Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Paper bags

You remember I made squirt pictures on big papers with some kids from my crafting classes? The week after we made several little project with those papers. We had monster pictures, cards (like I did here), and we made big paper bags:
They are so easy to make. This are not like the bags you get in stores that are folded on the sides with a bend to the inside. They are more like the paper bags you got to put your fruits or vegetables in. But having a flat base, they are standing upright, like the more advanced bags. I always folded the upper edge over to add stability.  

We added also self-made cords as handles. The class with the kids ended in making lots of cords as bracelets.
I thought those bags might be great as gift wrap and at home I transformed some of the papers from my "already-used-gift-wrap" stock and made bags bags bags. The sizes depending the size of the paper.
I had lots of that cute elephant paper. Those bags will be great for new-born presents. I also made some little cards to go with. 
And this one has been used directly for little sons birthday!
I can also imagine to make them with simple plain paper and stamping on them ...

A bientôt,
Jane 

Friday, 16 June 2017

My new handbag

A new handbag has been necessary since a while! Have a look how necessary:
It has been so nice when I made it two years ago (look here), but daily use let his traces.
I loved the green color and have been thinking about using the same fabric again (yes, I still have it. One of my favourites and those are used only for special projects :-) ). But I also loved the orange of the handbag before (here). Oh, always those choices one has to make!
I decided I wanted something really colorful and took out my uni-colored orange and pink fabrics.

Yeah - that's a lot of warm colors! 
The circle is combining the two different sides. Also the quilting is different on the two sides. The quilting gives stability to the bag. Even empty it stays upright.
Because of my back I don't use big handbags. They are always too heavy and hanging only on one side, what causes irregular tensions in the shoulders. So I got used to have only the most necessary in my handback and if I need more I take a backpack.
Have a look, there is everything important in it: Papers of me and the kids and my car, my portable phone, my purse and on the ground (not visible) a painkiller, a tampon and a hairband. It fits also in my keys and a pencil, but that's it. Actually I don't miss anything more.
Very happy with my bag! Only I shortened the shoulder strap, and I am not used to that length jet. Not so convenient any more to carry it diagonally. But no big matter.

A bientôt,
Jane 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A fast little blanket in grey-red-white

In our office-and-kids-play-room we have a little couch. When we have too many guests in the house we can transform it into another bed. With a piece of fabric leftover from the curtains in that room and white moleton I made a simple couverture with a binding from the fabric of the cussions I have also on our living room couch. 

I did a very simple meandering quilting in red on it.

For the quilting I used the longarm machine my husband made for me already several years ago. At that time he saw that I always had trouble with big blankets under my normal sewing machine and he bought a simple machine cut it in the middle and put a 20cm extension in the middle. He managed to assemble everything correctly and it could stitch, but unfortunately the motor was too weak to handle heavy quilt sandwiches. A pity, but I stored the machine in a corner and never actually used it. Until last year I had the idea if my husband couldn't put in a stronger motor and at the same time make the maximum speed adjustable, so my quilting could get more even. It took him nearly a year to finish, but now it's done and this blanket is the first project I quilted on it. 
This machine is not a beauty and I still have some changes in mind, but now it works not bad and I will make some further tests (before demanding more changes :-)

A bientôt,
Jane 

Friday, 9 June 2017

First results of kids crafting courses

The first month with my children crafting courses in the new association is already over. Because of many holydays in May we hadn't classes each week, but still some nice results and fun. 
As it is nearly end of school year most people have already managed their kids programm for the afternoons, so I have only few kids in my classes. But this is great to gather experiences. 

I started one class that calls "initiation to weaving". That is with 3 to 4 kids, depending if my elder son wants to participate or not. We started the first lesson with paper weaving like I did here. I think paper weaving is perfect to understand the principle.
The next project has been a paper cup:

We also started little rugs on cardstock looms. We made the beginning during the session and then the children took the project home to finish the weaving. For the weaving we are not using needles but popsicle sticks, which I smoothed and drilled holes for the wool. Working great!

And right now we are working on trees in branch circles, but I will make an extra post when that project is finished.

The second class is for "different craftings". I have only two students, a girl and a boy, but the two are fun. We made some paper toys. One game to catch a ball on a thread and spinners. 


An other session I let them paint wooden birds for garden decoration and little wooden butterflies that we fixed on wires to put in a flower buquet for mothers day:
 
 
Our last project has been on a very hot day, so I took them in my garden and not in the usual room that is extremely hot in the summer. We first made squird pictures like I did last year with my boys (look here). We painted big papers and next time we will do different craftings with the colorful paper. 

Later we sat down in the shadow and started to work with knitting spools. In that moment I had been glad that there were only two kids with me. It took a while for them to figure out the technic. But now they got it and they took the spool home to work with it, whenever they feel like crafting. In the last lesson before vacation we will form them into a shape like I did here.

For me the time crafting with the kids is a lot of fun and it is very interesting how differently the children are interpreting a project and often I am surprised what comes out when you let them chose their colors and styles themselves. 
I will make some modifications to the times in which we will have our crafting sessions as I better realise now how long they can stay concentrated. And then I hope for some more children in the classes from September on.

A bientôt,
Jane 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Garden party

Last week we had a big garden party with all our friends, our neighbors and my parents (the rest of the family is too far away, but my parents insisted in coming to my birthday - why? 40 is a number like all the others ;-)Fortunately we had great warm and sunny weather!
For decorating the garden I made some new fabric garlands. Normally I do the buntings by sewing together the triangles from the left side, cutting back the seam allowance, turning, ironing, assembling all buntings .... way too much work if you want to make a garland of 15 or more meters. So this time I it's less precise, but will hold anyway for a while I hope. I just surrounded the buntings with the overlock and after I pulled a cord through.
Our garden is on a slope and it's impossible to put a table in it. For our guests we had tables and chairs on our terrace behind the house and on the tarmacked front yard and some benches and camping chairs around the fire-place. But I found a great idea on pinterest that I had to try: I put three wooden pallets for tables on the grass, covered them with white sheets (big fight with some spots later, but okay) and around I arranged all picnic blankets, an old rug and all the cushions available to have a cosy hangout. 
On all tables we had bottles with some flowers from the roadside and the meadows that my mom put together.
When it became night, the picnic area transformed to a children campsite ...
There had been plenty children at the party and kids are not made for hanging around like the adults only chatting-drinking-eating. To get them busy and distract their mind from too much nonsense I prepared a photo-tour. They formed little groups of 3 to 5 kids, took a camera or a smart-phone and had to take photos of 10 motifs that I chose.
When the children returned with their 10 photos, they got a little box full of cap bombs, with which they made nonsense for the rest of the evening :-) But fun!

A bientôt,
Jane 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Floating wood garlands

Lately I went with younger son down to the river and collected little pieces of floating wood and pebbles (those for a later project). In front of our house we are having a balcony under which we like to sit when the sun is too hot for terrasse, balcony or garden. My wooden birds are flying there all the year except for Christmas and wintertime. Early in spring, when I let them out, there had been also giant pin cones, but those are not really summer decoration, so I made some garlands with the floating wood and some other pieces I found in my stack.
The first garland is with red perls and twig balls. 

The next only with twig balls
And the last is very basic with only branches.
My husband says it's looking like pirates decoration. He says it's looking like bones on strings! I replied that I will make a bones garland for him for Halloween :-)
But if the wood are looking like bones, what is this looking like? A hanging man?
 

A bientôt,
Jane 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Pop art stamping

I played a bit with the horse stamps I carved last month (see here) and created some pictures. I had the idea of some pop art or Andy Warhol influenced stamping with lots of bright colors. This came out and is very much what I had in mind when I started:
I tell you, the biggest difficulty had been the layout! I wanted each color only once at each place in a row. And in the beginning I wanted to have the four different background colors to form the middle, but the red is too strong, when two of them touching each other at one corner. And it is impossible to have a red in the middle without it is touching any other red. Try it out! It took me ages! 
And now looking at the photo I think I shouldn't have glued the two white horses in the second row beside each other. There is always something to make better the next time. But I am anyway very happy with the picture. I already framed it and put it on the picture board in our living room.

While stamping the first horses for the above picture, I found out, that several of my stamp pads have been dry. I put a drop of water on one to see if it comes back to life. I worked, but in the first hour using the pad, it had been too wet and made bubbles! 
Looks funny, doesn't it?
I decided to print one picture in that style:
The only thing I can say is that the horses are very individual! But all in all, I don't like the picture too much.

From all the other tries, I only want to show you the black and white picture I made last.

A bientôt,
Jane

Saturday, 15 April 2017

A new association!

Today I will tell you my news that kept me busy the last months! 
I created a new association that organizes crafting classes! 
I really like to share my crafting ideas with others and I have always fun teaching my girls group on sewing projects. But I never could do much publicity for my courses as it wasn't a legal business, so it stayed a bit as a thing between friends. 
I also love crafting afternoons with my kids and their friends and I always thought it's a pity that they are not crafting at school as much as I did, when I was young. Apparently it isn't foreseen in the french school system to develop much their artistic sense. But I think it is so important for children to not only work with their head, but also with their hands. And whenever there is a child being proud of something created or build by hand, you see how satisfying it is to actually have a touchable result of your work. I think all crafters know that sensation! In our region there are not much possibilities for children to craft if their parents are not doing it with them.
Finally I decided my kids are old enough, that I can abandon them for some hours the week to teach other children in crafting classes. To make it officially and legal I founded an association. For now it's only me teaching, but I hope to find some others who likes to give courses for all kind of arts or crafts. The association is non-lucrative, even though we could reimburse the teachers, and the profit will be donated at the end of each year to a social project or a help-organisation.
I have been lucky to get heavily supported by all of my friends. A BIG THANK YOU to Elodie, Florence, Celine, Sylviane, Antje, Orlane and Alex. They all gave me mental support and encouraged me to get started. I also needed a lot of help with all written things. My french writing isn't good enough to write official documents or even homepage articles. So I am drafting everything and then one of my friends has to look over it and make corrections.
But now after a lot of organizing and administrative work I can finally present you: 

I created that banner for our web-site. It's the name of the association (Créa for creative and Farges is the name of our village) and every letter is created in a different way. Have a look on the development:
The C is painted in water color. Very easy the painting, but it took me ages on the computer to eliminate the background and replace it by another color. There had been several changes in the background so it works together with the other letters.
The R is stitched with yellow thread on a blue cardstock. Unfortunately it comes out very weak and isn't as visible as I wanted it to be. Maybe I will redo it one day with a thicker thread.
The É has been a problem letter. First I build it with needles and a little scissor and took a photo. I liked it, but it wasn't visible enough beside all the other stronger letters, so I followed the advice of a friend who proposed a composition with paper scraps:
I made the two first ones and my friend decided for the triangle scraps but in red, so I had to make a third one :-)
The A is a relaxing zentangle letter! It also took nearly no time on the computer, as it needed no retouch.
The F is the second letter that took a long long loooong time. It is in patchwork technic. You see above my first F as I am writing it. The colors have been to light and I tried to change the background color on the computer, but still everybody I showed it to, had problems to read it. I finally found out that here apparently everybody writes an F with only horizontal lines to the right, so I made a new one.
Again the background has been replaced on the computer.
The second A has been easy. I took a bunch of pencils and made a photo.
The second R has been fun. I poked needles in rubber foam and with dark blue wool I connected the needles in zigzag. Only after I took the photo I saw that I missed one of the needles.
The G is made of buttons. The most time it took me to put them back in my assortment box after.
The E is woven.
And finally the S is a knitted string.

It has been nice doing all those craftings and thinking of different methods of creating a letter (gave me directly the idea for a special crafting class), but the manipulations on the computer afterwards took way too long. 

The Easter vacation started today and I have to organize some materials, but in May I will start on the first classes for kids. One class calls "introduction to weaving" and the other "different craftings". 
I am looking forward to it very much!
And I am a little nervous too :-) 

Have a happy and joyful Easter weekend!
Joyeux Paques!

A bientôt,
Jane