Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coffee Filter Roses

Over the last several months I've been experimenting with making paper flowers.  So far I've really only had success with roses, orchids, and cherry blossoms.

While the roses turned out passingly well (I gave my mother a bouquet for her birthday) I've always felt that they could have been done better.

The other day I came across this woman, Cassie Mae Chappell, who makes flowers out of coffee filters. She paints the petals with watercolor paints to produce a really beautiful effect.

I thought I would try my hand at making roses and if they turned out well I would attempt other flowers.

My first attempt came out alright. Although, I think the petals look a little splotchy. I'll let you know how future experiments turn out...

Greek Fest 2011

There is no shortage of festivals in New Orleans: French Quarter Festival, New Orleans Seafood Festival, Oktoberfest, Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, Voodoo Fest, and of course, Mardi Gras. There is always something to celebrate in this city.  Last weekend, my boyfriend and I went to Bayou Boogaloo, a smaller, less expensive version of Jazzfest.  I would have posted a separate blog, some of the crafts were pretty neat.  I, however, not only forgot to bring my camera but I also came down with a slight case of heatstroke after about an hour at the festival.  Thus, my memories are a bit on the fuzzy side.

Not to worry, though. If you miss documenting one festival, chances are there is another one right around the corner.  Case in point: Greek Fest.

One of the primary draws of the festival is the food.  I tried the fried calamari, the 'feta fries' (basically fries topped with feta), and the baklava sundae.  My boyfriend had the Greek dinner plate complete with tiropita, spanakopita, pastitsio, meatballs, and a Greek salad with dolma (stuffed grape leaves).  My boyfriend's brother tried the souvlaki.

As far as the crafts are concerned, the selection was pretty small.  There are some good finds though; my boyfriend's sister picked out a lovely pair of earrings for me as a birthday gift. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Miniature Paper Boxes

Channeling my love for fake food and tiny things, my sister bought me a set of miniature food jewelry for my birthday. While I am planning to write a future post showcasing these adorable creations, this entry focuses solely on their packaging.

One of the items was obtained from PetitPlat, a website the features food art and jewelry by Stephanie Kilgast. The packaging is almost as adorable as the contents.  For my latest craft project I thought that I would try to reproduce the miniature paper boxes. 

Overall, the project was pretty simple. Cut a 3.5 in x 3.5 in square and a 3 in x 3 in square out of cardstock.  The size of the square will obviously determine the final size of the box; however, regardless of the dimensions of the squares, one needs to be at least 1/2 a square inch smaller in size. Then follow the folding pattern outlined in the pictures below with both squares of paper.  

Glue the folded flaps onto the base of the box.  The larger square becomes the lid of the box with the smaller serving as the bottom. Feel free to embellish the final project with ribbons and buttons. 

The finished product

Friday, May 27, 2011

Paper Buttons

I mentioned previously that I've been looking for projects to do with my stash of leftover paper.  Last week I found this tutorial from Lynn Pratt on Splitcoaststampers outlining how to make paper buttons.

I used about 8-10 layers of white cardstock and then painted the finished product with acrylic paint.

Pretty cute, right?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Balloons, Babies, and Birthdays

May is such a great month for birthdays.  And I'm not just saying this because mine happens to be next week.   It's the end of school, the start of summer; the weather is warm but not sweltering. There are lilies to pick and strawberries to eat.

May is the perfect time for welcoming new life.

My boyfriend's cousin is giving birth in the next few weeks. It's a boy!  I thought I'd try and make something, however it's too late to start on any major projects.  I might try to knit a baby blanket, but for now I just have this card.

And hey, maybe inspiration will strike and I'll come up with something better.  Then, I guess I'll just give this pop-up card to myself next week.  That's not pathetic or anything.... 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fluffy Sushi

As you've already seen in Linda's previous post, sushi can be rather cute, but I am here to protest that it isn't specifically size ratios that determine this cuteness. I contest that fluffiness can also have a large effect on cuteness as seen below:

On that note I present for your consideration the cuteness of knitted sushi. These sushi are only slightly larger than a deliciously hand crafted crunch dragon roll piece from my favorite local spot, however I hope to prove that their general fluffiness more than makes up for their lack of size differentiation.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cloisonne Bead Earrings

I guess this was just an earring sort of day. Earlier I rediscovered these 'cloisonne beads' in my jewelry stash. 

I wanted to try something different for the earring design.  I like how they ended up turning out; there is something vaguely avian about the final product.

Recycled Bead Earrings

This was just a short project for a lazy Sunday.  Taking the beads scavenged from an old floral bracelet, I made three different pairs of earrings.  

I like the vintage look of the beads themselves. The jewelry designs might need some tweaking. A project for another lazy Sunday perhaps... 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mini Sushi

I love sushi.  Not the taste of it exactly, but its look. The clean lines. The vibrant colors.  Honestly, from an aesthetic standpoint, what's not to like?

It's just so cute.

And as scientific research has shown, a relative size versus cuteness plot shows a bimodal distribution.  In other words, an object reaches its highest potential cuteness levels when it is either much smaller or larger than normal.

The distribution is somewhat unequal though; smaller objects will invariably have higher 'cuteness values' than similar objects of a larger size. There are a few exceptions of course.  Take insects for instance.  They do not get cuter as they grow larger.  They grow terrifying.

Large cute objects
Small cute object

So after I recieved a stash of Sculpey, is it any wonder that I decided to make some mini sushi?

Finished product

I think they turned out pretty well.  I enjoyed making the sashimi in particular. Best of all, since I don't enjoy the taste of sushi I'm not in danger of wanting to consume these little creations.... 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Guitar String Pendant by Shannon

I'm not much of a musician, but I do enjoy diddling on the guitar.  And being of member of the Silverlake community, there's plenty of guitars around.  One evening after getting a much needed lesson on how to change guitar strings, I successfully scooped up the old strings with the pretext that they were going in the trash and not my purse...

There's really not much to this project, just a bit of creativity.  All you need is a little craft wire, and the guitar strings.  I used 26 gauge copper wire, but there are many colors and thicknesses to choose from.  Just make sure you find something that is easily bendable.  As for the guitar strings, I of course had used ones, but you can pick up a pack of 6 for around $5 at any guitar or music store.  There are also many different metals, and thicknesses for the different types of guitars so take a look at them out of the box to see if they fit your crafting needs. From there just play around with the strings and let them bend how they want.  And after you're done fiddling with the strings, I would also highly recommend doing a little diddling on the guitar.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Glass Pendants

As you saw in my previous post on paper beads, my interests have moved beyond simple bead working and into bead making.  Previously, I've flirted with creating clay beads and beads made out of sculpey.

Now I've moved on to making glass pendants.

Basic components and finished product

The glass tiles are large decorative accents obtained from the floral section of Michaels (where else).  Cut out a slightly smaller piece of decorative paper and glue it to the base of the tile.  Then, apply a coat of varnish to the back of the pendant.  Finally, you can glue either a store bought bail or a hand crafted one to finish off the pendant.  I like to apply another coat of varnish at this point just to fix all the components in place.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jazzfest 2011

It's that time of year again: the end of school and finals, the start of summer vacation, and, for those based in New Orleans, Jazzfest. Although I have lived in this city for the last 6 years or so, this was only my second time attending the music festival.  Last year, my dad came down and we attended Jazzfest for the sole purpose of seeing Simon and Garfunkel reunite.  Therefore, we missed many of the lovely attractions: the crafts, the lesser known jazz groups, and the food. Oh the glorious food! So when he came to visit this year we went back to the festival with the intention of correcting these horrific oversights. 

 The crafts did not disappoint. I was fully expecting a handful of booths relegated to a dark, muddy corner of the festival grounds. But while crafts obviously weren't the primary focus of the event (the name, Jazzfest, kind of tips you off on that one), they were a pretty substantial component.

I particularly appreciated the Contemporary Craft booths. Several of the exhibits were intriguing, others were simply breathtaking. After this weekend my list of potential projects has gotten significantly longer.  I particularly want to attempt to recreate the 'steampunk birds' depicted above and the dragonflies shown below.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chandelier Earrings

As you might have figured out by now, I tend to change projects pretty often. Some might claim that this represents a lack of focus, a fear of commitment, restless hands syndrome, etc. 

Personally, I think it indicates an explorer's spirit, the thirst for uncharted territory. Boldly going where no Linda has gone before.

However, I do have certain craft staples, projects or art forms that I keep coming back to.  One of my most enduring craft interests is jewelry making, earrings being a personal favorite.

So this is going to be a series. Every post will center around a different earring style of my design (or a style that I attempt to recreate).

Chandelier Earrings:

*Warning:  I am just an amateur jewelry maker so some of the terminology/descriptions might not be accurate.  Please don't hesitate to correct me.  That's how we learn!

Raw materials

Things you will need:

Crimp Beads
Beads (small, medium, and large sizes)
Fishhooks/French hooks
Wire/headpins/eye pins
Jump rings

The basic framework for the earring
 The framework of the earring is pretty simple. You take a length of wire or a head pin with the base clipped off, feed 3 crimp beads onto the wire, and then fold the ends into loops.  Bend the wire into a "U" shape.  Flatten the crimp beads slightly with pliers then feed the jump rings into the crimp beads.  Flatten the crimp beads further.  Finally, feed a jump ring  through the loops at the top of the "U".
The s-m-s "charms"
 Place three beads on a wire either in the pattern of small-medium-small (you will need 6 of these) or medium-large-medium (you will need 2 of these).  Using pliers bend the both ends of the wire into loops.

Fasten the m-l-m "charm" onto the middle jump ring at the base of the "U". All of the other jump rings, including the one joining the top of the "U" receive a s-m-s "charm". Let me know how they turn out!

The finished product

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ceramic Chess Set

Recently, my boyfriend has gotten into chess.  And I mean really.  It's pretty endearing actually. Currently, he's been playing on the computer and his grandfather's wooden set.  I thought it would be neat if we could make one of our own.  The plan was to make it together. 

Like that was actually going to happen.

This was a doozie of a project.  It probably took me a total of 15 hours to craft the entire set.  For the raw materials I used Amaco Natural Clay.  There is no baking necessary, which is handy since kilns are somewhat hard to come by.  The finished product hardens when exposed to the air for several hours.  Unfinished products should be kept under damp towels.  After the piece dries you can paint and varnish to your heart's content.

So far the project has been a relative success. The final pieces have a nice weight to them.   While all the pieces are completed, I still have the board to finish. I'm not sure how I'm going to pull that one off...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Paper Beads

Since I tend to go slightly overboard when shopping at Michaels (as my boyfriend can attest to) over the last few months I have accumulated several 12 x 12 pads of designer paper. I just can't resist the all the pretty colors! A portion of this paper was alloted for paper flowers (post pending) but since I still have several hundred pieces of paper left I thought I would try my hand at making paper beads.

Step 1: Cut elongated triangular shaped pieces of paper
I prefer paper that contains at least 3 seperate colors. The piece shown to the right was obtained from Recollections's Fashionably Chic Collection. 

Now, this is my first official craft post.  Bear with me... 

The first step involves cutting a long triangular piece.  I tend to free hand a lot of my designs, so the dimensions aren't quite exact.  The base width will determine the length of your bead (mine are approximately a centimeter).  The length will determine how thick the final product is ( mine are about 7 inches long).

Step 2: After applying glue, roll paper around wire
After applying a thin layer of glue to the back surface of the paper strip with a glue stick, start to role the paper around a thin rod.  I originally tried bamboo skewers but I felt the resulting bead had too wide of a opening.  I found that 16 gauge floral wire worked much better.
Step 3: Keeping the paper centered, finish rolling the bead.

 Continue to roll the paper around the wire.  Make sure to keep the tip of the triangle centered in the middle of the bead.  Upon reaching the end of the paper apply a dot of glue (I've been using Elmer's Craft Bond Paper Craft Glue Gel) to prevent the bead from unraveling slightly.

Varnish the finished bead with your sealer of choice.  After one coat, let beads dry. Apply additional coats if necessary.

After the beads are dry, insert jewelry wire through the opening.  Using pliers, bend both ends into loops. 

Step 4: Varnish bead and finish
by bending jewelry wire into loops
And you're done.  The whole process should take about 1-2 minutes per bead.  Less if you practice. One thing, I can't really comment on their water resistance.  The varnish should provide some protection; however, I would probably not wear the finished earrings or bracelet to the waterpark. 

These beads are obviously a great way to utilize left over paper, junk mail, old magazines, etc. Recycled chic is very in these days... 


I'm Linda, a New Orleans- based, amateur crafter and jewelry designer...

.....and I'm Shannon, a Los Angeles-based experienced sewer, knitter, and amateur jewelry maker....

...and I'm Amanda, a Portland-based paper craft extraordinaire and resident poet.

We're old high school friends who have been scattered to the four corners of the continent. This is the cross-continential account of our many creative endeavors. A way to stay occupied and connected.  Craft group therapy, if you will.

It's nice to meet you.