Thursday, 21 February 2013

Crafting with the Little Ones

Today I had so much fun! I took my little granddaughter, Daisy, to a sewing workshop with Miss Stitch. It was a half-term workshop for children ages 6 and above. The organiser supplied all the materials and she and a helper gave the most patient and caring instruction to each and every child. And I was pleasantly surprised to see how well each child did. Obviously, some were slightly more skillful than others, but they all really enjoyed themselves.

In Daisy’s workshop there were seven children, ages 6 to 8. The organisers had the felt pieces cut before hand, with some examples made up, and then the children chose which of the felt animals they wanted to make: rabbit, owl, bird, or monster (okay, so that one wasn’t an animal!), and also chose the colours of felt, thread, etc.


The children just tucked right in and got to work. It was amazing! Here’s Daisy with her finished bunny, which she proudly named “Floppy”. The nose turned out a bit crooked, but Daisy didn’t mind and said it was just a “twitchy” bunny nose! She did all the stitches herself, which was no small feat for a seven year old.


One little boy in the class made an owl and he (the boy) just whizzed through it, with beautiful stitches, and was one of the first to finish.

Boy with owl

I’ve blurred his face as I forgot to ask for permission from his parent, who told me that the boy was very artistic and did lots of drawing and painting as well. I think he was about eight years old.

If anyone is interested in workshops like this, I can highly recommend Miss Stitch. She also does birthday parties. This workshop was very well-organised, the children had a lovely time, and Daisy was so proud of her bunny. And I was so proud of her!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Grumpy Old Woman!

I've been fooling around with two "social media" sites, Pinterest and Facebook. For some reason, I just can't get my head around how they're working -- or NOT working, as the case may be. I've been scouring the Internet for guides on how to use them both and found several. They make it sound so easy, until I actually try to follow their instructions. As a former technical writer of computer manuals, I think I know my way around instructions pretty well. These, however, are either outdated (my screens don't look like the ones they show in the instructions) or are missing some vital steps. One of the cardinal rules of technical writers is to find someone with no previous experience with the program, then task them with working exactly to the instructions . . . no intuiting, no assumptions, just follow the black-and-white. That's the only way to know if you have left out anything. For example, if you (to simplify it) write how to change a tire(US)/tyre(UK), and say insert the jack handle, someone is bound to ask "What's a jack and where do I insert it?".

So, first is Facebook. I've tried to "share" a photo or two. It appeared in my "Activity Log" but never on either my homepage or my timeline page. And why do we have TWO pages (the "newsfeed" when you click the word Facebook, and the "timeline" page when you click your name)? I probably was a member for a couple months before I even noticed I had a timeline page!

Second is Pinterest. One one hand, I've become quite enchanted with this little gem, but on the other I'm ripping my hair out! Like the Facebook problem above, I wanted to share something and have it appear on my timeline page. No such luck.... One FB friend told me it appeared on her page. Fine, but it NEVER appeared on MINE, so how was I supposed to know???? I might have (but didn't) tried several times to share it, ending up with a half dozen of the same image on my friends' pages. . . and maybe they'd be so fed up they'd de-friend me!

And while we're at it, how about Instagram. Same thing... wanted to share it on Facebook. I took a photo and Instagram said it had done it, but I can find no evidence except that, according to the Instagram app, another friend "liked" it. That would imply that it did go to friends, then, right?

And just to add to my misery, this new blogger editor won't let me resize photos without choosing the size in a list. I want to size it myself (i.e. smaller than small, or perhaps in between two listed sizes).

Oh well, my grumpy old woman rant is over for today.  To take my mind off of Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, I've been making cards. I made this one yesterday:

And here's the inside:

The stamped sentiment is not crooked on the card, it's just a wonky photo, honest! It's a "just because" card for a friend who's been a bit down lately. I based it on a beautiful card I saw on the Internet (Pinterest, in fact). I wasn't sure who the original cardmaker was until I noticed the watermarked copyright: Jennifer Shults. I think hers is much prettier than mine, but I didn't have the same sentiment stamp and embellishments, but wanted to make mine just a little different anyway. I know imitation is a form of flattery but felt I shouldn't replicate it exactly, even if I would have been able to.

Her card (above) is just gorgeous and I love the simplicity and "cleanness" of it.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

New Blog - New Focus

Well, here we are. . . a new blog. This one replaces my OTHER two blogs, however. My oldest one, the Happy Papercrafter, was mostly concerned with paper crafts: cardmaking, scrapbooking, and a (very) little bit of art journaling. The second one, Cut the Scraps!, was mostly for sewing, including dressmaking, patchwork, etc. However, I find myself more and more overlapping these crafts, and I never liked the name "Happy Papercrafter" anyway, so here we are.

Last night I attended the "Arty Dolls Workshop" at Artistic Stamper, although it was organised (note the UK spelling) by the Selling Women's Institute. I'm glad I went although at first I wasn't too excited about it. Unfortunately a few people pulled out at the last minute, so I really felt sorry for the workshop leader who had obviously planned for more people. Anyway, this was my first attempt at making the clothespin dolls (or "peg dolls" as they're called here in the UK). The leader brought in some very elaborate bride dolls and others, but also some really, really simple ones. This might be something crafters could do with their children to get them started in crafting.

I can see that children might enjoy making these to illustrate and play out a fairy tale. For example, make a dowdy Cinderella, a Cinderella at the ball, a Prince Charming, three ugly stepsisters, and a fairy godmother. They could make a stage from a shoebox and fabric scraps, and even a coach with a smaller box. I saw at least two Rapunzels last night. And there are many examples, patterns, tutorials, etc. on the Internet. I did this one in about 45 minutes with no pattern. I drew the face on with a black marker pen. If I'd been better prepared, I would have taken more care with the detail, but just shows how easy it would be for children to do.

Today I received my order of Marianne dies and was so disappointed. I've decided to never buy dies again unless I can SEE them first. Two of the three I ordered are so small! I ordered them based on some card samples I saw, but the cards must have been miniscule. First is the Marianne LR0192. Here is the die on a 5" x 7" card for scale:

And here is the card I first saw it on:

At least I thought it was the same die. Now I'm not so sure! If it is, the card must be about a 4"x4" or smaller. And the second card:

These cards are both from a Polish blog here. If you want to see some absolutely gorgeous cards, you should have a look -- and chase some of her links to other Polish cardmakers. They're stunning!

And the second die:

Again, the 5"x7" card, which is my favourite standard size. I expected the die to basically be just smaller than this card. I'd hardly be able to fit a small sentiment inside it. Oh, well. . . the Make-It Show in Farnborough is coming up in two weeks, so I'll be able to see the dies there before I buy. Maybe.