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Happy Valentine's Day

Posted on February 12, 2017 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm having problems with my web host - I can't upload any images or videos and that's why I have been so silent. I had such great ones I wanted to use.


Apologies - have a great Valentine's Day!

Workshops 2017

Posted on January 30, 2017 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm in the process of designing my 2017 workshops and am very excited about some of them (okay, I get excited easily). But I'm having a ball coming up with new ideas and making my samples which I will post as soon as I am done. Among some of my ideas are a packing tape transfer decal workshop, a bath salt workshop and an amazing book folding workshop creating critters from old paperbacks.



 

My first workshop is a Basic Paper Bead WorkshopThis is a basic workshop where participants will be shown the various techniques used for making paper beads and then create their very own. Almost any kind of paper can be used from pages from old books, bits of gift wrap, junk mail, magazines, even newspapers. All you really need for making paper beads is any one of these paper materials and you can make necklaces, earrings, brooches, and bracelets. Let your imagination go wild.

 

It also occurred to me that all those drawings that my little friends made for me could be repurposed as beads. I love this idea as it's a great way of preserving their work in an incredibly creative way. So, if you've got a pile of drawings that you don't want to toss out, why not consider upcycling these into beads. 


 

Beads can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes from large intricate beads to more sophisticated ones. I always look for ways to make a recycling craft easy (and fast) so I was inspired by a neighbour who has arthritis in her hands to come up with an very simple way for her and for kids to create spectacular beads. The above necklaces were made by a group of 7- and 8-year olds. Took less than 20 minutes!

 

 

More adventuresome crafters can create itty-bitty ones such as the one above. If you are in the Ottawa area, why not come along for a great time to create something wonderful and spend some time with other creatives. Making paper beads is actually simple with my methods - any kids who come along will enjoy this workshop as well. And, bonus, you'll have gifts already on hand when a birthday or other festive occasion pops up.


For more info on the paper bead workshop, click here.


A New Year, A New Start

Posted on December 31, 2016 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Just before leaving for Edinburgh for Christmas with my family, I came down with a whopper of a cold and couldn't make the trip. Thanks goodness for Skype so I could at least enjoy the festivities and stay in touch with my loved ones. Happily, a few of my friends rallied round with chicken soup and hot rum toddies so I was not left on my own. As a gift to them, I designed and made a calendar for each one with some inspirational words. Earlier this last year, I came across a box bursting with small clipboards outside a shop that had closed down. I, of course, lugged the box home and then had promptly forgot about it. Since I needed some way to hold the calendar months together, I thought of the clipboards. And voila, here they are ...




The neat thing (at least I think so) about these calendars is that once the year is over, you can flip the sheets over and you've got a notebook! I actually enjoyed finding the appropriate quotes for each recipient and found myself so inspired that I made one for me!!


Since I can't send a calendar to all my faithful followers, I will at least send you the best wishes for a very Happy (and prosperous) New Year. Stay healthy and, if you too starting something new, remember it's always seems impossible until it's done (Nelson Mandela said that).


Ciao!

White Christmas!

Posted on December 23, 2016 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)


So excited - we're having a real white Christmas this year in Ottawa. Doesn't happen very often any more. Joy to the world!


See you in the new year with lots of new goodies. Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas and happy holiday!


Book Ornament Workshop!

Posted on November 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)



My workshop hosted by Westboro Brainery at the Dovercourt Recreation Centere here in Ottawa was a smashing success. Transformed many old books into holiday ornaments including Christmas trees, snowmen, and stars.




What a great way to spend an evening with a group of lovely, lively ladies. And, pssst, they actually pay me for doing this!! Check out more photos here.


Picture sources: Westboro Brainery

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Wrap and Tag - Brown Paper Packages

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you got all your gifts bought (or made), wrapped, and tucked away somewhere safe from prying eyes yet? Well, I don't. This year, at least for the grown-ups, I'll be making most, if not all, of my gifts. Since I have to wait for some of them to grow, wrapping up has to wait. It's been my experience that one of the joys of getting a gift is the gift wrap and so, one of the things I've learned about gift wrapping is that it's often the outside of the gift that creates the excitement - who cares what's inside! Well, maybe not.


My favourite wrapping is, of course, something that I've recycled and often it's the brown postal wrap that I get when friends send me gifts. I usually smooth out the paper and roll it around those cardboard paper towel inserts until I need to use. it.


Picture Source


Anyway, this year I will be wrapping all my gifts in my recycled brown paper wrap. Not only is this gift wrap easy on your wallet but it saves you have to run around the malls or shops to find that PERFECT wrap. If you don't have a horde of your own brown paper (like I do) t's readily available at your local post office. My friend Sean calls it the LBD of gift wrap because, just like that little black dress, brown paper wrap can easily be dressed up for any occasion. The ways to transform this seemingly ho-hum wrap are, to use an old cliché, endless.


Here are a few ideas I spotted for decorating plain brown paper wrapping:


DIY LINO STAMPS



Here's an idea from Ideas Magazine (November 2016 edition) - make your own lino stamps using photos and then dress up that old kraft wrapping paper with the image. Now, I'm not attempting this one as if I did, my fingers would be cut off in pieces - I'm not too handy with Xacto knives but if your fingers are agile enough, go for it.


The online version of this magazine is now gone unfortunately, but I did find instructions for making your own lino stamps here.


THE PERFECT MATCHING BOW!



No need to run out and buy fancy bows for your plain Jane wrapper - just use the same paper to make the bows. Blogger Amy from My Life From Home shares her gran's instructions for making a bow to match your gift wrap. For gran's instructions, click here.


NEED A RIDE? 




The folks over at Anthropology know a good thing when they see it and so 'borrowed' this idea of a toy car or truck with a mini tree on top. It appeared everywhere on Instagram and Pinterest last year and it really is cute. Anthropology used this wrap idea for flogging soap but it's easy enough to 'borrow' for other gifts for both kids and adults (hint, hint).



If, like me, drawing is not your strong suit, the guys over at Junior Card Designer have a good tutorial, originally designed for young children, for drawing a car. If you have a car lover in the family, this site will keep them busy for quite a while For a little car tutorial, click here.


You know you've made it when Anthropology 'borrows' your idea!


CARS NOT YOUR THING? HIT THE BEACH! 



Actually, journalist and blogger, Heather Young, at Growing Spaces intended this idea for summer gifting but it's one that is easy enough to adapt for Christmas (if you can draw!) by drawing what might be in the parcel.



I think the picnic hamper would be a cute idea for any food gift wrapper - just add a bit of holly berries and leaves, maybe. Click here for Heather's instructions.


MY CANADIAN WRAP AND TAG



Couldn't leave this post without one of my own ideas. I made a pompom from twine that I also used to wrap around the gift. The moose was copied from an old book on forest animals of the north. 


A FINAL NOTE


All the these ideas can be made by you and any little ones in your life. Why not invite friends (of all ages) over to create any one or all of the above ideas. And there are loads more online.


Ciao!

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