March 29, 2009

Easter Egg Decorations and Invites

Filed under: Easter,Kids Projects,Paper Craft — sarah @ 5:59 pm

Jeans Easter Eggs my eggs

Me and my little girl made these easter eggs for two purposes – her ones have been writen on the back of and sent out as invites to the easter egg hunt and my ones have been stuck up around the house as decorations. They could also be used to stick on the front of cards to make festive easter cards.

First of all I drew an egg shape – this can be done by drawing two circles next to each other – one has to be smaller than the other – I then joined the two circles with two straight lines. I then cut out around the egg shape and gave it two my dad.

Dad then used it as a template, drew round it on different coloured card and cut them out for us.

I then gave them to Jean one at a time, poured some PVA white craft glue into a pot and gave it too her with a paint brush. I then gave her shapes I had punched out of card and scrap paper – mostly rabbits and ducks, a hug tub of glitter confetti and some glitter 3D paint pens.

Mainly Jean painted her eggs with glue.

Putting the glue on

Sprinkeled the glitter onto them.

Jean sprinkling glitter

Shock excess glitter off onto another sheet of paper so that it could be re-used.

Jean shaking the glitter off Jean getting rid of excess glitter

And then left them to dry. She also added the glitter glues and 3D paints but squidged them all with her finger and then added more glitter from the shaker.

A few rabbits and ducks were stuck on but not many.

I personally experimented with drawing shapes with the PVA and then sprinckling them with the glitter – I did a heart, thick horizontal strips, think horizontal strips, a flower, a cross, spots that look like a paw print, a zig zag shell crack and then used the glitter pens to draw an orange glitter concentric spiral, a flower, and a blue irridescant wiggle.

This is a very simple project, Jean enjoyed it and I think the results are quiet nice.

March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day – Mary Dixon Kies

Filed under: Science and Art — sarah @ 11:39 am

Today is Ada Lovelace Day – a day in which to blog about women in technology who have inspired you or who you admire.

Craft and technology are inextricably linked so I have hunted down Mary Dixon Kies the first female to be given a US patent for a weaving technique that was important to the New England economy in the 1800’s as she came up with a way of weaving straw with silk or thread. This was a revolutionary new technique that boosted up the hat making industry.

At the time women wore staw hats in the fields to work and with looming war in Europe imports were being stopped. Mary’s process was imensly important resulting in praise from government albeit through the Presidents Wife. The technique was used for over a decade but the importants of what she did may lay more in the fact that she was the first woman to apply for a patent in her own name.

This set a president and though she is one of only 20 women to have recieved a patent before 1840 she started the trend. Women inventors did not see much point in getting their inventions patented at this juncture in history as they could not own anything or take credit for things in their own right – anything they earned belonged to their husbands so most thought what was the point.

Mary broke this pattern on 5 May 1809.

Unfortunatly for Mary her friends and family fashions changed and straw hats were out resulting in them loosing what they had gained – she died penniless but there is a monument to her in Old South Killingly cemetery and her impact on history is worth noting.

March 22, 2009

St Patrick’s Day Table Confetti

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarah @ 3:17 pm

red and green clover sprinkels

I mixed the green fimo clovers from the first picture with the paper die cast punched green clovers from the second as table confetti for St Patrick’s Day.

For the the paper clover I just used a paper punch but for the fimo I used green glittery fimo soft – this is a polymer clay.

I kneaded it until it was soft, though the red and green glitter fimos tend to actually be too soft! Then I rolled it into a flat sheet about 1.5mm thick. I used a wooden rolling pin – again the strongly coloured fimos tend to stain and nothing used with them should be used for food again afterwards. A glass can improvise as a rolling pin too. Fimo tends to slowly melt plastic so plastic rolling pins are useless.

I then used the two clover shaped aspec cutters I have, to cut as many little glittery clovers out as I could. Each shape was then carefully lifted and placed upon a baking tray which I put in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. The oven is pre-heated to 180 degrees C.

Once baked I waited for them to cool and, using a thin plastic sculpture tool, prized any clover leaves off that were stuck to the baking tray.

I know none of these clovers have four leaves and therefore are not the lucky clover that the leprechuans have, but it makes the table nice and green.

The red hearts are fimo too – red glitter and rolled and cut with an aspec cutter in the same way. The aspec cutters I got from Almond Art.

March 15, 2009

Two Exhibits in Stroud – IMPRESS ’09

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Events — sarah @ 12:28 pm

This week I went to Stroud and discovered there were two arty exhibitions on – one of them was in the church by the car park and the other was in JRool Cafe 12 Union Street, Stroud, GL5 2HE.

The one in the church had lots of Christart in it which appears to be contempary religous paintings and the like – some of them were very good.

One of the artists paintings seemed to be more – rural type subject matter which I’m sure I’ve seem at other things around here (probably in Painswick). The artists name was Christine Gaunt and she was running the exhibit when I went in.

The second exhibit was IMPRESS ’09 and is work by Caroline Tate and Annie Hobson. This is part of the Print Making Festival 2009. This was really interesting as they have write ups on the different printing techniques and they run courses. I wish I had enough money to go one some of these as they look fun πŸ™‚

There were lots of prints hanging on the walls including a giant circle of butterflies!

The exhibit is open until the 28th of March 2009.

March 8, 2009

Tech Adventure – The Crossover of Craft and Technology

I went to Tech Adventure at the Trinity Arts Centre last weekend. This event brings together computer programmers, inventors, roboticists and people who generally like to make things.

Obviously I didn’t understand a lot of the technical detail of the projects that people bought along to display but I could see potential there for the arts and craft community. For a start there was a thing called a Reprap which is a 3D printer. This has huge potential and is designed so that you can basically build your own and then then get it to build ones for your friends. It built the shapes up out of plastic thread that was being fed into it. The shapes it can do are currently limited but even they are quite impressive and would have use in craft projects. Then I found out that it’s the same plastic that milk bottles are made out of so it could have huge implications for home recycling.

3d printer - reprap the gubbins

The man who had brought it was discussing various things such as how to build up shapes with overhangs on them and mentioned the words ‘sugar paste’. Apparently they have a nozzle that does sugar paste to build up support structures to get more intracate shapes and then they wash the sugar paste off. I then got very excited and asked if you could build things like the glass they had there out of the sugar paste – completely – he said yes!

Here are some of the things it made:

wine glass and thing with thing inside shoes

This would be fantastic for cake decorating I feel. He said the only issue with that would be that after an hour the sugar paste turns to syrup and the nozzles stop working which is something I think could definitly be worked around, though the shape you are making is perfectly fine!

A little more probing on our part found that though they had not done high melting point things like glass they thought it would be useful for ceramics which is cool πŸ™‚ Also one of the things that really bugs me about the lost wax process in metal casting is that you spend ages making the wax object and you can only get one casting out of it. This machine alters that as you could have the object saved as a computer file and it would build as many as you wanted out of the wax!

There were so many other things there too and the crossover of people who do techy stuff and those who make/draw is phonomenally high. This I believe is because to make craft objects you need to be a sort of engineer even if you don’t realise it and to draw good pictures you need something similar. To come up with your own projects you need to be creative and in order for the technical people to do what they do they have to be creative – creativity is a layer above science and art or technology and craft, or poetry and programming.

The dichotomy between the sciences and arts does not really exist, it is an artifact of our society – good artists tend to be grounded in some sort of science, tech, or maths whether they realise it or not!

I went to a fantastic talk on this at last year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival.

I even read out some of my poetry at this and one more Wiggly Pet also got a good home. It went to the first person to tell me how many programming languages I had in the poem! I actually gave two away though as there was a little boy in a tigger suit who wanted one so desperately.

Another thing that came out of this is that there is a Maker Faire this month – 14-15 March at the Newcastle Science Fair. I can’t go but it looks interesting.

Also it is because of this that I am now considering making special funky cases for computers though as I am obsessed with paper mΓ’chΓ© at the moment, I am having to resist the urge to do every project in that medium!

March 1, 2009

Foam Daffodils for St David’s Day

Filed under: Kids Projects,Seasonal — sarah @ 9:35 pm

Vase of daffodils

Dad’s been moping about his Welsh ancestory lately so I thought I’d better cheer him up. I decided we would celebrate St David’s day on the 1st of March as he is the patron Saint of Wales. The symbols of Wales are daffodils and leeks due to some historical battle and I’d picked up a foam kit in the Pound Shop in Gloucestershire. This kit makes daffodils in a vase.

foam daffodils in a vase kit

I started by constructing the blue vase; this came as six foam shapes but was actually very tricky to push together as some of the shapes where just slightly misaligned. Eventually I got there and it is a simple and pleasing shape.

blue foam vase

The kit comes with foam heart sitckers in two sizes which I then stuck onto the sides of the vase in a horizontal line.

vase with white hearts

Then came the making of the flowers; this was actually incredibly easy.

First off all I found there were three different foam shapes that made up the flowers, plus a leaf shape. The outer petals, a middle piece that was like a serrated disc, and a long rectangle that had a hole in one end and a rounded off corner at the other.

sliding the outer petals on

I pushed the outer petals onto the green fluffy pipe cleaner.

adding the daffodil center to the pipe cleaner

I then slipped on the middle foam ‘disk’ and pushed the pipe cleaner through the hole in one of the long rectangles of foam. I pushed enough pipe cleaner through so that I could bend it over and twist the pipe cleaner to itself underneath the foam shape.

rolling the middle of the flower

I then rolled the foam rectangle around the twisted pipe cleaner centre forming the ‘trumpet’ part of the daffodil.

middle bit added

I then moved the foam disk up the pipe cleaner and slid it over the bottom of the rolled up tube of foam – this holds the ‘trumpet’ of the daffodil in place.

outer petals added

I then moved the outer petals up so that they came up over where the pipe cleaner twists onto itself and so that it was flat against the back of the other two parts of the flower. The double thickness of pipe cleaner helps it all to stay in place.

finished daffodils

I then threaded on the foam leaves. These had two holes in them to help the leaves sit nicely on the pipe cleaner, however during the first attempt I made at this I put the leaf on upside down :/

flowers finished

To finish the flowers I bent the pipe cleaner so that the head of the flower part was at a right angle to the stem.

I made all of the flowers with different colour combinations as there was orange, white and yellow foam flower shapes. I then placed the whole lot in the vase and presented it to my dad πŸ™‚ This was easy to do and I’m going to get my scouts to make daffodils in a similar way.