Sunday, December 16, 2012

garden learnings

This year the garden Xmas decorations are just monochrome green gumnuts
 I have learnt the flowering gum doesn't necessarily flower every year and it takes more than one year for the gumnuts to mature.  They are nowhere near turning brown, dropping from the tree and becoming a hazard under the blades of the mower.

This time last year we had a flowering gum covered in red blossom and the fly in/fly out changing decorations of lorikeets.  We can hear the lorikeets in the area but with no food on this tree they are not visiting to sup on nectar.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

the answer is food

In a previous post I showed a miniature gingerbread man cutter just 4.5 cm high.  To make some treats for a morning tea this week I used the cutter to make this pile of biscuits. 
Yes they do look like a rugby scrum of gingerbread men.  They were made using the recipe here ... with a little extra ground ginger.  I wasn't interested in decorating them but a little detail can be added by using a skewer to prick holes for the buttons.

So the cutter is definitely now to be used for food from the kitchen and not art from the studio.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

make it better

Half way through the assembly and colour changes of the pink blush birthday card I decided the Copic air grip would work better for me if I got out the Sugru and modified the air grip.  I added some hand pads and a way better valve finger pad.  The Sugru is best left for 24 hours to cure before using.  After about 4 hours I wanted to get back to changing the colour of the embellishments and luckily the new pads had done most of their hardening and it was safe to use it without damaging the molded shapes. Impatient?  Nah, well just a bit!

 It rests in my hand really well now and feels a lot more comfortable to use.
The design of the air grip 'as manufactured' seems to work for both left and right handed people.  I think a Sugru pad would improve the operation of the valve lever a lot for left handed artists.

Friday, December 7, 2012

pink blush birthday card

The birthday card I created this week started as a white-on-white card.  There have been some lovely cards published on blogs and Pinterest lately.  The embellishments on this birthday card, paper flowers in parchmentine, embossed cardstock and diecut swirls all started out in plain white.

Rethinking the card I decided to give it pink highlights and achieved the change with a pink Copic pen and the air grip.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

origami wallet

The online search went from a price comparison with the result "so that was a good price after all and no shipping costs" onto "how can I make one"?

We found a Dynomighty airmail print Tyvek Mighty Wallet at Goose last Saturday.  It was coveted by someone who likes lightweight small wallets and doesn't carry coins.

Tyvek is an untearable (no guarantee) plastic sheet and I had five A3 sheets in my stash. The YouTube search revealed a tutorial using a Tyvek shipping envelope by the man who designed Mighty Wallets, by someone who copied the wallet and another alternative paper origami design, possibly designed by Sok Song.

As the A3 sheets were a bit short for the project (one bank note pocket not two) I made my version and then tried the origami version. 

I went onto create a style and size that could be created from 12 in x 12 in scrapbook paper. These won't last forever but would be good for giving gift cards for Christmas or birthdays.

There is a bank note pocket and two gift card/credit card pockets.  Either could be used for a greeting.

This design needs paper approx 15.5 in x 13 in so I used a sheet of KaiserCraft wrapping paper.  It also has a nice fine fabric like texture.  The down side is that there is a part of the wallet that shows the back of the paper, in this case white.

There is one pocket for bank notes and four places that could hold gift cards or credit cards.

edit: I have added a post with YouTube link on how to make this wallet here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

yes, now add the bling

With the second spiral Christmas ornament I stuck gold craft stickers to the green set of strips.
The finished ornament now looks like this.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

how about this one ... another Christmas decoration

 This idea was from Jessica Jones' blog How About Orange.  The blog post gives a great tutorial. For my technique trial  I needed 18 strips of paper and two small disks. In case I wanted to made some more, or really even just to make the first one I created a cutting file and used the Cricut to prepare the strips and put the 'pierced' hole in each end.

The ends of the strips were rounded off so they neatly finished under the top and bottom disks.  Lacking significant beads of the right size I used heavy gauge coloured aluminium wire instead of the beads, needle and thread.
To lessen the impact of the cut white edges of the paper strips I coloured them all with a green Tombow pen.I think this is an important step for these paper ornaments and generally for cardmaking as well.  It adds polish to your art.

With all the parts assembled on the wire I had a 'blah, why bother' moment looking at the almost complete ornament. The strips didn't sit right or look tidy.  The comment in Jessica's blog post with the idea of using a length of straw hidden in the centre made for a really neat ornament when the wire was finished off firmly.  The 'blah' had gone as the strips now sit snugly against each other minimising the gaps where they meet the wire.

Digital cutter or not this is an easy ornament to make which then looks special when assembled. I made mine from an older Basic Grey range - Fruitcake - Sleigh Bells which has a co-ordinating print on the back called pine.  You can get two ornaments from a sheet of 12 x 12 in paper.  Nothing wasted and a little more de-stashing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I almost missed this wonderful sight but it was the humming that told me they were there.  Five bees were gathering the last of the pollen in the poppies this morning.  Often when I take a picture of a flower; between deciding on the photo, getting the camera and taking the photo the wind will have started up.  With these photographs the petals were flicking around due to the bees diving amongst them.  Could have watched for hours but I was expected at sewing class.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


When I found the thin heel of a shoe on our back garden path I thought the garden had been visited by an intruder who had left their glass  rubber sole behind.  For some unknown reason I didn't throw it out but put it on the back garden bench and continued gardening.  Taking off my gardening Crocs a couple of weeks later I noticed the similarity of the treads.  My Crocs have oil and slip resistant soles, a different material to body of the Croc and a section of sole had fallen off while I was moving through the garden.

Knowing you need the right glue to fix two dis-similar plastics and not wanting to dissolve the plastic either, I emailed the Australian distributor of Crocs to find out how a repair could be made.  Ha! Don't you love businesses that put "contact us" links on their websites and never get back to you.  On the good side I have had informative and prompt responses from the uncommon mix of City of Greater Geelong, Twinings, Jane of Sugru and Tim Holtz.

While still waiting (I am still waiting) for a response I got the latest email newsletter in from Sugru, the self curing moldable silicon company.  I have already used it for several repairs and hacks.  Here was a possible way to reattach the sole and the other loose sections of soles on the Crocs.
As I thought it was a big problem I ordered the 100 gram pack of Sugru.  Some sections of the soles were still fixed firmly so Sugru was just used for the problem areas.   Once you open a pack of Sugru you need to use all of the material as it starts to cure after 30 minutes of molding time.

With this in mind I had done some preparation.  Next on the list of possible hacks was the repair of the cord cover on the whipper snipper.
 This is an example of  "hack things better", Sugru's original slogan. The cord wants to come out of the motor casing and hang at a right angle.  The weight of the plug and extension cord that gets attached to it pulls the cord at a right angle so the protection sheath wears and tears over time.  I used the Sugru to create a new protection sheath around the cord.
When I need to restring the trimmer I often rest the motor casing on the brickwork and work on the string cartridge. 
 I added a bumper to the corner of  the motor casing to stop the risk of cracking the casing.
Lots of other hacks such as fixing the spring to the cartridge so it didn't get lost in the grass and more protection on the feed bumper were created too.  If only I could work out how not to need rewinding the string so often when I  am using the unit would be good.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

christmas ornament heart + house blinged up

Having cut out and assembled my first heart + house ornament I decided the ones from the recycled Christmas cards would make use of the heart cut out. In fact I modified the cutting file and cut out tiny hearts from inside of that heart shape too. 

The paper panels were glued together and then left for a day to dry. Last night I gathered up my collection of gold beads, wire and pliers.  Below is the black, gold and silver ornament.  This was obviously one of the colour trends in cards last year.
Once the flat gold beads ran out I then chose the green star beads to finish off the details on the red and green ornament.
It was good to use supplies already in my cupboards but now I'm tempted to find some more flat gold beads.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

christmas ornament house shape

Here is the first of my creations of the house + heart Christmas tree ornament.

In making mine, rather than put the string all the way through the house from floor to peak I put a length of wire through a bead that sits in the top of the heart. I used jewellery making pliers to create a loop in the end of the wire for the ribbon.

This house was cut from Basic Grey Jovial - Winter Garden.  Yes, a little more de-cluttering.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

design and tidy

All sorts of de-cluttering and tidying is happening here. I have been using a lot of embroidery threads at a school sewing activity recently.  The hanks of thread get wound up onto thread cards. With that shape already in my mind I then saw BirdsCards' cutting file for a ribbon card.  I created a  ribbon card cutting file to suit my needs.
For the paper supply I have been using designs from my stash I am no longer interested in.  So the project has some de-cluttering and then organising the ribbons lead to some tidying too. When I was looking for heavy unwanted papers I came across a great woodgrain printed paper so made some ribbon cards from that too.  The double ribbon card shown above is scored, folded and then glued together to make a stiffer shape.
 I would have liked to have made all the cards in the woodgrain print but ...

 The ribbon cards fit in a long narrow plastic toolbox. It is easy to squeeze in one more card and then another and another into the box.  With the cards on their sides I can quickly see the ribbon colour and type.

Edit:  In the post I forgot to mention this. If you are using dress pins to keep the ends of the ribbon lengths neat I suggest you use non rust brass lace pins or stainless steel wedding dress pins.  You might be surprised at how quickly ordinary dress pins rust. 


Monday, November 12, 2012

washi tape and stamping

Washi tape is a fun supply.  Christmas before last I sealed all the card envelopes with a gold and cream striped tape.  The tools and supplies I took to class were all marked with pink and white striped tape. Not readily available in Geelong I was fairly safe my tools would stand out amongst the others on the class table.

As a design feature I like the look (not the damage) of aging sticky tape.  It has just been used in the artwork of Skye Rogers' book Paper Bliss.  On the cover it is also glossy and tactile. 

Paper Bliss book

Please Click the image for more information.
 Some years ago I used masking tape on a birthday invitation when I really wanted the yellowing aged sticky tape look.

As a roll of spotty washi tape in every colour didn't seem practical I opted for carving a stamp from an eraser and I plan to carve one for use as aging sticky tape.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

makeover step #1

The first thing  I made was a mirror.  It was the easiest step as there weren't any colour choices to make!  With some Tim Holtz self adhesive mirror sheet and the use of a Sizzix Circle #4 die it was cut to shape easily.  I have some other projects in mind for this mirror sheet too.

Until it is stuck in place I have left the protective film on the mirror surface.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

makeup bag makeover

 On a hunt for some miniatures I found this make up case.  Needs a makeover me thinks.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

house + heart christmas tree ornament

I came across this ornament in my net travels.  Oh all right, it was on PinterestMichele Pacey says her blog is about crafty concoctions and the heart house ornament with its use of recycled Christmas cards is a lovely creation.

Full instructions with photos can be found here.  We have a friend who recycles Christmas cards for her own Christmas cards.  My plan is to send one (or more) of these house ornaments instead of a Christmas card.

I recommend you do as Michele does and use a wet white glue like PVA or some of the multi purpose art mediums for attaching the parts together.  It can be quick and clean to use glue runners, double sided tape and glue dots but there is s high chance the panels will pull apart.  These ornaments can easily last for several years so I suggest you help make them last.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

craft or food

A local fine food store is selling tiny gingerbread men.  As I really like the idea of these small bites I have been looking for a mini cutter ... and I found one.  It is just 4.5 cm tall.
Remembering I have some lightweight molding paste I need to decide whether the craft or the cooking will come first.  After all, tools can go from the kitchen to the craft room but not the other way.  Perhaps I should have bought two!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

tool care + repair

In today's class we worked with bleach and I offered two recommendations.
1. Empty the bleach out of water brushes by the end of the day and rinse out
2. Empty any water out of water brushes when they aren't in use

I came back to the studio and did both with my bottles and brushes.  I know emptying the water out can be a drag as the holders can be hard to fill.  My suggestion is to get a cheap set of needle tip bottles for this task.
 The Kuretake brand water brush will need to have the flow restrictor removed before you fill or empty it.
 After rinsing out my brushes I had some repairs to do.  The Pentel Aquash brushes have a fine foam sleeve in the parts behind the brush. Time, chemicals and the foam used have lead to the foam sleeve turning to mush. 
The insides look like this (without the gooey ball of foam).
This is where the foam sleeve should be, in fact the new one tied in place.
 Photo below shows the Aquash brush reassembled with its new foam flow reducer.  I have done a quick flow test but using it with a colour medium will tell me if it is repaired good as new.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

tools for technique tuesday

For Tuesday 30 October 2012, 10:30 am.
This week's topic is using bleach with stamping and for recolouring. 

  • stamps to try -so you see how they work or might not look right
  • plain shadow stamp (as we made with fun foam in topic 24) and the matching detail stamp
  • scraps of plain coloured cardstock so you can test what colour shifts happen with the bleach
  • clean up cloth
  • coloured pencils
  • Copic pens to suit your stamp design
  • refillable water brush - filled with bleach if you wish - cliplok bag to take to/from home safely
  • wear suitable clothes, it is bleach we will be working with!
There will be tools and supplies for use in class.  The advantage of working with your own tools is you are already familiar with them and you will have an opportunity to learn more about their use and care.  

For class bookings and payments please call Marisa at Create On Ormond on 03 5222 1449 or email 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

many happy returns

A couple of months ago I made some props for a display window competition at Royal Geelong Show.  The show was actually last weekend.  The focus of the display was cooking and these props represented some of the basic ingredients of cooking or rather baking.

Now the show is over, the displays packed up and the baking composted!  My 1:2 scale props are going onto another gig with a photographer.  

I am told the display won 3rd prize so I will stand close and catch some of the glow.

Friday, October 26, 2012

do you see what I see

 A tour of the garden with a camera last week revealed some incredible plant secrets.  It is wonderful to look at the detail of each flower but the macro lens showed to us that there are tiny hairs in the opening of each foxglove bloom.
...  and there are coarse hairs in the throat of the nasturtium flower.

Having watched the first part of David Attenborough's Kingdom of Plants last Sunday, a documentary of plants in close up and altered time I now wonder what the purpose of the hairs is.  Oh to be able to watch their interaction with bees and other insects.