Thursday, June 30

Recycled Robot Gift Wrapping

Recently we were invited to a robot themed birthday party for a 2 year old named Quinn. Never one to let a good theme pass me by, I decided to wrap my gift accordingly. Save up your old boxes, cans and toilet paper rolls and you can make your own.

1 Large box for body and to put gift inside
1 Small box for the head
Aleene's Tacky Glue
Black Paper
Crafty Chica Silver Glitter
Tin Foil
Star Punch
Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer Transfer Sheets
3 Wooden Knobs
2 Empty Tin Cans
Tulip Glam it Up Crystals
2 Paper Towel rolls (or toilet paper rolls) for arms
1 Small roll (mine came from a package of cinnamon rolls) for the neck
Aleene's Tacky Tape

First you want to get all your robot parts ready for assembly. I wrapped the arms, body, legs and neck in tin foil. You can use tape or glue to fasten it. Be sure to put your gift inside the large box before you wrap it in foil.

I also got my wooden knobs ready by covering them in Tacky Glue and sprinkling with Crafty Chica glitter while the glue was wet. You can find these random sized knobs in the wood aisle at your craft store. Allow them to dry completely.

Using black construction paper, Tulip Glam it Up Crystals (which are already sticky backed) and Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer Sheets decorate your robot body. I cut out one large piece of purple glitter, several small black paper rectangles and then attached to my body and adorned with crystals.

Making the face is the same as the body. The design you choose is totally up to you. Once you have your face on the box using Tacky Glue add your glittered wooden knobs. I added one to each side of my robots head and one on top for good measure.

All that was left to do was glue everything in place. I used a hot glue gun/tacky glue combo. The hot glue allowed everything like arms and tin can legs to adhere quickly. Once the glue cooled I went over it with Tacky Glue to make sure it would all stay in place.

Our wrapped up robot fit right in with all the other bots about. Tune in next week for Robot Party Part2. Also want to make more recycled robots? Check out this project. Looking for more wrapping paper options? How about a wrapped lamp shade, cassette tape gift bow, customized ice cream carton, wrapagami, gift wrap trends, vintage wrapping paper and wrapped gift hula hoop wreath.

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Tuesday, June 28

How to: Sparkle Kitty Ear Barrettes!

Today, it's clip-on cat ears for when you're feeling a little bit feline! The occasion? Well, to be perfectly honest, I set out making these for my niece's 5th birthday (she happens to love cats--her cat, Mo, in particular), but I didn't finish them in time (yes, despite the fact that they only take about 10-15 minutes to complete!). It turns out, though, that there was a higher power (called glitter) at work and the delay was well worth it: I recently got a delivery of Tulip's new iron-on glitter sheets and I realized that the delay was meant to be (because what would these ears be without the sparkle?--I know the Crafty Chica would be proud.)

Save these for Halloween if you want, but why wait? I wholly believe in wearing fun accessories whenever the mood strikes--because, hey, some days you just feel like a cat and here's the perfect accessory to let you indulge. And talk about fun in the sun--these ears sure do sparkle!

-Pen or pencil
-Scrap of paper
-Colorful felt
-All-purpose scissors
-Fabric scissors
-Metal snap barrettes
-Aleene's Fabric Fusion fabric glue
-Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer Transfer Sheets
-Pressing cloth

Make it:
1. Use the pen and paper to sketch out a slightly rounded triangle, about 2" high. Add 1/2" at the base of the triangle and then mirror the shape below it to create the template. Cut it out with the all-purpose scissors. (You can also fold the paper at the base after you've drawn the top triangle and the extended base, and cut around the shape through both layers.)

2. Fold over the felt and lay the template on top of the folded section. Use the fabric scissors to cut around the template, through both layers.

3. Mark and cut a second template, in the shape of a rounded triangle, about 1/4" smaller on all sides than the original triangle in Step 1.

4. Select a color from the iron-on glitter sheets and trace the second template twice onto the shiny surface. Use the all-purpose scissors to cut them out. Peel away the shiny surface layer and arrange them on the felt ear pieces. Lay a pressing cloth over the ears, and press firmly with the iron for about 40 seconds. (Repeat if necessary to set the glitter transfer.)

5. Clip the metal barrettes in the center, on each side of each felt ear piece, so that the top of the barrette corresponds to the wrong side of the ear piece and vice versa. Generously apply fabric glue around the edge of the wrong side of the ear piece. (Felt absorbs a lot of the glue, so don't hold back!)

6. Fold the ear piece around the top of the barrette to seal the glue, and repeat on the second barrette.

7. Let dry. Optional: Clip the layers together with extra barrette clips while the glue dries!

8. Quick! Try them on before the actual cat who's been helping you craft gets a little too interested and starts batting them off your workspace!

(Special thanks to Tulu the cat for "helping.")

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Thursday, June 23

Having a Craft Social with Sister Diane Gilleland

Diane Gilleland has her finger on the pulse of all things crafty, and I mean ALL things. She is the Editor in Chief of Craft Zine, She has authored several E-books, runs the successful blog and podcast Crafty Pod (check out mine on marketing online), is known to some as Sister Diane from her days running the Portland Church of Craft and anytime you see the hash tag #craftsocial on Twitter she is behind the scenes running the show.

Needless to say I was pretty excited to get a chance to chat with her about crafty matters like Kanzashi flowers and plastic canvas. She is also a wealth of knowledge about social networking and running a successful blog. All this and she is cute as a button and a heck of a nice person, what's not to love!

So how are you liking your new gig as head honcho over at Craftzine? Are you going to continue to write your fabulous business column for CRAFT? How did your new gig as Editor in Chief come about?

It was a big surprise! Natalie Zee Drieu, who many of us know and love, made the difficult decision in April to step down from her position at CRAFT and focus on her family. She suggested me as her replacement. Within about 14 days, I was Editor in Chief! I'm still working to get my feet fully under me, but thoroughly enjoying the process. It feels in many ways like what I've always done with my personal blog, but about 500% larger.

Explain Craft Social. I keep hearing about it and seeing the hashtags on Twitter, but to be honest I am not sure how it works.

Craft Social is a monthly Twitter chat that I've co-organized with Barbara Forbes Lyons for a little over a year now. It's open to the public. Each month, we have a different crafty discussion topic, and we have a big, freewheeling conversation about it. It's really fun to hear all the different points of view, and it's a great way to meet interesting new people to follow. Anyone who wants to join us needs only to follow the #craftsocial hashtag on Twitter, and add that hashtag to any tweets they want to contribute to the discussion. A really good place to join in is TweetChat.

We'll be on hiatus for July and August, but you can keep up on the dates of our future Socials at

You recently had a book come out called Kanzashi in Bloom: 20 Simple Fold-and-Sew Projects to Wear and Give. How did you get started making Kanzashi flowers?

I stumbled onto this iconic post on Craftster, and that whet my appetite. I then did a ton of searches and trial and error to figure out how to do a simplifed version of the traditional Japanese method. And then I taught a few Kanzashi classes here in Portland. There's nothing like teaching to help you learn a whole bunch! My students helped me see all the places my process needed refining.

Interestingly, Clover took the process in my book and refined it even more. They just came out with these cool Kanzashi Maker templates, which make the process unbelievably simple.

You have written several Ebooks on your website Crafty Pod. Why the decision to write an Ebook rather than talk to a publisher about a physical book? Which one is your best seller?

Well, as much as I love my Kanzashi book, there are some downsides to traditional print publishing. For one thing, it takes about 18 months to get a book from contract to bookstores. And I wanted to write about blogging and social media, and let's face it, in those 18 months, everything can change!

I also wanted to experiment with self-publishing because I wanted to be able to write about subjects that might be too niche for a print publisher. Because print books cost so much to produce, a mainstream publisher very understandably needs to make books that will appeal to the widest possible audience. But I don't easily think mainstream. I think in niches.

My ebook Making a Great Blog: a Guide for Creative People is my best-seller. It's written from a crafter's perspective, and it covers the aspects of blogging I don't see covered in other blogging guides – namely, exactly how you go about creating interesting, valuable blog content. Good posts and beautiful images are really the foundation of any successful blog.

How did you get started podcasting? What kind of set up would an aspiring podcaster need? You collection of interviews is vast, who are few of you and your listeners faves?

My partner Katin first introduced me to podcasts, way back in 2005 when they were first coming on the scene. I immediately started a little show called SpinsterSpin, which was about being a woman who's chosen not to marry or have children. And within a couple months, I had the idea to start up a crafty podcast. And that one quickly took over a big chunk of my life!

To start a podcast, for the most part you just need these things: a microphone that plugs into your computer (or, is built into your computer). Some kind of audio recording and editing software (like Audacity. A place to host your finished podcast files. (Libsyn or Podbean are good.) The real magic is in how you adjust the settings of all these things to get the best sound quality. So, make a lot of test recordings, try various setting combinations, and keep good notes.

I have way too many favorite interviews to list here! Really, every show taught me something new, and gave me new things to think about. I really miss making podcasts!

Do people refer to you more as Sister Diane rather than just Diane? I find in certain situations I get referred to as “the Naughty Secretary” more than I do Jennifer. What ever happened to that branch of the Church of Craft? Have you ever preformed a wedding ceremony since you are ordained and all?

HAHAHA! It actually sounds pretty cool to be referred to as The Naughty Secretary! And yes, I'm referred to as Sister Diane all over the place. I always joke (perhaps mobidly) that it'll be on my tombstone.

The Portland Church of Craft closed down in 2007. I think two things happened: first, Portland is blessed with an amazing bounty of crafty-event resources. This is great, but then any event that happens regularly, like Church of Craft, seems to sooner or later fall victim. People start thinking, "Oh, I can go to that any month, but this weekend, I should go to this new event instead." Our Church of Craft just dwindled in attendance over time. And frankly, after 5 1/2 years of organizing it, I got pretty burned out.

I did perform one wedding, which was lovely! I officiated the ceremony for my dear friend Susan Beal and her husband Andrew Dickson.

What do you think it is about Portland and Austin being such crafty hot beds of activity? I have heard them called sister cities and in the craft department this especially seems to be true.

I've heard that, too! I've visited Austin, and loved everything about it except the heat. (Should've come out in October instead of July!) I think both cities have a wonderful creative vibe - not just for crafting but for all kinds of making, including food and technology and robotics. I think they're places where a creative person can go and live fairly inexpensively while they persue their dream projects. And since there are so many other creative folks around, all kinds of interesting cross-pollination happens.

Both cities also seem to embrace their "weirdness." There don't seem to be a lot of constricting social conventions – if you're original, then rock on!

How do you think Etsy has changed the Indie craft scene?

Well, on the one hand, Etsy has made it very easy to start a small craft business. This is a good thing, because I think a taste of entrepreneurship can be very beneficial for most of us.

I do see a certain downside, and it's not really Etsy's fault. Since so many crafters have turned to starting small businesses, I've seen the general conversation in the online craft community turn from excited sharing to marketing. I see so many crafters trying to market handmade things to other crafters – instead of reaching into the vast markets of non-crafters (who might actually be much better customers). I just see a lot of us smearing the communities we reach out to for support with the markets we reach out to for income. It's all a tricky balance, but I do feel like, when I wander in the crafty community anymore, I'm hit with so many more marketing messages than genuine attempts at conversation. I suppose all that will balance out over time.

You write a lot about Social Networking. If someone only had the time to focus on one social networking outlet to promote their craft business or blog would you tell them to pick Facebook, Flickr, Twitter or Pinterest?

I would tell anyone to try them all out, and pick the one they enjoy using the most. Any social marketing tool will work well if you're taking the time to actually talk with people instead of endlessly telling them to check out your online store. Twitter and Facebook are engagement marketing tools, not broadcasting tools. It's really about the conversations you have with individuals.

So, the magic ingredient here is time. Make sure whatever tool you use, you're able to enjoy the time you're putting into it.

All that said, I don't necessarily see Pinterest as a marketing tool so much as a very good organizing and archiving tool. Look at how your profile page is constructed there - your website is a very tiny presence. And I think Pinterest users are there for the eye candy more than the conversation.

I have heard through the crafty grapevine that you have a real soft spot for plastic canvas. Are the rumors true? I too see the brightly colored plastic sheets at the craft store and rack my brain for crafty possibilities.

Plastic canvas is the Rodney Dangerfield of craft supplies. And by that I mean, it doesn't get respect, AND it's capable of wearing loud plaid pants and starring in Caddyshack.

But it's a medium with amazing structural possibilities, and you don't have to do needlepoint on it! You can put it inside fabric or felt. You can adhere thick paper to both sides. You can wire buttons and beads to it. And you can construct so many interesting shapes! Just look at the work of Nicole Gastonguay. She's my total plastic canvas hero.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Diane! I can't wait to play along with the next Craft Social, I need to read one of those E-books on blogging and maybe just maybe I'll pick up some plastic canvas next time I am at the craft store.

Check out more interviews here.

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Wednesday, June 22

iLoveToCreate Teen Crafts: Swinging Vines Necklace Tank Top

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Swinging Vines Necklace Tank Top

"Teen crafted, mom approved."

Lately I have been a little obsessed with Tulip 3D fashion paints, I have made multiple t-shirts playing with the paints and recently developed this technique. I think it is very fun and beautiful once finished. I love working with tulip paints and I know that you will not be disappointed!


Lectric Lime Tulip Slick 3D Fashion Paint
Fl. Pink Slick Tulip 3D Fashion Paint
Deep Turquoise Slick Tulip 3D Fashion Paint

White tank top
Tulip t-shirt form


1. Draw out your design on a piece of paper using pencil, then practice tracing over the design with you paints till you feel comfortable with them.

2. On your shirt start with the first large tendril using Lectric Lime. For the next three tendrils use in this order Deep Turquoise, Fl. Pink, and Lectric Lime.

3.To give it that necklace effect on the seem on the neck use Fl. Pink on the left side and Deep Turquoise on the right.

Mom’s Note
Avalon decorated this canvas bag using the same technique, but layering the colors over each other. I thought this was a really cool effect and the technique itself innovative and interesting. To me, it looks like branch coral. You could decorate a super fun canvas beach tote with this technique.

Friday, June 17

CRAFTY CHICA: How to Glitter a Suitcase (Without a Mess)

 I've had this little laptop roller case for a few years and have always wanted to chicafy it up. My first thought was glitter, but I knew it wouldn't last long after all the wear and tear. BUT when these new "safe sparkle" Tulip glitter products came out, I knew the time had come!

 Here's what you need:
Tulip® Fashion Glitter™ Shimmer Fabric Paint 
Tulip® Beads in a Bottle™ Paint
Tulip® Fashion Glitter™ Shimmer Transfer Sheets 
Crafty Chica® Little Chica Paint Packs™
Tulip® 3D Fashion Paint  , black

 Paint the areas that you'll want to glitter. Let dry and add a second coat for good coverage.

 Apply the Shimmer Fabric Paint over the painted areas, it will intensify the color and add lots of sparkle. The more you add, the more sparkle!

 Cut out your designs and shapes from the Shimmer Sheets. Peel off the top plastic protective coating, set in place, cover with a thin cloth and and iron on high for about 30 seconds.

 Use the Tulip Black Slick 3D Paint to add swirls and designs all around the background.

 Add Beads in a Bottle to outline and add more dimension. Let dry.

 This is a small carry-on suitcase, which means it won't be tossed around by bag handlers. I'm pretty confident it will stay in great shape! I may end up giving it a coat or two of Aleene's® Spray Acrylic Sealer.

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