Monday, October 10, 2011

Crazy Busy

It's been c-r-a-z-y busy here on my end of the internet!

I'm a full time teacher.

Correction: I'm a full time kindergarten teacher.

I'm a full time wife and mother as well.

We're buying a house.  This is a BIG DEAL for our family, since it means Uncle Sam's say-so over where we live is coming to an end.

Yes, Dear Husband is retiring, and preparing himself for his next big adventure, whatever that might be.  I strongly suspect he'll be busy fulfilling honey-do wishes that I may or may not be directly responsible for once we have our keys grasped tightly in our fists.

But I **have** snuck some time here and there for myself to create a few kits, and a few custom orders for friends of friends:

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Though not photographed, I added green tulle and off-white lace ties between each pennant... hope the birthday girl likes her banner!

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Of course by the looks of my table, I'll need to do a bit of cleaning before the packers/movers come to transfer my family out of one home and into another.

Into OUR home.

Into our happily-ever-after.

*****

How have you been?  Are you ready for Halloween and other wonderful autumn celebrations?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Crafty Class: Boo-tiful Bunting Fun!



Our crafting class at The Peacock Cafe was so much fun!  Crafty ladies and little misses played with paper, cardstock, ribbon, tulle, lace, and trim remnants to create an autumn mini-banner.

Providing fuel for our creative processes?  Kelly and Jen and the Cafe's delicious sandwiches, salads, iced coffee and desserts!

If you were unable to join us today, extra kits are available at the Cafe for $10 (but get there soon, there's only two of each design left!).  You can pick one up and follow the step-by-step tutorial (previous post) to "get your craft on" at home to create your own bunting.

Check back in for details on Sheila's October Soldering Workshop on The Peacock Cafe's page on Facebook!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn and Halloween Mini-Bunting Tutorial

I'm looking forward to the weekend as I'll ~again~ be spending time with other crafty souls at The Peacock Cafe!  This time we'll be making autumn/Halloween mini-bunting for gifts and home or holiday decor:

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Jacks and Skulls (sounds like Jackson Skulls, doesn't it?)...

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Country Pumpkin (soooo much nicer than "Country Bumpkin!")...

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The Tatty Boo Bunting (using lace and trim remnants on these has been FUN!)...

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... and a much less spooky yet fabulous-for-fall Autumn Song Bunting (the leaves have been cut from music pages).

Several friends and friendly strangers have purchased kits from me, but will be unable to attend tomorrow's class, which means it's time for...

A PHOTO TUTORIAL (insert dramatically happy music here)!

This post will be photo-heavy, which I'm hoping will be more helpful than tedious.  I'll be creating more autumn and holiday kits that I'll list in my Etsy shop, but they will not match the ones in this post.  Their style and assembly steps will match, making this an easy tutorial to bookmark for a later date.

All printed-design papers, cardstock, ribbon, tulle and buttons were purchased at well-known crafts stores.  The paper, vintage text, lace, and trim remnants were found or gifted, which is why the kits are limited.  Three cheers for breathing new life into older crafty materials!


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Start by laying out the three square panels, and make sure the holes are positioned at the top of the bunting:

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Lace your ribbon through the holes, being careful not to pull too hard.  While cardstock is pretty sturdy, layered paper is less so.

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For this pattern, I've laced the ribbon beginning UNDER the panel, then up and OVER the front surface, diving back down under, but you ~could~ lace it the other way, which would create this:

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A peek at the panels laced the way I prefer them:

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They slide quite a bit, so make sure that the center panel is positioned at the mid-point of the ribbon, and space the other two panels an equal distance from it.  The extra ribbon should be equal lengths on either side for tying.

Make sure your panels have an inch or inch-and-a-half of ribbon between them (you need the space for the tulle and lace ties):

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To keep the panels from sliding, use glue or hot glue on the underside of the ribbon and press the ribbon against the paper, OR after positioning the panels, gently lift up the ribbon and add a dollop of hot glue where the ribbon will fall, gently pressing the ribbon into the glue and smoothing it out (it might try to adhere in a wiggly fashion, so work fast):

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Find your three pieces of mis-matched lace or trim, and place one on each panel, running horizontally along the middle of each square:

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Glue your lace pieces down, trim the edges if necessary (I like a bit of overhang) and find your long strips of cardstock.  Fold them accordion style (like a paper fan, back/forth/back/forth):

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Make sure both ends of the strip end with folds facing the same direction:

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Glue one end over the other to form a ring:

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You'll have three rings with which to form center medallions:

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Make sure you have your large paper circles handy (you'll need six, one for the top of each medallion and one for the back):

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Take a ring and press it down:

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When flat, add hot glue to the center and top it with a large circle.  You'll need to hold the medallion flat as the glue cools and hardens.  Once cool, flip the medallion over, add glue to the center, and use another large circle as the backer:

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When all three medallions are cool, glue them to the middle of each square panel:

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Organize your leaf cut-outs, smaller round circles, and buttons.  You'll layer them on top of each accordion-folded medallion:

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Use hot glue to add the leaf:

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...and the smaller circle:

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...and the button:

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Separate the tulle and lace strands:

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Tuck one strip of lace into a single width of tulle, pinching it together, and tie it with a knot around the exposed ribbon:

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Trim the ends of the ties using pinking shears or scissors, depending on which gives you the finished edges you like:

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Gently pull apart the tulle and lace, "fluffing" it a bit:

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Cut dovetails into both ends of the tying ribbon:

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And **whew**, after you've folded, glued, layered, tied and snipped, you're ready to display your mini-bunting:

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FABulous!

*****

Other three-panel mini-bunting kits follow the same steps for assembly; only the items "layered" or lace/trim locations change a bit.  Take a close look at the product photo(s) to see how each is completed.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Boo!

My apologies for the lack of posts: I'm back to school full time and for some reason, our internet/phone service has been spotty at best since the summer heat kicked in mid-June.  I'll be able to log on for two minutes, and then *poof*, we're offline for twenty.  ~Poof~ and I have service for half an hour, then *poof*, it's gone again.  So much for posting, and so much for visiting everyone else's crafty, beautiful blogs!

You can't tell, but I'm typing QUICKLY, trying to beat the next *poof*.

There's an upshot to the on-again-off-again internet dilemma though:

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More time in the crafty nook!

I'll be participating in a Halloween Ornie Swap in late September, so I played with paper, buttons, ribbon, and my new favorite crafty stuff: spray adhesive!  Oh, the speed!  Oh, the ease!  Ooooohhhhhh..... the mess from the overspray.  I'll figure a less goopy technique out soon I'm sure, but for now, I'm spraying into my trash can in an attempt to not glue my flip flops to the carpet.

You know how it goes.

Are you crafting anything fun for Halloween?


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Boo-tiful Banner Class, September 24

Won't you join me at The Peacock Cafe on Saturday, September 24?

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I'll be showing you how to make this:

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Not terribly long or wide, but just the right size for that corner, mirror, or hauntingly beautiful Halloween display many of you put up in October.

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Who says Halloween can't be boo-tiful?

The banner is made from scrapbook paper, ribbon, tulle, glittered cardstock, and tattered lace and trim remnants.

Call The Peacock Cafe Tuesday-Saturday (11-4 pm), 913-651-9914 to reserve your seat.

The class fee is $15.  We'll meet and craft together from 2-4 p.m.  Join us earlier if you'd like to have lunch or coffee and a dessert first as Kelly and her staff have been impressing all kinds of foodies with declicious sandwiches, soups, salads, cakes, cupcakes and pies!

Please bring sharp scissors and a low-temp glue gun.

I will have additional autumn kits available for purchase for $10 if you get on a roll and would like to make more!

Hugs,

Michaele

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teaching Myself to Solder: A-B-C

I love jewelry, especially charms. Charms on necklaces, charms on bracelets, "window" charms encasing beautiful imagery, sparkle, and typography... heavy charms, light charms, clang-y charms, jingle-y charms. Oh yes, bling is g-o-o-d.

Months and months ago, I had a quick introduction to soldering with Sheila out at Farmstead. As intimidating as it was to pick up a new-to-me crafting tool, Sheila shared reassuring tips as I worked, step by step, to solder around a domino. I left not only with a new autumn charm to wear, but with a new-found interest to learn more about wielding a tool I'd only ever seen used by large manly men as they did manly things.

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Dear Husband gifted me with a soldering wand several months ago, but it's taken until summer break for me to work up the nerve have the time to plug it in and try my hand at working with copper tape, flux, wire solder, sal amoniac, and my soldering wand.

Though small, I decided to use old Scrabble tiles for practice.  After wrapping the letter "A" with copper tape, I decided to use a mini-clamp to keep my fingertips out of the way of the solder, which also made it easy to hold the tile as I worked.
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What did I learn with the letter "A?"  ACCURACY matters: use enough copper tape to overlap at the ends.  Cutting it short just won't work.  See the gap?

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Letter "B" reminded me that I have to BURNISH the tape firmly to the wood or surface of my charm.  See the BLUCKY BUBBLES and rough edges?  Burnish, burnish, burnish, but do it carefully.  I got a bit too aggressive and actually tore a bit of the tape instead of adhering it.

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For letter "C," I slowed down, wrapped the tape CAREFULLY, burnished it using the flat side of my bone folder, fluxed evenly, and held the tile level as the solder cooled on each side.  What an improvement!

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I've got a long way to go before I'll feel that soldering has become another comfortable component of my craftiness, but hey:

I've started.

*****

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

I love the red, white, and blue, don't you?



Have a fun and safe Fourth of July!

DIY Cupcake Topper KITS in My Etsy Shop

Did you like the tutorial for my summertime cupcake toppers?  How would you like to make your own, WITHOUT having to track down the paper, ribbon, buttons and lolly sticks?

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I've assembled everything you'll need to make your own set of *12* cupcake toppers!  You can purchase your kit from my Etsy shop and then refer back to the tutorial for the step by step directions.

Here's what you'll get:

12 strips of double sided print paper to form the rosettes
12 lolly sticks
12 ribbons
12 buttons
12 glittery flower paper accents
24 denim pattern paper medallions

The url to the tutorial link is also provided with the kit~

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Make sure you use a low temp glue gun as your adhesive, and have fun crafting!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cupcake Topper Tutorial: Patriotic Summer Fun!

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I loved teaching fellow crafty souls how to make party bunting and cupcake toppers at The Peacock Cafe!  Paper, ribbon, buttons, medallions, and lolly sticks were combined to make colorful decor for patriotic summertime fun.

Cupcake toppers are easily made with cardstock or scrapbook paper... would ~you~ like to make some?

Here's what you'll need:


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Two sheets of matching 12 inch X 12 inch scrapbook paper (or one sheet of cardstock): I used a simple red and white checked "picnic" patterned paper

Scrap strips 1 and 1/2 inches by 12 inches for medallion and flower punches: I used denim scrapbook paper for the round medallions and glittery white cardstock for the flowers

Buttons: red for this design

One inch diameter hole punches: scalloped round and simple flower (I purchased them at either Hobby Lobby or Michael's- they're made by The Paper Studio)

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Narrow white ribbon

White cardboard type candy/lolly sticks (found in the candy making or baking section of Joann's): I used cardboard instead of wooden picks or popsicle sticks so they can be cut without creating splinters to shorten the height if necessary...

Plain adhesive (I use an Elmer's glue stick) and low temp melt glue/glue gun

Optional: Paper crimper: the strips that make the cupcake topper are accordian-folded, but if you're arthritic or have difficulty folding the strips in even increments, running the strips through the paper crimper first can make the folding MUCH easier.  Brayer:  used to help push air bubbles out from scrapbook pages being glued together.

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Directions:

If you use cardstock, SKIP THIS STEP (cardstock is thicker than scrapbook paper and will be ~difficult~ to accordian-fold if you double its thickness).

Apply glue (glue stick) evenly across the back of one sheet of scrapbook paper:

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Place second sheet of patterned paper on top, "wrong" sides together, matching corner to corner, and smooth all air bubbles out.  I use a brayer to prevent air pockets so the paper won't separate once it's cut.

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Once dry, cut the scrapbook paper into twelve 1-inch wide strips:

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If you'd like to use a paper crimper, run each strip through it one time, making sure that the paper doesn't slide sideways or slant as it goes between the rollers:

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I've seen two crimpers made by Fiskars- this one that makes symmetrical grooves across the paper or cardstock (the pattern resembles corrugated cardboard), and another that crimps an uneven wavy pattern across the paper.  You'll want the NON-WAVY crimper.  I found mine at Michael's.

Accordian-fold the paper strips in 1/2 inch or less widths:

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Alas, there's a ~tricky part~ to this cute craft!

See the ends of this strip?

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The ends are both folding in toward one another, a big no-no!

If you've folded the paper so that the ends look like this (photo below) as you curve the strip around for the ends to meet, you're in GREAT SHAPE:

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If the accordian folds have resulted in the strip having the "no-no"ends pictured in the first photo, simply cut off the last fold with scissors:

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Now you're ready to use your hot glue gun to turn your folded strip into a ring. Apply glue so that the facing-up of one end of the strip can stick to the facing-down end of the other:

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See the glue?

The seam should be an overlap of one edge of the strip covering the other. Whoops! Apologies- you can see the seam across my uh... middle finger:

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After all of your strips have been folded and glued into rings, let the glue dry while you use the hole punches to make 24 denim blue medallions and 12 white flowers (though you can make 24 flowers so that each cupcake topper is decorated on the front AND back if you'd like):

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Once the medallions and flowers are punched, grab one of the folded rings. Let it stand on your work surface, and gently press down on the top creases toward the middle of the ring. The folds will start to fan out as you press down:

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Continue to press down until the ring collapses completely into a rosette shape:

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You'll need some coordination (or help at this point), as you must keep the accordian-folded ring/rosette flat on your work surface with one hand while squeezing some melted glue into the center of the rosette with the other, topping the glue with one of the denim medallions:

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Make certain you have a firm hold on the rosette at this point, because it will still try to pop up and spread back open into a ring- NOT fun when there's hot glue involved!

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Press the denim medallion into the center of the rosette on top of the hot glue, keeping a firm hold on the rosette as it dries.  If the medallion is punched from thin paper, be careful not to let your fingertips get burned as you hold it down.

Once that side is dry, flip the rosette over and add hot glue and a denim medallion to the back. See how the rosette holds its shape once one side has been glued?

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After the rosette has dried, choose the prettier side and, using hot glue, add a white flower punch and button to the center of the denim medallion:

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Lollipop stick time!

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Squeeze a little bit of hot glue into one of the folds/grooves on the back side of the cupcake rosette:

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Slide the lolly stick into the groove and glue, and let dry:

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Turn the cupcake topper over and tie on a length of ribbon (I cut my ribbon into nine or ten inch lengths so I'm able to tie a nice bow):

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If you don't want the bows to slide or twist around the lolly stick, add a small drop of hot glue beneath the rosette and push the bow up into it:

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**SO** cute, but we're not quite done! See the ends of the ribbon? Blah. Yes, BLAH. Cut a dove's tail into each end and watch the cuteness factor increase:

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Pull off any dried glue "strings" and start baking (or buying!) cupcakes~ it's time to decorate!

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Let me know if you make a set of cupcake toppers!

(Psst, did you know the same medallion/rosette design can be used to create ornaments, a gift tag decoration, or to spruce up bunting or handmade cards?)