. In the morning I removed some beautifully naturally colored eggs!

Oh I forgot to mention I added a little turmeric to one of the dye baths and the results came out green!

After they dried, I penciled on my designs and then scratched them out using an exacto knife. And the final touch is to shine them up with some oil. I just use vegetable oil. It really brings out the designs.

It’s a long process that requires patience, but it’s very meditative and the results are thrilling. One of my favorite craft times of the year!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

A Little Macaroni Charm

I’ve been making a lot of macaroni jewelry these days. My kid loves necklaces and pasta seems to be a great way to adorn her in something that is not an expensive heirloom and or a cheap-o special from the dollar store that will inevitably get destroyed at daycare… and bonus… we can also make dinner with the left overs materials.

But the plain old pasta necklaces, though classic, do get a little tired after awhile. So this week I thought I would surprise her with some painted pasta “beads” and jazz up our jewelry game a wee bit.

And of course, it wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t add a little crafty character to the final piece.

I’m calling this craft the "Macaroni Charm"

1. Tubular pasta - Rigatoni
2. Acrylic paint
3. String
4. Paint brush

I love how with just a simple coat of paint you can turn an everyday object, like pasta into a whole new piece de resistance! This is a super simple craft.

Essentially it is about choosing a color palette, creating a pattern and painting pasta! I wanted to make a minimal necklace with only a few pieces. I chose the color green thanks to a weekly Makeful challenge that had its sights set on this shade, and then I decided on a face design, which I practiced prior to starting on some stray pasta shells.

Once I had my design and colors set, it was very straightforward:
-paint macaroni
-let dry
-paint face on macaroni
-let dry
-string macaroni onto string

Here I chose to create a braided necklace out of simple cotton strands. I used six strands of cotton to give it a bit more of a robust structure and visual presence.

The result was an adorable new piece of loveliness for my daughter to sport! Oh and you can also fashion a pretty cute bracelet.

A final note, there is a lot of room for creativity here. You could paint patterns, use a ton of different colors and if you choose to create faces, they can be happy, sad, silly, serious… well whatever you want! Sky is the limit!

Have fun!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Tote-ally Makeful Tote Challenge.

For the past few months I’ve been having a great time contributing to the Makeful community, by participating in their weekly craft challenges when I can. This week they proposed a “Tote” challenge, and wanted to see how one would transform a plain tote.

I thought I would use this challenge as incentive for me to finally dive in and do something I’ve been meaning to try for a MILLION years… my own textile design!
Now I missed the deadline to have one of the branded Makeful totes sent to me, so i needed to make my own. I went in a bit of a different direction here and planed to craft a simple “bento” tote. There are tons of Bento patterns flying around online, but I’ve found this one to be one of my favourites!

They are so simple to make, but the main rule of thumb is the formula for your base rectangle to construct the bag from: Height x 3 = Width. So for my bentos, the sizes were 17” x 51” and 15” x 45”, plus seam allowance on both.

I also do a final step on my bento bags and square of the corners so they have a base. I just measure 3” up from either side of the one bottom corner (repeat on the other side after), and then sew a straight line across from those marked points (it will create a triangle) and then I press them out.

But really this challenge was more about creating a textile! Since this was my first time trying my own design, I treated it like a rough sketch. I chose to work in muslin, which is kind of like the sketch paper of the textile world.

I also decided to keep the print simple… so what better time than now to use a potato stamp! A go to fave of mine!

I came up with two really simple designs, a triangle based pineapple, and circular apple, each with a green stem embellishment. I traced and cut the shapes out of my potatoes and decided to use a simple fabric paint for my print.

I used a simple fabric paint to make the print. I wanted my pattern to feel loose and free, with not too much strict repetition. So I laid out my pre-cut fabric for my bags, which I cut to the sizes marked above, with a little extra on all sides for room to breath, and so I could really bleed the pattern out to the outer edges. And then I just went for it! Again, potato stamps are just the best when you want to make something feel organic and easy going.

The variety that is created in the lightness and darkness of the print from stamp to stamp is so cool. And I love that feeling of never really knowing for sure what will turn out. You are completely living on the edge, as Aerosmith would say.

So I covered my fabric with my circles and triangles, added the green steams and leaves, let it dry and then stood back and took a look a the results. I know it’s a fairly straightforward pattern, but I’m really happy with it! It’s playful and sweet, which is exactly what I was hoping to achieve. After the textile was created I then cut and sewed my totes!
I made two, and they both which came well. I chose to leave the Bento tote handles free and not sew them together, so I could tie them up or leave them loose... it’s nice to have the option.
 So there it is, a simple and fun “tote-ally” Makeful tote.

And last note, I can’t wait to try more patterns! Next up, I will definitely be researching natural dyes and working up to more complex patterns!