Monday, February 23, 2015

FaveCrafts Blogger Event at CHA

Each year Prime Publishing (FaveCrafts) holds an event for CHA designer and blogger members.  This is where we gather to get to know each other and generally have a wild and wonderful time!  Not just for networking, manufacturers attend this event to introduce designers to their products.  After the show each one of us receives a "goodie box" of sample product so we can add a sprinkle of our own creativity -  after all, a product is only a product until a designer shows us what we can be made with it.  We're all about creativity and inspiration!

It's like Christmas when the boxes arrive on our doorsteps! Our mission now is to create something with what we received.  I had a wide assortment of products to work with, but was immediately drawn to a bag full of product from Little B, especially since there was a sample of their award winning Pull Flowers.


I'm sure you know by now, that anything to do with "flowers" has my immediate interest.  We all love quick'n EZ PZ, so you'll understand why these were such a hit at the show.  All you have to do is cut a length of the ribbon then pull the thread on each end and voilĂ  you have a flower.  They are so pretty!  Now I need something that is just as easy to put them in and here is what I came up with - perfect for Easter and Mothers' Day.

Here's what you'll need:


1. Pull flowers from Little B
2. 3 half inch Smoothfoam™ balls
3. 3 Craft picks
4. 3 Green Straws (the bendy ones)
5. Yellow Flower Soft™ Sprinkles
6. White glue
7. Cool temp glue gun
8. Glass bottles
9. DecoArt® acrylic paint - your choice of colors
10.  etchall® Dip'n Etch etching liquid. (Enough to fill the inside of the bottle.)

And this is what you do:

1.  Prepare the glass bottles following instructions on the container of dip'n etch.  Pour the etching liquid into one bottle.


Let sit for 15 minutes, then pour the liquid from the first bottle into the second oneAfter 15 minutes pour the liquid from the 2nd bottle into the 3rd.  Let sit for 15 minutes then return the liquid to the container.  This product is REUSABLE, so you can etch a lot of glass with it.

2.  Rinse each bottle thoroughly then dry with a soft cloth.

 3.  Now let's add some color.  Because the glass is etched on the inside, it now has "tooth" (a rough surface), so you can use regular acrylic paint for this technique.  I poured about half of the paint into the bottle then carefully, holding the bottle on its side, I turned it around slowly until the inside was completely covered.  Pour the excess paint back into the paint bottle.  I love to experiment, so I used Patio Paint to color the blue bottle.  Patio paint has a thinner consistency, so it was easy to work with. The pink and yellow bottles were coated on the inside with regular acrylic paint. This paint had a much thicker consistency, so I thinned it with a little water before using.  Both paints worked well.  Let the paint dry at least 24-48 hours and DO NOT fill with water.  These are intended for decorative purposes only.  In case you're wondering, I tried glass paint with this technique on unetched glass, but the coverage wasn't quite as even as I would have liked.

Now that you've colored the bottles, set them aside to dry while you make the flowers.

1.  Cut 18" of each color of ribbon.  Pull the thread from both ends to gather then tie the ends together in a simple overhand knot.

2.  To make the center, push the end of the craft stick into each of the Smoothfoam balls.  Smoothfoam is very dense, so you may need to make a pilot hole with the tip of a craft knife first.
3.  Using the craft stick as a handle, coat the surface of the ball with white glue.  The surface is nice and smooth, making it easy to work with.  When the surface is covered, sprinkle with Flower Soft sprinkles.  Let dry.

4.  Push the craft stick thru the center of the flower, then secure with cool temp glue at the base of the covered ball.
5.  Trim the craft stick on the the under side of the flower to 1" then glue the end of the straw, over the craft stick, to the base of the flower.  The "bendy" part of the straw will allow you to position the flower if desired.

Really easy, right.....  I was going to add a "collar" of the corrugated cardboard trim around the bottle and a bakers' twine or jute bow around the neck, but sometimes less is more and I like the way they look just like this.


If you like my project, you can vote for it here:  Thank you!

I have so many other ideas using these techniques, I'll have to do another blog post, so y'all come back now..............  Enjoy!

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Offray Ribbon Blog Hop

Ribbons and roses and trims, oh my! 
What a wonderful way to add texture and excitement to all kinds of projects!

I LOVE working with ribbon.  I think it's one of the most versatile products available for needle workers, crafters, makers and do-it-yourselfers.  From a simple embellishment to an item made entirely of ribbon, there's no end to creativity.

Last month, members of the Designer Crafts Connection (DCC) each received samples of Offray ribbon to work with.  I was excited to receive 2" wide "gauzette" ribbon in pink and orange together with 3/8" 100% polyester ribbon.  I've always loved the orange/pink combination and, since these are my granddaughter's favourite colours, I decided to make a quick'n EZ valance for her bedroom window, by simply wrapping a 9" by 30" sheet of Smoothfoam with the orange ribbon, then embellishing it with coiled ribbon roses.

Supplies are minimal: Ribbon, Smoothfoam sheet and a cool temp glue gun.  I also had a hot wire foam cutter to cut the Smoothfoam, but a utility knife (the one from the hardware store with a break off blade) works just as well.  I also had some quilt pins on hand to hold the Smoothfoam pieces together and the ribbon in place before gluing.

Here's a closer look at the border with the polyester ribbon along the bottom of the valance, embellished with the coiled roses.

Here you can see a close up of the rose.  They are so easy to make.  I used a 16" piece of ribbon, tied a knot about 1/2" from one end, frayed the end to look like stamens, then glued the knot in place on the valence.  To make the rose, wrap the ribbon around its center, twisting as you wrap, then glue the opposite end under the coils.  For an added touch of color to the center, I frayed a 1" piece of the orange ribbon, rolled it tightly then glued it in place.

I really love this gauze ribbon.  It reminds me of a more elegant form of burlap; perfect for home dec projects and a whole lot more.   

I've been a ribbon fan for many years and in the early 90's authored a book for Leisure Arts entitled "Ribbons & Trim".  I'm sure it's out of print now, but you can still find a wide assortment of Offray ribbon.  Here's a couple of projects featured in the book, together with a ring bearer's pillow I made for my daughter's wedding in 2003, and a stool I made for my MIL in the late 70's.  Told ya - I've been a ribbon fan for a long, long time!

Before you hop forward to the next blog (use the DCC logo button in my sidebar on the left), check out the Offray Ribbon site and sign up for their newsletter.  You'll receive 15% discount on any ribbon order and there's a whole gallery of inspirational projects to look at there too!

Enjoy!  Y'all come back now..............

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Decorative Painting

It's February and LOVE is in the air, so this month Designer Crafts Connection members are posting projects, techniques, tools and things in general that they love about crafts....

I love to paint and the first "how to" craft books I was invited to write, were all about decorative painting.  My first book, Basic Steps to Painting, was written in 1992.  The book was based on learning simple painting techniques and the fact that you don't have to be an "artist" to be a decorative painter. 


It was followed closely by a second book, "Angels" and quite a few more.....

I don't publish painting books, or teach any more, but I still enjoy an occasional visit to a decorative painting show whenever possible to catch up with old friends and to see what is new.  Last year I was honored to be featured in the Interactive Artist Magazine, a great resource for all artists and decorative painters. 


Basic decorative painting techniques have changed very little over the past 20 years or so and since the art form itself is based on Folk Art from past centuries, I hope it will continue to live a long and creative life......  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now...........

Yours truly,
Julie :)