Archive for ‘Arts and Crafts’

April 6, 2014

Mexican Fiesta Style

Soooo long since my last post. This one is actually along a similar theme to the last one…decorating a large space for events for kids. This time it was for the kids club that I help run on a Friday night. Each year we have a talent show night where the kids (aged 9 to 11) invite their parents and siblings along to a meal while they watch their talent acts. This year we decided to go for a Mexican theme, I think largely because we fancied some Mexican food, and it was my task to give our rather big and boring hall a fiesta vibe.

I decided rather than going with traditional Mexican flag colours to go with a very bright palette of blue, green, orange, pink and yellow. This gave me a lot of scope to introduce a lot of colour and really brighten the place up.

Starting with the tables I went with bright table cloths in each of the five colours, plates in the same colours, napkins, some fiesta confetti, tea lights and napkin flower centre pieces.

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Some of the children made the napkin flowers the week before as a craft activity. I used this tutorial and they turned out really well. I used pipe cleaners for the stems. The kids really enjoyed making them and took them home at the end of the night. I added printable banners on wooden skewers to the centre pieces.

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We decorated the front of the stage with crepe paper streamers in coordinating colours and a banner that the kids cut out and made from these printables. I added some tissue paper decorations.

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The other decorations consisted of some posters printed at A3 also from these sites, blow up cacti and tissue paper pom-poms. The pom-poms were great for brightening the place up as they are big enough to make an impact. I used the same five colours and I think we had 20 pom-poms in total.

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It was a great evening. The kids loved the bright look and it gave the whole evening a fun vibe. The food was great too! .

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September 7, 2013

From Pretty Party to Pirate Props

My creating lately has been a little different in nature. At the end of the school holidays my church puts on a holiday club for primary school age children where we do games, challenges, crafts, bible stories and general craziness and fun. We always have a theme and make sure that the chapel is dressed up in line with the theme to make it fun for the kids. This year the theme was Pirates and I was in charge of props.

It was a great theme to work with as it didn’t have to be too elaborate to look piratey. My vision was that it would look like we were on a pirate ship and the chapel lent itself to that quite well as it has lots of wood paneling and beams.

One of the great things about this process it that people from all ages come together to help make the props; from 12 year olds to those in their 70s I had lots of people willing to help, some crafty and some wanting to do basic cutting and sticking. Also we pretty much made all of it out of basic supplies and junk. Here is what we came up with…

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This was the view at the front. We painted a backdrop of the front of a boat, and some wood panels either side with port holes looking out. I’m sure this isn’t technically accurate for a pirate ship but it gave a good enough impression. We added sea gulls to the back wall, a crows nest on one side and a sail on the other. For some reason we already had a ships wheel.

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We added props to dress the stage… Cardboard boxes painted to look like crates, canon balls made from black paper (I wanted a canon but we ran out of time), candles….

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An anchor cut out of card and painted grey, some sacks…

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Painted barrels, net, rope.

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Old planks of wood and a few parrots dotted here and there.

We also made a little treasure island area where the children would go to collect prizes. Cue palm trees, a piratey sign, blue and cream fabric, flowers and inflatables.

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We also had colourful bunting between the pillars down the sides and more sails and netting strung up.

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Hopefully if you ever need to create a pirate scene this provides come ideas!

August 12, 2013

Vintage Birthday Tea Party

So there is no stopping it, it seems that every year you do get a year older and this month I clocked up 30 years.  To celebrate I planned an afternoon tea party as I love a cream tea, cake, spending time with my friends and making things pretty.  I found this really cute little hall to hire locally as a venue.

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Thankfully it was sunny enough for us to spill outside as it was dinky!

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My sister and I made the cakes and decorations.  The colour scheme was aqua, peach and light pink to give a bit of a modern edge to the vintage theme.  We made tissue paper pompoms to add to balloons and fabric bunting.

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A friend of mine hires out vintage china with all proceeds going to charity (Vintage Hope).  An amazing cause and a nice touch to the party.

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I had a fab time both putting it together and celebrating.

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Here are some more pics…

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January 18, 2013

Craft group update

Well we’ve be very busy in sewing/craft group recently sharing lots of ideas and skills, sewing and more. Here is a little round up…

Flower arranging
We had a great evening before Christmas making festive door hangings utilising Kate’s expertise on the subject. Using a potato(!), wire, festive off cuts and decorative accents we each made an arrangement that can be hung on the door.

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This was a really fun evening and I think we were all happy with the results we got.

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Sewing skills
We have a new member of the group, Sally, who worked as a seamstress and is keen to pass on her knowledge, yes please!! We’ve had a couple of sessions looking at clothes alterations and how to do piping on a cushion cover. It’s really nice to learn new techniques with good instruction. We are hoping that there will be more to come.

Sock monkeys
I recently came across Craft Hope on Facebook. They (based in America) seek to spread love and encouragement to those facing difficult times, through crafted gifts. I think this is a great idea, to know that someone has put in the time and effort to make something unique for you might be small in the face of the big issues in the world but it must be encouraging. It’s great that people are also willing to organise the collecting and distribution of these gifts and amazing how much response they get to their projects.

So the most recent project was to create soft toys for children affected by hurricane Sandy. I thought it would be good for us to get involved so we had a sock monkey making session. I’ve made many sock monkeys in the past (tutorial here) so led people thought the process. They are fairly easy and each one is unique with lots of character.

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Our little clan of sock monkeys

They might not be the best of the lot that craft hope receive but I think they look fab. They are on their way to The States now.

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Hopefully there will be many more evenings of making, sharing ideas and techniques and chatting over coffee and a needle and thread to come in 2013 x

December 2, 2012

Craft stall, mixed media etc update

So it’s been ages since my last post.  I’ve been up to a fair bit craft-wise although also busy with other stuff, this is a quick update/round up x

I had another go it making a mixed media canvas, trying out some new products and ideas.

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With a three dimensional element this time.

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I did another craft stall.

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Again it wasn’t a big seller but the table was reasonable and I enjoyed meeting the other stall holders.

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I made some of these sewing kit jars with pin cushion lids.  I think they’re really cute and good fun to put together.  I roughly followed the instructions from Martha Stewarts book.

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And made some coordinating labels for them.

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And I had a go at a Christmasy-themed digital media composition text thingy (not sure what you call it!).

So, in the words of the John Lewis snowmen (and a few others)…


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November 7, 2012

Creative Craft Corner

I recently started a textiles course which involves a bit of drawing, painting, sticking etc as well as sewing.  So I thought it would be handy to have a space set up for where I can have the bits and pieces I need handy and not have to put everything away at the end of every session.  I would love to have a craft room, but that would mean throwing my housemate out and that’s not conducive to funding further craft activities or maintaining human contact!  But I did have this corner in my lounge that wasn’t doing a great deal.

A quick trip to Ikea and a rummage in the cupboards later and I now have a little station to do my work at.

It’s quite a bright, cosy little corner now.  Not much to it; table and chair, lamp (Ikea), wire photo holder for inspiration pics (from somewhere in Bath ages ago), plant pots for brushes and bits and bobs and spice jars for smaller bits and bobs (both Ikea), space for some books including my collection of secondhand sewing/textiles books and the small wooden draw set (also from Ikea!).

The draws came in plain wood like this…

 But a couple of coats of white primer, some pretty serviettes and some matte Mod Podge later and they were transformed.  I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

I didn’t do the inside (or all of the sides and backs of the draws) but i did line with some pretty paper.

 

The rest of the stuff in my house had better beware, before you know it I might have everything covered in serviettes and Mod Podge!

October 15, 2012

More mixed media

Since my last post I have explored a bit more mixed media and I’m starting to enjoy it. I have been inspired and educated quite a lot by Christy Tomlinson’s blog and her helpful videos but I hope to develop my own style over time.

These are a couple of pages I have done of just putting bits and pieces together and working on a style (sort of vintagey but not too floral)

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And this is a canvas I did for a friend and her new house (verse from Proverbs 24).

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You will gather that butterflies play quite a strong part, I just love them as a motif. My plan was to print out the verse so it would have been much smaller, but I couldn’t get my printer to work so I ended up stamping it which look ages as was much bigger! Therefore the house ended up being small, but it’s quite cute.

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I’m definitely up for doing a bit more. You need quite a good stock of materials, paints, stamps etc so it will probably be an ongoing thing as I build up my supplies.

In the meantime I really should be focusing on textiles. I’ve started a textiles course, for which I have separate blog which can be found here. All things related to the course will go on there and general crafty things will go on here. I’m sure there will be a bit of overlap!

Until next time…

September 6, 2012

A Bit of Mixed Media

I’m still doing a bit of flittering between different crafts. Recently I’ve been watching a load of mixed media art journaling and scrap booking videos on You Tube. I have to admit I don’t love it all, some of it seems like just sticking, painting, stamping, stencilling and scribbling a lot of random stuff on a page. But where it helps to explore creativity and generates inspiration I find it quite interesting.

I like altered books and I thought it might be good to have a go at making one that I can use to keep together pictures, ideas and bits and pieces that I find inspiring. So I bought an old hardback book from a charity shop…

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First job was to create a cover so I opened it up and primed it all over with a coat of Gesso (this seems to be a staple in mixed media art), this dealt with the shininess of the cover. Then I applied a coat of grey, I’m a fan of grey.

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I collected a selection of papers together to go on the cover…

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And stuck them down using matte gel medium (another staple that I hadn’t heard of until recently, but it’s great because it sticks well but leaves a matte finish)…

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Then I applied some teal paint to the edges and a couple of butterfly stickers from Ikea (butterflies are going to be a bit of a theme in the book)…

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To knock back the colours and help all of the background materials to blend together a bit I applies a coat of watered down gesso. I stuck some grey lace along the spine and added some buttons and beads. I also did some stamping in the same teal colour with a swirly stamp I have and some bubble wrap.

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I’m fairly happy with is has a first attempt. It’s pretty and not to busy which I my style.

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I’ve done a bit of prep on the inside, ripping some pages out and sticking some together. I’ll show you more as it progresses 🙂

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August 27, 2012

Festival of quilts

So my friend and I had a great day out at the quilt festival at the Birmingham NEC last weekend. We set off early to make sure that we got there ready to have a coffee before the doors opened.

We did quilts then a bit of shopping then lunch then more quilts and more shopping. There is so much to see that it’s almost too much for one day. Sadly by the end of the day it gets hard to really appreciate the quality of the quilts.

It’s interesting to see what things other people like and how tastes can vary. I tend to like the ones that are more abstract, pretty, with a lot of texture.

 

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And I love ones that look good from a distance and then even better close up.

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Whilst they aren’t my taste you can’t help but appreciate the time and effort that goes into these quilts.

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Last year I bought loads of material for a quilt. This year I have no quilt projects lined up for the near future so I went for something different. I have just started a textiles course so I stocked up on bits and pieces that should be useful for that.

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August 18, 2012

Blogging at the Festival of Quilts

This is my first on location blog, I’m at the Festival of Quilts! Already seen loads of amazing quilts and done a bit of shopping. Just having a quick bite of lunch before getting back to the rest.

Here are some of the sights…

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More to come later I’m sure!

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