Friday, May 30, 2014


Remember, last week I was talking about an upcoming tutorial how to make the flower pixies that were decorating my little girl's invitation cards? Now that's it, it took me a bit longer to get it finished.

Yes, I admit, you need time to make those, but actually the difference between making a couple or a whole bunch of them is not so big. So you better have a project where at least a dozen of them is necessary. Despite of time spent (appr. 2-3 hours) you will enjoy the final look, believe me!

And you know what? That's the project you can endlessly decline for any festive occasion. Need something to decorate a branch for next Easter - take spring Easter colors (yellow, pink, apple green, light blue). For Halloween - orange, some greyish soft lila, greys and blacks. For Christmas - ivory white, golds and some warm greys. They are going to look fantastic if you match nice colours and make a bunch of them.

Monday, May 26, 2014

HOME sweet home - DIY tutorial for mini-album

Here's another fun stationery project. This one came spontaneously, because I had to make a greeting card, and I realized I wouldn't be able to put everyone's words into it properly without a confusing multitude of teeny-tiny phrases around on the inside. So I made an album - with pages just big enough for one person/family to put just a bit more than a common wish-you-something phrase.

This album had to accompany a gift for a house warming party, that explains the motif choice and the heading

Quite a simple album - only punched pages, bound with a raffia thread. No fancy cover/cardboard, because this album is somewhere in between a mini album and an extended greeting card.

TIP: there're many steps where you make and let dry. And that may be annoying (well that IS anoying in my opinion - sometimes you can make another step while waiting, and sometimes you have to completely switch to another project while waiting, and I don't normally like to switch unless I absolutely have to). I've put my album into the oven at 50 degrees Celcius, the liquid paint and gesso dried in about five minutes there, while normally it takes about half an hour.

That's it - it takes a bit longer than a greeting card, but it's worth it! Now let's break down step-by step!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A new collaboration with kids - PILLOW CASE

This pillow case has been a very looong project.

Remember, back in January-February this year we've been collaborating together with my little girl on a serie of fun pillow cases in techniques of monoprint, drawing, appliqué and stencils. They are here, and here, and also there.

This collaboration was with a little girl of a good friend of mine. And this little girl is a very good friend of my little daughter, and she has been always curious about what I make and how and what she could possibly craft as well. That's why I've suggested that we make something special for her mom's birthday in spring. Because this little girl is regularly coming to our house I suggested we make something step-by-step, working each time like about fifteen minutes. Now it's finished, offered and now I can publish the results.

This project had to take us as about four sessions to complete: 1) monoprint, 2) free hand drawing, 3) stencils and 4) making a drawing on paper so that I could transcribe in into fabric appliqué. 

In a real life it has been more tricky than that. We had some discussions about colors, that her mom likes/dislikes, we had to make some changes, and she has been picky about what fabric pieces to use, or not to use, because she didn't like the results of her own work. So we started over and over again. And I had to find out ways to have matching parts and revisit the whole layout so that I could guide this little girl and help her. All in all it took us about three months with all the non-productive add-on's as flus, vacations, etc.

The end result is something that is completely different from my initial idea, which was about flowers in pink, orange, with greens in between. Somehow we got a little manikin character there, and blue colors, and an apple tree - they were all elements this little girl wanted to have, and I just rearranged as long as I got finally satisfied and realized that the layout felt right.

It was huge fun. I don't bother at all that we got this unexpected thing at the end, and I just LOVE it. This is the message this little girl wanted to convey, and the colors which she/her mom love, so yes, this part was challenging. The end result was worth all the efforts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Workshop for kids - making a birdy

Looking for a fun idea how to keep kids busy for half an hour during an anniversary party? Skip if not, or stay otherwise, because it's easy, fun, with very nice and pleasant results. All you need is some extra stuff, that is easy to find at any craft and construction materials department store. Today I only show you the mock-up, which I've prepared to see if it works. And yes, we've already finished them with kids, but I have unfortunately no photos with finished birdies which I could share.

The busy part was to craft them prior to anniversary, which took me three sessions - paper balls glueing, support making, assembling altogether and staining, and you have to have at least two days, because they have to dry thoroughly in between.

The kids got the birdies on supports, then they painted them with acrylic paint, put eyes and feathers. Sounds easy, right? And quick. In real life it was easy - yes, but not as quick as I expected  - our little participants wanted to exchange colors, they spent some time to color them properly, and then they mixed colors and watched, and helped their neighbors. I've planned about fifteen minutes for that project, and we've spent like thirty-five minutes or so.

ADDITIONALLY: I've stained wooden supports, because it was cheap wood that I was using, so staining it was better. Beaks were made of pencil tops, which was intriguing for kids - making a birdy which can WRITE! And we only put eyes and feathers. No wings, as in the mock-up, otherwise the whole workshop would take fifteen minutes more, and the kids (4-6 y.o.) would get tired to continue at that point.

I'm going to repeat this workshop one more time, and hopefully get some pics for you. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Invitation cards

I've been making the invitations lately. For an anniversary party - my little girl has turned five years old. It's spring time (a bit fresh and cloudy though), so we came up with flower theme, and colors. We both love them. And there're also princesses, or pixies, or whatever, because there HAD to be a princess. I agreed, so please meet a small keepsake we've put onto each card - not exactly a princess, but something that we BOTH love. That was new. Before all the cards we've been making were flat - hand painted, hand printed, with scraps of paper, and stamps (here how we started and here the final layout from the last year). By the way the keepsake is pretty easy to put into the envelope and not bulky as I thought it might be.

I had white middle heavy paper (200g/m2), color papers, Marimekko napkins, paint, linen raw fiber, raffia and cheap net lace - that's all. Nothing fancy from the world of card making/scrapbooking. Only simple things. Only basic essentials. Plus something new for a challenge and inspiration. It was fun. And mostly it's my project, because we didn't have much time to make them together, so I've been working mostly during naptime in the mornings when my little girl was at school.

My thought afterwards? I like how it turned out. It's girly, it's full of colors and textures, it's combining lots of techniques I already know pretty well and love, but also introducing some new materials like linen raw fiber and raffia, and working 3D. I wish I'd work less alone on them and more with my little girl. I could have possibly developed an idea of monoprinting with her, or small collage, but the time was short. Anyway she was inspired and is now working on her own pixies which is great. 

Curious about how exactly they've been made? Come over by the end of the week - for TWO step-by-step tutorials how to make the cards and the pixies. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Fabric hearts - DIY keepsakes

As promised, the short tutorial how to accompany a gift card or make a simple yet special gift - a heart keepsake. I've got some scraps of an omnipresent Marimekko's classic - the fabric with Unikko motif. I might be obsessed with this motif, but it's just THAT great in my opinion. I do love lot of other fabric designs from Marimekko, I honestly do, but I somehow end up always buying a scrap of that design. And this time they were there, two tiny scraps waiting for me to come over and get them out of a discount basket. Too small to make anything, unless two pockets or maybe a collar and a bias tape for a dress. I've got them anyway and then it sparkled the idea of making a decorative keepsake since I've been busy making cards in the same design and similar colorway.

Then came also this idea of putting a small bell inside them. But they didn't have to look like toddlers rattles either. So that's how I've put a message there on a separate tag. Two friends who've got to get them were going to move abroad, so the message was about keeping memories and making them smile far away - each time when they ring the keepsake's bell there'll be a friend thinking of them right at the moment.

So basically there's a heart to sew with two pairs of contrasting fabric, a thread with a bell (top side), another thread with a bit of something like raffia and maybe a bead to add a new color to better match the card (bottom side). Some lavender if you like, and just sew it up - it's ready to go now.

That's it. It's easy, believe me, it's quick and it's just looking special and it will be special for your friend, since that's something you've put your time, effort, joy and love into.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

About making cards - DIY tutorial

Well, my dear friends, this time I'm talking about an unexpected project. A friend of mine asked me to design a couple of cards. And man, do I LOVE everything about cards - no need to ask me twice - I have a small collection of them, and occasionally buy them here and there, not caring that much for a theme or technique - sometimes they are cute commercial illustrations, sometimes quirky and edgy, sometimes letter printed on heavy paper, sometimes colorful and sometimes not, sometimes hand screen printed, and sometimes hand drawn, sometimes old, with notes from the past time - I can go on and on. 

There're so many great cards out there, made by highly talented illustrators, and even more options to create your own cards. So that's the point - card making can be overwhelming. I do not know how you guys are feeling finding yourself at a scrapbooking supply department store, but me personally I just want to buy EVERYTHING I see and at the second moment I'm next to breaking down in tears because I'm obviously getting an overdose of visual stimulation, and all the endless possibilities of what can be made are simply driving me crazy. And I leave. And I say to myself I would never be able to make my own cards. Too many options. That's my long story short.

But I still love cards. And that's the way I've found to make them with, yes, some essential supplies, but without feeling frantic urge to constantly go get more and more fancy papers, dozens of stamps, ink bottles, stickers, embellishments and so on. There're seasonal collections, theme collections, there's always some great stuff at discount, inspiring magazines, craft fairs and it's simply crushing you right down and pulling apart. Learn to make with less and you'll see how many possibilities you'll find within a small amount of supplies. That's challenging, but gratifying and calming. My way is to keep it simple, streamlined and use what I have on hands.

So what I have on hands, and they are pretty useful things if you're addicted to working with paper and obsessed with details, perfect execution like I think I might be. Lets' start with nice heavy paper that I buy large scale in bulks (like 100 sheets 50 x 70 cm, 220 gm/m2) and that I use everywhere - cards, album pages, sheets for drawings with my little girl, to trace the patterns and so on. That's just so much cheaper, so that I buy it like once a year and have enough for many different kind of projects. Other necessary supplies which are worth every cent are:
  • Paper cutter like this one,
  • Cutting mat from Boesner or any other manufacturer, size 45 x 60 cm,
  • Classic patchwork rule (Omnigrid) and classic rotary cutter (Olfa) - both can be found in patchwork supply stores.
And then I take acrylic paints, paper napkins (to replace the multitude of printed papers you'd otherwise have to buy), and then I make some stencils and linocuts which replace fancy stamps, stickers and Co. Yes there're also all types of embellishments that can be put atop your cards like buttons, perforated flowers, ribbons, eyelets, 3D-stickers, I know, I know, the list ist loooong. I'm okay without them right at the moment.

So please scroll the pics down and see the how to step-by step.

P.S. Curious about hearts accompanying the final photo? Come over by the end of the week and see the DIY-tutorial about making those fun keepsakes!