A Handmade Birthday

handmade bird house and yarn bowl

This is my birthday month and I love getting anything handmade as a gift. My daughter and her boyfriend made this terrific birdhouse and also gave me this handcrafted yard bowl. I love them both!! Love, love, love the color on both of these items.

Green ceramic yarn bowl

I love this yarn bowl. To tell you the truth I’ve never heard of one of these but I will be using it! I love the whole bird theme going on here. I adore birds and this just adds to my “bird” collection. The birdhouse is terrific and will make a great home for a few birds. The other side of the bird house has two more holes with little ledges inside for nesting and food. To everyone who has a birthday in August, Happy Birthday!

sign

 

Online Classes for Crafters and Mixed Media Artists

cartoon woman holding craft class book

This post will be divided into 3 parts. There is a proliferation on online craft classes right now so there is lots to cover.

I’m always taking a class, improving some skill or learning a new one. I love the fact that now I can take classes online and there are so many to choose from. Here’s a list of some websites I’ve found. There are pros and cons to taking an online class and the pros are obvious! You don’t have to leave your house and you save some time. I teach both online classes and in person classes and I find that students sometimes will have different reasons why they prefer to take a class online vs in person. Most of the time students will prefer an in person class because they’ve tried a skill they can’t quite master or the skill set they want to learn is complex and intimidating so it’s better to have that hands on training. Many prefer the online training because so many sites now offer lifetime access to the videos or materials needed. This allows craft students to work at their own pace. So here are my reviews. I’ve taken classes at most of these websites I’m going to review,if I haven’t I’ll note that in the post.

1. Craftsy

Craftsy

I am a self professed Craftsy addict! I have taken at this point 10 classes with Craftsy and love every single one. Craftsy is my number one choice for online craft classes for  a few reasons. I’ll begin by saying that once you sign up for a Craftsy class you always have access to the classes. The classes are self paced but you always have access to the instructor via message board. Some of Craftsy’s unique features are

1. You can take online notes (it’s like a notebook you can write on while you are taking the class)

2. Ongoing access to the class instructor. If you only get halfway through the class and decide to pick it up at a later time you’ll still have access to your instructor.

3. All online classes come with downloadable class materials.

4. All the classes I’ve taken are very thorough. Most classes I’ve taken are between 3-6 hours long (some longer) and are in easy segments.

5. The quality is the best I’ve ever seen online. The instructors are top notch, the videos are professional and the downloadable

6. Critiques from your instructor. In some classes this can be invaluable tool for improving your skills.

7. There is always something new. Craftsy keeps adding new classes and has been adding to types of classes as well (such as fine art and photography).

 

Now for the good part! These are my favorite classes I’ve taken at Craftsy

I. Artisan Cheese Making

Yes! You can make all types of cheese at home. This class starts with easy cheeses and moves to more complex types. Mary Karlin is an excellent teacher and explains each step and phase of the cheese making process in depth. This is one of my favorite online classes. If you want to make artisan cheese at home, this is the class to take.  The class is taught Mary Karlin, author of Artisan Cheese Making at Home 

II. Machine Finished Hand Applique

If you love the look of hand applique but don’t have the time this is an excellent course. Learn time-saving techniques that help you avoid drawn-out hand appliqué processes without sacrificing quality stitching. Beth’s hand appliqué tips help you at every step, from the initial creation and organization of templates, to embellishing your quilt motifs with embroidery stitches. You’ll be making beautiful applique in no time! In this class you also get a great e-book for free.Beth’s e-book “More! Hand Applique by Machine” is a great bonus!

III.Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals & Clusters

Do you love beautiful jewelry? If you do you can learn to make it with this extensive class taught by Aga Kruk, instructor of Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals & Clusters. I loved this class. It is one of the longer courses I’ve taken but I learned so much about making jewelry. You make 5 pairs of earrings using different techniques, a multi-strand necklace and a pendant. Very pretty jewelry.

These are my favorite classes I’ve taken so far but I really haven’t had a bad class at Craftsy. They also have many other features I didn’t have space to list here so please go and check Craftsy for yourself.

 

2. CraftClass  With Alison Lee

CraftClass with Alison Lee provides both live and downloadable video of past classes. CRAFTCAST™ LIVE  are online recordings that are  90 minutes long and  you can download the recording onto your computer. The recording is enhanced with some video (slides) of relavent information on your class. Each class comes with a PDF handout that includes additional information on the topic. Most of the classes are project based jewelry classes (there are a few exceptions but most are classes are jewelry). I have taken the class on Image Transfer. Most of the class was a discussion between Alison Lee and the instructor with some slides shown so you can see each technique. For this particular topic I was wishing there was video and some projects included. For me this wasn’t an effective way to learn techniques but it gave me an overview of the different transfer processes. The class covered

  • Photocopy transfers
  • Beeswax varnishes
  • Basic monotypes
  • Transfers onto polymer clay

 

3.Paper Crafter’s Library

If you love paper crafting you’ll be jolted in paper crafting heaven with this site. You can pay by the month or annually so you can have access to over 1500 video tutorials and online classes (about 4 a year). The site is always updating by adding new videos and classes.  If you are new to paper crafts you will certainly gain alot of knowledge from this site. Even experienced crafters will pick up some new techniques. The site is run by a small team of experienced paper crafters.  You can see the video library here. Videos cover basic techniques, projects and advanced technique. Emphasis on many classes is on using paper tools in unique ways. Many of the videos come with downloadable PDF’s. This is a great resource and I strongly recommend it.

 

I still have two more posts to go so stayed tune…. I have a couple of surprises!

 

Handmade Back to School From Etsy

It’s back to school time! Where did the summer go? It went by so quickly and although I’m sad to see my daughter go back to school it’s time to start looking for some back to school essentials. Here’s a few items from some Etsy shops.

pencils with custom engraving DIY

 

Pencils are an essential item for back to school and I really like these that focus on getting a little motivated when writing. Love the colors too a nice change from the traditional yellow pencil. From the Etsy shop Carbon Crusader.

handmade lunch bag

 

A couple days of all that new brain work is going to make your students very hungry. You can pack those lunches in style with this adorable French Bear Bag from Needful Wishes Cute Cute Cute.

 

retro frame glasses

 

To make yourself look super smart you could wear these glasses from the Etsy Shop SunnySpex. These are a an 80′s throw back which is a throw back from the 1950′s . So here you’ll have a double retro pair of glasses.

 

little girl dress with alphabet print

 

If I were five I would want to wear this. What a perfect dress for a little girl starting her first day of Kindergarten. This is a really sweet dress from the Etsy shop Sweet Emma.

Altered Paper Bag Recipe Book

Altered bag recipe book

I put together this darling recipe card holder in less than 4 hours! It uses altered paper bags as its pages. Although I bought this as a kit, it’s a great way to use up some of those paper scraps you’ve been collecting. I added lots of little touches here and there that weren’t in the instructions. There are lots of slots to place your recipes cards. The book uses lots of textured materials such as textured paper,burlap canvas and wood.

 

Altered book recipe page

altered book recipe front page

Cork and Paper Embellishments on the Front Cover

I’m already planning my next altered paper bag book. It will have a very different look from this one and will be filled with different types of goodies. I’ll be sure to include full instructions as well. I got this kit at our local scrapbooking store. Now all I have to do is fill it with recipes.

Inside of altered recipe book

 

Thanks for taking a look!
Christine

Altered Clay Pot Let It Snow Tutorial

Clay Pot altered with blue paint craft tutorial

 

With the holidays upon us you can make some quick stunning gifts with a few items you have around the house. I’m sure most of us have some clay pots around or if you don’t you can go to the Goodwill (that’s what I did) and get a few for fifty cents or less. In my previous post I made some quick and easy glittery snowflake soaps, so to make my soap presentation a bit more dramatic I made this altered pot to present my snowflake soaps in.

Here are the supplies I used

1. Clay pot

2. Martha Stewart Pearl Paint in Aquarium or other blue or blue-green color
3. Acrylic Paint in White

 

 

4. Craft Sponges

5. Recollections Glitz or other white glitter

 

 

6. Scrapbook paper for rosette

7. Rubber or Acrylic stamp (Let It Snow)  for banner on rosette and small piece of white paper for the banner

7. Metallic Pigment in Silver and Light blue Pigment Ink

8. Silver Wired Ribbon 1.5 inches wide

9. Glue Gun

 

DIRECTIONS

 

1. Paint your clay pot with your white paint. Let it dry and repeat this 2-3 times until your pot is covered with paint. Be sure to paint the inside too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. With you sponge paint brush, brush on the Martha Stewart Pearl paint. While the paint is still wet sprinkle some glitz on the top of your pot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Make your rosette.  Make it large to fill up the front of your pot.

4. Paint on some of your Metallic Silver on the sharp edges of your rosette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Make a bow to go behind your rosette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Cut a 1/2 inch by 5 white piece of paper and make your banner shape at the end (see photo) Stamp with the Let It Snow stamp and edge it with the light blue pigment ink. Glue your banner behind your embellishment and glue your rosette and embellishment together. Now glue bow behind your rosette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Glue your bow/rosette about a third down on your clay pot. You’re done!

 

Now you can fill it with those beautiful snowflakes we made in the last tutorial or use fill it up with some pretty glass ornaments.

See you next post!

Christine