Top

Tag Archives | Lisa Fulmer

Craft Your Stash | Fat Quarter Gift Bags

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

Welcome to the Craft Your Stash Blog Hop on Craft Critique! We’re blog hopping to celebrate the launch of my friend Lisa Fulmer’s new book, Craft Your Stash: Transforming Craft Closet Treasures into Gifts, Home Décor & More!

Craft Your Stash cover

Craft Your Stash is all about, well, crafting your stash – digging into the unused piles and turning them into something useful (and beautiful).

On page 78, there is a fun fat quarter project called “Easy-Sew Fabric Gift Bags”.

fabric gift bags

I am obsessed with fat quarters and projects for them so I have loads of fat quarters laying around. Although Lisa and I are going to have to have a little talk about my treasured horde of fat quarters being called “stash”. They aren’t stash. They just haven’t found the right project yet!

I decided that with the holidays coming up fast that what would be more timely than some Christmas bags?

Fat Quarter Gift Bags Christmas

To make the pictured assortment required five fat quarters, with two of the fat quarters being the same to make the large green bag. You can make the four bags from four fat quarters if you don’t mind the two small bags being the same fabric.

Different styles of ties can really change the look of the bags:

IMG_7363
IMG_7365

Some tips and tricks for making this project:

  • Pinking shears are a great tool for this project. Clipping your fabric edges after sewing them will help keep them from fraying so they stay neater while being used and the bags will last longer.
  • For really durable bags (and a more elegant look), consider assembling the bag using french seams that hide the raw edges completely. I did this on the small black bag and it really stepped it up. This would be a great extra touch for a really formal gift or event.
  • Be careful about fabric design direction when selecting fabric. If a design is directional, make sure it will be upright after you cut and fold the fabric in the direction called for in the instructions for the size bag you are making.

If you’ve got stash that needs to be crafted, Craft Your Stash is available on Amazon.com, and in local book and craft stores. Autographed copies are available at CraftYourStash.com.

You can also win a copy of the book to play with yourself (and other great prizes) by entering the drawing using the widget embedded below!

**giveaway closed**

Book Review: Amazing Clay Flowers

Reported by Lisa Fulmer


I think I speak for lots of crafters when I say that we are hoarders when it comes to supplies. Whatever our favorite craft is—scrapbooking, cardmaking, knitting, sewing, painting, beading…we probably own more supplies than we will ever use. Which means we struggle sometimes with justifying the purchase of a bunch of new stuff for a type of craft you have never tried before…even when something incredibly inspiring comes along.

Clay sculpting has been that craft for me…I just haven’t been able to get “into” it. But I totally love what I see my creative pals doing with air-dry clay. I’ve seen so many interesting ways to use it to make jewelry, containers, sculpture and ornaments.

And now I see flowers…20 different beautiful, delicate, life-like flowers handmade from resin clay. This new book by Noriko Kawaguchi, Amazing Clay Flowers may very well be the impetus that finally starts me on a little air-drying clay journey.

I’m not a flowery girly-girl type, nor do I have many “dust catchers” on display in my home. But I could immediately see lots of ways to incorporate these flowers into my altered art projects. The book is gorgeous—really lovely photography and lots of clean white space. The flowers look amazingly real! The instructions are very nicely organized and chock-full of how-to images that are good enough to make actually reading the directions feel optional.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had many of the tools and other supplies already in my arsenal…things I use for beading, metal embossing, even stamping.

What I didn’t have were the two most important ingredients – resin clay and oil paint. To be honest, I didn’t know what resin clay was; I had only ever heard of polymer clay. And I don’t work with oils, I use acrylic paints. But after digging around online a bit, I learned more about resin clay.

Resin clay is just an alternative to polymer; it’s very popular for making little food miniatures because of it’s translucency and super soft texture. It comes in either clear or white, and takes a couple days to dry. It shrinks as it dries, so you need to start your project in a 10-15% larger scale. It remains flexible without cracking after it’s dry. You can blend acrylics or other pigments into it to make different colors, but I read that oils are better because they won’t fade over time the way other media might when blended with the resin clay. With oils, the color will actually darken as it dries, so you need very little paint. The brands of resin clay that I could find (Cosmos, Sukerukun, Grace) were Japanese and mostly available online.

So while I’m still deciding if I want to spend $20+ dollars on a 200 gram pack of resin clay (7 oz.) and another $20+ dollars on a starter set of oil paints….I pulled out the one tiny plastic-wrapped log of polymer clay that I had gotten as a sample somewhere and decided to see if I could make a basic leaf. 

A little harder to do than I thought, but I think polymer clay is too bulky to get the same realistic effect that the author does…I can definitely understand why a soft, translucent resin clay would be more desirable. I tried adding some gold paint to make my leaves intentionally unrealistic looking and I rather like them this way. I can imagine using them individually as an accent on something like an altered box or ornament.

When I think of how long it took me to make one leaf, and then multiply that by the dozens of leaves and petals required to create one floral arrangement, it felt a little daunting. But I must say this book makes even the most delicate flowers look pretty achievable…and the idea of being able to work on a larger scale (knowing the finished piece would shrink down a bit) was appealing for my soon-to-be-50-year-old eyes.

Funny though, I realized that I don’t know my flower parts. Well, I know petals and leaves and stems. But the anthers, stalks, stamens, pistils, and sepals all had me a bit stymied. Never fear, my botanically-challenged friends…the book walks you right through each part with pictures, so I think I’m finally ready to work the word “calyx” into conversation.


Pros:
  • Beautiful project photos
  • Well-organized and detailed instructions
  • Helpful close-up how-to shots for each step

Cons:
  • Would have liked more information on resin clay and how it differs from other clays
  • Ditto for other kinds of paint besides oils
  • Last 30 pages were printed in black/white for some reason…maybe a printer error?
Have you heard of resin clay? Ever used it? Leave us a comment and let us know!


Disclosure
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Loew Cornell Style Stix

Reported by Lisa Fulmer

When I was at the CHA Super Show, I picked up a couple of these Style Stix wedge brushes by Loew Cornell. It’s a stiff, tapered sponge brush available in various widths, good for “stripes, petals & swashes.” Style Stix also come in cone or dome shapes – in addition to painting, they are said to work nicely for shaping clay.

I started playing with stripes and found that the sponge does not pick up as much paint as I thought it would, perhaps because it is so much more dense that a cosmetic sponge or craft sponge brush. It does make a nice straight line, once you get the right amount of paint loaded on. It leaves a little ridge along the edge, which may or may not be desirable. I liked using the tip to make little stitch marks.

I used the ridges to my advantage and painted simple crisscross strokes to get an interesting abstract geometric pattern.

The tapered shape does make creating petal and leaf shapes really easy in just 2 curved strokes. I liked going back over it with the tip to create random ridges in my leaves and petals.

I worked with acrylic paints, both alone and with a little acrylic medium blended in. Style Stix releases the paint quite differently than brushes or sponges…takes a little getting used to, but once I did, I started having fun with the textures.

Then I wanted to play with the “swash” aspect, so I poured a puddle of shimmering ink on my paper and used the tip of the Style Stix to feather it all out. Now I liked that the Style Stix is not absorbent; I was able to move the ink around yet still keep it looking streaky. This will make an awesome background for an ATC!

After a lot of painting and rinsing and stubbing and squishing, my Style Stix really took a beating. But I was happy with how nicely the edges stayed sharp, they didn’t turn nappy at all.

I think my favorite way to use the Style Stix though, is as a blending tool for pastels and chalk powders. So much easier to work with than a paper stump – the tapered edge give lots of fine line control, and the texture and density of the sponge is perfect for gently moving the colors together.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive and sturdy
  • Variety of widths
  • Interesting way to add curves, lines and texture
  • Perfect density for blending dry mediums

Cons:

  • Tapered wedge shape is pretty limited to making flower parts
  • Takes some time to get used to how it loads and releases paint

Have you used the Style Stix by Loew Cornell? Were you able to use their unique properties to your advantage? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!