Thursday, February 24, 2011

Project: Bling Befitting a Queen (or in this case a Diva)

We seem to be getting a lot of attitude from our go-to gal that models our cute creations. Logically, it would be easier to adopt a new supermodel when the contracted one gets all uppity, pouty, and demanding of a pay increase from one pudding cup a day to THREE. After much consideration we decided to withhold the raise and go with the inevitable attitude and make it work for us!

We're creating a blingy headband that would be fitting of a Queen, or at the very least a pint sized Diva!

3/8 Ribbon covered headband (see here for previous instructions)
15 inches 1.5 black double face satin
3/8 ribbon in a matching color
Rhinestone Circle with bar
Needle and thread
Hot glue gun

After preparing your ribbon wrapped headband, cut 15 inches of the black satin ribbon and use your lighter to heat seal both ends by running the flame along the edge until it becomes a little shiny.

Loop your ribbon forming a circle with a 1-2 inch overlap, then pinch flat bringing both the top and bottom of the circle of ribbon to touch. Find the center of the length of ribbon. Thread your needle through both layers of the ribbon. We fold ours in a "W" shape in the middle then stab the needle through while hopefully avoiding an ER trip. Wrap your thread around the bow several times, sew back through then tie to other thread end.

Place your 3/8 ribbon through the rhinestone circle, then tie around the center of the bow, knotting it in back, then secure ends on the back of the bow with hot glue. Attach with hot glue to your ribbon wrapped headband and you’re finished!

Now our English Rose is ready for lunch with the Queen, a royal wedding (I am leaving the date open just in case!), or at minimum a well dressed foot stamping hands on hips temper tantrum. Not that she would do such a thing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Project: Rolled Fabric Roses Lickty QUICK

Can you make this project in 10 minutes?

I have been begged and begged to do the Ribbon Momma spin on how to make these. I give up. Here ya all go! I have also added some secret tips and tricks in there that help quite a bit.

Glue Gun
Felt Circle (optional)
Fabric Glue (optional)
Needle and thread (optional)

Can you believe it? Today we played with NO sharp objects or fire. I make no such promises for the rest of the week!

You can use any scrap fabric you have laying around. You can use old shirts from the thrift store. You can make this to match a special outfit. Really you can make this from just about anything. Because we're in the middle of a sewing project on a test pattern for a kids outfit we used some of this fabric to make a flower to match it. We figured the frayed flower look would be ROCK'N with this print! Sure its a little punk-a-licious for a tot but she wants to keep up with her teen sister and we pick our battles.

For this flower we used a 30 inch strip of fabric that was 1 inch wide. If you like your flowers uber frayed cut a starting point on your fabric about one inch into the cloth, then ripppppppppppppppp. Honestly, this one of my favorite parts of this project. If you have a day that you just really need to destroy something to release some energy this is the project for you! If you aren't so keen on the super raveled look you could cut the full length of your fabric instead of ripping it.

Our finished flower was just a bit less than 2 inches wide and it was only about a half inch tall. If you want a taller flower rip your fabric more than 1 inch wide. If you want a flower over 2 inches wide, cut your fabric longer than 30 inches long. You can also "fuse" extra pieces by just hot gluing two 1 inch strips of fabric together to add to the overall length of your starting strip.

Take your fabric and fold the 1 inch strip in half lengthwise so that your strip is now 1/2 inch wide. If you fabric is patterned make sure the pattern is on the outside facing you. You could break out the iron here but do you really think we would add a dangerous step? I do what is commonly referred to by my mother as "finger pressing". I call it cheating. Whatever, it still works like a dream. As you fold your fabric run your fingers firmly over the crease or I like to use a pencil to run firmly over the crease.

Before we start shaping the flower we need to talk about glue guns. For this project you will NEED a hot glue gun with a low temp setting. Please do not use a high temp glue gun for this project unless your goal is removing your fingerprints. I know some crafters do need some sort of witness protection service but even we aren't this extreme. We have a vintage multi temp Surebonder glue gun with both a high and low temp setting. If you have one that looks like the picture and you need to find it a home please give me a shout. I am willing to adopt it! I LOVE this glue gun and I have been dreading the day is gives out. It’s been with me for almost 20 years. Crazy huh? I will surely be lost without it.

If you are planning to use the finished flower on washable clothing you will need to use the optional items listed above in each place we use hot glue. Where we say hot glue, you will need to stitch in place and use your choice of fabric glue.

To start your flower, point the frayed edge down. Start to roll the end up tacking it in place where ever you feel like it needs to be secured. Roll several times over to make a nice little roll that will become the center of your flower.

Once you reach enough layers for the center part of your flower tack in place with hot glue. Next we will start to twist the fabric in fairly long twists and continue rolling this around our center. I twisted away from me because it seemed more natural to me but you could twist the fabric either directions. I did these first few layers fairly tight. Wherever the frayed edge came up was where I tacked the fabric being rolled up to the previous layers. As I built more layers I made each additional layer a little less tight. This helped built the width of it faster but if you don’t like this look you can continue to roll them tightly and increase the length of the strip of fabric you begin with.

Once you get to the end of your strip of fabric take the last 2 inches of fabric and flip it under and glue it to the back of your flower rosette. I still felt that the flower was a bit unstable so I added a felt back to it. You could skip this part and add extra hot glue and smear it around and let harden if the back will not be visible. If you are sewing the flower for use on washable things I would suggest using fabric glue to add the felt circle, then sewing the finished felt backed flower to your project.

I really did finish this flower in 10 minutes while waiting for the school bus to drop a kiddo off this afternoon. 
 Way to multitask momma!
If I can do it, you can too!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Project: Bottle Cap Basics

This little instructional is the one that I get asked how to do all the time. Even if you know how to do this already give it a read for some of the fun tips and tricks! ENJOY!

Products you need:

Circle Punch- 1 inch for standard bottlecaps
Located in scrapbook sections. We love Fiskas and Whale Punches!
Glue Stick
Any kind, I prefer Elmer’s purple stick that dries clear
Standard Bottlecaps
Any are fine, uncrimped plain ones are available in many colors online. For colors we recommend professional factory enameled caps. Caps that are spray painted can frequently have flaws, bubble, crack or peel.
Your choice of sealer
We prefer Enviro-Tech Lite or Colores 2 part resin for the superior sealing and glassy look
Flat tipped paint brush
1 inch digital image sheets
Please visit Etsy for loads and gobs of pretty images. Search bottle cap image and you should find anything you are looking for!
Long reach lighter if making a few, butane torch if making a bunch

Starting out

When making caps try to work in an area that is free of dust or other particles. If these get in the sealer it’s hard to get them out, especially if they are in the drying stage.

There are millions of products that can be used for a lot of these steps. We have featured the ones we like to use the most.

  1. Prepare your paper punch embellishments.
We choose the path of least resistance and have our images printed out at our local CVS or Walgreen’s. The paper in the Kodak instant printer is printed to be waterproof so images are far less likely to run when covered with sealer. They run about $.30 for a 4 by 6 page. Not a bad deal when it means you aren’t chewing up your ink cartridge in you personal printer at home. You can use images printed at home, sealed with a clear spray sealer, or with a Xyron machine. To us it’s one more thing to fuss with. Pass.

Take your paper punch and punch out images for caps to your hearts content. 

  1. Embellishing your caps.
Use your glue stick to cover the top flat portion of the cap. A few swirls around will do. Place your punched out circle onto the top of the cap. Press firmly. We use the palm of our hand for a nice even pressure.

3.   Applying sealer.

Mix your resin according to the manufacturer instructions. This is super easy if you use disposable medicine cups and a popsicle stick. Get out your paint brush and brush on evenly on the top. When painting on it seems to produce less bubbles or paint strokes when using it at about a 45 degree, where it’s a little less than nearly flat against, it rather than at a 90 degree angle. Less is more. These resins will run down the sides if you apply to much and once its dry there is no saving it. After you have the top covered if you want you can go around the edge of the imgae for a finished polished look. Use your lighter or butane torch about 5 inches from the caps to de-gas. This will make any fine bubbles in the sealer pop so they don't dimish the look of your finished product.

  1. Drying
Set aside to dry for the listed time on your resin product. Let dry in a child and fingerprint free area for 24 hours. We place ours in the oven. It’s completely closed and dust free and no kids mess with things in there. We really feel like it should get some use too. It’s not like we use it for cooking outside of major holidays and the odd meal here and there.

  1. Add Embellishments
Add any embellishments. We like to use found buttons and flatback glued on with E6000.

  1. Use and create!
For use on clippies or hairbows our favorite method is to buy floor protectors at Wal-Mart in the hardware section. They are felt like disks cut to a 1 inch circle and the depth of a bottlecap. We add some E6000 under the cap, place the stick side of the disk then add more E6000 and glue to our bow or clip.

If you want to use the caps for jewelry punch a hole with a 1/8 inch circle hole punch (scrapbook section or specialty jewelry metal punch) add a jump ring and attach to earrings or necklaces.

Experiments that we loved the look of:

Adding family photos for custom gifts.
Gluing bottlecaps on frames with ribbon accents for boutique looks on the cheap.
Adding to bobby pins and woven headbands.
“Monogrammed” caps for custom bow orders.
Glitter caps! Spray with gloss spray paint, add glitter, spray again to seal, and add buttons.

Did you get to all the way down here?!?!

Well then... all you FABULOUS people deserve a present! Leave your email addy in the comments and we will be happy to email you a free sheet that looks just like the pic below but in high resolution just ready for printing! Free sheet offer expires midnight central time on Feb 24, 2011. SEND YOUR FRIENDS! (we will be emailing these out at the end of the day for the next week so if it doesn't arrive instantly there's no reason for bunched panties. It's free!) 


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Project: Retro 20s Flower Gone Funky

Everyone's significant others can breathe a sigh of relief today. We are NOT playing with fire!

I got a few new pretties in this week which inspired me to go a little retro funky. Well that and we have a super fab dress from Polka Dot Ponies that I have sorely neglected to make something to equal its poshness. We have had almost spring like weather lately so I thought I better get on that!

This tutorial is a great foundation to play with this look and cater it to your needs. You can make this flower over the top like we did or dress it down for an everyday look.

Here's what we are making! A 20s inspired flower with some extra modern flair!

3/8 ribbon- we used a pink sheer with a satin edge
Large safety pin
Glue Gun
Center embellishment
Marabou or curly ostrich (optional)
Felt circle

Take the 3/8 ribbon and wrap it around your 4 fingers 6-7 times.

Using your free hand, slide it off and pinch it together in the center of the loops. Stick your safety pin all the way through the layers.

Pull the inner most loop and start to gentlely spread them out. Play with the loops until you have them arranged the way you want them. Next using your needle and thread and sew through the center of the flower to secure your loops in the desired arrangement. I just ran my needle through a few times. You can tie it if you want but since we are securing the next steps with hot glue I didn't take the time to tie any knots.

This looks pretty nice by itself right here, eh? We could just slap something on the center and call it a day. If you want a more conservative look that’s a good idea. Stop here and attach it to whatever you want. (Hair clip, headband, outfit, hat, or anything else)

Did we stop here?

Of course not! We have an over the top girlie girl to accessorize!

Adding another flower to the top is as simple as just repeat the steps above using 3 fingers to wrap your ribbon.

Glue your two flowers together. On the very top flower we added a single chiffon rose to the center, then added a dazzle dot acrylic stone for some sparkle and shine.

To finish we applied some hot glue to our felt circle and smashed a circle of our 4 inches of curly marabou into it. Add a little more hot glue to the back of your ribbon flower and press onto your marabou puff.

We attached our finished creation onto a headband because the resident diva has been all about elastic glam headbands lately. How she innately senses current adult fashion trends is a bit unnerving!

Gotta hand it to her. It looks great!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Project: Heart Stealing Singed Peony

If you are a perfectionist, stop here. This project is not for you! Turn back! This project will drive you nutso. This is a project that is less by the numbers with a great deal of creative winging it.

The last singed flower we made is beautiful, but its a bit of an "every man's" flower. They are simple so everyone makes them. Sure, you can set yourself apart by using unique fabrics but its so much more fun have pretties that not everyone and their brother has. Heck, and Monday is Valentine's Day so we wanted to make something unique using hearts!

Before we start please read over the tutorial on singed flowers we previously did. It will provide several useful tips that carry over to this tutorial also. You can find it HERE.

Today's Quest: The elusive singed peony

Synthetic fabric
TWO lighters
Needle- we used a long doll making needle
Thread- we prefer upholstery thread
Cut hearts out in 4 sizes. Extra Small, Small, Medium and Large. To speed up this process we folded our sheer fabric over several times so we could cut 3 hearts together at a time. There is no exact science to this. There is no exact number of any of the sizes. I made about 6-10 in each extra small and small hearts. Medium and large hearts i did 3-5 each. My hearts were not perfect hearts and they did not match. Some we're chubby and some were skinny and some were just right. We cut out a bunch and sorted them into piles by approximate size.

The next step is to singe all the hearts. Remember your Smokey the Bear tips from our last singed flower adventure and have a bowl of water ready in case you need to drop something flaming into it. Fire extinguishers are also all the craze this season for the savvy crafter to have in close proximity. We requested two lighters to have on hand for this flower. You could get by with just having one but we like to speed craft. If you only have one lighter you will have to take a break for it to cool off a few times. Some people try to use candles for this reason. We don't. I like the control you get with a lighter. It has a smaller more controllable flame that shuts off as soon as you take your finger off the button. This also decreases the chances of me setting my studio on fire in some clumsy fiasco in which I surely knock a lit candle over. Run your lighter around the edges of your hearts to melt and curl the edges. Keep all your finished petals sorted by size.

Thread your needle and start by weaving your needle through alternating from your piles of extra small and small hearts.

Stack and scrunch these on your need and thread until you have all of the two sizes used.

Tie your two ends of thread together knotting well.

Arrange your medium hearts in such a way that they overlap slightly. Pick up this layer and stab your needle straight through the area of your layer that allows to go through all of the arranged layers.

Pull thread tightly, then pinch the flower and sew one longways stitch, then do this again at a 90 degree angle from your first long stitch.

Sewing the "x" secures this layer. Add as many layers in this way as you desire. We only did one medium layer then an additional large layer. Attach to whatever your little heart desires!

Not to shabby, eh? Speaking of shabby, if you like the shabby chic look skip all the steps we used open flames in and the flower will fray during normal use. Anyone got odds on who is going to get to wear this beauty, me or the teen?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Project: Sweet Singed flowers on a budget

Budgets. We all should have them. We all should love them. I hate them.

Apparently since infancy I have never been a fan of this word.
When I am told no this is what I hear: why not but I want it how can I get it how soon can I get it what are choices A B C to get around it no well crap A B and C didn't work what are D E F you say no but I heard yes would crying work in this situation should I hold my breath maybe if I pout and add the sad puppy dogs eyes in the mix...

Crafting on a budget means making hard choices, or being creative with your funds. These little blossoms are your money maker. Nope, no need to go to a fabric store to buy any fabric. Drop by your local thrift or second hand store, preferably on bargain day. My local haunt is the Disabled American Veteran's thrift store. On any given day you can find a deal BUT on Sunday's is when you get the best deal ever. All items are tagged with a variety of colored tags that rotate over blocks of time as items come in. Each Sunday they pick two colors of tags that have a special discount. One color is half off; the other color is 5 for $1 or 25 cents each. Quite a clever way to turn over old stock isn’t it! Also, quite a fabulous way to make dozens of flowers for less than 25 cents in fabric! You want to look for synthetic fabrics that you can melt. Yup, we're playing with fire again! YIPPIE! Formal type dresses don't do well, but floaty summer dresses and skirts work most the time. My favorite are hideous pajamas and robes with crazy patterns that are so slick you are certain when you sit down you will slide right off your bed and hit the floor with a large embarrassing thud.  It's almost like they were made that horrible just so they could be reborn as really pretty flowers!

Synthetic fabric
Needle and thread (we prefer upholstery thread)
Center embellishment- beads, buttons, acrylic rhinestone

Cut your fabric into 5 rough circles in varying sizes. Don't focus too much on pretty little perfect circles. You actually want them to be imperfect to add some character to them.

Hold your fabric circle with the print facing up and run your lighter along the edge melting the fabric. The more you apply heat to the edge and even a little bit along the underside the more your petal will curl up. Do not leave it in one place for too long or it may catch fire. We learned last week it is best to be prepared for this with a handy bowl of water under where you are working to drop it in. Our legal consultant insisted this week that we modify our fire prevention advice. Not that you will need it but it can't hurt to have a fire extinguisher in arms reach when playing with open flames while crafting.

Repeat this step for each of your circles then stack together and sew.

Finish with your choice of center decoration. Now remember we saved all that money on fabric.... so we splurged on another pretty blingy button.

Here's a few wonderful idea of things you can apply your singed flowers to.

How to be a "Smart Women"

I recieved a message from a friend today. I have to admit it reminded me that as I run from one busy overfilled day to the next I overlook things from time to time. A ribbon momma on a mission has alot in common with a bull in a china shop. I push straight ahead, full steam, all the way to the end while forgetting to look side to side to see what might be happening. I would love to credit the author but like most things that randomly touch our heart in unexpected moments lurking in our inboxes, there was not one listed.
A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter. 

'Don't forget your sisters,' she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass.

'They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them.' 'Remember that 'sisters' means ALL the women... your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too. 'You'll need other women. Women always do.'

What a funny piece of advice!' the young woman thought. Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!' But she listened to her mother. She kept contact with her sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mother really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, sisters are the mainstays of her life.

After more than 50 years of life experience her mother passed on the most important lesson of all. THIS SAYS EVERYTHING.
Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.

BUT......... Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you....Or come in and carry you out. Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family: all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still. Pass this on to all the women who help make your life meaningful.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Project: Glitter-on-the-Go Headbands

Too busy?
Do you have TWO minutes?
Make THIS!

Let's face it. Most of us are extremely busy, or extreme procrastinators. I am both. I have been up all night before more craft shows that I will ever be able to count... or admit to.

All of us need a few tricks up our sleeves that are quick and easy! Today’s project you can do in literally a few minutes even if those minutes are in the car before a dance recital!

Colored 10 mm headband (ours is hot pink)- We suggest these from Punch Place Plus
Coordinating Plushy Glitter Ribbon from All About Ribbon in Fuchsia
Double stick tape

Important to note before we start:
1. Double stick tape is not the double sided tape from your normal office supply store. You want specialty double sided tape. We recommend two places to find this tape. Our friends at No Bow No Go have some wonderful tape you can purchase today by clicking HERE. A similar product will also be available later this year at Punch Place Plus.
2. Not all glitter ribbon is created equal. The plushy glitter ribbon that we carry at All About Ribbon is uniquely no-shed. What makes it "glitter" are actual fibers that are woven into the ribbon. A lot of glitter products are made with small particles that when worn as hair accessories create a mess everywhere but also potential eye issues. Small particles can fall into children's eyes and cause irritation and a whole bunch of other fun issues that you as a mommy or business owner don't want to deal with. Quality is important.

Cut your glitter ribbon the length of the headband, plus a little bit extra that you will tab over the ends. Using your lighter, run the flame across the edge of the ribbon to melt it and prevent it from fraying. (When you do this DO NOT be surprised if you see the ribbon catch some of the flames. Blow on it and it will go out easily and quickly. This doesn't harm or discolor the ribbon. For those of you that error on the side of caution, you can do this over a shallow bowl of water to drop it in if you are startled by this.)

Apply the double sided tape to the back of the ribbon. When you peel the tape off the roll it has one side exposed and one side that still has a protective covering. Using the exposed sticky side of the tape, press the sticky side to the back side of the glitter ribbon.

Peel the backing tape off the length of ribbon and press firmly to your headband. Start with a small tab on the inner side of the headband then press over to the outer side of the headband and tab over again on the second end.

See... that was so easy you could do that while hopping on one leg, chasing a kid, talking on the phone, and walking the dog!

Smiles all around!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Zany Zebra Ruffled Ribbon Flowers

There are two things that we love around here above all else... ribbon and flowers.

I rarely pick up a needle and thread. I learned a long time ago that my lack of coordination combined with my historically horrendous bad luck really means that I should eliminate playing with sharp objects of any variety. We could change my name to Danger Prone Daphne. A project like this is so monumental that you know these are not only to die for, but also fairly quick and easy.

We're making this wild beauty!
25 to 30 inches of 7/8 ribbon.
We used Black Zebra on Grape from All About Ribbon *on sale now!*
Needle (I used a tapestry needle because they aren't as sharp if I stab myself)
Thread (any thread is fine but upholstery thread is hard to break)
Blingy button or any center embellishment
Hot glue (optional)
Felt circle (optional)
Hair clip of your choice or pin back

Take your cut length of ribbon and heat seal the ends by running the flame of the lighter across the cut edge until the edge appears shiny. This will keep your flower from having any unsightly fraying when finished.

Thread your needle with a reasonable length of thread. My office ate my upholstery thread so I used regular thread doubled up.

Make a long running stitch with your thread through the length of your ribbon. Our stitches are about 1 inch long.

Gather the stitches by scrunching them up as much as you can on the thread. (Look at that! You just learned how to hand stitch ruffles for anything!)

Tie your two thread ends together forming a circle. We used 30 inches of ribbon for ours because we had that huge button.

The less ribbon you use the less air you will have in the center. If you have a lot of "air space" you can do what we did! We took our rhinestone button which had a shank back and stitched it in place, then filled the area with hot glue and let set. This provides some extra stability to the flower. If you don't have a lot of air, or don’t like burning your fingers while trying to add some in the center you can glue on a felt circle back to provide the same kind of stability to your flower.

Finish with your choice of hair clip or pin back for a fabulously wild flower!