The story about how I came upon a lot of about twenty old shoe taps involves one of my usual thrifting afternoons. I discovered some old metal prescriptions boxes and knew I had to have them, pricey as they were. When I got home and opened one of them, I discovered some old shoe taps. I imagined who would have taken the time to save these? Was it some proud grandparent who had a ton of tap dancing grandkids and saved the metal tap after the shoes fell apart? My mind runs wild with imagination...
I started making things with the shoes taps and one of the things I came up with was a pendant. When some of my pendants were published in GreenCraft magazine, I began getting inquiries from Etsy customers regarding custom orders. One delightful customer comes to mind. She wanted a pendant to give to her child's dance teacher at the end of the year. I thought this was creative gift giving at it's best.
About the time I set out to create a new shoe tap pendant, a surprise arrived from one of my favorite craft manufacturers, Walnut Hollow. Inside the package? An innovative tool recently introduced by Norma Rapko, sold exclusively at Michaels stores. (now available). The Crystyler is a crystal loading tool that comes in two different sizes to load two different sizes of crystals in a myriad of colors. The object is to be able to load the cyrstals quickly and set them on your project (coated with glue) with a click of your thumb.
To see a complete video and tips on using this new tool, check out this link.
More on how I used this innovative tool when creating my shoe tap pendant a little later...
Adding the stones to the surface of the pendant was super easy with this tool! My old method involved picking the stones up individually with a toothpick! I can see how an entire surface can be blinged up so quickly and easily with the Cystyler.
Moving on, I used silver beading wire to add stones, taking advantage of the pre-drilled holes around the perimeter of the tap.
I have seem some shoe taps being offered for sale on sites like Ebay. Try creating with them, they are really fun and come in all sorts if shapes. I hope you create, I hope you make life beautiful but above all... I hope you dance.
Live Life Creatively,
It was apparent that the obvious star of the blog hop was Laura's new patriotic fabric.It is available in Joann's Stores nationwide.
Cute huh? Various sewing materials including matching spool threads and 6 strand embroidery floss got me very excited, being the avid sewer (albeit simple) sewer I am. So flash forward about three weeks and guess what? My sewing machine died. Its sitting in the back of my car waiting for me to find the time to make the hour and a half drive to have it serviced.
Although I really wanted to create a unique sewing project with the fabric, I was determined not to give up. I decided to decoupage some of the fabric onto a recycled wine bottle and save the rest for later.
To prevent the bottle from chipping, I coated it with Duraclear Varnish in a gloss finish from DecoArt.
I added Fast Finish Decoupage Medium by Beacon Adhesives to apply the fabric to the bottle.
The simple addition of buttons designed by Laura Kelly for Buttons Galore and More finished this simple project. Since you will be gluing butttons all around the top and bottom borders of the bottle, I highly recommend Beacon Adhesives Quick Grip since it dries to quickly and is super strong.
Live Life Creatively,
Who doesn't love a good fabric stash buster/scrap project? I am forever on the lookout for great
projects that will use up my fabric scraps. I also love to create tiny totes. They are very handy for giving small gifts such as gift cards, candies, soaps, art gifts, etc.
Continue in the same fashion until your strips make one nice sized piece of fabric that can be cut to form the front and back of the little tote. Notice how I used the various stitches found on my machine to join the pieces together, which adds some fun elements to the tote bag. I also used some free form stitching (see the yellow strip) to add a little whimsy. Some of these fabrics were purchased patterns leftover from previous projects and some were strips of hand dyed muslin I use to make my hand dyed and stamped ribbons. The idea is to have fun using up strips from your stash.
I couldn't resist adding a stamped sentiment to some of the strips that were solids. Text type details make things so interesting. I used solvent ink and set it with my iron on a medium setting (no steam).
Determine the desired size of your finished totes and add a 1/2" seam allowance on all sides. So if you want your tote to be, say, 5 1/2" x 7", cut your pieces to 6 1/2" by 8" using a self healing cutting mat and rotary cutter. Join the pieces together, wrong sides out. I was left with an uneven edge on one side since my strips were not exactly evenly torn. I cut off that edge and set it aside so that the edges were even. This makes it much easier to sew even seams.
Once my bag was sewn, I used the iron to steam the seams open and turned it right side out. Note that I used a knife pleated piece of hand dyed ribbon for the top of the tiny tote, which makes a nice embellished finish on the top edge.
Now for the part that's even more fun than putting the strips together. Embellishing it with BUTTONS. I fell in love with these hand dyed buttons by designer Laura Kelly for Buttons Galore and More that I received in my design team package.
I laid out a little "design" and used Beacon Adhesives Fabri-Tac to glue everything in place.
Even before joining the design team at Buttons Galore and More, I was fascinated by these little pieces of smooth plastic pieces they call "Start-Ups." They handle ink beautifully. I used chalk ink by ClearSnap to ink the piece in an uneven manner. I did have to use my heat gun to
get the ink to set quickly though. I'm impatient that way.
I stamped a fleur de lis motif in the center with the solvent ink.
Remember the scrap I cut off of the uneven edge of the joined strip fabric piece?
Jump to the Crafts n Things Blog where I am a guest designer to discover how I created this eco-friendly craft. Using Rit Dyes and hemp products from Hemptique, these bottles can be personalized with house address numbers, lucky numbers significant dates, etc. Step by step instructions can be found here.
Live Life Creatively,
Earlier this year I set about playing this Indigo Dye Kit by Jacquard Products. Indigo, which comes from a plant, is one of the oldest dyes used for coloring fabrics and the one still used today to color blue jeans. It has a fascinating history and this natural dye process has long been used in many cultures around the world. The unique characteristics of indigo dyeing make it easy to create wonderful resist patterns on fabric.
It is an easy enough product to work with. It's a little messy, so I would recommend taking advantage of the remaining warm weather days this year and work with it outside. The kit comes with everything you need to dye several yards of fabric. All you need to add is water, a 5 gallon bucket with a lid and a super long stick to stir with. I used a 1" dowel since they can be purchased for very little but a paint stick meant for stirring paint would work too. I had a lot of fun making this interesting pattern using the rubber bands contained in the kit.
Armed with some scraps leftover from these projects, I set about creating a lampshade inspired by one that I saw on the popular social media site, pinterest.
Removing the fabric from an old lamp shade is fairly easy. Just use scissors to cut and tear pieces away from the metal frame. I tied the fabric pieces, which I cut into strips and tied into knots on each ends of the frame until the entire frame was covered. Very Easy!
I used Aleene's Fabric Fusion by I Love to Create to attach the flowers to the lampshade along with some glittery silver trim for the flower stems.
I have learned to always keep my fabric scraps as I am constantly coming up with new ways to use them. I had a great time recently creating these fun ribbons from small bits and pieces of scraps.
Live Life Creatively,
When I scored these fun old rulers at a recent thrift shop going out of business sale, I left with so many ideas of how to use them. In an effort to preplan for the holidays I want to start organizing my gift giving for people such as teachers, co-workers, clients I would like to thank and friends, sans a big budget. I think these bookmarks will be perfect for the ladies on my list, as the materials are easy to come by (even the old rulers) and fairly quick to make in multiples. I will have to think about a man version- ideas welcome!
Choosing the Right Paints
Enter my favorite paints, Lumiere by Jacquard Products. These paints produce beautiful sparkly effects and really work well for producing antique results. The colors I chose for base coating and dry brushing are some of my favorites, Pewter, Crimson, Halo Violet Gold (fast becoming my fav even taking the place of my beloved Citrine) and Metallic Silver. Throw in some Neopaque colors like White and Magenta and you have the beauty that will make these bookmarks really stand out!
So now the clay roses. Jacquard not only makes beautiful paints but they also carry a high quality polymer paint, Cernit clay, which is perfect for making both sophisticated and whimsical arts and crafts projects, including: miniatures, dolls, buttons, beads, jewelry, and for adding sculptural elements to any project, including bookmarks.
Tips on Using Clay Molds and Conditioning Clay
The molds are from Mad About Molds, which carries high quality polymer clay bisque molds in so many themes and shapes it will make your head spin. I recently discovered their site and was unable to get away without $50.00 bucks worth of molds in my shopping cart. Delivery was professional, prompt and the molds more than lived up to my expectations. Surprisingly easy to use, they benefit from a light coat of cornstarch before placing the conditioned clay inside the mold. If you have never conditioned clay before, it entails working it with your fingers until it is soft and pliable. Clay that has been under-conditioned will result in cracks while baking. There are some tried and true tricks for quicker conditioning, including placing a small amount (about 1/4 of a block) into your pocket or even your bra. Regarding this last idea, I have been surprised more than once at the end of the day when I undressed and discovered a wad or two of clay on the floor, somehow forgotten about over the course of a busy day.
Once I molded and baked my roses, I gave them a couple-three coats of the Lumiere and Neopaque paint. Then I chose contrating colors of white and metallic silver to give the molded roses interest and depth. Dont forget the back! You want your rose to have that professional touch to them.
Cutting the Rulers to Bookmark Size
"Vintage" (i.e. old advertisng rulers that can be found in some delightful colors) rulers are easy to find in almost any antique, flea or thrift shop. I used the no so colored ones since I did not want to compete with the beautiful molded roses.
Cutting the rulers is easy, you just need a hand saw (you may also want to wear safety gloves) and a cutting surface to protect your working surface from the obvious. I cut my rulers to 6" in lenth, which gives you two per 12" ruler (really?) or more from yard stick lengths (you do the math).
Assembling the Vintage Rulers
Gluing the roses to the rulers is rather easy, the roses have a flat back. I also added these cute beaded scrapbooking embellishments by Recollections that I just love!
For a final vintage touch, dry brush the edges of the rulers with Neopaque in black.
How to order the Materials or BookMarks
If you are interested in cernit clay, neopaque or lumiere, visit Dick Blick. For the truely time-strapped, I am offering these in my etsy shop. If you don't have time to put these these together, go to my etsy shop and order them!
Want to see another cool project using these products? Hop on over to my tutorial creating unique shadow box napkin rings.
Thanks for letting me share- remember...
Live Life Creatively,
We recently moved a large sectional sofa from our den to our upstairs media room. Since it was originally on hardwood floors, my hub had placed furniture casters under the legs. My little pup chewed up a few, but I managed to save a few since I thought they would be perfect for creating such things as napkin rings, ornaments and pendants.
If you don't have some to repurpose, you can buy some pretty inexpensively from home improvement stores such as Lowes.
I used my Neopaque paints from Jacquard to paint the caster black. I painted a 1 1/2 circle black, waxed it, and then painted it white, using a sanding block to remove some of the white paint for a distressed look.
I then used this sweet swallow mold from a super cool supplier of molds: mad about molds.
I used cernit clay to create my swallow. If you are unsure how to use these bisque type of molds, mad about molds has a really quick video demo you can view by clicking here.If you are unfamilar with Cernit Clay, it is distributed by Jacquard products and perfect for making both sophisticated and whimsical arts and crafts projects, including: miniatures, dolls, buttons, beads, jewelry, and for adding sculptural elements to any project.
I accidentally baked mine at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and got a burned, puffed up swallow. I ended up liking the effect so I used the piece anyway.
To finish the pendant, I drilled holes at the top and the bottom of the caster, inserted really large (like 18mm) silver jump rings and glued the circle and bird to the center.
Live Life Creatively,
With your favorite stamps, some wooden clothespins, a wood paint stick and some 1 1/2 wood circle shapes you can make this inexpensive organizational tool to coordinate with your home's decor. Also, perfect for gift giving, this magnetic piece can be hung on your refrigerator and is handy for holding notes, stamps, unsorted mail, etc.
First, choose your color palette. I like the combination of DecoArt's Desert Turquoise, Georgia Clay and Golden Straw. It looks stunning combined with White.
I painted the wood clothespins various colors and the paint stick and circles white, since I will be stamping the circles. I choose Hampton Arts Clear Stamps, "Circle Birds" combined with black Stazon ink.
My mom is always looking for old books on her fleaing excursions and she found this one, really beat up and the pages will literally crumble into ash in your hands but perfect for crafting! I selected phrases and cut them into small strips.
I used Aleenes Collage Pauge to adhere the vintage text phrases as well as the random pieces of text to the paint stick. The other adhesive you will need is Aleenes Original Tacky Glue. We will use this to glue the circles to the front of the clothespins and to glue the pins to the paint stick.
Noticed how a paper pieced some of the stamped images. I think it adds a little more depth to the whole thing. I also added misc embellishments including small crystals to give the whole thing a little bling.
When you line up the clips, make sure you leave enough room between so that you can clip up larger envelopes, etc. You don't want your piece to look too crowded.
And there you have it....
Have you ever stopped to think about how much cardboard we bring into our homes on an almost daily basis? From the boxes that hold shipped items to the cardboard rolls used to hold paper towels, it's a lot of cardboard. A few weeks ago, I shared with you an idea for using patterned paper scraps and cardboard to create bird napkin rings.
After I had cut out all of my shapes using corrugated cardboard, cardboard recycled from a cereal box and cardboard rolls (cut to 2 1/2" pieces), I covered the pieces with Gesso. If you are familiar with Gesso, it is a sort of paint primer. It comes in black or white mostly be can be purchased in colors as well. I used it for this project to add durability to the pieces since I plan to use them as napkin rings.A side note about the dies I used- this bird in cage Sizzix Bigz Die is one of my all time favorites. I also used a layered flower die that I have used over and over for all sorts of projects.
Both are two of my "go-to" dies when creating projects.
After the pieces were coated front and back, I used various colors of Jacquard Products paints in the Neopaque and Lumiere brands. Neopaque is a highly pigmented opaque paint designed to cover dark grounds. They have a consistency similar to Lumiere but are not metallic. Neopaque paints are flexible and soft on a variety of surfaces. They have an opaque appearance and compliment the shiny Lumiere paints when used together.
For the bird cage napkin rings I used Neopaque in Turquoise, White and Black.
Lumiere is another cool paint product.
This stunning assortment of metallic and pearlescent paints brush on like butter and are designed not to spread. They allow for smooth application on soft or flexible surfaces like fabrics and uneven textures like Styrofoam. Lumiere colors can be bright, metallic or subtle, even on dark backgrounds.
I love to use old shipping boxes with a corrugated center since it has such a rustic, textured look to it. I added stamp muslin and some bling to each of the napkin ring sets. I glued the cardboard roll to the back of the shapes to serve as a ring, and added fabric tape to further enhance the durability of the rings.
Details matter very much...
Live Life Creatively,