Monday, February 10, 2014

Art Vending Machine! Own a minature work of art for $5 !!

The Powerhouse Arts Center recently installed "ARTomaton," and art vending machine.  What a great idea!  It's really fun; there are mini-prints, artist trading cards, post card art, wooden tops, jewelry, and more.  You can own a small art or craft masterpiece for only $5 !!  While the ARTomaton is currently at the Powerhouse, it will be moving around Oxford to different venues.
I brought a basket of items to the Powerhouse this morning to put in the ARTomaton.  This is my messy craft desk after working all weekend to get some things ready:  

Since Valentine's Day is this Friday, all my entries are Valentine themed.  I did a Fabric YoYo Valentine pin class at the library recently (see end of blog for a direction sheet):
So I decided to put my two class samples in the ARTomaton.  Here is one packaged for the machine.  I made the backing card in Word, attached the pin to a Dollar Store valentine, and used little heart shaped brads to attach to the backing card.  A bonus tiny bag of sequins and stickers is also attached with a tiny brad:
I decided to also make up a couple kits for the Valentine YoYo pin, in case someone wants to make their own.
You can use YoYo's to make and decorate all sorts of fun things!  Head band, barrette, hat, purse, flip flops, push pins, magnet, best-of-show rosette, earrings, brooch, bracelet, necklace, boutonniere, corsage, and hair clips:

The most fun thing to make for the vending machine was a kit for embellishing Valentine cards with embroidery floss and glitter.  Dollar stores are good places to shop for craft supplies, especially the "everything is one dollar" type of store.  (The hardware store is also a good place to find cool craft supplies.)  Here are the contents for the kit, some of which were found at Dollar Tree (link here for their craft pages):
First I made up some sample cards to see if this idea would work.  One yard of embroidery floss is knotted at one end, with a 3" tail beyond the knot.  At the other end I applied Tacky Glue to the last inch.  This hard end can be used to thread the floss through the card.  A yard was more than enough.  
The card is set down on a piece of scrap paper for glittering.  Glue is applied in selective places -- dots, squiggles, hearts.  Only a very small amount of white glue is needed.  The glitter is poured over the glue and left for a minute.  Then the glitter is poured onto the piece of scrap paper.  Tap the card to get all the extra glitter off. 
I used my electric drill to make the holes in a stack of cards (since the kits are designed for children to use without a needle, thusly holes are pre-made on each card).  I have a tiny hole punch, but really did not want to punch hundreds of holes -- 60 on each card, six cards in each kit!
Directions for embellishing the cards was included in each kit, with the warning that adult supervision is needed for smaller children, especially with the glitter!  (If you right click on the directions here and below, and open in a new window, you should be able to read it easily and enlarge it further.  You can also save to your computer and print the directions.)

The finished kit on background card to fit in the vending machine.  I added an extra little bag of sequins and stickers:
Here are directions for making the Fabric YoYo Valentine Pin.  For my students I printed the directions on 8 1/2 x 11" card stock, so you will need to enlarge the page of directions to letter size.  Cardstock is a nice weight to make the templates.

 Happy Valentine's Day !


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Isn't Technology Grand?

Recently my parents bought me a new iPad for my birthday (thanks Mom and CC!).  It was just in the nick of time, as I was leaving my job which had given me an iPad to use while I worked for them.  I decided to throw myself headfirst into appreciating my new gift by making it as functional as possible - so I bought a Bluetooth keyboard to go along with it!

And what place does this post have on a blog dedicated to creativity?  Good question!  Answer: I made a lovely protective case for my keyboard - and I used a wonderful app in the design process.   These are both things that I thought were worth sharing, so here we go!

The Materials Used:

Mom and I took an amazing trip to England and Paris this past summer, and as crafty sorts we came home with suitcases full of crafty things - including this delicious art nouveau fabric from Liberty of London (the ACTUAL Liberty of London!!!) and this package of buttons from The Button Queen - an unassuming little shop that will absolutely knock your socks off, if buttons are your thing!  Can't remember where I got the striped fabric - it's reminiscent of men's suiting material.  The other material here is a thin polyester batting, to provide a bit of cushioning for the keyboard.

Bamboo Paper is Amazing!

And this is the app that helped me to design the keyboard case - Bamboo Paper by Wacom (just to be clear, I'm not associated with them in any way - I just think this is a cool use of the app and thought others might like it too!).  With my new iPad I took pictures of some of the materials and inserted the pictures right into the Notebook.  Then you can edit and annotate to your heart's content.  I love this!  I have a highly portable, easily transferable digital record of my creative work!  Coolio!

I cut the three fabrics into identical rectangles per the dimensions on my schematic.  BTW, the picture above was literally a picture of my iPad that I took with my camera.  Low tech.  The picture below is High Tech - Bamboo Paper can share pages from a Notebook with Evernote as .png files - I feel so technologically competent!

On to the Build

So, I sewed the three fabrics together in this order...

If you look closely at the bottom of the picture you can see that the Liberty print is right side down, with the striped material right side up.  Bottom layer is the batting.  I sewed a narrow seam around the edge of the rectangle, leaving a small opening to turn the sewn fabrics right-side-round.

My Secret Weapon

I have a secret weapon for turning fabrics and getting those pesky corners as crisp as possible.  Sometimes you have to look at what you already have on hand and see if you can find a new use for it.  Here it is:

The Knit Lite is a brilliant tool - literally - for people who want to be able to knit in the dark!

There is actually an LED light in the pointy end of the knitting needle!  Clover made these - I'm not sure they still do - but everything they do is genius.  Oh Clover, you're breaking my heart!

A la Missy Elliot

Oh my!  Anyways, I flipped it and reversed it...

...ironed it, and added the narrowest edging stitch I could manage...

...and double checked that the keyboard was still going to fit...

...and put a pin in it to mark my place... it turned out, I could sew an even narrower seam than I thought:

Yup, that purple thread is the seam.  I couldn't believe it didn't fall off the side while I was sewing it!  I miscalculated and forgot to add enough width to account for reversing the seam, so I just changed my plan.  Worked out fine.

Buttonhole, Baby!

I got to break in the buttonhole foot on my sewing machine to finish this up - it was dead simple.  Just stick the button in the top half of the foot, and the machine does the rest.  I literally rested my head in my hand while it worked!

The Finished Product

I'm delighted with the keyboard, the case and the app that helped me to create it!  Isn't technology grand?