Things I like

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

So after Christmas cards, what shall I make?

As I have said before, I am fascinated with little houses.  Little houses to live in, little houses made of clay, of wood, and this week I'm making them of paper.  These are only about 3"x3".

Last night I made three little houses of parchment.  That's even more fun, because the doors, facings, shutters and other decorations can be embossed while the little house is still flat.  I figured that out when I made one of chipboard, and then later was gluing on doors and shutters... it takes a pair of tweezers and steady hands.  So the next ones get all that before the folding and the gluing! (Sometimes I'm slow at figuring out things.)

I have lots of templates for little houses, but I found one on Pinterest that I really, really like.  I have cut several from cardstock and chipboard on my Pazzles, and embossed by hand three of them last night from parchment.  As I work, I think of new things to add to each.  The paper houses are difficult to keep "square" so I do that with another piece of paper sized to the floor, glued from the top before the roof is added.  Before I cut more, I am going to add the floor to the original piece.

The cardstock houses have Duralar clear plastic windows, and I designed the shutters and rooftop with Corel Draw.  Obviously the chipboard houses are the most sturdy, and then I paint them and add glitter (or not).  One has snow (white embossing powder) and one has "grass" (Flower Soft.)  It would be easy to add a battery-powered tea light inside.  I am thinking of spray painting one with the mirror spray paint I bought for no reason.

I got a catalog from Nasco and among all the pages of paper products, I saw patterns that include roofing, bricks, etc.  The only problem is the patterns are on glossy paper.  Glossy isn't my thing.
Then I remembered I can do the same thing in CorelDraw, and design what I want for the house as I go.  I'm not doing this in mass quantity!  But Nasco is a great place to get nearly everything for crafting, and they sell in quantity for classrooms.

I saw some things in that catalog that I nearly ordered -- but I stopped myself!  First, I need to finish finding proper places for the thousands of dollars of "stuff" I have already!

Monday, December 21, 2015

How to keep your craft room neat

The first way, of course, is not to do anything in there after you've straightened up!

For some reason, after a project, in which I am totally focused and adding things I forgot I had each time I open another drawer, I turn around and see that it looks like a tornado has hit!  I don't know how that happens, but there always seems to be a day at least of cleanup!

I just finished making dozens of Christmas cards (all different) and saving pictures of things I found on the Internet along the way with more ideas for future projects, and this week is the week of cleanup.  Which means reorganizing.  Which leads to finding things I forgot I had, ergo more ideas for more things to make.  I am determined to use up and/or give away everything I've accumulated during the years, but since I keep getting more stuff, it's like one step forward, two steps back!

Last week I saw the most astounding craft table online. (See photograph) So I've been busy trying to create just that situation with a large piece of plexiglass I have on hand.  It has come to the point in my life that if something is not in a clear box or other see-through container, I will forget about it. Everything is labeled, even the drawers.  This comes from excess possessions, I am sure.

I laid the piece of plexiglass atop a rolling cart I bought some time back.  It has metal shelves, and holds plastic drawers on each level.  On top of the drawers I put some drawer organizers which allow for little stuff that I can now see through the table top.  The only thing is the plexiglass is much wider than the cart and I am going to have to stabilize the ends with something.  As soon as I find my yardstick, I'll figure out what length and then go back to Home Depot for 2x4s or something like that, I think if I create a u-shaped support for each end, that will work.  There's nothing I can do to expand the space I have, so I keep finding new ways to store things where they are easy to get to and visible at the same time.  Visible is very important to me these days.

One thing your craft room has to have is a large trash can.  Some things I used to save -- like bits of leftover cardstock (maybe could be used for trim one day?) I have come to be able to just let it go; there is only so much time in the day and the days fly by.  We have a recycle pickup every other week and paper is definitely a recycle item.

Often I find wasted space in my craft area.  There are things I don't want to discard (like all my clay tools) but don't plan to use them anytime soon.  These are items that can be removed from view and even moved someplace else, like the garage.  But let me recommend you create an inventory of sorts, so you can (1) remember they exist and (2) where you put them.  And be careful that just thinking about that doesn't start you off on a new rabbit trail.... like "hey, I think I'll do clay stuff today."  You don't get anywhere like that!

I have a huge box of jewelry supplies -- beads, findings, pendants, and bezels.  Last week I needed a chain for a project I was working on, and dug the huge container out from under my bed.  Then I got all fired up about jewelry, but I tamped that down quickly because for one thing, I hardly ever wear jewelry, and too, I have dozens of pretty bracelets that I have made that I don't know what to do with. But I am now thinking of taking the jewelry supplies out to the studio and putting them instead into a see-through drawer in case I need something.

A few years ago a new mother began saving all her baby food bottles for me, and I was happy to get them because they are great for mixing acrylic paint and saving it while working on a particular project.  This year I dug them out again, cleaned them up, and they will be little vessels for hand scrubs my daughter makes!  They're easy to label, and wrap with a bow and square of paper or cloth.
See?  There was a reason to keep those.  But little by little, things are getting used and moved on out.

The next idea bubbling up from somewhere is to put together "craft packs" which include an assortment of materials at a low price.  I see some on various websites that cater to scrapbookers, but what I have in mind is more a mixed media melange.  Customers would only need their own scissors and glue to make use of them.  Stay tuned.