Archive for the ‘tutorials’ Category

DIY: The Lazy Girl’s Pillow Case

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My in-laws have this oxford shirting sheet set that had me thinking that I (a) need that sheet set and (b) I could probably whip up a pillow to match asap with an old oxford shirt.

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I haven’t taken the plunge for the sheet set (our kids are so gross, I’m sure it’d be stained with licorice goo or something within the first five minutes), but it’s on my radar. The pillow was a no-brainer. And took the equivalent in time to make (and photograph for this easy-peasy tutorial).

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Grab a pillow, if you have an old cover you’re replacing, use that as your guide. If I don’t have to bust out the rulers, it’s a win in my opinion. Rulers just slow these Edward-scissorhands digits down. ;)

Materials:

  • A large old Oxford shirt (I found mine at a local thrift store)
  • Pillow form
  • Old pillow cover as a template (or a ruler)
  • Oversized washers
  • Scissors/rotary cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Sewing machine

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Be sure to wash and iron the shirt beforehand for best results.

Lay the shirt on your cutting mat. Flatten out any pleats so you get two flat layers. Pin the old pillowcase down with washers. If you don’t have an old cover to work from, Measure a 19″ square with your ruler for a standard 18″ pillow.

Place the cover off-centered over the front buttons. By placing it off-center, you have less puckering/bulging at the opening. And it looks cool.

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Cut out your square, leaving about a 1/2″ seam allowance on all sides. Eyeballing is a-okay.

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Turn right sides towards each other, pin and sew all four sides together.

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Un-do the buttons and turn right-side out. Iron out the corners.

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Place the pillow form inside, fluff and done!

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Super easy. No worries about enclosures, no hemming, nothing. This is the easiest thing you’ll do all week. Promise.

 

DIY: Having Fun with Plain Wrapping Paper

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I don’t have giant stashes of gorgeous wrapping paper. I have rolls of white, black and kraft butcher paper. And the occasional roll of gift wrap. But it doesn’t always match my mood or occasion, so here’s a fun little DIY I did to dress up my gifts this year.

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Santa doesn’t have this much creativity when it comes to his gift wrap. That would take him way too long.

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The key to this whole operation is in the marker. Some time ago Sakura sent me their Pigma Professional brush series. I use them for everything. Heck, they’re even in our brush lettering kits that I send out to all of my beginning brush students. These brushes come in 3 sizes: fine, medium and BOLD. I use the fine brush for small detailed work and little illustrations. I’ll use the medium in cases where my x-height letters are about 3/4″ tall. The bold I’ll use for everything else.

The bold brush is pretty stiff so you still get very fine hairlines even though you can get a ton of drama out of the side of the marker.

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And when mine dry out, I’ll use them on textured paper for a more organic look (like above). Want to learn how to make these easy-peasy holly berries? Watch the video below.

Supplies

  • Pigma Professional BB Brush
  • Large sheet of white or kraft paper
  • Sakura Koi red marker (optional)

I love the BB brush, but you can get similar results from even a crayola marker. Granted, if you want this kind of drama to scale, you’ll need to make smaller holly berries and leaves.

Basic jist: get a piece of paper and spread it out on the floor or table. Draw out the berries first in random clusters of 3. Then draw in the center of the leaves, coming out from the berries with a light touch. A fine line helps. Then fill in the remainder of the leaves with two mountains and meeting just beyond the tip of the center line of the leaf. Fill in any awkward blank spaces with leaves. Messy is usually better in this case.

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If you want to go for a more ornamental approach, draw out a berry grouping on cardstock. Watercolor paper is going to give your cluster more texture and depth. Punch a hole near the cluster of berries.

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With your scissors, cut around the cluster leaving a 1/4″-1/2″ border. Thread through ribbon or string and use as a decoration on your gift.

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Easy? Brainless? Awesome? Yes to all three. Happy last-minute gift-giving and wrapping!!

DIY: 3 Ways to Add Gold to Your Envelopes

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This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. They provide excellent quality printing and amazing printing options to make your holiday cards stand out this year.

Gold is such a classic element to add to holiday greetings, but how? What materials do you use? I’ve got a little bit of experience with that and I know just the things to help you make your holiday cards a hit this year.

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Oh, and I should mention, these tips require no calligraphy experience whatsoever. Neat handwriting helps, and here’s a post to help you with that. Want to learn calligraphy? I do that, too. Sign up for my class right here. Just gonna toot my own horn a bit about the class: it’s hands-on with personal feedback from me and my co-calligrapher (Erika! She’s the raddest!).  Get supplies mailed to your door, personal attention and loads of lifetime content for less than it costs for most in-person modern workshops. Aw, yeah.

This post may contain affiliate links. These are products I’m using constantly. I get a little bit of a kick-back from any  purchases made through these links. Affiliate sales help feed my crafting addiction and supplies used for blog posts. So thank you for your support.

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Gold Striping

It looks like Finetec Gold is a favorite of mine. It’s looking like it’s out of stock at Paper & Ink arts – you might have luck at John Neal Bookseller or a local art supply store. I love this palette because you can add gold and shimmer to just about anything.

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Get a large hard-bound book or a block of wood that’s longer than your envelope. Place it an inch below the desired line.

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Instead of using a ruler and getting the underside all gunky from running ink, rest the bottom of your hand along the edge of the book or block and pull your arm towards you (see above). You’ll get a nice straight line without even trying hard.

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Wait for the gold to dry, then letter the address with the recipient’s name above the line and the address below. I like using the lettermate when doing print addresses. It keeps my lines straight and my leading even. If you choose to use a lettermate or something similar, you’ll want to put the gold line inside one of the lines so that the spacing is even. If you put it between two lines, the top two address lines will look inconsistently spaced. I’ll use a white gelly roll or a gold shadow gelly roll. If you’re using a white envelope, you may want to opt for the black gold or the pink gold. Here I used the lavender gold.

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Foil Gems

I’ve got a little secret in my  arsenal and I’m about to share it with you. EEP!! I’m loving this thing. I’ve had it for about a year, and it’s the perfect way to add gold sparkle to something without waiting for glitter glue to dry. I bought this cheap hot foil pen on New Egg some time ago, so it looks like it’s no longer available. The closest thing in price is the WRM keepers one. At $15 it’s totally an impulse purchase. I’ve seen them around on other sites. Just make sure that when you’re looking for yours you look for “hot foil pen”. That’s pretty much it. Scrapbooking suppliers are going to be your best bet.

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First, you’ll letter your address. I like to switch up styles with print and script.

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When you’re done, you’ll heat up the foil pen and do little dots in the negative spaces. You can do single dots or groupings of 3. If you’re doing groupings of 3, you can add little green leaves for holly! Or keep them plain. I opted to go plain.

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Justified Glitter

  • Glitter
  • Sticky thumb or double-stick tape
  • White gelly roll

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Mark up your paper with sticky thumb. You can use a glue stick for a more organic line.

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Sprinkle glitter (mix colors for a fun effect) over the envelope. This is a great activity to do in big batches in a bath tub or large casserole dish.

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With your finger, rub in the glitter so it sticks. You’ll see that glitter will settle and stop coming off. Shake off excess.

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Write out the address. If you’re doing the lettermate and a script style of penmanship, you may want to write out everything without the descending strokes (like the ‘y’, ‘g’, ‘f’, ‘z’ etc) and fill those in afterward. Add postage and you’re done!

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I’m slowly knocking out my list this week and next. So my cards will be more like New Year’s cards, but late is always better than never in my opinion!

 

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learn-calligraphy-pen

Want to learn calligraphy the right way? Check out my online calligraphy class. It includes lifetime access to materials and content (images, text, animated GIFs) and 30 days of personal instructor feedback. Because we all need help troubleshooting when starting out. ;)

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TUTORIAL: DIY Ink/Paint Holder

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I made this and shot pictures like 2-3 years ago. I just discovered it while cleaning up images on my desktop (which is a hot mess) and figured I would share. I’m sure it’s been done various other places, but I need to cross this off my list so here we go.

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I found myself wanting small jars for mixing custom ink colors in gouache (for calligraphy, but works for any aqueous media) and then tipping them over. Constantly. We replaced the flooring in my studio not long ago because of how horribly stained it got. Also, I hate carpet.

So I made this little ink tray. You may want to, too.

SUPPLIES

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Cut down your block to 12″ wide. Sand the edges so they’re smooth to the touch.

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Mark out every inch along the board with a pencil. Optional: create an indent with the tip of the screw so your bit won’t slip around as you start the process.

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Measure how deep you want the drill to go and tape it off. This will allow you to have consistent heights when you put your jars in the board.

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Drill away! Go slowly and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area with protective glasses.

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Admire your handywork!

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Use the sticky tack to apply to the bottoms of your jars so they don’t move around. it also helps tilt the jars when the ink gets low.

This tutorial or freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. You may publish 1 photo along with credit back to the original post. If you would like to use this tutorial or freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Sewing Style: Floral Two-toned Shift Dress

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I live in this dress. It’s comfortable enough to throw on and chase the kids all day, but it’s nice enough for a date night out.

View More: http://piersonphotocompany.pass.us/melissaoutfits

I originally bought this fabric (Mood!) like 3 years ago on a girls’ weekend to L.A. fabric district. We each bought a yard of this gorgeous fabric to see what we would do with it. I was so nervous to cut into the fabric, I ended up tying it around my waist and joking with a “no sew” tutorial. To see what everyone else did with the fabric, click here.

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Just before leaving for Hawaii back in May, I decided it was time to do something about that yard. I didn’t have enough yardage to make a dress knee length, so I got creative and color blocked the top to give me a little extra room at the hem. I didn’t want it to look like I just pieced a top and a bottom there. I sliced and diced Megan Nielsen’s Briar tee pattern. I raised the neckline a touch and pieced the front and back. Piecing isn’t as hard as you might think. Especially if it’s in straight lines. It’s easiest if you have some tracing paper. I like to use large sheets of tracing paper from a roll (you can get them in 24″, 36″ and 48″ widths). See below for the full tutorial.

View More: http://piersonphotocompany.pass.us/melissaoutfits

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We had so fun at the photo shoot that I forgot to get a straight on back shot of the dress so here’s one flat from my studio.

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Sewing the ‘v’ together was a little tricky since I didn’t want any puckering to occur (go slow!), but I tell you, using two knit fabrics for piecing like this is a lot easier than piecing two woven fabrics together. There’s a lot more wiggle room. Literally.

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First things first, you’ll need:

For this, I used a pattern piece from the Briar Sweater pattern. This technique works on any pattern piece.

 

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Draw a line where you want your color blocking to happen. Drawing directly on the flat pattern how you want the pattern piece to look and where you want the seam to fall.

Then slip the pattern piece under the tracing paper and trace each section carefully. Transfer markings and information.

THEN ADD SEAM ALLOWANCE. You’ll add the same seam allowance to your color blocking lines as the pattern calls for. Write those seam allowances on the pattern pieces.

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Cut your fabric pieces out and align right sides together from the top corner to the middle. Pin at the pivot point.

Sew up to the pivot point and release your presser foot while keeping the needle in the fabric. Align the remaining fabric pieces and pin. Continue your line.

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Here’s the key: press your seam and top stitch the seam allowance to that side. I chose to stitch the seam allowance pointing upwards because of the fabric choices it just looked better.

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Now sew your pieces together as directed in the sewing pattern. DONE!

View More: http://piersonphotocompany.pass.us/melissaoutfits
View More: http://piersonphotocompany.pass.us/melissaoutfitsOutfit details:

  • hat and bracelets: c/o Tai Pan Trading
  • necklace: handmade (tutorial)
  • dress: handmade by me! using Briar tee pattern
  • shoes: Toms
*This tutorial is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!
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