Friday, March 28, 2014

Easter Parade!

"Here's my Easter Bonnet, with all the frills upon it......."  and I forget what comes next.

Easter was always one of my favourite times of the year; mostly because it meant we had 2 weeks off school.  We always went to church on Easter Sunday wearing a new dress, new shoes and a hat - this was the 50's and a hat was a very important part of our ensemble.

In school we made Easter hats out of paper plates, crêpe paper flowers, lace and bric-a-brac, basically anything we could get our hands on then we'd wear them proudly as we joined the Easter parade.  It was always fun and whenever I think of Easter, I think of bonnets, so this year I decided to make one - just for fun.

I used the following Smoothfoam™ pieces: a 12" disc, half a hollow 8" ball and three, 1" balls for the flower centers.  Plus a packet of colorful napkins, Yellow Flower Soft sprinkles, découpage medium, tacky glue, a selection of ribbon (wired for the flowers), white cord and some white, sparkly deco mesh ribbon.  You'll also need a large, soft brush, toothpicks, sequin pins and a sharp paring knife, or hot knife if you have one.

    Step 1:  Separate the printed layer from the napkin and throw the rest away.
    Step 2:  Cover one side of the disc and the half hollow ball with the napkins using découpage medium.  Let dry.  Use a hair dryer to hurry the process if you like.

    Step 3:  Place the half ball on the disc where you want the hole to be then draw around the edge.  You can place it in the center, or offset it a bit like I did.


    Step 4:  Cut the hole in the center about 1/2" inside the line you drew.  This part is optional.  You really don't need to cut the hole unless you actually want to wear it.  If you do, you may also want to découpage the under side of the brim.
    Step 5:  Glue the half ball over the hole.
    Step 6:  Place each 1" ball onto a toothpick then cover the surface with glue and sprinkle with yellow flower soft sprinkles.  Let dry.
    Step 7:  I pinned a length of gros grain ribbon around the edge of the disc and white cord around the area where the ball was glue to the disc.

Now let's decorate!  You can use anything you want to decorate your bonnet.  This is a wonderful opportunity to use up all those odds'n ends and bits of ribbon and lace you've been saving, plus silk flowers you may have had tucked away.  I made the flowers for my hat from leftover ribbon as follows:

    Cut one, 18" piece of wired ribbon and two, 12" pieces of 2.5" wired ribbon to make the flowers. Fold the ribbon in half lengthways then gather the edges by pulling along the wire.  Don't forget to twist the ends of the wire together, or you may pull it out.......


Gather it as tightly as possible then wrap one end of the wires onto to the toothpick around the base of small, yellow ball.  Wrap the ribbon around to create your flower; secure with the opposite ends of the wires, trim away the excess wire then push the toothpick into the brim of your hat.  I made one large ruffled flower and 2 small ones, but you could make enough to go all around the brim.  I added some loops of deco mesh between the flowers (I secured the loops with the excess wire cut from the ribbon) and a bow at the back.  Now I'm ready for the parade.  No, there isn't a photo of me wearing it...............yet.  You'll have to wait for my Easter selfie, or maybe I can get my granddaughter to model it for you.

You'll find more fun crafty ideas for Easter on the Smoothfoam blog this month and next, so check it out.  You can also see lots of fun projects on the Pinterest board.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now...........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Flower Fairies

I've been doing some Spring cleaning this week. I use the term "cleaning" loosely because, from the look of it, I've made a bigger mess than I had originally.  It's always a challenge because I'm a craft hoarder at heart.  I have magazines and catalogs from waaaay back when, which I know I'm going to need at some point.....  Murphy's law, says that if I throw it away today, I'll need it tomorrow. 

I just love looking thru old things: photos, catalogs, magazines and tear sheets of projects I created, let's just say forever ago.....  Most of them are dated, but some crafts are timeless.  Here's one of my favourites - Flower Fairies.  Not sure you can read the text on the tear sheets I scanned, but basically I share, that belief in fairies was commonplace during my childhood in England.  Not only did the tooth fairy come to visit, but we always had a fairy at the top of our Christmas tree and it was a fairy who was Father Christmas' sidekick.

In 2000, Miriam Olsen, the editor of Crafts magazine saw one of my flower fairies at my Designer Showcase at an SCD convention.  Not only did she want that particular project, she wanted me to do a whole "Fairies in Bloom" series for the magazine for 2001.  I've often had projects on the cover of magazines, but I have to admit I was blown away when this cover was the feature cover at the HIA  PriMedia Awards show in the Winter of 2001.  (HIA - Hobby Industries of America is now CHA.) The cover was blown up to the size of the wall behind the presentation podium.  Note: The Primedia Awards were like the Oscars for the craft industry.  Here's the magazine cover:

and these are the Spring Fairy projects:

followed a few months later by the Summer Fairy projects:

There were also fairies for Autumn and Winter.  I can share those later this year, but I think you'll have fun coming up with your own creations.  These were all created using seasonal silk flowers, doll pin and doll pin stands and tiny wooden beads threaded onto chenille stems for the arms. 

I also featured a  "This Bud's For You" project in my Shoebox Crafts column for Craftworks magazine in July that year:

My granddaughter has a fairy garden in her back yard and we still search for evidence that the fairies come to visit "in the during of the night".....  but that was before they got a cat........

I still love fairy stories and often make little fairies for our Christmas tree each year.  I'll have to share those with you later this year.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now..........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Monday, March 3, 2014

Decorative Painting Made Easy!

It's First Monday and Designer Crafts Connection bloggers are posting about projects and/or techniques that will blow you away - after all, it is March.....

I've seen so many ideas over the years it's hard to pinpoint the best, so I thought I'd share an easy painting technique I published in a small book a couple of years ago.  I love decorative painting and was at the Creative Painting show in Las Vegas last week - (photos to come later).  Decorative painting is a fun hobby and many of you think you could "never do something like that".  Well, I'd like you to know that you CAN..... 

When working on painting projects for books, I always like to share things for beginners - techniques that anyone can do and become successful.  With a little success under one's belt, it's easy to try something a little more challenging the next time.  I used glass surfaces because there's no prep required and only one brush.  It doesn't matter what kind, or size because you're going to use the handle of the brush to paint these simple, decorative flowers.


You don't have to use the same pieces of glass pictured here, or the same colors, this is all about learning an easy technique to create something sweet and simple. 

I used glass paint - for obvious reasons, but you can use this technique with any kind of paint.  Practice the technique first on an old china plate - just to get the hang of it.  Pour a small puddle of paint onto a piece of wax paper, or disposable plate.  Holding your brush upright, dip the end of the handle into the puddle of paint then place it directly onto the surface to make a simple dot.  Dip the handle in the paint again, place it on the surface, but this time slide the handle toward you to create a stroke.

Now you know how to make a brush handle dot and a brush handle stroke.  No big deal, but when you put dots and strokes together in different colors and formations you have the beginnings of some really fun and simple designs.  Look at these strokes in the photo below for example.  Now imagine a ring of those around the stem of a wine glass! 

A daisy is simply a dot with lots of strokes around it. Strokes also become tiny leaves on a flower stem.  (Use a paint marker and ruler to make a straight stem.)  When working with glass, make a pattern first on a piece of paper then slide this inside the glass vase, or under a glass plate.  Make lines for the petals and dots for where you want the dots to be.   Here are a couple of pattern ideas to start with.  Notice how I added small dots around large center dots, or at the end of the strokes.  Make sure the first coat of paint is dry before adding additional dots.  The size of the brush handle will determine the size of the dots you make, so use a large brush handle for large dots, medium one for medium size dots, etc.  Teeny tiny dots can be made with a toothpick!

These patterns and projects were created for this small booklet for DecoArt using Americana Gloss Enamels.  You may still be able to find copies at your local Michaels store in the paint section.


Hope you'll give it a try - it really is very easy.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.......

Yours truly,