Friday, 30 May 2014

Pimp That Frame!

Afternoon crafters!

Well normal service is being resumed shortly - read: I have been flat out getting a bookazine ready for Christmas and now I have been tempted off the path of sewing virtue by painting a frame.....
As I say, normal service will resume shortly and I will be digging once again into the scrap basket as promised.

However, whilst we are waiting, I would like to show you what I have been up to (when I should have been working).

I am in love with the DecoArt Chalky Finish paints at the moment. They come in all colours of the icecream rainbow, they are easy to use, water wash up and, well, I just love them. 

Photo frames have come under the ol' radar this time. I have heaps of out of date ones which actually look awful and have been around for a long time. But I am not going to throw them away. The glass is good and they fit the photos. Let me show you a particularly ugly specimen...

Isn't it dreadful! Too dark and too old fashioned and not in a good way. A dark frame closes in the photo too much. A lighter one allows you to focus more on the subject of the photo. So, what to do about it.

Well a painted photo frame is not a new idea. But I have had two brainwaves today! Number two was to make a mat for the photo out of a floral fabric - one which complimented both the photo and the frame colour. It looks wonderful. 

Start with the frame anyway and take the glass out. Trace around the glass and cut the piece of paper out. now decide how wide the mat has to be and measure it carefully. cut the centre of the paper out to reveal the paper frame. put this aside for now.

I have chosen 'Vintage' as my colour. It is the palest, slightly smoky blue and goes nicely with the photo that was in the frame. paint the frame all over. sand back the high points once the paint is dry to distress the frame and then take another fab DecoArt product, Metallic Lustre in Gold Rush and then rub this over any texture or details. This will make them stand out.

Here it is, almost finished. Now clean the glass really well and mat the photo. Assemble it all and then see the difference!

This is a photo of my lovely Mum and our cat, Checkmate in his role as Master of the Universe. As you can see, the frame is softer in a country French way and it retains all of its original details. Easy peasy too - mainly finger painting.
This frame used to have a hideous apricot mat and it just looked dated. And it is not the only one around. Have a look in thrift stores for old frames too. If the glass is gone, a sheet of acetate will protect the photo until you get a new pieces of glass. I am off now into the loft to see if I can dig up any more treasures!

Before I go, have a look at some of the others that I made this morning....

Here is another example of a lovely floral border softening a very plain wooden frame. looks wonderful with black and white.

This is my college formal photo and the frame was a mid tone pine. That worked once but it looks better picking out the dress colour.

Pink and gold this time with the grey tones of a black and white photo. Really brings out the subject rather than the frame. This one was almost black.

This time some happy sunny colours and some Weathered Wood Crackle Medium (DecoArt). Use the photo as a guide when choosing colours so that the whole thing compliments itself.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and hugs

Friday, 16 May 2014

Week Five of the Great Scrap Challenge - Patchy Chic Glasses Case

Well would you believe it - five weeks already! The time speeds by and I have managed to get five makes out of that scrap basket and still the bottom is not in sight.

This week is all about pink and I thought that a padded, patched case for my sunglasses (which up until now have been homeless) was in order.

You will need some scraps and a couple of larger pieces for the back and the lining this time. Get a stamp which inspires you too and a crochet circle. Now I famously cannot crochet so my Mum made me this one but if you do not have a crochety friend who can be bribed with chocolate, you can get these from eBay and from most good craft stores. This one measures 12 cm across but if you can only get smaller ones, sew them together.

Gather some other embellishments too - a large button, a bow, some cotton lace and ribbon and of course a few nice fabric for the patchy front.

So what on earth is patchy chic? This is my own term (you heard it here first) and it refers to the pretty art of making a patched and embellished item which shouldn't match but just does. One parent is shabby chic and one is plain old patchwork. Mix them up and you have patchy chic!

We need to back up a bit and start with creating a pattern to work from. And it has to fit your glasses, not mine! This is easy. Just put your glasses onto a piece of paper and trace around them. Measure the longest bit of the and the widest and create a rectangle. Now add 2.5cm each side. This allows for the seams and the fact that there is wadding.
Use the pattern to cut two pieces of lining and one for the back. use smaller pieces of fabric to make the front from your chosen patches. It doesn't matter which patch pattern you use, as long as it ends up the right size. I was lucky enough to find a piece large enough for the back. If you don't, patch that too!

Stamp the back fabric with your chosen stamp(s) using black ink. I have chosen Ranger Archival and a couple of French inspired stamps including an Eiffel Tower, some corner flourishes and some words.

Now sew the front patches together.

Iron this. Sew the wadding to the front and the back along the top seam. From then on, treat the wadding and the front/back as one piece of fabric.

Pin and topstitch along the seams on the front.

Add the embellishments next so that the sewing on process is hidden in the lining.

Now, with the right sides together sew a piece of lining to the front and the back. Sew along the top of the bag only.

Open out and place the lining to the lining and the front to the front and sew all around, leaving a small gap in the lining for turning out later (between the pink pins).

TIP: Be very sure to match up the top seams exactly. This will be very noticeable when the bag is turned the right way out. Clip across the corners - this will make them nice and sharp when they are the right way out.

Turn the right way out and slip stitch the opening closed. Stuff the lining down into the bag.

Hand top stitch around the top edge of the bag with a running stitch.

Attach the crochet circle flap by hand and also a nice co-ordinating button to the front.

Here is it on the back ....

The flappy crochet bit opens and it is just wonderful for keeping the glasses in. Obviously if you want to repurpose this item keep smaller things in, you will have to rejig the opening. You could line the crochet circle to make it less open weave.

Well there we are! I do hope that you enjoyed this project. If you have any questions at all, let me know and I would be happy to help if I can.

Happy Crafting!
Love and hugs

Coming Next Time: Week Six - a floral key fob.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Week Four of the Great Scrap Challenge; Green Zippered Bag

Hi folks!
Well what a struggle - a zipper foot which REFUSED to play ball! I loathe putting in zippers at the best of times but today AAAARRRRGGGHHH!

Okay, I feel a lot calmer now and perhaps a start like that deserves a proper explanation! 

It is week four of my great scrap basket challenge and this time, I delved into the bottom to find some wonderful green fabrics. Sometimes, the secret to making a pattern work is to have one unifying factor. It might be shape, or design or, as I have done, colour. So it doesn't matter what you do as long as it uses the same colour. 
Because it is a scrap basket, I was not going to find enough pieces of fabric at the right size so I decided that patching was the way forward.

This is my favourite green....actually green is my favourite colour over all so that is a double bonus. And a zippered bag like this one is super useful. And here it is....

Just patchwork wasn't going to be enough so i embellished with a stamped panel and some buttons, a bow and a charm too. I had to be physically prevented from adding lace!

So what will you need?

- a zipper in the right colour. Mine is 18cm (7")
- enough fabrics for the outside and the lining
- embellishments - these are up to you and if you want to use lace, I won't tell anyone.
- a stamp of your choice
- stamp pad with permanent ink
- a small square of linen or some other plain fabric to stamp onto.
- your usual hand and machine sewing supplies.

I will give some sizes and they will all be based on a bag which measures 18cm x 10.5cm finished.

Start by stamping your image onto the pieces of linen. this linen is 6cm x 6cm.

Now take a small scrap of one colour and fold an edge under, sew this to the tail of the zip.

Next cut the lining and the back (whole pieces from the scraps if you can because it is more straightforward. They will all measure 19cm x 11cm.

As I mentioned, I ran out of big fabric bits so I made up the front panel from patches.

When you have done this, add the stamped panel and topstitch to attach.

The next bit involves making a 'sandwich' from the zipper, the lining and the outer piece. Do this, pin and sew and repeat for the back. You will need a zipper foot ideally. Good luck with that. Ignore me, I am having one of those days. It really isn't difficult and it does give a professional finish.

You can see the bee patch here. You can see the sandwiched zipper too.

 Next place lining to lining and outer to outer and (leaving a gap in the lining for turning out) sew all the way around. clip the edges and turn out through the gap.

Slip stitch the gap closed and stuff the lining down into the bag.

TIP: It is a heck of a lot easier to embellish the front (buttons and bows) before sewing the bag together. this also means that you hide the cottons. But my bag evolved without my knowledge so I had to sew them on sneakily afterwards!

Top stitching around the zipper is important as it stops the lining from getting caught. I chose to hand stitch this with a running stitch but it is up to you. The hand finished look is nice too.

This is a great use for odd buttons and bits of ribbon too. We have scraps of those things as well!

This last photo shows that first scrap that you put onto the zipper. This is not a waste of time at all because it finishes the zipper off and looks better - in my humble opinion anyway!

Well there we are. I do hope that you enjoyed this make. It is a really useful and nice way to use some of the larger scraps and you can personalise it so easily with special buttons and charms. A beaded charm on the zipper pull may look nice too.....

This is as simple as grabbing a 50 mm head pin and some beads (at least one of the green) and then making a 'kebab'. make a loop at the other end and attach with a 10 mm jump ring.

Whew! That's it for today! I hope that you have enjoyed this project and thank you so much for stopping by!

love and hugs

Coming Next Week: A patchwork phone case with a crochet top.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Week Three of the Great Scrap Challenge - Mad About Colours!

Hello fellow crafting friends!
Here we are again at week three no less - not sure how many weeks there will be actually, we could be here for some time. It all depends on how long the scraps last. I have started a second scrap basket now too so that we can see how much can be made from just this one. It would be cheating to keep adding to it! Who said that I was a purist......??

If you're new to this blog, you may be wondering what I am talking about!
Like all sewists and crafters, I have an endless supply of scraps and every now and then, the cup runneth over.

So I am setting myself a challenge to make some meaningful sewn item each week using the contents of my scrap basket and NOTHING ELSE!

Without further ado, let me introduce the star of the show...small scrap basket.

This week, I have made a mug rug and it is wild with colour. After last week's very sedate and classical Zakka coasters, it is a bit of a departure. Of course, you can ring the changes by making it prim - just use more sedate colours or tea dye fabrics that you love which happen to be too bright. You can do it in black and white too. It depends on what is in the stash.

Okay, here we go... a sneak peak first...

You will need the usual things for making a small quilted item including some fabrics, some wadding and some sort of backing fabric (take two pieces of this just a little bigger than your mat). I always have binding left over from quilts so some of that went in and you will need to set your machine up for free motion embroidery.

Firstly, scare up some bright fabrics and don't worry if they are not co-ordinating.

Secondly, you will need one larger piece of fabric. mine measures 24cm x 17cm. Find a heart template too. It should be quite big. mine is 15cm across. A water soluble marker is a godsend too so add it to the pile.

Use the water soluble marker to trace around the heart template onto the centre of the large piece of fabric. Then cut it out neatly.

Next, take as many strips of fabric as it will take to go across the heart aperture. The strips do not have to be the same width. Sew them together and iron them.

Now take the heart top, the strips and one piece of the backing fabric and layer them together.

Cut them out so that the whole thing is easier to handle.

Pin the layers together...

Now using free motion embroidery, thread doodle messily around the heart about three times and just inside it two or three times. this is not supposed to be neat! It is supposed to look like you drew it with a pen.

Then layer the embroidered top, the wadding and the other piece of backing fabric and hand outline quilt on the coloured bars inside the heart.

Now trim the whole thing and bind it with different colours of bias binding. This is the first time that I have used this binding method so it felt strange not to mitre the corners. I still prefer mitring but it was easier just this once to leave the corners square. Here it is again, all finished....

This is the perfect size for a mug of your favourite hot drink and something special to go with it. 

Happy Crafting and if you have any questions at all, just ask! 
Thanks for stopping by.
Love Debs

Coming next week: A patchy chic zippered purse. Look out for it right here.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Parisian Paperweight

Hi Folks!

I have had a little idea after looking at a rock yesterday (as you do) and I thought that it was crying out for some decoupage. 

Decoupage has never really been my thing. I have painted things and sewn them and decorated them in all sorts of ways but the decoupage bug has never really bitten. Until now. Typically, me being me, it has bitten hard and I am eyeing everything off for possible embellishment.

This rock is my first victim and I have kept it very simple for people who may be new to this.

Firstly, what will we need? 

- a rock. (smooth river and beach pebbles work best)
- pretty paper images. I have used Rose Garden by First Edition Papers. They have a page of hearts which are just perfect.
- Decoart Decoupage Sealer: Matte
- DecoArt acrylic paints: Citron Green, Baby Pink, Warm White
- DecoArt Dazzling Metallics Champagne Gold
- 3/4 flat brush, stylus and a smaller brush
- your usual decoupage needs including a sharp pair of scissors

Step One:
Choose your image and cut it out roughly...

Step Two:
Cut the image out perfectly and then coat the front with decoupage sealer and allow to dry....

Step Three:
wet the back and rub with your finger to remove some of the paper which adds to the bulk....

Step Four:
Coat the rock with sealer using the 3/4 flat brush and arrange the hearts on. Brush with more sealer to totally encapsulate the images. Allow to dry....

Step Five:
Make some brush end dots around the hearts. This involves dipping the brush end into paint and then dabbing it onto the project. I have chosen pink for one heart and green for the other. Allow this to dry....

Step Six:
When the first layer of dots are dry, come back and go over them with a contrasting colour with a different 'dot maker'. This could be
a stylus or a pin....

Choose from gold or white.

Step Seven:
You can take a really small (micro) stylus or a pin and make some fine lacy dots around one of the hearts. I have mad them in classic groups of three which looks suitably elegant in this setting...

DecoArt also make an outdoor version of their sealer which is fabulous for then putting this rock into the garden. It brightens the space when the flowers are not yet ready.

Or of course, you could put it to its initially intended use of keeping your papers tidy - all up to you!!

Happy crafting!

Coming on Friday as Scheduled - The long awaited Mug Rug. Week Three of the Great Scrap Challenge!