Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Update


Are you doing anything fun for Earth Day?

I am. Sort of.

You remember this post don't you, from way back, where I laid out some wishes and un-wishes regarding potential money-making schemes? And you had so many good ideas and a ton of words of encouragement? You remember. Ya, that was a while ago now.

[Me and my beloved TP rolls, 21 Apr 2011]

So I'm celebrating Earth Day by filling YOU in on the things I've been doing to try to make money from the bloggin' and the craftin'. Yay, party. Note the use of the word "try". I haven't made any actual real honest-to-goodness cash yet. But that's not stopping this little engine. NO.

And, yes, I'm still terrified by it all... Nevertheless, here are the baby-steps I've taken towards that sly and elusive goal: money.
  • First, I've submitted a few article ideas to magazines. I've done that a few times now with mixed results. I've experienced both rejection and acceptance. I expected the rejection. Part of growing and learning and all. It's okay. I know of rejection. I can take it. But I'm super-happy to report that one of my ideas has been accepted! Yip yipee! Which encourages me to just keep trying. Oh, and I will definitely let you know when the article comes out. But that'll take some time.
  • Second, I am writing and self-publishing a crafty ebook... It's true. Bet you're wondering how that's going eh? Um...well...slow as snails to be perfectly honest. But it IS going. And I actually manage to burst forth with little squeals of delight at times. Eep! My hope is that the book will be done by October. That's m' goal.
  • Third, I'm creating some designs for sale. I have a few in the works. I'll be selling them from here (most likely).

So that's that... What say you? Thoughts?

I'm definitely still learning to balance all these various projects. And the blog. And my family of course. Thank you so much for your patience while I learn to negotiate my way through it all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Finally, I just want to let you know that my family and I will be going overseas for the next 10 days. I've NEVER been overseas! It's kinda of a big deal. I am a teensy bit excited... So I'll be taking a bloggy break and spending these next 10 days with my little family. It'll be a real, gadget-free-vacation. Is that even possible?

Well you have a quiet, low-impact Earth Day, won't you? I think I'm gonna go recycle some junk mail or something... Have a wonderful Easter! And I'll be back here on Monday, the 2nd of May 2011, refreshed and ready to go. Until then, you take good care of yourself, OK?

P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me on Babble Blogs 2011 by the way. You are just the sweetest!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Crafting a Little Hope



The boy and I have started a new project.

We'll be making fabric bracelets to contribute to Craft Hope's Project 12. In partnership with Orphan Outreach, Craft Hope is collecting handmade bracelets to give to Russian children who've been abandoned, abused and are living in poverty.


Why I love this project?
  • It's such a lovely cause with a warm heart.
  • It will involve my child. The boy and I will work on this project as a team. My hope is that he will help in every aspect of design and creation. As a bonus, I will take the opportunity to turn this into a social science, history and geography lesson all-rolled-in-one for him (and for me too!)
  • Each bracelet will be a unique treasure made with lots o' love. Each will be different and hopefully impress within each child-recipient a feeling of their own specialness.
  • This is the perfect stash-busting project. The smallness of each bracelet allows us to utilize some of the tiny yet gorgeous crafty bits and pieces that we may not otherwise use.
  • We will be able to make a nice bunch of bracelets. Our goal is to fashion a dozen fabric bracelets over the next few weeks.
In the end, we will create several small, sweet, one-of-a-kind bracelets, that will light up the hearts of some children who could really use a boost.

What have we accomplished so far?

Well, we're still in the design phase. The boy drew out some tiny pictures which I've transferred onto freezer-paper.


I'm in the midst of cutting out his designs with my Exacto knife. Aren't the teensy stencils cute?


And that's what we've done so far. I'll post more pictures as we progress.

If you'd like to join in, all the details are available at Craft Hope.


Now please enjoy your day, and I'll see you again soon!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Make It Good with I Like Greenhouses: Old Sheets



Happy Monday, yes indeed!

Well looky here. It's another "Make It Good" Challenge. Do you remember what that is exactly? Well it's a little something Peaches and I cooked up: it's basically two crafters going head-to-head in a raging craft battle to the death. Okay no. That's a lie. It's more like two happy crafters happily creating something from some happy recyclable, swapping happy creations, and then happily passing it on. No death. No bloodshed. Just a bunch of happiness.

This time I'd like to welcome Alex from I Like Greenhouses. Who's that, you ask? Well, interesting little note about Alex. She came to me. She emailed me one day, out of the blue, asking if she could "make it good". And I? Well I did NOT have a problem with that. "Ask and ye shall receive" as far as I'm concerned. So here we are, just Alex and myself doing this...

PeachesMakeitgood

today!

And your job (yes, you) is to check out both creations. That's it! Nary a winner, nary a loser, see?

Now since my last challenger was my little sister Ariane, it was up to her to set today's crafty recycling challenge. So here it is:

(1) Your one recycled item must be an old bed sheet.
(2) And your inspiration is Spring!

Alrighty, seems doable... Let's get ready to rumble!!!

TO SEE WHAT ALEX MADE {CLICK HERE}
TO SEE WHAT MICHELE MADE {KEEP READING}

Well to be honest, I would have loved to have one of those beautiful old vintage sheets to work with but sadly I'm not that lucky. The only old sheet I had was this blue sheet. This sheet has seen better days. It's old and worn. And blue. Very very blue.


So I decided to make a bag. A bag as blue as a spring sky... True, all seasons' skies are blue. Details. Mine is as blue as a SPRING sky. Got it? Good.

Now when Peaches and I did our very first challenge way back when, she sent me this platter as my gift. When she did, she packed it in a box with many many of these "I Dream of Falafel" bags (You didn't know you'd sent me 2 gifts in one, did you Peaches?). I loved these bags. I liked the pretty flowers on them. I liked the fact that I had a whole collection of them. And I loved their shape. Their shape was perfect. I knew that one day I would use them in a craft. And that is what I did.


I trimmed a teensy bit off the edges of three of the bags and opened them up like this. I made a 3-layer sandwich and sewed them all together.


I used them as a template for my new bag.


But I also used them as a liner for the bag. You see? It's a bag-lined shopping bag!


I call it my "Sky's The Limit" bag. Notice that I embellished it with yarn. Those are the sky parts there.


There's the sun right in there too. I hope my opponent will like this bag because it's all hers!


Now please check out what Alex made. I'm very curious! She mentioned something about clothing... Can't wait to see what she's cooked up? I'm going over there now. Join me, won't you?


Okay then, have yourself a lovely day. I'll see you again soon!

P.S. I am SO thrilled to be nominated on Babble Blogs 2011 right here! Would you consider voting for me? Thanks so much!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Kid Craft: Box Chain Pendant and Ring




The boy stayed home from school again yesterday. He has a cold. I don't like sending him out amongst the other children when he's phlegmy and sneezing and carrying used tissues in his hand all day. I don't want him to contaminate people. Except me. That's what mothers are for.

So he stayed with me. And you know what happens when he stays home from school... He asks - nay begs - for a craft. Though the begging isn't necessary. I never say no to crafting. Ever. And since getting your responses to the letter from Kapila, I've been thinking about those box chains and just how I would use some of your brilliant ideas. Today was my chance.


The boy and I selected only the finest of junk mail for the job along with some scraps of coloured construction paper. We cut these into 1/4 inch (6 mm) strips, and built some tiny box chains. It was a great craft for the boy (who's seven by the way); a little, but not too, challenging. He picked up the concept quickly and really enjoyed watching each little chain grow.

Note: I'm assuming you know how to make these little box chains. Do you? Maybe I should never assume. We all know what happens when I do that... Okay, so you take two strips of paper, glue the ends 90° to one another, and start folding the strips over each other one at a time maintaining perpendicularity always. Perpendicularity. That is the key. You know this.


We turned the finished chains into small wreath shapes as the talented Melissa suggested. As soon as he saw these, the boy knew what he was making: jewelry for his best little girlfriend. And for himself too.

We made rings and pendants. For the rings, we glued the ends of a chain together. To make the pendants, we glued 2 of these rings (one small, one large) to a circle pendant made from a cereal-box-cardboard-circle-on-a-string.

I think the jewelry idea turned out famously. So sweet. The junk mail makes for really pretty multi-coloured chains.


Warning: Expect more box chain crafts. I have a whole list to get through yet. One suggestion was a skirt, right Maya? That should be most interesting. But I can now strike necklace off the list. Pendant is the same as necklace wouldn't you say? Think so.

Okay then. Have a great day. I'll see you again real soon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Baby It's All White...



Remember we were painting the entry, stair well and halls? Well that job did get done by the way. Joy! I wanted to hug everyone for days after finishing it, it felt so good.

Anyway, there were these two old metal switch plates in the entry and hall. Don't ask me how old these are, probably as old as the house (which was built in 1948). And probably like most things built in 1948, these little switch plates are darn heavy and darn sturdy. But MAN are they UGLY. Look at them! That is the definition of UGLY. However... I really didn't want to pitch them or replace them with the standard plastic ones, poor things. I do want my switch plates to have a little character if at all possible. So I just grabbed a small brush and a tiny bottle of white liquid acrylic craft paint and gave 'em several coats. I actually like 'em now... Ya. Not too bad, eh?


I can live with that.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Incomparable Craftypod Gift


Approximately a month ago Diane Gilleland (yes, THE Sister Diane of Craftypod) emails me asking me if she could feature me on Craftypod. So after screaming in disbelief, running around the room, jumping up and down, and screaming in disbelief some more, I email her back saying: Are you kidding me? Is this some sort of a joke? And she responds saying: No. No joke. Not even a teensy bit jokey. She was serious.

That was a month ago give or take. So then she emails me today to tell me she has done the deed. And there I am, featured on Craftypod on my 1st Blogiversary.

The Letter B from that very first post: B is for Blogging.

YES. You heard me. Today is my 1st Blogiversary. Yes, today. I have been doing this bloggy crafty exploration thing for exactly 365 days to the day. So Happy Blogiversary to me from Sister Diane! And get this. SHE HAS NO IDEA that she's just given me the best blogiversary gift ever! Ha ha ha ha ha hee hee... It's totally completely absolutely coincidental.

I LOVE BLOGGING.

Thank you Sister Diane. Thanks for the greatest surprise gift. You are amazing in all ways, AND you have impeccable timing. ♥ (By the way, I have yet to regain my composure so I'm just going with it!)

Go on over to the Craftypod and check it out!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Long-Term Experiment of the Cereal Box Kind 2



This is the progress on my long-term cereal box "experiment" after 5 cereal boxes and 9 cracker boxes.

To see how far I've come since the last time (not that far), click here.

Really, we eat that much breakfast cereal and crackers at our house. It is widely known that my body is 68% Cheerios, 20% crackers and the rest, lemonade, with trace amounts of other gunk. Does that mean I am insanely happy yet a tad sour?... Never thought about it until now.


Anyway. Thus far, the "experiment" is 8 inches (20 cm) tall and 5-1/2 inches (~14 cm) in diameter.


Note that I've added a "base" to the ball... Yep, that's a base with a ball on it alright. And no, the thingie has zero to do with that great American sport known as baseball, in case you were wondering.

Now go! Have yourself a super-fine day! I'll be back...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Series 5: Halve a Circle #3 - Dragon Tail Necklace


"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father."

Roger von Oech


I love making stuff. And trying things. And letting whatever happens happen. No judging. No criticizing. Just fun and play. That's where this little series comes from. A ton o' play.

Do you play? If not, drop everything; this is your chance. Let's have a little fun right now, okay?


Tutorial: Dragon Tail Necklace

You will need:

a scrap of vinyl
cardboard circle template (~2 inches or 5 cm in diameter)
cord or shoelace (~ 4 ft or 1.2 m long) which isn't round but is flat and about 1/4 inch (7mm) wide
pair of scissors
pencil
sewing machine
contact cement (glue)
clothes pins
spring loaded fastener

Using your cardboard circle template and a pencil, trace out several circles onto the back of your vinyl (I made 17 circles, a random number). Cut out all circles. Cut each circle in half.


Go to your sewing machine. Place a half-circle down on the sewing surface. Place the cord down flat along the center of your half-circle starting at least 12 inches (30 cm) down the cord. Place another half-circle on top. You're constructing a half-circle sandwich with a cord in between. Yummy delish. With your sewing machine, stitch down the center of your half-circle sandwich along the cord.


Repeat with the remaining half-circles. Your necklace should now look like the photo below.


Apply a little contact cement to the corner of one of your half-circles.


Pinch the two corners together and clamp with a clothespin.


Repeat for the other half-circle in the pair as below.


Glue and clamp each pair of half-circles. Let dry for a few hours.


Create a necklace by threading both ends of the rope through a spring-loaded fastener. Trim the rope to a length that is right for you.

Note: This necklace is quite long. For a shorter, smaller necklace, simply decrease the number of circles you cut out at the start and reduce the length of your cord.


There it is! One completed dragon tail necklace... You like? I like.


Enjoy!


Now you have a great day. It'll be play-time again shortly!

See Part 1 of the "Halve a Circle" Series here. See Part 2 here.
To find out who won the Spacey Stitchy Giveaway, check out the previous post.

Linking to Tater Tots and Jello!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

And the Spacey Stitchy Giveaway Winner Is...


Number 6: Melissa E. A.K.A. Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged


Congratulations Wowbagger! I'll be in touch with you shortly. Keep your eyes peeled.



An Earth-hug and Earth-thank you to the following space-creatures who let their true identities be known to me here:

Zameen
An Italian
Icshtaz (pronounced "ow") from the planet 00003 in Galaxy Bue
Kelltore
Reebca
Sneyk
Miranda
Meeeelika
Denise
Happyface
Inara
The Great and Glorious Bah
Mom
Birdienerdie from the feathered planet of Quill
A Lot of Clicks and Whistles
Revbee
Moezer
Blob-A-Boo-Boo 3000
Kleep
Floryzub
Mrs. A (short for Alien)
MockingJay
Loodaleeloo from the planet Zaggedy-Hoot
Paul (the girl alien)
H (pronounced AAAAtch)
Nosilla
Arwena from the planet Purpuria
Yleek
Danielle from the planet Rocbearon
Aluram
Elehcim
FloopShloop
Whim
Ferdie
34:90Bs-23
T'Jul (the Vulcan)
Zogtog
Katiewonkenobee
Lubededo Arcd
Terror Firma
Princess Inmydrms from the planet Fafaway
Princess KJ
Amelaaa
Chumbuckway Ackandee
Mirinda

I am one truly privileged Earthling to have encountered the likes of you playful beings. Welcome to our lovely planet. Please refrain from consuming/slurping/nibbling/chewing on any humans while you are visiting, no matter how delectable we may appear. We are NOT food. And I'm pretty sure (though not positive as I've never actually partaken) we taste really really bad. Also, probing of any kind will not be tolerated. Thank you. Enjoy your stay, and I will see you again very soon!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reader Question: What Would Michele Do?


I received an interesting email the other day from a bloggy friend, Kapila. Here is her letter, edited for brevity:

Dear Michele,

I'm sure you've come across these before. They are made out of strips of paper laid 90° to one another, and folded over, a concept similar to the paper chains you made. I've only ever used these to decorate our Norfolk Island pine (which doubles as a living Christmas tree in December!) as they are light and lovely. But after seeing your imaginative recycled crafts, I wondered what you would do with these paper chains besides make garlands out of them. Yes, I did wonder: WWMD? (What would Michele do?)


Many thanks for looking, Michele!

Cheers,

Kapila

Thanks so much for your letter, Kapila.

What would I do, indeed. Hmm. It's a quandary. Well I could probably think of something. Eventually. But let me turn the question over to you, dear reader. A little interaction sound like fun? What would YOU suggest I do with Kapila's lovely paper chains? Any ideas? Any fantastical inventions spring to mind? Let's hear 'em!

Have a lovely day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spacey Stitchy GIVEAWAY!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to all who entered!


Hello! Happy Monday!

Is today a glorious day for a giveaway? I think so. I have stuff that is in acute need of a new home. Curious? Well... along with Sherrill Kahn's book "Stitched Collage" (which I reviewed for you in my Friday post), the lucky winner will also win this little me-made wallet inspired by some of the stitching ideas presented in Ms. Kahn's book.

Yes, unfortunately there is only one prize... But, chin up! Even if you don't win, you can still make yourself a tiny wallet like this one. Why, sure. The very simple, well-written 19th Street wallet tutorial is brought to you graciously by Insatiable Need. I used the tutorial as written but made the wallet one-of-a-kind-unique by embellishing the top piece my way.

I started by freezer-paper stenciling my swirl design onto the top piece as below. If you've never tried that, check out this freezer-paper stenciling tutorial. Or google it. It's easy, it's fun, and it's everywhere. Note that the full-size space wallet swirl design is available for you right here as a PDF.


And then I went "at it" with some french knots and running stitches.


I sewed the whole thing together as per the 19th Street wallet instructions and a new little cardholder wallet was born. Here's the inside. I used only scraps to make this nebulous little guy: the perfect stash-busting project seeing as it's small and easy and quick.


I typed my name and the date on the inner piece so the winner will not forget who made it for her. Peek-a-boo, I made you!


And here's what the finished wallet looks like! Spacey, no?


So the prize package consists of: Sherrill Kahn's "Stitched Collage" and my little space wallet!



Now, if you're a living, breathing Earthling, you can enter this giveaway. Aliens need not apply. Just leave one comment on this post telling me what your name would be if you were an extra-terrestrial, and be sure I can reach you by email. I'll randomly pick a winner on Thursday, April 7th at 6 pm EST, and announce said winner in my Friday post.

Oh, and in case you were curious, my extra-terrestrial name would be Meelchi from the planet Dameem. By the way.


Live long, prosper, and best of luck to you!


Notes:

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to all who entered!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Make It Good with Mich L in LA and The Answer is Chocolate



I don't normally blog on the weekends but today is kinda different and kinda special. Two clever crazy bloggers are going at it in the newest Make It Good Challenge (a challenge I had the pleasure of setting for them by the way... hee hee)!

Click the following links to check out how Carol @ The Answer is Chocolate and Michelle @ Mich L in L.A. rose to the challenge of making it good. Let us go!!!


PeachesMakeitgood

Have a great weekend, I'll see you Monday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Review: Stitched Collage by Sherrill Kahn




Today I'm reviewing the craft book "Stitched Collage" written by Sherrill Kahn, and published by Martingale & Company.

It is a 32-page booklet that "explores some easy and fun ways to add stitching to collage designs". The book discusses painting methods, hand-stitching and machine-stitching techniques, and stitched embellishments, all of which can be used to adorn your own unique paper or fabric collages.


Colourful photos and diagrams fill the pages of "Stitched Collage". You will not find step-by-step instructions for how to make specific projects in this book. It's more of a crafty resource or a collection of embellishing ideas which encourages readers to make their own distinctive projects.

My favourite part of "Stitched Collage" is the "Stitched Embellishments" section in which Ms. Kahn suggests some creative ways to add clever touches to your collages. In particular, I like how she uses interesting stitching to sew on buttons, and I also love how she designs her own unique buttons using fun-foam. Imagine the potential of this one small idea!


The booklet culminates in a "Gallery" of some of Sherrill Kahn's lovely collages incorporated into a variety of projects ranging from book covers to bags to clothing to wall hangings, and more still.



I enjoyed reading and looking at "Stitched Collage". So next week I will be giving the book away along with a little Michele-made project inspired by it so that someone else can enjoy it too. Stay tuned!

Until then, have yourself a delightful weekend!

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