Friday, April 23, 2010

Creativity that sticks -Childrens Plant Pot Workshop

 Proud artists with their plant pot creations!
Have I told you lately how much I love our library? When we moved to Brunswick Maine from Des Moines six years ago Curtis Memorial Library was the very first place that made us feel part of the community. My older boys loved both the children's and teen programs. Four years ago when Celia joined our family I began taking her to 'baby lapsit', many of her preschool friendships started at the library. Last summer my husband Jon and I were delighted to donate our time to help them revamp the childrens play area, I promise to post shots of my murals soon. Recently I've been fortunate to be part of both the children and teen library art and craft events.
Parents and children making one of kind plant pots at library Earthday library event.
Today's craft was inspired for a design I developed for the summer issue of Crafts 'n Things. I created a trio of Mixed media plant pots that incorporated 'junk' everything from odd game pieces to hardware. I loved the 'in process' pots almost as much as the finished grouted pots. I realized that using adhesive alone would be the perfect way to introduce kids to the concept of mosaics and tiling. One of the biggest challenges in preparing for this event was collecting enough recycled materials.
 This is me intently helping someone decide which pieces will 'stick' to their pot.
A girl after my own heart, she was intent in filling the entire surface of her pot.
To make this project at home, begin by sealing the inside of the pot with a weatherproof sealer. Purchase a small container of tile adhesive at your local hardware store. Use a plastic knife to spread a 1/4" layer of adhesive onto the outside of your pot. Press found objects into the adhesive, filling the small spaces with plastic beads and buttons. Let adhesive cure 24 hours before planting your funky pot. 
Another superb original creation!
Today's plant pot activity quickly reached eighty preregistered children, unfortunately the librarians were forced to turn many people away. At a time when library budgets are being cut nationwide, the outstanding attendance for these kinds of events is a strong indicator how important libraries are to our community!
 These young men found a way to personalize their pots with letter beads.
Over the next couple of weeks I'll be working with the librarians to plan more creative summer activities for both children and teens. I can't wait to get messy and share more smiles!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy 40th Earthday!

To celebrate the Earthday I'm giving away a signed copy of my Craftcycle book to a lucky winner. This book was a labor of love, it's filled with craft ideas, recipes, and green living tips. A random winner will be selected from my blog followers, please post a comment here to let me know you're interested. I'm loading up my chip purse and heading out the door to teach teens how to fold a java wristband, Good luck!

Thanks for all the wonderful comments! Wish I could give you all a copy, Amanda W. you're the lucky winner!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stitching up Spring

The last few weeks have been all about stitching chez Boyd. It started with working up sample projects for my new sewing book and then moved on to stitching together a blog header. While I was selecting fabric for the header at Alewives in Damriscotta, I couldn't resist picking up a Modkid sewing pattern. Patty Young designed this gorgeous 'Emma' dress that is actually a versatile skirt and top set. Celia and I had so much fun picking out the fabrics, there's no shortage of inspiration in the gorgeous fabrics that line Alewives shelves.
Taking time out to make my own project is always a challenge, there's usually a list of things that need to be made for publication. I rewarded my self with time to work on this dress after I sent the finished stitched header to my sister. She graciously offered to photograph it and add the type to create a logo.  I'm anxious to see what she comes up with and finally make my blog official with a handcrafted banner.
The last time I made a sewn garment I was pregnant with my son Jasper (who is now 17) and had outgrown all my maternity clothes. What a joy it was to follow this wonderfully clear pattern and settle down to something that wasn't going to be shipped away. It was also a delight to whip something together with just a couple yards of fabric, knitting and sewing for children is the best! I'm curious to see how floaty this design would be in lightweight voiles that are recommended, I might just have to make it in a different colorway.
On one of our many trips to Jo Ann's for odds and ends I treated Celia to a little felt sewing kit. We had a few relaxing afternoons sitting together, her stitching and me unknotting her tangles.
She did surprisingly well and was excited enough to make four different little softies a butterfly, cat, flower and heart. While I was helping Celia stitch and working on her dress, my sewing book passed through North Light books proposal process. I have a deadline of January to make up all kinds of sewn personal and home accessory projects. It looks like this springs stitching frenzy might last through the new year!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Green Bling, Java Bracelet - Free Tutorial

With Earth day around the corner, there's no time like the present to get crafting with recyclable materials. The Chip Wrapper Purse is one of the most popular projects in my Craftcycle book. Unfortunately many crafters don't have the time to commit to making the whole purse. I decided to pare the project down to it's gum wrapper bracelet roots. This way you can try out the technique and be able to wear your new creation in about an hour. I substituted the wrappers for long lasting coffee bags that can easily survive hand washing.

Foil Coffee bags, the more colors the better! Some high end pet foods are also packaged in the same type of vacuum sealed bags.
Rotary cutter, cutting mat, and clear ruler
Cut the bottom seal off the bag and then cut open one side of the bag along the seal. Flatten the bag and use a paper towel to remove any coffee bean residue. Working over your mat, cut the bag into 1 1/4" x 3 1/2" strips. You'll need approximately 26 strips.

Follow Gary Duschl's Gum Wrapper folding directions to fold your strips into links. Continue to following the instructions to connect the links. Test wrap the bracelet around your wrist to gauge the size, you don't want it to be too tight. Make sure you have an extra half inch of length so the bracelet can slide over you hand. Make necessary adjustments by adding or removing a link. The final link is the hardest to place, prefold it, then open it and weave it through both the first and last links. Your goal is to have it fit seamlessly into the existing pattern. 

Once you get the hang of this technique you'll be folding up bracelets in no time, experiment with different color combinations, repeated patterns and/or solid colored bracelets.
I'll be teaching this craft as a free teen workshop at the Curtis Memorial library on Earth Day, Thursday April 22nd at 3:00pm.

For more fun green jewelry making projects check my Barbie Shoe bracelet, Bottle Cap pendants in Craftcycle, and Credit Card Bracelet in Simply Beaded Bliss. 

My friend 'eco' Heidi Borchers has some great on line tutorials on green jewelry making at to Cool 2Craft, it's the time of year to check them out! Wearing green creations is a great reminder to live as green as we can.
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