Friday, February 24, 2012

An Apple a Day, and a Pumpkin, Too

In the midst of decoupaging eggs to replace sold stock, I've been papering craft apples in 
pretty origami papers.

I'm in love with my new pumpkins in a variety of black and white prints. Very crisp and modern year 'round, and perfect for Halloween decorating.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A (sort of) New Direction, Farewell to Artfire and Zibbet

Goodbye, Artfire and Zibbet (sniff) - I just don't have enough time in a day, or a night, anymore, to maintain so many online shops (seven before the cut, now just four, all on Etsy). I loved Artfire for their new look and shop features (reminded me in a good way of everything I loved about 1000 Markets).  I loved Zibbet for similar reasons.  I love Etsy for...sales. It had to be said. 

French Hens, Turtle Doves, and a Partridge or Two - Picture Tutorial

Who doesn't love birds, especially Christmas birds (four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree...)? 

These paper bird tags are designed to be reversible, perfect for hanging from wreaths and garlands, and twirling about in doorway and window decorations. Sew the buttons to the wing pieces before attaching to the bird.

I've made a downloadable bird pattern for your holiday crafting, including my antique endpaper prints. Just left click on each image, then right click and save to your computer. All are sized at 8x10.5 inches to print at "actual size" on 8.5x11 inch or A4 card stock paper. After printing one endpaper, flip the page over and print again for reversible tags. After you flip the card stock, be sure to insert the same end into your printer for the second printing that went in for the first printing so that both patterns line up with each other.

Above is a suggested layout for four reversible birds and eight wings.

This alternate wing position gives the impression of flying birds.

More reversible Christmas birds in commercial card stock papers with rhinestone eyes, metallic cord, and wings outlined with glitter glue.

 These reversible birds have rhinestone eyes, cotton ties, and inked edges.

 Even simpler, these pretty french hen tags in sepia, cream, and black have ink dot eyes and a wingless back for writing a brief message.

Retro red and aqua birds with glitter glue eyes and a metallic ribbon accent for their button wings.

Sometimes a set of papers are just perfect from the front, but the backs aren't, as in the colors above. Adding a color scheme of oval scallop punches to the backs of these birds gives them a more cohesive look, and a place to write a name or brief message -perfect for dressing up a gift package. 

The reversible and romantic Cottage Christmas turtle dove tags above have circlets of antique lace adorning pearl and shell buttons, and champagne rhinestone eyes.

Pretty reversible birds in the colors of winter. I think these would be lovely wedding decorations.

 Miniature shiny black buttons make bird eyes for these Paris-themed reversible bird tags.

A variation on the retro red and aqua birds.

The promise of spring is delivered with green and blue reversible bird tags in floral prints.
May your holiday bring you love, peace, and happiness - 
and crafting supplies!

Hand surgery and a new crafty obsession.

I'm healing from recent right hand surgery - yep, my crafty ways have resulted in carpal tunnel syndrome and two trigger fingers for each hand. Aside from 3 frankenstein scars and stitches, I'm doing fine and able to type, do moderate graphic work, and very little else that requires my right hand or both hands. Mr. Catnip is keeping up with all of my chores and weight-bearing responsibilities, and he's doing the cooking, too (my hero forever!).  I'm not going to gross you out with photos of my hand, at least not yet, but here are pics of my latest crafty obsession - glass paperweights. Creating and printing the digital art and putting together the paperweight kits didn't hurt a bit! 

Fall Pumpkin Decoupage Mini Tutorial in Pictures

Here's a mini how-to for turning small fake pumpkins and gourds into treasured autumn and Thanksgiving decor through decoupage. I've used Japanese yuzen papers in fall colors and motifs - maple leaves, chrysanthemums, acorns, gold, red, orange, green, and cream.

Detailed instructions for decoupaging eggs abound on the web and youtube. I just adapt the paper size to fit the object.  The smoother and more regular the surface, the easier it is to get the paper to adhere smoothly, which is the look I prefer.

Apply adhesive (I use Mod Podge) down the solid center of the paper  and press paper to gourd. Be careful not to pull the paper too tight or there will be gaps where the object will show through.

Use a bone folder to smooth seams and ensure a good bond between paper and object.

Cut each end into "picket fence" points and glue in alternating pattern, smoothing with the bone folder as you progress.

Make small cuts where necessary to ease excess paper around the bumpy parts. Yuzen is very flexible, so you won't need to do this very often.
Once all the picket fence pieces are cut and glued, use the bone folder for a final smoothing over the whole pumpkin, then apply a coat of Mod Podge as base sealant. 

Paint the stem with a metallic paint in a complimentary color. After the stem is completely dry, reattach it with adhesive, and touch-up stem if needed. A finish coat of acrylic paint-on or spray sealant gives the pumpkin a soft sheen and extra durability.

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