Bow tying

I am bow-challenged. Seriously. I cannot tie a decent bow to save my soul.  I have the Crafter’s Companion (or something like that – I bought it in a moment of weakness from QVC and hate it like death, none of the little areas hold the bits, every time I take it out and open it stuff is always falling out and it is rubbish for scoring and embossing, IMHO, except on the thick the pearl card they always seem to use to demo it)  and although it does have a couple of pegs for tying bows it is so not worth it to get it out.  I saw a brilliant little flat template called the Bow-Easy demoed someplace or another and went looking for it.

As usual I will go to great lengths to avoid having to buy something that I then wait by the window for for days so I ended up cutting one from cardboard. But I really wanted to just be able to do it easily, and these helped:

and of course Martha has a step-by step on her site here.

Now I just need to practice a LOT.


DIY flower loom

OK, so as I said yesterday I am impatient. when I get an idea I know I will forget it if I don’t put it in to practice right away. So when I saw the flower loom video I went looking for a DIY version. There were some but most involved woodworking, drilling and a lot of palaver and I am allllll about the quick result.

I cast my eyes around my scrap room and came up with something that would work, minus the pegs, and that was ALWAYS going to be something I would have to buy. This is what I did

(PLEASE NOTE: I offset the inner and outer circle of pegs, thinking it would look nicer but in reality it just makes it harder to sew the circle that secures the flower “petals” so you should line yours up along the same axis. I will probably make a second one like that. and you can make a single circle one rather than the double rows for a faster finish. That is perfect for ribbon)

FYI: My outer circle is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter and the inner one is about 2 inches. I hope you can right click and save the two image files – I may make them a PDF at some point

If you click on the link from yesterday and watch the video you will see the winding and stitching process

and here are a couple of samples.

This one is with fairly thin yarn (baby weight, I think, but the band is long gone!) and just the outer ring of pegs.

This one is with heavier weight cotton yarn, both sets of pegs – it is VERY thick in the middle.  It looks pretty, would be a cute addition to a knitted bag, for example, but way too thick for a layout.  Maybe ok on a mini-book.

The ribbon ones, with very fine ribbon, are my favourites.

So that should keep you busy over the weekend!


Yarn and Ribbon Flowers using a flower loom

Hi guys!

I saw this little video a while ago for making ribbon and yarn flowers on flower looms. I remember flower looms were all the rage when I was a teen (in the late 60s and early 70s) but they don’t seem to be very easy to find nowadays.

I really wanted to try this technique and while I know you can cobble something together that looks similar by just wrapping yarn or ribbon and tying it then fluffing it, the samples in the video look a lot more polished, with the stitching and all.  One problem – no loom, and (impatient me!) I wanted to try it TODAY.  So I thought about it a bit and developed a plan and made my own.

Here is the flower:

I think it turned out fab – I want to try a nested yarn one with two colours and  will share that tomorrow – along with how I made my own version using stuff that I had (except on element which I did have to buy but cost under £1.50)

I think you could easily use something like the Nifty Knitter, which looks like this:

although the bulbs on the end of the pegs will make getting the flower off difficult.


WOYWW – cool tag

I had a lot of fun playing with these yesterday and will be doing more of the same today!

I did make a little video, although they are def. NOT rocket science, and it is under 90 seconds to watch so if you want to, here it is:


Dan, skewered


I am very inspired by Dan99 – I think he does lovely work and seems a really nice guy to boot.  Given that, this may seem a bit odd but I was cleaning out my stamp drawers, trying to figure a good organizational method that will allow me to see what I have.  One of the things I unearthed is this great Stampa Barbara stamp of a shish kebab skewer. There is a bit of a gap in the middle so you can skewer anything you like (usually I use a stamp of a little screaming man) and  the image of Dan with the Magritte apple over his face just leapt into my mind.  So, between cleaning and watching Tim Holtz on QVC online I had a little play.

I have to warn you – I am no stamper, really, and def. NOT in the same league as those Copic marker mavens who do glorious colouring work.  This was pretty quick and dirty, using markers I had, colours I had, and not aiming for realism (clearly!) but what I lack in ability I hope I make up for in whimsy.

The photo isn’t great quality either but it is only for a laugh so I’m not stressing over it. I think it would be more effective without the apple, because as it is it gives the impression he lurks BEHIND the apple, perhaps taking a bite, whereas without the apple he would look more fully … “skewered”

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Just a quick look at a great project by Bethany Kartchner – I just love this one. I love the 3D effect of the stuffed heart – I found it looking for a use for my leftover doll-stuffing and found a lot to be inspired by in the post and accompanying video.

click the link to see both parts of the video instructions.


Doll DONE!

I generally don’t post on a Saturday, too much family life going on, but I snapped a couple of quick, not terribly good photos of the “last Doll” and the collection of “friends” so I thought I would add them.

Watching the movie, I note they refer to her as FA Mulan (family name first, first name last) but I like to think of my version as FAT MULAN, because of her fat face (oh and DD was very insistent that she have hair “like Alexandra Burke in Broken Heels” which seems very odd, and even odder that DD names her Jemima, which calls to mind Aunt Jemima of the maple syrup rather than Jemima Goldsmith, although neither are anything LIKE the doll! but I digress…..)

Custom jammies, of course.

And here is a shot of “the girls”, all on the sofa:

Let’s see – that is Katie. Lola, a proper Disney Mulan doll who is called something else but I forget what!, Jade (who used to be Polly as her face is based on the cartoon version of Polly Pocket), Addison, Sakeena, Vanessa, Alice, Lizzie, Alicia (who’s face is an iron on of Mulan) and Mariah (who is now called Alexandra) (boldface means one I made – see how busy she keeps me!?)

And it’s Sakeena’s birthday today so I have to wrap her present and make a cake. You think I’m joking? I am so not!


another flower and “the last doll”

Worded on a couple of things yesterday.  Another flower – this time I used canvas fabric and a flocked badge from Paperchase .  The colour is better IRL than I think it appears in the photo.  I used the Distress ink, Spiced Marmalade and Mustard Seed, to colour the canvas then stamped over it with Staz-on and a big Hero Arts stamp with word on.  Cut, Stickles, and the same technique for curling the flower onto a sticky-covered cardstock circle.  I had a few of the Paperchase badges forma layout I made a couple of years ago so I pried off the pin back and stuck that in the middle.  Except for the Stickles drying time these flowers are really quick to make and I love the look of them.  I want to try using Liquid Pearls instead today, for a softer, no-glitter effect – with soft colours I think it will look very pretty.

And the other thing was a doll, from a free pattern here.  I had an email conversation with the designer a year or so ago, when making another doll, and she sent me a link to a page that had a bit more info – in particular her method for sewing up, which is to double the fabric, make a full  freezer paper pattern, iron it on and sew around it then cut, rather than cutting with a seam allowance then sewing.  Brilliant.  And such a cutie.

DD wanted a Chinese doll (quite the Rainbow Coalition. doll-wise, at our house – we have one African, two Indian and now 3 Oriental dolls, plus two pure american ones and a couple British ones) so I found a colouring book page of Mulan and made the face from that.  The fabric paint I have bleed all into the fabric so I fell back on my trusty scrapping supplies and drew on the face – Sharpie bled too so I used the Precision Pen and worked on the ironing board – draw a little, heat set quickly, and it worked.  I used the Tulip Slick fabric paint to do the whites of the eyes and then filled in the lips with white and painted over them – I tried a Bic permanent marker, which was ok, but DD wanted really red lips so had to adjust.

She is mostly done, except the hair, although I am not sure of the proportions as I did the head a bit different.  the Pattern one seemed very small to DD so I increased the size a bit and made the face more of an oval.  As long as she is happy, it doesn’t have to look “real” so I don’t stress about it. Not sure what DH will say about another doll that needs carting up and down the stairs every day (since he usually carries them!) but I have extracted another promise that this is, truly, the LAST DOLL, so fingers crossed!

Yeah, right.

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More on old technology

Although I am working on something creative at the moment (actually juggling two things, but only one is scrap-related) I had a bit of a shock this morning while laying in bed browsing the net on my laptop – YouTube tells me I need to upgrade to a “modern” browser.  Pah! Story of my life.  We have a lot of old technology (as evidenced by my last post) but much of it is old for a good reason!  We have a laptop that runs something like iTunes 4 because I can plug in my very old shuffle and recharge it without reloading my playlist.  Also, that machine has a bit of software on it that allows us to switch at will between US and UK format DVDs without hitting the “too many changes” and locking it in to one version or another.

My other (less old) laptop isn’t upgraded because I still use Appleworks, a very very old program that has a word processor and a drawing program combined that does a couple of very specific things that make creating the Homepage easier.  I have looked and looked for a replacement but NOTHING does one of the specific tasks in just the exact way I like.  My desktop still runs Mac OS 10.4 for the same reason as they say Appleworks will no longer be supported (and there is this whole thing with Photoshop that I don’t really understand but DH tells me it will affect my old version if I upgrade)

So I very much feel like I am living in the land of lost computers.  I know I will have to bite the bullet and upgrade soon, but the thought of it leaves me in a cold sweat – I know once I do it I am locked in.  I do love the look of Safari 4, although I really hate to give up Camino, so the next few months are either going to be kicking myself wondering what took me so long to upgrade OR day after dy of frustration as I try to do they stuff I do every week and have to add two or three more steps to accomplish the same things.

Hopefully something creative later.  More waiting for Stickles to dry….


WOYWW – nothing good!

Well, I wish I could say I was madly creative today but I wasn’t.  My W(hat) was a morass of cables computers and the other W(orkdesk) was a room in the church cottage where DH has his office.  Sorting, testing and organizing old equipment, including a Dalmation spot iMac, DS’ old electric blue power book and my old Mac tower included.  Lordy, lordy what a mess!

With luck tomorrow will be a lot better!