Tag Archives: crafts

135journals Crafts of the Day: July 2, 2015–and a thank you for some inspiration.

3 Jul
Crafts du jour, July 2, 2015, by Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Crafts du jour, July 2, 2015, by Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Today’s news in craftage include experimenting with wrapping pieces of yarn, string, and embroidery floss around thick yarn. I have seen this idea in a number of places, but this craft blogger, lemonjitters, explains it and does a much better job than I do. Thank you, Lemonjitters!


Also, I feel incredibly flattered that another real, and I meal real, craft blogger, as in, a very talented lady who has actual very good advice, excellent skills, and lovely ideas, favorited yesterday’s crafts of the day. Check out her blog–you won’t be sorry. Thank you, thecraftymummyblog.com!

By the way, one smart thing that the crafty mummy advises is getting out there and networking with other crafting bloggers in the nicest way. Crafty–in the best way!! As an avid pinterestista, (check out my Pinterest page and you will see I have more than 10,000 items pinned. Because I am insane.) I am a great admirer of the ingenuity and hard work and skill of creators such as these two bloggers mentioned above, who give great advice and a splash of beauty to the world for free. I want to remember thecraftymummy’s advice and not just pin other people’s ideas and dream of trying them, but remember to thank them and to let them know how great I think they are.

Thank you, ladies! You’re an inspiration.

WRiting prompt: Who not someone who inspires you know that they do?

135Journals Crafts of the Day: July 1, 2015

2 Jul
Craftishness by Alexandra July 1, 2015

Craftishness by Alexandra July 1, 2015

I know. Pretty hard to contain yourselves when you see artistic output lie that. At such a time only words such as “Wow,” and “what do you know” and “Huh!” come to mind. Because it’s that fabulous.

Writing prompt: And what fabulousness are you up to?

135Journals Crafts of the Day, June 30, 2015

1 Jul
Some stuff I made today., June 30, 2015. By Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Some stuff I made today., June 30, 2015. By Alexandra Hanson-Harding .

A random selection of some of the craft items I made today, if they actually deserve the label of craft items. No explanation will be offered about their purpose.

Writing Prompt: Did you make any stuff today?

Jacob is just trying to enjoy the rain.

16 Jun
Jacob in the rain. Photo by famous Mamarazzi photographer Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Jacob in the rain. Photo by famous Mamarazzi photographer Alexandra Hanson-Harding

I get home from the little round of errands–the drugstore, the craft store (my friend Shelley and I are going to have a kick butt adventure tonight people: we are going to learn to Cro-SHAY. Oh yeah. We are craft mad women who are going to take over the world one crochet stitch at a time

) to buy a size H HOOK and this and that, and what do I see in the back 40? Why it is the shirtless Jacob, standing nonchalantly in the pouring rain.

“Oh! Oh!” I say, in the manner I have been saying such things ever since he’s been doing one kind of odd or naughty thing since forever (and since he is very gifted in quirkiness, this is quite often), “Let me get the camera!”

“MOMMMMM,” he says sternly. “Can’t a guy enjoy the rain without putting up with the MAMMARAZZI?”

The only answer was “Click.”

Writing Prompt: And what would you photographtoday?

How to make awesome Shibori-style cloth Christmas gift bags that will last forever and ever, amen.

27 Dec
Shibori-style ice dyed Christmas bags by Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Shibori-style ice dyed Christmas bags by Alexandra Hanson-Harding

In my last post, I believe I expressed myself fully on the subject of the horrors of giftwrapping. But did you know that you can have really pretty handmade cloth giftbags for not much money that can keep you from hours of pointless agony involving lost scissors, tape that won’t unspool, and pieces of paper that almost but don’t quite cover the whole surface of the Monopoly game box? Here’s how I did it (thanks to an at class I took this fall):

1. Buy some plain white cotton gift bags. You can get them at craft shops such as A.C. Moore or Michaels (for about $3). I got some at a store near us called Amazing Savings (3 for $2.99). I also got some from save-on-crafts.com (they have a number of different kinds of bags, including twelve 10-inch cotton drawstring bags for about $9), and I may have purchased some from Oriental Trading company (http://www.orientaltrading.com (12 DIY large tote bags for $20). The important thing is that they should be made of a natural fabric, probably cotton or linen. Any size will do–in fact, some places sell tiny little bags that turn out to be surprisingly useful for gift purposes.

2. Ideally, you should wash the fabric in a special detergent called synthrapol (available through such suppliers as Dick Blick  (http://www.dickblick.com).  I didn’t do it and it came out fine, but it is preferable. While you’re shopping, you’ll also need soda ash and procion dye. What is procion dye? I don’t know what to tell y’all except that it’s a special kind of powdered dye that I could only find at Dick Blick –A.C. Moore and Michael’s failed me. (This will explain more: http://www.dickblick.com/products/jacquard-procion-mx-fiber-reactive-cold-water-dye/). For this project, I specifically chose Fire Engine Red and Forest Green. But I did not mix those two together in one batch, because those colors could mix and become muddy. If you’re going to mix colors, it’s better to stay w

soaking cloth in soda ash water

This action shot (note blurry artistic quality) shows a bucket of cloth being soaked in soda ash. Note that this process is messy. Also note that there is a container of procion dye sticking out from under the bottom.

ith either yellow-orange-red-brownish hues or blue-green-purple hues, because the different colors will enhance each other. I made two different batches.  By the way, each container of dye costs about $4.50ish.

3. Okay, now, ready for fun? Following directions on the package, I mixed up a batch of soda ash with water and soaked the cloth for about fifteen minutes before tossing the soda-ash water out. (You can soak it longer if you want, too).

4. Then, I tied up each bag into a specific configuration. That’s the Shibori part. Shibori dying is a Japanese style of tie-dying that involves resists. But it’s less chaotic than regular tie-dye, and usually done with indigo. I used several different techniques I found on YouTube videos and in my class–folding the fabric in squares, in triangles, in long back and forth fan folds and so forth. YouTube has approximately seven billion videos on this if you want more ideas. I tied the string very tight. But the dyeing process will still give interesting effects even if you just scrunch up the bags and toss them in the same container where you soaked the bags.

Shibori style cloth tied up

I know this looks like a box of mummified cats, but it’s actually just tightly bundled cloth, tied up shibori style.

5. Now, the really fun part. Completely cover the bags with ice cubes. And then, sprinkle procion dye onto the ice cubes. This picture shows an earlier batch of ice dying, in which I used blues and purples. You can see in the photo that the colors are very dark looking in the beginning as they start to melt into the ice.

Procion dye on ice

Procion dye on the rocks. The dye is just starting to melt into the ice cubes which will allow the dye to melt into the fabric.

6. Next, do nothing. Just stay away from your ice-covered bucket for about 12 hours. Put a cover on it if you have pets just in case, because (don’t read this out loud) pets are d-u-m-b. Oh, and speaking of dumb, I should have told you that back in step 5, you might want to think about wearing gloves or you’ll have hands that look as if you’ve dipped them in blood.

6. Now, take your pieces out of the bucket, and unwrap them while rinsing them under cold water until the water is clear. You will see how the Procion dye has colored your fabric. I really like the way mine turned out. I hope you like yours, too. (see results, at top).

7. You don’t really have to do anything else, but it doesn’t hurt to iron your dyed fabric (with a piece of newsprint over it to keep dye from leaching into the iron), and don’t put it into the washing machine with other stuff until you’re sure it won’t run any more.

tin can tied with dyed string

Don’t get excited yet, Mom, but this dyed-string tin-can pen holder is heading your way!

8. Oh, and tying up the fabric with string or yarn yields a bonus: dyed string that you can use for other projects. I’m making my mommy a pen holder from a tin can and that string (and Mod Podge, of course). Will she love it? She has to. She’s my Mom!

So, 135journalistas, I hope that you won’t have a frustrating December 24, 2015 and that you can easily toss whatever gifts you have into pretty little bags like these. And the good news is, you have 363 days to prepare!

Writing Prompt: What would you like to do differently next holiday season that you didn’t do this season.


135journals Art Corner: Painted clothespins

3 May

135journals Art Corner: Painted clothespins

When a girl really needs to do some boring paperwork, there is nothing that seems as urgent as a creative arts project. To create this craft, I bought plain wooden clothespins because I wanted to make my own kind of prayer flag with my own pieces of cloth that I have decorated with fabric paint and I don’t know how to sew. I thought it would be fun to paint them. So, basically, this is how I did it:
1. Painted the clothespins white (with tempera paint), inside and out, on both sides.
2. Started painting rough designs in one color after they dried (also tempera paint). As you can see, there are stripes, squiggles, boxes, and dots, among other things.Then I filled them in with other colors.
3. Got very obsessive and kept painting them for a long time, while humming to myself.
4. Very PAINFULLY finished my work.
5. Took the clothespins outside, put newspaper over them, and lightly spray-misted them with liquid polyurethane for a long time so they’d be nice and shiny.
Oh, one thing that was handy was that the way the clothespins were packaged, they were all neatly clipped onto a card. So that made it easy, too. I like the way they turned out and I can imagine a lot of other uses for them, too–clipping papers together, organizing various other kinds of items of clothing, doing something strange and boho-ish with your hair or scarf, or making a frame around a round mirror (saw that one . . . somewhere, only with decoupaged clothespins . . . was that you, Martha Stewart??).

Writing Prompt: What would you like to create today?