Thing-A-Day 9: Love Notes

Today I printed 112 “I love you…even more than bacon” cards for Valentine’s Day.  I’ve made these before, but this time I decided to try them at a smaller size which required burning a whole new screen.  I also tried a new rougher, recycled brown bag paper.  I wish they were a bit sturdier, but I like the more “rustic” feel they have now.  After all, bacon ultimately comes from the farm, right?

I’ve finally managed to get the process down so that I can afford to wholesale these now, so I may approach some local vendors this week about consigning.  If you’d like one for yourself, they’re available in the Sweet Meats Etsy Shop.

Today’s instruction is: make a personal, handcrafted valentine for someone you love.

Your inspiration for today is this embroidered love note on looseleaf “paper.”  There are many examples of these on the web, but I like how this one also shows gratitude. By Flickr use kristenaderrick.

Thing-A-Day 4: Monograms

I’ve been working on a lot of logos with initials today.  I’ve been working on logo-type monograms of my own initials, and also a logo for a conference.  Here are my favorite examples of each as of right now:

Now, of course, I think I’m going to go in a completely different direction.  Type is definitely my achilles’ heel.

Today’s inspiration and tutorial come from Jessica Hische, who has a great little cheat sheet on ways to get creative with letterforms.

Today’s instruction is: create a monogram or logo out of initials using any material you want to.

Thing-A-Day 3: Drawn and Quartered

Tonight I got back from working in Palo Alto at around 9:30.  I’ve been working or driving non-stop since 7am and I am BEAT.  I only had enough energy to make this piece:

It’s my original tank sketch, cut up into its individual components and arranged in a new formation.  I glued about half the pieces down where they landed when I shook them out of their envelope (so. very. tired.). It looked vaguely like a pirate ship, so I steered the rest of the collage in that general direction. It’s very mechanical looking and a little creepy, like it could live on the Island of Misfit Toys.

So today’s instruction is: Cut up an old drawing and create a collage by rearranging the pieces.

Your own past work is your inspiration today, and this project requires no tutorials.

Thing-A-Day 2: Gift Wrap

I’ve got two good friends with birthdays coming up, and I want to give them each something special.  Unlike my husband, I’m no good at making personalized cards, so I decided to personalize the wrapping instead.  Therefore, today’s instruction is:

Create very personal gift wrap for a loved one using materials you already have lying around the house. If you don’t have a future gift on hand, wrap an empty container you can use later.  Here’s one I made for my friend Christine.  She’s an artist who works a lot with neon colors and giant fields of graphite.  During the day she has an admin job.

Here’s your inspiration:

A round-up of gifts from design*sponge (this shredded pompom was the inspiration for my grass below)

and this round up from Creature Comforts.

And here is your tutorial: How to Create Garden Gift Wrap, like this one I made for my friend Elissa, who has the most wonderful backyard garden ever.

  1. Get a piece of paper that is at least 1.5 times bigger than what you are wrapping.  This will be your sky or your lawn, depending on how you see it.  Fold it in half across the shorter dimension. (I used a piece of 9”x 12” construction paper)
  2. Open the paper back up and place your object inside, sliding it up to the halfway fold (I used a decoy gift for this tutorial so Elissa won’t know what I got her).  Fold the side edges around your gift.
  3. With the edges folded in, place double-stick tape or glue on the bottom half of the paper.
  4. Fold the entire paper in half again to seal it up into a sort of envelope.
  5. Cut three or four strips of a thinner paper like crepe paper or tissue paper that are more than twice the width and height of the exposed portion of your gift.  Layer them on top of one another, about an inch apart.  Fold them in half lengthwise.  (I used the wrinkled green tissue paper that the gift arrived in)
  6. Wrap the entire length around the bottom of the gift and glue or tape the end in place.
  7. Remove this sleeve you just made and cut long snips all the way around it.  Each snip should go about one third of the way down the sleeve.  Snipping really fast will create more haphazard grass-like shapes.  Now snip again, snipping two thirds of the way down.  This will create layers.
  8. Slide your gift back into the sleeve, making sure it is resting inside the folded portion, so it will not fall out through the bottom.  Secure the grass sleeve to the top half of the gift with more tape or glue.  Fluff out the grass with your fingers and add any embellishments you choose.  I used an artificial flower, some rub-on letters and a piece of cotton twine.Enjoy!

Thing-A-Day: Ramping it Up

I have already written a couple of posts about making one thing every day, but I think it’s time to ramp things up a bit. As I begin this learning experience, you readers will be my proctors. OR optionally, you will be my classmates.

Starting today I will make something NEW every day for one year. If you wish to join me on this adventure, I will be posting the instruction for the day on this blog and on my “lvenell” twitter account. I will post a photo of my completed project along with the instruction, and links to other people’s finished projects when I can find them.  Since I’m sort of a night owl, this project will also hopefully force me to learn to take better photos at night.

I will still post indie business news and tips, but now this blog will also have tutorials and/or inspiration on it every single day. Your inspiration for today comes from Brock Davis’ “Make Something Cool Every Day” project (via Ally Trigg’s blog). I will likely pull from his web site more than once for a future daily instruction.

Today’s instruction comes from this tutorial from The Creative Place (via How About Orange): Create a radial 3-D paper shape like these paper lanterns from A Creative Place:

Here are my successes (I experimented a lot with shape):

And here are some of my failures (one of them is actually pretty rad):

Tip: Use paper that is as thin and as smooth as possible.  I used construction paper for these, which was a terrible idea.  The paper did not like to turn, tore easily, and was almost too thick to put the brads through.

Happy 2010!

On New Year’s Eve I drank more spirits than was comfortable, all in the wrong order.  Then I piled about a pound of shellfish and butter on top. It was delicious at the time, and I felt delightfully “spinny,” but later I felt uncomfortable enough that I woke up early on New Year’s Day.  Needless to say I did not leave the couch, or my pajamas.

I wasn’t in a state to do much more than recover, but I’m trying to ramp up the Thing-A-Day commitment in 2010.  Most of the rules remain the same with a few exceptions (in red).

  1. I can make anything.  It doesn’t have to be “crafted.”  I can make a ten-second drawing or write a two-line poem.
  2. I can copy someone else’s work for practice and new ideas.
  3. I can make a project from someone else’s instructions or from a book.
  4. I can substitute half an hour’s work on an existing project, but not if rule #3 also applies.
  5. Craft/design work for clients counts.
  6. I can make something I’ve already made before, but not two days in a row.
  7. I cannot make two things one day in order to skip the next day.
  8. I do not have to post the results of any day’s work if I don’t like it.
  9. A project is finished when I am done working on it.  It doesn’t have to be complete.
  10. At least once a week I need to make something that can be posted in my shop or in my portfolio, or at the very least, on this blog.

Since it had to be something I could do on the couch, Friday’s hangover thing was a new sticker mandala.  Both festive and confusing.  Seems about right.

I hope all of you had a relaxing and happy holiday season.  Happy 2010 everyone!

Thing-A-Day Progress Report

For the last three days I’ve worked on just one project — a prototype for a fair ribbon.  It’s a project I’m doing for free for a low-key client, but it seemed like an easy thing to start with.  I thought I would be able to finish the whole thing in one day, but it turned out I know less about how to make fair ribbons than I thought.

Day 1: Picked out fabrics from scrap stash and embroidered a piece of blue quilting cotton with white embroidery thread.  Wrapped it around the front of a 1.25” Dritz make-your-own-shank-button, then snapped the back of the button on.

Day 2: Made the rosette for behind the button.  I started by sewing two circular pieces of fabric together.  Then I sewed a small circle in the middle, to create a ring.  I thought that if I gathered the center of the ring, or threaded elastic through it, that this would create a nice rosette effect.


Instead it created this:


Then I sewed a long tube of fabric, and threaded the elastic through that with my nifty bias turner.


I tightened the elastic and let the fabric bunch.  Still too messy.  It looked like a scrunchie.


Out of ideas, I turned to the Internet for help, and found this post on the Chronicle Books blog about how to make a blue ribbon greeting card for Father’s Day.  I sewed another (much longer) tube, and this time, I accordion-folded the fabric while sewing the folds together to secure them in a circle.

Day 3: Cut and hemmed the bottom ribbons, and glued everything together.  Added a pin and a string to the back.  Covered up the unsightly mess in the back with a blue felt circle.


Each day I completed at least one item, so I feel like I made a small, complete object each day, even though they were part of one project.  Today I worked for an hour on the Amy Sedaris cross-stitch while I was at the DMV.  After posting this, I’m feeling too tired to start anything new.  Four days down, twenty-six to go.

Wussify Your Way to Success

I’m trying to be a more prolific crafter without adding any stress to my day. Being stressed just makes me procrastinate.

A couple of years ago as part of New Year’s resolution, my husband (who is already much more prolific than I) decided to try to change his habits by adopting a “make-a-thing-a-day” routine for just 30 days.  If it wasn’t too difficult, he would extend the project to three months, and so on.  More than two years later he’s still doing it, which means that since he made that resolution he has made no few than 800 pieces of artwork.  Today one of them got chosen for an art show in Prague!

The task has always seemed daunting to me.  I’m afraid I will fail, even within the 30-day trial.  But this is the time of year when I make my annual resolutions, so I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make a-thing-a-day easier to accomplish.  Here are some rules I’ve come up with for myself:

  • I can make anything.  It doesn’t have to be “crafted.”  I can make a ten-second drawing or write a two-line poem.
  • I can copy someone else’s work.  I’ll still get technique practice and new ideas from doing this, and as long as I’m not selling what I make or adding it to my public portfolio, I figure there’s no harm done.
  • I can make a project from someone else’s instructions or from a book.
  • I can substitute half an hour’s work on an existing project, like the sweater I’m knitting or the cross-stitch I’m trying to finish.
  • Craft/design work for clients counts.
  • I can make something I’ve already made before.
  • I cannot make two things one day in order to skip the next day.
  • I do not have to post the results of any day’s work if I don’t like it.
  • A project is finished when I am done working on it.  It doesn’t have to be complete.

These may seem like total wuss rules, but I think I’m more like to continue making something every day if I feel excited and confident. I can always ramp up the challenge later.  Whether this works despite my wussifying remains to be seen.  I’ll let you know next month.

Have any of you ever set creativity goals that you’ve successfully accomplished?  Please share in the comments!