Monday, 29 August 2011

My very first mini album...well....not so mini 25th Wedding Anniversay Pressie




From these.....

To this..

This is my very first album so please be gentle!!  It is my Uncle and Aunts 25th wedding anniversary today and all those years ago I was their 6 year old flower girl and having seen the photos last night, I havent changed a bit!!  They had a big party last night to celebrate in their massive barn at their beautiful house in Wicklow.  They didnt want gifts but there was no way I could turn up empty handed.  They love taking photos so I thought I could making a journalling photo album so they could have a memory album of their anniversary.  

I wanted to keep this quite plain and not too bulky an album as I wanted it to be a "working" album as such.  I think sometimes its very easy to get carried away and add too much embellishments to an album which makes it difficult to then use even though they are beautiful pieces of artwork.  But as it was my Uncle and Aunts 25th Wedding Anniversary I knew they would want to put photos of the party in it and I wanted them to have space to write in it too, because no doubt there would be funny instances to write in it, for example.....a reinactment of the dirty dancing finale scene!  It came to the big jump which subsequently pulled down ALL the lights in the barn!!

WHAT I USED AND DID

These albums are usually called mini Albums I suppose but its not that mini really.  I used manilla envelopes that I bought in the pound shop which were brilliant to use.  I just sealed the envelope and cut them open at the side so I could place journalling/photo tags in. 

To make the envelopes a bit sturdier I simply glued plain card onto each one back and front.  The papers I used are from the K&Co collection that I bought from Crafts Super Store.  Most definitely the best and biggest collection of 12x12 papers Ive bought (other than Tim Holtz;s papers.....yummy!) but then I dont actually have much paper!  Such a bargain too, £19.99 for 360 12x12 papers!!  Heres the link, click here.

So heres a photo of the pages and the tags which were also double sided.  I didnt embellish the tags as they would be too bulky for the pockets and I wanted them plain for journalling or photos.  I also used my Tim Holtz Tiny tabs and tags die for the tabs on the tags and you will see some of the small tags throughout the album.  I used papermania Kraft cardstock for the tabs, tags and inside covers of the album which is amazing card stock.  Incredible quality and only £4.49 for 20 12x12 sheets, you can find it here.

The pages

The pages with the tags inserted into the pockets

Other side of the tags
I made the album cover myself with 2mm mount board and I bought binder spines/rings from ebay.  The binder rings are so difficult to find unless you buy the Tim Holtz ones.  But I personally find those too expensive for getting only 2 in a pack so I had to buy in bulk!!  So the least I could buy was 100.  I now have 100 1 inch binder ring spines now so I may sell some from my blog here if anyone needs them, just email me on my contact button at the top and I'll see what I can sort out with you.  Even I dont think I would go through 100!!

I just decorate the outside simply.  Used all my own handmade flowers on the outside and throughout the album.  I think I'd get a hell of a lot of stick if I used bought flowers!!

I'll just show you the photos now as they are pretty self explanatory.

My handmade flowers and lace flower

Inside cover and first page

First page

My lolliop flower (tutorial on my blog)

2nd and 3rd pages

Handmade flower and used ribbon to make a photo frame


3rd page space for photo and journal pocket (MS punch)

4th page, individual photo mats, peel off edges

5th page. Lollipop flower and ribbon frame with journalling tag
Tim Holtz stamp on the tag

6th page, my handmade lace and fabric flower with pearl string frame

My flower

Page 7, I used the tags as photo grames but can be used as journalling spots

Page 8, kept this plain for photos or writing. Tim Holtz tags die and stamps

Tim Holtz tags die and stamps, photo mats or journalling tags

Page 9, made another little photo mat or journal page to slip into the spine panel

Another of my handmade flowers

Page 10, just used paper and peel offs to make photo frames or journalling spots
Page 11.  Handmade rose and ribbon frame and a wee tag with a
See D's heart stamp

Page 12.  Just a plain page with a tag

Side profile with tags sticking out

Above profile

JUST A QUICK NOTE BEFORE I GO...... When making these albums you must remember when making your covers width, to allow for the binder rings.  What I mean is when you are measuring the front and back cover, add an inch more than the size of you envelopes as once you put them in the ring binder you are essentially adding on the width of the rings too to the width size of your album.  I very nearly had a disaster at one point where the pages where poking out a mile from the side of the album.  Luckily I spotted it and rectified the mistake, but it did mean chopping off some of the pretty cream side panels I'd made so my Martha Stewart punched cream card stock isnt as lovely looking as it once was!!

Any questions, as usual ask whatever you like.  Im very happy to help.  Hope everyone has a fabulous crafty bank holiday Monday.

Ps.  If anyone is finding it difficult to get their hands on the 1" binder ring spines (which obviously have the 2 rings on them) or just doesnt want to have to spend silly money on them, as I said I bought 100 of them.  So I am willing to sell some on if you need some. They are almost 5" in length and very sturdy.  So give me a shout on my "contact me" button at the top righthand side of my blog and I'll get back to you asap.  Sorry but I can only post to UK and Ireland only.  The postage would be too expensive beyond that as they are an awkward thing to post because of their shape.  I will have to work out the best way to package them myself.....hmmmm??!!

Loops xx

I am in no way linked to or affiliated with any of the companies or products I used or mentioned.  The products I use and companies I have given links to are merely products and companies I personally like to use.



Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Altered Box....Birthday Box for ma wee Mamma and Crackle technique Tutorial

From this....
To this.

This is a wee altered box I made for ma wee Mamma's birthday on the 13th there.  Now, Im not completely happy with it.  Its ok, but it didnt quite turn out quite like I wanted.  I would have liked a better swirly bling which would start in the corner and go out to the middle but unfortunately I didnt have any so had to make do with what I had.

This is a bit of show and tell.  I am going to do a tutorial on how to do the crackle technique below.

I decorated the box with some lace that I fanned in the top corner and used one of my fluffy vintage handmade flowers as the centre piece flower and the just used some roses from Wild Orchid Crafts that came in a kit I bought.  SHOCK HORROR......there are flowers on a project that I didnt personally make!!  I had plenty of handmade flowers but not the right colour and as time was ticking on....I cheated and used the WOC flowers.

I made my own stick pins and used some bling in the opposite corner which wasnt quite right as I said but it was all I hand.  I adorned it with gold trim and an aqua blue lace.  Then inside, shown below, I simply used decorative paper and mod podged over it.  Then added some gathered lace and a cameo to the inside lid.  As a little opener, I used a navy button and the little bling part below it is off some jewellery I dismantled.

Now for the tutorial.......

WHAT YOU NEED

A plain box 
Acrylic paints and crackling medium (or pva glue)

You need a box to alter.  I usually take the hinges off so they dont get painted over then put back on afterwards.
Acrylic paints.  One for the base colour.....usually a darker colour.  And then your top coat colour....usually lighter.
Crackle medium OR Pva glue.
Paint brush
Heat tool (optional....usually for impatient people like me!!)

1. Mixed my colour for base

2. Paint over box and dry

Ok, so crackle paint is a fantastic technique to make your projects look weathered.  There are so many ways to achieve this look.  Tim Holtz has Crackle paints that already are acrylic paints with the crackle medium in it, so you dont have to use a separate crackle medium or pva glue.  You can use crackle medium like Im using or pva glue.  All give fantastic results.

You need to decide what colour you want your cracks to appear.  So whatever colour that is, will be your base colour.  I usually go for a darker colour as the base and then a lighter top colour. So I wanted my cracks to be blue with a cream top coat.

I mixed my colours to a blue I was happy with...see photo 1. I painted my box all over the outside with the blue and used my heat tool to dry it.  If you are a patient person, you can leave it to air dry.  To be honest, acrylic paint dries extremely quick, particularly on wood.  See photo 2.  You will see that the box isnt perfectly painted, there are bits that you can still see the wood underneath.  But this was fine for me. But if you want even coverage, you may wish to do another coat of paint.  But I wanted mine to look rustic.

3. Once undercoat is dry, paint medium on

Now for the fun part.  Once your undercoat is completely dry its time to paint on your crackle medium or pva.  The technique for both crackle medium and pva is pretty much the same.  So where I say crackle medium, if you are using pva glue just do the same technique.

I paint on a medium thickness and even coverage of the crackle medium over the box.  The thinner the layer, the thinner your cracks will appear. The thicker layer, the thicker cracks.  Now, depending on the way you paint it on will give you the direction of the cracks.  So if you paint the crackle medium on horizontally, you will have horizontal cracks on your wood.

You need to leave the crackle medium (or pva) to dry until its just tacky.  Depending on the amount you have on, this could be 10-30mins.  You can also speed this process up by using your heat too.  BUT dont go too close as you can bubble the medium and paint.  You may look at your project and think it looks a bit patchy as it dries.....dont panic, this is normal. See photo 3.


Excuse the messy desk!

The cracks appear whilst drying

Close up

When your medium (pva) is tacky, its time to put your top coat colour on.  I paint on an even coverage (not too thick, but not too thin either!) and I immediately start to see the cracks appear.  Allow to dry naturally or dry with your heat tool.  You can then leave it like this or if you want to distress it more, you can use sand paper on the edges and Tim Holtz distress inks too.  You can also protect the surface by putting a coat of mod podge over it once its dry.

Heres my completed box.












As I said, Im not completely satisfied or happy with it but then Im my own worst critic.  And ma wee Mamma loved it, and I may be 31 but she still told me off for being so hard on myself!  My Mammy scolded me on her birthday!!!  

Any comments or questions you are are always greatly received.  Many thanks, Loops.  xx

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Flower Tutorial - YoYo flowers

Fabric YoYo flowers Tutorial

As promised in my YoYo flowers on down the page a bit, I said if anyone wanted a tutorial on how to make these little fabric flowers that I would gladly do one for you.  So a few of you have asked for a tutorial, so here it is.

These wee flowers are unbelievably easy to make and literally take minutes but they are so pretty and would be beautiful to embellish cards, tags, scrapbook pages, frames, altered projects..........the list is endless.  And of course depending on what centre you put in the flowers, they are very flat and light so they would not be an expensive embellishment to have on your cards.  And you need very little fabric too.  Obviously it depends on the size of flower you want to make.  But you can use any type of fabric, even have a wee rummage through your old clothes and that lonesome bag of clothes that was meant to go to the charity shop but now sits forgotten at the back of your wardrobe!!  Obviously dont be taking chunks out of your hubby's or wife's favourite t-shirt!!

So here we go.  Heres the tutorial.  As usual if you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am always willing to help.

WHAT YOU NEED

What you need

Fabric...........any kind.  Just whatever you have.  Im using a polka dot fabric I bought in fat quarters.
Needle and thread.  Doesnt have to be a particular type or colour.....it won't be seen anyway.
Embellishments for your flower centres......Im using vintage type buttons but you can use whatever you like.  Another small flower would be nice or some flat back gems or pearls.
Scissors.
An adhesive to glue in your flower centres.  I prefer to use hot glue as it dries quickly and adheres the centres so those wee suckers aint going anywhere!!

TUTORIAL

1. Turn over small edge and do a running stitch

2. Carry on right around the fabric turning over the edge

You need to cut a circle of fabric.  Now, the size of your circle will determine the size your flower will be (obviously Loops!!  Duh!).  For example, my circle measure just over 9cm diameter.  So that will make a flower which will be just over 4cm.  I like to use my Sizzix Circle Die to cut my circles but it is very easy to cut them by hand.  The circle doesnt need to be perfect.  So roughly, whatever size you want your actual end product flower to be, you need to cut a piece of fabric that is almost half as big again.  So if you want a 5cm flower, your piece of fabric needs to be a 10cm diameter circle of fabric.

So my fabric is cut in a circle and is 9cm in diameter.  If your fabric has a pattern, place the pattern face down.  Whatever side you want to be seen needs to go face down.

Take the edge of your fabric and fold over the edge inwards just a small amount .......see photos above.  It doesnt have to be perfectly even all the way round.  Your flower will still work beautifully.  

Make your first stitch from the inside out and simply sew a running stitch right around the circle, remembering to turn over your edges.  Dont be panicking about how evenly spaced your stitches are, there are no strict rules with these flowers.  The tighter together your stitches will result in a flower with a lot of pleats closer together.  The wider apart your stitches the less pleats you'll have and they'll be spaced further apart.


3. Make sure your last stitch is next to your first stitch

4. Take both pieces of thread and pull together

Once you have sewn almost all the way around your flower, you'll need to ensure that your last stitch is as close to the first stitch as possible and the last stitch is sewn from the outside in.  See photo 3.

You now need to take the end of the thread with the knot (which was your first stitch) and the needle and thread part and pull them together to pucker your flower.  See photo 4 and 5.

5.  Pull on both ends of the thread to pucker the fabric

6.  Tie both pieces of threads in a tight knot

7.  Arrange your flower and flatten
Now that you have pulled both threads to pucker the fabric, it will probably look a bit of  mess and look like a little messy sack.  Dont panic, it should look like that.  Tie both pieces of thread together down as close to the fabric as possible and snip your threads.  See photos 5 and 6.

Arrange and flatten your flower into a circle and it should look like photo 7 above.

Now its entirely up to you as to how you want to finish off the flower.  I like to add a decorative button or pearl centres.  I prefer to use hot glue when adhering my buttons but you may use whichever method of adhering you prefer.

Heres how they look finished.





I hope this has been a useful tutorial and you try them out.  I'd love to see your results.  Try out different types of fabric.  Lace ones are beautiful too.  Try some tulle or organza ones.  Maybe try a thin denim, they would look fantastic sewn onto your kids school bags or pencil cases.  Any questions, give me a shout.  And I appreciate and am very grateful for any comments.  Thank you.  Loops xx