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Dastardly Crafty

Craft, Crochet and Cthulhu.

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12 Month Craft Challenge – April. Creative Candy Melts. #1 Smooch Lollipops

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This just might be the easiest craft challenge I’ve done so far!  I’ve always seen the bags of Candy Melts in Hobbycraft and wondered what on earth to do with them. I managed to make a couple of projects using them this month.

This is the first one: A smooch on a stick

At work, we have a huge cake sale and a whole week of charity fundraising.  I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try out some Candy Melts as part of my challenge.

To make you’ll need the following.  All of this is available at Hobbycraft:

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– A bag of candy melts  (this makes around 6 lollipops)

– A pyrex bowl or jug to melt them in if you are using a microwave (this is the easiest way)

– A plastic mould in the shape of a pair of lips

– Lollipop sticks (you need the long ones)

– Cellophane bags and ties  (optional.  You might want to eat them all straight away)

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How to make your smooch on a stick

Pour half of the Candy Melts into the jug.  Put in the microwave for around 60secs.  Stir with a spoon.

If it needs melting further, heat again 30secs at a time until spoonable.

Meanwhile, place the lollipop sticks in place in the mould.

When the Candy Melts are ready, pour into the mould until they are half full.  Spin the lollipop sticks round to coat them and tap or shake the moulds lightly to remove any air bubbles.

Pour more mixture until the mould is full.  Tap or shake once more.

Put mould into the fridge to set.  This may only take 20-30 mins.

Once set, you should be able to easily lift the lollipops out of the mould.

If desired, put into cellophane bags and tie.

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And that’s it!  We managed to sell all of the ones I made and all of our cakes for the year charity.

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12 Month Craft Challenge: March Paper Flowers

With the days becoming lighter and spring flowers beginning to pop up everywhere, I thought paper flowers were rather apt for this month’s challenge.

I made two sorts: one to decorate cards or gifts without wire and the second flower with wire to stand in a vase (or in this case a vintage style bottle.)

What you will need:

Crepe paper printed with a design you like.

Scissors

Glue

Wire (if desired)

Stick on jewels or buttons (if desired)

Both styles are made in more or less the same way.   First cut three equally sized squares of paper.

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Now fold one of the paper squares corner to corner to make a triangle.  Do this twice more until it looks something like this:

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The opening should be placed at the top.  Repeat with the other two squares.

Now, cut each triangle edge into a petal shape.

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When you open it out it should look like a flower shape with clear petal shapes.

With the first piece, cut out one petal.  With the second piece, cut out two petals.  With the third cut out three petals. DO NOT THROW ANY OF THE PETALS YOU HAVE CUT OFF AWAY; you will need them in the next step.

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Starting with the petal on it’s own, roll it into a cone shape and glue the edges.  Do the same with the other petals, so you end up with three cones that increase in size.

Now do the same with the larger flower pieces, applying glue to just one of the petals on each where the paper overlaps.

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If you want a flower to apply to cards/gifts etc, glue each piece carefully together.  You may wish to leave out the smallest cone and glue a gem or button in its place instead.

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If you are using wire, glue the layers together as above, but this time twist the flower at the back to make a point.  Then tightly wrap the wire around the point you have made.  Now you have a stem!

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I made a few of these in different sizes to fill a vintage looking bottle.

 Unfortunately, I had to drink the gin cocktail out of it first. 😉

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12 Month Craft Challenge: February. Stencilling. Hmmmm…

So February’s challenge was to use stencils to make something.

I wanted something practical, so opted to stencil a t-shirt.  First step was finding a stencil I liked.  I love anything rockabilly so I opted for an anchor.  It also meant that the stencil itself was straightforward too.  After a quick google search I found lots of free printable stencils at pixgood.com. I printed it out onto paper and using a craft knife, I carefully cut out the shape, remembering to place cardboard underneath to protect my work surface.

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Now this is where the lesson in common sense and hindsight begins!!

Note to dumbass self: NEXT TIME,  DO NOT PRINT ONTO PAPER, PRINT ONTO THIN CARD.  I didn’t and as a result the cutting out was surprisingly more difficult than I thought, as I had to ensure that I held the knife at a slight angle to avoid creating rough edges.  It turned out okay, but the real problems came later…

Next, the paints.  I found these a few weeks ago in The Works for the bargain price of £4.99.  The set has 8 different colours and it has a spray top, which worked well for my nautical theme.  Only thing is, the set has no instructions at all, other than to say that it is machine washable.

I stuck the stencil to the t-shirt with tape to keep it from moving around.  Note to dumbass self: DON’T FORGET TO PUT NEWSPAPER INSIDE THE T-SHIRT.  I had forgotten this.  I sprayed it, and then realised that if I wasn’t quick, the paint would leak through onto the back of the t-shirt.  I managed to do this just in time.

NOW THE REAL HINDSIGHT LESSON: if you have cut it out of paper, the paper will curl, so you need to spray quick to keep the shape of your design.  Obviously, if you have done the sensible thing and cut it out of cardboard, you won’t have this problem.  Mine LOOKED fine.  But it wasn’t.

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I had to wait for ages for it to dry, but when finally I removed the paper I found that my anchor design looked a little blurry around the edges and in one part, the paint had made a hideous big blob where it had spread out following the curling of the stencil.  DISASTER!  I wish I had taken a photo at this point, but I was so busy trying to think of ways to fix the problem that it slipped my mind.

So, I found some other fabric pens I had hidden away in my craft boxes and tried to think of a way to neaten it up.  I used a metallic grey pen to draw an outline around most of the anchor.  Then I used the vibrant pink colour to paint a flower shape over the large blotch at the top of the anchor.  I added a second, smaller one to add balance to the image.

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This is what it looked like whilst wet.  You can see the blurred blue edges where the paint seeped under the paper.

When it dried the final design looked like this:

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So the verdict: I thought this would be straightforward to do but it wasn’t.  However, this was largely due to a lack of common sense on my part!  Despite this, it was fun to do and I would love to use the spray paints again.

The final thing will be fine as a t-shirt to lounge around in at home but I won’t be wearing it anywhere else.

March Craft Challenge: Paper flowers.

12 Month Craft Challenge – January’s Project Completed

In January I discovered a number of things:

1) Craft is an effective way to relieve stress.

With news of redundancies at my workplace, there have been some real tough, emotional days.  Sitting down to just focus completely on making something has really helped me to switch off from all the crazy crap going on.

2) That paper mache is a lot more fun when you are still knee high to a grasshopper.

I don’t remember feeling so impatient waiting for layers of paper/paint/varnish to dry when I was making Blue Peter projects as a kid! Perhaps its because I no longer have all the time in the world to spend crafting, but I found all the waiting around frustrating.

3) That paper mache is not a winter craft!

It is cold, slimy and makes your fingers wrinkly from all the time spent soaking your hands in water and glue.  In hindsight, I should have waited for the Summer for this one.

4) That people, other than my nearest and dearest read my blog. 

When a colleague at work stopped me to say he enjoyed reading my blog and that he thought I should paint a panda design…well, how could I refuse?  So the final project is indeed, a kawaii style panda.  Here it is:

panda

So my final thoughts on this project?  Well, whilst it was interesting to do something different, there is no replacing my love of yarn and crochet.

February’s project: Stenciling.  Watch this space.

January 12 Month Craft Challenge – The project so far and how you can help me choose a design.

So for this month’s challenge I’m focusing on paper mache.

The main reason I chose paper mache for the January challenge is, that in it’s basic form, the craft is easy and cheap to do.  After the expense of Christmas and the party season, no one wants to go out and buy complicated and expensive equipment. It is also something that anyone can have a go at no matter what age.

Now, for my first project, I confess I’ve cheated a little and used a mache shape underneath my strips of brown paper and glue.  This was one I’ve had hanging around the house for a while after an impulse buy, and I’ve been waiting to use it.  It also means that, as my first project of the year, it guarantees at least some amount of success – at least THIS one won’t end up just a pulpy mess!

So, how was it?  Cold, slimy, but ultimately satisfying to do.  The only disadvantage is waiting for the layers to dry.  This has meant it is taking me a lot longer to make than anticipated.

This is what it looks like so far:

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The only thing to do after the final layers is paint it.  But what should it be?  I’ve got a few choices:

A Panda,

A Kokeshi (Japanese Doll)

Hello Kitty

Please help me choose!! Add your comments below.  Any other suggestions welcome.

New Year Resolutions: Crafty’s 12 Month Craft Challenge #12monthcraftchallenge

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So 2015 is finally here and this year instead of promising myself I’ll exercise more and eat less junk food (which I never keep to) I’ve decided to try a different sort of resolution.

For 2015 I’m going to try a new craft every month and hopefully share with you something that I’ve created using those skills.

January’s Craft Challenge will be… *drum roll*…PAPER MACHE SCULPTURE!

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