Make letter charms from paper collages

Letter charms made by making a paper collage then adding letter stickers and jewelry parts.
Letter charms made by making a paper collage then adding letter stickers and jewelry parts.

I love to make mixed media charms and beads to use in jewelry making. Recently I participated in a charm swap and made some initial necklaces for friends at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts where I am a teacher. Learn how to make these charms by reading my tutorial on the Canvas Corp Products blog!

Read More:
Combine Collage and Letter Stickers to Make Initial Letter Charms

Sew a Pillow Front From Selvage Pieces

A pillow front decorated with fabric selvage pieces.
A pillow front decorated with fabric selvage pieces.

Yes, I hand-sewed all those selvage pieces to the front of a blank canvas pillow cover. It’s the third one I did, and I’m in the middle of a fourth one now. Hand-sewing is something I love to do to relax. When I don’t have anything specific to make but I’m in the mood to sew, adding another strip or two is a great soothing activity for me.

Read my tutorial about how to make a pillow like this on the Canvas Corp blog:
Sew a Pillow Front From Selvage Pieces

Create your own garden plan

The first draft of my garden plan
The first draft of my garden plan

I’m in the process of making a plan for the yard and garden of the house I’ll be moving into after I get married in August. In the Schnarr’s Blog I wrote about things to include in a garden plan to make your property function well and meet your goals.

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
A New Beginning in a New Garden

My Entry For the Canvas Corp Brands 12 x 12 Envelope Challenge

As I member of the Canvas Corp Brands Creative Crew I was invited to enter a challenge using one of their 12 x 12 kraft paper envelopes. They wanted to see how many creative ways we could transform the envelope.

The C stands for Carolyn and the T stands for Tom, my fiance.
The C stands for Carolyn and the T stands for Tom, my fiance.

As you can see I didn’t transform mine very much because I wanted to use it as an envelope to carry around papers that I’m using in wedding planning. We are having a picnic reception by a lake and I’m making some nautical themed decor. When I’m done using this as an envelope I plan to use it as a background in a shadow box for wedding memorabilia.

I cut through the front of the envelope with an X-acto knife and sponged rubber stamping ink around the cutouts for emphasis. I put decorative paper behind the letters and clear transparency sheets in front of them to protect the cut work and add an interesting effect. The nautical themed papers are from the 7gypsies and Canvas Corp brands and I mixed in some papers from other companies plus some Tim Holtz Design Tape and metal brads.

See more examples:
IT IS ALL ABOUT THE 12×12 KRAFT ENVELOPE – A CREW CHALLENGE

Make a Wood Plant Tray with Scrap Wood

Wood plant tray made from wood scraps.Several years ago I made a ceramic plant tray specifically to hold three planters that used to be in our bathroom in the 1970s. The tray turned out the perfect size and shape but it got broken so I decided to remake it with scrap wood. There are two planters shaped like fish in the photo above. The third planter is shaped like a frog and it’s in storage so I need to dig it out and display all three planters in this new tray.  Do you want to make a tray like this?

Read more on the Schnarr’s blog:
Make a Wood Plant Tray

Making Signage From Letter Stencils: Part 1

As a member of the “gig economy” I do contract and part-time consulting, marketing and customer service work for various clients. Two retailers I work with recently had need of some in-store signage. One is a hardware store and one is a craft supply store and they both sell stencils. I’ve been experimenting with letter stencils to make signage that gets the message across and at the same time demonstrates how to use some of the products that the stores sell.

JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Maplewood, MO has a teaching department of which I am a member. The education coordinator asked each teacher to make a sign or two for the classroom samples display to highlight the categories of classes we teach. I was assigned “Kid’s Crafts” and “Jewelry”. I was given two blank pieces of foamcore already cut to size and access to the classroom supply cabinet. Fun!

I like the look of cut-out letters layered over a background. To help me visualize how to arrange the letters on the foamcore board, I cut out some pieces of scrap chipboard and used a letter stencil to trace the outline of each letter in position. Then I decided what colors to use in the actual sign. Since it’s spelling out “Kid’s Crafts” that’s a good excuse to use some really bright colors!

Planning the placement and colors of cutout letters on a sign

I traced the letters again onto the colorful cardstock pieces I selected then cut the letters out with an X-acto knife. I’ll save the cutout letters in case another suitable project comes up.
Cut out letters

Next I selected papers to use as backgrounds for each letter. I marked the foamcore as a rough guide to where I would place the background for each letter.

Selecting backgrounds for the cutout letters

A little black and white in a design is a great way to add visual interest. Some of the background papers already have some white in the pattern. To get some black in the design, I outlined each cut letter with a black Sharpie marker and drew some faux sewing stitch lines to help convey the hand crafts theme. The black outline also covered up my pen lines from when I traced the letters. Black Sharpie markers are such an essential part of my tool kit (like glue sticks) that I buy them wholesale because I go through so many!

Adding details with a black Sharpie marker

In order to read well from a distance, I thought some of the letters needed an improvement in the contrast. I added high contrast solid paper behind the letters that needed to pop a bit more. Then I added a strip of black and white paper tape (also known as design tape and washi tape) to the top and bottom edges for a more finished look.

Assembled sign with paper tape

The final finishing touch was to glue on a few colorful buttons here and there. I used a similar design idea to make my sign for Jewelry. That was fun to make because it gave me a chance to use some “shiny” supplies that are appealing but hard to find a use for that is tasteful and appropriate – metallic papers, silver ribbon, glitter papers and plastic jewels! I outlined the letters in the Jewelry sign with a metallic gold Sharpie paint marker that looks good with the jewel-toned papers and theme. The paint marker also has good enough coverage to conceal my pen lines.

Finished signs for the Jewelry and Kid's Crafts classroom display signs.

These signs were fun to make and also stretched me creatively because I used a few materials and colors that I don’t design with very often. That’s good exercise for any designer!

How many of those Pinterest projects have you made? #2

I love to add images I find online to Pinterest boards to function as virtual idea boards for inspiration when I’m stuck. Every once in awhile it’s fun to see if I’ve actually used the ideas. Sometimes I believe I have consciously tried out another person’s idea while trying to put my own twist on it and at other times I’ve made a version of a design that is widely used and tends to pop up a lot. To give credit where it is due, here is my second roundup of jewelry designs I’ve found online and my own versions of them.

Amulet pouches

I’ve been collecting materials and instructions for making amulet pouches since the early 1990s before I actually got around to making one last fall so I can’t really say I was influenced by one particular design. The simple pattern I made for this little bag is original with me. I was inspired by looking at a few other pouches though. Occasionally I keep something sentimental or spiritual in it like a religious medal or one of my Mom’s rings, but normally I use it to carry a FitBit (which still works but fell of the wristband) or a USB drive. I have made several more of these bags with and without fringe and with different fabrics and embellishments.

Original designer: Cynthia Whitehawk
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Using a button as a connector between necklace and pendant

I have a pretty large stash of buttons and am always looking for ways to use them in projects. Using buttons as connectors from a pendant to a necklace creates a nice transition.

Original designer: Unknown
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Necklaces with donuts of glass and stone

I sewed some lace to pieces of metallic wired ribbon to make the strap and added a dangle with a trade bead to my version of a necklace using a stone donut.

Original designer: Unknown
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Earrings with bar dangles

The two sets of earring dangles shown that lack their own earring findings were made to use as interchangeable dangles for hoop earrings. I make a lot of convertible jewelry items so I can mix up looks.  I have a LOT of jewelry because I’ve been making it since 1989, even so I still crave variety!

Original designer: Gorjana Reidel
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Necklace pendants made with chandelier prisms

I bought some smoky quartz colored chandelier dangles at an antique shop ages ago and finally used one of them for an in-your-face large pendant that is designed using half a toggle clasp closure at the top to function as a giant jump ring – I can put this pendant on various chains. It could also be a purse charm by adding a big clip to it.

Original designer: Unknown
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Earrings made with spacer bars

It appears as though someone has used bicycle chain links to form the sides of the popular bar dangle design. In my versions, I used gold-colored spacer bars and added a chain dangle underneath.

Original designer: Unknown
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Flat pendant with two dangles
I changed a lot of things in my version of this necklace – the way the pendant is connected, and the materials that the flat pendant and the attached embellishment are made of. My pendant is made of polymer clay impressed with a rubber stamp, and the embellishment is a glass blob backed with hand-stamped paper.

Original designer: Nimii Makwa
Link to this pin on Pinterest

To see more of these matchups, here is previous post of mine:
How many of those Pinterest projects have you made?

Do you have any matchups you want to show off? Feel free to share links to them in the comments section!

Introduction to Letterboxing

Letterboxing logbook and samples of personal stamps
Letterboxing logbook and samples of hand carved personal stamps.

I recently taught a two-part class to help people get started in the hobby of Letterboxing which combines outdoor exploration and creative expression. Two of the items you need to participate are a rubber stamp and a logbook. In part one, we hand carved a personal stamp and in part two we made a personal logbook. I wrote a tutorial for each class and they are now published on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog. If you want to try letterboxing or just learn to carve a rubber stamp and make a simple handmade book, here are links to my tutorials.

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:

/Introduction to Letterboxing – Part I – Carving a Personal Stamp

Introduction to Letterboxing – Part II – Making a Personal Logbook

Crop Circle Necklaces

Convertible necklaces with polymer clay pendants
Convertible necklaces with polymer clay pendants

Back in the late 1990s I was really into crop circles as designs. I carved a lot of rubber stamps of crop circle designs and used them in all kinds of art work. I stamped some crop circles onto polymer clay to make pendants and painted them with wash and dry brush techniques.

I never could think of what to make with the crop circle pendants until this past weekend when I was practicing making convertible pendants as samples for a jewelry class I was getting ready to teach. The lesson plan called for adding a lobster clasp to a pendant so that you could fasten it to different necklaces and chains for a variety of looks. I combined my crop circles with some hematite beads and gunmetal colored rings and lobster clasps to finally get a look that I liked. I’ll have a lot of fun mixing and matching these with other jewelry pieces!

Mixing Brands in Vintage Inspired Handmade Journals

My paper crafting and mixed media supply stash is substantial. Recently when I wanted to make some vintage inspired handmade journals as gifts I was faced with a pretty overwhelming number of options. Sometimes if you have too many supplies you can feel overwhelmed and a little inhibited. To get my creativity revved up I decided to see what I could come up with if I limited myself to three brands only – Canvas Corp Brands, Tim Holtz and DCWV. Those three brands still give you a huge number of options don’t they – not much of a limitation! I narrowed the possibilities a little further by setting out items from this list in my studio:

  • 7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – American Vintage
  • Architextures™ 12×12 Papers – Collection I
  • Canvas Corp Black & Kraft Postcard Paper
  • 7gypsies Gypsy Moments Cards: Are We There Yet?
  • 7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – Gypsy Seamstress
  • Architextures™ 12×12 Papers – Collection 2
  • Canvas Corp Nautical: Black and Ivory Compass Paper
  • Architextures™ Parchment Rub-On – Build
  • Canvas Corp The Watering Can: Seed Packets on Ivory Paper
  • 7gypsies binding rings
  • 7gypsies ephemera (discontinued)
  • 7gypsies papers (discontinued)
  • 7gypsies paper tape (discontinued)
  • DCWV Everyday Essentials Stack
  • DCWV Heirloom Stack
  • Tim Holtz design tape
  • Tim Holtz papers
  • Tim Holz ephemera
  • Tim Holtz mini brads
  • Ok I cheated a little bit – in the second journal I needed some patterned translucent paper so I slipped in some Vellum Swirls paper by Paper Pizazz.
  • Yes, that is still a lot of product to choose from, but it’s at least a somewhat more manageable subset of my stash! These slide shows feature 8.5 x 5.5 inch pages in pairs, starting with the front and back covers.

    Vintage Look Journal #1

    Vintage Look Journal #2