Archive for the ‘Craft’ Category

Apparently, I can’t get enough of Amy Butler crafting paper.  After finishing off a tin of Green Tea the other day I got the bright idea to redecorate the can and give it a second life.

Supplies! Craft Paper, Empty Canisters, and Glue.

How To:

  • Find a canister you’d like to remodel.  You can probably find some likely candidates in your pantry.  Tea tins, tobacco canisters, coffee cans, and powdered drink containers are just a few examples.
  • Remove any problematic packaging from the container.  If it has a paper label, you may want to leave it on.  As long as it is smooth and well adhered, it will actually help to keep the decorative paper attached.  Things you may want to remove include stickers, pamphlets, or oddly places labels.  The best thing to use to remove them is a adhesive remover solution, but if you don’t have one handy, you can try mayonnaise, hot water, nail polish remover, or even vegetable oil.
  • Carefully cut a piece of decorative paper to fit around the container.  It is best to use thick papers like card stock or scrapbook paper, otherwise you may be able to see the original packaging underneath.
  • Using School Glue or Elmer’s Glue, spread a thin layer of glue evenly across the wrong side of your paper.  I like to spread thin circles instead of spreading it flat, but the choice is up to you.
  • Carefully attach your paper to the container and hold it firmly until it has dried enough to hold its own shape.
  • You can add a line of ribbon in a corresponding color to the paper’s edges to give the container a more finished look.  Just measure it out and attach it with a very thin coat of glue.

All done!

Your finished canisters can be used for about a million things.  Try using them to hold any number of little doo-dads. Take the lids off and they can hold paint brushes, pencils & pens, silverware, or faux floral arrangements.


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Crafting on Small Pickings

Finding craft supplies here in Beijing has proven to be quite the challenge. Occasionally, I will stumble upon a tiny yarn shop, or an exciting item in the stationery section of some mega store, but mostly it’s been pretty bare.  The only crafty thing that seems to be really abundant is cross stitch, which, up until now I have never really tried out.  I am working on a very small cross stitch project to see how I like it – but, you all know how structure and I usually get along.  That doesn’t bode well for cross stitch.  I have been able to find plenty of white, rubber erasers, so I’ve taken to stamp carving a bit.  Of course, this is also limited seeing as the only ink pads I have found are red.  So far I’ve carved birds, my name, and lanterns.  Any more bright ideas for red stamps?

I’ve been teased and tortured by the incredible variety of gorgeous fabric here and the utter absence of thread or sewing machines.  Felt, also, has gone undiscovered. As I trudge on through this craft-less land, I shall continue my vigilant search for craft supplies.  They must be here somewhere. I know for a fact there is a bead market and a fabric market in this city, and I am suspecting that I’ll find hoards of crafty booty when I locate these places.

Another ray of hope is the Beijing Stitch n Bitch that I’ve discovered on Yahoo Groups.  It seems to be a rather new group, but right on time.  I miss my own crafty ladies at The Hat City Scissor Squad so much!  I am hoping to not only find some new companions, but to also get a point in the right direction for crafty places in the city. Cross your fingers for me, scissorinas.

I’ve also spent a lot of time doodling, sketching, and dabbing at watercolors. Nothing too exciting, but I had fun sketching my favorite Chinese foods the other day: Baozi, Noodles, and Red Bean Balls.  Meanwhile, Scott Bobleo has dedicated himself to learning all the musical things he’s never had time or patience for in the past.  For starters, he’s immersed himself into studying these crazy jazz scales. They have names like Aeolion and Mixolydian, and they have something to do with something called the Circle of Fifths.  For someone like me, who is still bamboozled by the searing pain in my fingertips caused by every c or g chord, these “idian” scales simply boggle my noggin.  However, as a supportive wife, I nod a lot and pretend to understand whatever it is he is on about. 🙂 Cheers to love.


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Survivor – Craft Room

So when we leave for China, we’ll have 3 suitcases in which to pack nearly everything we need.  These suitcases need to hold clothing, shoes, and essential supplies (like toothpaste, deodorant, tampons, and other things we’ve been advised not to buy in China).  I am dedicated to stuffing about 1/3 – 1/2 of one of these suitcases with art & craft supplies.  Not bad really, considering Scott is checking a guitar in place of a suitcase on his flight, plus carrying one on.  It is really going to be difficult to pick which items to bring, which to store, and which to give/sell away.  I stare at the contents of my craft room and my mind becomes instantly boggled.  I can’t bring the ssewing machine, but I should probably bring some essential sewing supplies so that I can sew by hand, or if I’m lucky, find a cheap machine in Beijing.  Paint is very heavy, but will acrylics be readily available, and do I really want to waste my savings on supplies that are already in abundance right here?  I am considering bringing maybe a dozen large tubes of standard acrylics, a set of dry watercolors, and a selection of my best pens, pencils, and brushes.  Will they have glue guns there?  If I bring mine will I be able to find glue sticks?  Or should I count on begging refills in care packages?

I’ve decided rubber stamps are just excessive.  If I really need to add type or small pictures to something I can just use my pens and freehand it.  However, printing equipment might be a good idea.  We could make band merch in house if I were to get a little better at screen printing.  Scissors are a must, as are a few good pads of paper, carbon, and tracer.  I’m leaving all of my epherma supplies.  Our friend, Daly, assured me that the local shops are teaming with bizzarre junk that I will have oodles of fun destroying and reassembling.  I’m sort of over knitting at the moment, so that takes care of that.  Besides, I’ve heard that knitting and cross stitch are very popular in China, so finding those kinds of supplies should be cake.

So far, here’s my list of must haves:

  • Acrylic Paint
  • Water Colors
  • Pencils & Pens
  • Brushes
  • Paper
  • Screen Print Inks, Squeegee & Brayer
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Essentials (Needles, Pins, Measuring Tape, Thread, Floss, Etc.)
  • Glue Gun
  • Sketch Book

I feel like I’m forgetting something really obvious.  Any thoughts on what you would bring if you were in my place?  What would your bare bones craft collection consist of?  What might I be overlooking that I could regret?

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I stumbled upon these cute little house shaped knick knack shelves during a recent trip to Salvation Army.   I love tiny things, and anything that shows off tiny things, so these little shelves were definitely coming home with me.

The shelves before their crafty makeover

The shelves before their crafty makeover

I took a quick trip to Michaels and picked up some white craft paint and a stack of Amy Butler Scrapbook Card Stock then rushed home to get started on a makeover for my little house shelves.  If I had been thorough, which you probably should be if you decide to make a similar project, I would have sanded these shelves down.  I skipped that step and found that even three coats of white craft acrylic would not make my shelves pretty.  It just couldn’t overcome the nappy old brown varnish on the shelves.  Eventually, I whipped out some artist’s white acrylic, which was thick enough to do the job.  It worked, but a quick sanding would have saved me time and some expensive paint.  After painting both shelves completely, I picked out some paper from by Amy Butler stack and got to the fun part. Using newsprint to create templates for the shelf cavities, I carefully traced the shape of each shelf onto my decorative paper.  I cut each piece out and trimmed it as needed so that it would lay perfectly flat inside the shelf.  Then, I used a foam brush to apply a VERY thin coat of Elmer’s Glue (you can also use Mod Podge) to the back of each piece of paper.  After gluing, I placed the paper on the wall of the shelf, and smoothed it out with a dry foam brush.

Decorating the painted shelves

Decorating the painted shelves

I chose to leave my paper matte, but if you want to add a little shine, sparkle, or just some matte protection, I would suggest adding a thin layer of Mod Podge to the paper after you’ve glued it in place.  These dried lickety split, so I got to hang them on the wall right away to enjoy them.

House Shelves

House Shelves

House Shelves

House Shelves

House Shelves

Now what will I put inside?

*Post featured on CasaSugar.com!

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The wedding has come and gone, and I am proud to report that it went off without any major hitches.  Naturally a couple of things strayed from the plan, but overall the evening turned out better than I had dared to hope.  It was pretty much perfect.  All in all it was a night to remember, and is in no danger of fading into a mush of cookie cutter wedding memories.  Mission accomplished!

While obviously the big things going according to plan had plenty to do with the party's success, it was the little things that added sweetness and personality to the event.  My Mom and sisters, and my new favorite red headed Floridian, James, did an amazing job putting together the wedding favors and programs.  They created over 100 of each!

MatchBox Favors
These little Match Boxes were first thought up as wedding favors by our buddy Sailor at Hot Rock & Dye.  Originally, I envisioned hand stamped collages of glitter and construction paper, but Heather decided to take these little guys to the next level by designing their paper covers on the computer.  She put together an adorable template of leopard, red, and black, complete with the wedding date, then used four adorable puns and catch phrases on the other side. She used "Hunka Burnin' Love", "A Perfect Match", "Flame On", and "Hot Stuff". These were so cute, and very popular! We only ended up with a handful left over the next morning.

Wedding Programs
Heather also designed these matching programs.  They featured an awesome tattoo font, a heavenly piece of clip art on the front, and more art from the centerpiece stencils inside. Awesome!

Tiny Cake Favors-1
All of the favors were outstanding, but the most amazing of all were the tiny cakes that my Mom made.  She started out by assembling almost 200 little blue boxes that arrived flat stacked from EFavorMart.com.  Then, she created hundreds and hundreds of little bows from blue and gold ribbon.  She attached ribbons and bows to all of the boxes, and then started on the cakes.  Tiny Cake Favors-4She baked mini cupcakes from both yellow and strawberry flavored cake, and then carefully trimmed each cupcake to a uniform shape.  When they were all ready, she glazed them with a white chocolate ganache, then dipped the tops in melted white chocolate.  As if that wasn't wild enough, she topped each tiny cake with a pair of handmade (by her, of course) gum paste cherries!  Even the little bows attached to the cherries were made by hand with ribbon and hot glue.  Heather designed and printed tiny cards to accompany the cake boxes, explaining the tradition that went behind them:

Tiny Cake Favors
Legend says that if an unwed woman places a slice of wedding cake under her pillow, that night she will dream of the man she is going to marry! Thanks for being with us as we watched our dreams come true! To play the game, place this box of cake under your pillow tonight and dream your heart out!

Tiny Cake Favors-2
There are many more photos to come.  I'll keep posting as they flow in.  Next, I'll share photos of us setting up, and explain how we transformed the Heirloom into a swanky fifties dance party

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We came up with a pretty snazzy idea for centerpieces for my upcoming 50's/rockabilly wedding. Feeling inspired, we decided to take on the challenge of etching glass vases with vintage tattoo designs.  This project was a lot of fun. We started out by scanning some of our favorite images from the book, Vintage Tattoos by Carol Clerk. 

We printed them up, traced the major lines with a fat, black marker, and began to carefully cut them from contact paper.

When we ran out of designs from the book, my Mom began sketching new designs by hand.  She used the imagery from the book as inspiration and sketched out about 5 – 6 original designs, some of which are my favorites from the project. Wondering where my sisters and I got our creative genes? Well, wonder no more.
This lady may be modest, but she's a whiz when it comes to creative
projects. I knew she'd come up with some great designs, and boy was I
right. Check out this anchor design, one of my very favorites from the
project. A Syndi original!

Heather was a real trooper, carefully trimming design after design with an exacto and a self healing mat. Long after I had given up, Heather continued to trim! Go Heather!

After the designs were cut out, we peeled the contact paper off of its backing and applied it to the freshly cleaned vases. This part was nearly as tricky as the trimming. We applied a double layer of masking tape all around the designs to give the glass a healthy buffer when it comes time to apply the etching creme. I can't wait to see these finished!

I have a feeling that these deigns could come in handy for future projects, so I've decided to save them on my Flickr Account. Check out the full collection there. I think they'd make great templates for silk screening, embroidery, or stenciling. Let me know if you make anything with them. I'd love to see it!

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The long awaited Glamour Cross Tutorial is HERE!!! Woot woot. We’ve donned our chipmunk personalities to show you how to make the kitschiest crucifixes in town!

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