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Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

Back in October, I attended our church’s annual women’s retreat. The organizers asked if I could lead a craft activity, and after some brainstorming, I came up with the idea of making a tag mini album. The ladies were welcome to make anything they wanted with the craft supplies we provided, but for the sample, I decided to use the group photo we take (almost) every year as the basis. The idea was that they would have one tag “page” featuring the photo and could add more tags with thoughts about the retreat, moments they wanted to remember, and/or more photos from our time together.

I am so pleased that the ladies who participated enjoyed this crafting time. Several of them commented to me about how relaxing it was to just play with pretty paper. That was the goal!!

Since I was preparing the sample in advance, I had printed out a few 3″x4″ group photos from past retreats. This led me to the idea to make my own mini album a summary of all the retreats I’ve attended since coming to this church.

I made a “cover” tag for the album and on the reverse, I wrote a tiny bit about why I made the album.

I have one tag for each year: On the front of the tag, I added the group photo, a label for the year, and a little cluster of embellishments.

On the reverse of each “page,” I have a little bit of information: the dates, location, and speaker for the retreat.

There were a couple unusual years, and so I used a little die-cut tag to write out some thoughts.

In my mind, mini-albums should be full of texture, so I added layers, doilies, and ribbons that spill over the edges.

I have a few blank tags left, and I saved a small collection of the leftover supplies for myself so that I can keep adding to this album each year!

~

For reference, here is the starting set of supplies we used.

Supplies:
tags for album pages: manila shipping tags from Amazon (aff. link)
patterned paper: Recollections paper pads
doilies: “Sunny Side Up Bakery” from Hobby Lobby
ribbon: Michaels
twine: Christmas Paper Crafts from Hobby Lobby
flowers: The Paper Studio from Hobby Lobby
die cut tags: The Paper Studio from Hobby Lobby
leaf punches: Craft Tools from Hobby Lobby
labels: print-and-cut via my Cameo 3
pens: various fine-tipped Sharpies

In advance, I trimmed at least one sheet of each pattern to the width of the shipping tag bases, and I pre-cut all the cut-apart sheets from the paper pads. I laid out all the materials on a table in the room where we were doing the craft so that the ladies had a buffet of pretty bits and pieces!

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The Sheikah slates for our children’s costumes were created entirely by Husband, so I’ve asked him to write a guest post about how he made them!

~ ~ ~

One of my principles of Halloween costumes is that they need to have some element that glows in the dark.  I could pretend that I’m very concerned about safety and visibility in the dark, but really I just think it makes costumes more fun and cool.  The Sheikah slate in the video game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is such an integral part of the gameplay that I knew the kids would want to have Sheikah slates as props in their costumes.  I also thought that if I did it right, they might be toys that the kids could play with after Halloween, too.  

For the body of the Sheikah slate, I made a template that seemed big enough to hold the two pieces of electronics hardware, and cut a baseplate out of cardboard.  Then I started using lots of adhesive-backed craft foam to build up layers and thicken the tablets, making sure to leave a central cavity big enough for the speakers and lights.  After a few foam layers were down, I inserted the speaker button through the foam so that it rested on the tab of the Sheikah eye symbol, and kept adding layers until the sides were high enough to enclose the electronics.  Since I needed to maintain access to the electronics to turn them on and off and eventually replace the batteries, I hot glued strips of velcro to the top layer of craft foam and to the back of what would become the ‘screen’ of the Sheikah slate.


To make the screen, I used black adhesive craft foam and drew the Sheikah symbol on it and cut it out.  I had to make some adjustments, because unlike an actual screen, when you are cutting material you can’t have fully enclosed shapes floating in mid-air.  After I had the symbol cut out, I peeled off the paper and adhered a square of light blue vellum to the foam.  Even without the LEDs, it has pretty good contrast with the foam, and when the LEDs are lit up, the vellum smoothes out and softens the glow from the point sources of light.  


For the electronics, I found some battery-powered blue LED lights (aff link) and some battery-powered programmable speakers (aff link) like you might find in a singing birthday card.  I found mp3 files of the Sheikah slate sound effects from the video game and loaded them onto the speakers.  When you press the attached button, it plays a random sound from the list of downloaded files.  


At this point, I had functional, but parti-colored, Sheikah slates.  I wrapped the edges in black craft foam to hide the multi-hued strata of foam, and then painted all the remaining nooks and crannies with black acrylic paint.  I used orange craft foam on the handle to mimic the orange glow there in the game, and then wrapped the handle in brown yarn.  I cut out the decorative Sheikah symbol for the back of the tablet from orange, yellow, and blue craft foam.  For the border of the screen side, I used some more blue craft foam shapes and then free-handed some designs with metallic gold paint.  


They are definitely just approximations of the video game devices, but the kids were thrilled with them, and they are pretty durable and should hold up to being played with for at least a while.

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Our son dressed as Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. At the time we were deciding on our costumes, his game character was wearing Zora armor, so he specifically requested to wear that gear as his costume. We brought up his character in-game and took photos for reference!

I made the blue shirt and stealth leggings by hacking Simplicity 1030. It’s a Captain America costume pattern in which the lower half of the shirt is pieced stripes. (Side note: I am really impressed with the design of this pattern. Often costume patterns are badly drafted and ill-fitting, but this is not the case for Simplicity 1030! The style lines and construction are well-done!). The upper part of the shirt has some nice style lines that were perfect for Link’s blue shirt, so I combined the side panel pieces to extend as one piece from the underarm to the hem and lengthened the upper torso pattern pieces to the hem. The result was a very sharp-looking athletic shirt, and I’m contemplating making it again with another fabric!

I added the side accents by layering some scraps I cut into the proper shapes and attaching them to the shirt with basting stitches. The blue fabric I used for the shirt and pants was an interesting athletic knit I found in the clearance section of G Street Fabrics, but it was difficult to stitch, so I thought it would be better for those side panels to be temporary. We will likely repurpose the shirt and leggings as winter pajamas!

I found a free jacket pattern (in my son’s size!) that was the perfect starting point for the scale jacket, and I hacked it beyond recognition, haha! I used a sueded fabric that was handed down to me in a bin of fabrics–it was the perfect color. After I cut the outer layer pieces, I hand-cut all the scales and sewed them in rows before stitching the pieces together.

My final contribution to the Link outfit was the beaded bandolier. I used Sculpey (polymer clay) to mold the moon medallion and the long beads (in retrospect, perhaps dry ziti would have been a lighter weight and easier solution for the long beads!). I strung them with some plastic faceted beads, and my husband spray painted them all with chrome paint. I used a scrap of vinyl to create the “leather” strap that goes over his shoulder, and the beaded strand is attached to key rings I stitched to the ends!

Now, on to the showstopper parts of the costume: the armor!

Husband sketched out the armor pieces on paper after studying the reference photos we took of all angles of Link, cutting out the paper templates to test sizing on our son. When he was satisfied with the design, he traced the pieces on to layers of craft foam and cut them out by hand. After constructing the pauldrons, bracers, and faulds (hip guards), he spray painted them with chrome paint. If we make foam armor in the future, Husband notes that he will apply some sort of sealant to the foam before spray painting to prevent the metallic paint from soaking into the foam and give a shinier end result.

The pauldrons are pinned to the shoulders of the scale jacket.

The faulds are threaded onto the belt with elastic loops that are adhered on the back.

The bracers have elastic straps for our son to wear them on his forearms.

The greaves (shin guards) are also constructed from craft foam, which Husband hand-painted with brown and metallic gold craft paint.

We had a lot of fun taking action photos of our soon acting as Link during our photoshoot at the pumpkin patch…

(No healthy pumpkins were harmed in the making of this trick shot!)

This last photo is a little teaser: Husband created Sheikah slates for our Zelda and Link! Stay tuned for a guest post from him about how he made them!

Summary of patterns:
shirt: Simplicity 1030 (hacked)
scale jacket: Shwin and Shwin Mr. Postman (hacked)
pants: Simplicity 1030 (lengthened)
belt, shoes: ready-to-wear

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Our daughter dressed as Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

We found some amazing reference images from a book of concept art (aff link), and those images gave some great insight into the layers we needed to create.

We used ready-to-wear leggings and boots on her lower half, and we spent our energy creating the layers on her upper half.

The first layer was a blouse with lantern sleeves, and I used the Blank Slate Bookworm Button Up (aff link) as my starting point. The main hacks I made were to the collar and sleeves. Zelda has a tall collar closed with a single round button, so to create that effect on my daughter’s blouse, I increased the height of the collar stand and omitted the collar pieces altogether. I was pleased with how easy it was! Since there is no visible placket on the character’s blouse (fantasy means no practical concerns such as how you put on a garment!), I added hidden snaps between the placket layers.

I used a modified version of the Melly Sews lantern sleeve hack: instead of inserting a rectangle, I used a trapezoid shape. That resulted in an ungathered seam at the elbow and an asymetric blousing effect at the cuff. I stitched the gathers to wide elastic and then covered the elastic with a cuff made from the same knit as the jacket. If I were to do this again, I would omit the elastic and just stitch the gathers into a cuff!

The middle layer was a jacket effect. Since there were no visible closures (again!) and raglan sleeves on Zelda’s, I decided to use the Blank Slate Rivage Raglan (aff link) as my base pattern and an aqua knit I found in the clearance section of G Street Fabrics. After making a quick trial version from scrap knit, I added 2″ of height toward the neckline on the back and sleeve sections, drew the notches in the hemline and sleeves, and modified my pattern pieces. After I cut and assembled the new hacked pieces, I started adding the gold trim. Let me tell you, lamé bias tape is no joke to work with! I also realized only after I’d opened my packages that I’d purchased single-fold bias tape, rather than double-fold! It was an adventure, but I took it slowly, stitching it on with a long stitch length in clear thread (and just plain white in the bobbin). (I will admit that this costume was an exercise in not letting perfection be the enemy of the good…).

I cut the decorative shape at the neckline from craft foam, painted it with a few coats of metallic gold paint, and attached it at the front, behind which the gold crosspieces are pinned in place: I wanted to have enough room for her to get her head in and out!.

The outermost layer is a corset effect (velcro closure in the back), which I constructed from scratch. I added batting and quilted the design, adding the top bands of gold trim over a strip of aqua fabric to match her jacket layer. Husband created the “leather” belt from craft foam. He scored and heated it to give the effect of leather tooling before painting it brown and giving it a wash of black paint for further depth.

He also created the Triforce medallion from layers of craft foam and painted the details with metallic gold paint. We simply hot-glued it in place!

The final touch was her hairstyle! I have no idea why I have not used YouTube for braiding tutorials before–now this has opened a whole new can of worms, haha! THIS video was the perfect tutorial for this cute headband braid style: I learned some new tricks, and we’re excited to keep trying some more in the future.

We got some absolutely beautiful (if I do say so myself) photos of our daughter acting as Zelda during our photoshoot at the pumpkin patch…

Summary of patterns:
blouse: Blank Slate Bookworm Button Up* (hacked)
jacket layer: Blank Slate Rivage Raglan* (hacked)
corset: made from scratch
leggings, boots: ready-to-wear

*affiliate link

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My children talk almost nonstop about their progress playing through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild! Since they love the game so much, it was the perfect source for costume inspiration. Without further ado, I present Link and Zelda from Breath of the Wild!

Our son specifically requested to wear Link’s Zora armor, which is what his character in the game was wearing at the time we decided on our costumes.

The costumes were a collaboration between Husband and me: he made all the foam accessories (Link’s armor pieces and brooch, Zelda’s belt and Triforce medallion, and the Sheikah slates), while I focused on the fabric pieces (and I made Link’s beaded bandolier).

During our photo shoot at a nearby pumpkin patch, they had a really great time getting into character and acting out scenes for the camera.

I’m thrilled with the costumes, and I think our children are, too!

I will do separate posts (Zelda, Link) with details for each costume and one for the Sheikah slates, but until then, here is a list of the patterns I used:

Zelda:
blouse: Blank Slate Bookworm Button Up* (hacked)
jacket layer: Blank Slate Rivage Raglan* (hacked)
corset: made from scratch
leggings, boots: ready-to-wear

Link:
shirt: Simplicity 1030 (hacked)
scale jacket: Shwin and Shwin Mr. Postman (hacked)
pants: Simplicity 1030 (lengthened)
belt, shoes: ready-to-wear

*affiliate link

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And now for something completely different!

The fourth project for my Solo Crop challenge was an art journal page–and a grab 5!

  • washi tape
  • the color orange
  • use a brayer
  • paint pens (I substituted glitter pens, because I don’t own paint pens)
  • stamps

This was not the first art journal page I’ve attempted. I’d like to share the art journal I started in summer 2020.

The spring was quite a challenge: the virtual school that our county set up was extremely…hard…for me to deal with. That’s all I’ll say about it here, but it sapped all of my creative energy and motivation for a really long time. After school ended, I wanted to have a way for my kids to do creative projects each day, and so I set up a box of art supplies and declared an hour or two each day to be “afternoon art” time. We opened the umbrella on our back deck, laid out an old plastic tablecloth, and my kids could use anything in the box on watercolor or mixed media paper.

After a while, I realized that I wanted to play, too. It was still too difficult to think about working on a defined project (scrapbooking OR sewing). I’d been watching Let’s Get Inkie, and her art journal process just looked so freeing and fun. So the next time I went out to grocery shop, I bought myself a small, cheap mixed media notebook and decided to start playing.

my very first art journal page

And it was fun! I pulled out my box of art supplies: Metallix gel, acrylic paints from when I was in art class in high school, watercolors and other paints that had been given to me second-hand, collage bits and pieces that I’d trimmed out of magazines (some from as far back as middle school, I think!), leftover pieces I’d saved thinking they’d make good stencils, washi tape, Mod Podge…

(Yes, Mod Podge. I don’t have gesso (yet– as I’m writing this post, it is in the mail; I ordered some the other day!) so I used Mod Podge to seal my pages and layer over collage pieces.)

Sometimes I simply played with paint.

Sometimes I used old calendar or magazine pages as part of my design.

Sometimes I tried out techniques.

this one (above) was inspired by my painting from the spring

I don’t write on my art journal pages, at least not yet. I don’t know what to write, and I’m not sure I even want to write. This is simply a place for me to play and experiment and let go of expectations. I’d like to do more of this in 2021!

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As I mentioned in a previous post, we used RTW clothing for my daughter’s Disney-bounding wardrobe for our most recent trip, which is why I’m not showcasing most of her outfits here. However, I did want to document a couple of T-shirts that I customized for her using HTV and my Silhouette Cameo 3.

These two designs were each inspired by garments I’d seen online that weren’t her size and/or appropriate for her age… or I liked the basic idea but wanted to redesign it! I created the designs in the Silhouette Studio software, and after that it was a straightforward process to cut and iron on the vinyl!

Having these customized T-shirts made it easy to come up with cute and comfortable outfits for park days… and something to look forward to wearing on an everyday basis when the weather gets warm again for us!

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The other day, I gave my daughter a few stamped sheets of Lawn Fawn Rawrsome dinosaurs (and volcanoes) as well as some Paper Smooches Space Cadet aliens (and planets), and she went to town! She carefully colored them with colored pencils and detail-cut them out to create this sweet little art piece of a party under the night sky:

She added some sequins as sparkly stars in the sky:

I loved it so much that we put it in a frame to display in her bedroom! I love framing my kids’ artwork so that they can see it in places of honor around the house.

We’re entering this project into the Simon Says Stamp Kids’ Summer Vacation Challenge for 2020!

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The other day, our church’s fantastic children’s ministry director came over to help my kids make mosaic stepping stones. The stepping stones, once they are grouted, will join other children’s to border a new play area on our church’s grounds.

The kids each chose images that convey meanings of their names. I am so proud of them for coming up with such beautiful designs!

Here is my daughter’s…

Even though these stepping stones aren’t quite finished (the children’s ministry director will be grouting them and prepping them for placement on the church property), I wanted to post them so that we can enter them into the Simon Says Stamp Kids’ Summer Vacation Challenge for 2020!

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B’s mosaic stepping stone

The other day, our church’s fantastic children’s ministry director came over to help my kids make mosaic stepping stones. The stepping stones, once they are grouted, will join other children’s to border a new play area on our church’s grounds.

The kids each chose images that convey meanings of their names. I am so proud of them for coming up with such beautiful designs!

Here is my son’s…

Even though these stepping stones aren’t quite finished (the children’s ministry director will be grouting them and prepping them for placement on the church property), I wanted to post them so that we can enter them into the Simon Says Stamp Kids’ Summer Vacation Challenge for 2020!

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