Sunday, January 24, 2016

Envelope Diorama Tutorial - The Love Note Valentine Edition

I’m throwing back today to a creative paper craft concept I developed a few years ago: The Envelope Diorama. Essentially, an envelope diorama is exactly how it sounds, it’s an envelope containing a little visual story or a snap shot of life, except that due to the envelope shape, it’s contents are more 2D than 3. The other difference, is that the contents of my diorama are yours to move about however you like! Come to think about it, it’s almost like a diorama/paper doll smash up!

I created these little story crafts during a period of time where I was obsessed with snail mail! I wanted a way to send a letter that was more of an experience, that allowed my letter receiver the opportunity to interact and play with the mail I sent them. So I began creating these little envelopes that were full of my illustrated characters and things from their worlds! The idea was that you would open your envelope and a little piece of life would tumble out, like a picnic, a dance party, or maybe a trip to the zoo!

One of my favorite ones I ever created was the Love Note diorama and Valentine! One, because it was an envelope filled with a love story, and two, because the envelope itself was made from a heart shape! I had been seeing these great tutorials that showed you how to fold a heart into an envelope and just had to try it out. It worked like a charm!

So how do you make your own envelope diorama Valentine, well it’s super simple. First, think of what you would like your diorama snap shot to be about. Now try to think of how you would show that story in a simple and fun way. For example, I had the idea of a romantic stroll under fluffy pink clouds, with soft mountains bobbing on the horizon. So I created some romantic looking characters cut from watercolor paper, illustrated with pen and ink and watercolor pencils. Then I cut out some mountains, clouds and some hearts from some scraps of Japanese paper I had lying around. For the envelope, you could just use regular old envelope, but making one from a heart is SUPER simple and SUPER fun. Here is a quick tutorial! I wrote a little “love note” on mine.

Last step is to fill your envelope, close it up and then give it to your Valentine! I guarantee a love filled reaction, lots of smiles, and a whole lot of love story!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Festive Forest Friends - A Tutorial

How To Make A Festive Forest Friend!
As the holiday’s approach, Christmas trees are popping up everywhere I turn!

So here is my crafty take on the iconic holiday tree! I call them Festive Forest Friends! They are simple and sweet and probably full of eggnog soaked dreams and hearts in the shape of candy canes.

I used the following list of materials to create my very own Festive Forest Friends,… but you could easily swap out the hand stamped muslin for another print of choice.


1. Fabric - I chose plain muslin for this craft
2. Sewing machine
3. Thread to match your fabric
4. Scissors
5. Eraser or stamp of choice
6. Acrylic paint and paint brush
7. Embroidery floss, pink for mouth, brown for eyes
8. Embroidery ring
9. Embroidery needle
10. The Festive Forest Friend pattern print out

How to:

Step one print out the pattern here!

Then Trace pattern onto a piece of muslin. I’m using blank muslin because it’s sturdy, and yet somehow still airy. You can really use any robust fabric for this, as long as it seems like it will hold it’s cone shape without any stuffing… a chiffon silk is probably NOT what you want here!

Note: Do not cut out yet!

Next step is to create your ‘print’ on the blank muslin. For my two trees I used two very simple stamps. One, a triangle that I cut from an eraser! And the circle was the end of my paint brush! I love finding existing things to use as stamps! Lots of great shapes out there to create beautiful surface design with!

Since my Festive Friends are for only for decorative use I decided to use acrylic paint to stamp them. If you intend to wash them, you probably want to use something more permanent like a fabric paint, fabric ink, or fabric marker.

Next, mix your color of choice out of the paints in a shallow plate. Then begin stamping your pattern in the traced out Festive Friend body shape and base. Remember to do your stamping on a piece of cardboard because the paint will seep through the fabric and mark whatever is underneath. Feel free to got outside of the pattern lines! I also stamped my star. But you could use an alternate fabric here, like a yellow felt. Sky is the limit.

Let the paint dry!

Next step, embroidering the face! This could be done before painting… but I’m a klutz and I would worry I would somehow mess up my embroidery in the stamping process! So it’s really up to you!

To start you will need to mark your face outline onto the muslin, lightly with a pencil.
Next you will embroider on the eyes with the brown embroidery floss and the mouth using the pink embroidery floss. I personally like to have my fabric mounted in an embroidery ring while doing this, which is why you do not cut out the piece first. You want to have enough fabric to fit it into the size of ring you have!

For the embroidery itself, I do a simple satin stitch to create a filled in circle for the eyes and either again a satin stitch to create a half circle or a simple outline stitch to create a half circle line for the mouth. Here is where you can really play around with expression! You can make your tree happy or sad, or have eyebrows or tiny tears. It’s up to you! The face on the pattern is just a general guideline.

Once the face is embroidered on, you can now start to cut! Cut out the body, base and star piece.

Now it’s time to machine sew! Start with the the body piece. Just a straight stitch down the back to the first opening notch marks, back stitch, lift up sewing machine foot, pull fabric through to next notch mark, start sewing again, starting with a quick back stitch to the end of the line. You will use that space between the notches for flipping you Festive Friend inside out! Then sew on the circular base to the bottom of your cone shaped tree.

Once you are done with that, you can carefully flip your Festive Friend right side out!

You will need to hand stitch up that hole you left open. I use a simple whip or chain stitch for this part in a thread color to match fabric.

You could also stuff this little Festive Friend up if you like. I just prefer the light and airy feel of the none stuffed tree friend, and since mine are just for decoration, I’m not too worried about them getting squashed.

Now it’s time to attach the star. I just did a  couple quick stitches in a thread color that was close to the muslin to attache the star to the tip of the Festive Friend.

And voila! Finis! Your very own Festive Friend, and if you make more than one, well then you’ve got yourself one real Festive Forest!

Have fun and make it awesome.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Thanksgiving Table Spirits Tutorial!

I've been really into foraging for pine cones this fall! And I've now amassed a huge pile, that is just sitting in the middle of my kitchen table... calling to me every morning... "Come and craft with us Rhya!"

So I came up with this quick and easy project to decorate my Thanksgiving table this weekend... and it turned out pretty cute, so I thought I would share.

I'm calling these "Thanksgiving Table Spirits". They are meant to live on the table, next to your plate, and every time you touch one, you need to first reflect and then say out loud, one thing you are grateful for this holiday!

Alright onward to the tutorial!
  • Pine Cones! Get as many as you will need to give all your guests one at dinner, plus a couple more for just general fun! Foraging for the pine cones is the most fun part! Nothing like getting outside and enjoying the day while rummaging through nature!
  • Acrylic paint, in any colour you would like. Note, you also don't need to paint your Table Spirits, they will look just as good in their natural colour.
  • Construction paper in any colour you want. I chose mine to match the colour of the paint I was using on my Table Spirits, and also made sure to have a piece of white and brown paper to construct the flag.
  • Medium sized paint brush.
  • Craft glue or glue gun.
  • Fine tipped permanent black marker.
  • Googly eyes or you can do what I did and construct them from scratch using an air dry modeling clay ( I used the Polyform brand, picked it up from Michaels). I sculpted the eyes and then painted on the pupils when the clay had dried. I bet sculpey would work great too!

How to:
  • Step one, paint your pine cones... and there are no rules here, paint them any colour you want! Or multiple colours at once. Or as I mentioned above, leave the pine cones bare! It's up to you.
  • Step two, eyes! Now again, as I indicated previously, you can just use regular old googly eyes, or you can go the crafting route of creating your own eyes from scratch, using a sculpy or air drying clay, and then painting in the pupils. This is what I did, mostly because I like the effect it has, and it allows you to give your pine cones a little more character. Once you have your eyes ready, play around with their placement on the pine cone, till you find just the right position for them. Then glue them on! I used an clear drying craft glue, but I think a glue gun would have been even better! It would set quicker!
  • Step three, the paper bits! In the photo above you can see the pieces that I cut out to make my arms and thank you flag! Again, you can copy those designs or just go rogue and do your own version! Essentially, I cut out two arms, a flag pole, and flag with the word "Thank You" hand written on using a fine tipped black marker. I glues the flag together and then glued it into one of the hands, and then surprise, surprise, I glued the arms and flag onto the pine cone body! As you can see, it's all about the glue! 

And that's it! The last step! Voila! You should now be staring into the eyes of your very own Thanksgiving Tree Spirit... and if you are like me... you are also probably covered in paste! So go wash up and then get your gratitude on!

Thank you for checking out the tutorial!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Potato Stamp City!

The potato stamp is wonderful thing! Am I right?

I love the organic and graphic shapes that you can create by simply carving into a solid spud.

And they are great on fabric too! And there is something so wonderful about the lack of control with this material. It's impossible to guarantee the same result each time. I'm doing a whole series of fruit right now, and loving experimenting with using two shapes to create one image. Next up... Apples!

Monday, August 17, 2015

All The Fuzzy Feels!

How to begin again after so much change... just dive in right! How about I lay down some goals for what remains of this hot and wonderful summer and the coming fall and winter! 

1. In general make more!
2. Craft the heck out of everything!
3. Surface Design... it's time to dive in... oh it's overtime!
4. Poems. Write them!
5. Collect Inspiration!
6. Blog. I miss this process. I just do.

This seems like a good start. 
Hello old friends! Are you all still out there?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Finding My Footing...

Summer Run.
I've been after my dreams again...patterns and one day what I hope will be a line of textiles. Due to my wedding sabbatical I fell a little out of practice...but now I'm back...wobbly and uncertain, but I'm finding my footing and it feels awesome.  Been searching out inspiration where ever I go, and really trying to just get my ideas onto paper.  I hit the computer tonight...more to just play around with some techniques and see what works best...
Hollyhock Tea Time.

One of my biggest challenges has always been combining colours.  It's funny because colours are one of my most favourite things about life...the spectrum, the combo...the beauty...what's not to love when a sunset steals your breath away.  I find that it's actually out in the wild that I see the most inspiring mix of palettes...which got me to thinking...that I should start using my Colorschemer app more and start creating colour palettes from the photos that I've taken of day to day life.  So this is what I tried with these 'Hollyhock Tea Time' patterns.  I've also posted the original photo that I pulled my colours from.  I am really excited about the possibilities of working this way...can't wait to see where it leads...
Again, on a Grey Day.
Original Inspiration.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Soundtrack

Bear-ry Day Card...envelope diorama the birthday edition.
Oh man I love summer.  I've been living in pools and watching the blue skies float amongst the water surface.  Bright bike rides and flapping skirts in light breezes which carry the colours of lavender and hot pink roses around our ankles. Who could ask for anything more.

I've also been obsessed with creating a soundtrack to commemorate this lovely far I've got three tracks:

I am open to more suggestions...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Berry Time

Summer Day Dioramas, piled and ready for post.
Toronto summers are certainly a lovely sight, hot hot heat, blooming city gardens, and wildlife signing along with the city scape and car songs. We've been taking it easy in my neck of the woods and that has been a welcome break from what seemed like a whirlwind spring.  With the wedding and some major work projects I let myself get caught up in a whirlwind of fun and deadlines. But those projects are all cleaned up and closed off, and I am feeling focused again! The next goals are to really focus back on pattern and textile design.  I have so much to learn and try that at times it feels overwhelming, like there is no way I can figure it out...and not to mention there are so many talented artists out there it can be rather intimidating, yet at the same time so inspiring. And speaking of awe inducing designers, I am totally in love with Elizabeth Olwen's work! Make sure to check out her site! It's fabulous and her blog is a wonderful read!

Doing textiles is a dream I've had for so long, I just need to go and do it and not let my fears stop's all about the making right? 

I've also really missed making beautiful to stretch out my fingers and imagination I thought I would start with making a small run of envelope has been so long! This one is about bears (a favourite of mine) and berries...I've been eating so many blackberries I seriously think I may be turning into a some sort of woodland creature.
Unfold and find a hungry bear, a berry for snaking, a tiny meadow and a mini forest friend for company.
Stuffed into their warm wood-like envelope.
Family on the run.
Berry dreams.
Sweet leafy spirits.
Following the storm.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Knot Tied.

Photo Credit: Jen Arron (This was our serious face photo)
After ten years of excellent adventures, Kyle and I finally tied the knot on June 2nd at the High Park Curling Club.  It was a magical day filled with good family and friends, excellent food (delicious BBQ from Barque), dancing, laughing and many many robots and monsters. Thank you to my amazing friend Jen Arron for capturing the memories.  You can see a lovely post all about the day here on her blog.

And another major thanks goes out to my good friend and business partner Bliss, who made the dress of my dreams from scratch.

Photo Credit: Amee King
Now it's back to the basics....finding my pencil crayons and dusting off my journal and getting ready to get back at it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lost in Tissue Paper and Tulle

Bliss making adjustments to the proto-dress.
Kyle and I are a few short weeks away from our wedding...though my blog is mostly for my process work and the stuff that fall out of my imagination, but I had to share some of the things we have been creating for our big day of fun and love.
Tissue paper flowers are easy to make and turn out so pretty. Unfortunately cats don't like them.
We've taken a very DIY approach to our wedding party and both Kye and I are happy about it. It has allowed us to spend lots of nights together planing and fabricating things out of paper, wood and LEDs. And I think we saved a few dollars along the way.
Bunting in progress.
Making things makes me happy. It's a simple philosophy, but it works for me...and if I could swim and craft at the same time, well then I would really be onto something.  Koshi on the other hand finds happiness in sitting on things. To each their own.