Friday, July 23, 2010

News and Images

What a big week, my friends! My little craft project Home Tweet Home was featured on three, count 'em, THREE lovely sites: Craftomaniac, 504 Main, and These Northern Skies. Hooray, hooray! Thanks to all three ladies... all your blogs are beautiful.

After all that I need a vacation! Actually we just so happen to be leaving at some ridiculous hour tomorrow morning on a family camping trip. It'll be my son's first time sleeping in a tent. Should be a blast. So Craftopotamus will be quiet for the next week or so. But never fear! I have all sorts of good stuff planned for August.

In the meantime, I leave you with these images from inside my craft room. Hope you have a great week!

And just in case you haven't checked it out, here is the link to my Craft Room Redesign.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inspirational Art Tutorial & A Milestone

I've been working on a bigger project for the last few days. I'll share more when it's finished, but here's a sneak peak.

In the meantime, I figured I'd finally post a quick tutorial for my word wall art from my craft room redesign.

I made this "word" art for my craft room. It was super easy and I used stuff I already had on hand. I knew I wanted an inspirational word on the wall, but I did not want one separate frame for each letter because then I would always be starring at them and try to realign all the frames so they wouldn't be crooked... kind of obsessive like that. This is my way of avoiding that problem:
5 cheap 5x7 frames (or one for each letter of your word)
2 36" craft dowels (1" square - you can find them in almost any craft store)
hot glue gun
1 self-leveling hanger
spray paint
a printer
card stock or paper suitable for framing
I know there is a package of nails in the pick... I thought originally that was how I was going to put this together, but it was not going to work. Besides, a hot glue gun can solve just about any problem... I also originally wanted the word "create," but I only had 5 frames and this was all about not spending more money. "Dream" was just as appropriate. :)
First, remove the glass and the backings from all of your frames, then line up your frames evenly between your two dowels. Then mark out the spacing of the frames onto your dowels with a pencil.
Now start hot gluing your frames to the wood dowels along the bottom edge first. Once you've glued all the frames to the bottom dowel, go back and glue the top dowel down along the top edge of your frames.
Now flip your frames over to the back side and hammer a self-leveling hanger to the center back of your top dowel. (Sorry for the fuzzy pic.)
Spray paint the whole frame and your dowels. Be sure to get around all the edges of the frames.
On your computer, pick out your favorite font and play around with the sizing until it will take up most of the space of your 5"x7" frame. I also added a heavy, black border to the outside of each letter so that from a distance it looks a little like each letter is matted. You can print the letters in color or black and white... whatever works for your space. I originally thought that black and white would be perfect, but it just didn't pop so I played around until I was happy with it.
Then just trim each letter to fit the frame, replace the glass, frame your letters and VOILA!
And a big shout out to all of my faithful followers... Craftopotamus hit 50 followers this morning! Hooray for us! To celebrate, I made a couple buttons (you know, so you can match one to your blog if you like) ... feel free to take one... or ten! :) Thank you followers! I (heart) you!

And I have big plans for when we reach 100...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Batavia Quilt & Textile Show

This weekend, my mom and I went to the Batavia Quilt & Textile Show. Other than an art museum, I can think of few places on earth where you can gather as much inspiration in one place than a quilt show. There were quilts of all kinds, mostly new, but some vintage as well, and there were two awards... one for a special "Seams Impossible" quilt challenge that they ran and the other for viewers choice. Each visitor got to pick one quilt for each award.

Not only did we see lots of great quilts, but we also volunteered for a few hours at the Quilts of Valor booth and we got to see my quilt on display. Hooray!

Yup, I finally entered one of my quilts in a quilt show just for fun. Of course, I entered my stained glass quilt, Wright's Windows (it's the only one I've made that doesn't embarrass me). It was super fun to see it up there with all the rest in the show. I especially liked, standing near it (stalking it, really) and listening to what others had to say. I think one pair of ladies actually voted for it because I saw them come back and write down the number. My sweet mother voted for me so I'm guessing I pulled out with a whopping two votes.

Alas, my quilt did not win. This was the winning quilt:

It really is beautiful... this picture hardly does it justice. If you zoom in on it you can see the amazing quilting that Bonita at Prairie Shop Quilts did. Just stunning.

Here is what mine looked like hanging up...

I did not vote for my own quilt, actually. Just didn't think it was right. I voted for this beauty here...

The quilting on it was amazing... all those bricks are not part of the fabric... those bricks and details are all quilted on. Crazy awesome.
My mom really liked this next one. It's a Christmas quilt and the applique and quilting details were insane. This is not a quilt I even aspire to make - applique and I do not get along.
This one, however, I would LOVE to be able to make. Just love the depth of the pattern. I have no idea how you piece such a perfect circle...
And I have been back and forth over whether I want to start collecting 1930's feed sack prints, but this Trip Around the World sold me. Although I need more fabric like I need a hole in the head.The crazy quilt below was made from vintage fabrics. I can just picture myself hitting up my local thrift store to start collecting old clothes and whatnot to make one like it. I just love up-cycling old fabric for quilts.
Thought the next one was such an original design and, again, had marvelous quilting.
Here are just a couple more...
This last one was just too cute. Each square was totally different, but all based on chickens and there were tons of funny phrases all over it... you can see it says "why did the chicken cross the road" in applique on the top right border. The name of the quilt was "Alektorophobia."
That means "fear of chickens." :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beautiful Jewelry by Blush Envy

Yesterday I found a package at my door sent from my cousin Brandy down in Florida. I opened it up to find this...

I'm so in love with this necklace and ring set, I can't even tell you. It's handmade from paper. Yes, paper! I just can't get over her jewelry. You'd think since it's made from paper that it might be too delicate to handle regular wear, but it's not at all. The petals have a nice solid feel to them and they look so life-like.

My husband and I have a wedding to go to in a couple weeks at this lovely venue nearby. I bought this Soda Fountain Dress in Ginger from Mod Cloth for the occasion about a month ago.
A week or two later I came across the olive green paper rose necklace and ring set on the Blush Envy site and knew the pair would be perfect. Here's a few shots of me playing dress up with them...

Please keep in mind that I am not a hand or decolletage model and will certainly never be as hot as Brandy's models, but I did what I could to show you how stunning these are. Below you'll find just a few of the wonderful pieces in Brandy's Etsy shop: Blush Envy.

There's something about this last one that is just magical to me. Love it! I think all of these pieces have that rare versatility that you can wear them to a fancy event to pull your look together or with a t-shirt and jeans for fun.

Be sure to stop by the giveaway on oh, hello friend and leave a comment for your chance to win $100 to Blush Envy. The giveaway ends Monday, July 19th. And if you get the chance, read Brandy's answers to the interview on the site - I think she might just be the sweetest person in the universe. :)
And, Brandy: thank you, thank you, thank you. I will treasure them always.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Home Tweet Home

This is something I made for my niece in California. A week or two ago I found these fabric doll houses from UK lass in US. I knew right away that I wanted to make one, but I had a birdhouse in mind. Her tutorial is great and really easy to follow (thanks a ton for posting it!) - I just adapted it a little to get the birdhouse look I wanted.

I knew I wanted it to open on top, but I didn't want it to fold out all the way, like her dollhouses do. So I followed her basic construction method, but used a pentagon template (which I include at the end of the post) for the front and back panels.

I sewed the sides and base together into one piece, as she does (side, base, and another side piece sandwiched between two pieces of fabric). I hand stitched the front and back pieces on, matching up the side and bottom seams (I did not attach them to the roof). Then I made the two roof pieces independently (each with a handle on top and a hairband on each end for a button loop) and sewed them onto the tops of just the side pieces so the top would open like a purse.

Then I sewed on the buttons in front and back and added all the decorative details.

Lots of decorative details... OK, maybe I got a little carried away... :)

To make the birds I used Roman Socks free robin pattern. I made up the nest and eggs - the nest is a short crocheted "bucket" and the eggs were really simple rounds with a couple increases and then a couple decreases.
I love the sign on the front of their house. It makes me happy, :)
I can just picture my niece carrying this birdhouse around... I hope she likes it.
Here is the template I made for the front and back. If you print this out full size on a normal piece of paper, the dimensions will be correct. Just copy and paste the image onto your desktop, then print using the "fit to page" button. The dimensions for the rest of the plastic pieces are as follows...
1 base piece 3 1/2" x 6"
2 side pieces 4" x 6"
2 roof pieces 4" x 6"
You can probably make the construction a little simpler by sewing the roof pieces in with the sides and bottom (roof, side, base, side, roof), but then you won't have a little overhang on your roof. I cut the shingles from felt and sewed them on one row at a time using a long running stitch. The fence is also felt.
I also used template plastic instead of plastic canvas and hot glue instead of duct tape since that's what I had on hand. I actually didn't have to buy a single thing to make this project.
If you make one, I'd love to see it! Just post a link in the comments.
And again, a super huge thank you to UK lass in US for such an awesome tutorial and idea!