Friday, 17 October 2014

Autumn Pretties, a special gnome and some homemade labels for your sewing.

A lot of people ask me all the time, why I left Australia and moved to England. 

Well there are many reasons and I may just get around to telling them all one day. For now, reason #267845 is the changes in the seasons. 

Where I lived in Australia, you could look out of the window at any time of the year and it would look the same! Have a look....

Nice landscape if you like that sort of thing but with none of the glories of Autumn that we get here in the Northern Hemisphere. And don't even get me started about the beauty of snow!

Now this is what I love! I have never liked gum trees anyway so I don't miss them. I love this colourful barometer of the seasons, I love the mushrooms in the woods and the closing of the year. Great crafting weather too and that is what we are all about so let's get on with it!

Firstly though, in the spirit of Autumn, I have been doing some felting and I came up with this little chap....

He is sitting on a piece of birch wood which my friend gave me (thanks Neil) and looks very in keeping with the time of year. I am still decorating the house and it is becoming transformed gradually. My gnome is perfect for a secret corner of a bookshelf. However, I digress!

I had a fantastic response from my fabric stamp tutorial and someone told me during the week that people buy labels and tags to put on their sewing projects! Oh no! This is so not necessary. Do you want to know how to make them yourself? Well read on! And before you do, here is a picture of what we are doing.....

First of all, you will need some plain cotton twill tape in various sizes, some white and some cream. This is really cheap and it comes in a few widths. Don't use bias binding which isn't the same and will give poor results. Get a Ranger Archival stamp pad in jet black and a selection of stamps. You guessed it...because it is Autumn, I am going to concentrate on Autumn themes. Some fray stopper is vital too and a sharp pair of scissors.

Finally, and this bit is purely optional, if you want to colour your labels, grab a few different shades of Tim Holtz Distress Markers and an ordinary #3 round paint brush. Here is the stash...

You can make either individual labels or a longer ribbon type. I will show you both.

Individual ones start with cutting the cotton tape to size and then treating the raw edges with fray stopper. This is important as this tape frays easily and quickly, taking your artwork with it so don't skip this step. Just follow the manufacturer's instructions. I got mine here.

If you are anything like me, the tape will be crunched up from being squashed into a way-too-small box so it would benefit from being shown an iron occasionally. Don't skip this step because the fabric behaves so much better if it is flat.

Now for the fun bit! Choose your stamp. This can be anything at all and I am only using Autumn ones because of the time of year. 
Consider the width of the tape when you choose a stamp. And look for a nice clear image stamp without too much extra detail. The tape has a little texture and it may not work out for you. If in doubt, practice!

As you can see, the stamps look very good and almost like printed labels. As I said though, some work better than others. You could possibly consider investing in a small alphabet and numbers stamp set too and then you can add your name, the season and a date to the work. The longer tape is simply an appropriate design repeated as much as you think is right.

But what about colour? For an item which is not going to be washed (the Distress Markers are water soluble ink), you can colour the stamps. Undo the pen at the brush end and tint the area not quite going all the way to the edge. Have a look at the heart...

As you can see, the colour is a little harsh. take the round brush and wet it. Lightly brush over the colour until it begins to 'melt'....

Better already! Don't go quite to the edge because of bleeding over the line....remember to colour in nicely! Now blot with a clean tissue while wet...

See how much softer the colour goes when blotted? The longer tape is good in bags and things like that. Here is the interior of a bag which is off to one of my magazines.

It lifts the whole project and makes it look very professional yet artisan. I like the idea of a bag that says hello to you when you open the flap!

You can get quite fancy with the colours too by the way. I used about three random Autumn colours on this tape and then blended them with the brush and water. It looks kinda neat!

Some practice and some inspiration means that you can create just about anything that you like. Here is the whole collection...

Sometimes stamps come free with a magazine and non papercrafters might give them away.... or even throw them away (shock, horror)! DON'T!!! Keep them and make them work for you!

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope that this tutorial adds another useful angle to your work.
Love and Hugs

Debbie xxx

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Thanks for stopping by - I would love and welcome any feedback. Debs xxx