Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crafty Creatives Christmas Box

In late September, Crafty Creatives offered for sale an optional special-edition box for Christmas to arrive in late November. I couldn't resist buying it, of course! I've had the glorious thing in my possession now for a few weeks and am finally sitting down to write about it!

I love the various CC stickers on the boxes. Excitement from the get-go! I didn't get a picture, but instead of the normal pink bag, this one came in a red one!

I save all my paper as well, so different paper = love!

And here we are at the art card. This will look great framed as a Christmas decoration- I may have to have one frame purely rotational for seasonal art cards.

When the Christmas box arrived, I was up to my ears in craft fair business and Thanksgiving craziness, so I didn't even get a chance to open it until December! My friend noted that she wished she'd taken a photo of it packed in the box so she could remember how to put it in, so here's mine! ;)

Before the wide shot, here's some smaller shots- so many snowflake goodies- really great bits and pieces to use. I'm planning on doing some great little trees for my dollhouses with the cones- I'll have to track down some appropriately-coloured Floral Soft! ;)

Wreath blanks and jingle-bells- two things I cannot get enough of! 

This box had three kits! The first one is great and will probably be the first I do- a glitzy beaded bauble! My daughter loves all things purple and was thrilled with the colour selection. Can you tell that I had to blur myself out of the bauble? 

Kit #2 was a great one as well- felt decorations look beautiful on the tree in every decade and are the epitome of 'crafty Christmas'. Look at those tiny buttons, too!

And finally, the third kit: lib scrub! Included are lots of little pots to make gifts for friends and family (and teachers!) I may go buy some popping candy so my daughter can add them to make a few for her friends- the Lush scrub I have with popping candy is very popular with her!

This box was massive- so many more things than I've mentioned, all pictured here. As always, you can click to enlarge and see everything- there was a TON of great papercrafting stuff that I've barely even touched on!

This box contained:
  • CC Kit 1: Beaded bauble
  • CC Kit 2: Felt tree decoration(s)
  • CC Kit 3: Lip scrub gifts
  • 3 wooden snowflakes
  • Card cone 'family'
  • jingle bells
  • 10 chunky howlite-style Christmas tree beads
  • 1m Berisford ribbon
  • 2 wreath rings
  • 2 double-sided craft papers
  • 2 mini DIY gift boxes
  • silver snowflake charms
  • pack of card blanks
  • Christmas tree stickers
  • Christmas bells cabochon
  • clear wrapping seals from Stix2
  • Christmas sequins / table scatter
So all in all, it was an absolutely packed box. The CC format is changing in the new year and the only way we'll have these boxes of craft-inspiration supplies will be by this optional way of purchasing, but even if I end up not being a fan of the new format, I will definitely be getting the optional boxes!

And a note on the jingle bells... After the Crafty Christmas boxes shipped, the few that were left were offered for sale again on the website... along with some goodie bags from last year's Christmas Nostalgia box. Yes, I couldn't resist- but I got more jingle bells! YES!

CC Box 18 arrives this week, and I still have yet to share box 17 with you- so I may do it as one big post. We'll see!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Pud Necklace Tutorial

Phew, this autumn has been crazy. I've done my first few craft faires, juggled through a few shops, sold a ton on Etsy thanks to the new credit card payment system, and have been generally working my little behind off!

I'm behind on non-CC content, and one of the first things I knew I wanted to do for you guys was a tutorial, so here's one I've had planned for a while- Christmas puds.

This tutorial is also a companion to my Christmas Pud Necklace kits, so anyone buying those looking for a photo tutorial, you're in the right place!

This tutorial can be used to make a variety of different pud things, simply scale to the desired size as needed. In these photos, I make a chunk 1" pud for a pendant.

I have made my puds a few different colours over the year, but I've found a roughly 2:1 ratio of brown to red clay looks the best. If you only have a small bit of red clay (from the kit, etc), pinch off a pea-sized piece of red clay and leave it to the side- you’ll need this later! Blend the remaining red clay with all of the brown clay to make the body of your pud.

Roll the red-brown clay into a ball. Texture it with a toothbrush, or by rolling it on a piece of low-grit sandpaper. Set aside.

Condition and roll out/flatten some white clay.  Shape to a irregular round shape (think ‘splat’) or cut it to shape with a craft knife. I was making several puds at once here, so I have three 'splats' cut out. Make them as big or as small as you like.

Soften the edges with your fingers - once satisfied, place the clay on top of the red-brown pud base. Gently push it into place, working around the edge of the 'splat' in a circle.

Blend green and black clay together. NOTE: Start by blending just a VERY TINY bit of black clay and add more in tiny bits as needed, depending on how dark you want your holly leaves to be. You really will need almost no black clay to start, and none if you prefer a bright green.

Thinly roll out the dark green clay and cut two holly leaves. Cut a rectangle shape, and then slowly notch the ends and sides until you are happy with the shape. Gently scratch a line down the middle of the leaf for detail.

Place your holly leaves on top of the white ‘cream’. You can choose to either have them lie flat of give them a bit of lift.

Condition another small piece of red clay, and make three holly berries to place between the holly leaves! The easiest way to get them all the same size is to roll out a long skinny snake of clay and cut equal sized pieces from it before finishing the pieces into a better spherical shape.

Once your berries are placed, decide how you want the pud to hang, and use a sharp needle to poke a hole. I put mine in at a slight angle so the pendants show off the holly a bit better.

You can also slice one pud into two before adding the holly and berries to make two pud halves. These work great for post earrings and brooches.

Bake according to packaging instructions (110 degrees C for 30 minutes for FIMO) and varnish if desired, and you have a great little necklace that will be the perfect addition to your Christmas jumper! 

To buy a kit for this, send me a message on Facebook or give me a tweet! Is there anything else you'd like to know how to make? Any other kits you'd like available? Let me know!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Roll up, roll up! Crafty Creatives Box #16

I have been neglecting you, dearest blog readers. The past few months have been crazy with seasonal preparations for craftiness, but the good thing is that after this coming weekend, my main deadlines will be past, and aside from commissions, I'll be able to devote my time to blog posts and other crafty fun!

Last Wednesday, I got my latest Crafty Creatives box, and I've already had a break from my own crafting to play with it a bit.

The theme for this box (number 16, wow!) is Victorian Circus!

The art card is by Luke Spooner who also did last year's October box- definitely a flair for the creepy here.

I'm always drawn to these little bits the most, it seems. Some pretty purple glass beads and those printed buttons are great.

I think my favourite thing in this whole box was this tin of little circus stamps. They're less creepy and more cute, and I can't wait to have time to play with them a bit!

And this month's kit was to make a kitsch animal pendant necklace- as you can see I've already had a bit of fun playing with mine! I added a purple bell from last year's Nostalgia box, some glitter from the Blue box, and put him on a keyring instead of a necklace-- I want to put him on a handbag!

And here's a rundown of everything in the box.
  • Art Card by Carrion House
  • CC Kit: Kitsch animal pendant
  • 4 stripey buttons
  • circus stamp tin
  • strand of purple glass beads
  • 3 mask pendants/charms
  • admission tickets- I got red and orange!
  • 2 double-sided craft papers
  • Materials for extra coaster kit including:
    • two plain coaster
    • sheet of tattoos (I got dragons)
    • reversed circus images
    • Stix2 PVA glue
I wasn't blown away by this box- but it's growing on me. Even though the kit wasn't really 'me', I had a lot of fun playing with the hot glue gun, and am happy with how it turned out. The stamps as well are a really great and I'm looking forward to have a moment to play with them.

Hopefully I'll have some blog entries for you after this weekend, and as I have a lot of CC kits yet to finish for my yearly goals (9?!), I'll have some entries showing those off soon.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Crafty Creatives box 15!

Wow, this month has been absolutely crazy so far. I have not had a second to sit down and craft apart from making more new displays for my things at the shop, and those were late-night panic-filled endeavours! I have however been acquiring a few crafty things, some of which work perfectly with this month's Crafty Creatives box!

Can I just say I was way too excited to see more new surround paper? This stuff is always neatly packed into my 'paper crafts' box for future use!

This month's box was 'Monochrome'! I have been working on covering my (currently unused) keyboard tray with a monochrome sharpie doodle and I've been looking at lots of inspiration lately- this art card provides even more! I can't wait to get this one up on the wall.

More felting in this month's CC kit! I have to say that while I'm ever-so-slightly sad that it's not a new skill, I'm happy to learn to 3D felt! This will be a fun one to do, and I know that the felting kit Woodland box was extremely popular (it's one of my personal favourites!)

I am a little bit crazy when it comes to collecting little notebooks/sketchbooks/what-have-you and this made me squeal a bit! The pen and pencil are of a beautiful quality as well so I'll be sure to fill this little book with lots of sub-par attempts at drawing, but I'll love it!

And here it is all out as usual:

  • Art card by Jo Newham
  • CC kit: felted sheep
  • double-sided domino beads
  • graphite pencil
  • polymer clay rose
  • mini blackboard peg- I love this!
  • Stabilo Sensor pen
  • Crafty Creatives doodlebook
  • tea bag folding squares
  • sheet of Aubrey Beardsley prints
  • black and white sewing pins
  • fat quarter of black and white fabric
It's a great box- while I love boxes with a strong theme, I think that this box (and the Blue box) provides such a good opportunity to get seemingly-unrelated items together, and it all looks so great together. I love that this box has so many crafty essentials, and that though the kit is a skill I've already been taught by the CC gals, it's another level up. I'm also interested to try the tea bag folding as I'd never even heard of it before now!

But of course, I am not one to leave things black and white... so I took my newly-bought pile of brightly-coloured Sharpies to my fabric... and I love it even more.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Crafty Creatives Box 14- 'Western'

Crafty Creatives box 14 landed several weeks ago, but we were away on holiday! Finally last Friday this box was redelivered, and though I hadn't managed to avoid seeing what this month's theme and contents were, it was still nice to get my pink parcel!

First I'm going to show off a few photos of where were were. My own ancestral homelands (not really) of Illinois. Flat, hot, and corn (and soybeans).

Ahhhh, the country life.

So perhaps strangely fitting that this month's box was very North American themed! Though, I was not in the wild west- this box's theme was 'Western'!

Native American culture is something I've grown up treading very lightly around. My American ancestors go back mostly to the Revolutionary War, so I know there have probably been some along the way who have not been the best of neighbors to those who were displaced. Appropriation is tricky, and in some cases inappropriate. That said, I think this art card is beautiful and I think for the most part this box was handled lightly.

The kit for this box was a dreamcatcher- an obvious choice! I look forward to getting the feathers in box 15 so I can finish this one off properly. Although I do have to point out that as they originated from the Ojibwe people they are technically not 'Wild West' but more 'wild north'!  

There was also a second kit in this box- a rope basket. This one looks a bit trickier, I have to admit.

There was a good selection of beads and charms in this one, including a generous amount of star studs.

click to enlarge!
A quick rundown of my box's contents:
  • Art card by Anastasia Alexandrin
  • CC kit- dreamcatcher
  • Extra kit- rope basket
  • two strings of turquoise beads
  • lots of bronze star studs
  • five feather charms
  • 1 metre suedette floral cut trim
  • piece of fleece
  • purple stone bear bead
  • two pieces of recycled denim
  • two sheets of craft paper

I got some great fabric when I was back in the US and have some plans already- what do you think?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Easy Nail Polish Earrings

A few months ago I saw a very effective and simple way of making some great earrings- and whatever your style is, you can make them 'you'! With your favourite nail polish (or just some that you think would make great earrings) and just a couple of glass cabochons, earrings are born!

The hardest part is probably picking the nail polish you want to use. But the great thing about this is that if you buy a pack of cabochons, you can make a ton of coordinating earrings. For this tutorial, I used Island of Misfit Toys by Glitzology, a sheer polish with lots of rainbow glitter.

The problem with glitter fingernail polish is that when I work with clay, it tends to come off and spoil the clay, so I don't get to wear it on my nails much. Wearing it as earrings softens the blow a bit!

In addition to the nail polish and the cabochons you'll need a good craft glue and some earring posts that aren't bigger than the cabochons. (They're not pictured, but don't forget the earring backs, either!)

So here it is: Paint the back of your cabochons with nail polish- more coats if you want it to be darker though the silver posts will help it. When they're very dry, carefully glue them to the earring posts (being especially careful if you are using a solvent glue as it'll work like fingernail polish remover and pull the polish from the glass).

And that's it. Great little earrings that will coordinate perfectly. You can also do this with larger glass cabochons and make pendants for a coordinating necklace. 

Cabochons can be found cheaply from most craft stores and online, making these a nice inexpensive addition to your jewelry box- and you'll probably end up making multiple pairs!

What polish will you use? Do you have a favourite?