Sunday, 28 October 2012

Personalised Buttons Tutorial

The end of October is always a special time. It's when the boys take themselves off for a long weekend to a coastal destination in Devon to do what boys do....lose money in penny arcades, eat fish and chips, watch Rambo DVD's and have some quality Daddy and boy time.  And I get to craft my little heart out!  A whole weekend alone in the Week Day home is...blissful, although I don't think I'd like it every weekend!

This weekend I ticked a whole load of projects off my "to do" list including making my third mouse in as many months but this was a special request to be given as a Christmas present and I am pretty quick at making these now!
But the reason for showing you this is to focus on the buttons.  These have been personalised for the recipient.  They're not made of cardboard, they're made of plastic and below is a tutorial to show you what you'll need and how to do this  :)
You'll need some of this stuff - shrink plastic.  You can get it in good craft shops or online without difficulty.  You will also need a craft heat gun, a hairdryer just won't be hot enough! 
You also need the items below - a craft mat is useful but not critical, a large hole punch, although you can of course cut by hand, a permanent market pen and if you don't have a cropadile, use a standard file hole punch.
 Punch out a couple of practice circles so you can try writing what you want to get the spacing right, then commit to the plastic!
Punch 4 holes in your practice circles to make sure they're positioned correctly and use it as a template on your plastic version.
 Use the permanent pen and dot where you'll use the hole punch.
 The punch the holes and get your heating tool.
As you heat the circle it will twist and turn but don't panic, it will melt back to it's original shape.
Nearly finished....
Done!  And here's the finished version next to the original size.  It shrinks to about 7 times the original, becomes thicker and finally cools enough for you to handle.
You can make all kinds of personalised buttons using someone's name, the date of their birthday perhaps or a seasonal phrase.  If you want to use a rubber stamps, use StazOn ink, cut out and shrink.  There are a couple of examples below shown in their original stamped size and shrunken.  You can colour it with pencils but be aware that the colour will darken as the object shrinks so start off very lightly.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Festive Card Bunting Tutorial

Maybe I should just get this out of the way, fess up and admit I absolutely LOVE Christmas!  That's not to say I think it should be everyday of the year, that would rob it of it's specialness and also I doubt even I could be bothered with that.  But what better way to deal with the shortening days and the coldness that steals your breath than with a great big party around the darkest time of the year just at the point when you are gagging for happy times!

That said, I prefer to keep my festive season in December.  However...some months ago, I promised the ladies at Paperarts that I would make them a "thing" to stick on their wall and as summer has passed (that was summer?) and we're drifting into a different season I thought I would make them something appropriate. I was also feeling guilty about not having kept my word until now!  So last night, instead of keeping up to date with my German studies (Ich habe Deutsch gelernt fur zwei Jahre), I played with some punches, card and liquid dots...

Cut some banner shaped triangles 5 inches long and 3 inches wide at the widest part and decorate with a christmassy style stamp and emboss. Punch whatever leafy shape you may have.  I cut mine in half and glued to the back of my triangle.  Using a green ink dye (I used Ranger Earthtones, Lettuce) smudge some dark patches over the leaves only to make it more visually interesting.  

I used another punch to make the row of holes in the red card for threading later but you could take a length of card and pop holes with a hole punch or pokey tool. Print off a favourite carol or some festive words onto plain white paper and colour lightly with your green ink.  Cut out and attach to the embossed triangles.  

Blob ruby red liquid pearls at the base of the leaves to look like berries. While that's drying, make yourself some flowers using the Scrunchy Flower Tutorial and cut or punch some holly leaves to stick underneath.  (This project is horticulturally all wrong!)  Use a pokey tool to make a little hole where you want the flower to sit and glue the leaves around the hole before you attach the flower.  Push the wings of the paper fastener through the hole and open the wings at the back of the triangle banner to secure the flower in place.  

Tip - if you're going to use glitter spray or anything on your flowers, do it before you attach the flower.  Don't attach it and think, "Oh I know, I'll just give that a little spray with some glimmer mist", because you and I both know that will cause the ink on the strips of words to smudge and you'll have to re-print, re-colour and re-stick.  I make all the mistakes so you don't have to!
Glue on the strip of card with the holes and thread through beads and cord to make a banner.  All together I made 11 banners but it's too long to photograph and show you so here's a section.  I didn't put flowers on each banner, I only made about 7 of them.  Ta dahhh....
You can adapt this to fit whatever colours, card, punches you have.  Before settling on these colours I also experimented with green and silver ('cos I had silver liquid pearls) and that looked really good too, I may make that for myself.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Mud Running

Today was the annual local mud run so we walked from the country house to the cricket ground and got signed up. (I didn't run because someone has to hold the jumpers and take the photos.) After some horrible wet weather yesterday, this morning brought clear blue skies and strong sunshine. Only a cold wind reminded us that we are drifting gently into winter.

The boys ran off somewhere while I took my camera fingers through a thorough warm up and stretch.

The full race is a pretty gruelling 11km slog across soggy, boggy, wet fields and lanes. Once the main race had been started and everyone had disappeared in a schlep of lycra, the 2km mini fun run got underway. No 1 child returned 14 mins later in about 35th position and child number 2 skidded in about a minute after. Both did very well and naturally we had to take pics of the medal. This was the moment I had trained for after all.

They took their muddy little selves off to look out for Super Dad and watch the end of the race. Once again family pride runs high with all boys taking on the challenge and winning even if they didn't win, if you see what I mean.

It took a mammoth shower session before they were all clean enough to be taken to the local pub and fed a huge Sunday lunch. My nose has only just thawed out!


Friday, 5 October 2012

Mouse Mat

Our sewing teacher gave us all a summer challenge a few weeks ago.  She sent us a few small pieces of fabric and we had to make a quilty thing using each of the fabrics and were allowed to add one additional fabric.  I was on a bit of a mouse roll at the time so decided to interpret the challenge in such as way as I got to make another mouse. so here is my "mouse mat".  The quilting is sneakily added in the quilt the mouse is sitting on.  I've just realised I've added buttons.  Ummm... I don't think that was in the brief so don't tell anyone 'kay?
In other news, it's autumn here and I've got the photographic evidence...
 ...and we had a fabby full moon last weekend.  It's a cracker isn't it? 
I played about with my camera settings and ended up with something which looks either like an Alpine mountain (rather than the stone wall it actually is) or a painting.  I like it.