Online Sewing Class for the Creatively Curious

Online Sewing Class

Sewing has been a craft that I find more fulfilling than any other. The excitement of envisioning a project and seeing it come to completion just can’t be beat! A lot of my friends have confessed their intimation of sewing to me, and wouldn’t even know where to begin when it comes to reading a pattern. I used to be that way, but now I’m even sewing my own clothes! I always say that if you want to learn a skill, it doesn’t necessarily take talent, it just takes curiosity. If you’re not sewing savvy, but you’re creatively curious and wanting to tackle projects you never thought you could do, the Home Ec E-Course is just the place to start.

Hosted by the savvy DIY queens Rachel Denbow, Leigh-Ann Keffer, and Courtney Janelle, Home Ec offers comprehensive lessons for beginner and novice seamstresses covering anything from sewing pillows with fancy piping to actually creating your own patterns. Check out the course outline, meet the teachers, and read the testimonials of past Home Ec students, or just skip right to registration here!

Online sewing class for beginnersOnline sewing class for beginners

Cure Your Creative Dry Spell with THIS & THAT

Haven’t scrapbooked in awhile? Feeling uninspired with your current supplies and same old photos? Want to try scrapbooking or art journaling but don’t where to start? No worries. The ever-creative Kara Haupt is here to save the day!

This & That is a 158 page printable PDF jam-packed with challenges, journaling prompts, and techniques designed to get you scrapbooking again. Mix and match and use this and that to create 30+ pages! Choose one journaling prompt and one technique idea from the pool and combining ideas to get excited about creating again.

Included in the $28.50 price:

  • 30 journaling prompts
  • 30 technique prompts and ideas
  • Tutorial for creating vintage handkerchief albums
  • Printable embellishment sheets
  • Instructor Video
  • Email access to Kara

PLANNING FOR BABY | The Blanket Collection

Last month, I asked my Twitter friends if they thought I was crazy for wanting to crochet a blanket in the middle of July. Crazy? Maybe! But I had this idea for a checkerboard -style baby blanket, and knew I wanted to wrap up our little baby girl in something just like it. So off I went, crocheting little squares that a week later would be joined to create the blanket above. It turned out to be the easiest blanket I’ve ever made, and great for Summer, since you only work with a tiny section at a time until joining them at the end- and I will say, joining  all of the little pieces was certainly time consuming!

So how about you? Are you crafty with a crochet hook, or only wish you could be? Some people appreciate the finished product, but don’t have the desire to work on such an extensive project. I get that. But if you’re somebody who actually wants to learn, and feels overwhelmed- don’t be! I learned how to do all of the stitches you see here by viewing YouTube videos kindly shared by some pretty crafty ladies. You can check out how to do the single crochet (how I made the squares in the above blanket), this video is great. For joining the squares, watch this one. And if you want to make the granny ripple blanket below (fast and easy- promise!), view the crochet-along series here.

Oh, and if you want a crochet blanket, but don’t want to put in the time- I don’t blame you! I purchased the last blanket shown here on Etsy. It was too quirky and cute to pass up.

DIY | Hand-Written Poster Project

I’ve really been loving all of those hand-painted looking posters out there. You know, the ones with a message that makes you chuckle or words of wisom that make you think. Part of the beauty of posters like this is their textural quality. I was able to get a similar look by hand writing this verse very small with a gel pen, then blowing it up on a copy machine, and eventually inverting the colors. I love the faded look of the toner-print quality, and the rugged edges of each word. Want to make your own? I’ll show you how!

S U P P L I E S :
  • small piece of white paper
  • gel pen (the globbier, the better!)
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • picture or poster frame

1.) I started out by writing on a 1.75″ x 2.5″ section of white paper, practicing a few time to make sure I got the spacing and proportion how I wanted it. Then, I went over the words again, letting by pen linger on certain spots to get a globby look that you might expect from a quill pen. (By the way, if you have a quill pen- it would be probably be perfect!)

2.) Then I took my little note to the copy shop (Office Max) and enlarged it on the standard copy machine, starting with 400% and then inverting the colors (in the print options of the black and white copier) and enlarging it again by 180%, or until it was fitting properly within the 10×13″ frame I had brought along. I did try a few different sizes, since each copy only cost me nine cents. I ended up keeping this print for the 10×13″ frame, but then make another larger print which you see photographed below. To do this, I took my inverted 10×13 print to the plotter at the copy shop and enlarged it by 162%, making sure it fit perfectly in my 16×20″ picture frame.

3.) I then laid my picture frame over the print, and traced around the edges with a pencil. I trimmed a little outside of the pencil line, to make sure I didn’t have any gaps when putting it all together. After assembling the glass, paper, and cardboard of the frame, it was ready to hang!

I love this simple technique, and will probably try it again with different writing utensils. I think this would make a great house warming gift, though, just as it is!

Julie Kirk: Eclectic Paper Crafter

Through the years I’ve felt myself making a shift from scrapbooking to art journaling. The change mostly had to do with my desire to chronicle my thoughts and feeling through words, more so than picture. But a really big part of it was an urge to use found paper elements- scraps of paper from random sources, words clipped from magazines, and sketchy-painterly elements that came straight from my brain- not from a scrapbook manufacturer’s mass produced patterned paper. Not that manufactured=bad, but seeing no-rules work from the likes of Julie Kirk just confirms my thinking that there’s something special about eclectic paper crafting from the heart.

If you like Julie‘s style, you’d probably love to get your hands on her vintage paper packs and stencil kits available at her Etsy shop. Just want to be inspired? Check out her interview below!

Q: In your own paper crafting adventures, are there any techniques or processes that you find yourself using over and over?

A: The majority of my recent work – from my art journaling, to my scrapbooking, collage and art journaling too involves words and images which I’ve collected from either vintage books and magazines or modern catalogues and junk mail.

I love the thrill of scouring all these pages, which may otherwise have been thrown away or left languishing on a dusty shelf somewhere and suddenly spotting a phrase or image which really speaks to me. Then I take my scissors to it!

I know there are people who treat art journaling as a way to express the feelings they’re currently experiencing by writing out their emotions, in their own words, on to their pages. However, I like to start with words and phrases which I randomly findand then construct a narrative from them. I believe that, even though they’re not my original words … the fact that they spoke to me, at a particular time, means they reflect something I’m feeling right then. There’s a lovely serendipity in finding and combining phrases from many sources, to tell one story.

Q: I love that your kits have an eclectic mix of unexpected elements. Makes for fun art journals! What are some unusual elements you have used on pages in your own art journals?

A: If it’s interesting enough, eye-catching enough and flat enough … I’ll consider it for a journal page! Nothing is safe.

I’ll often use elements from food packaging on my pages (as  Ishared in this post) because [a] it’s a bi-product of everyday life and therefore it’s almost free! and [b] having been designed to catch our eye on the supermarket shelves  they often feature great images, prints and colours. Plus there’s some great fonts to be found in packaging too … and who doesn’t love a good font?!

My other big favourite is vintage illustrated children’s books … the tortoise-lady here is a hybrid of an encyclopedia illustration and some old gift wrap and then the remainder of the page features an aperture leftover from using a die-cutting machine, a laundry label and wording from a catalogue. I like to think that keeping a magpie-like eye open for these interesting elements is quite a creative act in itself long before it ever ends up on a page. So I save … and savor images and text from many many sources to use on my projects.

Q: Do you have any advice to someone who is interested in art journaling, but has never made one before and doesn’t know where to begin?

A: I sometimes wonder if it’s the term ‘art journaling’ itself which intimidates people before they even begin.

I know that when I first began, I went to an art journaling class and, until I started messing around with the paint and paper, I’d felt like a complete fraud. As if I was supposed to know all about it before I got started. But it wasn’t the teacher who made me feel like that, it was what I was telling myself: ‘How can you masquerade as an ‘art-journaler’ when you don’t really know what that is?”!

And really, what I’ve come to realise is that, despite its grand title, art journaling, at its most basic is that thing we all did as children curled up on the floor with a pair of scissors, an old magazine and a big sugar paper ‘scrapbook’. It’s ‘cutting and sticking’. It’s collage. It’s mixed media messiness. It’s a way to turn down the noise of the world and tune into colours, words, imagery which you like. It’s fun.

I really believe that all it takes to become a so-called art-journaler … is a change of attitude. You’re probably one already. You just don’t use that term. And really, it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you enjoy the time spent being creative with scissors, paper and yourself.

To demystify the process of ‘art journaling’ even further I shared a few step-by-steps of pages in progress on my blog which seemed to help novices along the road to journaling with confidence … you’re welcome to see if they work for you too.

Q: Who are your favorite paper crafters you admire and are inspired by?

A: I’ve been admiring the style and enthusiasm of such wonderfully creative ladies such as Katie Licht, Dina Wakley, Michelle Clement and a certain ‘candiMandi’ … for a long time now, and am always excited to see a new, inspiring blog post of theirs appear in my reader.

And, more recently I’ve admired the work of Susanna Scott, Nichole Snyder and Caroline Rondel. With a vast world of inspiration and pre-curated creativity which Pinterest has opened up to me, I’m discovering and pinning new names all the time.

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