Monday, November 23, 2009

Rainbow tags

I have been working on these tags on and off for ages. They are just an exploration of colour, So I did a rainbow (I've just realised that indigo is missing from these pix!) plus black and white.

The tags are about 5 inches tall and 3.5 across on a base of cardboard.
These are the different colours

The tags are eventually going into this alteredbook. I received the book as part of a craft swap from the always awesome a few of the pages were already altered by the artist, but leaving plenty of them for me to work on, so far I have only one done!...the black page.

raggy quilt

I have been promising my daughter a quilt for ages. This quilt became therapy for me when I got dumped by my love. The recovery from the dumping segued into recovery from flu, so a speedy piece of craft therapy took weeks and weeks! but it is now finally finished. The fabrics used in the quilt date over about 10 years and were bought in south africa, australia, ireland and sent to me from the US, so it is a truly international quilt.
This method is very simple, you cut squares of backing and top (plus interlining, I used an old wollen blanket) all of the seams are sewn with wrong sides of the fabric together, and the excess folded to the front. Once the whole quilt has been sewn together seam allowances are clipped to give a raggy finish.

This quilt is made of (mostly) polar fleece fabric and so its toasty warm and very very cosy. This was a stash busting quilt and so I have tried to balance out the colours as best I could, given the ones that I have. I think it worked ok. She loves it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

beaker USB key (stick drive) cover

I used to love the muppets as a kid and one of my favourite characters was Beaker. it occurred to me that he would be a great shape for a USB Key. to.

1-wrap the USB drive in cling flim (saran wrap)

2- mould a flesh coloured polymer clay around it to cover it to within about 10 mm of the plastic cover.

3- Roll two little balls of white and press on for the eyes, tiny balls of black for the pupils

4- Make a reddish egg shape for the nose and press it gently on

5- cut a diagonal line down for the mouth, go slowly at this point and cut little by little until you are happy.

6-take out the USB key and gently put in some chopsticks, knife handle, something like that to hold open the shape while baking, Bake as directed, Do not overbake or you will discolour it.

7-When it is cool take a fluffy orange feather (or piece of orange yarn, fleece,) and hot glue it on for the hair.

8-Glue in the USB key, Hot glue didnt last very long for this with me, so try E600 glue or epoxy resin (such as araldite)

Mexican kitsch

I love mexican style. I love shrines (as you might have guessed by now!) I love exubrance and bright colours and fun in artwork. I also love dios de los muertos. So I couldnt pass up the recent swap on mexican kitsch.

This is what I sent my partner. She requested an altered book. I made this one by starting with a childs board book that had a plastic squeeker toy glued to the back page, I pulled out the toy and used fimo, polymer clay to make a skull, each page was then altered with a different mexican theme, day of the dead, frida, mexican wrestling, religious imagery

I also made her some lucha libre mask paintings, and a virgin of guadalupe bag. The bag is a simple square bottomed tote, with the virgin fabric sewn on. Let me know if you want to see a tutorial for this type of bag, it is very fast to sew up and can be made in a range of sizes.


Inches are another example of my love of boundaries in work. They are simply one inch square canvases.

Tutorial for inchies,

1-Take a sheet of heavy watercolour paper or thin card, using water colour paints, paint random colours and shapes all over the paper, Dont think about this part of the process too much, just enjoy being a kid and splashing paper all over. Just choose colours that you like

2- allow them to dry

3-Using a sharp blade, scissors or one inch punch (best) cut out one inch squares from the sheet of paper. You now have your inchie backgrounds.

4- Look through magazines, internet, stamps, junk mail, for small images that fit the scale of the canvas, if you cant find anything you like, then doodle directly onto the backgrounds.

5-Your inchie may be finished at this point, or you may want to cut out random (or not so random) words, or use stamps, or trusty sharpie pens, to write words, draw symbols, squiggles or further embellish the inchie.

6- I love to add highlights with glitter glue.
7-images and elements that you add to the inchie, always look more finished if they are anchored to the page a little more, perhaps draw around them, I love adding dots, I think it is a mistake that many people make, to just stick down elements, you need to consider how to embed them into the page, perhaps by layering, outlining etc.
8- I think that edging the inchie make it 'finished' you can either drag a felt tip pen around the edge or press the edge into a stamp pad.

9-Make lots! they look fabulous when all grouped together in a frame, or stuck directly to the wall in hidden corners of your house.

another shrine

I love boundaries, it makes the creative process so much easier when there are limits, otherwise I spin into a confusion of possibilites, Shrines work really well because of the physical limits of the shape.

This shrine is of foam board, to celebrate the celtic Goddess brigid. I cut the sides, hot glued them together, used a blackand white image from the net, so the shrine was made to fit the image. I coloured in the images and the sides of the shrine.

The equal armed cross is a traditional brigids cross, made from rushes from the garden. I wanted the shrine to look a little unpolished, rough even as i think that the Goddess also lives in the less polished places in life.

bat shrine

This is a fun little shrine that I made. Its in a matchbox, so it is quite small.

To make, paint the inside and outside of the box black (add some glitter if you are obsessed like me!) I used a little moon sticker on the back wall to give depth, I used some hot glue to string a little black thread diagonally across the box, with a little bat sticker (despite my previous posts, I am not against using embellisments, just in moderation)

The metal cross was set in on a slant (I wanted it to look like an old graveyard), it was a charm for jewellery, I simply snipped off the top hanging loop.

musings on creativity

I live in ireland and we have bugger all in the way of craft shops. I am on holidays in Orlando at the moment and so have access to all the wonderful american craft shops and bookshops.

I have been in my element, spent a fortune on fabric!

My two loves are paper arts and sewing, I have been looking at a lot of books, magazines and articles on paper arts and while I hate hate hate the fact that so much of the wonderful papers and embellisments are unavailable to me, I think that on balance its a good thing. So much of what I have seen is very samey, people working with mass produced (not cheap!) embellishments, the work seems to become an assemblage of other peoples elements, I am not saying that its not creative, but maybe there is another step. To work with paint and glue and paper, make your own embellishments, rather than buying a 'set' from someone else.

What is me, its about giving yourself permission to screw up, to fail, to create something that might not be perfect. I think everyone is creative. I think what stops us is the fear of failure.

What would you do if you werent afraid to fail.

Monday, July 27, 2009

thoughts on craftiness

I have been, as usual, busily crafting away. I find that i am not really good at crafting for myself, craftswapping, via the always wonderful, is what keeps me focused. I make a lot of stuff, I spend a lot on postage, but its always fun!

So what is it that makes it harder to craft for me, than for other people. sometimes I think that its the imposition of rules and themes that a craft swap does, that makes it easier...mostly I think its having a deadline and someone that I am keen not to disappoint.

so how do I make it a priority not to disappoint me??

Friday, March 06, 2009

accordian fold book in altoid sized tin

EDIT: the uber-sexy BF is now the ex-sexy, however I like this piece of work so i am leaving it up...

I felt that the uber-sexy BF was overdue for more reasons that I am crazy about him, and I love altered books/collage etc. So I covered this tin and made a little accordian fold book to fit inside, the book was made from a strip of cardboard,embellised with images, rubber stamps, watercolours, ribbon and glitter...(Oh how I love glitter its like a disease with me!)

The little envelope stuck to the front has a little note in it for him.

i love working on a small canvas like this as it allows tiny pieces of work to be completed quickly and its a lot less intimidating than a large scale work. Each side of each 'page' of the book was decorated and the first 'page' is a half page and the ribbon to hold the book closed is glued onto the first page as part of the decoration.

Monday, January 26, 2009

piece of art for a change

This is a little piece that caused me no end of frustration. I patchworked the papers for the background, but didnt stretch the water colour paper first, so it buckled and bent in funny ways. I tried everything to straighten it but no joy, so i threw my hands in the air and let it go. The jigsaw pieces were punched out and mounted so they are proud of the base to cast a shadow. Its called Life and is inspired by other peoples work (the colour reproduction in the first image is probably the best)

Crafting to beat the january blues

According to some research published in American Mind magazine, complex manual tasks can alleviate depression and with all the credit crunch doom and gloom around we need as much depression alleviating stuff as possible. here is a summary of the article
I am ridiculously busy at work at the moment and so dont have the head space for anything complex, so mostly I have been playing with gluegun, glitter and braid (definitely a thing to cheer you up!)
So christmas decorations for 2009!

I know its ridiculously early to make christmas decorations, but I defy anyone not to be cheered up by glitter, beads, braid and random crafting. OK apart from the one where I used glittery lipgloss instead of glitter glue, but I reckon it will dry before next cristmas...right??

Baggy PJ's from fabulous skully fabric.

christmas stocking swap

These are some of the items I sent to my stocking swap partner, from the always wonderful

The idea of the swap was to make a stocking and to fill it with a mixture of crafted and bought items, As usual I over crafted, I made the stocking big and crammed it full. I am not sure I achieved what I wanted wit the stocking,The christmas tree is made of a fabric that is printed with pine trees, I also added appliqued decorations and parcels, and an inital on the back. Its about 20 inches long

There was a sock monkey and a felt tree decoration inside

Plus a vintage feel,glamorous apron, frilly and satiny, You can see the fabric in the background, some patchwork tablemats, a painted pixie t-shirt and a few other bits and pieces.

My partner said she is obssessed with the colour orange, so I tried to incorporate that as much as possible, without making it look like something that a buddhist monk would get!