Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Han and Leia watercolour quote art

Hello! Can you believe that International Star Wars Day is less than a week away?! As regular readers probably know, May the 4th is also Scott and Pip's birthdays. It's super appropriate since they're both huge Star Wars fans, so this day is a big one for all of us! And, as per usual, I've created some Star Wars crafts to help us (and you!) celebrate ^____^ This project came into being after I rediscovered a huge tub of liquid latex in my craft room. I have no idea why I originally brought this, but recently I learnt that it can be used as a masking fluid which inspired me to make these watercolour Leia and Han quote prints. Yay! ^___^

To make your own, you'll need:
- cardstock or watercolour paper
- sponge brushes
- watercolour or acylic paints
- masking fluid (I used liquid latex)
- an old paintbrush
- a lead pencil
- a black marker 
- a lightbox or window
- stencils (made with a printer and paper)

First, make your stencils by typing your quote in a pretty font and printing it out; I used "The Only Exception" by Kimberly Geswein. Then trace over your quote with a lead pencil using a lightbox or a window. If you don't want to do the black outline on the words to finish off this project, then skip the pencil outline and instead just trace the words with the masking fluid.

I already had my heart set on this project when I realised that I don't actually have any watercolours! I'm honestly shocked and apalled by this. But, there is a solution! Place a few drops of acrylic paint into small containers and then dilute it with water. Voila; faux watercolours!

I used Hot Pink, Lime, and Spearmint from the Kaisercolour acylic paint line.

Use an old paintbrush that you don't mind ruining (or one that you've already ruined with mod podge, if you're anything like me ...) to apply the liquid latex over the quotes. Try to make it relatively thick, so it's easier to remove later, but not too globby. Let it dry, so that it's only slightly tacky when you start painting over it. And make sure you do this outside! Liquid latex smells horrible.

Then, have fun with your paints! Make sure you cover all of the words, and make some interesting shapes and random splotches to make it pretty ^____^

When your paint is completely dry, peel off the masking fluid and outline the quotes with a black marker.

And now you can admire your beautiful creations! I am actually so pleased with how these turned out; I want them hanging in my home all year round and I definitely want to make more!

If you're looking for more things to craft for International Star Wars Day, check out my list below! ^___^

I've got another Star Wars projects up my sleeve, and I shall show you that later this week (two posts in one week? It really is a celebration! ~____^).

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

New paracord handles for my skating bag

Hello! One thing about roller derby and, I assume, all skating to some extent, is that you accumulate a lot of stuff. When I go to training I have my skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, a helmet, mouthguard, tape, a skate tool, a couple of water bottles, a small towel, and an extra set of wheels. Plus usually a couple of pairs of socks which I've forgotten to take out and wash (yup, I'm gross!). Which means my bag is pretty heavy, which means this happens:

Ugh! Fake leather bag straps are the worst! I brought this bag from the opshop since it was a) pretty, b) cheap, and c) big, but it's handles have not coped with the amount of stuff I lug around in it.

So, I decided it was time to replace them. Luckily, although the handles are pretty ruined, the rings and other hardware attaching them to the bag were still in pretty good shape. So I brought two bundles of 5.4m long black paracord, cut off the old handles, and started tying some knots!

The knot that I did is called a Solomon Bar, and this video was a huge help in teaching me how to do it. I started off by folding my paracord in half and putting the folded end through one of my bag rings, then I pulled the loose ends through the folded end to knot the paracord onto the ring.

I used the old handles as a guide for how long I should leave the paracord hanging between the rings, and then threaded the loose ends through the other ring. Then it's just a case of doing the knots until you have reached the first ring again. To do one handle look me about 15 minutes, so this is a pretty quick and easy fix!

My Solomon's Bar is not as tight as it could be, but I quite like how it looks looser and anyway, that was all the paracord I had!  ~____^

To finish it off, I cut off the long loose ends of the paracord, and then used a tea light candle to melt the ends and help secure them.

A lighter probably would be better for this, but I don't have a lighter and I do have an overabundance of tea light candles. Seriously, I think they breed when I'm not looking. As long as you hold your tea light steady and move your cord around (instead of vice versa!) you will not drop hot wax on yourself. I got distracted and dripped some wax on my bag, but it wiped off easily so no harm done! ^___^ When you're doing this, the important thing to remember is that you are not touching the paracord with your flame; just use the heat generated by the candle to gently melt the paracord.

Melting the cord gives a neat finish, and should ensure that the knots don't come loose ^____^

Since the paracord is quite soft, these handles are still comfortable to use, and hopefully a lot stronger than the original ones!

I have given up on so many bags because of split and stretched handles (I obviously ask a lot from my baggage!), so I'm really happy to have found a solution! My craft store has a lovely range of colourful paracord which means that finding a matching cord to make handles shouldn't be too tricky! And, if in doubt, I can simply remember that black goes with everything ~____^

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Phases of the moon necklace

Hello! So, just recently, Cat from Cut Out + Keep asked me if I'd like to be one of their DIY Fashionistas and, after squealing a bit at the computer, I said yes! I decided to go for a casual witch inspired look and I embellished a thrifted felt hat to tie in with my outfit. You can see some dorky photos of me trying to be a model, plus an interview, *plus* the full tutorial on making the hat over on Cut Out + Keep. However, if you want to know more about the moon phases necklace that I also made for the shoot, then you've come to the right place! ^____^

This necklace is really easy to make, and surprisingly light; considering that it looks quite chunky! To make it, you will need black polymer clay, silver acrylic paint, a paintbrush, a thick needle, tiger tail (or other jewellery wire), a clasp, clear and white seed beads, and two jewellery crimps.

To start off, I conditioned the polymer clay until it was soft, and then rolled it into seven balls of the same size. I then gently squashed them to make thick circles and pushed the needle through them to make them into beads.

After I baked them, I used the silver paint to make each circle bead represent a moon phase. I did this freehand, but taping off the areas you wanted to keep black would probably work out neater.

I let the moon beads dry, and then threaded them onto tiger tail, about 48cm long. Then I added seed beads to each side of the moon beads, and finished it off by bending the tiger tail around each side of the clasp components and fastening with a crimp.

One of my favourite things about this necklace is how the seed beads look; the size, shape, and transparency of the beads varies I think the subtle variety gives it extra sparkle ^___^

I feel like if I was a real witch, I would charm the beads on this necklace to actually cycle through the moon phases but, alas, I am not. So this shall have to do! ^___^

I'm still working on my amigurumi, so I shall show you that next week. And, after that: roller derby crafts! Huzzah! We are offically halfway through this cycle now and I've got my fingers crossed that I might be ready for assessments in just six short weeks - eek! I'm sure crafting some pretty things will help me relax ~___^
- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Morticia and Gomez clay dolls and a TV cake

Hello! Recently my lovely friend Clare had her birthday party, which had the absolutely awesome theme of Cult Cinema Characters. I had so many ideas of things I could have made for her gift, but after I saw a gorgeous papercraft ornament of Morticia and Gomez, I knew I would have to craft a tribute to the cutest spooky couple of all ^____^

Eeep! Aren't they cute? I made my Morticia and Gomez from polymer clay, which I then painted. It wasn't particularly hard, but it did take a long time!

I completely forgot to measure them before I gave them to Clare, but I think they were about 12cm long. They have wire armature in their arms (and legs, in the case of Gomez) and a long wire going through the middle to connect their heads, necks, and bodies. After I sculpted their bodies, I tried to smooth down the clay using a little bit of water and my fingertips, but they didn't end up quite as smooth as I would have liked. However, after they were painted, any bumps were much less noticeable!

I based my Morticia and Gomez off the Addams Family Values movie, instead of the original TV show. There probably isn't all that much difference really, but I found it really helpful to look at the cast photos for details like Morticia's hair and Gomez's suit.

I used acrylic paints to add most of the details, but Morticia's long hair is actually made from a piece of thin cardboard. I was indecisive about her hair for quite a while; I originally planned to add some fake hair from my Blythe doll kit but then decided that would be too messy to attach properly. Then I thought I would just leave her as is, but she just wasn't really recognisable without that long hair! If I hadn't been so indecisive, I think a piece of thin clay would have worked a bit better. 

Gomez's suit was definitely the hardest part to paint - all those pinstripes! You can see that my fine brush control still needs some work here ~____^

After all of the painting was done, I gave them a couple of coats of matt spray varnish, to hopefully ensure that they don't chip, or flake, or become too dirty. I also made a tiny Thing to sit on Gomez's shoulder with a scrap of clay. Thing balances perfectly on Gomez's shoulder - which makes me very pleased!

I used some black card stock to make a coffin shaped gift box for Morticia and Gomez to go in; really, what else would have done? After spending so long making these two, I was getting a bit worried that Clare wouldn't like them. But I needn't have - Clare loved them! ^___^

Rebecca and I also decided that Clare needed a cake; any occasion is better with cake, right? And if it's a novelty TV cake, then it must be extra better! ^____^ I used a 23cm (about 9 inches) square tin and a double quantity of my ANZAC cake recipe.

The icing was made with unsalted butter, icing sugar mixture, water, and a touch of blue food colouring. This cake was a little difficult to ice, since it has a rough texture, but with enough icing anything is possible and it turned out looking alright ~___^

The fun part, of course, is decorating! Rebecca had the excellent idea of using sour stripes to make a screen reminiscent of the old TV test pattern. All we did for this was draw a line in the icing where we wanted our screen to be, trimmed any stripes that were too long and rounded the corners of the two stripes on the ends. If you weren't able to find sour stripes though, I thought Scott's suggestion of making white noise using black and white sprinkles was quite inspired! The bunny ears aerial, the legs, and the speaker grill were made with chocolate Pocky, the coloured buttons are M&Ms, and the two dials are Rolos. It was a big hit with the party guests, and Clare really loved it too - huzzah! ^____^

There's less than a month until Scott and Pip's birthdays, so more cakes will be on the agenda soon! But I shall see you next week with a jewellery project, and maybe even an amigurumi! ^___^

- Lisa xx