Sunday, 15 October 2017

Ski Sweater Star Ornaments

Festive decorations today. Ski-sweater patterns and a fun bit of dimensionality - a bevelled ridge and an inner peaked pentagon - make these paper stars special. Super-fun to make.

Here are your freebie print-and-cut stars:


 To make:
1 Print and cut the stars. Use 160gsm photocopier card.

2 Score all the fold lines. Use a fine-point embossing tool held against a small metal ruler. You must score the lines radiating from centre, and all the horizontal lines, as indicated by the bands of colour.

3 Crease the folds. Use a bone folder. 

4 Fold the folds in this sequence: valley fold, mountain fold, valley fold for the horizontals. All the spokes radiating from centre are mountain folds.

5 Glue the reinforcement onto the wrong side of the star.

6 Glue the tabs under.

7 Add a ribbon hanging loop.

 There is a knack to folding these stars - do a trial run. You will soon be able to manipulate the folds so the mountains and valleys pop into place.

For a super-3-D ornament, glue two stars back-to-back.

Happy crafting.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Pineapple Party!

I've been clocking lots of pineapple designs around lately - could it be succulent fatigue (no, I will never tire of succulents)? Pineapples were popular during Regency times, when as a newly-available exotic fruit they were the prestige party gift. So, surfing the resurfacing trend, I have designed a Pineapple Gift Box for you.

The Pineapple Gift Box consists of an inner swirl-close box surrounded by a drawstring lattice pouch. There's also a gift tag. Fun to make - and fun as party favours. 

Here are your free Pineapple Gift Box design files (two files - one for the pouch, one for the inner box) :



 Pineapple Gift Box

1 The project is made on 160gsm photocopier card. For the lattice pouch, print the wrong side of the card brown to match the pineapple colour (use the eyedropper tool, if you have one in your program). 

2 Print the lattice pouch design on the flip side of the card.

3 Cut out the design. (For PDF version, you must carefully cut the slits with a craft knife over a self-healing mat.)

4 Glue the reinforcements onto the wrong side of the lattice pouch.

5 Score fold lines down centre of each reinforced point. Crease the folds inwards.

6 Now make the inner box. Print and cut it out. Score the fold lines (use a fine-point embossing tool held agains a small metal ruler). Crease the folds.

7 Assemble the box. You can used d/s tape or PVA glue to secure the tabs. Glue the side flap, then the base tabs. To close the box, fold down the flaps consecutively, tucking the last one under.

8 Centre the inner box on the wrong side of the lattice pouch. (The box corners fit between the loopy top leaves.) Thread baker's twine through the holes and draw up the leafy top.(Magic moment when the lattice slits morph into a net!) Do not crease the larger loopy leaves - keep them as soft folds. Tie a bow. Add decorative pony beads to the twine ends if desired.

9 Optional tag included.

Hope you have a pleasingly perfect pineapple party. :)


Monday, 25 September 2017

Ultimate Paper Craft Bible. Review.

A Complete Reference with Step-by-Step Techniques

Collins & Brown

Paperback £17.99 UK/$19.95 US/$22.95 CAN

ISBN 978-1-911163-42-8

Star rating: ****

Just out – this delightful compendium of paper craft techniques, begging you to dip in for inspiration whether you are a newbie or an experienced paper crafter. Paper is such a versatile craft medium, there’s always something new to discover in terms of craft techniques.

Here, you will find chapters on Colouring, decorating and texturing; Card making; Envelopes, gift-wrap and gift boxes, Scrapbooking; Paper cutting; Origami; and Other paper crafts. A nice touch – the sections are index-tabbed for go-to convenience. There’s a good section on paper flowers – check out the show-stopping Sunflowers.

This title does a good job of covering a pretty big subject. It comes up with fascinating techniques you may not be acquainted with – for example, Bubble Printing, Making Polymer Clay Embellishments, and using a sewing machine to pierce holes for paper embroidery. Step-by-step how-tos are provided with illustrations and text; projects are photographed. 

If you are already a paper crafter, you may be familiar with the two main contributors to the book: Paula Pascual and Sarah Beaman, superstars both. Other contributors have top paper craft credentials, such as Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell and Hilary More. 

The section on Paper Cutting is especially strong. Irresistible projects include suede-look Victorian cut-and-pierced paper gloves (clever use of a pattern wheel marker!) and Mexican-style paper cut banners.

So, a good new title. There is however, something missing. No digital paper crafts. There are an ever-growing number of digital paper crafters out there. Different platforms make it a challenging topic to cover - but this vibrant and exciting crafting area should not be ignored!

Ultimate Paper Craft Bible is part of a series. You will probably want to check out some (or all) of the other titles, which include Ultimate Sewing Bible, Ultimate Crochet Bible, Ultimate Quilting Bible, Ultimate Knitting Bible, and Ultimate Wood Work Bible.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this title.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Magic Message Card

Pleats are neat! This fun interactive novelty greeting card carries two messages on its accordion-pleated surface. Look to the right: Season's Greetings. Look to the left: Happy New Year. 

Since the greeting is dimensional, so is its envelope - a custom-tailored pillow box.

Here are your free Magic Message Card files:

To Make Up:
1 Print and cut the files onto photocopier card (copy paper for the liner).
2 Mark the fold lines with an fine-point embossing tool (for straight lines, hold against a small metal ruler).
3 Crease the folds. Use a bone folder for the straight lines.
4 Accordion-pleat the card front. Stick it onto the card base at either side. A plece of double-sided tape under the pleats holds it in place.
5 Place the liner in the card (d/s tape again).
6 Assemble the pillow envelope. Pop the card inside and shut the sides.

Season's Greetings/Happy New Year! October's almost here - time to get busy on the card-making assembly line. :)


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Harvest Cards

Sweater time. Thinking autumnal thoughts. Made a slow cooker stew for the first time in a while last week. So - here's a Harvest Card for you. Words and pictures.

This print-and-cut card and envelope gave me some quality get-acquainted time with Silhouette Studio's latest incarnation. Boy, I am so glad I upgraded to Business Edition. It makes saving files sooo much simpler!

Here are your freebies: 

Happy Autumn!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

New Look Pleated Globe Ornaments

This year, I've added a new dimensional feature to my pleated globe ornaments. Each pleat has a circular projection - this creates a nifty spiral effect. Easier than it looks, once you know how!

Here are your free print-and-cut ornaments:

To make the globes, first do a quick study with my Pleated Paper Globe Tutorial. These globes are pretty similar - you just have to make a few simple allowances for the added cut-out feature:

1 Print and the design onto 160gsm photocopier cardstock. 
2 Cut it out. If making the .pdf version, you must carefully cut the half-moons on the leftside of each circle design.
3 Score the fold lines, indicated by printed areas, using a fine-point embossing tool (hold against a small metal ruler for the straight lines).
Important: do not score across the circles.
4 Prime the folds - pre-crease them - accordion folds and Vs at top and bottom. 
5 Glue discs onto the wrong side of the ornament, directionally aligned with front discs.
6 Glue a continuous strip, then a ring.
7 Hanging loop: narrow ribbon  tied around a pony bead.
8 Use a tapestry needle to gather the top and bottom edges, popping the hanging loop in top, before closing.


Impressive pleating is sooo much easier when the fold lines are printed! Have fun making your print, cut, pleat ornaments. :D

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Geometric Origami, by Mark Bolitho. Review.

Perfectly Mindful Origami
By Mark Bolitho, Photography by Brent Darby
Jacqui Small 2017
Paperback, comes with 30 sheets of origami paper  UK £14.99/US $19.99/CAN29.99
ISBN 978 1 91127 11 6

Star rating: *****

The British Origami Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and the author of this delightful new collection of origami models, Mark Bolitho, is a former Chairman of the society. He worked for many years as an accountant, and is now has a flourishing second career as an origami consultant. (I always enjoy hearing about do-what-you-love success stories.) So, kudos to Mark Bolitho.

On to Geometric Origami. This new title is a beauty. The models are visually stunning and fascinating to construct. The chapter headings are One-Piece Projects, Twists and Turns, Modular Projects, and Advanced Modulars. Folding complexity of the models is indicated with a star rating. Detailed step-by-step illustrations accompany each model, with additional photographic step-by-steps where required. There’s a showcase pic of each project, in well-chosen origami paper.

My favourite section is Twists and Turns. It is right on trend, with its emphasis on pleated construction. The spiralling Twister is a vase-like shape, a bit like a spiral staircase. The DNA Wheel is a self-locking spiral – its construction process is a beautiful to behold (this is where the contemplation comes in). The Modular Projects section contains some pretty nifty models, such as The Octahedron Nolid, made of two interlocking shapes. You get the papercraft equivalent of construction toys, plus the buzz of puzzle-solving – an excellent mix.

At the back of the book, you will find a pack of 30 well-chosen origami papers – some techie-looking prints, ombres, and sophisticated plains.

There are other geometric origami titles out there, many perplexingly challenging - this new one is extremely accessible, even for the origami newcomer. Makes a nice gift!

Note: I was given a review copy of this title.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Matisse in the Studio

Matisse in the Studio is the follow-up exhibition to Matisse and his Textiles - it was worth the 12 year wait. Yay. It is on at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, until November. These exhibitions are ususally globe-trotters, so who knows where you can catch it next.

Matisse loved his objects, and they informed his work. Here, you can see them side-by-side. Some, like a favourite chocolate pot, surface again and again, over decades. A Venetian shell-like chair, African masks - it is an intriguing reveal to see the actual object and how Matisse interpreted it in his work.

Of course, in his later years, Matisse did his paper cut-outs. It is fascinating to see the system he used to plan them. A string horizon line, then shuffle the pinned painted paper shapes, until the perfect arrangement was achieved. 

Can't complain about "exit through the gift shop", either - good choice of cards and fridge magnets. (Often you go to an exhibition, and the postcard you were hoping for is absent.)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Paper Parties, by Erin Hung. Review.

Over 50 paper projects for the perfect party

By Erin Hung

Pavilion Books, May 2017

Hardback, £16.99

ISBN 978 1911216254

Star rating: ***1/2

This very appealing papercraft party book, by designer/entrepreneur Erin Hung, is filled with simple, inventive makes. Most of the projects are smile-inducing ideas that are not difficult to execute, ideal for the fledgling paper crafter or the time-challenged party-giver. (The projects are given difficulty star ratings, but there are none that require consummate skill or even much previous papercrafting experience.)  There is plenty of variety – pleated paper, paper flowers, fringed projects, modular origami, and a few template-dependent creations.

The format of the book is LookBook upfront, step-by-step how-tos in back. There’s a reduced-size template section, too. This format is user-friendly – perfect for having a browse over a cup of tea. The how-tos are clear and conversational, with friendly project intros. 

In the first spread, there are ginormous sweet wraps  - bigging up or miniaturizing often works a treat when it comes to papercrafting party makes! The Ice Cream Cone Messages, with fluffy scoop of tissue paper ice cream on top would be ideal for a kids’ party, as would the oh-so-simple Ice Lolly Party Invitations. There are sweet and simple ideas like the You’re a Star Card – a shooting star depicted with fringed tissue paper (good timing with current Perseid star showers). Some of the ideas are ideal kids’ crafts – like the Cupcake Anemones (fashioned  from pleated cupcake cases), and the Astronaut Messages (spaceships with a message payload). The projects show an appreciation of colour and texture, and yes, plenty of glitz. A good mix of papers are utilized : tissue, giftwrap, crepe paper, print, plain, metallic.

There was an instance where I hoping a photo prop would be an project. The cake stands for the mini-doughnuts  (Doughnuts about You project), made up in card,  would have been a super template-based papercraft. 

There’s an excellent Floral Basics tutorial, to get you up to speed on paper flower-making. This is accompanied by several fun follow-up projects: A Floral Letter (new take on the jumbo initial trend), Flower Power Party Poppers (supercute fun floral  fancy dress for regulation-issue bottle-shaped poppers), Frida Kahlo Flower Crown,  Floral Bomb Pinata, and Giant Flower Decor.

The hardcover format of this title makes it a very giftable.
Note: I was given a review copy of this title.