Craft bits

Please note that this post has links which will open in another window to help you find the products that I use and endorse.  GothamChick might earn a commission if you decide to purchase any of these products.

I was cleaning up my desk at work (because yes, I do have a day job!) when I stumbled upon some craft projects I chose to do over a period of time, but which I had set aside for later.  Okay, I confess, I sort of forgot about them.  They’re the long term projects which were really more about stocking up for something bigger rather than being the project itself.  Like my pressed rose petals.

I had forgotten about my #PaperGarden of #doodledflowers until I stumbled upon them while cleaning up the other day. These #flowers are perfect for #spring #papercrafts. #crafts #craftproject #creating #personalart #embellishments #gothamhicksays #gothMy Paper Flower Garden.  Two years ago, I had thought to start a postcard project that would have meant sending out hand made postcards.  I am still seriously considering redoing this but there are a lot of things in the way.  I had created backgrounds or “blanks” to work on which had been piled together.  Part of the design were this doodled flowers which I have a ton of, both at work and at home– a bunch of colorful layered and doodled flowers I need to cut and draw further.  I am almost afraid to pick up a pen and start drawing again or even a pair of scissors to cut the ones that need cutting.I had found the whole exercise very calming way back when and I long for the repetitive and no-pressure doodling.  Then I remembered, I had cards to make which maybe I will make using these as embellishments.  That’s a new purpose for a project I had started with different intentions.

The only thing is that’s can get deeply engrossed and distracted by the project when I’m into it, but I’m trying to use my time wisely.

Bag idea book. I have always loved bags and a current interest is making fabric clutches.  I actually joined the sewing class at Mood University hoping to be able to sew one together using an electric sewing machine.  The idea has been brewing in my head for almost a year now but has been slow getting to fruition.  I stumbled upon a year old edition of Harper’s Bazaar (click here to subscribe) which was almost half riddled with bag ads.  I had actually started tearing off the pages when I realized that the whole magazine was seemingly dedicated to bags.  So I cut the pages clean with a xacto knife and put them aside to ringbind as a glossy idea bag of sorts.

The idea is to make this a notebook of sorts.  I haven’t quite gotten past the first few pages and am still trying to write around the blank spaces in the ads.  I have always found it helpful to have my ideas in writing.  It might and it might not work.  I might yet transfer selected clipped images into a real notebook in the end, but it’s something I’m working on.

Finally, my first attempt at a purse!  This actually came from a failed attempt at wrapping a plastic canvas “mold” with fabric and fleece interfacing.  It didn’t quite work, so I started to undo it and I was left with a cut piece of fabric with interfacing I couldn’t remove.  In the midst of experimenting and fiddling with my sewing machine (which is pictured on the left), I decided I would try to work on creating a mock purse, or a model, or prototype and just see if I can work this contraption the way I want to.  And voila!  It did work… but that’s another post altogether.

So I’ve been trying to do my own bit of crafting the last couple of weeks, but as always, there just aren’t enough hours in a day to do as much as I would want.  The sewing classes in Mood Fabrics have helped me to refocus on crafting and have sparked a new interest in exploring other channels of creativity. I try to do it a day at a time.  Like trying to keep this corner of my web presence going.. baby steps, I say.


My new toy: Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine

I am all excited about my new “toy”, a birthday gift of sorts to myself. I got this Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine which I found to be cheapest at Amazon. I have used it only a bit since I got it but the possibilities are endless.  It took me a while to decide which machine I would get as my first die cutter, considering the various offerings in the market.  I definitely didn’t want anything electronic.  First there was the price factor (too prohibitive) and then there was the possibility that it wouldn’t work for me and I would end up having to buy something else.  I saw the Grand Calbur at work firsthand so I was leaning towards it from the start.

What’s a die cutter without the dies?  I had bought the Spellbinders Mega Dies, Rose Creations and have been having a grand time  learning about my new toy and figuring out possibilities.  I am already excitedly planning my niece, Andreanna Lux’s invitation for her first birthday, and that’s not until September! Ha!  I like this set because it gives you a choice of making the bigger blossoms or sticking to the smaller dies.  I like them all!

The machine came with plates that you use to sandwich the dies depending on what you’re tryig to do (emboss or cut), and I think it’ll be a good idea to have sticker labels on the machine itself telling me which plates go in when.

I also tried embossing some paper with one of my new folders, Ecstasy Crafts Embossing Folder -Flowers, but I think I made the mistake of using the wrong set of plates and I heard some resistance when I let the “sandwich” through.  It looks like it didn’t damage the cutter so I’m good.  It gave me a chance to use some of the paper stock I had bought from The Paper Cut when I went to the Allentown Rubber Stamp & Paper Crafts Fair last April 13.

Allentown Rubber Stamping & Paper Crafts Fair - The Paper Cut

I hope to post more regularly here and give a progress report on my craft experiments. My big swaps from Swap-bot are almost done, and I’ve resolved to take a swap break for a bit as I’ve been creatively taxed from all the creating.

More handmade cards coming!

Paper Crafts: Recycling Gift Wrapping Tissues into Flowers

One part I like about the holidays most is the wrapping of the gifts. This year wasn’t all that much because Angelo had picked smaller toys, and we really didn’t have many gifts going out. I had postponed my holiday giftgiving to after Christmas, being that we as Catholics, do the Feast of the Three Kings which is another excuse to give gifts. I only have a few I’m putting together, so it won’t be much.

I hate having to throw away good giftwrapping paper, though, more so when they have those cute designs. For my own gifts, I stick to the regular green, red, silver or gold giftwrappers. I am trying to get rid of my stash of several years which I had acquired at a post holiday season sale at IKEA. I had bought some 10 rolls of at 25% the original selling price. January is always a good time to buy holiday wares because everything is being pushed out of the store for a song.

I’ve been busy putting my craft corner in order, and while I am nowhere near finishing, I think I did major progress sorting things out, and one problem I have is that I put away stuff to cut or punch at a later time that the best way to get rid of them is to actually do what I had intended to do in the first place.

I had a beautiful holiday gift bag that had held a present from a friend with gold and white striped tissue in in it. Two sheets. I usually fold my gift bags and had to get rid of the tissue when an idea struck me. How about trying to do pom-pom type flowers? I thought I’d give it a try, and I ended up with a half dozen or so “blooms” like the one pictured below.

PaperKrafts: Recycled giftwrapping tissue - 1

How I did it:

1. Fold the paper tissue into two, then fold further into a width that would accommodate your paper punch. I had used a rather wide mega punch so I ended up folding the two-fold into three.

2. To achieve the pompom effect above, I used a multi-flower punch and you can see the original shape below with a view of the back of the flower:

PaperKrafts: Recycled giftwrapping tissue - 3

3. I ended up punching a dozen (6 x 2) and I moved the batch by a 1/8th inch turn clockwise to make the flowers separate.

4. I then stapled the whole bunch together and fluffed the petals to form the pompom.

These, I will use sooner than the coming holidays, but if you have a lot of pompoms, you can store them in a jar or a shoe box to avoid them from getting flattened, or you can punch, move the petals to “alternate” but not fluff and store flat.


PaperKrafts: Recycled giftwrapping tissue - 2


A happy accident: Print over Print

Sometimes accidents can lead to very positive outcomes like this one.. Here’s something you can do even without any fancy graphics software.

I’ve been working on this card inspired by an “accidental” printing over an already printed photograph. I printed the photo as is, then accidentally printed a background paper over it lending it a ghost-like blur that I quite liked..

Handmade card: Photo on Photo 1

I know this effect can be achieved by using a “transparency” with the proper graphics software, but that dilutes the original picture in a way that I wouldn’t want. Here it looks as if the original picture had been printed on a transparent background.

For effect, I then printed a clear black and white version of the same photo and cut out a “window” and put it on top of the bigger printout. You can see the difference in texture here. Voila!

Handmade card: Photo on Photo 2

To add some “texture”, I “mod podged” the top of the black and white photo giving it a linen-like coarseness. Then I applied some gold acrylic paint edging on the four sides of that piece, and the bottom edge of the bigger card

Handmade card: Photo on Photo 4

I like the depth that layering provides — so instead of printing the black and white as part of the bigger picture, I did it separately and it’s an obvious addition to the whole frame. The gold edging also adds a different dimension to the black and white picture.