Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shopping, cooking, crafting.....the good life!

On Friday night I did some real credit card damage at Ben Franklin Crafts. Although I saw the beginning of Christmas displays, I didn't buy any ho-ho-ho or jingle items yet. I started in the Bead Shoppe and stayed there for quite a while. There were Imagine It beads on 30% off and special promotional gemstone strands at 50% off. I found some new flat oval Imagine It 7" strands, which I thought were already reasonable but with the sale plus craft club discount they were almost free! I'm excited to work with this new bead shape and will show you later what I do with it. I also purchased some great magazines-books. I'm not sure what to call them because they are in a small book format but have ads in them and are published monthly. These publications are by Northridge Media and include issues on beads, cards, holiday, paper, scrapbooking, etc. I like the fact that they have just a few ads and lots of projects.

Because of the Christmas displays, I started thinking about what type of goodies I would be making for gifts this year. Usually I bake cookies and start testing recipes about this time of year. I saw a recipe for chocolate almond toffee candy on Martha Stewart Living and it seemed simple. I made some today and my family gave it a thumbs up. Next, I'll have to think about how I can package and ship the candy without it melting. To me, half of the gift is in the wrapping, so I look for unique wrapping supplies all year long. Odd color combinations like lavender, silver, and blue can be refreshing Christmas colors.

As you can see from the attached photo (click to enlarge), I made another version of the Beijing Olympic Necklace. This one has a few more beads so it would probably be better worn with a simple outfit. I'll try to get the instructions on the craft club website this week but it may be a while before we figure out how to offer the majong tiles and fabric remnants to you. I'm also trying to decide on the best way to hold an online craft contest so that entries won't have to be mailed in. Have a crafty week! Lynn

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Camera Is Back

Okay, my camera is back in action. (See the photo of the thank you card using the small flower punch.) I recently completed the Bejing Olympic Necklace pictured with this blog entry. Overall, I'm pleased with the results especially because I was able to combine a majong tile and vintage kimono fabric in one project. I love the textures and colors on the necklace because I feel they add an interesting Asian look.

To make the fabric covered bead simply cut a swatch of fabric 1"x 3"and glue it on to a 25mm wooden bead using Fabri-tac glue. Then string the bead on a wire and glue the bead caps down using the wire to position the caps over the bead holes. Once the glue is dry, remove the wire. It's best to use a slightly stretchy fabric and cut tiny darts in the fabric around the bead holes so that there will be a minimal amount of wrinkles. We will try to offer majong tiles with double holes and vintage Asian fabric on our website for those of you who want to try to make this necklace. The instructions for this project will appear shortly on the website.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tiny Flowers

I was not sure what I would use a tiny flower paper punch for when I bought it, but I knew I needed it. The punch is like a regular hand grip paper punch that you use to make holes, but this one punches out very tiny flowers. (There are also punches for tiny stars and tiny hearts.) At first I thought that I would make flower confetti and put it into a shaker card. In the end, I found it to be a very useful tool to use up every scrap of origami paper that was leftover from a thank you card. The card used a tiny fan (with flower) arigato (Japanese for 'thank you') Dandelion rubber stamp. I like the Dandelion brand of rubber stamps because they are tiny, locally themed, and inexpensive, which make them perfect for backgrounds or small spaces. The tiny punched out flowers were the perfect embellishment to add more coordinating color to the card and matched the Dandelion rubber stamp, too. (Photo to be posted soon...I hope.)

Right now I am trying to create a piece of jewelry to honor the Beijing Olympic games. Are you fixated on the Olympic games too? So far I think I will use some vintage Asian fabric to make some beads and incorperate them with some metal rings into a necklace design. If anything interesting results from my experimentation, I'll post a photo (after my camera returns).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

No Photos

For about one week there will be no photographs with my blog posts because my camera is on a trip. I hope that you will continue to read, learn, and enjoy my blog minus the pictures. I will post appropriate photos later.

A few days ago we celebrated our _ _ th wedding anniversary. (I'm not telling you the number of years we've been married because you'll either think I'm really old or that I got married at ten years old.) Anyway, we agreed to just exchange cards because we had already spent way too much on our last vacation during which we purchased gifts to ourselves. For most occasions I prefer to make a scrapbook page instead of a card because it involves about the same amount of work but gets saved in an album or framed for display.

This year we took a fairly decent picture at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco so I decided to use it for the anniversary page. When I think Fisherman's Wharf, I think crabs (the eating kind). It wasn't difficult to find lots of crab/seashore embellishments. One large Jolee's sticker of a crab really appealed to me. Despite the somewhat high price for one sticker, I knew the crab would make the page outstanding, so I bought it. To add humor to the page, I postioned two sticker wine glasses in the crab's claw and wrote a funny caption. Of course I labelled the event with a date and place. It was such a simple page, but I thought it really captured the mood of our anniversary. The page will stay on display in a wrought iron easel (from Ben Franklin Crafts) for a while and later be put into a scrapbook.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Collecting Old Things

Some of you may know that I have a penchant for vintage and antique 'stuff', basically anything with patina on it. (Yes dear, that's why I find you attractive.) Anyway, sometimes when I'm lucky I discover (at a garage sale, flea market, or online) old jewelry that have the potential of being turned into uniquely, beautiful wearable art pieces. Even my husband sometimes searches on Ebay for items he thinks I might like. Recently, he purchased the cameo bar pin (for under $15 including postage) I used in the pictured necklace (click on photo to enlarge). Even though the pin is probably brass, I felt it deserved gold filled findings because it is such a charming representation of an era (late Victorian or Edwardian/Deco) when even costume jewelry was well designed. To ensure that the pin would not poke the wearer, I bent the C-clasp to lock in the pointed shaft end. I did not remove the pin back because I thought that perhaps someday someone will want to turn the necklace back into a pin. By doing simple wire wrapping (24 gauge gold filled wire) on semi-precious beads (garnets, pearls, and rose quartz) I formed the beaded chain and dangles. I think the resulting jewelry piece is one that I will wear with pride because I was able to recycle and create.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Progression of 'Arigato' Card

As I mentioned previously, I was playing with my new Dreamweaver 'Arigato' stencil when I realized that I could stamp Clear Design stamps right over the kimono to add a print. Normally, rubber stamps don't register clearly because of the thickness of the stencil, but the Clear Design stamps are soft enough to press into the stencil openings. I use a stencil brush to pounce Versa Magic ink into the stencil design before stamping. Use a light touch so that the ink doesn't bleed under the stencil. (Pigment ink is thicker than dye based so it works better). Most crafters stencil on paper with chalk but that requires an additional step of spraying a fixative. I posted the progression of this card so you could see the (left to right) changes I made as I searched for a color scheme I liked. I thought the third one had the best Asian look which complimented both the stencil design and Clear Design stamps (Asian border). A pop dot under the fan adds dimension and you could also impress the stencil design for more depth. Oh, the suitcase mini scrapbook instructions are done and should be posted tomorrow. "Arigato"(thank you) for reading this blog.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I wanted to tell craft club newsletter readers about this book
(see blog photo) in the next newsletter, but it doesn't have an English title so I didn't know what to call it. It is such a good jewelry book despite being all in Japanese that I decided to photograph the cover so you could find it at Ben Franklin Crafts. (The books from Japan come in bulk so you'll have to hunt for this one.) I found this book appealing because of the very feminine look of the jewelry and the unique color palette used by the Japanese designers. Many of the beaded projects include pearls and all of the projects have ample illustrations (with cm measurements) so an intermediate level beader should have no problem creating similar pieces.

Today I decided to 'play' with my new Hero Arts Clear Design sets (with Asian designs) and a Dreamweaver stencil (Japanesse girl with 'Arigato' word). I wanted to see if the Clear Design rubber stamps would be able to stamp through the stencil. Most rubber stamps with wood handles have rubber that is too hard to print clearly through the stencil. Because the Clear Design stamps are soft and flexible they worked well with the thin Dreamweaver stencil. I didn't like the color choices I made on my first attempt with this technique, but I will work more tomorrow and show you the results in my next blog post.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Inside View

I was very happy to see Joy on the 'Joy of Crafting' ( 6:30 pm Sundays on OC16)demonstrating how to make a felted project using the wool roving. The turtle she made was so-o-o cute! I first saw felted projects appearing in craft magazines about two years ago and while in Japan I saw some amazing felted items and felting kits. Because Clover was a company that we already purchased other supplies from, our contacts made it possible to bring in the felting supplies. The projects you can make are only limited by your imagination. I hope that you will try this fun and easy craft.
Pictured here (click on photo to enlarge) is an inside view of the mini scrapbook suitcase that I wrote about previously. Yes, I'll get around to writing up the instructions for it and put it on the website as an August project.....soon, I promise ;D