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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dolls House.. Continued

You may have seen my very first post... In it, I showed a blank canvas - a gorgeous dollhouse that I picked up for $10 at Cotton On Kids.  I've been plugging away at it, hoping to make the already sweet doll's house something amazing. 
As you can imagine, it sure is taking its time, but I think it's well worth it -
I've still got a few more night's worth of work on it, but here's some sneaky peeks...

Each one of these roof tiles was cut out from Kaisercraft English Rose- Thelma paper, (using my craft robo - I'm crazy, but not that crazy that I was going to cut them out by hand!), and then individually inked, using Tim Holtz distress inks, before being carefully layered onto the roof.  Let me say now, that after 5 nights of cutting, inking and layering, I'm never going to put my hand up to shingle a roof anytime soon, but I was really pleased with how it all came together. 
 The front section shows off the gorgeous Lillian papers, with the door frames being pieced together from scraps of Thelma, and Estelle. 
I've still got loads to go (including some itty bitty furniture!) but will post some more updates as I go. 
I'm planning on changing the colour of the fancy bits at the front from white to a pink to match the window frames - what do you think?
Can't wait to unveil the finished project! 
x Rita

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homemade Playdoh!

Today's post is a bit off from what I normally post, but at the moment, my youngest daughter is obsessed with Playdoh.  As soon as she finishes her breakfast, she pushes her plate away, and says "Dadoh?" with an expectant look on her face.
So once my bucket of store bought stuff died, I decided that I'd make a batch of homemade stuff up.  For some reason, all my life I've been making it backwards - making the dough up, and then colouring it afterwards.  Never again! This seriously took me 8 minutes, plus 5 minutes in the fridge so that it'd cool down enough for them to play with it.
Here's the recipe I used :
2 cups water
1 cup salt
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tbspn cooking oil
Food colouring, and lots of it
2 cups plain flour.

Normally I'd do the flour, water, salt etc, and then try to knead the colour through the dough after it was cooked, but today I tried putting the food colour in the water.  You need quite a bit, so don't be a miser!
I then added the oil, salt, oil, cream of tartar, and finally the flour, which i beat into the liquid with a wooden spoon.
I then placed it over the stove, and heated it, stirring it continuously until it began to stick together and become more of a dough than a liquid.  This bit only takes between 3-5 minutes.
I turned it out into a dish and put it in the fridge for 5 minutes to cool down so I could knead it.

Meanwhile I'd decided to add a bit of superfine glitter to it, just to win extra brownie points with my girls :)
So when I gave the dough a bit of a knead to make sure it was all well mixed, I threw in a good few spoons of fine glitter, and kneaded that through.  You can't see how glittery it is in the photo, but it's really glittery! I also made sure I had a fairly snug fitting airtight container to store the playdoh in to keep it good.  Some people swear by keeping it in the fridge, but as it gets so hot here, storing it in the fridge makes it sweat when you take it out, which makes it go icky very quickly.
I couldn't believe how quick it was to make today! I'm definitely not going back to the bad old way of taking ages to knead colour in, and invariably ending up with multicoloured hands!
Try it today - your kids will love it!
(and as it's all food ingredients, it doesn't matter if they eat it - though the salt is designed to slow them down a bit!).
x Rita

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

For You card

Today's project is a sweet little card.  You might recognise the design from the card class that Michele taught at Scrapbook Shenanigans' fundraising scrap day, but I thought it was too sweet not to share!
First of all, you'll need a small square card base.  Mine was about 10.5cm x 10.5cm. (So I cut a strip 10.5x21cm)
Then take your patterned base, the papers I used here are from the Kaisercraft Chanteuse collection 6x6" paper pad.  Trim out two squares, both 10x10cm. 
The next step is optional, but I think it adds a little bit of texture. Cut a piece of ribbon, about 45-50cm long, and stick it to the card base.  I find it's easier to fold the card, and then place a small strip of tape under where the patterned paper will go, avoiding putting tape over the folded edge, then repeating for the other side. 
Stick down your patterned paper. 
Next, I used 3 scallopped circles, which I cut out using my beloved sizzix big shot, and my new favourite set of dies, the Spellbinders Petite Scallops set.
  You could handcut rough circles too, if you don't have a die cutter.
Put a bit of ink on the edges of each circle, and then all the way around the circle, snip in a short way.  Don't go all the way to the centre, or it'll fall apart :) curl each "petal" slightly between your fingers.

Once this was done, I decided to glimmmermist my flowers to make them sparkle a little.  While I was waiting for that to dry, I adhered a little bumblebee sticker from SRM stickers to a scrap of the orange cardstock, and poked a small hole in one corner. I tied a knot in the end of some kitchen string (I'm holding out for some pretty twine!!!), and threaded it through the hole to secure it, leaving the knot on the top side. 
I also rummaged around in my button stash, and found a little beauty.  I used a stanley knife to chop the shank off it, being careful not to take a finger with it. You could use a brad, but I only had pink ones... and that wouldn't look good!
To assemble the flower, I dabbed a dot of glossy accents (the glue that I had closest! hah! I'm very lazy!) in the centre of the largest flower, and then stuck the next one on top, then again for the smallest one.  I laid the string in a loop in the centre of the top flower, and added a good dab of glossy accents to secure both the string and the button, leaving the little bee tag swinging free.
To finish, I chose to use a rub on sentiment, which I went over with a bit of glossy accents to make it stand out a bit more. (It was still wet when I took the photo - it'll dry clear and hard like a resin sticker). 
Isn't it sweet? 
x Rita

Monday, March 28, 2011

More furniture re-do's

Over the weekend I scored an absolute bargain with this solid timber entertainment unit.  $50!!!  I was inspired by some of the amazing furniture re-purposes over at Better After , so I decided to refit this out as a new wardrobe for our youngest girl, Stephie. 
Right now it's halfway through being painted, so I won't share pics until I'm almost done... or I might make you wait till it's all finished :) 

On a side note - I had to make Stephie a new apron, and she loved it so much she wore it, and wore it and wore it all day.  Even when we went out to pick up the entertainment unit - she wore exactly what she's wearing in that picture.  Little trendsetter! hehe - and then this morning, when I went to put the apron in the wash, she cried so hard that I caved and made her a second little one, which she wore all day today! I think I might have just hit on a winner with those aprons! 
Tutorial for that coming soon!
Till tomorrow...
x Rita

Friday, March 25, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Ladies and Gentlemen... we have a winner!
Congratulations Lisa Uren!
As Lisa is a follower of both my blog, and Lovebug designs on Facebook, she gets to choose 2 lucky owls to go and live at her place! 
Thanks to all who entered, and to everyone that reads my blog.  You're very much appreciated, and it blows me away how many people enjoy looking at the little projects that I make! 

Ruffly Apron

 I was thinking about dinosaurs, after a request from a friend, when I spotted a scrap of this fun, sunny yellow fabric in my stash, and thought "Ooh! That'd make a fun apron!".
I can't share exact details of how I made it, because I made it up as I went along - however I will be recreating it tomorrow, probably, so will remember to take photos at each step!
 Ms Bear was called in to model, as at 9:30 at night when I finished it, I wasn't going to wake up Miss 3 to model it for me :) slack, I know.
The apron is fully lined, and I'm going to add a little matching bow to the top as well, just to finish it off.
Check back Monday - I should have a how-to posted by then! :)
Till then, hope you have a great weekend!
x Rita

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chanteuse Love

Tonight's project is a sneaky peek at one of Kaisercraft's April release papers, from the Chanteuse Collection.
I have been trying to document some family history, and this paper screamed out to me to be used for this gorgeous shot of my late Grandmother on her wedding day. (wasn't she beautiful?) 
Firstly, I blew up the photo to full page size (hoping like mad that the photo wouldn't pixelate - it was a fairly small photo to begin with).  It didn't - SCORE!!!
I then carefully trimmed the centre section out of the paper (it's called "Rondo" and is a specialty die cut paper), making sure I kept the flowers intact. The deep brown of the "Con Brio" paper was ideal to anchor the whole design, so I used this as the base of the layout.
I then positioned the photo, and the frame over the top, and stuck it all down.
As the photo was A4 size, there was a small gap on one side of the frame.  I used a piece of the timeless collection paper "newsprint" to both hide that, and to add a feature block to place the title on. I distressed 3 edges of this, to give it a slightly aged and worn feel.
I also inked a wooden flourish in a brown that matched the Con Brio paper, to use as my title. 
 Once everything was all stuck in place, I added a few extra flowers cut from another sheet just to add a bit of interest below the title.  I also edged the frame, and covered the word "Love" in glossy accents - I really wanted to give it the feel of an old fashioned, carved picture frame. 
For this layout, I have a small amount of journalling on the back of the layout, which is always a good option if you either don't like your handwriting, or adding a journal block just doesn't look right.  Better off putting a brief note on the back of the layout than not putting anything there at all!
I love the softness, and the romantic feel of these papers with vintage photos - vintage scrapbooking is about as far from my scrapping comfort zone as you can get, but I think this looks pretty good!
Now... back to making owls!
x Rita

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sssh... Baby Dreaming

I've made this wall plaque up for a customer on my facebook page, Lovebug Designs, who requested the colours green and purple. 
To begin, I sanded down the Kaisercraft plaque, and brushed the edges with two coats of mauve kaisercolour paint.  While the second coat was drying, I sprinkled the edges with some lavender superfine glitter, and left it to dry.  Typically, I didn't take a photo of this bit!  But I remembered the next part!
Once that was dry, I smeared a thin layer of craft glue on the top surface of the plaque.  Carefully, I placed the sheet of green and white polka dot paper over the top, and smoothed it down.  Again, I left this a couple of hours to dry, before trimming off the excess with a craft knife. 
I was hoping to use my Craft Robo to cut out the title, but something went pear shaped (I think I'm up for a new blade in it), and that didn't work, so I sketched out the text in a font that I'd printed off the computer, and handpainted the words on in the mauve paint. 
Once this was dry, I covered it in a good thick layer of glossy accents, to make it really stand out. 
While I was waiting for everything to dry, I diecut a whole stack of stars out of the leftover green and white paper, and some purple cardstock.  I glued these together, sandwiching a piece of fishing line in between to keep it looking nice and floaty and romantic.  Once the glossy accents on the front was dry, I flipped the sign over, and using a few extra stars and a Lovebug Designs tag, adhered the strands of fishing line & stars to the rear of the plaque.
(you could use any scraps, but I thought that the stars made it look a bit more professional.  
I like to use the 3M picture hanging strips to hang this sort of project, as they make it easy to keep level, and it doesn't have the same level of commitment as putting a hole in the wall, or baby's door, to hang it.  They're like giant velcro, and I've found them to be excellent, and to hold up very well, even despite the heat and humidity here in Townsville. 
I'm really happy with how it looks, I hope my customer loves it too! (the colours are a bit out in this pic for some reason - it's a lot softer than it looks here! - you also can't see the glittery accents, but they're there! And super sweet :)
x Rita

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Soft Ball for baby

I saw this on the latest blog that I've started stalking, Sew and The City, and I thought that I had to try it! 
It's very simple, you can print off the pattern, found at Sew Mama Sew, then cut out 6 pieces of your chosen fabric (just make sure you cut along the bias, otherwise they'll stretch the wrong way!). I believe that Irina at Sew and The City used a pattern with 8 segments, but I didn't notice that till I'd made this already! To find the bias of your fabric, fold a corner of the fabric at 45degrees to the selvedge.  The fabric should have a certain stretch to it now, which will help create the ball shape. (as an aside, how cute is the fabric I've got in the pic below?  It was a remnant, and $2.20 for 60cm! Bargain!)
Then it's a simple matter of pinning the shapes together in two sets of threes, adding loops of ribbon where you like (or leaving them off altogether!). 
Stitch the two halves together, leaving a small gap to allow you to turn the ball in the right way, and stuff it. 
Fill the ball with polyfill, and if you like, add a small container with some beads or a bell in it to add a nice little jingle.
Make the stuffing nice and firm, and then handstitch the opening closed, making sure it's nice and secure.
Then, sit back and watch the kids fight over who's turn it is to have it!  Argh!
See you tomorrow!!!
x Rita

Monday, March 21, 2011

Facebook 250 Liker's Giveaway!

To celebrate reaching 250 likers on my facebook page, I'm giving away a FREE owl! (I might even let you pick the colours... just cos I'm nice like that... hehe)
For those that aren't following me on Facebook yet, follow my store :  Lovebug Designs!
If you already are following me, you'll already know about this giveaway, so pop your name in the comments section (if you select Anonymous), make sure you put your name in the comment, so I can send you a message on Facebook if you're the lucky winner!
If you become a follower on here as well, I'll up the ante to a pigeon pair of owls... (does that work? lol)
so to cut down confusion - if you follow my blog, and follow my facebook page, you'll win 2... yes 2 cute little owls to either give to your favourite little people, or to keep for yourself!  (and if you only like one or the other, you'll just get the one cutie owl...)

And who doesn't like to win stuff... right?
Winner will be drawn at random as soon as my facebook page hits 250 likers!
(we're currently at 225 - so make sure you invite your friends to check it out, and to throw their hat in the ring to win!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

More photos from the sweatshop :)

Following on from last night's post, I thought I'd give you an insight to how things work here.  Put simply, it's child labour.  Once you enter my sweatshop, you'll see my youngest daughter hard at work, helping to stuff the owls...

 And stuff around a little bit too :) 
Both the girls love to "help" with my projects, and even though it takes 3 times longer to let them than to do it all on my own, it's lots of fun, and is fostering a love of all things creative in them too. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Saturday Night, at my place...

Once my two little girls have gone off to the land of Nod, it's Mama's playtime! 
I've been a little slack on the posting this week, I think I misplaced my mojo! But it's found its way back home, and tonight I'm busily making some new owls. 
Lots of new colour combinations, plus a couple of custom orders. 
And all the while, I'm being supervised by the sweatshop manager, and quality control officer, Rizzo.
He can be a tough boss, but tonight he's happy with the work I've done.  I think he likes the hum of the sewing machine!
Hope you're all having a fabulous weekend, and hopefully my posting will be back to being a bit more regular next week!
x Rita

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cardmaking Class

One of the classes at the fundraising scrap day was a fantastic card class, where we made this set of gorgeous little cards, using  a new range of stickers from SRM Stickers.  Now I'm not really a sticker person, but these stickers are super cute, and you would be forgiven for thinking they were the cutest rub ons on earth!

We also made these cute little tags for the food tubes (they are food safe, and seal really well).  Michele also has these in a thinner and longer version that looks like a fairy wand! I think they'd be perfect for a party favour (with a coordinating tag!) or as a wedding favour!
And all of these cards took just under 3 hours to make!  
Thats a whole lot of handmade cards done for the year ahead... :-)
x Rita

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Korker Ribbons

Oops... I forgot to blog last night!   Well to make up for the late post, today I'm giving away a state secret!
How to make Korker ribbons, to use for decorations or bows!
Firstly, you'll need grosgrain ribbon, and quite a lot of it.
You'll also need a few lengths of dowel, short enough to fit in your oven.  You can either buy a pack of 30cm long dowels from spotlight, or go to a hardware store and get a length of 6mm dowel, and cut it down yourself.
You will also need either all steel, or glass headed dressmaking pins.
To make the ribbon curl, pin the end of your grosgrain to one end of your dowel.
Start wrapping the ribbon tightly around the dowel, taking care to not overlap it.
Once you reach the end, pin the end in place, and snip off ribbon.
Repeat for as many dowels you have, mixing and matching colours as desired.
Run the ribbon wrapped dowels under the tap to wet them, and then pop them on a rack in the oven, set at 150 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes.
Pull your ribbon sticks out of the oven using tongs (they'll be hot!), and place in a safe spot to cool.
Remove your pins, and unwrap the ribbon from the dowels. 
Voila! Korkered ribbons! :)
To turn these little beauties into hairbows, cut the ribbons into 3 inch lengths. Tie them in the centre with a bit of hat elastic or similar.
Fluff up the korkers as desired, and add a hairclip to the back!  (I like to line mine with grosgrain to stop them being slippery, but that's another story for another day!)
BTW: The colours I've used here are North QLD Cowboys colours, but these bows look great in any colours at all!
You can also use the ribbons like I have on the fairy wands.
Bows like this make for great gifts as well, for little girls, and not-so-little-girls that are little girls at heart :)
x Rita