Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Arnold Grummer Papermaking Blog - Springtime Decorations

Not only at Christmas time has there been a tree used as part of holiday decorations in my house.

Growing up I remember several things about all the holidays and wanted to share my version of one of them.  Each Easter my mother would bake and decorate an Easter lamb cake, there would be bowls of dyed eggs to display in baskets or bowls.  The one idea I remember most and continued to use in my own Spring decorations was an Easter Tree.  It would be fashioned from a large or small branch from a tree or a bush and normally decorated with colored, blown out eggs.

So I had a "brain storm" to try another version of an Easter tree and incorporate Easter ornaments made from paper pulp.  This little tree, constructed from a small branch cut from a dormant hydrangea bush, becomes a  sweet decoration for spring or Easter.

Paper pulp egg, bunny and chick shapes were made into ornaments to hang from the branches.  For casting  the eggs I used a plastic candy mold.  The bunny and chicks are shaped using metal cookie cutters as a deckle.  They all began with processing pulp of course in a blender.

Combine 1/4 cup of cotton rag pulp into a blender container with 4 cups of water.  Pour the pulp into a strainer to remove water and place the pulp into a small bowl.  Repeat this process as many times as needed to make enough pulp to mold several eggs and form the  other shapes using cookie cutters.  NOTE: When creating the chicks, I shredded a piece of yellow cardstock and allowed it to soak in warm water before processing with some cotton linters.  Pour the shredded pieces along with the water used for soaking.

To form the eggs, start by adding the processed pulp into the plastic egg mold, pressing it into and around the mold to the top edge.  Use small pieces of sponge to remove as much water as possible from the pulp. Allow to dry naturally in the mold.  NOTE: Having more then one mold can help hasten the forming of the eggs.  Drying can be speeded up slightly by using a microwave oven.  If using this method, use low settings, nothing higher then 50% and short time intervals, like 30 to 45 seconds.  Dry just till the shapes will release when the mold is tapped.  Set aside and allow to completely dry.  

The chicks and bunnies are shaped using cookie cutters.  Place them onto screen, set inside a rimmed sheet.  Place the processed pulp into the cutters, adding enough

Directions for finishing the ornaments

Fill the hollow back of the eggs with hot glue, almost to the edge.  Form a loop  from white wire and place at the top of the egg for a hanger.  Add more hot glue over the wire to hold the hanger in place.

Bunnies/Chicks:  Form hangers from white wire in the same fashion.  Place near the top back of each shape and cover with hot glue.

Place soy wax into a microwave safe container (like a canning jar) and melt according to directions for melting wax.  Dip each of the shapes into the melted wax (holding on to the wire hanger) allowing the wax to drip from the bottom.  Place onto a piece of parchment paper till hardened.  If necessary, repeat dipping and drying.

Chicks: Tie a length of yellow ribbon around the neck of the chicks, trim.  Glue a small black bead in place for an eye.

Bunnies:  Paint a thin layer of white glue onto the top surface, sprinkle with white iridescent glitter.  Allow to dry.  Tie a length of pink ribbon around the neck, trim. Glue a small black bead in place for an eye.

Eggs: Embellish with stick on jewels, cut to fit. Add a bow to the top by tying it around the hanger.

Place a cut branch into a plastic pot, center and hold in place with tape; fill about half full with prepared plaster of paris, allow to harden.  Hang the ornaments.

You can read about other similar projects that I created in the past using both the mold technique and cookie cutter technique. Find the mold link here and the other cutter link here.

When visiting the Arnold Grummer website and making a purchase use this 20% saving code when placing an order - MAR20

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Designer Craft Connection Manufacturer Challenge - Connie Crystal

Just a little bit of sparkle can dress up anything.  Thanks to Connie Crystal for the opportunity to work with some of the products.  Find some sparkling ideas on the Sparkle blog.

There are a number of other designers who are also participating in this manufacturer challenge using products from Connie Crystal.  This product is new to me and I can see many uses for the crystal sheets to add some extraodinaire glitz to a wide variety of projects.

To show off the sparkle of the crystal sheets that I received, I first created a black felt handbag as a surface.  To give the bag a special finish I attached the crystal pendant that I also received onto the handbag's flap.

I cut two single strips of the crystals from the sheet.  The strips were handsewn along the edge of the handbag flap, front and back.  The extra was trimmed away.

From the remaining crystal sheet, I cut away a 4-square count of the crystals to create a simple pattern in the mesh.  I attached it in a few places with Fabri Tac glue and then stitched around it with handsewing to hold it into place.  Attach a piece of Velcro onto the flap and handbag front to help keep the bag closed.

Any plain purse or handbag can take on a whole new look with some Connie Crystal sheets.

Check out this link to see the other blog posts: DCC Pagehttp://designercraftsconnection.blogspot.com

Materials used for the project:
Kunen Glitterfelt™- Black - 4 sheets
Sewing Machine
Black Thread
Lining Fabric
Beacon Fabri Tac Glue
Connie Crystal crystal sheet - black
Tiny Scissors
Handsewing Needle

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Deflecto Design Team - "Slainte" (Cheers) To The Frames

March is National Craft Month and the group of Deflecto designers are getting "crafty" this month.  Please check out the ideas from the group for some inspiration and the Deflecto Facebook page. The first thoughts given to the use of any frame is of course for showing photos.  For the three Deflecto frames shown here, each is being used very differently.

The Green Border 4" x 6" Frame was decorated with some ribbons and adhesive backed shamrock shapes in a very easy, simple fashion.  A computer generated sign was printed with a statement and can be used as a decorative element on a table for any St. Patrick's Day celebration.

What has become another favorite of mine is the 3-Sided Frame.  Simply cut three decorative papers to fit into each side of the frame.  Wrap with some gold, wired ribbon, tie some bows.  Add other embellishments if desired.  Insert a narrow vase into the center of the frame to hold flowers.  This would work as a simple centerpiece or table decoration.  Use different papers, ribbons and embellishments to fit any theme or occasion for your table or buffet decorations.

The Slanted Acrylic 5" x 7" was made into a chalkboard memo board.  A sheet of chalkboard material was attached with double-sided adhesive onto the frame.  NOTE: Fold a strip of black card stock, the same width of the chalkboard material, and tape to the underside of this piece before applying the piece to the frame.  This will act as a ledge to hold a chalkboard marker in place.  Cut a decorative piece of paper to insert into the frame and tie a length of ribbon onto the top for a little decorative element.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Arnold Grummer Papermaking Blog - Sweet and Simple Paper Casting

It's National Craft Month so there is a lot of crafting going on for many reason!  Come join the fun!!!

These little basket boxes would be a sweet addition on a Easter table setting.  Each is made using a die-cut box as the base.  What makes them become special are "extras" added to the surface, mainly the casted images.

Paper castings are so easy to make using any of the Arnold Grummer casting molds or any variety of molds that may be available.  Use this link to find a pamphlet that you can download filled with information about creating casting here.

After the paper castings are complete, the coloring can begin.  For the images on boxes I chose to use both chalks and Ranger Perfect Pearl powders.  The castings were trimmed of the paper around them to make them smaller and allow the papers used on the boxes to frame them.  One set was trimmed straight, the other with deckle designed decorative scissors.

Box Of Chicks
Die-cut the box from white mat board.  Form the box using redline tape.  NOTE: One side of the box is folded to the inside of the box to create an open box.  It is helpful to cut away the small flap before folding to the inside.  Some glue may need to be added to hold in place.  Apply dye based ink to the surface of the box.  Cut four squares, slightly smaller then the sides of the box.  Trim the edges if desired with decorative scissors.  Glue a length of ribbon around the center of the box.  Glue the Daisy casted squares at a diagonal onto two (or four sides) of the box. If using only two images, form two small bows from the ribbon and glue to the center of the two opposite sides and embellish with a button of choice.

Butterfly Basket
Die-cut the box from chipboard.  Form the box with redline tape.  NOTE: One side of the box is folded to the inside create an open box. Follow the same directions as above.  Apply paint to the surface of the box.  Cut papers to apply to the sides of the box.  NOTE: I used a small sheet of handmade paper from my stash of sheets using leftover scraps for interesting effects.  Glue the Butterfly squares onto the front and back of the box, centering them so background paper frames the image.  Create a handle from a stiff strip of paper.  Cover the handle by wrapping jute cord around the strip.  Glue onto the sides of the box, then add a button for embellishment.  Form a bow from desired ribbon, attach to the top, center of the handle.

These boxes show an Easter theme, but either design could be used for other occasions such as showers, weddings and birthdays or to fit any other holiday theme, buy changing colors, papers and casted images.

Other material information:
Sizzix Big Shot & Eileen Hull Box Die & Mat Board
Beacon 3-in-1 Glue

Visit the Arnold Grummer website and when placing an order use code MAR20 for a 20% saving.

Next week I will be sharing another casted idea for Easter using a different type of mold for a cute little decoration.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Designer Craft Connection - Crafting for National Craft Month

March marks National Craft Month!!!  This month we will be sharing ideas, tips and recreating projects that we have seen somewhere and always wanted to try.

I have many, many "saved" ideas in my files with hopes of someday getting time to try them.  With the creation of Pinterest, another way was presented, to find and save so many wonderful ideas.  One of the pinboards that I created is "Projects to Try"and there is where my ideas came from.

These projects use one of my favorites - fabric!  The  links for the "pins" for both the braided necklace and the wire wrapped bangles are found here:
     Fabric Scrap Necklace
     Fabric Wrapped Bracelets
Each of these links give some instructions and visuals to follow also. I took liberties with the instructions to make the necklace and bangle bracelets suit my taste.

This simple, light jewelry can be made from scraps of fabrics in any color combinations you would like.  Colorful combinations would be fun for summertime accessories on solid colored tops or dresses.

I chose left over fabric scraps from a recent quilting project.  To make the braids for the necklace, tear the fabric into 1" strips.  If the pieces need to be longer, knot two strips together before braiding.  NOTE: The knots become part of the braid.  Use safety pins to hold the three strips together to help make the braiding easier.  Three various lengths of braids create the necklace.

To cover the area where the layers of braids are sewn together on one side,  use a small piece of contrasting fabric and sew to cover.  On the opposite side, create an embellishment of your choice to cover this spot. Two fabric flowers and leaves are made to be attached to this area.

After completing the necklace it only made sense to continue by making some easy bangle bracelets.  Heavy gauge wire, fabric strips and a little glue are all that's needed. Tear the fabrics into 1" strips.  Start wrapping the fabric around the wire bangle.  NOTE: Glue the end of the strip to the wire, overlapping the fabric to itself at the end.  Continue to wrap around the wire bangle till the end of the strip.  Glue the end onto the wrapped fabric to hold.  NOTE: Use inexpensive metal or plastic bangles if available.

While trying to decide just what I would be sharing in this post,  and the going over some of my Pinterest pin boards for ideas, I have become inspired to try several more ideas and what better time then now - National Craft Month!

Now take some time to check out the other designers post, just use the Designer Craft Connection  button located in the right sidebar to see other ideas, tips and a giveaway.

This "crafty" month will bring another manufacturer challenge from Connie Crystal so check back!