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Recently I was doodling with my Zig Art & Graphic pens and created a lovely oriental style bird. Since I tend to doodle bamboo with these pens due to their special nibs that create lines like Chinese Brush painting, the bird will look just right with that. Meet B.O.B; Billie’s Oriental Bird. Here is a picture of the journal page I created with the bird, if you would like to learn how to draw him. Check out the video tutorial below.

Art Journal page, oriental bird

Art Journal page, oriental bird

You Will Need

  • Cartridge Paper, I’m using Rymans 160 gsm/200 micron bright white card, but feel free to use your favorite.
  • Zig Art & Graphic pens

Method

Here’s how to create your oriental bird:

Options/Added Extras

If you don’t have these, try them with any brush style pen but I do recommend using the Art & Graphic pens because its their highly flexible tips that let the ink go light and dark in areas that gives that wonderful brush style effect. You will get different results depending on your card stock so do experiment with different kinds.

Links

Hope you enjoyed the video and I’d love to see the birds you create from it. Would you like a video on how to draw the bamboo? If I get enough comments and have enough light, I’ll see what I can do ;) I’m exploring doodling this winter, have seen some lovely journal pages using it. I used to doodle lots before my hands got wrecked with RSI. There are some great books around on the subject if you too would like to explore doodling :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Anyone else keep seeing lovely sewn projects and wish you could play along? Zips terrify me, I know I can do them really as I made a zip up cushion cover in school but I’m really bewildered by the process. I’d heard about Craftsy online classes from a sewing forum so I tried them out. Here’s my first finnished zip, I’ve left in tacking stuff so I can write notes how I did it. I did iron it but then forgot about it and put it in the cupboard so its a bit… distressed hehe

Centered zips, after doing the Craftsy class.

Centered zips, after doing the Craftsy class.

You do need to join to have access to the classes but this zip class is a freebie and its WONDERFUL.

Links

There are other classes on the site that are paid for, and with those you get downloadable PDFs in some cases, some offer patterns as part of the class price. The tutor answers your questions online and you can post pics of your projects to share with fellow classmates and for feedback. I’ll do a fuller review of Craftsy next month, but if the good weather has got your creative juices flowing, check out craftsy for sewing, sugar craft, knitting & crochet and much more. Just found out they do all kinds of classes including art, papercraft, jewellery making etc. Check the link below for more details.

What would you most like to make if you could create anything?

Best wishes and see you soon

Billie :)

PS. The Craftsy platform works best on Google Chrome or Safari browsers, and you can choose the quality of the play back if your connection isn’t the best. I found IE gave a fuzzy picture and Firefox kept stopping or only showing a bookmark strip about an inch wide of the videos.

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After a sewing session I looked down dismayed at the state of the carpet, covered in threads! If you find yourself in the same situation and also have a bad back so fighting with the hoover or bending down to pick them up is impossible, try this quick and simple solution.

Easy clean up after sewing

Easy clean up after sewing

You Will Need

  • Pair of scissors
  • Parcel tape
  • Your feet

Method

  • Before you wrap your feet, go to the area where the thread is! Safety first, do NOT use this concept on stairs!
  • Sit down then, take your parcel tape and wrap it round the widest part of your foot with the sticky side on the outside.
  • Overlap the end of the tape and finish by folding over the end of the tape, to make it easier to remove later.
  • If  there is a lot of thread on the floor, wrap the other foot as well.
  • Now just walk about and the dropped threads will stick to the tape and you don’t need to bend down to get them.

When moving from an area that’s finished to the next, balance on your heels if you can, otherwise fluff from the carpet will fuzz up your tape while you get there ;)

Options/Added Extras

When doing a large area, if your tape fuzzes before you have finished. Swing the tape around your foot, so the fluffy side is now on the top part of your foot and the clean sticky side is underneath :)

Simple eh! Could also be used to pick up beads BUT careful not to do acrobatics in the process and don’t stand on glass or other delicate beads ;) For those, go with foot of tights over the end of a hoover pipe ;)

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Last month I spent AGES sorting out my ribbon box. There were ends of ribbon everywhere and as quickly as I wound it back on the reel, it kept escaping back and getting out of control again grr. Now I’ve seen dispensers for ribbon, but most seem to be on the lines of holes in assorted boxes for the ends of ribbon to poke out of. I don’t want to get the whole box out each time, but I do want the ribbon under control, here’s my very quick n simple way of making a ribbon dispenser that will stop your ribbon un-ravelling from the roll, in the box, or on your table.

Make your own Ribbon Dispenser

Make your own Ribbon Dispenser

You Will Need

Make your own Ribbon Dispenser

Make your own Ribbon Dispenser

  • Short lengths of flat ribbon, nothing too slippery
  • Rolls of ribbon
  • Scissors

Method

Most rolls of ribbon have a central hole, where some people thread the reels onto dowls.

1. Take a length of flat ribbon and thread it through the hole in the core of the reel.

2. Tie a double knot on top of the reel. Notice the direction of the ribbon on the left, just means don’t tie over the free end of the ribbon.

Make your own Ribbon Dispenser

Make your own Ribbon Dispenser

3. Lay about an inch of ribbon across the knot

4. Tie another double knot over the top of the ribbon, don’t pinch the ribbon, just tight enough to secure it.

Make your own Ribbon Dispenser

Make your own Ribbon Dispenser

This can be used with any ribbon on a reel, its a great way to stop your ribbons getting in a tangle ;)

Options/Added Extras

If you like a pretty finish, you can finish by tying a bow at the top of the reel. Make sure you have tied the double knots above and below the ribbon on the reel first. If you don’t then if the bow undoes, your ribbon will escape again!

Now you can pull out just the length you need without the rest of the ribbon falling off the roll. Just leave a 1″ tail of ribbon after the knot, so the ribbon on the reel can’t escape. This is most useful for silky satin ribbons and those pesky but beautiful organza ribbons.

It also means you can take out a single roll of ribbon without the other ribbons tangling or without the need to punch holes and haul out the whole box of them when you know just the one you want.

Hope you give it a try, it’s really easy and makes using ribbon much more fun and less grrr

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Today I’d like to share the results of some recent experiments with a selection of water soluble media and acrylic products. They make superb backgrounds for art journals, ATC’s, cards and the like, just add you favorite stamps, masks and think what you could create. If you would like to try the experiments yourself;

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media.

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media.

You Will Need

  • Water-soluble: pencils, crayons, blocks of your choice
  • Gesso
  • Golden: Acrylic glazing liquid
  • Water colour card or try lighter card if gesso has been applied before continuing
  • Car sponge scraps or cotton rag or brush if prefered
  • Acrylic paint in your choice of colour.
  • Non stick craft mat for easy clean up

Method

If you want the option of using these techniques in your journals or other art projects its a good idea to label your experiments as you go. Then if you find one you like, you will know what you used to create it ;)

Label your card stock and scribble your chosen water-soluble medium onto it. Create a 1″ wide block of colour, the height wants to be about 1-2″ so you can leave some pencil/crayon un-coloured for comparison.

This picture shows Derwent Inktense blocks as the water soluble crayon and then the following acrylic mediums applied;

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media. Water soluble product blended with gesso on the left and with Golden Acryic glazing liquid on the right.

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media. Water soluble product blended with gesso on the left and with Golden Acryic glazing liquid on the right.

  • Gesso:You can apply the gesso directly over the crayon but as it is so opaque you may find that it hides the colour, for a softer effect water the gesso down a little. The result will be a pastel tone of the original colour. This works best with dark or jewel coloured pencils/crayons.
  • Golden; Acrylic glazing liquid. You can apply this with a brush and then blend out with a rag, but it works just as well if applied with a scrap of car sponge. The more you work the surface, you will blend away your colouring lines. Work lightly if you want to keep your drawn lines.

Here is a picture of my experiments using first Lyra water soluble crayons with gesso. The second panel on the card, was created using Derwent Graphitint pencils.

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media. Gesso + Lyra water colour crayons. Gesso + Graphitint pencils

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media. Gesso + Lyra water colour crayons. Gesso + Graphitint pencils

Options/Added Extras

In the examples show I have used the colour & mediums onto SAA practice paper for watercolours. Try these techniques and see how you get on, perhaps trying them over cardstock that has had a layer of gesso first. Compare the difference between how the colour goes onto the page and does or doesn’t move as you apply other mediums to it.

Links

Products used;

  • Derwent: Inktense blocks
  • Daler Rowney: Gesso Primer in white
  • Golden: Acrylic Glazing Liquid
  • Winsor & Newton: Galeria; Acrylic paint.

These are really fun techniques to experiment with, you can make your most vivid colours now look vintage and pastel, almost like chalks. Enjoy playing and I’d love to see your results. This is just a starting point, add in masks and sprayed inks, acrylic paint and metallics over the top with some stamping. Great for art journalling and more.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Regular viewers will remember my new love of interchangeable knitting needles. Although I adore them, I have a tendency to frequently drop the little cable key you need to attach the needles to the cables. On Ravelry I saw someone use a beaded charm to help locate them, brilliant idea! So I’ve added my own twist to the project by adding a bell (so you notice when you drop it, and can find it in the depths of a knitting bag, and also adding a lobster clasp to make it easy to change the design of charm, if you wish to.

Completed charm for cable key.

Don’t loose you cable key, just make this simple charm so you can easily find it.

You Will Need

Items needed to create the key charm/ stitch marker.

Items needed to create the key charm/ stitch marker.

  • 1 cable key from interchangeable needles
  • 1 set of basic jewellery making tools as shown in picture: (1) Chain nose pliers, (2) Side cutter pliers, (3)Round nose pliers.
  • 1 small bell (optional but will help you find they key if its hiding) (no: 4 in picture)
  • a selection of beads of you choice. (no: 5 in picture)
  • 1 eye pin. (no: 6 in picture)
  • 1 lobster clasp (optional but this gives you a simple way to change your charms at will) (no: 7 in picture)
  • 2 small jump rings. (no: 8 in picture)
  • Bead mat (not essential but VERY helpful, unless you enjoy playing tag with your beads :) )

Method

The picture shows the order beads etc are added to the project:

Key charm tutorial

Key charm tutorial

  • Open one of the jump rings. Onto this ring; place the bell and the eye of the eye pin. Close the jump ring.
  • Thread a selection of beads on to your eye pin. Leave about 1cm of pin without any beads, or trim the eye pin back to leave 1cm of exposed wire, if you have used smaller beads.
  • Form a loop with the remaining eye pin wire. Do this by using round nose pliers to bend the remaining eye pin wire to 90 degrees to the line of beads. Place your round nose pliers at the very end of the wire and gradually curl the wire by rotating the pliers until you have formed a loop. Make sure you completely close the loop to prevent the piece coming apart.
  • Open the second jump ring. Drop the loop you just formed on the end of the eye pin onto the jump ring. Drop the loop on the lobster clasp onto the same jump ring. Close the jump ring, ensuring that it is completely closed so nothing will fall off.

You can now use the lobster clasp to attach the charm to the cable key. With the little bell you will now hear if you drop your key, or by shaking the bag, discover if its hiding at the bottom of your knitting bag :)

If you find it awkward to use the key with the charm in place, by having the lobster clap on there, its easy to remove while you attach needles to a cable. Remember to put the charm back on afterwards tho, or it will get you playing hide n seek again!

Options/Added Extras

Make a collection of these charms with different beads, and you can change them at will. The charms can also be attached to small key ring loops to create stitch markers, though I’d leave off the bell or it will probably drive you and those around you to go nuts every time you knit ;)

Links

New to beading? Here are a selection of videos from Beaders Companion, for how to achieve some of the techniques mentioned in the tutorial above.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will give these charms a go. I’d love to see your results.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Over the last few months I’ve been making gift boxes and cards, this month I’ve been sharing the results with you. Here is a quick pic of the projects all together, and some links to the posts where you can find more details of how to create your own versions.

2012 Christmas Collection

2012 Christmas Collection

Links

  • 2012 Card
  • Small Gift Box; suitable for fairy cakes or mince pies/sweets etc
  • Tall Gift Box: Great for hand-made gifts

Later this week I’ll share details about the gift bag seen in this picture and add a link back here.

Hope you have a peaceful, happy holiday

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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