StencilGirl® Column | Creating Bangles with StencilGirl® Stencils

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Have you seen my big news?! I’m now part of a fantastic team of StencilGirl® Columnists!!!

StencilGirl Columnists collage

Meet Debi Adams, Tina Walker, Kate Yetter, Janet Joehlin, Gwen Lafleur, Kiala Givehand, me, Anne Marie Fowler, Kristin Reese Williams, and Jennifer Armstrong!

Mary Beth Shaw created the StencilGirl® Columnist positions for professional and established artists and has paired up each selected Columnist with what she believes to be their mixed media specialty.

You can learn more about each Columnist and their speciality here on the StencilGirl® Talk blog: StencilGirl® Columnists

And whilst you are over there, you can read the first column! MY very first column!

Marsha Valk | StencilGirl® Column: Bangles

In it, I not only share how I transformed these plain wooden bangles but also my thought process and what inspired me.

Check it out here: Creating Bangles with StencilGirl® Stencils

Have a wonderful week!

Elizabeth Craft Designs | Simple Shrinky Jewelry

Marsha Valk | Elizabeth Craft Designs: Simple Shrinky Jewelry

Hi there! It’s my turn at the Elizabeth Craft Designs Blog again! Today I’ve got a really simple but stylish project for you.

Elizabeth Craft Designs has a wonderful new Spring release. Haven’t seen it yet? You can check it out here!

I always give my new dies a test run when they arrive. This not only gives me an idea of what the die-cuts will look like, but it also helps me get ideas for what I can do with them.

When I first tried the new Pebbles die, I immediately thought: this will make a nice pendant!

Marsha Valk | Elizabeth Craft Designs: Pebbles (1026)

I couldn’t figure out what material to use and I had to try a couple of products before I found the answer: shrink plastic!

Marsha Valk | Elizabeth Craft Designs: Simple Shrinky Jewelry

I created a pendant with the new Pebbles die and a bracelet featuring the Jewelry Set 1 – Sea Glass from a previous release.

Here are the steps to create them:

Marsha Valk | Elizabeth Craft Designs: Simple Shrinky Jewelry

1. Die cut all the pieces you need out of shrink plastic. You will need about 10 pieces of Sea Glass to create the bracelet, depending on the size of your wrist.

As you can see in the photo, I used the metal adaptor plate to cut the shrink plastic. It may not be necessary but different brands might give different results.

Marsha Valk | Elizabeth Craft Designs: Simple Shrinky Jewelry

2. You need to take into account that each piece will shrink to a very small size. It’s best to punch holes in the pieces before shrinkage. I used a crop-a-dile for this but you can also use one of your hole dies.

Marsha Valk | Elizabeth Craft Designs: Simple Shrinky Jewelry

3. Shrink the die-cut pieces following the instructions on the package of shrink plastic. Mine said: Pre-heat oven to 325 F (160 C) and bake for 1 to 3 minutes. I put my shrink plastic pieces on a sheet of baking parchment and used that to place them in and out of the oven.

4. Take the pieces out of the oven and let them cool for a few seconds.

5. File the edges of the shrinked pieces smooth if needed.

6. Add a chain to the pendant and string the Sea Glass pieces together with jump rings. Add a jewelry clasp of choice.

And that’s it! Ready to wear!

Marsha Valk | Elizabeth Craft Designs: Simple Shrinky Jewelry

Marsha Valk | Elizabeth Craft Designs: Simple Shrinky Jewelry

If you like, you can use coloured pencils, permanent markers or stamps and StazOn ink to alter your die-cut jewelry pieces before shrinking them in the oven.

I hope you try it, it’s fun!

Have a wonderful day!

SUPPLIES:

Elizabeth Craft Designs:
954 Jewelry Set 1 – Sea Glass
1026 Pebbles
803 Metal Adaptor Plate
807 Die File Set

Other:
Shrink plastic
Hole punch or die
Chain
Jump rings
Clasps
Jewelry pliers

Inspired by: Parisian keepsakes

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Hi there! It’s time for a new instalment of the Inspired by series!

Each month Riikka and I challenge each other to create something with a particular theme or thing in mind. This theme or thing can be anything and as I promised last month, this time it’s another Paris inspired challenge.

At the beginning of April, Riikka and I met up in Paris for a fun filled weekend of scrapping and sightseeing. We got to spent only one whole day sightseeing and after going to see the Sacre Coeur and the Notre Dame, we headed into Le Marais:
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Although I have been to Paris many times before, I won’t even pretend to know my way around the city. But I did remember Le Marais from an earlier trip and I was glad Riikka agreed to explore this particular area. It definitely lived up to my expectations again: loads of fun shops, awesome window displays, little galleries and inspiring street art!

When we tried to slowly head back to Gare du Nord (where we had temporarily stored our luggage), we walked passed a bead shop. Of course we couldn’t resist going in! The assortment was huge! Riikka decided to collect a couple of keepsakes for us to use for this month’s Inspired by.

Here’s what she gave me:
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(Photo by Riikka)

These trinkets made the challenge quite a challenge for me…

For one: I don’t really like bulky things in my scrapbook albums and art journals, so the curved Love trinket, the Eiffel Tower and the resin roses ruled those options out.

Secondly: it bothered me that there was an even number of trinkets. But I didn’t feel I could leave one out and I didn’t feel I could add one either.

Thirdly: I felt the trinkets would get lost on something like a canvas. I toyed with the idea of scanning or photographing everything (in) and making something digital, but I somehow forgot about that…

OK and then there was the obvious thing to do: make some kind of jewellery.

But of course there was a but… the resin roses did not have any holes in them. It took me days to figure out what to do about that. I went to a store and looked for bezels, but couldn’t find any. I thought about using buttons and while fiddling with the buttons I remembered that I probably had something better in my box of jewellery making stuff. And I had!
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This is what I ended up with. I’m not sure it’s practical, it certainly isn’t mind blowing, but I still think it turned out a fun little bracelet!

Now I’m extremely curious to see what my dear friend and travel companion Riikka has come up with. You can find her project on her blog!

Inspired by: Les Misérables

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Another month has flown by and I’ve got a new Inspired by for you!

Each month Riikka and I challenge each other to create something with a particular theme or thing in mind. This theme or thing can be anything and this month Riikka and I both watched the film Les Misérables.

I asked if we could use the film for Inspired by after Riikka had already seen it in a cinema. I watched the film at home, so I had the advantage of not only being able to notice details and making concious mental notes of them, but I also had the chance to jot things down and re-watch parts of the film.

I found that 50 minutes into the film I had more than enough notes and I stopped writing stuff down. It’s such a rich film: the visual aspects, the décor, the costumes, the songs, the story, the emotions… all sparking different ideas.

Being a colour lover, the first thing I noticed were of course the colours. The funny thing is that it strongly reminded me of the colours of the other films Riikka and I watched for Inspired by in the past: blue, red, yellow/gold, green. All toned down and grunged up, reminding me of Distress Inks.

Another thing that caught my eye: tile flooring. Apparently I’m drawn to flooring patterns, because this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned it in an Inspired by-episode. This film also was heavy on the uniforms, there was denim, distressed wood panelled walls, nature, cityscapes. There even was an elephant

The story of Les Misérables isn’t a happy story. It’s a story about life and death, opposites and rivals, hardship and not giving up, about faith, dreaming, hoping and of course about love.

I’m always looking for stories to tell and this film sparked some story-based ideas, but not the kind of stories that I would want to record on a scrapbook page. They felt like art journal-stories to me.

So my first idea was to make an art journal page. But then I re-watched part of the film and I got caught up on the denim and the almost bare wooden panels of the sewing atelier. And I thought of the denim sewing machine cover that I dream about making some day.

I didn’t have enough time to take on a project like that, but I suddenly felt I wanted to sew something. I rummaged through my fabric stash, found two scraps of denim and made this brooch, inspired by the cockade on Javert’s bicorne and Madame Thénardier’s dress (in the inn-scene):

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When it was finished, I thought about how I would photograph it and I pinned it to my cardigan. I doubted if I would actually wear it and I thought of ways it could be part of something else. I finally dug up a burlap canvas (8 x 8″) and went to work on that.

I covered it with square pieces of paper with a wood panelled design in a pattern that was like the tiled flooring I had seen in the film. I covered that with gesso and spray inks and then completely forgot how I had planned to add the brooch to the canvas….

Instead I added embroidered and spray inked hand cut felt circles that I adhered to small circular scraps of denim, followed by more spray ink, oil pastel and Faber-Castell gelato.

I got so carried away that I even covered the wood panelled design of my paper and the burlap canvas… and ended up with this:

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Hmmm… I didn’t exactly plan this and it turned out quite OK for something unplanned. But I think I need to permit myself to explore more of my Inspired by: Les Misérables ideas. I definitely want to revisit the tile flooring motive and use some of the colour combo’s I remember seeing!

But first I’m exited to see what Riikka has created with the same film in mind! You can find her Les Misérables project on her blog!

Stay-cation list | no. 9

I started to work on my stay-cation goals with preparations to create this Hama bracelet, found via Pinterest at the lovely Craft & Creativity blog. Except my beads came out like this:

Somehow I expected them to stay round after melting… I also gathered that I would need to melt a couple of batches before I have enough for one bracelet.

So I abandoned that idea for now and I went on to pimp my earphones instead, as seen here:

The next evening I made an attempt at this kind of bracelet, found via the same blog:

This was fiddly at first, then it actually went OK… up until the very moment I cut the thread after I had closed it with a crimp bead. And now I have to start all over again…

I haven’t had a chance to get new thread yet, but I’m going to give it another go soon.