Saturday, July 31, 2010

CHA Part 1 - Door Prize!

Hi!  I was hoping to do just one post about the CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) Craft SuperShow, but it will end up being at least two.

I had such a great time at the Cricut Circle event yesterday morning and at the show.  I met Cyndy, a fellow Circlet who lives not too far away from me.  We hung out for the entire day, and I had lunch and dinner with her and her husband (thanks again, Cyndy and Ed!).  I'll talk more about the show tomorrow.

We were just about to leave - it was nearly 7:30, we were exhausted, and we were hungry - and I said, "Oh, we need to check the door prize bulletin board.  We won't be on there, but we should check."  Well...

I squeed.  Loudly.  I couldn't believe it!  We almost didn't stop to look!  There was so much to look at all day, and so much to remember to go back to.  Cyndy took my picture after I got my prize, but I was still twitching and jumpy, so the picture didn't turn out all that well.  Here it is anyway:

Okay - so what did those two bags hold?  First of all, let me profusely thank for donating these products.  Definitely check out their website - I've taken a quick look at it so far, and you can browse by color including PURPLES!  Woo hoo!  I'm definitely going to bookmark the site for later browsing.

Using my couch as a background, here's what I won:

Most of everything was separated into zippable plastic bags.  The following pictures show what was in those bags and what the loose items are:

Enormously huge photo corners in a variety of colors and patterns by Heidi Swapp, Two-fold fasteners in a number of colors by Magic Scraps, and flowers by Imaginisce.

Four stamps from Heidi Swapp - date stamps in two styles and two word stamps.

Felt die cut shapes from Magic Scraps, rub-ons (my husband calls them dry transfers) from Imaginisce and Imagination Project, and chipboard photo corners from Imagination Project.

Twelve inch long chipboard borders by Li'l Davis Designs.

Ribbon, chipboard letters, chipboard embellishments and large glittery words from Li'l Davis Designs.

Anthology Kit by Bare Elements including paper, stickers, and project ideas.

Bliss Kit by Bare Elements including paper, stickers, and project ideas.

Chipboard letter circles by Imagination Project, chipboard alphabet (self-adhesive!) by Heidi Swapp, sticker sheets in two different color schemes by Scrapworks, and virtual metal alphabet stickers (including purple!) by Magic Scraps.

They even included a few holidays:

Chipboard letter circles in Halloween colors by Imagination Project and Halloween stickers, rub-ons, and glittery "Eye of Newt" brads from Imaginisce.

Christmas!  Two sheets each of double-sided paper by Creative Imaginations and Imaginisce (this is great - I prefer double-page layouts), and rub-ons, stickers, polar fleece felt shapes, and foam stamps by Imaginisce.

Whew!  This is quite a lot of stuff!  My mind is now aflutter with ideas, and I can't wait to get started!

Thank you CHA and!  (Update: make sure you read the comments for this post for a note and discount code from - thanks!!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest blogger: Sewsoon

I'm finishing up something that will end up being a pretty big blog post (including some funny bits in a video!), and I'll be taking pictures at the CHA Craft Supershow tomorrow and the Cricut Circle get together tomorrow morning.

So before you all start to get the shakes because I haven't been posting, I have a guest blogger!  If you read the comments for my posts, you will recognize the name "Sewsoon", who is very quick with her praise.  That's my Mother-in-Law, Elaine.  I talked with her last night, and she has allowed me to post an e-mail she sent me plus a picture.  Thanks, Mama!

I'm not going to join your challenge, because it seems too much like work. (she inserted a blushing face here)  However, your blog has inspired me to do three things about beading:

1. Read a children's book about the history of beads. I'm not going to drill my own wampum from shells.

2. Swapped online for a beaded Santa face ornament kit. The beads are really small, and I have to get the instructions blown up to about twice the size before I try it.

3. Outlined a cabbage rose on a piece of upholstery fabric with crystal seed beads, and made a tote bag out of it. It turned out real cute, and I will take a picture of it before Papa gives it to the new lady vet at C.A.R.E.

I love your blog, and am impressed every day with your talent.


Isn't she the best?  I couldn't ask for a better, more supportive Mother-in-Law!  Here's the picture she sent of the tote bag:

And here's a close up of the rose that she outlined with beads.  So pretty!

I'm so glad that I've been able to inspire her!

Would you like to be a guest blogger?  Send me an e-mail with a picture or two, and I'll post it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy things contest update

Well, I don't know if this is an update or a call for updates from you.  You can see the original post here or any day from the "contest" section at the right.

I know this seems like a lot - 100 things that make you happy - but this is not anything I haven't done myself and not anything I won't do again, with very few repeats.  Apart from my pets, I'm going to try to have a completely different list from what I compiled the first time.

My mother is up to about 57 items in her list.  I've heard from a few of you who have intended to enter the contest, but I don't know how your lists are coming along.

Please leave me a comment if you think you're going to enter the contest and how many items you have in your list so far.

Here's a picture of my #1 "Happy Thing":

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The long awaited challenge piece

For the last few weeks I've been mentioning the "challenge piece" and how I've been frantically trying to finish it.  Now that it's done and turned in I will explain more about it and show you my entry.

The Loose Bead Society has a challenge every year.  Last year participants were given a paint chip, and the challenge was to make something using that color and name as inspiration.  This year our challenge was butterflies and moths and everything leading up to them - caterpillars, cocoons, etc...

We knew about the challenge a number of months ago, and I had tons of thoughts swirling around in my head.  The last time we went to the Milwaukee Public Museum I found the butterfly I wanted to use as my inspiration - the Peleides Blue Morpho.  A few had recently hatched and were still in the hatchery:

There was a poster showing that this butterfly has different colorings on either side of the wing:

Oh, how the ideas churned!  I was excited to use a butterfly from our Museum's butterfly habitat, and with the differences in the colors on its wings, I could... no... dare I even think it?  Make a reversible necklace!!

I'd like to say I set to work immediately.  This visit to the Museum was in May.  However, even though I had posted the due date on our website, I thought it was due in August.  I was reminded at the July Board meeting and was spurred into motion.

On July 4th I spent a few hours at Cindy's house - she's way more knowledgeable with polymer clay than I am, and she does much more than just stamp on it.  Besides, all my clay is old and crappy, and she has tons of clay she said I could use.  Due to a family party Steve and I were going to later in the day, we had to hurry, but we were able to get the main pieces done: circles that match the circles on the butterfly wing and blue marbled ones for the other side.  Cindy has this amazing set of color mixing "tablets" that show the main color, the color when mixed with white, and the formula for how to get the color.  I was able to choose the exact colors I needed.

After I finished up and baked the pieces, I glued the blue ones to the circled ones.  Then came the bezeling.  It took a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, but I peyoted as much as I could stand for over a week.

I'll spare you all of the drama of making the piece - how many bezels I had to redo for various reasons, how many times I poked myself with the needle, how Cindy and I made a frantic trip to the bead store because what I wanted to do to join the circles wouldn't work.  I'll just show you the piece:

As I hope you can see, it gives the shape of the butterfly without being too exact.  I really should have taken a picture of it on a black background so you could see the beads joining the circles and the edging better.  That will have to wait until I get it back.

Here are a few pictures of me wearing it:

I got a lot of compliments on it, and Cindy (who I could not have done this without) said she loves it.  Let's hope the judges love it, too!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Silver clay - part 4

This will be the last post for a while about silver clay.  Sorry for the delay, but I was working all weekend to finish the challenge piece I've been talking about.  I'll post pictures of it tomorrow.  I wanted to finish off this topic first.

My Mother-in-law asked in a comment from my last blog post about how long I've been making jewelry and how long it takes to make the silver clay pieces.  Instead of answering in a comment, I thought I'd post here.

I'm not sure how long I've been making jewelry.  Maybe 15 years, on and off?  I've been way more involved now that I live up here and hang out with the Loose Bead Society folk.  It's peer pressure, I'm sure of it.  Good peer pressure.  My pieces have improved quite a bit, and last night I was told (good naturedly, I hope!) that it's irritating that my challenge piece was so good for someone who has been doing this type of beading for such a short time.  I actually get frustrated when it takes me too long to figure a stitch out.  I have been crocheting for years, and I did a lot of crewel and embroidery when I was younger.  But then I always did get frustrated when I didn't "get" something right away.

Anyway - how long do silver clay pieces take?  That's hard to answer.  There are so many different steps, with the time each takes depending on what type of clay is used, how intricate the design is, etc...

The most important thing is to know what you want to do ahead of time.  Dithering and thinking while the clay is out of the package is not wise.  You have some time to work with it, but it does dry somewhat quickly.

Let me see if I can sum it up:

Design:  ??  Up to you how long it takes.
Prep: 10 minutes or so?  You want all of your tools ready before taking the clay out.
Working with the wet clay:  10-15 minutes for the Art Clay brand, maybe up to 20 minutes for PMC3.  I don't know why, but I seem to have a lot better luck with PMC3.
Drying the wet clay: 24 hours if left alone, but it could take about 20-30 minutes if you use an oven or warming plate.
Filing the dry piece to remove any burrs or sharp edges:  Could be as little as 0 minutes or perhaps 10-15 minutes.  I usually don't need to file too much.
Firing the piece:  About 5 minutes a piece - maybe a little less.  If you have a bunch of little pieces (like the hearts I used for the wedding invitations and my jewelry), you can do more than one at a time if you're careful.  I don't know how long it would take in a kiln.
Cooling the piece:  0.2 seconds if dropped in water.  :)
Cleaning the piece with a wire brush:  It depends on how intricate it is.  Something flat will take a few minutes.  The scribbly wire pendant took considerably longer than that.
Applying liver of sulfur to darken impressions:  Around 5 minutes.
Burnishing/polishing:  Around 10 minutes or so.

Wow.  That is a lot of steps, and it does take quite a while to get a piece done.  I always make more than one at once so I can keep the time down and so I can use all of the clay.

Okay - here are the last few pieces I'll show you until I get more done.  The first is a pin I made to match the pattern of the purse I was using at the time.  It's kind of a quilted pattern, and I used a toothpick to mimic it.  I had drawn it out ahead of time so I could work quickly.  I included holes for dangly bits (that's my favorite phrase lately):

In hindsight, I would have used wrapped loops instead of plain loops - every one of those dangly bits came off.  The pin is on my shelf waiting for me to make new ones.

This pin was made in a silver clay class I took at Artist & Display - a very neat art store near home.  I took the class so I could meet people, but while everyone was friendly, none of them became friends.  I got a very nice pin, though!  The teacher had a large number of molds, and this was the first time I'd used one.  I chose the cat, of course.  She said we had to embellish the piece and not just use the mold as is, so I added a little ball for a Carl Malden nose, I drew a heart on it, and I added another tail so it would have some more dimension.  I had some leftover clay, so I made it kind of a cloud for the kitty to sit on.  The clay had started to dry, so it looks kind of rough.

I like the finished product.  It's such a cute kitty!

I hope you have liked this series on silver clay.  If you decide to try it, please send me pictures of your work.  I'd love to see it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Silver clay - part 3

Today's post on silver clay is about 4 other pendants I've made.  Three used stamps, and one was an experiment that worked quite well.

Pendant #1 was one of my earlier projects.  I used a large background stamp - Swirls and Blossoms from Stampin' Up!.  This shows just part of the stamp and the pendant:

Although it's cute, I wouldn't use this stamp again.  It's far too large (around 4.5" x 5.75") and unwieldly.  I wasn't able to get a really good impression.

Pendant #2 has almost an "ancient scroll" look to it.  I used All Night Media's Mendhi Swirl Border stamp and folded the top over for the bail.  I accidentally bent it when it was still a little wet which left a crack, and there are a few cracks around the bail.  I was mortified at first (yes, mortified), but now I like the cracks.  They give the piece more character.

The next two pendants were used with clay left over from the "planned" projects.  Like I mentioned in part 1, I'm not one for storing clay.  It just doesn't work for me, and I like experimenting with what can be done with the leftovers.

Pendant #3 is one of my favorite pieces.  The shape is very organic, the stamp impression is wonderful, and the liver of sulfur "took" wonderfully.  The stamp is Sunshine Daisy from Hero Arts.

Pendant #4 doesn't use a stamp.  Yes, I'm shocked, too!

My last few posts mentioned syringe-type clay.  In the pieces I showed you yesterday, the syringe-type clay was used to adhere pieces together for layering and for setting the CZs and the tanzanite.  Unlike regular silver clay, syringe-type clay is single-use.  When I was done setting all of my stones, I just went nuts to use up the rest of the clay.  I did embed a few stones in the pendant, and I was lucky that there was a little loop that I could string onto a necklace.

I have gotten quite a number of compliments on this piece, and it was just "scribbling"!  Cleaning this pendant after torching it was very difficult.  There are a lot of little crevasses.  It was worth every poke in my cuticles from the wire brush, though!

A note on the necklaces the pendants are hung on:  They're simple.  Almost too simple - either just a string of seed beads or a string of seed beads or bugles with some accent beads.  My goal was to let the focal piece take center stage.   Based on the number of complements I've received, I'm guessing my choice was correct!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Silver clay - part 2 - the wedding

You know, if I was truly imaginative, I'd be writing this blog post from the point of view of this stamp:

because this stamp was involved in the creation of practically everything to do with the wedding.  But I'm not all that imaginative, and that probably would get annoying after about 2 sentences.

The stamp is from the "Together Forever" set from Stampin' Up! which I purchased because of other stamps in the set:  "We're engaged!", "Together Forever", and "Mr. & Mrs.".  The "&" is large, so it can be used for all sorts of projects.  I liked the flowers but didn't look at them too closely until I got started with wedding preparations.

The main thing I grew to love about this stamp was that, although there are flowers, they are not overly feminine.  There's kind of a woodcut feel about it.  I ran it by Steve, and he agreed it would work fine for our invitations.

Here's where legend takes over.... On one long drive from Waukegan, Illinois to Waukesha, Wisconsin, the bride used her back-burner thinking to try to come up with invitation ideas.  She thought it would be cute to have silver hearts hanging off of a ribbon, but where would she find hearts she'd like at a reasonable price?  Her back-burner thinking has an evil sense of humor and implanted the idea that she could make them herself using silver clay.  She was going to make her own jewelry anyway, so what was 40 more little pieces?  The groom tried to talk his bride out of it - it would be way too much work... But, no, she insisted, and the following became the focal piece of the invitations:

The stamp was used on the clay before cutting the hearts out, and I used wire to twist them on the ribbon.  That hurt, let me tell you.  My forefingers are twinging at the memory.  The rest of the invitation used the same stamp behind vellum for a softer look, and on the inside of the invitation I embossed a single impression.  Very sharp invitations, if I do say so myself.  Well, I don't have to say so myself - I got a lot of compliments, and my mother and Steve's mother couldn't stop gushing about them.

While I made the hearts for the invitations, I also worked on my jewelry.  I used the same stamp as a background for the pendant and for a few more hearts for the bracelet, and I cut out the flowers of the stamp (very carefully!) for accents on the pendant and as dangles for the bracelet and the earrings.  I used syringe type clay to affix cubic zirconias and a tanzanite gem.

Here's what I ended up with:

Here's the pendant closer up:

The bracelet:

And the earrings:

(The hooks have been moved to the earrings I showed you yesterday)

Steve was so proud of his besilvered wife that he told many people at the wedding that I made my own jewelry.  He's so sweet and makes me blush!

Excuse me, but I feel the need to take over...  This post would turn mushy otherwise.  After she made the invitations and the jewelry, did she let me rest?  No, of course not!  There were Thank You notes to stamp, too!  I was able to rest for a few months after that, but then she brought me out again for the scrapbook!  Oh, no!  She used me over and over and over again for page after page... using black ink and white ink!  I thought she would never finish, but she finally did, and fortunately she has let me retire.  Oh, I might come out for an anniversary card or something like that, but I can't imagine that would be as exhausting as the wedding preparations and scrapbook were!  I am quite proud that I have kept my sharpness throughout this process and that I haven't fallen apart.  Okay - back to sleep for me.  I need it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Silver clay - part 1

One of the things I love to do is use my stamps to make jewelry.  When I started working with silver clay, one of the first things I did was grab stamps to make impressions into the clay.  It's a very simple way to add a texture or design.  Using liver of sulfur you can make the impressions darker, or you can leave the clay alone for a more subtle look.

What's silver clay, you ask?  (okay, I know some of you know, but a whole bunch of my readers will not, so bear with me)  This will be a very quick explanation of what it is and how to work with it.  Do not attempt without getting more complete information.  There are countless good books (see my links at the end of this post) and even videos.

Silver clay is, well, clay that turns into almost 100% silver.  Yeah, that's pretty obvious, huh?  It's very tightly sealed to keep the moisture in, and when you open the package you have to work relatively quickly.  You can roll it out like polymer clay, cut it, stamp on it, etc... with paste and syringe-type clay you can make three-dimensional objects or add gemstones or CZs (you need to check that they'll work with silver clay, though) or stack pieces on top of each other.  If you're going to use the piece as a pendant or other dangly bit, or if you're going to have dangly bits off of the piece, now is the time to put the holes in.

Once you're done with the piece, you need to dry it.  Either wait 24 hours, or you can put it in the oven or a dehydrator.  After all of the moisture is out of the piece (it is very important to have no moisture in the piece), you file it to take any sharpness off or to refine the shape a bit.  After that, it's firing time!  The best way is to use a kiln, but I've used a torch for all of my pieces.  I don't have a kiln and until recently didn't know anyone who did.

I love using the torch, because you can see the process:  the piece gets hot and the "binder" (the clay that holds the silver together) burns off.  There's actual fire!  The piece then turns a peachy color and shrinks somewhat.  After a few minutes of the peachy color, it's done.  You can let it cool naturally, but the impatient ones among us (which is probably all of us who work with silver clay) take tweezers and drop the piece in water.  That cools it instantly.

After you can touch it without screaming "Owie!", you'll see that the piece is white.  That's leftover "schmutz" from the firing process.  The typical way to clean it off is to use a wire brush.  If you put a hole in it, my recommendation is to use a pen or a burnisher (which has a point) in the hole to hold the piece down.  Else if you're not careful the wire brush will dig into your cuticles for another "Owie!" moment or 20.

When that is done, you can dip it in liver of sulfur if you want, burnish it, polish it, etc...  Based on the project I've done different things.  For my wedding jewelry and embellishments (which I'll show in a day or two), I did none of those things.  I wanted to have bright silver.  For other pieces, I liked the darker look of liver of sulfur and polishing.  It all depends on my mood (which we know can fluctuate at any moment!).

You can store any unused clay, but I end up using everything I have all at once.  I end up with some interesting pieces that way.

Wow.  That ended up a lot longer than I thought it would be.  There's just so much to this product!  It is a lot of fun, even though there are quite a number of steps, and you can make some very pretty pieces.

After all that, do you want to see some of what I've done?  Of course you do.  You wouldn't have waded through all of that otherwise!  I'll show a few today and more in the next few days (without so much chatter, hopefully).

This first piece was made with a corset rubber stamp.  The impression wasn't terribly deep, but I think it still turned out pretty well.  I gave it to my friend Sherri.

I trimmed the part that hangs down in the back - I thought that looked kinda odd in the silver.

These earrings make me wish my ears weren't so sensitive.  With white gold hooks I can wear them for short periods of time, which I guess I can live with.  I used a small square texture stamp and cut out the shape with a square cutter.  Even though I could see what I was doing through the cutter, I was pleased that the pieces matched!  I can't draw a straight line with a ruler, so I take my successes where I can.  :)

The scan of the stamp isn't that good, but you can get an idea of what it looks like.

Okay - that's enough for today.  Check back tomorrow for more!

Here are the book links I promised you.  There are so many out there, so I'm only going to list some that I can vouch for and the kit my mother and stepfather bought me that got me started:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

OCD Stamp Index

I've mentioned in a few blog posts about my stamp index, so before I mention it in passing again, I thought I'd devote an entire post to it.  Besides, I'm still feverishly working on my butterfly challenge piece for the Loose Bead Society and don't have anything new to show you yet.

It all started with a spiral book I got for free somewhere.  It was a large book with thick pages, and I decided it would make a good stamp index.  I divided it into sections and stamped away!  It worked pretty well until I overgrew some sections like birthday and thank you... then I had to put a note that says "More birthday stamps on the following page..." and go find a blank page I could use.

The book got so out of date and confused that I was about to scrap the whole thing, but my OCD kicked in.  I was about to make a birthday card for someone and thought I should keep track of what I've used for what project so I wouldn't use the same stamp for the same person.

I'll spare you the entire thought process.  My brain can be a scary and complicated place.  The end result:  three large 3-ring binders, thousands of scanned images, and a lot of Word documents.  I got very lucky in that Walgreens had a great sale on page protectors.  I was able to get more than enough for what I have and for expansion.

I separated the stamps by theme and type.  If a stamp had a bird and flowers, it went into both the birds and the flowers sections.  I got very confused throughout the process, but I had a huge sense of accomplishment when it was done.

Here are a few pictures:

The three binders on my bookshelf.  This is very close to my desk, so when I'm in "creation mode", I can just turn around and grab a book.

The inside cover and tabs for book #3.  Yes, I have a table of contents, and my tabs are color coded based on category.  I told you my mind was a scary and complicated place.  I think the hardest part of the whole process was placing the tabs so they wouldn't overlap.

One of the pages from the Birthday section.  The titles across the top of the page are:  Stamp, Set/Information, Location, and Used on...  For "Set/Information", I have the name of the Stampin' Up! set or what the manufacturer of the stamp is.

I have separated my Stampin' Up! sets based on location.  When I set up the locations, I was using a large Rubbermaid cabinet with wire stackable shelves.  I placed the stamp sets based on what fit in each location, not alphabetically.  I'm not that OCD!  I knew that I'd have to keep rearranging the locations if I did that.  For the most part, they're organized based on when I got them.  I have number stickers on the outsides of the set boxes, so I can quickly find sets and put them back.

As you can see above, I'm writing in the "Used on..." column instead of reprinting the sheet every time I make a change.  At some point I'll go through and update the Word documents and reprint the sheets.  That won't be necessary for quite some time, though.

Hopefully my stamp index will inspire you to do something similar with your own stamps.  The best part about this system is that when my husband wants to make a card for me or to help me with a project, he can do it all on his own!  That's a sign of a good system, in my book(s)!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

If it doesn't move...

I'll stamp on it!

I love rubber stamps.  They can be cute or sophisticated, detailed or simple, single or multi-colored.... They can be used for cards, scrapbook pages, notes, recipe cards, jewelry, home decor projects, backs of hands to ensure re-entry into a special event...

The possibilities are just endless.  Endless, I tell you!

Back in the mid-90's Michael's craft store had name stamps, and I actually found one with my name spelled correctly.  That hardly ever happens!

Isn't that cute?  I love using this stamp on the backs of cards I make.

Over the years I have accumulated thousands of stamps.  I don't think that's an exaggeration.  Everything from dollar store stamps to Stampin' Up!  I love them all, especially if I can get a good deal on them.  My Mom has brought me back stamps from Germany, and my Mother-in-Law has even found a few for me at the thrift store.  I'm not terribly fond of the "acrylic" or clear stamps.  Yes, you can see where you're stamping, but they feel very flimsy to me, and I tend to lose the smaller pieces (especially the dots for the "i"!).

As such, I have a full bookcase devoted to mostly Stampin' Up! sets and large background stamps, and one cart on wheels with each drawer for a separate "subject".  Here's a picture of the "stamping" corner of my room:

The black and green tote is for stamping tools and cleaners, and the plastic box under it is for my inks.  I have another little box for SU! pens.  If you look really closely (or click on the picture to enlarge it) you may be able to see that I stamped on the drawers, so I know at a glance which one to go to when I need a certain stamp!

I have a very full-featured stamp index to make sure I know what I have, where it is, and what I've used on various projects.  It'd be horrible if I used the same stamp for someone's birthday card two years in a row!  I'll explain that index more soon and show a page from it.

In the vein of "if it doesn't move, I'll stamp on it", I'd like to close this post with a few pictures of my Guitar Hero guitar:

When Steve got his "Flying V" (or whatever it's called) guitar, he let me stamp the original guitar.  I had wanted to do it from the moment I gave it to him, but he steadfastly refused.  All bets were off, though, once he got his new guitar!  The faceplate came off, and I used black and purple StazOn ink with a bunch of different stamps to make a cute, girly, cat-lovers guitar.  For those who have played Guitar Hero, my "character" is Midori (Japanese, which is no surprise with how much we love the culture there), and my guitar in the game is the kitty.

Now I want to go stamp something!  No, no, no... I have my challenge piece to work on!  So much left to do, so little time to do it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Embroidery in scrapbook pages

I'm working on a huge jewelry project for a challenge for the Loose Bead Society:  Metamorphosis - A Stage in the Life of a Butterfly or Moth.  I thought it was due in August, but I was recently reminded during the last Board meeting that it's due this month on July 19th.  Eeek!  I had an "Oh, poop!" moment which I bet I'll never live down.

So, there will be no new projects coming from me for a while.  Fortunately I have gazillions of finished projects I can pull from to show you and to explain what I did.

This project is a 2 page 8x8 layout about movies.  I used a few different film strip die cuts and stickers showing the title and popcorn (which is the best part of going to a movie, in my opinion).  Here's the layout:

To add another element, I decided to make a bucket of popcorn.  I made french knots using variegated yellow embroidery floss which perfectly shows the differences in color in a typical bucket of popcorn - some kernels have more butter than others (unfortunately)!

Here's a close-up:

There are some very good instructions on how to do a french knot on the feeling stitchy website.  There is a link on that site for a good video in case the instructions don't immediately make sense.  Sublime Stitching has another set of instructions that are great, and there's a link for lefties.

The one thing these instructions say is that you should not go back through the same hole when you pull the needle through to the back.  When you're working on paper, don't worry about it.  If you pierce holes too close together the paper will tear.  Just be careful not to pull too tightly, or your knot will pull all the way through, leaving ripped paper in its wake.

This is a great stitch to add some dimension to your pages.  Apart from popcorn, you can make flowers, dots, animals (see feeling stitchy and Sublime Stitching for cute examples), etc...

A lot of people are intimidated by this stitch.  Every one of the above links mentions this.  Don't let yourself be scared off - it's really not that hard.  Practice first on some scrap paper, and if you're really worried about ripping your background paper, plan your embellishment to be on a separate piece of paper (or even fabric!) and use really good adhesive like glue dots to adhere it to your page.

Send me pictures of your french knot creations, and I'll post a follow up here!

I would go get some popcorn now (that page made me hungry!), but I have to get back to my challenge piece...