Tag Archives: how to

How To Make A Ribbon Christmas Tree

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How to Make a ribbon christmas treeHappy Holidays!

One of my most popular projects from the old Craft Floozy blog.

You can learn how to make this ribbon Christmas tree over at A Creative Yarn.

Project #13: Double Indemnity Anklet

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originally posted October 2011

I’m a huge classic movie fan, and as you may have already deduced, I also love to craft. The idea to blog about my favorite classic movies is something that’s always been at the back of my mind, but this is a craft blog and classic movies don’t really fit in with the craft theme. Or do they?

Actually, I think they do. I’ve decided to challenge myself by coming up with craft projects that somehow tie into my favorite classic movies – a little something that I like to call Movie and a Craft Project. The first project is called the Double Indemnity Anklet which ties into the movie, Double Indemnity.

{Image from TCM.com}

Double Indemnity is a classic example of film noir, and I love this genre. It stars Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck. The movie takes place in California in 1938. A time when men wore hats and women weren’t called women, they were called dames. MacMurray plays Walter Neff, an insurance salesman who drops in on a gentleman who needs his car insurance renewed. As it turns out the man isn’t home, but instead he meets the guy’s wife, Phyllis, played by Stanwyck, who happens to be dressed in nothing but a towel.

Of course, this piques Neff’s interest and so he decides to stick around and speak with Phyllis about the insurance. He winds up flirting with her, seeing how far he can take it, comments several times on the anklet she’s wearing and gets shut down by Phyllis who sees him to the door. However, within 24 hours, Walter finds himself in cahoots with Phyllis to off her husband for a little insurance money.

Walter gets in over his head and digs himself into a hole that he can’t get out of, nor does he try. In the end though, things go array. To paraphrase Walter Neff, he did it for the money and for a woman, but in the end he didn’t get the woman or the money. Double Indemnity is a gritty, seedy, little gem of a movie, with Barbara Stanwyck playing the ultimate femme fatale.

The project I came up with is this anklet. It seemed an obvious choice to me seeing as Walter was so fixated on the anklet Phyllis was wearing. I made mine in red and aqua for that vintage feel. I picked up the red beads and the chain at Michael’s. In case you’re wondering, those red beads are 6 x 3 mm dog bone beads from Halcraft. The package says they are dyed bamboo coral. The rest of the materials I had on hand.

So, here is how to make this anklet…

Materials needed:    

6 mm round beads
6×3 mm dog bone beads
20-gauge craft wire
chain
headpin
clasp
4 mm jump rings
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Ruler

To figure out what size your anklet should be either measure one you already own, or take a tape measure and measure the circumference of your ankle and add a half-inch to an inch extra to the length, depending on how big you like your anklets.

Instructions:

1. Make 3 center beaded links. Cut three 2-inch lengths of craft wire and make the beaded links as shown in Step 2 of the Simple Loop Tutorial. For the 2 outer links, thread 3 dog bone beads, the 6 mm bead, and 3 more dog bone beads. For the center link first thread on a 6 mm bead, 3 dog bone beads, and then another 6 mm bead.

2. Connect the links together with jump rings. This should measure a little over 4 inches.

3. Determine how much more length you need to finish your anklet and cut a piece of chain to that length. Cut that chain in half and attach the clasp components to one end of each piece of chain.

4. Connect the chain to each end of the beaded links with jump rings.

5. Next, to make a small bead dangle for the clasp, take a headpin and thread on a 6 mm bead, then 3 dog bone beads. Make a simple loop as in Step 1 of the Simple Loop Tutorial. Connect 3 jump rings together and attach one end to your bead dangle, and then connect the other end to the chain close to the clasp.

And now your anklet is complete!

If you haven’t seen Double Indemnity, I highly recommend it. Go out and rent it, buy the supplies to make this anklet, pop up some popcorn, and make this project during the movie.

~jen~

Simple Loop Tutorial – Part 2

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In Part 1 of this tutorial, you learned how to make a simple loop using a head pin. Now, I’m going to show you how to make a beaded link using the same simple loop technique. My first thought was to cram part 1 and 2 all into one blog post, but then I came to my senses and decided breaking this tutorial into two separate posts would be the logical and easier way to go.

Please note: In this part of the tutorial, I am using a 6 mm bead. The length of wire cut is the length that will accommodate a 6 mm bead. When making bead links with larger or smaller beads, you will have to experiment with different lengths of wire to determine what length is best for the size of bead you are using.

Materials needed to make a bead link:

6 mm beads
20-gauge craft wire
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Ruler

How to Make a Bead Link:

1. Cut a 1-1/4-inch piece of 20-gauge wire and hold the wire between the jaws of your round nose pliers.

2. With your other hand, push the wire to wrap it around the jaw.

3. This will form a small loop at one end of your wire that is sort of bent to one side.

4. To straighten the loop, place the bottom jaw of the pliers into the loop.

5. Make a slight bend of the wire to the right.

6. You will end up with a loop at the top of your wire. It should loop like a little lollipop.

7. Thread a 6 mm bead onto the wire.

8. Make a 90-degree bend of the wire.

9. Trim the wire to 5/16-inch. Place the wire just a hair past the 1/4-inch mark that you made on your round nose pliers. Make a simple loop in the same manner as Part 1 of this tutorial.

10. You will be left with a beaded link. If your loops are open on either end, just take your chain nose pliers to gently squeeze them closed.

I recommend buying inexpensive craft wire and head pins to practice making your loops. You’ll find that once you get this skill down, you will be coming up with all kinds of jewelry and beading projects that incorporate beaded links.

Later on this week, I’ll be posting a new jewelry project so you can put your new skills to use.

Simple Loop Tutorial – Part 1

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There are plenty of jewelry-making techniques out there to learn, but basic wire wrapping is a skill that every jewelry maker should understand. I’ve posted a few tutorials in the past that utilize the simple loop technique for beading projects. In some of those tutorials I explained how to make a simple loop but didn’t really go to in depth with the instructions. So I’ve decided to post a more detailed tutorial on how to make a simple loop for jewelry making and beading.

In Part 1 of this tutorial, you will learn how to make a bead dangle using head pins.

Materials needed to make a bead dangle:

Any size beads
Head pins
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Ruler
Sharpie or felt-tip pen

How To Make a Simple Loop:

 

  1. Thread a bead onto a headpin.
  2. Using your chain nose pliers, make a 90-degree bend of the wire.
  3.  Trim the wire to 1/4 inch.
  4.  On your round nose pliers, measure to 1/4 inch from the tip of the pliers and mark that spot with a felt-tip pen. Place the wire in between the pliers at the 1/4 inch mark. Make sure that the wire is sitting flush in between the pliers and not poking up at the top. Check this by running your finger down the pliers. If you feel the tip of the wire sticking up then pull it down a little bit.
  5. With your free hand, grab hold of the bead. Begin making your loop by rolling the pliers away from. This will wrap the wire around one side of your pliers.
  6. When you’ve wrapped the wire around, remove the pliers. The loop will be about halfway formed. Place the other jaw of the pliers back into the loop and roll the pliers until the loop is completely formed and closed.

In Part 2 of this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make beaded links using this same simple loop technique.

Project #12: Beaded Stitch Markers

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originally posted June 27, 2011

This weekend the weather was terrible. It’s been raining off and on for days, but this is Florida and this is the rainy season. Here’s the view from my kitchen window yesterday…

Real nice, huh? If you look close enough you can see my yard and my neighbor’s yard beginning to flood slightly. That’s always nice…I know the dog really loves it when the backyard is completely saturated with water, not really actually.

I decided it was a good day to do some crafting, so in between laundry loads I made up some new stitch markers. Most knitters have these among their knitting paraphernalia and use them to keep track of where they are in a row as well as to remind them to do something like increase or decrease in a certain spot of their knitting.

The only skill that you need in making these is knowing how to make a simple loop on a headpin. I used various sizes of jump rings and split rings to hang my beaded dangles. The smallest sized jump ring used in this project is 8 mm, which will fit up to a size US 8 knitting needle. The size 10 mm jump rings will fit up to a size US 10 knitting needle. The split rings used for this project were 12 mm, which will fit up to a size US 15 knitting needle.

Here’s what you will need to complete this project:

Tools:

  • Round-nose pliers
  • Flat-nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Ruler or measuring tape

Materials:

  • Headpins – need to be long enough to have room to make a loop
  • Jump rings and/or split rings – 8 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm in size
  • Glass, metal, plastic, gemstones beads in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors

Instructions:

To make your bead dangles, first string your beads onto the headpin.

Using either your fingers or the flat-nose pliers, make a 90-degree bend. Next, trim the wire using your wire cutters. I trimmed mine leaving a 1/4 inch of wire to form my simple loop. The length of wire you leave for your loop depends on how big you want to make the loop. This will be a trial and error process if you haven’t made simple loops before.

I wanted a fairly small loop, so I placed my wire near the very tip of the round nose pliers.

Holding onto the beaded end with my other hand, I then turned my pliers to form a loop with the wire. I turned until a complete loop was formed. Your bead dangle is now done.

Next, open up a jump ring with your pliers and just slip the loop of the bead dangle onto the jump ring, then using the pliers again, close the jump ring. For attaching the bead dangles to the split rings, I opened up the loop of the dangle as I would a jump ring, placed it on the split ring, and closed up the loop with my pliers.

There’s your finished stitch marker!

Not much too them really. A few basic beading skills are all that’s really needed to complete these. They’re a great rainy day project, and they make a fun gift for those knitters in your life.

Happy crafting!

Crafts Gone Wrong: Transparency Film Image Transfer Disaster

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originally posted June 13, 2011

Today I was going to bring you a tutorial on how to create your own wall art with an image transferring technique using transparency film. I saw this project in the Summer 2011 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Do It  Yourself magazine. It seemed easy enough, and I thought it would be the perfect way to create some artwork for an empty wall in my bedroom. Most of the supplies I had on hand already. I just needed to buy the transparency film.

For this project you need the following:

  • Artist canvas
  • Gel Medium
  • Transparency film – comes in either Inkjet or Laser – buy the kind suited to your printer
  • A spoon or bone folder
  • Sponge applicator or paintbrush
  • One of your awesome photos

I decided on one of my photos. This daisy to be exact.

I boosted up the color saturation a bit. Then I followed the instructions that came with the transparency film and printed my photo onto the film.

Next, I applied a thin layer of the gel medium to the canvas.

Placed my transparency, ink side down, onto the canvas and…

…rubbed the entire photo with the back of a spoon. I did this several times to make sure the image was transferring to the canvas and then slowly peeled back the transparency film to reveal my masterpiece.

Drum roll, please…

Ta da! Whoa, wait a minute. Seriously??? That’s it? The result is supposed to be a distressed looking image, but come on. This is a far cry from the original photo. I decided to try it again, boosting the color saturation a little more, and transferring it to a larger canvas.

Again, seriously?? The bigger one looks worse than the smaller one. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Maybe the photo I chose wasn’t suited to this kind of project, or maybe it just takes practice. It seems that the image on the smaller canvas is a bit more defined than the larger one, which looks like a red blob, so it might be that one type of canvas works better than the other. The smaller one is a gesso primed canvas. Maybe the gesso is the key. Or maybe I just suck at image transferring.

I did find this video on YouTube for image transfers using the transparency film, as well as some videos listed in the sidebar on other ways to do image transferring. I may try this project again or I might just try completely different projects for my transparency paper.

If you decide to try this image transfer project yourself, please let me know how it worked out. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the process.

Happy Crafting!

9 Ways to Beat Crafter’s Block and Jump Start Your Creativity

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Crafter’s block. It’s happened to even the most creative crafters at some point in their lives. This phenomenon is an ailment that can strike at any time, and without warning. One day you’ll be groovin’ along, working with your favorite craft products, making all kinds of cool stuff, and then – Bam! – the next day all of those great project ideas you had are gone. There’s no reasonable explanation for this, it just happens.

At first you struggle with it. You may go through all of your craft supplies, maybe try to force yourself to create something – doesn’t matter what, just anything to get that spark back. But that almost never works because you can’t force creativity – you just can’t no matter how hard you try. But fear not my crafty friends, there are easy ways to end crafter’s block.

Here are 9 ways to get you back in the swing of things:

1. Pinterest. If you’re a visual person – and let’s face it, most crafters are – inspiration abounds on Pinterest . Members create virtual pinboards with images from all over the interweb. Request an invite to become a member. Once you’re a member you can start creating your own virtual pinboards and follow the boards of other members as well. It’s a great source of creativity.

2. Join a Crafty Community. Whether its an online community or a local Stitch ‘n Bitch meetup, checking out what your fellow creative types are making is a sure fire way to inspire you to get in on the fun. Check out my sidebar to the right and you’ll find a list of a just a few online crafty communities available to join.

3. Thrifting. Go to local thrift stores or garage sales and find objects that can be made over into useful decor for your home.

4. Magazines. Pick up a few craft or home decorating magazines. They always have great project ideas, and are also a wonderful source when you’re lacking in the inspiration department. Oh, and don’t throw them out when you’re done. Try to come up with interesting ways to recycle those magazines.

5. Expand Your Knowledge Of The Craft You Specialize In. If you make jewelry by way of bead stringing, why not learn wire wrapping or metalsmithing? If you’re a knitter and just can’t bring yourself to make another dropstitch scarf, learn a new technique like cables or entrelac. Learning something new about your craft will lead to all kinds of creativity and keep those juices flowing. Check your local community college or art studio for classes in your field of expertise.

6. Go to the Craft Store. I could spend hours at Michael’s or Joann Fabrics. The next time you go to your local craft store, take the time to go up and down each aisle just to see what other crafts are available. Buy a few new crafty bits while you’re there. Sometimes the smallest thing like a piece of ribbon or a bead can ignite a fire storm of creativity.

7. Learn a Craft Based on Your Heritage. This is not only a great way to inspire creativity, but it’s also a wonderful way to learn about your ancestors.

8. Yesteryear Crafting. If you’re into retro crafts, seek out craft magazines and pattern books from the 70s and 80s – or even earlier. Not only are they good for a laugh, but they’re also filled with really cool craft projects.

9. Challenge Yourself. Go through your craft supplies and select a handful of random items. Now make a project using only the items you’ve picked out. See how many different projects you can come up with using those supplies. Then take lots of pictures and upload them to the crafty communities you’ve joined and show them off to your new crafty friends.

So, how do you keep that creative spark alive? Tell me what you do to get over crafter’s block.