Multi-layered hand cut stamps

I’ve only had my hand-cut stamp obsession for a short time, but I have recently managed to take it to the next level by designing stamps with several parts, so that they can be printed in layers to give a more complex result.

Here’s the little owl I tried it out on:

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The first layer is blue, the second lilac, and on top is pepper (charcoalish kind of grey).

Here’s what you need to do it:

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All the regular stuff for cutting stamps:  an Ezy-Carve rubber block, lino cutting tools, an Xacto knife, pigment ink pads, a ruler.  If you aren’t comfortable drawing freehand, a pencil and tracing paper will come in handy, too.

Cut your rubber stamps with the three layers in mind:

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You can see there’s nothing fancy about them, but when you bring them together the result is pretty cute.

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The beauty of using layers in a design like this is that it gives the owls’ eyes expressive qualities.  They all look like they are looking in different places, which I think gives them a nice, quirky look.

Then all that is left to do is go crazy, and stamp away!

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Have fun.

jf

Spools coasters

In the current issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting (issue 13) there’s a bonus kit included for making a set of 4 quilted coasters.  They are made from small spools blocks.  The fabrics aren’t great quality (being honest!) but I thought the pattern was cute and it was a good chance to test out the pattern on fabrics that I wasn’t too emotionally invested in 🙂

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It was a fun block to make, and in much smaller pieces than I would normally use for quilting.  In that sense, it was a good experiment outside of my comfort zone.

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It’s a perfect project for chain piecing, and you can get the whole thing done very quickly if you keep you pieces organised by the side of the machine.

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The most important tip I can give you is that it is worth taking the time to press the seams of each row of the block in a different direction, so that they lock nicely when it is time to assemble them.  That way, it all comes together neatly.

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The wadding that came with the kit was awful – if you are working with the kit, throw it out and use your own.  That said, wadding, and indeed quilting for coasters makes sense.  It’s absorbent, and perfect for preventing pesky puddles in precious places.  (Excuse my alliteration.  I got a bit carried away.)

Here’s the moral to the story:  spools are fun, and this pattern is worth making.  I’ll look forward to whipping up some more in better materials over the summer.  Maybe I will even share them with you!

Have a great day,

xx jf

Handmade key fob

In Love Patchwork and Quilting a few months ago (issue 11) there was a kit included for making a key fob.  It was so much fun to make, and so easy, that I thought I would share the project with you.

Here’s how it turned out:

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I gave it to my Mum.  At first she said “What is it?!” but after a short explanation, she got excited and put it to use straight away.

It has got me thinking about the ways I could make more of them, and make them more personal, more interesting.  My mind has been working overtime!  The only sad news is that I won’t have the hardware arrive before Christmas… otherwise there’d be some very nice gifts going around!

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I’ve done all the research you could possibly need, now, so let me make gathering the know-how and the materials to make these easy for you…

You can get the instructions on how to make them either from Love Patchwork and Quilting issue 11, or at this website, Leigh Laurel Studios.

You can buy the hardware from Esty sellers like these, or on ebay.

You’ll need to add the fabric and interfacing you want to use, or felt, and a pretty ribbon to tie on at the end.  You’ll need a pair of pliers to fit the hardware, too.

A beautiful, thoughtful gift, handmade in less than half an hour.  Nice!

Have a great day.

xx jf

A little bit of gratitude

I’m so blessed to have some lovely friends.  The person I am thinking of did something very nice for me about a week ago.

I had decided to stop blogging.  I decided that it was not my “core business” and that I had to be more ruthless in the allocation of my time.

In her wonderful, listening, gentle way, she reminded me that expressing my creative side was a really important part of who I am, and that it would be a shame to let that go.  It connected the dots for me so kindly, so that I was able to see how important making and sharing was for my happiness (and mental health!).

I’m a very lucky lady to have people like that in my life.  You know who you are.

Much love.

xx jf

Another soft play rattle ball

I keep getting great feedback on the soft play rattle ball I made from the pattern in Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  For more details, check out this older post of mine, where I made one from April Showers by Bonnie and Camille.  It turned out like this:

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Now, I’ve been hard at work using up Liberty scraps to make soft play rattle balls for the children of friends of mine as Christmas presents.  All little people I know have loved them so far!

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And let’s face it, everything is better in Liberty.

As far as is possible, I’m trying to make this a handmade Christmas.  So far so good!  I’ll share some extra projects with you in the coming days.

Have a great day!

JF

Quick and easy children’s gifts with panels

A friend I love dearly has a sweet little girl.  We have been planning to get together and sew soft books together for… pretty much all of her life.  She is 2 now.

I thought the time had come to just get on with it, even if I was doing it on my own.  It’s not her fault!  As we live on opposite sides of the country our sewing bees are few and far between.

At a craft fair I went to earlier this year I picked up a set of panels for making a soft book.  I hadn’t done one of these before, and so I was a bit apprehensive about getting started, but it was easy.  Ridiculously so!

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I think I had the whole thing done in half an hour or less.  That’s a perfect time frame for whipping something up after my own child has gone to bed (without staying up all night), or for sneaking in a bit of sewing during her nap.

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The only thing that I sometimes find frustrating about working with these sorts of kit projects is that the instructions are often lousy.  These ones weren’t terrible, but the instructions on how to cut out the panels, and whether to allow a seam allowance around the edge of the image or not were a bit lacking.  I decided to cut along the edge of the panel, so that I didn’t risk a dodgy finish if the panel was wobbly or my cutting wasn’t straight.  I didn’t want there to be glimpses of the background fabric!  On reflection, this was probably what the printers intended anyway, as the finish was perfect.

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I think it was a fun, simple project that even a beginner should find gives a fast sense of satisfaction.  I’m sure that the recipient of the books will love them too!

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A final word of advice:  I didn’t read the story before I bought the panels.  It’s pretty grim!  It’s got all the fun stuff: intent to murder, miscarriage, a female character described as “a simpleton”.  Not all kiddy themes, or female-empowering messages.  I will definitely read the panels before I buy again!  Ah well, live and learn.

Have a wonderful day.

JF

A new addiction: hand carving stamps

Normally my crafty pursuits have a sewing flavour to them.  Well, I have a new addiction at the moment, and it is also great fun and highly practical.

I’ve been hand-carving stamps from rubber blocks, and then using pigment ink pads to stamp them.  I’ve made lots of cards, and have a plan in my mind to try printing fabric soon.  I’ve just got to work out the right ink to use… anyway…

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It’s fun, easy, and gives a product you can use over and over again to create using different colours, or layering with other stamps.

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Bundle them together in a bunch with a nice ribbon, and you have a pretty gift, ready to go!  I’ve put together a number of card bundles for Christmas gifts this year.

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My online research said that that Staedler Mastercarve blocks were the way to go, but I couldn’t find anywhere in Australia that sold them.  The good news is that the Ezy-Carve Rubber Blocks you can get from Eckersley’s are excellent.  Lino cutting tools and an X-Acto knife are all you need to do the carving.  If you want to get fancy, some pencils and tracing paper can be handy too.  Oh, and ink!  Don’t forget ink and cards!

The Ezy-Carve blocks are super simple to cut, and give a really good finish when inked.  Wash them up gently in water, with no abrasives.  Just rinse with your hand and dab it on an old cloth to try.  It’s all you need to do.

It’s much easier to cut than lino, and doesn’t bend when washed up, so it can be re-used with a great finish over and over.  Give it a go some time.  You’ll be impressed.  (Impressed – did you get that?  An inadvertent stamp joke!)

jf