Plushies for Friends

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Today’s blog post is brought to you by Laura’s birthday, and the lesson of biting off more than you can chew. Ever since I saw the tutorial by Cheek and Stitch for a DIY Totoro plushie, I have held the perfect idea for a gift for Laura. It was destiny. It was fate. It was so much harder than I had ever imagined. I do not regret it, since, again, it’s for Laura, but I would caution newbie seamstresses like me from attempting this project unless they happen to have three spare days to spend working on it (as I did). Also, maybe tequila.

The original tutorial (http://cheekandstitch.com/diy-totoro-plush-tutorial/) is beautifully outlined. My struggle is not in any way a reflection of its quality. But I would encourage people not to visit the link just because her Totoro is so much better than mine, and I’m petty like that (just kidding, if you have the skill and loved the My Neighbor Totoro movie, you should give it a look). Anywho, here is the final outcome.  Not pictured is the mess of fabric, thread, stuffing and tears.

On one hand, he’s a bit wonky and has a tiny bit of a lazy eye, but I think he has a certain eccentric cuteness true to the original feel of the film. I don’t know. I like him, but I’m biased through my input of effort. I suppose the final judge is Laura, so we’ll see if accepts him into her home, or if I owe her, at the very least, an expensive coffee.

 ~Emily

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

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The other day I was wasting time in a waiting room by reading a recent copy of Make It Yourself.  Mostly with these kinds of magazines, I tend to flip through thinking “oh, that’s neat” or, “who the heck would waste time doing that,” and then I’m done. However, in this issue, there was a knitting project that I just had to try out myself. I took a photo of the page for those of you who are interested in replicating it for yourself.

I made my bow pretty much like the instructions say, except I used green yarn and I didn’t purl every other row. I have a weird aversion to the purl stitch, mostly because I get into a rhythm when knitting and switching back and forth throws me off. In this case I don’t think it made much of a difference to the overall look.

This is the raw product. From here I just neatened up the edges and added a chain using simple silver jewelry rings. However, it just didn’t look finished to me so I added two strips of shiny black cord to the outer edges of the center binding. Everything is tied off in the back, so unfortunately it isn’t reversible. But I think it’s super cute and it’s an easy project to knock out in an afternoon, even for a beginner like me, as long as you have everything on hand.

The finished project!

~Emily

Blogging: It’s Gone to the Dogs

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Recently, I read an article on crayons and milk, in which Edna admitted that she is not the mastermind behind the gorgeous pictures on her blog. Reading that post has inspired me to also come clean. I must confess that I did not paint any of the pieces on this blog.

Just as Teddie turned out to be the creative mind behind the pictures on crayonsandmilk, Scamp is the genius behind the paintings on this site.

Scamp: “I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed.”

I am ashamed to admit that I took advantage of his inability to type on a keyboard to take credit for his creations. In an attempt to make it up to dogs everywhere, this post highlights the artworks of these two great canines.

Teddie is not only an adorable and incredibly adept photographer, but he is also a world traveler who uses his gift to document his trips. Scamp decided to combine talents with Teddie and paint/age some picture frames, so that Teddie can preserve and show off pictures he took while trekking across Greece.

A dog’s work is never done.

Materials: Scamp bought four 5×7 picture frames from Dollar Tree (Hey, he‘s working on a dog‘s salary. Don‘t judge!). He used Zinsser primer, paint, paint brushes, sandpaper or a sanding block, and acrylic sealer (The sealer is probably optional, but Scamp does not like leaving things to chance.) 

* If you buy frames from a dollar store, remember that you get what you pay for. Check the glass to make sure it’s not broken and the backing to make sure it’s intact and actually fits into the back of the frame. Also, the measurements may be slightly off, so you may have to cut your picture a little to make it fit into the frame (Scamp had to do this with three of the four photos.)

Process: Scamp first primed each picture frame (He advises that you don‘t skip this step. The frames don’t take up paint easily.) After the primer dried, Scamp painted each frame with acrylic paint. Scamp then used a sanding block to age the frames. He sanded the dark brown frames more than the two colorful ones to illustrate the different looks you can achieve. Here is an example of the transformation the frames underwent:

Original Frame

Painted Frame

Aged Frame

        

Mykonos

 

 

 

He painted the frames minor colors he found in each picture. Scamp painted the first frame Cerulean Blue Hue by Liquitex Basics to match the blue boats in the foreground of the picture.

Nafpaktos

 

 

He painted the next frame Calico Red by folkArt to match the red boat.

Naxos

 

 

 

 

 

 

He mixed Permanent Black by Master’s Touch and Burnt Umber by folkArt to create a dark brown to match the dark color of the rocks in this picture. 

Naxos

 

 

 

 

He used the same black and burnt umber mixture to match the color of the wood in the shadows in this picture.

 

 

Lastly, he sealed the paint, washed the glass panes, and put the pictures into their new frames. Scamp is happy with the finished product and hopes Teddie likes them too!  

I love my job!

*Special thanks to Edna and Teddie from crayons and milk.

~Laura

Because why not combine gourds and Mexican holidays? This is America.

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As anyone who has taken a Spanish class can tell you, the first of November is the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.  What no one, including myself, can tell you is why my father – who is thoroughly Caucasian and non-Hispanic – is absolutely obsessed with it. At its most basic description, the holiday is an occasion to celebrate and remember loved ones who’ve died. And every year, my house becomes a demonstration of how the extensive symbolism of the day can be applied in various ways. Even when I was in college, I’d get Day of the Dead themed packages in the mail.  If you’re curious about the holiday, this is a pretty basic but comprehensive website http://www.insidemexico.com/featuredead.htm. This is a photo of a bunch of sugar skulls we did one year.

Sugar Skulls

For a man who is a hard-core science smartypants, my dad is also damnably crafty.

The holiday and the surrounding activities had always been a family activity sort of thing, but when his obsession with gourds and gourd art surfaced (I can’t explain this either), I was suddenly struck with an inspiration for his birthday present. A gift that combined two of his obsessions, while also being seasonably appropriate? Genius. Luckily, he and my mom had come back from the local gourd festival – no, I’m not making that up – with a collection of ten or so plain gourds that they were planning on painting and hanging from the trees in our backyard. So I stole one, and am currently in the process of turning it into a Day of the Dead themed art project. I only have the skeleton mariachi band finished at the moment, but the whole product is taking me a while, so I thought I’d post it in stages. It was surprisingly easy to draw on the gourd with a regular pencil; the lines showed up clearly and erased cleanly. I ran into some problems with the painting, only because the acrylic paints I’m used to using didn’t show up at all. The only thing I could get to show up strongly enough on its own was the white paint pen. The skeletons are white paint pen outlined in fine tip sharpie. Everything else had to have a primer of white paint under the other colors. The instruments were colored with sharpie, and the marigolds were finished with acrylic paint. For the rest of the gourd, I’m trying to figure out if differently colored paint pens will work as well as white, or if oil paints would be a better way to go. If anyone has any thoughts or, by a wild chance has encountered this problem before, I’m taking suggestions. You can email us at artthoucrafty@gmail.com or just leave a comment. I’ll keep you guys posted as things progress. Happy fall!

~ Emily

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve Joined the Ombré Craze

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Before

After

For those of you who don’t know, exam week at a college or university is the best time to find freebies. Students, especially seniors, cleaning out their dorm rooms often throw away some pretty decent items, like this cabinet! I found it sitting in the hallway by a trashcan (Don’t worry. I checked on it throughout the day to make sure that it was really “trash” and not just waiting to be hauled to someone’s truck). Just my luck, it was up for grabs and I was more than happy to give it a home in my dorm room.

When I was particularly stressed with papers and tests, I often looked at this white cabinet and thought about all of the possibilities it presented. All I could think about was art therapy and how I wanted to paint it rather than write papers. Now that I am out of school, that cabinet is getting a makeover!

I admit that I started this project with little thought as to what I wanted to do with the cabinet, so I bought some light blue paint and just slapped it on. Of course, that did not work because this cabinet is laminate and the paint got scratched and peeled off. Well, after that I decided to actually take some time choosing what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. After seeing many different pictures of furniture painted with an ombré fade, I decided that’s what I wanted to do.

Materials: You’ll need a hand sander, tack cloth, primer, at least 2 paints, paint brushes. Remember to seal it with polyurethane.

Process: Since I did not want to ever deal with peeling paint again, I sanded the cabinet, then wiped it clean with a tack cloth. I primed it with oil-based Zinsser and painted the inside of the cabinet Orchid Rose (all of my paints are by Behr). I think it really pops against the blue and green. I then painted the top half with Winsom Hue (blue)and the bottom half with Lagoon (green) and used a clean, wet paint brush to blend the middle sections together. The sides actually blended better than the front, which worked out because I like the wispy-look of the doors. I chose the blue and green thinking it would look a little like the sky and grass. I plan to go back later and paint a floral and butterfly design on the front in the same bold pink color as the inside.

I would post a picture of the completed project but I found the design online before I knew we’d be making this blog, and I don’t want to get into any copyright issues. I would come up with my own design but I am already in love with this one. And you know how it is when you’re in love with something and can’t get it out of your head. Nothing else will ever be good enough. So, I apologize that you don’t get to see the finished product, but if you are really interested you can email us at artthoucrafty@gmail.com, and I will send you a picture when it’s finished.

~Laura

In my defense, who didn’t like unicorns?

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I have always enjoyed drawing. I have a stack of journals from as far back as elementary school, filled with increasingly better sketches as my age and experience increased (and my obsession with unicorns waned). As a strongly visual person, there’s a sense of pleasure that comes from the aesthetic nature of things, as well as a satisfaction in having an idea in your mind and being able to make it reality. For me, drawing was always a way to connect those feelings on paper. Plus, as any creative person knows, there’s a sense of calm that comes from working with your hands – a calm I needed more and more as I progressed further  into high school.

ImageSome old sketches – including a race of what looks like rabbit dogs. Not included are literally hundreds of childishly drawn unicorns (I wish I were kidding).

However, art was never more than a sort of means to an end until one Christmas, when I decided to make a blanket for a friend of mine. You guys, this blanket. This blanket was almost the end of my sanity. I had never done much sewing – I honestly cannot say what possessed me to take this project on. All I knew was that this was going to be the most b-tching blanket my friend had ever received. And so I drove myself relentlessly; drawing patterns, cutting pieces, and taking a very limited knowledge of needlecraft and attempting to cobble something together that didn’t look like it was assembled by Frankenstein. Christmas came and went. It was well towards the end of January before I was finally able to give this poor girl her gift. Gone was that feeling of calm through crafting. I cannot in truthfulness say I was any kind of calm trying to finish the thing. But, that was also when everything changed. For the first time, I got to experience the joy that comes from putting everything you have into a present – all your love, all your skill – and giving it to someone. Ever since then, almost all the drawings and crafts that I do are for someone else – a drawing of a passed away pet, a knitted pillow for the grandmother who taught me how. While in the recesses of my mind, I worry about the arrogance of assuming that something I create is worthy of being considered a present, I know (okay, hope) the truth is different. Something created for someone else is love manifest, a way of saying that that person is worth all the work and curse words inevitably associated with trying to make anything. This in particular is why I’m excited about this project between Laura and me. By giving myself an incentive to finish the projects that fell by the wayside, I’ll be able to recapture the feeling that comes with handing someone something and saying “I made it for you.” (Assuming of course you aren’t lying about buying it at Walmart). It is a sappy sentiment, God yes, but one I am whole-heartedly looking forward to.

~Emily

The infamous blanket. The edges are a little cut off, and it doesn’t look like much, but let me tell you – those individual mane fronds were a nightmare. (I know, I know, more unicorns. But these were for her, so they don’t count).

Let’s Paint!

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I have always been able to think creatively but have never been able to draw or paint things as well as I would like to, so I began using different means to express my creativity. After many failed attempts using watercolor as a child, I practically gave up painting altogether. I did not seriously attempt drawing until I had to take an art class in seventh grade, and this “masterpiece” was the result of that undertaking. This started out as a picture of my mom, but I am happy to report that she looks NOTHING like this.

I realized that art was just not for me and that I should stick to crafting, especially when I had unknowingly surrounded myself with artistic friends. Here are some drawings my friends drew when they were 13 or so. One of my friends quickly doodled this caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland and ripped the page out. Thankfully, I saved it before she could throw it away! Another one of my friends drew Ron Weasley from Harry Potter and nitpicks it every time she sees it, but I think he’s amazing! I love the shading.With such talented friends, anything I drew would pale in comparison!

I shied away from conventional art supplies until I went to college, and some of my friends decided to get together to paint as a way to relieve stress from a busy week. I had never before tried painting with acrylics and found them MUCH easier to use than my childhood memories of uncontrollable watercolor paints. When I went home for Christmas break after a particularly stressful semester, I bought some acrylic paints and a large canvas, intent upon creating something great. I don’t know if it turned out great but it is definitely the most impressive thing that I have ever painted.

Anyone know anybody obsessed with Scott Pilgrim? I know I do and he had a birthday coming up (which I missed by several months trying to finish this painting and graduate)! So, I decided to first draw and then paint the covers of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim graphic novels. I used an image from http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/TheDealio/news/?a=18473 as inspiration for the title and got to work! The birthday boy seemed very excited about his gift! And I had a great time painting it and am no longer afraid to draw or paint!

~Laura

Art Thou Craftserious?!?!

This post’s title is neither the first nor the last in a long line of attempts to come up with a creative name for our newbie project. As two recently graduated college students, we are looking for something to distract ourselves from the impending future of uncertainty, as well as an incentive to finish the backlog of projects that have built up over the semesters filled with frantic efforts to reach that ever approaching graduation date. Now that we’re free! we’ve decided to finish those many projects that tempted us to procrastinate in months past. And so, Art, Thou Crafty aka Project Unemployed was born!

As a way to commemorate our new blog, please enjoy the following paragraph made of the blog titles we decided were too silly, depressing, taken, etc. to use:

If you are a Procraftinator and want to see the works of like-minded people, stop on by our blog, Art, Thou Crafty, to enjoy our fun Craftivities! Our projects may not all be Easely Crafted and we’ll be sure to let you know when we become Brushtrated with them. No matter how they turn out, our projects are guaranteed to Brush Away Boredom. Our Craftations aren’t just Art for the Unemployed but are fun for everyone! Stop on by and see us transform our projects From Somber to Ombré or From Blasé to Ombré (depending on your pronunciation). This blog is one Craftacular Spectacular creation after another brought to you by Two Girls, One Craft and too much coffee! We hope to include Art to Ease the Pain caused by lack of a creative outlet. So Color Us Crafty, grab a brush and let’s Paint by Funbers together! Are you Pinterested?

-Emily and Laura