30 September 2015
25 September 2015
While writing my book, Crafting With Nature, I started looking at my crafting supplies with different eyes. I have always loved natural materials, but spending months and months working with natural ingredients and supplies made me realize that half the joy of crafting is the feel of the tools and materials in hand. Sure, the finished product is a boon, but the slip and tug of natural fibers while crafting, the silky smooth crush of petals or even just the nubby warmth of cotton string in hand is the real joy of crafting with nature.
One of my favorite natural materials is leather or suede. The feel of soft hide is a soothing material to craft with and as I craft, I am grateful for the animal that provided it. The leather I am using is courtesy of the Leather Hide Store, where remnants from upholstery (couches, chairs, pillows, etc.) are sold to crafters like me. Instead of wasting the cutting room floor pieces, Leather Hide Store is embracing the use of remnants for beautiful, luxurious little crafts. Join me today as I show you a little slouch bag inspired by an old tutorial Onel wrote here at A Nest for All Seasons and I will have another little leather project coming up for you soon! Let's start with this cute little bag though, shall we?
|Look at that BEAUTIFUL leather!|
2. Cut out your pieces with sharp leather shears, tracing a circular lid to make life easier on yourself. You need one long piece, around 8x18 inches (20x45 cm), two leather circles and one leather circle cut from cardboard or several pieces of cardstock glued together. Use regular scissors to cut the cardboard, NOT your new leather shears!!
3. Sandwich the cardboard inside the two leather circles with the outer, smooth leather side showing on both sides. Glue together with plain old craft glue or Elmer's.
4. Fold over the top edge of the long piece of leather and place a string inside the crease is you want a drawstring. (I omitted this, but see the photo where the string should go below.) Use the awl to pierce the leather and then thread waxed string through the holes. You can use any stitch you want, but I liked this overcast stitch. A blanket stitch would work nicely too.
5. Trim any leather below your straight sewn line and roll leather into a cylinder. Sew down the seam from top to bottom to secure.
6. Place the round bottom on the cylinder and attach with leather glue or stitching. I used glue (see Onel's bottom stitching HERE) and it has held up nicely. The top o the slouch bag will of course slouch, while the bottom will keep its circular form thanks to the cardboard.
I've shown the little bag with pencils and craft supplies, but think how perfect they would be for little gift bags this Christmas that your friends and family can use "after the gift"! Consider enlarging this little bag for a large planter or add in that drawstring for a beautiful backpack! Leather is so versatile and fits with so many different tastes and design styles. Pick out your favorite remnant HERE at Leather Hide Store and get crafting with nature!
21 September 2015
This is how THE BOOK began.
|...and this is just one wall -- imagine nature crafts ALLLLLLL around the entire house :)|
When I first knew that the book was going to be a real THING, I sat down with two big posterboards and wrote out the table of contents. Then I scratched a bunch of stuff out and rearranged things and had a giant rough draft that was life-sized and tangible. Once I submitted my table of contents to the publisher, it was fairly set in stone. We made a few adjustments, but the basic outline is still very much the same. The chapters went from that big posterboard onto:
|In case you were wondering, I was able to make those perfectly straight lines because I used the handy dandy |
vertical lined wallpaper to measure before issuing it a death sentence. See? Even ugly things can be helpful!
The 14 clipboards to the left are for the kids -- star charts, hanging artwork, working math problems, etc. The two in the middle held a running schedule of current projects for the book (bottom) and blog (top) and the 14 clipboards on the right were separated by chapter for the book. (Some chapters were paired up at various times -- there are 19 total chapters). In the corner of each clipboard is the chapter number and the month that I planned to work on it. The light green post-it notes had projects that needed to completed for that chapter, the yellow post it was an alert that text was not complete and the dark green post-it was for submitted chapters. Once the wall started winding down to less and less yellow and more and more dark green, my stress level started easing right along with it.
The Workspace:To recap, the "front" of the room is devoted to the kid's art and all the cubbies that organize our life. The left of the room is almost all clipboards. Straight in front of you when you walk in is this:
1. The old crib mattress springs held my table of contents until it was set in stone and up onto the clipboards. Now it has started to hold finished products along with the other IKEA grids (to the right of frame).
2. There are three dressers and a rolling paper cart from IKEA that fit snuggly along the back wall. They are divided by color and/or season and filled with decor/props. (Remember my color-coded prop drawers in the old house? Same idea...new dressers)
3. The big wooden drop leaf table is also IKEA, but we grabbed it off Craiglist for a song. The burlap runner is a $4.97 Consumer Crafts "fabric" and is far cheaper than the same $20+ burlap table runners you can find elsewhere. Bleach the burlap yourself for the even more pricey bleached burlap runners!
|What is looks like under actual work conditions...|
|The pictures in this shoot are from THIS POST if you are curious :)|
Future Plans for the Art Room
|The BEFORE shot of the Art Room -- note the red/purple carpet and striped wallpaper!|
For now, if you are interested in pre-ordering 'Crafting With Nature', you can definitely do that!! (PLEASE do!)
If you aren't ready to pre-order, remember that ADDING THE BOOK TO YOUR WISHLIST is very helpful as well and FREE!
16 September 2015
- Twigs (I am using lavender for the smell and straight stems)
- Jute or other natural string
- Various (inexpensive!) Grapevine "Add-ons"
Instructions:The first task is to heads outdoors to collect some dry branches, twigs or stems from the garland. For this rectangular wreath, your priority is a STRAIGHT growth habit. If you are making a round wreath, you can use more "twisty" branches. I choose lavender because the stems are very consistent in length and straightness. I also chose lavender because working among that smell is DIVINE. Also, honey + butter + lavender + homemade scones. Yes.
Start by removing the dry lavender flowers from each stem by pinching them
start wrapping your string or jute around the corners and knot.
09 September 2015
Succulents are still having a "moment" and it is no wonder that they are holding onto their trendiness. They are quite honestly the easiest plants to grow and they have all the benefits of growing a cactus without all the prickliness. One of my favorite aspects of succulents? They are often so *perfect* in design that you can never tell if they are real or fake. The end result is that you can combine fake AND real succulents with ease, using fakes to fill holes until the real ones fill in or adding little bits of color to see if you want to drop a few more pennies on the real thing. Think of fake succulents as paint chips testing out combinations. Today, I am going to show you a few helpful hints for combining real and fake succulents and we are going to start with the combo below:
HINT #1 -- Do not combine similar succulents. The one time you can REALLY tell a succulent is fake is when you place it directly next to the same or similar variety. The two red-tipped succulents above are too similar. You can tell the succulent on the left has a bit more "light" and transluscense in the leaves. The red-tipping is also a bit more random and spread down the leaves. The succulent on the right is clearly fake for two reasons -- the translucency AND that fake stem sticking out the bottom...which leads us to HINT #2: MAKE CONTACT WITH THE SOIL.
HINT #3: Make sure the succulent FITS the planting. In this case, that fake Aoenium is TOO BIG for this collection of plants. The real succulents planted next to it are squished and the overhang off the edge doesn't look natural at all. THAT SAID, this fake Aoenium is BEAUTIFUL and my favorite of the entire Consumer Crafts succulent collection.
HINT #4 Split REAL and FAKE with another real. Can you tell which succulents are real vs. fake in the arrangement below? The red-tipped succulent on the left is THIS ONE from Consumer Crafts, while the two succulents to the right are both real. Notice there are two red-tipped plants, one fake and one real, and they are split up by a real. It keeps peeps guessing this way!