Thursday, November 13, 2014

Upcycled Jewelry, Bags, Belts and More - a new book by Linda Peterson

upcycled jewelry book linda peterson
So I learned something about my friend Linda Peterson - the woman makes magic with bits of old bike tires and soda can tabs!

I've always loved her jewelry designs and craft projects, but I really love her new book, Upcycled Jewelry, Bags, Belts and More! It's packed with lots of really inspiring projects that are both eco-friendly and stylish.

I have an artisan purse made from crocheted soda can tabs and it gets lots of attention every time I carry it. This book shows you how to make your own, plus a matching belt.

I love the extreme close-up photos, which make it easy to see exactly what she's doing with each finding or bit of wire.

recycled plastic earrings lisa fulmer

Feeling inspired, I went digging through my recycle bin to make something. The only thing that spoke to me were the mangos. The lower half of these sturdy plastic fruit cups are nicely fluted, so I cut out sections of one cup to make these tiered earrings. I colored the bottom piece with blue alcohol ink and coated the front with crackle medium. I added a stripe of copper glass paint in the recessed area of the top piece, along with a couple gems. I love the overall shape and they're super lightweight.

Click here for Linda's playlist of companion video tutorials and then check out all the other designers' blogs below to see what they have to say about the book!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hop, Skip, Jump - 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life

hop skip jump book
Hop, Skip, Jump is a fun new book from Marney K. Makridakis, founder of Artella Land - an online community for artists, writers and creative entrepreneurs.

Marney writes about how to have more fun while you're getting more done. She shares 75 techniques for how to be both playful and productive in order to manifest success. She describes why play matters, that it's about more than being silly or killing time or taking a break. Play is a state of mind; it's about how we stay present and how we magnify what makes us human.

The book's title refers to the three phases for making things happen in your life - dreaming (hop), experimenting (skip) and taking action (jump). Marney's techniques for getting the most out of each phase include quizzes, drawing exercises, trivia, word games, doodling, journaling and other creative prompts. She shares lots of examples and talks about the benefits (and potential risks) of spending more time and energy in each phase.

One of the examples I really liked was about kids in a butterfly garden and how it illustrates the value of pausing instead of pushing. Kids tend to run all around, chasing the butterflies to try to catch them. But if you just stand still, the butterflies will eventually come and gently land on your arm, your shoulder, or even your nose. Such a simple thing that should be easier for me to remember to do, especially when I'm feeling completely stuck for a creative idea when I have to write or design something. Stop pushing so much and just pause for a bit...and it will come to you.

Lots of great tidbits in this book to read and reflect on - I'm gonna have fun exploring more of it!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Etching glass tumblers - from plain to paisley

etched glass tumbler paisley etchall

When you get tired of your plain glass tumblers, don't buy new ones - just etch 'em with etchall creme. You can use stencils, painters tape, or adhesive silkscreens to add the pattern or image you like in just 15 minutes - love it! A jar of etchall lasts a really long time—you can reuse the creme over and over. Check out their how-to videos and project gallery for more ideas.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Recycled sunshine postcard - paint-stamping on upcycled papers

- 4x6 pieces of stiff cardboard (cereal boxes work well)
- Junk mail or old book pages (commercially printed uncoated paper)
- Decoupage medium|
- Non-stick brayer (or an old rolling pin)
- Craft paints 
- Stamping objects - cork, kitchen sponge, scotch tape core, old credit card, pencil with eraser top
- Printed sentiment
- Foam adhesive squares or pop-dots
paint brush, small cup, non-stick parchment or wax paper, stir stick, scissors, baby wipes
- hair dryer (optional - speeds up dry time)

1.  Tear strips of junk mail or book pages (small print makes a nice overall background texture) and apply to cardboard with decoupage medium (thinned slightly with water). Use the brayer to gently smooth out the surface and let dry. Trim the outer edges of torn paper flush to the cardboard.

2.  Use a narrow wedge cut from a kitchen sponge to stamp a repeating linear pattern across the card with a medium tone paint color; let dry.

3.  Use a ring-shaped object, like the core of a scotch tape roll, to stamp random circles in a darker or contrasting color; let dry.

4.  Drag the edge of a credit card through paint to stamp the sun rays in a bright color, then stamp the center of the sun with a cork.

5.  Use a pencil eraser or sponge to line the edges of your postcard with color, then adhere the sentiment.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Playing with Cool2Cast!

cool2cast plaster medium
Cool2Cast is a fabulous plaster-type medium for crafts and mixed media - developed by my friend, Tiffany Windsor.

You mix it with water and then pour it into just about any kind of flexible mold or container to create fun embellishments.

It dries to an opaque white with a really nice and smooth surface for painting, inking or stamping. You can embed things in it, add texture or create resists.

Now Bella Crafts Quarterly has teamed up with Tiffany to create a new Cool2Cast ebook that's filled with all the tips, techniques and project inspiration you need to get the most out of this fun medium. There are loads of pictures and great ideas - and the price is right!

cool2cast ebook tiffany windsor
I like making square tiles in Wilton's square silicone tray for bite-size brownies. You can make tiles in varied thicknesses depending on how full you fill each square.

Thin tiles are great for making pendants and embellishing box lids. I made a few and gave them a random marbley finish with lime green and caramel colored alcohol inks, then painted a coat of iridescent medium on top to seal it.

cool2cast pendant lisa fulmer
I stamped a couple tiles, and I rubbed one tile flat across the stamp pad for solid coverage. Then I used a baby wipe to remove some of the ink so a tiny bit of the sparkle underneath came through. I sealed it again with a coat of glazing medium and glued on some bling.

I really like the distressed look I ended up with on each tile, so I found beads with a rougher texture to match.

It was easy to slowly drill a clean hole through the tiles with a hand-winding craft drill, or you can glue on a flat pendant bale.

For this one tile, I backed it with a stiff piece of acetate and wrapped some copper metal tape around the bottom edge for a quickie bezel. I added some floss and beads...and I have a lariat necklace!

Click here to visit lots more designers who are having fun with Cool2Cast - and don't forget to download the e-book - you'll have so much fun with this stuff!

cool2cast pendant detail lisa fulmer

cool2cast inked tiles lisa fulmer

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Holly berry puffy felt holiday ornament

Holly berry felt stuffed holiday ornament

This week I'm part of a Handmade Holiday Blog Hop with the Designer Crafts Connection that's sponsored by Fairfield World, makers of Poly-fil fiberfill. The timing is perfect, because I need to make a big batch of ornaments to sell at a holiday art and craft festival at a local gallery. And because I'm all about crafting with my stash, I decided to dig into my supply of yummy wool felt.

I love the classic holly berry motif, so I cut up my felt, got out my embroidery floss and started stitching. Poly-fil has a really nice slick texture, so it was super easy to stuff inside my ornament and shift around as needed to get just the right amount of puff.

Be sure to visit all the other participating designers in this hop to see what they made with their favorite Fairfield products!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Paper mosaic greeting cards

paper mosaic greet cards lisa fulmer
Here we are, first Monday again (funny how that happens every month or so). That means it's time for a new blog hop with the Designer Crafts Connection - this month our theme is thank you cards and gifts.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quick and easy autumn leaf greeting card

autumn leaves greeting card

I made this card for my friend Kari's birthday - I like to save the open pieces of paper I die-cut shapes out of and cut around the negative space to make frames and masks. I'm also on a 6" square card kick lately - I got a deal on some square envelopes and I love being able to slice a 12" sheet of cardstock in half for two cards, easy peasy.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book review - Craft Fail by Heather Mann

craft fail book heather mann
It has happened to all of us...we try to make that thing we saw on somebody's blog, that cool idea we found online...and we fail. Big time.

Heather Mann, founder of Dollar Store Crafts, has been helping crafters celebrate their craft fails for a few years now.

Some of the epic fails from her popular website are now available in a wonderfully hilarious book:  Craft Fail - When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sullivan's Parachute Cord Blog Hop

parachute cord necklace lisa fulmer

This week the Designer Crafts Connection is working with a brand new type of parachute cord from Sullivan's USA.