Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Polymer Clay Coverd Candy Tins Tutorial




    In my never ending search for fun new ways to recycle old containers. Here is a very simple way to recycle an old mint tin and candy containers into something useful.
    The first thing I did was to condition the clay with the pasta machine.  I put it through about ten times to get it nice and soft.  This is to make it easier to imprint onto the clay.  
    For the Halloween Candy Boxes, I just went ahead and covered the pre-sanded containers with the clay and then used a knitting needle to imprint lines on them (see below for details).  
  • For the Pumpkin, I added polymer clay eyeballs and some tiny spiders.
  • For the moon light pumkin patch, I shaped balls of clay into pumkins and used the knitting needle to make the appropriate markings.  I made the bat shape and moon the same way.  I used the Jacquard mica powder to highlight areas of the pumpkin patch.  Then I  baked them in the oven (craft oven...not food oven) for the time specified by the polymer clay manufacturer. Once it was done baking, I let it cool for a while

For the Altoid Container:

The I took one of my rubber stamps and pushed it (image side down) onto the clay.  I carefully removed the rubber stamp.

Then I took the empty "Altoid" mint container and sanded it down.  This is done to make the surface adhere better to the clay.  Then I put a coat of "Lisa Pavelka's Poly Bonder" which is glue that is geared for use on polymer clay.  I placed the polymer clay (image side up) onto the mint box.  I cut off the excess clay and finished off the edges.

Then I added some flat rhinestones, a little brush of mica powder and baked it in the oven (craft oven...not food oven) for the time specified by the polymer clay manufacturer. Once it is done baking, let it cool for a while. Then add a chain or string.  There you have it, a quick and easy polymer clay project.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dimensions by EK Success Project Review




I was sent this kit to review for an article at "Craft Critique".  I had to make and then write a review on the instructions and the finished project.  If you want to know  the pros and cons to this particular kit, I recommend checking the article out at this link.


This really fun pillow cover kit is from the "Handmade Embroidery" line by Dimension Needlecraft (from the E.K. Success product lines).  I like the company slogan "with a few simple embroidery stitches and a little applique, you can create a heartwarming project in just a weekend with our Handmade Embroidery line".  Which is true, this kit is easily finished in one weekend and is great for those with limited free time to work on embroidery projects but want to enjoy the relaxing fun of doing embroidery.   This is also a nice kit for introducing embroidery to beginners.  The project is cute and the fabric and appliques are good quality cotton.  

The "Bird on a Flower" pillow cover kit is designed by Erin Ries.  The kit is designed to fit up to a 14" pillow which is not included in the kit but easy to find at any local craft supply store.  It is a colorful and fun crewel embroidery project that I am very excited to make.

The contents of the Bird on a Flower Kit are:
Pillow Cover

  • pre-printed cotton fabric pillow cover in 100% cotton 
100% heavy cotton

  • pre-printed cotton fabric appliques
Applique sheet

  • color coordinated cotton thread
color coordinated thread and thread holder

  • one needle
  • one set of brief but simple instructions


To finish the kit, you need to purchase a 12" or 14" pillow to fit inside of the cover.

The instruction booklet and the Dimensions website do have some simple instructions and diagrams for their versions of the following stitches and knots:

● buttonhole stitch
● running stitch
● back stitch
● stem stitch
● french knot


The first step was to lay out the supplies to see what I had to work with and iron all the cotton pieces to remove the wrinkles.  Then I cut out the appliques.  

These are really nice appliques that do not seem to unravel easily but I decided to apply a 
little fray check to the edges of the pieces (just in case).

The instructions on how to apply the stitches and appliques onto the pillow are very brief, as you can see in the photo below.  

This is great for me, I like my instructions short and to the point.  However, since this kit is being promoted as good for beginners, it might cause someone who prefers more in depth instructions some small discomfort. 

So the next thing is to begin to applique the different fabric die cuts onto the pillow cover.

The kit directions for the actual stitches are far more detailed than the project directions and 

include diagrams that are easy to follow to finish the different appliques.

So once I had finished all the stitches and appliques, I added some buttons to personalize the pillow cover to add a little more dimension to the finished project.


It is cotton and will wrinkle easily.  However, I like the casual look of wrinkled cotton so this look totally works for me.

Overall, this would be an easy project to introduce someone to applique work and basic embroidery stitches.  All the supplies are included (except the pillow) and the directions are very brief and simple to follow.  It is also a great kit for short trips or just to do on a weekend.  You can also add to it by adding buttons, stones, ribbons, etc.

Tips:

  1. Always keep the color picture, you can use it as reference, just in case the diagrams do not make sense to you.
  2. Utilize the color coded card that is included in this kit to perfectly match the colors to the diagrams.
  3. Place all the parts in a ziplock for an easy and inexpensive traveling kit.  Just grab it and you have something to work on when the opportunity presents itself.

For other kits by Dimensions, check out Amazon.


Monday, October 3, 2011

How to Make A Masquerade or Mardi Gras Type Mask


I needed a last minute mask for the Labyrinth of Jareth Fantasy Masquerade Ball, so I decided to pick through my supplies and make one.
I started with some inexpensive cloth mask blanks that I had purchased at my local craft store.  I painted one black and the other black and gold.


I found a long piece of black lace, cut into two equal pieces and using black thread, I gathered each piece.  
Then I attached the lace to the back of the mask blanks.

A front view of one of the mask with lace attached.
Then I took some trim and attached it to the top of the mask.

And around the eyes.



Then I added an accent at the top of each of the masks.


I found some gold foil and decided to add that to the top of the mask.

I added some black flowers to the gold and black masquerade mask to make a little different from the black one.

The last thing I did was attach the masks to some dowels that I had painted black. The finished masks worked well.  The total cost of these is probably under $7 each.   The starburst emblem in the middle of each mask was around $3 and probably the most expensive item on the mask.  As you can see it is pretty easy to make a masquerade mask and it does not have to be expensive if you make it with items you have on hand.

My friend Annette Elizabeth made this mask from a plastic white mask that she cut up and spray painted.  She made simple changes that came off rather dramatic combined with her costume (I made the wool

hair dreadlocks that she is wearing, which I post directions on later).

Disclosure

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review of the E.K. Success - Martha Stewart Embroidery Set





The E.K. Success Company sent me this cute baby one-piece and cap embroidery set from their Martha Stewart Crafts embroidery line.  I love making gifts for infants.  So I was very excited that they had a new line of embroidery projects for baby gifts.  At first glance the kit looks a little plain because the colors on the packaging are printed in a yellow ink that seems to fade out the colors of the thread on the baby set.  The thread colors are actually more vibrant out of the packaging.  I really liked the simple "let it bee" design on the two baby project pieces, along with the color choice of the threads for this design.
Kit Contents

Here is what comes in the kit:
  • 1 cotton one-piece pre-printed in wash-away ink
  • 1 cotton cap pre-printed in wash-away ink
  • 1 needle
  • presorted cotton thread (Papaya, Marina, and Pumpernickel)
  • easy illustrated directions


One piece shirt
The one piece shirt and cap are very soft and made of 100% cotton with the designs already printed on them in a "wash-away ink".   
baby cap

I love that the company placed the threads on a color coded thread organizer card that directly corresponds with the drawings, which makes it easy to identify the right threads.

Additionally, the Martha Stewart  Embroidery Kit includes an easy to follow Key Chart that not only lists the stitches but breaks it down by color.  

The directions themselves are well illustrated and easy to follow.  Instead of being too wordy, they have done the illustrations in varied thicknesses and colors that correspond back to the chart.  

You only need to do three stitches to complete this kit.
  • the stem stitch
  • the back stitch
  • the french knot



All you have to do is look at the Key Chart and match the line and you will know which color and stitch to use.  This is an ideal beginner embroidery project and the final pieces are so adorable.


Tips:
  • The pieces in this kit are pre-printed in a wash-away ink, so remember not to pre-wash the two pieces or you will lose the design. 
  • Use an embroidery hoop, it makes the project go faster.



For more Martha Stewart Kits, check out Amazon.