Archive for the ‘ tutorials ’ Category

Leopard Print Nails, or, “Hi, my name is Megan and I’m a polish-addict”

Well, if you have missed me and my (infrequent) blog posts, I have a couple excuses.  One, I haven’t been making much recently, but I do have faith that one of these days I’ll feel inspired to dust off the ol’ sewing machine.  Two, I’ve become completely addicted to nail art blogs.  Like the come-home-from-work-and-paint-my-nails-at-midnight-to-unwind sort of addicted.   It’s a relatively cheap hobby, but it’s also a slippery slope before you find you can’t leave the house without buying a new color, and you’ve fried your laptop by spilling nail polish remover all over it.  I guess that’s another excuse I haven’t been blogging lately.

In any case, my friends, I wanted to share with you my favorite nail blogs with the hopes you find as much enjoyment in them as I do.  Chloe’s Nails, the first one I stumbled upon about six months ago, taught me some magical things about scotch tape (check out the tutorials section).  Nailside is another of my favorites with some great tutorials for tape or freehand designs.

Anyway, I used this tutorial to do my nails the other day (ok, night/morning, really).  Thanks to Nails by Kayla Shevonne for the great design.  I used french tip guides for the half-moon and dotting tools to make the spots.

OPI “Keys to my Karma” – red base

Sephora by OPI “Neutral Beauty” – half moon base

nails inc. “Hampstead Gardens” – spots

OPI “William Tell Me About OPI” – dark detail

Making Everyday Pretty: A New Way to Arrange Tulips

Yesterday I had a great idea for a new and unconventional (at least for me) way to arrange tulips. Normally I would never think to cut tulips short, but for some reason I wanted to use this small, glass, fishbowl-looking vase.  I cut the stems half-length and used one of the large tulip leaves to bind the bouquet together by wrapping it around them and stapling it together on the backside.  I think it looks so pretty how they lean in the vase.  Ah, the little things.

Happy Valentine’s Day!: The Lace Dress Tutorial

Last spring I made this lace dress after seeing a little girl’s version in this tutorial on Project Run and Play.  I thought it would be the perfect project to share with you on Valentine’s Day.

It was definitely one of the most time consuming sewing projects I’ve embarked on.   The trip to the fabric store was an endeavor in itself.  I purchased:

  • somewhere between 20 and 30 yards of white and ivory laces of different patterns and widths
  • Red RIT dye
  • cotton muslin to make a lining
  • bias tape for the neck and arm-holes

When I got home, I laid out all my strips lace on my work table in a giant rectangle.  Then I sewed each strip together with a zig-zag stitch.  When I had attached all the laces to one another, I used RIT to dye the lace and my cotton muslin red.  The best part of the dyeing process is that each lace (being of different fabrici content) takes up the dye differently.

Then cut the muslin lining into a front and back piece for my dress.  I sewed these together and tried it on, just to make sure I wouldn’t mess up my lace fabric.  It fit!  So I used a seam ripper to take the pieces apart again.  I laid the muslin over the lace and cut two pieces of lace to fit my pattern.  And finally, I sewed them together to make my dress, adding bias tape to the sleeves and neckline.  This dress took a lot of work, but the end result is one of a kind!

Things I Can’t Make: Wire Art by Carol Bellamy + Air Plant Garden Tutorial

Carol Bellamy of Meadow Vista, CA makes very elaborate wire art.  My mother has given me two pieces by Bellamy as gifts-for-no-special-occasion (as I’ve mentioned before, my mom is awesome!).  Each sculpture Bellamy creates is crafted from a single length of wire, ranging in length from 3 feet to 350 feet.  Having worked with wire for jewelry on a much smaller scale, this blows my mind.

I first saw the wire tree while window-shopping at a gallery in Auburn, CA.  I thought it would be perfect for displaying earrings (if you’ve seen my San Francisco apartment, you know I have, one, a ton of earrings and, two, very little space for art that isn’t “functional.”)

Air Plant Garden Tutorial

The first piece of Bellamy’s wire-art my mom gave me was this starfish.  I once told my mom my earliest memory consists of collecting starfish from Pacific tide pools, but I seemed to have blocked out the devastating part where she made me put them back.

air plant garden

So, in the name of functional art, I turned this starfish into an air plant garden.  You’ve probably seen this done recently with driftwood and terrariums.  It’s easy!  You will need:

  • something to showcase your air plants (a stick, a fancy rock, a wire starfish)
  • air plants (I got mine at Hortica in the Castro)
  • a hot glue gun
Arrange your air plants until you are satisfied with their placement.  Put a dab of hot glue where you would like to stick a plant.  Let the glue cool for a few seconds so it’s not too hot (you don’t want to burn yourself or the plants).  Stick your plants to the glue.  Repeat until finished.  Most air plants like to be spritzed with water every day or so.  Don’t forget this part or you will be buying more air plants before you know it.

If you’d like to learn more about Carol Bellamy’s wire art, you can visit her website.

Labradorite Earrings Tutorial

These were inspired by a pair I saw in Sundance.  I like the mix of gold and silver and the iridescence of the labradorite.  To make them, you will need:

  • two labradorite rondelles
  • 2-4 gold disks
  • 2 sterling silver head-pins
  • 2 small sterling silver round beads
  • sterling silver beads
  • 2 gold-filled ear-wires
  • round nose and flat nose jewelry pliers

Start by putting one small silver bead on your head-pin. Follow with the labradorite rondelle and the two gold disks.  Add your silver beads until you reach your desired length, and then bind off the head-pin with a wrapped loop.  Attach to your ear-wire. Repeat for the second earring.

Things I Can’t Make: Ichibana Vase by Don Lawson + Tiny Stencil Tutorial

I’ve recently decided to expand the scope of my blog with a category that features “things I can’t make.”  Since evenings are my favorite time to work on arts & crafts, my work hours often preclude me from creating much during my work week, but I figure that shouldn’t stop me blogging.  The “Things I Can’t Make” feature will share some the interesting pieces of art I buy or am gifted because, frankly, I couldn’t make them myself.  I think it will be a great way to introduce my readers to some awesome artisans I’ve discovered.

I can’t do woodworking, for example.  I recently admired this Japanese-style ikebana vase while window shopping with my mom in Auburn, CA, and on her last trip to San Francisco, she surprised me with it as a gift-for-no-special-occasion (my mom’s the best!).  The vase was crafted from maple wood by Nevada City artist Don Lawson.  The metal dish that rests in the wood is known as a kensan — a component of flower arranging that features densely packed metal spikes that can support individual branches or flowers.  I encourage you to look up ikebana; it’s a very beautiful art form that can be both minimalist and very elaborate.

Tiny Stencil Tutorial

I’ve stenciled a few rocks recently because it’s a very quick and easy craft.  They make nice paperweights, pretty little decorations, or gifts.  You’ll need:

  • contact paper and sharpie
  • x-acto knife
  • spray paint
  • rocks

Draw your tiny design on the contact paper with a fine-point sharpie.  Carefully cut out the design with your x-acto knife and stick it to the rock.  The contact paper will likely only adhere to one side of the rock, so before you spray paint, hold a piece of paper or card stock over any exposed areas so the spray paint will only get on the stencil-design. Spray your design.  After allowing the paint to dry a few minutes, remove the contact paper and enjoy your tiny design.

DIY Postcards

When it comes to holiday shopping, I’d rather stay home.  This year my hunny and I are filling homemade stockings for each other, so I’m trying to get crafty and make some fun stocking-stuffers.  I’ve had this old San Francisco map sitting in my laundry room, so I decided to make him a set of postcards for Christmas.

The Method

Materials

  • Paper of your choice (old map, wrapping paper, recycled holiday cards, etc.)
  • cardstock or cardboard
  • Spray adhesive
  • x-acto knife
  • pen and/or stamp to decorate

Cut equally sized rectangles from cardstock and use spray adhesive to join them to the paper of your choice.  Let the adhesive dry and cut your postcards out with an x-acto knife. Decorate their backsides with lines and/or homemade stamps (I made a stamp stamp — silly, I know — but if you’re interested, you can read more about stamp-making here).

Easy peasy! If you don’t have any time left for holiday crafting, these would also make great thank-you cards.  I bundled a few together for my hunny’s stocking and kept a few for myself.