Monday, March 19, 2012

How to make the useless more useful- thrifty papercrafting 101

I have a lot of random, useless-seeming supplies. As a craft-hoarder, I had to find a use for them.
  • Foam Sheets- OK, STILL not sure why I bought these, except they were a huge pack on clearance. They have come in handy as dimensionals. I use adhesive to stick a bit of foam between layers to 'pop' them off the page. Much cheaper than 'pop dots', and I can cut any size I need- from teeny-tiny to 4x5 inches.
  • Charms/ Beads- Charms can be strung on ribbon, or added to a bow for a new look. Tiny seed beads work well in shaker boxes, and larger beads can be used in the center of a bow.
  • Baker's Twine- I loved the look, but not the price, of baker's twine marketed to papercrafters. So I headed over to the cake decorating aisle of my craft store, and found Wilton Baker's Twine. Sure, it was only in three colors- red, black, and yellow, but it was less than half the price. Use it to tie on embellishments, like beads, or even sew it into your paper projects.
  • Packaging- Any time I buy something craft-related, it usually comes with a bit of 'oaktag' or thick cardboard backing, and a plastic domed front. The backing, I use to thicken up my ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), bookmarks, and my Inchies. I have also used cereal boxes, but the packaging pieces are usually a better size to work with.
  • Old Books- There are two schools of thought. One the one hand, if a book is decent enough to be readable, I do not destroy it. But I did have four different dictionaries in my house, and one was a really lousy student version. I have since cut it apart, and use the definitions on my projects. If it was a hardcover, I probably would have hollowed out the pages inside and made an altered book.
  • Instant Coffee- I wet down some paper and 'watercolored' a light wash of coffee and water. Then, I sprinkled on a few granules while it was still wet. This coffee produced an awful cup to drink, but pretty paper to work with.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Can you spare a moment for a hero?

Heroes give so much.... their time, their knowledge.... sometimes, even their lives.
How do you thank someone for being a hero?
Operation Write Home has figured out a huge need for deployed heroes- handmade cards! There isn't always a nearby Hallmark in the desert, and the heroes want to write home. While deployed, these men and women are missing out on loved ones' birthdays and holidays. Sometimes, they just want to say 'hello'. A handmade card is a beautiful, personalized touch for a hero to send home.
However, Operation Write Home has a two-fold mission. They also collect 'Hero Mail', cards or letters in which you write a thank you note to a hero, and pages colored by children.
There are only a few very important guidelines when making cards for OWH.
  1. No glitter. Glitter gets on everything, and can be seen through night-vision goggles
  2. No violent, sexual, or otherwise inappropriate cards. Remember, these cards go overseas to nations with different views on drugs, alcohol, and appropriateness.
Basically, that's it.

Link to Operation Write Home
Link to free coloring pages for kids (or adults)
Link to warm your heart (card recipients)

The website has great tutorials and ideas for improving your card making skills. Great place for inspiration!

Parental guidance reccommended, not necessary

I love adult humor, and cursing, and all other things totally inappropriate for children to see.
But it really gets my goat when I realize that a good percentage of what kids are exposed to is far too mature for them. And while I'm not a parent, I understand how difficult it must be to keep these ridiculously adult situations out of your home.
I decided to make my blog family-friendly.
I am NOT suggesting anyone leave their kids alone at the computer. I AM saying I won't post anything I wouldn't want, say, a ten year old to view by himself.
IF, by any chance, I work on any Renaissance-ish art or decide to paint a big ol' cuss word, I will figure a way to edit it, or just not post it here.
I swear I will not swear.

Hoarders make the best crafters

If you craft, then you know what I mean.
Not hoarding like those TV shows, with a hundred cats and trash up to the ceiling. No refrigerator full of rotting food, no lawn full of truck parts.
I'm talking about craft-hoarding. Buying two of that pack of brads because they are on sale. Keeping supplies around from crafts you just never got the hang of. Purchasing a tool that never works the way you want it to, but you never throw it away.
Why? You might need it someday.
So, I made myself a promise. A vow. A sworn declaration.
I will not buy any more craft supplies. I will use what I have. I made an exception for adhesive, as I always run out, but I will not buy anything else.
It may not be easy, but it will force  me to destash.
And once I clear out some craft supplies, I will (of course) lift my self-imposed buying ban....
I hope this blog gives you some ideas to use up some of those supplies you've been hoarding. At the very least, it should inspire me to craft more.
Hoarding is best when there are enablers, after all.