Teacup Pincushion Tutorial

This is what you call procrastinating about doing the laundry.

A while ago my dog ate my pincushion (she lived and managed to eat no pins, just my felted glorious handmade pin cushion I bought at a craft fair) and since then my pins have been in a little crockery bowl waiting for me to get another pin cushion and pricking me everytime I needed a pin.  I really wanted one of those tea cup ones because I saw some somewhere, but I hadn’t seen any to buy and I thought that it would be a bit beyond my sewing skills if I am honest, and I am a procrastinator too.

It turns out I can do it, and you surely could as well if I can.  I had my camera out and so I snapped photos while I was making it…because it is not procrastinating if it is for the blog!  HAHAHA (sort off).

While I was in the laundry I noticed in the laundry cupboard a small cup that I was given but had no use for, and so had stored there out of the way.  I had this sudden brainwave it could become THE pincushion in my head and so the laundry was forgotten and I went with my vision as a bit of an experiment to see if it would work. [SPOILER…it did hence you are seeing all these photos!!]

First I grabbed some material. You can’t see it in this photo but it is very cut into, goodness knows what projects I used it for but I figured I had enough for a circle.

Tuorial 1 For the inside you could use some of that soft toy stuff, but I didn’t have any so I used some felting wool that I was not likely to use, and I was wanting to get rid off. Tutorial 2 Also you need a cup. If I had known this was going to work I would have grabbed a prettier cup but I am happyish with it. Tutorial 3 I grabbed a compass and drew a circle that fit the fabric and cut it out…you can see I am not the most precise cutter outer. Tutorial 4 You then grab needle and thread and do what I think is called running stitch. Tutorial 5 You go around the whole edge of the circle: Tutorial 6 You will be pulling either end of the thread to gather it up a bit like this: Tutorial 7 Then you stuff it: Tutorial 8 Pull the threads tight, and like magic you have a little ball. Bear in mind this fabric ball will have to fit inside your cup so take that into account in measuring the circle. Thankfully it is soft so you can jam it in the cup! Tutorial 9 So you are ready to pull the threads, knot it and sew the opening up. However, don’t pull too tight or the thread will break and you will have to resew it: Tutorial 10 When you pull it tight it will look like this: Tutorial 11 But I reiterate…not too tight or this will happen again and you will rethink the whole project: Tutorial 12 Finally I sewed double thread and pulled a bit more gently and I managed to sew it all up without breaking any thread. It was a moment! Tutorial 13 I popped it on top of the cup and you can see the size difference, but don’t panic: Tutorial 14 It is soft, you can squish it in, in fact this will help keep it in there! Tutorial 15 I am relying on the fact I did it too big and it is jammed in quite tight, but in hindsight I could probably have hot glue gunned it in, or maybe superglue. I will see if it moves about or not. Get excited by your pin cushion and stick some pins it. Tutorial 17 Isn’t it pretty. Once the photo shoot is over, you can stick in the rest of the pins!! Tutorial 18 Tutorial 19 So thank you for indulging me and allowing me to avoid my laundry for an extra hour!

I am so excited to have a proper pin cushion and not be too scared to take a pin out of the bowl because another pin is likely to stab me. Also I feel quite clever. :)

If you are in New Zealand or Australia it is ANZAC day.  Lest we forget. I will be up early and at the dawn services to watch the children march in the parade.


More index cards to show

Getting closer to the finish line and pleasingly up to date!  :)  It is a good feeling to actually finish a challenge and I have learnt a lot from this one of using only collage.  Like that I really like paint.  Also that I much prefer the collages that I make with my own painted papers.  Both useful things to know!  I did cheat on one of the cards this week by putting in some pen dots for eyes, but I did not like the eyeless look and the eyes I cut out looked wrong.

Victoria is still doing them as well, although her attention to them has gotten smaller and smaller, which is the opposite of what I thought would happen while she is on holidays.  Though I am still mightily impressed that she is still doing these mostly self-directed, I have only had to ask her once or twice if she is working on an index card today. Though this week she asked me how many more days until the end, so I think the novelty is wearing off!  :)

Icad 43:

I utilised my stone obsession with my resin paper and luminous paper I made.  I showed Victoria the pop out hearts for a friend’s birthday card and she decided to do it on her index card as well.

Icad #43Me

Victoria (6) Icad #43Victoria (6)

Icad 44:

I was using up the scraps from my collage box while Victoria was still seeing rainbows. :)

Icad #44Me

Victoria (6) Icad #44Victoria (6)

 Icad 45:

I thought I would try a matryoshka doll design I have been thinking about since ICAD began this year, and Victoria was playing with shiny metallics.

Icad #45Me

Victoria (6) Icad #45Victoria (6)

Icad 46:

I was inspired by this card of Tammy’s, while Victoria cut out a circle from one index card and used it to colour in circles on this index card.

Icad #46Me

Victoria (6) Icad #46Victoria (6)

Icad 47:

I was playing with circles of my gelatin prints while Victoria played with a gelatin print of a ginkgo leaf, and her original stencil card from above.
Icad #47Me

Victoria (6) Icad #47Victoria (6)

Icad 48:

I was using up scraps, and so was Victoria!  :)
Icad #48Me

Victoria (6) Icad #48Victoria (6)

Icad 49:

I was playing with the matryoshka doll idea again (where their eyeless state disturbed me), while Victoria was inspired by Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum.

Icad #49Me

Victoria (6) Icad #49Victoria (6)

I hope everyone is having a creatively-filled weekend. :)

Tutorial: Making Resin paper

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned making resin paper, and there was a comment showing interest in it, and since it is so magical and yet so easy, I thought I would do a quick tutorial!  :)

You will need some resin, paper, some plastic protective sheet for the table you are working on (and to let the paper dry) and a sponge.

I would note at this stage that after making two lots of resin paper my sponge was pretty much dead, so do not use one that you are overly fond off and want to keep reusing.  In fact those cheap disposable sponge brushes would be most excellent for this.

The plastic I used was a shopping bag made with some heavy duty plastic that I cut up.  You may have one of those non-stick craft sheets or the like which I assume will work just as well.

Resin paper tutorial #1

I had some resin and so used what I had, I assume all brands will work the same on this technique.

Resin paper tutorial #2

I grabbed a variety of paper: tissue paper, pattern paper, rice paper, book text, scrapbooking paper, and some good scrapbooking paper that was akin to cardstock almost. I was experimenting a little as well as doing this tutotial. :)

Resin paper tutorial #3

I made the resin up according to the instructions on the bottles and assembled all the supplies.

Resin paper tutorial #4

This is one side of the book text paper complete. You get the resin on the sponge and then you are almost pushing it into the paper to saturate it. So swiping slowly and imagining that resin soaking into the paper fibres. Gently but firmly. (Noting that tissue paper needs more gentle than firm!!) Here you can see that you can start to see the text from the other side of the page beginning to poke through.

Resin paper tutorial #5

This is what the other side looked like. You can see there are still some patches of white on the page where the resin has not soaked through to the other side (hence why I do both sides).

Resin paper tutorial #6

This is the complete page, where you can see the words from both sides and the paper is thoroughly saturated.

Resin paper tutorial #7

I then did the same for all the papers, this is the scrapbook cardstock paper, and you can see how the back is starting to go very translucent.

Resin paper tutorial #8

This is all the papers laid out to dry. They take a little while. You will know when they are dry because they will not be tacky anymore. This can take a varying amount of time. The scrapbooking paper and book text took 24 hours. The tissue paper took longer, and because I was impatient I removed it early and it ripped into bits on me as I was removing from the plastic sheet. Looing at it now when it has been a couple of weeks, I should have left it for maybe another day. It was slightly tacky when I removed the tissue paper, but it feels very strong now.

Resin paper tutorial #9

This photo is to show that there was in fact something in the middle of the plastic!! It just went white and clear! It was the rice paper and tissue paper.

Resin paper tutorial #10

When you pull it off the plastic pull up slowly, like you are almost peeling it off, if that makes sense.

Here are some of the results. I have held them up against a window so you can see the magical nature of it. Almost translucent and they glow almost. I am looking forward to cutting these into stones!!

Resin paper tutorial #11

Resin paper tutorial #12

Resin paper tutorial #13

Resin paper tutorial #14

On the book text you can see that you can see both sides of the book text clearly.

This picture is off the same scrapbooking paper that I cut in half. One half has been resined and one hasn’t.

Resin paper tutorial #17

You can see that it has not lost as much as the colour as the photo suggests, it is just the light shining through it. On the floor, without the light there is still a lot of colour, though it is slightly more muted. (The resin paper is on the left)

This is just the resin paper up to the light!

Resin paper tutorial #18

Resin paper tutorial #15

This is the cardstock resin paper from the back, so you can see that you can’t see any white at all now. (The above scrapbooking paper is the same).

Resin paper tutorial #16

This is the tissue paper, that I am holding so you can see how glass like it is, with my finger behind it.

Resin paper tutorial #19

All truly magical. I hope this is helpful if you are interested at all!  :)


Experimenting and some gold leafy goodness!

Kristin Dudish has a new feature running at the moment on her blog called “Tutorial tryout”, where rather than just book marking all those online tutorials we intend to do one day, we actually do them (and I have saved more than just a few and then never gotten anywhere near them!).

This week was on stenciling resists, which I thought sounded like a great idea, and has the added advantage for my never ending to-do list at the moment that I could use the results as backgrounds for my postcards for Hanna’s DIY Postcard Swap!  :)

I decided to do the Christine Adolf’s stencil foil resist painting.  I did not have the Krylon sprayshe recommends however, but given you were almost melting that into the foil as an adhesive I did have some plastic varnish spray that I thought may do the trick.  I also didn’t have any foil, BUT I did have some gold leaf which was as shiny as the foil looked, and rather than use watercolour paper (which I suspect may have worked better), I used my canvas pad instead…a complete experiment!!

I used my home-made stencils and sprayed the varnish through the stencil.  I gave it a reasonably heavy coat since I wanted to be able to melt it and stick something to it.  I used my twinkling h20s once the varnish was dry and that was a good resist, that I suspect would have worked a whole lot better with watercolour paper.  As you can see from the photos I did 3 sheets of the paper, and the watercolour pooled a lot on the canvas paper, (which one may have thought about had they thought this through a bit more!), I did end up making a paste-ish type application with a lot less water and scrubbing it in a bit .

Experiment 1 - Stage 1
Experiment 2 - Stage 1
Experiment 3 - Stage 1

At this stage I was not sure what they were going to be like when they dried, and so I did think about using a light acrylic wash or ink, but decided to wait until it dried.

Once it dried it wasn’t too bad, and I knew I was probably going to add on a few more layers afterwards anyway so I decided to just leave it as is.

I put on the gold leaf and with some paper over top (because I did not fancy the telling off my beloved would give me if I gold leafed our good iron, and I couldn’t find my craft iron), I ironed over the gold leaf. I also ironed the back of the canas as well. It did stick to the resist, but I had to brush off the gold leaf from the paper and in some places I was a little too rough and ready. I found the geometric patterns worked a whole lot better than the circle stencils I used as well.

Experiment 1 - Stage 2
Experiment 2 - Stage 2
Experiment 3 - Stage 2

Because I was intending to chop these up for use these as backgrounds for postcards, i put a wee bit of gel medium on top because I didn’t want the gold leaf flaking off in the mail. In some areas the technique worked really well for me, in spite of the substitutions. I want to try this out again in my art journal, and try different paints and see what the result is like.

As my top layers I decided to do some airbrush acrylic drips and here they all are. Waiting to be cut up with the other backgrounds I am making.

Next week is this tutorial which I have made before (one of the few I have actually done!!), and I am excited to do them again. I loved how well they come out. I highly recommend Kristin‘s on a Tueday!! :)

The Mini Sock Knitting Pattern!

Day one: write Father Christmas a letter. I love the way this advent calendar looks on the wall and I can hardly wait for the children to see what activity they are doing each day!!
A little while ago I had a comment asking for the pattern for the mini socks I made for my advent calendar (see here).  The asker was a very close real life friend of mine and I thought she was making fun of me.  Because I am not a knitter.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  My dear friend however is an absolutely amazing knitter and crocheter. She is incredible!!  Her work is amazing.  She was the one who bought me sock knitting needles and then talked me away from the edge of the cliff when I would have a melt down.

I LOVE granny squares, especially crochet ones, (I have seen a cardigan top made with them and it is amazing), but crochet is beyond me.  I just can’t do it, but my amazingly talented friend made me a tea cosy with felted crochet granny squares (!!) that pleases me greatly, even if my big tea pot is now broken and so I can’t use it at the moment.  The woman is amazing.

All this to say that when she asked for the pattern, I thought she was simply taking the piss.  She makes up her own patterns all the time, she is an intimidatingly expert yarn artist (and I am truly not).

Then the dear heart left another comment (with a tone I also want to add! :)), and so I asked her if she was actually been serious or was she just making fun of me, and it turns out she was been serious.

I have finally finished angsting (because I am not an expert) and the pattern is ready.

I really want to preface this by saying that I made 5 different sock patterns during the initial making of the socks.  I hated one of them, but I ended up with a slightly modified pattern of the others where I liked the shape.  Which is the one I used for the other 19.

I didn’t use a pattern in the end, I had some rough notes jotted down, and by the end I had it memorised. I am not a pattern writer.  I didn’t count rows either, you will see in the pattern that twice I say do 15 rows, and actually I sighted it.  If it looked about right then I went on to the next stage of my pattern, but it was about 15 – 16 rows generally for the look I wanted.

All this babbling because I am remarkably nervous about this because I fear people are going to ask what on earth I am doing giving a pattern, when I know next to nothing about knitting.

But I was asked and here it is!

Mini socks knitting pattern

Our countdown wall, the advent activity calendar with my knitted mini socks and my beloved's birthday countdown.

If there are any problems then please let me know.  :)  I am sure at least one person won’t hesitate!!


Accordion Pocket Book Tutorial

Here is my Tutorial for the Arts and Lies Group that can be found here.

I have been wanting to do my own Oracle cards for a couple of years, and recently I have thought about it more and more.  And while thinking about it, I was thinking about how to store them.  And I was wondering about a box or bag, and then late one night, lying in bed, when I couldn’t sleep, I saw this idea in my head. For an accordion book with pockets.

And I thought this could be my first tutorial for the Arts and Lies Group, so I started thinking about ways it could be done.  And this is my way.

But first, even though I am going to use it for my oracle cards, I want to stress the complete adaptability of this.  You could forget the pockets and have a series of blank cards for a series of paintings, or collages, or an art journal.

I have kept all my children’s congratulations on your birth cards, and all birthday cards they have so far collected, and I thought about doing one of these for each of their years of birth and slipping all cards in.  You could make a smaller one to store ATC’s or postcards.  Options are truly endless.

Also I saw this in my head, and this is only how I did it.  And if there is a better way (and there is sure to be), then please let me know.  But other than the fact it opens up backwards Japanese Style because I assembled it as I did it, and I didn’t register too much in advance, I LOVE how this baby came out.

I know there is a lot of photos, but truly it is basically a strip of material and two cards, one on either side of the material backing onto each other, spread along the length of the material so it folds up accordion style.

I started with plain muslin…because I had it, and I wanted to experiment with dying it, without dye…

I popped it in a freezer bag damp and added acrylic paint…

I rubbed it around in the bag, but the colour was not very strong, despite adding in quite a bit of colour.

It is showing up more vibrant in the photo than in real life.  Even now.  But I popped it into the bag again and used some of my homemade alcohol ink sprays.

I would give it a couple of sprays and scrunch it around and kept doing that, so it came out kind of tie dyed…

I was not entirely happy, but decided this would do well enough.  I can certainly recommend just grabbing some material that you have to hand rather than going down this track!  :)

I then split the material into strips.  Rather ripped.  I would recommend using scissors.

Because I ripped, and this was very light muslin, I sewed two pieces together, and sewed around the outside, very roughly with my sewing machine.  Trust me when I say if I managed this with my rough sewing, you can.  I was transferred into another class out of sewing classes at school, there was a reason for this.  My sewing machine does not like me.  And yet I still managed this.

I then put this aside and grabbed a pile of cereal boxes I have been storing (AKA hoarding).

I measured out how big I wanted the panels to be and began marking this out on the boxes, and then I began cutting.

With my stack of panels, I decided to cover these with brown paper.  I chose this, so that I could write on the panel, any notes that may come to mind or anything at all in relation to the oracle card that will fit in the pocket.  But you could cover these with anything, or use anything other than cereal boxes.  even just gesso them.

I just wrapped the cards in the brown paper, like a parcel.  I used double sided tape, because I was going to have the cards backing onto each other, with the material in the middle, so each side has a pocket. So no one will see this back.

I decided to make the pockets neutral as well, and used book text that I cut to size.  This way they could remain plain, or I could gesso and paint them.  Dependent on the card.  Though you could use any paper at all (and I almost used some scrapbooking paper), or not even have pockets.  I decided to have my pockets down the bottom, but you could have pockets off to the side, or do anything that catches your fancy.

To stick the pockets on I decided to sew them on.  I did a few with the sewing machine, until I gave it and decided to go with a needle and embroidery thread.  I mostly just did a running stitch, but did also do blanket stitch.  I was thinking while I was doing this, that possible you could have lined the cards up with the material strip in the middle and stitch through all the layers together, which would also fix the cards to the material as well.  But I didn’t do that.  Next I show the variety of stitches I used.  Because I used cereal boxes, I poked all the holes around the outside with an awl before I stitched with a needle and thread.

Once I had a pile of cards with pockets I gathered them all together and decided on the gap I wanted between the cards on the material.  I decided on an aproximately 1cm gap.  BUT this was eyeballed, I didn’t measure at this stage.  At this stage I decided on how I was going to close the accordian book, as I still wasn’t sure.  I decided on the front and back sides (however I was backwards because of the way I laid them out, please note that the cover will be the first panel on the left.)

I took those cards (the first and last one), once I decided they would have no backing card and pocket, and painted the backs of them black, very roughly.  This was only because they both happened to have the actual cereal box showing rather than bare board and the muslin is so thin you could see right through it.

You can see how rough the painting was here:

I would not have done that step had the material not being so thin.

The panel I chose as the cover, I sewed a button quickly onto the muslin.  You could use any fastening method.  Even just a simple tie around the completed book that you untie each time.

I then spread gel medium onto the first card in a reasonably thin layer and pressed it into the material.  Because of how thin the material is, it stuck very easily.  You could stick the material on with any other adhesive.  I used gel medium because that is what I had to hand.  I then began sticking the other middle panels on.  Originally I planed to stick them along one side, allowing 1 centimeter between each panel.  However it was easier to do one whole panel at a time I found.  So I stuck the front panel on to the material, and then I turned it over and stuck the back panel onto the material, with the edges of the panels connecting to each other.

I then moved on to the next panel, and did the same. These photos show the panels sticking together, and the strip of material running through the middle of them.

The last panel I decided to finish with a quick stitch of thread on  to the muslin before I glued the last panel on.

I decided to leave the thread long enough to wrap around the closed book once and then wrap around the button.

You could however make a loop to go over the button.

Or have a smaller thread that just ties around the button…

OR even use a different closing altogether!

Then you fold it up like an accordion…

So that all folded up it looks like this from the top:

I hope you have enjoyed my first tutorial!