Cheri: It felt so good to get back to a challenge after our winter hiatus. And this challenge couldn’t have been better. I think we were all a little excited and a bit apprehensive when this project was initiated. After playing with the copper for awhile, knew whatever I made, it would most likely be jewelry. This is when I let the metal do the talking. I had a ball peen hammer and a small vice with a flat edge and I went to town banging on some copper. I was pleasantly surprised with how pretty the copper became after being hammered. Metal can lose what small elasticity it has in it after it has been work-hardened so I really wanted to make sure that I did not overdo the hammering or it would become brittle. After I had mastered the shape I wanted, I decided to do some research on adding a patina. I came across an article that said I could add blue to the copper by suspending the piece over a bowl of ammonia in a closed container. This was super easy, just be careful with the odor, it can be a bit overwhelming. The patina on my piece took about 12 hours to achieve and I think it came out pretty nice.
I punched holes with a hole punch and used copper wire to embellish the pendant and make the chain. I also hammered the copper wire to give it a rustic look. The rings were made by hammering a small strip of copper and then coiling it around a mandrel. I put two holes in the upper end and two holes in the under part. This had a button hole effect when I used a bead to bring the two pieces together and basically tied them with brass wire.
The copper turned out to be an awesome material to work with and I look forward to making many more pieces.
After an additional week due to some time constraints, our Copper Crafty Challenge is complete. We had our final reveal among the Crafty Sisters this afternoon, and boy, we really seem to be at the top of our game for this challenge. I cannot wait for you to see all the projects. We are going to post one project a day, so keep coming back!
I waffled quite a bit on this challenge. I make a lot of jewelry and I wasn’t sure if that was where I wanted to go with this particular project. After a week and a half of indecision, I decided, why mess with a good thing, jewelry it would be.
Using a compass I played Spirograph on a copper disc and cut out the star burst pendant. Amazingly, the copper is thin and soft enough that you can cut the discs with heavy duty scissors. I hammered the star on both sides to give it some depth. I then curled the points of the star (I couldn’t see any other way to really blunt the points. Those suckers were sharp!) to keep from puncturing anyone wearing it or snagging your clothes. I attached the light green crystal bead in the middle with wire and did some wire-wrapped crystals (also light green in color) for the dangles at the bottom of the pendant.
The chain is made up of hammered copper ovals and more wire-wrapped crystals. I did make all the jump rings and the clasp out of wire as well. The wire is standard 18 gauge copper wire from the hardware store.
All the hammering was done on an anvil that my dad made me for Christmas several years ago and with a series of hammers that he made for me 2 years ago. I started all the holes with a punching awl then enlarged then with a Dremel tool and a diamond tipped drill bit. I filled all the edges with a mini file to be sure that you wouldn’t slice yourself open on the sharp edges caused by the scissors.
The star-burst was actually the second pendant I made for this necklace. I wasn’t all that happy with the first one I had made. I showed it around and the other Crafty Sisters and my M-I-L (who joined us from my house this week) thought it was great, which just goes to show how hyper-critical I can be about my own work.
I did make a pair of earrings to go along with the necklace (my usual M.O.) and I think they turned out rather well.
I really like how the hammered ovals came out looking like leaves. The hammering causes the copper to curl a little and I liked the affect so much that I left it and used the same affect in the star-burst pendant.
That is my completed project! It was a fairly easy process all in all and one that I found rather fun (until my arm got tired of all the hammering). I cannot wait for the next challenge. In the meantime, I have promised this necklace to my M-I-L and and am going to take the earrings apart to make a matching bracelet instead as she does not have pierced ears. So, back to my craft table to work on some more copper!
Our sixth Crafty Challenge has come to a completion and was a rousing success. We will be posting the results one project per day this week. We hope you keep coming back to check them all out!
Crafty Challenge Seven is all about paper. For this project, your main material must be paper. By paper, we mean any paper product (e.g., cardboard, card stock, wrapping paper, tissue paper). This is a challenge to minimize materials, unlike some of our past challenges that were limited by cost or time.
Here are some of the other crafts made out of paper from our crafting history:
The project can be anything you like and it will be very interesting to see what all the Crafty Sisters come up with! The challenge starts today and we have 2 weeks to complete our project. Our next reveal will be on April 29th (Happy future Birthday to Crafty Sister Cheri’s children, Jacob and Justin who were born on that auspicious day!).
Spring is here and around Indiana, it is running full steam already. In celebration, we are gearing up for our sixth Crafty Challenge. This round is all about copper.
In another bid to help clean out the garage, Loryn found some really nifty copper discs hiding in a box. (This was how our Wooden Spool Challenge started.) These are cut-outs from sheet metal and their origin is unknown. (Really, where does half the stuff in garages come from? It is like the inverse of the dryer phenomenon.)
We each got our own stack (we didn’t actually count them out this time, there were too many) and you could just see all our brains buzzing already.
I thought it was really funny after we divided them up, we all took a stack and then remembered that we would need a photo for the blog. We all placed our stack just so and made sure to pick up the same one we set down. We certainly get proprietary over our craft materials don’t we?
So, we now have two weeks (well, at this point 12 days) to come up with a craft that makes use of these bendy little circles.
Stay tuned for the final results on April 8th! I can’t wait to see what we all come up with!
Lynne:Crafty Challenge 5 was a challenge for me. I don’t believe I have made any Christmas ornaments for several years and it was tough to get my mind back into that red and green groove.
I like long garlands and I like them to be lit. Strings of Christmas tree lights seemed to me to be the best way to start, so I bought a strand of 100 clear Christmas tree lights. I needed the light strand to be decorated and the longer I looked at them the more the bulbs looked like the centers of flowers. Why not put a flower around each light bulb? The flower I made for my Do It Best Purse in the hardware store challenge would be the perfect fit to go around the collars of the light bulbs.
I plugged in my strand of lights for two hours to check on how hot they would get. I could still hold them in my hand at the end of the two hours so I used red tissue paper. However, be safe and turn off your tree lights whenever you leave the house.
Tissue paper comes folded in its package. When you unfold the paper the creases are good guidelines for cutting the long strips. I cut through all of the layers at the same time, because there was less chance of the sheets slipping while they were still in the original folds. I used a rotary cutter and the resulting strips were about 3″ wide.
I folded the strip in half and then separated the layers into stacks of two strips each. (The number of layers can vary depending on how thick the paper is and how frilly you want the flowers.) I taped the unfolded edge with scotch tape. I put half the tape on one side then flipped the strip over and folded the tape up onto the other side. Then I used scissors to cut the folded edge of the strip into fringe.
Once you’ve fringed the length of the strip, cut it into 5″ sections. 5 inches worked best for me but you can make the sections longer if you want fuller flowers. Take each 5″ section and roll it around one of the light bulb plastic holders. The holders are plastic and I found that a dab of hot glue when you first start to roll the flower is strong enough to hold the flower in place. Once you have the flower rolled use a piece of tape to keep it closed. I put a flower on every other light bulb and I was just able to finish the garland in two hours.
I liked the results so much that after the challenge was over I made another garland and bought a white Christmas tree to put them on.
Cheri: Well, another project come and gone. This one did not freak me out too much. I am always making little projects.
Sometimes I will see an object that I really like because it stirs up memories of being a kid. That is what happened when I bought these Christmas tree light bulbs at a garage sale a few months ago. I was drawn to the color, (pink) and I really liked the vintage feel of them too.
I knew that I would never use bulbs like these on a lighted string (who could trust them), but I still liked the look of them. They were the kind of lights we had on our tree when I was a kid. I don’t even know if these are sold anymore. They do have a tendency to get hot and really the newer, small lights are brighter.
When I saw them for 50 cents, I couldn’t think of anything to do with them at the time so I tucked them away for when an idea came. When this project was discussed, I felt that I could possibly use the light bulbs for something. I was pretty sure what I wanted to do and I was also sure that the idea would work pretty well. All I really needed was hot glue, ( I am the Queen of hot glue).
For the 14 point star ornament, I started out with glue on the metal tips and then I put one light bulb in the center on each side. I tried to do this mathematically but as I am math challenged, I decided to go by sight. It came out pretty well the first time and I knew that I really didn’t want to press my luck so I decided it looked pretty symmetrical.
For the eight point stars, I just glued 4 together and glued 4 more together and attached them. I hot-glued buttons onto them to cover the glue in the center.
I then decided I needed a hanger that was not very noticeable. In the box were 2 bulb clips, so I took one bulb off the star, attached the clip and then glued the bulb back on. This way I can attach a hook to it.
All in all I was quite pleased with the outcome and I think it will look terrific on a tree. The best thing is it was really simple and cheap. I just love it when a plan comes together.
The back of the 14 point star ornament with hanger.
We have just finished our Crafty Challenge 4 and are ready for number 5! This one is all about the time of year. From around now until Christmas, the Crafty Sisters begin to get secretive. We tend to stop discussing our projects with each other and mutter a lot, or at least I mutter a lot.
For us, this is crunch time for Christmas gifts and we do make a lot of them. In this vein, Crafty Challenge 5 is all about Christmas Decorations. We did need to limit this somehow and due to the whole Christmas crunch time I mentioned, the best idea was an actual time limit. So, the challenge is to create a Christmas decoration in less than two hours. We even set a specific time. December 4th – 10am until 12pm is the making time and the unveiling will be at 12:30pm. We can think all we want and purchase the supplies in the meantime, we just cannot start making the decorations until 10am.
To get us in a holiday mood, I thought some examples of a few of our past Christmas decorations was in order. So, get your mind in gear and get thinking (but don’t get making yet!).
If you have any questions about any of the above decorations or would like to know how they were made, ask us! You can email us in the Contact Us section of the blog.
These were all decorations I had in my Christmas storage and I realize that almost all of them were made by Cheri. You can definitely see who we will be comparing ourselves to. Wish us luck and you get crafting!
Lynne: I suppose that Crafty Challenge 4 really was my idea. I have been carrying the handbag I made for Crafty Challenge 2 and it was not really designed for everyday use. So I needed a bag to carry through the winter. The crafty challenge seemed like a good way to make myself make one.
I believe Cheri deserves the blame for the Coach Willis idea. The Willis bag is a deceiving design. The rod and handle assembly is complicated and that type of handle puts a particular stress on the closing clasp. This means that the bag needs to be made of strong reinforced material and that the position of the clasp has to be precise for the handbag to hang right. But what you don’t know beforehand can keep you from ending before you start.
Since I was still fascinated by the possibilities of fused fabrics, I wanted to make the handbag from plastics. At a garage sale the other day, I found two white carrier bags for 10 cents. These were department store bags that were made of the same material you find in the rectangular totes that are sold in supermarkets to reduce the number of plastic bags they give you. This material is some type of polyester and it does fuse with an iron. Not easily, but when used with other more amenable plastics it works.
I made a fused fabric sandwich of bubble wrap, carrier bag and plastic vinyl sheeting. Each layer of the fabric has its own purpose. The bubble wrap provides sturdiness and a unique texture that I am particularly fond of. The carrier bag provides color and the plastic vinyl fuses everything together while making a durable surface for the exterior of my handbag. I used black duct tape to add stripes to the white of the carrier bag and to reinforce the top of the base of the bag.
I fused the layers into a rectangle of the size I wanted following the general directions of the duct tape bag described here. I added extra inches for the flap because I did not want to put a flap on after the main body of the bag was done. I wanted the strength of one continuous layer of fabric.
The hardware for the handle and rod assembly was the hardest and the most interesting part. I have always liked the leather-laced chains of the Chanel 2.55 bags and I had several feet of wonderful chain left from when Loryn and I put up new chandeliers in my living room and studio. The shape of the chain made it difficult to use standard rings to attach it to the handle. This meant I needed to go to the hardware store. I love our local Arone Hardware store because there are lots of parts and pieces that are not packaged and can be bought one at a time. I needed the plastic sheeting for the fused fabric, stiff plastic hose for the handle rod and smaller, clear tubing to lace through the chain. I thought the chain needed a little more cushioning and I found that the spline used to make screens made a great black accent in the chain. Rubber-coated hose clamps, fasteners, nuts and bolts and a turnbuckle for the handle made up the rest of the hardware I needed.
I don’t want you to think that I had much of a plan when I went to Arone’s. I spent a lot of time wandering from one aisle to the next just picking up things and checking to see if they would fit together. The staff there are great and let me look without interruption, although I see the guys shaking their heads every now and then. That is one of the fun things about these challenges, we are going into areas we have never been before and anything can happen. A terrible mistake can turn out to be the most brilliant idea ever and vice versa of course.
The clasp closure was the next most difficult thing. I did not want the weight of a hasp type of hardware attached to the front fabric of the bag. I wanted to use some of our vintage buttons and I thought that buttons sewn together with a button on the interior would help carry the weight of the bag through the whole structure of the fabric. The bottom of the clasp is 4 buttons sewn together. Two buttons with a small button in between to make a channel for the gasket loop were sewn to the outside of the bag and another button was sewn to the inside of the bag. The top of the clasp is 3 buttons sewn together with a rubber gasket. Small button, gasket, large button were sewn to the outside and another large button was sewn to the inside. I put holes in the gasket with an awl and just sewed through it the same time I sewed the buttons.
The clasp was also a process of trial and error and I had buttons strewn everywhere on my table. I was getting desperate for a loop when Cheri showed me a zip-lock bag full of washers she had just picked up at a garage sale. I casually snagged the largest one and went home to finish my bag.
The handbag is much roomier than I thought it would be and I really enjoy carrying it. It has a solid feel without being too heavy and I know there is not another one out there like it.
Click the thumbnails below for a gallery view of the photos.
Loryn: I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure about this challenge. It’s not that I don’t like making bags; quite the opposite, and that was the problem. I’ve been making bags for many years, and I always put a lot of time and effort into nice details and finishes. So how would I do that with the limited time allowed for a crafty challenge?
Typically, my bags are lined and interlined, with lots of pockets inside. To cut down on the time needed, I wanted to use fabrics that didn’t need linings or seam finishes. Luckily, I had two thrifted items that would be perfect. The wool felt came from a Soviet military coat, and the piping is from a fuchsia 1980s ultrasuede men’s sport coat. All of the “raw edges” are on the exterior of the bag, and the construction seams are exposed.
To mimic the look of the Willis bag and to brighten up the dark felt, I put piping at all the seams. I’ll admit, I love piping, and put it on lots of projects. I used cotton sash cord from the hardware store inside the piping.
For a closure, I used a buttonhole from the coat as my tab. My initial idea was to use a magnet closure, but it wasn’t strong enough. The clasp holds the entire bag together, so I changed to the button tab.
The coat had green topstitching, and I decided to match it, both so I could use the premade buttonhole and because it is a nice contrast to the fuchsia piping.
I used a dowel in the top to match that detail on the inspiration bag. The metal rings are looped around the dowel, with slits in the felt so I could put them in place. I love working with a fabric that doesn’t ravel!
It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but this is a pretty big bag. It’s 15″ wide, just under 14″ tall, and over 5″ wide. It’s perfect for work!
Because of the single layer construction, I didn’t put any pockets in the bag. I didn’t want any pocket seams to show on the outside of the bag or any extra layers of fabric to mess up the lines of the bag.
Once the challenge was over, I decided to make up an organizer to put inside the bag:
The divider is two-sided, with heavy cardboard in between to give it shape. I made special pockets to hold my phone, glasses, pens, and iPad. I lined some of the pockets with ultrasuede to protect screens and lenses. Not only is it really handy, but it gives the messenger shape. I love using it! Loryn
Cheri: Whew, what a challenge this was. It was tough one, but, it was also an awesome one. I think I spent the first week trying to decide how and what I wanted to make my purse out of.
I have always enjoyed doing machine embroidery, so I decided that I would embroider the outside of my purse. I was pretty sure in my head of how I wanted it to look, so I looked around at my fabric supplies, (which is not nearly as grand as Loryn’s), and chose what fabric I wanted to use.
After one failed attempt with the fabric I had on hand, I decided to buy some new fabric. I headed to our local Wal-Mart, which has just put in a small fabric selection, after our Jo-Ann’s closed, and chose a half yard of brown canvas, I also picked up some lining fabric that went with the brown nicely. With fabric in tow, I headed home.
This was Thursday, I had 3 more days to go. I have to admit that my style of crafting is a tad bit unique. I don’t really measure anything. I will try to use a straight edge to get the proportions right but more often than not I will use the selvage edge to base my edges on. And so the great purse challenge began for me.
I worked until midnight on Thursday, midnight on Friday and started working again at 2:00 pm on Saturday. Most of the time was spent with the embroidery and the base of the bag, and then the unspeakable happened, I accidentally melted some of the lining of my bag with the iron.
I knew that this was not going to be an easy fix. So after entertaining several options I picked up some other fabric I had on hand from Loryn’s stash and started working with this. Essentially, I started again from square one.
I spent several hours on Saturday redoing my purse and in the end I was really happy with how it turned out. It looks like me and I am really quite proud to carry it.