Confessions of a Craftaholic

Category: recycled crafts

Puzzle Piece Jewelry

Today, I finished up some puzzle piece jewelry I’d been working on. I love recycling items to make art, and I so love turning mundane things into pieces of art, or functional things.

A lovely shade of blue, that you can purchase by CLICKING HERE.

This pair is so cute, and kind of veers on the rock n’ roll edge, with it’s shades of black, swirled around. You can purchase this pair by CLICKING HERE.

And HERE’s a pair I made for ME! For ME! They are JUST FOR ME!

I wear a lot of brown colors, and brown matches with a lot of things, so that’s why I chose this pair as my own.

A different shade of blue, this pair is a pretty turquoise blue. You can purchase this pair, by CLICKING HERE.

I love recycled things! A friend of mine had given me a whole boat load of polymer clay, but upon doing a bit of research, I realize it is not earth friendly at all. So I think I’m going to switch to paper clay, which if I purchase it at Pearl Paint, on canal street, is much cheaper than at Dick Blick, oddly enough.

Paper clay is eco-friendly, and I’ve worked with it before, so I’m familiar with it. It’s a bit softer also, and more pliable.

Anyway, so that is indeed that.  It’s a rainy looking day today, which means it’s a perfect day for Vegan Lentil soup. It’s SO good. Trust me. I am running low on rice, so maybe I’ll make some bread rolls, eh? Since it’s kind of on the colder side, I mean.

Got to run. Have to wake up my sleepy head daughter.

The Craftaholic

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Day 187: Make a Chunky Book

Quote:

“The main teachers of patience are our enemies.”

This is because we are so stubborn. Stubborn mules, we are! The only way we learn to tolerate different sorts of people is when we are on an airplane to someplace like France or Tibet, with a fussy baby next to us, and a man who talks to much. Or when a crazy lady on the subway decides to nudge us, so she can have our seat on the train.

PATIENCE. Perhaps the reason why I was given the mother that I was, is to learn to be patient. To learn to accept people with different beliefs and different standards than I. We all have a person in our life that teaches us patience. Try to learn it, and not get aggravated. The universe tries to teach us lessons. Let’s learn them.

Today, I made a paper item. A cute little chunky scrapbook.

Cute, right? I really like this one a lot actually. Actually, I have a kit listed in my shop, for you to make a little book just like this one!

What else? I am getting ready to sell my wares at the Brooklyn Indie Market this year. That means, I better get crackin! I have tote bags and journals to make, which means I must cut this post a bit short. But don’t worry, I will be creating more little kits for you.

The Craftaholic

Day 175:A Shrine for a Cupcake

Quote:

“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.”

I think this is recycled. In fact, I know it is.

I live in a cold dark city-New York. It’s a lonely city, where people don’t really believe in being very nice. For example: today I was on my way to a workshop (to teach), and there is this woman. She takes the F train up, and when she gets on the train, she acts like an animal, trying to get a seat. She’ll knock you over if she has to, just to get a seat. And you know what? She stays on the train for about one or two stops. Then gets off, after having ruffled your feathers. She actually almost knocked my daughter’s stroller once, and almost knocked a little girl over today, just plowing to a seat.

This is what I mean, though. We have such an animalistic approach to things, but actually, even cats and dogs are affectionate. We don’t have to act like gorillas ALL the time. Try to be nice sometimes, especially if you live in NYC. If you’re a guy in New York, please get up for a woman. Don’t just stare at her, with all her bags and crap, and sit on the train listening to your corny music while she stands, struggling to carry all her shit.

BE NICE. Go out of your way for a person. Show affection.

Also, let’s not be art snobs, eh? As artists and crafters, we get so honed in on the one thing we do. Don’t look down on the newbie crafter. You were there too.

And don’t turn crafting in to cattiness. Art and creativity are amazing and wonderful things. I’ve been to meetups where people shit on the idea of creativity by being catty and petty. Pettiness is not what creativity is about. Creativity is a wonderful and amazing thing that has to do with YOU connecting with your inner spirit. That’s what creativity SHOULD be about. Not you trying to be, or wishing to be, or trying to fit in. We shouldn’t have to try to fit in with a art group. It’s just a natural thing. Don’t go to an art group or craft group expecting people to live up to your standards.

People are people. Everyone is different. Accept others in your sanctuary of creativity, and you’ll find lasting friendships.

I know that I teased yesterday about a recipe thingamabob, but actually I had forgotten that today I had indeed, a workshop with my art group.

So here’s some pics of us in action:

Coffee of course.

My good friend Michelle, working on her masterpiece.

My friend Winter. Yes, that is her real name. Yes, she always smiles like that.

And now, for the best part, the finished work:

This was mine. I was in a cupcake kind of mood. The workshop I taught today, was a shrine class. We made shrines out of larger sized matchboxes.

I love making these boxes. I could make them all day.

This one is Winter’s. She’s not finished yet. Got any suggestions on what she could add to it?

The Craftaholic

Day 135: Make an Envelope Keepsake Book

Quote:

“Feelings of anger, bitterness, and hate are negative. If I kept them inside me they would spoil my body and health. They are of no use.”

The truth is, as I’ve said: we all go through stuff. Right? The thing is, the point is, not to let it swallow you up. Why do we allow these negative things to seep into our soul?

I know a person who carries bitterness from her childhood, and she is now 50 years old. This woman, never forgives, never forgets. Is she married? No. Is she happy? I don’t think a person who carries so much negativity could be. How? How could you be happy when you are carrying bitterness?

I went through stuff in my childhood and teen years. I made some mistakes. And for a while, I did carry around a lot of anger, bitterness and hatred. Eventually, all the things I held against my parents and old boyfriends ended up turning to myself. I ended up hating myself, and hating the world around me. That’s not a good place to be. Not at all. In this state, why would an employer want to keep you? Why would a man want to date a woman like this? Why would anyone want to be around a person so filled with negativity, that they seep it and spread it?

I got to a point in my life where I was just sick of it. I started reading the Dalai Lama’s teachings, and it really spoke to me. I decided that I wanted to surround myself with love. If not for myself, for my daughter who I was pregnant with.

So I allowed myself to let go of all the crap I had inside. I wrote poems about letting go. I collaged about letting go. I made “let go” my mantra. And in my time, I did.

Looking back, I feel that I was a totally different person from who I am now. Let go of the anger. Turn all of those feelings to your art. Instead of allowing the negativity in your heart, let go of it in your art. Take that fury and that energy and harness it. Let it inspire you to create, as you let go. Create art, and let go. Then you’ll find that you’ve become more of an artist then when you began your journey.

Today’s crafty endeavor, is a handmade book. This is another recycling project. You’re going to need some card envelopes. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got scores of them. I happened to have this pretty handmade paper that I bought at Dick Blick, when they were on clearance. So I’m using handmade paper envelopes. But you could even make your own envelopes out of construction paper, to get a similar look to mine.

The first thing you are going to do, is fold the flap as pictured:

So then, you’re going to add glue to the tip of the envelope flap.

And glue it down.


After that, you should open it, and glue the insides together. Remember how you folded the flap into two? You just glued the tip, now you’ve got to glue the inside part of the flap:

Now you can start embellishing! This book is great because it uses envelopes; that means, you can not only put pictures, but you can keep little ticket stubs, tags and all sorts of little memories.

Here it is before I embellished it.

And after:

This is the front. Nice, eh? The birds are Valentine Die cuts from K & Co.

This is a page to post a picture in. Cute, right?

Another picture page.

Pockets!

Last page.

I hope you like this quick project! It’s so easy, and it’s fun. You can recycle those envelopes you don’t use, and make a unique looking memory book. This can even be a baby book, or a wedding book!

The Craftaholic

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Day 114: Make an Upcycled Card Accordion Wish Book


Quote:


Nowadays the world is becoming increasingly materialistic, and mankind is reaching toward the very zenith of external progress, driven by an insatiable desire for power and vast possessions. Yet by this vain striving for perfection in a world where everything is relative, they wander even further away from inward peace and happiness of the mind.”

Materialism is something I really detest. Materialism doesn’t just come in the shape of the average walmart shopper, who lives in Ohio and has two cars, children, and expensive clothing.
It comes in many forms.
We sometimes have this notion that materialism is just someone who shops at the mall.
Or someone who only wears name brand clothing.
But is it? Or is is more than that? Materialism can be you, in the yarn shop. It can be your collection of stamps. Anything.
It’s such a nutty thing, to to think that something made by a machine, could create happiness within us.
We must remember that we create happiness.
Sometimes we go thru these dark moments in our life, and we feel like shopping for our favorite items will make us feel better. For me, I love to purchase one or two little art supplies, because it usually breaks my creative block.
But we must learn to unblock ourselves, alone. Just by myself. Find out why I feel so blocked, and work through it, with my art, my prayer, and my life.
Art saves lives. It does. This is my message to the world.
Art can heal you.
If you follow my one year journey, and follow my writings, you’ll start to see what I mean.

Today’s crafty endeavor is a project to forecast the new year. Every new year, I make some sort of crafty item that forecasts what I want or desire in the coming year.
This year, it’s a wish book. It’s sort of like a scrap book. But it’s a book to enchant your life. Attract the things you want in the coming year, and the things you are grateful for, in this book.
This project is a lot of fun, and super cheap, since you are simply using notecards! I had a set of dollar store note cards I got at the dollar store, and just used that. You can upcycle your old greeting cards from Xmas! I don’t get so many, so i choose to use the dollar store cards. But this is totally an upcycled eco friendly project! Use what you have, that’s my motto. I don’t believe in the materialism of pushing products. I just love to create things. I sell the things I make mostly because I need space. And money, while sometimes evil, does empower one to do things like purchase new jeans and baby things.
So for this project, as I said, you’ll need a stack of notecards that you don’t use. Or you can even use the blank cards that you get at Micheal’s.

You’ll need to cut out a piece of white paper, to fit the height of the notecards.
Then, the white paper gets glued and applied to the back of two cards next to each other. This will make your cards stick together, like an accordion.
Do this for as many panels as you wish. Each card of course, will make two panels. So it just depends on what you wish to create.
Now, for the cover, I used the envelopes that the notecards came with. I just glued the flap to the back of the notecard. I did this for the back as well.
Now, get your embellishments, your stickers, and your photos.
I used the photos to illustrate my point. This is a book of wishes, of what you desire.
So do what you wish! Do collage work, make a little scrapbook of your desires…just do what feels right.
Here’s the front cover, of my little accordion wish book.
There is of course, an owl in front. My greatest desire is to grow as an artist, and continue having inspiration to create beauty from within myself.
When I was a little girl, teachers would always tell my mother that I had a “vivid imagination”. I would make up the most outlandish stories, just off the top of my head.

The next panel represents growth.
Everyone wants to grow. So the plant represents my wish for growth-creatively and spiritually.
The next panel is for my husband and I, and my daughter. I wish for my family to grow more close together, and walk together towards peace and prosperity.
The next panel represents positive change, blossoming, and enlightenment.
The butterfly is an animal I normally don’t use in my art so much, but the truth is, my style is changing a bit. I love butterflies, that is the truth. And I love that they represent a change for the better, an evolution of the self. I love that.
The next panel represents growth.

The next panel is about me. I have a sentiment there that states, “my true love”, because the greatest love in the world is the love of yourself.
If you wish to attract love to yourself, you must first have love for yourself. Love around you begins within you.
So that’s it!
Here’s a top view of what it looks like.


So if you like this project, please comment here, and let me know!
Do you like this little book? It’s hand made by me, with spiral binding, and canvas paper, to ensure that the pages won’t warp.
Anyhow, this book can be yours for F-R-E-E!!
Just post a comment here, and flatter me with compliments (just kidding, but please give my blog some comment love).
Post a comment with your email, and I’ll randomly pick a winner, next week.

Also, I recently posted some new handmade books for sale. Check them out here, as I love to make them, but have too many in my home. So they must go somewhere!

The Craftaholic

Day 109: Make a Hand Bound Book




Quote: 


 

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”


Why is this? I’ll tell you something: when I was in high school, if you would have asked me, I would have told you, I want like ten kids. Ten kids, no career, and just to stay home.
While I think it’s a beautiful thing that I am a stay at home mother, I am also a WORK at home mother. My career is my art.
I didn’t get what I wanted. I wanted to marry young, and have many children. I ended up marrying at 26, and having a child at 31, which is later than I intended. I don’t think that I will have any more children. But how is this a good thing, you ask?
Hmm. If things hadn’t happened this way, I wouldn’t have turned to my art so strongly. I wouldn’t have at all.
John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. That’s life. Everything I’ve gone through led me to the point where I am now. It led me to be able to be here with you, and sharing my art and creative endeavors with you.
Life happens. Unexpected things happen all the time. We intend for our life to be a certain way. But the universe makes other plans.
We must realize this. We must be flexible, and turn to our art in the hard times that come, so that when we look back, we realize we’ve grown.

Today is a busy day for me. I did manage to make something today. I made one of my husband’s Christmas presents. It’s a hand bound book, using my own way of bookbinding. So since some of us celebrate Christmas by making a meal on Christmas eve, then waiting until midnight, and others celebrate the next day, I’ve decided to give you my gift today.
Tomorow, I won’t be posting. I know I made a vow to make it an every day thing, but hey. Christmas day is a big deal over here.
You know?
So here we go, let’s make some books!
My particular method is based on the Coptic Stitch, which I learned through the Booklyn website. But instead of poking four holes in the spine of each section, I only poke two.
Look up the instructions for the coptic stitch.
So, get your recycled copy paper.
The first thing is to remember to make sections of 5.
Each section of five sheets will make 10 pages. Remember this.
So I like to make books with 100 pages. So that’s ten sections of five sheets.
Now with a bone folder, fold the pages in half. This will be the size of your book.
After you’ve folded each section, take your hole puncher (I use fiskars, they make one that makes tiny little holes).
All you do, is make holes by putting the hole puncher in the edge, where the fold is. Just put the thing as far down as it will go, and make the whole. One on the top, one on the bottom.
Do this for each section. It’s easier this way, so you don’t have to mark a spot or anything.
Now, get yourself an extra long needle. It can be an embroidery needle, that’s what I use.
Also, get some embroidery floss. The color doesn’t really matter much. I mean, not to me it doesn’t.
So get your embroidery floss, and DONT SPLIT IT! Just leave it as is. You want to make sure that the book is bound strongly.
The basic method for bookbinding that I use is this:
Go in the botton hole from the outside, then out on the top hole.
Then get the next paper section, and go in the hole paralell to the one you just took the needle out of.
Then into the bottom hole of that same section. Remember that after each section, pull the thread, so that it’s nice and tight, and not loose.
Then into the hole parallell to that one, on the first section. See? I’m putting the needle in the previous section. I’m doing this, so that I can make all the sections nice and tight.
Then just grab another section, and go into the hole parallel.
See how my hand is holding the sections there? I’m doing this so that I everything stays nicely in place.
That’s it. Do this for the rest of your sections.
At the last section, after you’ve gone over the previous section, go back into the last one again, so that each section is stitched together and nothing is loose.


You go over the stitches there, in between with your needle.
After that, just tie up the the two ends together. That’s it!
Now you can cut some cardboard, to use as your cover. Cut it to size and cover both sides with pretty papers, newspaper, comics, or whatever you wish!
After that, just apply the covers with spray adhesive, so the paper won’t wrinkle.
I added some ribbon on the sides because I wanted to. The ribbon is from Oriental Trading Company. I’m suprised, they are getting pretty hip.
The ribbon on the side, is added to give a space for pens, pencils or brushes.
Cool right?
I also managed to make some for my etsy shop. This will be the first of many, as I really do enjoy bookmaking.


Like it? I hope you do!

The Craftaholic
Check out my etsy shop HERE and HERE!

 

Project: How to make Paper

I am the paper supply queen. I really am. So recently, I wanted to buy some handmade paper, so I can make some lovely wedding invitations for the shop. Instead though, I decided to be eco friendly, and make my own! It’s cheaper to just buy the envelopes, and make my own paper. I’m so excited about this new endeavor, that I’ve posted a tutorial for you all!
The nicest thing is that I had an old Speedball Silk screen kit that I used. You are going to need something called a Deckle. I just used my old Speedball silk screen, since I now have a very cool Yudu to use.
You’ll also need a paper shredder, and a few bowls. Also a basin, or just a good working sink with a stopper.

So here’s the tutorial, without any further avail.

Making Handmade paper

1. The first step, is to shred those old credit card bills, and junk mail that you have laying around. It’s bad feng shui to have clutter, so go through your paperwork, and shred it up!

2. The next step, is to soak the paper in water. You can soak it overnight, or just for a half an hour or so.

3. After that, you’ll need to take the paper, and blend it in a blender. Make sure it becomes a nice pulp.

4. The next step is to get your deckle (or in my case, a silk screen). You’re going to add the pulp to the screen, and fill the sink about 1″ above the deckle. Basically, what you want to do, is smooth the pulp over the screen, so that it starts to look like it could be a piece of paper when dry. The more pulp you add, the thicker the paper. Easy does it on the water. This is a trial and error kind of a project, and it’s cheap enough that it doesn’t matter if you mess up the first time.
At this point tho, you can add little flower petals, seeds, herbs or glitter.

5. Now you’re going to place your deckle on a flat surface, making sure it’s not tilted. Now you might want to lay out a towel on a flat surface, and just sponge out the excess moisture from the deckle. Since I used a silk screen, I just layed it out on top of the towel, and lightly tapped it out.


6. Dry it up! Let it dry, typically overnight. I used a knife to get the paper out from the edges. Carefully lift it out.
Voila! Handmade paper!

Dyeing to know you…Tie Dyeing Tutorial

Ha! I kill me with these corny blog titles. I went to the thrift store today with my good friend Issy, and found this awesome skirt! Actually, it was plain white. But it’s so cute, and has a nice flair, so I decided to rescue it, and dye it. I always keep a couple boxes of RIT Dye just in case.
So I did it! I’m sorry I didn’t take any before pics. But here’s a few afters. It’s still wet, so when it’s dry, I’ll post some pics, and model it for you!

So, a quick tutorial for dying clothing:

It’s really simple. You’ll need a pot, a cup of salt, and a packet of RIT Dye, and some rubber bands.

Take your garment to be dyed, and Twist it up
Wrap your rubber bands around the clothing
Heat up some water, enough for the clothing to be saturated and “swim around” in
In the pot, add 1 cup of salt, and the packet of RIT Dye. Then, predissolve it with a bit of warm water.
Once the water (which you’ve been heating) is almost boiling, add it to the pot and stir
Then add your garment!
Stir it up, baby! You want to make sure it’s completely saturated with dye.
Leave it in until the garment reaches your desired color, up to 30 minutes while you bring it to a simmer. But honestly, I left mine in for about 10 minutes.
Then, take it out, and rinse it in cold water in the sink.
If you have a washing machine, you could just throw it in a cold water washing cycle, but alas, I live in a New York City apartment.
To dry, I have mine on the heater. You could also hang it up, of course, provided you have a nice backyard or something like that. But again, me and this New York City apartment.
I can’t wait until it’s dry! This was so much fun! And so quick!

Awesome!

So, I’m really into the idea of recycled crafts. I am. It’s mostly because I’m cheap and broke. So of course, I’m excited about this new idea I got online. I love it! It involves fusing plastic shopping bags together to make a material which can be sewn together into a new fashionable bag. Awesome!
I love this idea.
Craft magazine has a whole slew of ideas on their blog as well. I can’t wait!
Also, I’m going to the Martha Stewart show next week. YAY! I’m not ashamed to say that I love Martha Stewart. Why not? She totally rocks. Any woman who can make a buck off of being domestic and loving it, has to rule in my book.
My newest project? Ugh. I’m working on a little shawl for my daughter, for her first birthday. It’s knitted, not crocheted. But the stupid pattern doesn’t account for her big head! So I have to increase my stitches.
What else? I’m getting bored of notecards. I’m going to buy some plain onsies this weekend and do some batiking.