Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Going nuts for autumn crafts

I love nature nuggets and collect them throughout the year. I also love to create art with paper and have designed a variety of nature nuggets of my own for this fall season. If you would like to create some of your own join me on my blog as I will be sharing how to tips for the next few weeks for each of the seeds and pods I have created on Lettering Delights.

The file you will need to make these creations is the Wee Gather Together Seeds and Pods cut it set on LD. The chart above shows the items (cut it files) that are in the set. The photo below shows a chart of those pieces turned into three dimensional art.

In this blog post I will be sharing information on how to make the walnuts and the cinnamon sticks.

To make the walnut halves you will need the three pieces shown below. Cut them out, choosing darker brown paper for the shell parts and tan for the nut. I did not have a brown color of paper in the weight I like to work in, so I used a tan paper from Paper Source, in a text weight, and then darkened it with a brown marker before assembling the pieces.

Make the shell by curling the piece into a bowl shape, then fold the parts where they meet in the center area to pull the edges inward. Next, use a bit of glue (I use tacky glue) for each end, overlapping the outsides to the center part slightly, and secure with a small clothes pin until dry. Do this on both ends to form the shell (it will look like a bowl). You may need to trim a bit of the tips that are slightly higher on the ends where the pieces are glued together to have a flat edge on top of the bowl shaped piece before you glue it to the nut piece. The more level the edge of the shell (bowl shape) is, the better it will stick when gluing to the other piece.

For the nut part, simply glue the nut over the scalloped shell piece, using just a bit of glue around the edge of the nut shape. Once it is dry you can glue the top and bottom pieces together. First, turn the nut/scalloped combo piece over on your work surface so that the back is facing you. Now, spread glue along the top of the shell (bowl shaped piece) and position it carefully over the nut to center it. Press gently but firmly until the pieces hold together. In the photo below you can see the steps and the completed walnut from the top and bottom sides of the nut. Refer to the “how to” chart below for helpful tips. 

To make the cinnamon sticks, which are very easy, you will need the file of the cinnamon stick paper. Simply cut out the paper in a color you like for cinnamon. After I cut the paper out in a reddish brown text weight paper, I spritzed it a bit with brown spray paint to add a little texture and darken the color. You can roll the paper up in a traditional roll, or roll from each end into a scroll. Since cinnamon sticks come both ways, try each. First curl the paper, then use a bamboo skewer or pencil to roll the paper as tightly as you can. If you roll it into a scroll you may want to glue the two ends together and secure with small clothes pins until dry. Refer to the “how to” chart below for helpful tips. 

I decided that creating an acorn out of paper will have to be left to the professional paper crafters, as I could not achieve that feat. However, I do have a few ideas for hand crafted acorns that you might like to try. First you will need to collect acorn caps from oak trees. Then you can make the nuts by felting balls from wool. I made mine the dry method way, but you can also use the wet felting method. I think you might even be able to buy wool balls at craft stores. Once you have the wool ball, simply glue it to the acorn cap.

I also have some crocheted balls that were from a neckless I had picked up for crafting. I simply used one of those for the nut of the acorn and glued it to the acorn cap. You can see both acorn options below.

I will share other seed and pod crafting in a few more days, so if you are still waiting for how to make that milkweed or lotus pod, come on back and I’ll share my secrets. Now, don’t go nuts making each of these nature-turned-paper nuggets, this is intended to be fun. Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Harvest moon-lighting

You can have a festive autumn swag of lanterns lighting the path for your guests this fall season with a little bit of work and a lot of fun.

I made these lanterns with flowers a few years ago and thought they were so lovely outside during springtime that it seemed even more fitting to have them decorate the deck for the autumn season.

Here is how I made them:

I used the leaf shapes from my Wee Gather Together Leaves  cut-it set on Lettering Delights. I first cut out many colors of leaves about one to two and a half inches in size, using Paper Source text weight papers (colors: moss, chartreuse, curry, poppy, papaya, persimmon). Once cut, the leaves were thin enough to curl into nice bends and shapes. I use a bamboo skewer for curling.

I then laid them out and spritzed them with quick, uneven bursts of spray paint. I used a few spray paint colors to make the leaves appear more blended, like real autumn leaves. When spraying I recommend that you not spray close to the leaves, rather lift the can about one to two feet above the leaves to get a dusting of paint, then repeat with another color. You can see this in the photo above and below.

Once I had about three or four leaves prepared per lantern, I cut out the lanterns in two colors of paper. Paper Source cover or text weight paper works for the lanterns. For the spring lanterns I used text weight, but for these autumn lanterns I used cover weight. The paper colors I chose were gravel and curry. I used the Cut Flower Accessories cut-it project from Lettering Delights (it is in my Cut Flower collection on LD). It is a pattern that can be used for pedestals, but it works great for lanterns too. There are four pedestal designs in the set, I used the green one for these lanterns.

Each lantern is about four inched high. I taped each lantern after connecting it, then glued the leaf sets to each on the opposite side of the connection.

The lanterns have a tabbed edge at the top (about 1/2 inch tall) that must be folded inward to hold the paper lantern over the lightbulb that it is covering. My lights are the circular, clear bulbs (approximately 1.5 inch diameter) in a string of 20 or so lights. The lanterns slip up and over the bulb and hang with the tabs holding them on.

Thinner paper will allow more light to shine through the paper lantern, if you would like that. The thicker paper will make the lanterns more durable, but will not allow for as much light to shine through. Keep that in mind when making your choice of lantern paper.

Now you can enjoy your crisp autumn evenings while sitting outdoors under your autumn lantern lights and the harvest moon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gather together and enjoy the season

Autumn is the season that I love the most. It’s beautiful, the weather is lovely, and it has Thanksgiving, a holiday that is a reminder to be grateful for everything and everyone in our lives. I have created a collection that is now on Lettering Delights and it is called We Gather Together. It was developed to help create lovely and fun pieces for this harvest season.

Here are a few sneak peeks of what I’ve been harvesting for this giving season.

You will find something for the kids.

There is something for the elegant decorator.

Also something for the naturalist, woodsy type (well, nature in the form of paper, of course :)

And there is plenty for the holiday crafter.

This collection has a mix of graphic images and cut files. I will be sharing many ideas over the next few weeks and have plenty of “how to” help for the paper crafting autumn leaves, seeds and pods.

I will also share easy ideas for gift giving, and home and kitchen decor. Get ready to gather your friends together for a month of crafting fun. You can go here to see all of the We Gather Together products on LD. Enjoy!