Origami Obsession

One of the crafts I love to do is origami.  As long as I can remember I’ve been folding little boxes from scraps of paper, and I make those pretty chains from candy wrappers too – come back in a day or two for some pictures.  So the natural evolution was to start doing “proper” origami.

I’ve done all kinds of lovely bits and pieces…

The problem that I have is that I can get a little bit obsessive.  When I find a pattern I like, I tend to make it again and again and again…

See those beautiful rainbow wreaths?  Here are some more…

Those little 8-pointed stars?

Like I said… a little bit obsessed.

You can buy my origami wreaths and stars in my store, here.  They hang very easily and make beautiful decorations 🙂

More Book Folding

After I made that adorable book hedgehog, I took to the internet to find more book folding ideas.  In terms of shapes like the hedgehog the most common things I found were fairy houses like these…

fairy house

.and candles like these…


But there is a whole other side to book folding.  You can retain the book shape and create an image in the edge of the pages.  Like these…

And there are a couple of different methods to do this.  Measure and Fold requires measuring down the side of the page at two points per page, and folding the corners to those marks.

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Cut and Fold requires marking the page at various points, cutting into the page a little and then folding back.

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Then there’s the Combi method, which folds the top and bottom corners and has the cutting method along the edge of the page.

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I’ve attempted the Measure and Fold method so far.  I started with a heart pattern I found attached to a YouTube tutorial…

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After that I went hunting for more patterns and found a website called Folded Book Art which has a LOT of lovely free patterns.  And I went a little nerdy.

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Generally these type of book folds are done with hardback books.  I’m told you can add card to the covers of a paperback book, but I’ve yet to try that.  I’ve recently been culling my books, so before I sent them off to the charity shop, I rescued a whole bunch of hardback books.  One was in beautiful condition, but very thin (usually you need several hundred pages), so I used it to test doing a letter.

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Next to try is a Cut and Fold pattern.  I’ll let you know how that goes.


Polymer Clay Fail

I’ve been wanting to make polymer clay things for ages.  There are so many beautiful examples online.  Watching YouTube tutorials is a little addictive, and there are a hundred different ideas for things you can make and sell with the stuff.

For those who don’t know, polymer clay comes in a range of colours and you can sculpt whatever you desire.  Charms, figurines, or beads.  Then you bake it in the oven to harden it.  Popular brands are Fimo, Sculpey and Premo.

When I was very young, my grandparents had Fimo at their house and I remember playing with it.  I can’t recall anything that I made though.  It’s been on my list of things to try for a long time, and finally a YouTube tutorial sucked me in.  This one…

I figured it was simple enough to get started and I only needed to buy two colours to begin with.  I passed on the white because I am an extremely mucky person, and ordered black and a lovely grey from eBay.  Once they arrived, I set to playing.

For some reason I didn’t take any progress pictures, which is annoying now that I come to write about it.  But it turns out that sculpting is something I’m not very good at.  There are a few crafts that I enjoy, but that I’m not at all talented at.  Much much more practice is needed.

The cat in the video proved completely beyond me.  I ended up making a very simple rabbit, and then a flat cat image I found online.

The next step was to bake them.  The YouTube videos all say to follow the directions on the packet but these are a little complicated.  It gives a temperature and time per a certain thickness, which took me some time to figure out.  Apparently I got it wrong.  Wrong temperature, wrong time.

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The paper is supposed to remain untouched.  And as for the pieces.  Remember I told you I bought a nice grey colour?  It’s this lovely blue-grey here…


(The colour is called Tranquility if you’re interested).

I show you this because my completed pieces bear absolutely no resemblance to that.

PicMonkey Collage

I’ve done plenty of research since, and have found out what I did wrong.  I think.  My temperature was way too high and I have bought, as suggested by a few people, an internal oven thermometer.  The surface I baked it on wasn’t ideal so I’ve bought a ceramic tile and some foil trays.

I will be having another go at making polymer clay pieces soon.  Hopefully I’ll do a bit of a better job at the baking.  As for the actual sculpting, well that can only improve with practice.  I hope.


Attempting Melted Crayon Art

I’m sure you’ve all seen images of melted crayon art on the internet.  Like these…

This one from Instructables.com

And the several million you can find by searching “melted crayon art” on Pinterest.  And it’s not just the crayons either.  You can add a little drawing and turn it into something even more spectacular.

CrayonGogh on Etsy makes incredibly beautiful pieces, like this one featuring Elsa.

Trying this has been on my list of things to try for a while, and I finally got around to it.  I got myself crayons, some canvas, a glue gun and a heat gun and got started.  I wanted to do something simple to start off with, so just used the seven crayons.

Well, it melted…

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I just don’t think it looks all that great.

I did end up with quite a few cuttings of crayons, because I experimented with different size pieces of crayon, and I tried putting them on small canvases and aiming a heat gun at them.

They also melted…

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I’m not entirely impressed with the results.  But I guess it takes a bit of practice.  I’ll have to have another go at some point.  Maybe try a different palette.  The majority of the pictures online use rainbows.  I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t go with rainbow to start with.

Have any of you tried melted crayon art?  How did yours turn out?


Workshop Review

At the Make It exhibition way back in February, Cayden and I attended a two hour workshop.   It was run by a representative of a company called Powertex, who make fabric and textile stiffeners and associated bits and pieces.   The particular workshop we attended was to, as the workshop programme said: “decorate a bottle using a range of Powertex products and various pigments.”

Cayden and I love to do workshops and we’d tried most of the other crafts on offer, so we turned up excitedly for this one.  It was quite a long session, but that’s because there was so much to learn.  It was a little difficult to see what was going on in the demonstration because of the way they’d positioned us, but we managed.

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The original demonstration was a little bit dull, but it was choc-a-block full of information.  And there were some tips from the other participants too.  Powertex works best on certain types of fabric, and apparently if you burn a scrap of cotton it turns to ash rather than melting.  I never knew that, although it does make sense now.

Once the demo was over, we got stuck in.  Literally.  There was a lot of goo.

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We’d been told several times by the demonstrator not to over saturate our scraps of fabric, so everyone was a little bit timid.  It took us a long time to get things properly saturated.

The basic method was to soak fabric pieces in the Powertex stiffener and apply to your bottle, adding anything you’d like to add texture, like the little clay faces and hearts they provided us with.

Once you’d got your bottle fully covered, without getting too much on yourself if possible, the bottles need to dry.  They had a fantastically genius method of doing this at the workshop.  They had an old display cabinet that they’d cut a hole in the top and applied a hair dryer to, so we only had to wait twenty minutes or so rather than the two days it would take naturally.

The next step was adding the highlights with the pigments.  Pretty pretty pigments.

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I’m not so good with brushes.  I have very little control, and can be very heavy handed.  There were some excellent tips from the demonstrators, such as brushing as much off as you can onto a scrap of paper… or the handy table wrapping.

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But I did manage to come up with a completed bottle.  Eventually.

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It’s not so great.  Cayden did a much, much better job with his.

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I’m very intrigued by this Powertex.  I have a few ideas for it in the future, but they’ll have to be quite a way in the future.  My ideas list is quite long 🙂


Nerd Alert

I am a nerd.  I love all things geeky, and I wanted to find a way to express this in my store.  So I’ve come up with a few things.

Firstly, I’ve made some nerdy badges…

You can buy all of these – and many more – on my store HERE.

I’d also love to hear your suggestions for more nerdy badges.

After the badges I wanted to do something with dice and meeples.  If you’re a tabletop gamer you’ve probably met a meeple.  It’s a little character token found in lots and lots of different board games.  They look like this…


So I bought myself a table clamp and a hand drill, and some meeples, resource cubes and dice and then I got to drilling.  I made a few prototypes that I’m quite pleased with.

I learned a lot making these, and there was a lot of trial and error.  But I was happy to move on.  The next step was buying supplies.  Conveniently I was going to a gaming convention where I managed to stock up easily.

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There’s still a lot of trial and error and experimentation to go for these, but they’ll be up on the store soon.  Keep an eye out.


Book Hedgehog (and a contest!)

Remember when I wrote about those adorable book hedgehogs I’d seen?  Well I finally got around to making one.

It’s actually a very simple process.  Just two folds.  You fold your book page in half, then fold one corner in.

PicMonkey Collage

Very easy.  You just repeat those two steps over and over again.

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And over and over and over.  Now, common sense should have told me that this would be quite a time consuming process.  However I don’t actually have much common sense.  It took me about an hour to make my hedgehog.

The number of pages you need varies depending on the thickness of the pages.  I found that when I got to this point…

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…I couldn’t really fit any more pages in, and my hedgehog seemed nicely full.  So I tore off the rest of the book and moved on to the next step.  The decorating.  I added a button for his nose, and some nice big googly eyes, as well as little shapes of spare book page for ears.  And here he is:

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Here he is at work, too…

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He doesn’t have a name yet, but I have narrowed it down to a few options:

  • Eugene
  • Spike
  • Horace
  • Ziggy
  • Quilliam
  • Wells

I can’t decide though.  Let me know what you think and there may well be a prize in it for one of you 🙂

Hama Bead Mario

One of the most prolific crafts that I have is Hama beading.  You’ll find LOTS of items in the store, and I have a whole bunch more to add too.  I’m sure you’ll recognise the craft.

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You lay the coloured beads in a pattern on a pegboard and then iron them to fuse them together.  In America the prevailing brand is called Perler, so that’s what the craft is known as there.

As much as I love when people buy my Hama pieces, it gives me a little thrill when a little kid comes up to my table at a fair, points to the Hama pieces and says something along the lines of “Mummy, I have these!”  I feel like I’m renewing their interest, and I like to think they go home and get those beads out and get crafting.  I’m all for spreading the craft love.

Recently I’ve been trying to work through all the things on my bucket list, and one of those things was to create a timelapse video of a Hama bead piece.  And I found the perfect time to do that on March 10th – also known as Mar 10 – also known as Mar10 day!

What do you think?  I used an app called Lapse It, and I need to jiggle around with the settings a little, but for a first attempt it wasn’t bad.  The end result looks pretty good too….

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Craft Haul!

I love the internet trend of posting craft hauls.  I love seeing what bits and pieces other people have been buying.  And since I did a “wee bit” of shopping at the Make It exhibition a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d show you all what I got.

I showed you a few pictures in the main post, so lets start with some of those.

Papers!  Lots of craft paper books.  All so very pretty.  I use them for card making, and origami, and cutting up to make cabochons.  So far anyway.  I’m sure I’ll find more uses for them as I gather more crafts under my belt.

I got a big hunk of A4 white card for general card needing purposes, as well as some A3 white card.  The plan for that is some wrapping paper templates that have been requested/suggested.  But plain paper is kinda boring, so lets move on to more pretty things.

YARN!  Given how many yarn stalls there were, I was very well behaved.  Only two balls!

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Yes, I know there’s only one ball in that picture, but by the time I got around to taking photos I’d already turned the red ball into some of these little guys…

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You can buy my adorable mini aliens here.

One of the workshops that was on offer at Make It was to make a beaded snowflake.  (Picture taken from the Make It blog).  snowflake

Cayden and I were both interested, but we’d already booked a workshop, and we figured they were fairly simple to do.  Which is very true.  I’d had an attempt before, a long time ago.  But I discovered that the wire needs to be much much stiffer.

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So when my eagle-eyed friend spotted these at one of the many beading stalls, I snapped up a pack.  Look for pretty snowflakes at some point in the future..

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One of my favourite stalls last year was Every Craft’s £1, and I really hoped they’d be there this year too.  They were, and they’re responsible for more than one of those packs of paper.  I also stocked up on sheets of A4 magnet, although I have discovered since that the one I picked is a little too thick to cut smoothly.  While we were perusing their wares, I spotted these…

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… and picked up a few.  I have a bunch of ideas for decorating them and making them beautiful enough to add to the store.  They’re on the ever-expanding to do list 🙂

There were a few bits and pieces I’d been after for a while and finally got a chance to pick up.  Like embroidery thread spools.

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A pair of snips, which I have become completely obsessed with.  I have to say the word “snips” every time I use them, and I may have been on eBay since to buy a few more pairs.

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A sample of the E6000 glue that the internet raves about.

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And a heat gun!  This had been on my list for ages, and there was a stall selling a couple at half price, so I couldn’t resist.

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I also bought a couple of pairs of eyeglass holder loop thingies.  I’m supposed to wear glasses, but always forget.  It was suggested to me that I need a chain, and I figured I could easily make something pretty.  So these loop thingies are currently sitting on my desk waiting to be transformed.

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I bought buttons.  Because I love buttons!  And because my box of buttons sorted nicely into rainbow colours was severely lacking in some areas.

One of my favourite purchases from last year was a £5 goody bag, containing lots of randomness.  It was something I’d planned on getting again this year.  And inside was, as promised, lots of goodies.

See… many many goodies.  I used a few of them to make a poster for Mother’s Day that my my sister and I hung around the neck of the 4ft gnome we got her.

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And that’s my first craft haul blog.  What do you think?  Should I do more, or abandon the idea altogether?

Stocking Up

As well as this online store, I’ve been to a few craft fairs and school fetes to sell my wares in the last year.  I haven’t done a lot, but I look to do a lot more.

Every one that I attend brings new ideas and new acquaintances.  I have a very long list of ideas that I will one day get through.

One thing I have definitely learned though is that – at school fetes at least – cheap sells well.  There tend to be a lot of kids, and they like things that they can afford with their pocket money.  My best seller by far at these fairs has been these bangles:

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You can click on the image to find them in my store.

They sell for just 50p, but they sell like hotcakes.

With plans to do many more fairs this year, I decided I should stock up.  I may have gotten a bit carried away.

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There are 160 there.  Like I say, I may have gotten a bit carried away.  But in theory I won’t have to make any more for a while.

PicMonkey Collage