As I mentioned yesterday, I got a package of joss paper on Monday, and wanted to make something with it. This sewn-up heart garland can be made with other kinds of paper, of course (though I must note that my sewing machine doesn't handle card stock well; YMMV). To make it, first stack up several sheets of thin paper in various colors. Keep them stacked as you cut out a heart shape. Repeat until you have a bunch of heart stacks (I ended up using nine).
Thread your sewing machine with colorful thread. I didn't have any matching pinks, so I went a bit contrasty with yellow. Sew through the center of the heart stacks one by one, spacing them out an inch or so in one continuous line.
Use tacky glue to sandwich the ends of the thread between two pieces of paper. I used my one-inch hole punch for the top, and cut two free-hand circles for the bottom that were big enough to write a message on.
Show off the many layers of your hearts by folding them in half, this way and that.
Display your garland where a loved one will see it, or carefully slip it into an envelope or a small box and present it as a gift. I hung up my garland using a single glue dot, but a tack would be more trustworthy.
Happy day to you, my Valentines!
Without really planning it, I ended up in NYC's Chinatown on this past Monday, the Lunar New Year. Though it was cold and clammy and snowing on and off, the festivities were in full swing. Pairs of lions, accompanied by bands of percussionists, roamed the streets.
The lions entered open shops and restaurants, and usually, they got fed red envelopes in return.
I happened to be inside a Citibank, taking money out from an ATM, when a pair of lions came in, looking for treats. An employee talked to them and seemed to come to some agreement with them, as one went into the back, and the other swooped up the stairs.
Every shop was selling confetti cannons, two for $5, and there was confetti everywhere. God bless NYC's sanitation workers.
I was all set to show you some cool and creative temporary tattoos you can buy via etsy (click on each image to go to its shop)...
... and then I realized that the adhesive manufacturer's R&D departments had probably already figured out how to make temporary tattoo paper. And lo, they did! Here's a highly-rated one on Amazon: Silhouette Temporary Tattoo Paper. Read the top reviews for some important tips for using this paper without a Silhouette machine. (It doesn't sound difficult, but the paper packaging doesn't make it obvious what to do.) This looks like a perfect birthday party activity. Draw a tattoo, and wear it all day! Have any of you (and/or your kids) tried making your own temporary tattoos?
We woke up to unexpected snow, after a muddy, well-above-freezing day yesterday. February's gotta be February, right? Here's Franklin getting in some important lap time in between snowy romp sessions.
I am still a proud member of the rock candy fan club, so I'm back with two quick ways to use it in Valentine's Day cards. They are so easy, you could make them for an entire kids' class. Truth.
The only real "crafting" part here involves making a small container for the candy. If you have access to a craft shop with an aisle of Wilton's products, you can buy small cellophane bags there that would look perfect (though the bags at that link are a bit larger than what I create below). If you don't, or would rather not make the trip or spend the money, here's the frugal version.
Cut a rectangular corner piece from a plastic bag. Fold clear tape over one of the open edges, and add a hunk of rock candy. Then, fold tape over the remaining open side to seal it.
Now to make the card part. I like a simple, one-sided postcard design, because is your child really going to write a heartfelt message inside each one of these? I don't think so.
I thought of two ways to use the rock-ness of the candy in the message. I made up the names, and added a bit of a love triangle, for fun (not shown: Mary confessing her devotion to Emma).
First up, a card for miners. Note the semi-on-purpose, child-like scrawl. The pickaxe is made from scraps of brown and silver paper, and the candy bag is simply taped to the back.
For kids who don't want a hint of romance in their cards, this one is perfect. (I must disclose that I asked my hip niece and nephew if kids still said things "rocked," and they were emphatic that they do not. Things might be swag, or "lit." At least they are in uber-hip Brooklyn.) An alternate message might be "You're ice cold," if you want to be a little mean. Or go the other way with "Facet: I love you!" (get it, 'face it, I love you'? I'll show myself out.) For this one, I used glue dots to adhere the candy and paper construction to a piece of scrapbook paper.
I hope you enjoy these, my sweet readers!
Been busy! Quick post! Here's an appropriately-pink (for Valentine's Day) party from a 1967 McCall's craft magazine! Oh my goodness it is pink! I did almost no color correction on this scan.
In case you find this photo mouth-watering, here are the recipes. They're actually not terrible sounding? Maybe I'm just hungry.
You're all pretty and pink to me, dear readers.
Have you met Tara Donovan? She's an accomplished sculptor who has a piece in the Wonder show at the Renwick Gallery, which I mentioned last week. She uses everyday objects to create works of abstract art, many of them installation-sized. The NYT has a good article from 2008 about her method.
This piece, made of buttons and glue, is one of a series called Bluffs. A detail is shown at right.
She's been doing a bunch of work lately using Slinky toys. Some pieces are three-dimensional, others are flattened reliefs on a wall, and still others are huge prints.
Here, she uses pencil segments to create a geological map or a miniature metropolis.
And here's a billowing cloudscape of plastic cups. Like most of her work, each installation has to be remade from scratch, each time it's exhibited.
Here's what's inspiring about Tara: She focuses on a single material and experiments with it over a long period of time, until she finds out exactly what it can do, and how she can make it into something that interests her.
Challenge your child, or yourself, to make a work of art with just one or two materials — a box of toothpicks, say, or a bag of craft sticks, or a few dozen plastic sandwich bags. I can tell you from experience, the activity will either lead to imaginative, mind-expanding discoveries, or it will turn out to be merely a Zen-like lesson in patience. Either way, it will have value.
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.