For this month’s challenge, complete a project using only materials you already have on hand. Whatever creative pursuits you dabble in, you’ve probably amassed a sizeable stash of crafting supplies– and, if you’re anything like me, your hoard continues to grow ten times faster than you can think of things to do with it. If all that rings true, this month’s challenge presents a great opportunity to dig into your collection, get reacquainted with your treasures, and create something beautiful with them! The only rule is that you can’t buy anything new!
Here are a few ideas that I liked, utilizing materials that most crafters already own:
Fork Jewelry – If you have a pair of pliers and some mis-matched flatware lying around, check out this tutorial! Great design ideas!
Hardcover Book Purse – I have seen these purses sell in stores for $50 and up but you can make your own for almost nothing. This tutorial calls for a purse handle kit but try creating a handle from fabric, jewelry findings, crochet thread, or whatever other materials you already have in your stash…
Bird Feeders – Here are six tutorials for creating bird feeders using materials you likely have around your house. Perfect project for Spring (if it ever arrives!).
I haven’t quite decided what I’m making for this challenge but I do think it will involve beading. I’ve been organizing my craft room and came across a huge box of beads that I don’t even remember buying (first sign that you have a crafting addiction?) and now I’m itching to do something with them. Maybe bead embroidery… I also have a big stack of itty-bitty cloth scraps that are virtually useless given their size but I just can’t seem to throw them out– so I’m going to push myself to utilize them in some way. Patchwork, perhaps? Whatever the project turns out to be, I’ll post my results later this month.
What about you? What sort of supplies do you collect? What are you going to make out of them? If you participate, please link your work in the comments section– I’d love to see what you create!
Was everyone else’s February as jam-packed as mine? I’m just barely making this month’s challenge deadline; I actually had my project finished two weeks ago but I couldn’t find the time to photograph it… ^^’
Anyway, I decided to try monogram embroidery. The first step of this was designing the monogram. I’m a mutt of Celtic, Scandinavian, and American Indian origins but the heritage I identify with most is definitely my Danish roots; it’s where my surname, Lauritsen, comes from and I’ve always loved Viking mythology and art. With this in mind, I wanted to create an ‘L’ with some Nordic flare and incorporate a tree into the design, as Lauritsen is derived from Laurel. These were my initial sketches:
The bottom sketch was actually an accident because I was trying to design a vine pattern but it started to look more like an ‘H’– however, this was an awesome mistake because my Danish family’s original name was Haahr. My great-great-grandfather came to the States with his three brothers and (for reasons unknown to us) once they landed, each brother adopted a completely different surname and they all went their separate ways. I really liked the idea of paying tribute to both my family’s names so I cleaned up the third sketch and vectored it:
But what to make with it? Well, I’m a big fan of chunky Bohemian belts and I’ve been wanting to make some new outfits for Spring so I thought this would be a good time to test out a design idea I’ve been pondering. I really wanted to make a 100% suede belt but my scraps were really thick to sew through so I opted instead for kangaroo leather; it’s much thinner and the color is a beautiful rusty brown. I used metallic silver thread and a leather punch to embroider the monograms and I finished the edges with regular cotton thread in a blanket stitch. I would have loved to make the whole thing out of leather but none of my scraps were long enough and I was pretty tired of stitching by that point– so I used denim and let my machine take care of the sewing…
I’m really happy with the way the embroidery turned out but I’m not crazy about how stiff the denim feels. I will definitely be experimenting more with belt-making but I think I’ll try doing jointed segments with the next one so it falls more naturally and doesn’t feel like cardboard around my hips…
Did you create any monogram or emblem designs for this month’s challenge? If so, please link your work in the comments! I’d love to see your designs! ^_^
New challenge tomorrow!
P.S. I meant to post this a couple weeks ago but never got around to it. The day before Valentine’s Day, at about 11:00 PM, my brother called with a very last minute request– he needed me to create a stencil for his girlfriend’s present. She’s a huge zombie fan so he had gathered supplies for a ‘zombie apocalypse’ kit and managed to procure the coolest box I’ve ever seen– an OD-green army crate for grenades (it even has a caution warning stamped on the inside!). It looked like something out of Indiana Jones! ^_^
I spent two hours cutting out the design with an exacto knife and my wrists were aching by the time I was done– but look at the results! Totally worth it!
And, yes, his girlfriend loved it (though I have a feeling it’s because he packed that box full of her favorite candy and a bunch of funny zombie gear).
This month’s challenge is to create an original emblem or monogram (and, for imaginary bonus points, apply the design to an object).
Emblems are symbolic images created to reflect the attributes of a person, family, nation, organization, or even an idea. Emblems have long been used by military units, noble families, religious orders, businesses, and Hogwarts (~_^) as both a means of branding (advertising their qualities and ideals) and as a way to identify related people, places, products, and policies. Monograms are also symbolic images but are created with the initials of a person’s (or company’s) name; occassionally, a monogram will include a simple graphic (often a silhouetted object) that the person identifies with. Some famous monogram designs include those for Coco Chanel, Marie Antoinette, and Volks Wagon.
So, how do you get started? Here are a few ideas if you’re running into roadblocks:
1. Heraldry: If your family has a coat-of-arms, perhaps you can re-create it in your own style– or design an entirely new one that incorporates symbols of your family’s history, values, or culture. You could also create a personal crest for yourself using your favorite colors, interests, and even memories as inspiration.
2. Logo: If turning your creative hobbies into a future business is one of your goals, maybe this is a good opportunity to create your company logo. Because emblems and monograms are highly personalized, they are fantastic choices for business graphics– a unique image that no one else will have!
3. Own It: Stamping your personal ‘brand’ on things is a great way to identify an item as yours– and without looking like a third grader by writing your name all over it in shaky-lettered Sharpie. Emblems and monograms look good on everything– jackets, mugs, lunchboxes, jewelry, journals… They even make for cool tattoos!
Once you’ve designed your emblem or monogram, the next step is thinking up an awesome way to display it. Here are some of my favorite inspirations:
I have already designed my own monogram (the ‘D’ in my Dalliann logo) so I may tackle a project that focuses on my surname, instead; I’m thinking something to do with laurel trees, as they are the root of ‘Lauritsen’ (oh, what a bad pun!)… In any case, I’ll post my finished challenge piece later this month.
If you’d like to participate, simply pick your preferred medium and go wild! Just make sure to link your work in the comments section– I’d love to see what you create!
Well, I decided to cowboy-up and face my fear of dripping molten metal– and I have some very rough soldering experiments to prove it! Emphasis on ‘rough’… I was hoping to get some photos of the process itself but it was all I could do to operate the soldering iron and hold the work at the same time– so trying to juggle the camera would have been downright dangerous. ~_^
First I decided to try making a coin ring; I’ve seen hundreds of them floating around online and I figured it would be an easy beginner project. Um, no. I couldn’t get the copper foil to stick flatly to the coins, not even by cutting the excess and trying to smooth it down over the curves; as a result, you can see the puckering and folds of the foil right through the solder. After failing at two of these, I was done with attempting symmetry– bring on the jagged angles!
My second attempt was with pieces of various shells and turned out much better! The copper tape was a lot easier to work with on straight edges than curves and the solder also seemed easier to spread. There were still a lot of rough edges but I sanded down the sharpest of them with a dremel tool.
This last piece is a polished rock (don’t ask me what kind– I just thought it was pretty). This was the easiest of all of them. It was thicker and smoother than the shells and the foil tape wrapped around it so nice; it also required the least amount of sanding.
So, my overall experience with soldering: I’m a little disappointed. Aside from worrying about getting burned, I thought it would be a lot easier than it actually was and I’m still a bit bummed that my work came out so lumpy. However, on the up side, I didn’t get burned (except for picking up pieces I thought had sufficiently cooled– owww!) and I did do something I’ve been wanting to try for years. And I’ll probably experiment with it some more at a later date– after all, I’ve got a whole spool of solder to use up and practice makes perfect, right?
If anybody else wants to try soldering, here is a great video that helped me get started:
What about you? What new skill or medium did you try this month? Were you happy with your results? Post a link to your work in the comments– I’d love to see what you’ve been up to!
P.S. I know several of you are waiting for return emails from me; I’m sorry for the delay but will be getting right on it as soon as I can! Thanks for your patience!
Happy New Year! And, as it is a new year, a new cycle of monthly challenges aimed at exercising your creative muscles starts today. So I think it’s fitting that the first challenge of 2014 is to learn a new artistic skill.
Is there a particular subject you have trouble drawing or painting (such as hands, buildings, etc.)? Is there a crafting idea or art medium that you’re curious about? Do you have a Pinterest account full of hundreds of DIY projects that you long ago pinned for ‘someday’ but still have not gotten around to doing? Have you attempted a new skill but failed and not tried it again since? Well, here’s your chance to do something about it!
Pick a skill or project, research it, acquire the necessary materials, and go for it! You can share your results and experience by linking your work in the comments section.
If you’re having a hard time thinking of something new and fun to try, check out a few of these sites– I guarantee you’ll find something that makes you say, “Ooh, I want to do that!”
For my new skill, I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities– screen-printing and soldering. Screen-printing sounds like a much safer option (no molten metal!) but I already own a soldering iron and I’d like to learn how to use it… So I guess you’ll see how brave I am at the end of the month when I show up with either beautiful t-shirt designs or soldered jewelry (and likely third degree burns). ~_^
What are you going to learn this month?