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Craft Fail: Freezer Paper Stenciled T-shirt (Part 1 of 2)

An integral part of doing anything well, is failing. Some things I do turn out well, but sometimes they don’t, despite my best intentions. One good example of this happened a few weekends ago. I was so bummed that I even wrote on Facebook how down I felt about it the day after. I mean, I understand burning a cake, because I forgot to set the timer, or a sewing fail because I’m a beginner, but freezer paper stenciling a shirt? C’mon! I’m practically an expert at it (yeah right)!

Anyway, I felt sad, because it was a project for my sister’s birthday that was already late. Her favorite color is purple and she has a penchant for butterflies. A while ago, I picked up a pretty set of purple and pink butterfly decals for her room, but I wanted to add something else, something handmade.

I bought a purple t-shirt and decided to stencil some matching butterflies on it. Below are a couple designs I came up with. It was a tough decision. Both A & B were nice, but my sister has long hair which would obscure B, and sits in a wheelchair which might partially obscure A, so then I came up with C: a few butterflies on the back of her left shoulder, which would be unique and sweet, a lot like she is.

Once decided, I got out my supplies and got to work.

Here is the stencil cut out from the freezer paper, using an x-acto knife:

And here is where it all went wrong…

When I opened the screen printing ink, I found it mostly dried out (it was a few years old, after all). My gut reaction was to run to the art supply store and buy another jar, but then I read on the label “thin with water as needed.” Okay, I’d give that a try. It was a gloppy mess, but I only needed to cover a small area, right? So, I ironed down the stencil, let it cool and applied a layer of ink.

Besides being dried up, I had forgotten something vital. This ink color was transparent. It worked great on white or light colors, but I wanted opaque “sit-on-top” coverage (magenta on purple). So, once I peeled off the stencil, instead of a nice solid top color, it looked like a stain…

Noooooooooooo!

As I said, I was hoping to have that shirt dry and out the door the next day, but instead – CRAFT FAIL! Even now I still have the decals sitting on my desk because I haven’t found another gift to go with it. Hopefully something will turn up, and soon.

Sorry, sis.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share this here. Life happens. Things go wrong, but crafting goes on. And to prove this, come back tomorrow for Part 2, and find out what happened to that poor purple shirt.

How do you cope with craft fails or failure in general? Do you just roll with it? Do you try again right away or put it off for a while (or permanently) like I sometimes do? Where do you find inspiration and encouragement to keep on going?

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

 


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DIY Baby Mustache Pacifier + Printable Template PDF

Doesn’t it seem like the majority of the really cute “make for baby” projects are geared toward girls? I was reviewing the baby craft tutorial list and saw only a few for little boys. That got me thinking. What would be a fun and easy project to make for the baby?

How about mustache pacifiers!

These are hilarious. I’ve included the above printable pdf to download with several different styles. Handlebar mustache, anyone? Or perhaps a curling fu manchu? There are both Soothies and Avent pacifiers in our house, so that is what I used for sizing. You can cut the shapes straight from the printed sheet or use the template to cut the mustaches out of felt, as I did. Double stick tape worked well, although, if your child is older, you may want to do a better job of securing it, perhaps with hot glue or super glue.

Score one more for the boys club!

Common sense precaution: These are just a novelty. You probably shouldn’t leave your child unattended while using a mustache pacifier.

Copyright Note: Downloads are for personal, non-commercial use only. In addition, please do not redistribute or modify any of the templates. If you’d like to link to the pdf, please link to this post directly. Thanks!


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Wonderland Skirt

This darling skirt came in the mail from Australia for Chloe last week. It was handmade by my craft swap partner, Doreen. I adore the Wonderland fabric she chose, and that she thoughtfully left a small opening in the back, so I could fit the elastic waist perfectly on Chloe. Good thing Chloe and I wear vastly different sizes, or I might find myself stealing this little gem right out of her closet.

Some of Doreen’s other projects can be seen on her brand new blog Phil and Jack.


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DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea + Template

I finally joined the ranks of the many iPhone carrying mamas this week. After constantly reaching for my husband’s iPhone, “borrowing” it during travels, and having him phone me while I’m out to tell me I received a work email that needs attention, I figured it was high time I got my own. Call me a brainwashed consumer, fine, but ask me what the weather is going to be, directions to the nearest coffee shop, or which apps are best for entertaining toddlers, and I’ll be able to show you with the touch of a button.

Brand spankin’ new out of the box, the new iPhone 4 is a pretty sight – shiny, hefty and fingerprint-free. But that doesn’t last – at least for me. Not only is the iPhone shared by my toddler, but just three days after I got it, I forgot and left it on my lap after a phone call in the car. When I got out of the car, it dropped off my lap and onto the pavement, chipping tragically in 3 places. Very sad indeed.

So, I got to thinking – how can I make an inexpensive, temporary bumper to protect my new investment while waiting the 4-6 weeks for the free case from Apple to arrive in the mail? A quick search pulled up this idea, but I don’t own one of those rubber “Live Strong” bracelets. Next I tried modifying this free template from case-mate, originally designed for the iPhone 3Gs. It didn’t fit. Then, I remembered a sheet of adhesive craft foam I picked up at the craft store (was it Michaels?) for about $1. Perfect!

How to make your own iPhone 4 bumper:

1. Cut a strip of adhesive or “sticky back” craft foam 12mm wide (.47 inch) using a ruler and an X-Acto knife. Although the iPhone 4 is only 9.3mm (0.37 inch) thick, this gives about a 1mm (0.04 inch) overhang on both the face and the back of the iPhone to act as a buffer during impact.

Ideally, you’d be able to cut just one strip about 345mm (13.58 inches) long to wrap completely around the perimeter, but since my foam sheet was letter-sized, I had to do it in two pieces.

2. Cut out holes within your strip: approx. 47mm x 5 mm (1.85″ x 0.196″) for the speakers and dock connector, 30mm x 5mm (1.18″ x 0.196″) for the volume and ring/vibrate controls, and 7mm x 5mm (0.275″ x 0.196″) for the headphone jack (7mm x 5mm). I left the on/off switch covered, which doesn’t affect it’s usage.

3. Carefully remove the backing and apply it to the sides of the iPhone, keeping about a 1mm overhang on each edge (centering the foam on the steel antenna band as neatly as possible) . If you need to, join two separate pieces to completely cover the perimeter, slightly pulling on the foam to stretch it only if you need to bridge the gap where the pieces join.

And there you have it, a cheap and easy DIY alternative to the more expensive bumpers for sale. Even better, craft foam sheets come in a rainbow of colors (I just happened to only have black and white on hand). While possibly not ideal, it is working great so far (with no dropped calls).

Not sure where to cut out all the appropriate holes? Try this free bumper template.


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Making Paper-Covered Binder Clips

Every once in a while I participate in a craft swap. It is interesting to get a package in the mail from another participant, sometimes from across the globe. As a matter of fact, the partner I send to this time lives in the Philippines. Anyway, it gives me an excuse to make a couple things, including these paper-covered binder clips (first seen here). I cut out small pieces of origami paper, added a little glue on the clip body and then wrapped and pressed the paper around it. Pretty!


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Bird silhouette magnets + template pdf

I’ve been meaning to make a little handmade something to put in the mail for someone who likes birds. I finally sat down and came up with this – felt bird magnets! After choosing some simple silhouettes, I cut them out of stiffened eazy felt. Then I cut the same shapes slightly smaller out of a re-used piece of adhesive magnet to apply to the back. I hope she likes them!

Would you like to make a set of your own? If so, you can click the image above or download the bird silhouette template pdf here.


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Giving a boost to baby art

Chloe had her first finger-painting session last month, shortly before David’s birthday. I warmed up the kitchen, sat Chloe in her high-chair wearing only a diaper, and taped a sheet of paper down to her tray. A few globs of finger-paint in various colors were applied to the tray surface and directly onto the paper. She didn’t get it at first, and I was glad she had eaten recently or I would have been wiping a lot more paint from her mouth. By the end there was quite a mess, but several sheets of “drawings”.

From this:

To this:

To help her make a card, I used an exacto blade to cut out a fish pattern (her dad’s favorite sport) on cardstock before placing a piece of Chloe’s artwork behind it. Voila! Instant birthday card from Daddy’s special little girl. We also made a similar piece of art for Chloe’s Grandpa Feldkamp for Christmas, but I forgot to take a picture of it. Instead of lots of little fish the cut-out consisted of two more-detailed trout silhouettes.

A while back I came across a really good post on displaying baby and child artwork, but now I can’t find it. However, a quick “What to do with kid art” search pulled these other interesting display ideas from Tiny Decor, CookieMag, Real Simple and Parents.

P.S. I used cardstock for the paintings because the non-toxic kids paint can soak through thin paper pretty easily, causing possible tearing if baby tries to pull at the edges. Despite the heavier paper, they still wrinkled while drying so I placed them under some heavy books after they were completely dry to flatten them back down.


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Make Your Own Last-Minute Father's Day Card

As usual, I put off making David a Father’s Day card until the very last minute. Being his very first Father’s Day as a father, I didn’t want to just let it go, either, so I whipped up this card with a few minutes to spare. As you can probably see from the photo, I took a blank card and cut the word “Dad” out with an exacto knife. Then I glued some colored paper behind it to make it pop. Normally, pink wouldn’t have been my first choice, but being a last minute project didn’t make for many options. I figured David was man enough to handle it anyhow. Want to make your own? You can download and print this pdf template (originally sized for a 5×7 card).


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Making Freezer Paper Stencils (free pdf download)


What do you think of Chloe’s new tee shirt? See below to download the dragonfly stencil.

Freezer paper stencils are awesome! Not as “perfect” as screen printing, but easy and fun for single projects just the same. Watch out family, you may all be getting stenciled items for Christmas this year…

Wading through all the tutorials available, I found this one to be pretty helpful. Originally, I hadn’t been able to find freezer paper at my local supermarket (although I did see it recently at Fred Meyer). I opted to go with the large freezer paper sheets from Dharma Trading Post, since I was going to order some t-shirt blanks anyway (1,2,3,4). The nice thing about the rolls though, is you can make your stencil any length, but I think I read somewhere that craft freezer paper may have a better bond.

I’ve tried two brands of ink so far – Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink (which my husband already had from previous screen printing projects) and Jacquard Professional Screen Printing Ink. I don’t know if the Speedball ink was just too old, but it took two applications to get good coverage. Afterwards, the directions say to iron for 3-5 minutes on each side to set, which seemed like a really long time. I prefer the Jacquard. It applied better, nicely staining the fabric, and just needed one application for full coverage. Plus, it only took 1 minute to heat set.

While some of the ideas shown above are mine, others came from places like Arthur’s Silhouette Clipart Plants and Animals and Briar Press. I’d love to hear in the comments section if anyone has a favorite, because sometimes I just can’t decide. Also, Greta was sweet to post a photo of the yellow butterfly top and matching socks I made for her daughter Ava’s first birthday. Want to make your own butterfly, dragonfly or flower shirt?

**Click here to download the free stencil pdf.**

Postscript: I also have bird silhouette templates available to download that I made for another project, which would also work well as freezer paper stencils.


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Baby Craft Tutorial Roundup

A while back I started a page devoted completely to cool baby craft tutorials. There is a tab below the blog header that links to it. It contains a mix of my own tutorials and other people’s projects. So far there are tutorials for baby hair clips, appliqued onesies, felt baby shoes, burp cloths, kimono wrap, diaper and wipes pouch (poopy clutch), knit hat with earflaps, LED baby booties, diaper cake and embellishing baby tees. I hope to add more as I come across them on the net, so check back if you’re interested, or let me know what some of your favorite ones are and I’ll add them to the list.


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Butterfly Craft Punch

It has taken me a while to write and send out thank you cards for the shower gifts we’ve received. To me, writing a thank you card is serious business. I really want each one to be heart felt, and to let the giver know how meaningful their gift truly is to me. Each card has unique thoughts, and because of this I usually only complete 2 or 3 once I finally sit down to write.

Originally, I bought baby specific cards, but they’re almost all gone. Plus, it is more interesting for me to use different cards, instead of the same ones each time (even though I know they are going out to different people). That is where my new Martha Stewart butterfly craft punch comes in (on sale at Michaels a few weeks ago). We’ve had these cheap, generic thank you cards hanging around for a while. All it took was a few pieces of scrap paper and voila! a new look to otherwise plain cards. I’ve done both glued and sewn versions, as shown above. Also, if you haven’t already seen them, butterfly collages are a really fun way to use this punch, too.


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Making Button Earrings

Today I made button earrings. A fast, fun, and affordable way to add new pieces to a jewelry collection. All you need are some buttons, glue and blank earring posts.

To keep the posts secure while working, I stuck them into small rectangles of foam for support. This also allows gravity to help secure the pieces after you apply a drop of glue and then position the button. I’m not a glue expert, so I just used Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue that I have on hand. Let them dry overnight and the next morning you’ll have brand new earrings to play with!

For packaging, I re-used one of the original paperbacks that a set of buttons came on, which then fits perfectly in an old altoids tin.

Correction: Aleene’s Tacky Glue did not work. After peeling off the residue I tried again with Instant Krazy Glue, which provided a much better (hopefully permanent) bond. I’d love to hear if anyone has any other glue suggestions.


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Handmade Valentine Cards (a personal swap)

This year for Valentine’s Day I asked David for just one thing, a handmade (by him) Valentine’s card. No chocolates, or flowers, or store-bought card. Just a little of his personal time and effort. And I promised not to judge him. That whatever he chose to make would be just fine. I really meant that. And in return, I would make him a handmade card, too.

Look at this beauty. I would never have expected this in a million years. It looks like a rolled up piece of paper in the photo, but it is actually a little cylindrical box made of heavy paper, secured by a red thread around two eyelets. About 4 inches across.

This is what it looks like inside – surprise! Filled with little strips of pink paper, each with a word on one side and the matching design from the container on the other. Words like love, forever, we, you, mine, desire, romantic, emily, david, always. I could re-arrange the little strips into many different combinations. Pretty and clever. I’m clearly blown away.

This is the card that I made for David. He really loves to flyfish. On our drive back from the coast on my birthday, we stopped at a tiny scrapbooking shop in the seaside town of Gearhart, where I picked up my first collection of brads. That’s right. Before making this card I was a Brad Virgin. I don’t know why I waited – they’re so fun! Such a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. I purchased these little fish, the dragonfly, and the heart paperclips, chosen individually out of tiny drawers. They worked perfectly for this card. The writing on top says “Fishin’ for your love.” The little fish hooks are made of staples I bent with needle-nosed pliers. The inside reads “…and now I’m hooked on you! Happy Valentine’s Day!” embellished with two red heart eyelets.

I’m so proud of us.


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Crafty Giveaway

I’ve been having fun designing and making plastic pendants lately. I love combining colors and shapes and patterns into these little (mostly) 1″x 1″ works. You can kind of see what’s been on my mind lately – birds, patchwork, snowflakes, leaves and flowers. I don’t tend to wear much jewelry myself, but I like how necklaces can provide just the right amount of polish and character every now and then. Anyway, I hope you guys like them. To celebrate recently reaching my 250th post and to thank everyone who stops by my little blog, I’m holding my first crafty giveaway!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. That’s it! On Friday I’ll announce a winner by having David draw a name. The winner will get to chose a pendant from the selection shown above, and I’ll attach it to a leather cord for wearing. Be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact the winner for a shipping address. Thanks for visiting and good luck!


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How to paint a wooden box

After reading this post on Paper Kitty’s blog, I looked up Swap-bot, a swapping community where you can join or host different swaps. To give it a try, I signed up for one called “painted wooden box.” It was listed as an international swap and my particular partner ended up being from Malaysia. Malayasia! How cool is that?

Here are some pics during the painting process. By reading my swap partner’s profile I learned that red, orange and green were some of her favorite colors, so that is what I used on the outside. The inside I filled with red-themed items, a mixture of handmade and purchased goodies. I don’t want to ruin the surprise by showing everything, on the off-chance she somehow finds her way to this blog. This was really fun though. I can see how swapping can get addictive, and I haven’t even received anything yet!


This is the original unpainted box that I picked up on sale at Craft Warehouse. I covered the
glass on the lid with tape and then stained the box with a black walnut colored stain.

While the stain dried I printed and cut this lotus pattern on heavy cardstock.

I traced the stencil onto the box and then painted the image using acrylic paint.
To seal, the outside of the box was sprayed with a light coating of matte finish spray.

For a finishing touch, I cut a piece of stiff craft felt for the interior bottom, then filled the
box with goodies and a card, and prepared it for shipping.


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Crafty Cuteness – Felt Baby Shoes

I got my haircut today. I’ve been going to the same stylist for over a year (maybe two?) which is a record for me. She is only a couple weeks away from giving birth to her second child, a baby girl this time, and I decided a while back that I’d sew up something simple to take along with me.

Lately, I’ve noticed several cute online baby shoe tutorials. I thought it would be fun to give little mary janes a try. Instructions usually call for wool felt, because it is more durable. I decided to use craft felt because a) it’s softer, b) it comes in many more baby appropriate colors and c) I already had some on hand. Since I was sewing for a newborn, she’d grow out of them in a matter of weeks anyway.

To make the strap, I used papercrafting ribbon. It’s the kind with the adhesive strip on the back, and I hand-sewed it to the inside of each shoe. This way there is no need for velcro, elastic or snaps (none of which I’ve worked with yet) because it will stick delicately over the baby’s sock and attach to the other side of the shoe. I’d like to try other fastenings in the future, but this worked fine for a first pair. Cute, huh?

See my second pair and links to baby shoe tutorials and templates here, and baby boy booties here.


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Just Arrived

Looky here! My very first PIF craft exchange arrival from Denise at Marleymor! Organic chocolates, meditative teas, a darling decorative tile with button magnet (inside the red tissue with raffia. I took the picture before I opened it because it was so pretty) and a sweet pair of rose blush colored earrings! Thanks so much Denise. I can see why everyone gets so excited for these little goodies in the mail. They’re so fun and full of surprises!


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Free Download & Print Holiday Giftwrap

Free Download & Print Gift Wrap

Isn’t giftwrap fun? All the colors and patterns. I love how it looks so festive and promising. I especially enjoy the process of wrapping. If I had a dream house, I’d have a gift wrapping station complete with ribbon organizer. However, in our small house, we have to be more economical and limit ourselves to only a few rolls (not including the enormous one that a friend gave us, that will literally last our entire lifetime). Also, one major perk of being a graphic designer is that printers always give away free sheets of wrap around the holidays. I love that.

This week, I’m providing the two printable designs shown above – Giftwrap 1 – sapphire snowflakes on chocolate and Giftwrap 2 – tiny blue-grey snowflakes. The files measure 11×17″, but will work on letter size sheets. They can also be overlapped (or “tiled”) to create a larger sheet.

Tip: The most useful giftwrap-related item we have is a jumbo roll of white curling ribbon. It sounds pretty simple, but it never fails to look good and work for every single occasion.

See the upper-right sidebar for links to the previously posted goodies.

snowflake giftwrap

snowflake giftwrap

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