Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Home for a Gnome

Hi Crafty Friends!

Since spring is here and everyone is out planting their gardens, it's the perfect time to add an accessory like a fairy house or elfin hideaway.  They are fun for the kids, but I think adults must like them just as much since they are so popular now.  

Here is one I made from Smoothfoam that I call "A Home for a Gnome".  But, I'm sure any of the little people would love to live in it.  You could make it a fairy house or a home for a hobbit.

Gnome Home by Terry Ricioli
I crafted this little house with a new product from Smoothfoam - a hollow half ball.  It's quick and easy to make this and decorate it with your own special touches.  Can you guess what the thatched roof is made from?  You can find out and all the instructions for making your own on the blog!

Have fun creating your own little home for the little people!  I'd love to see the results!
Happy Crafting!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Garden Hat

Hi Crafty Friends!

Happy Spring!  I'm sure some of you have been eagerly awaiting this day, and I hope you have a lovely spring after such a snowy winter!  For those of us on the West coast, we are wishing for some spring showers after a very dry winter.  But, whatever you have endured, it's time to break out the spring decor and celebrate the season. 

We on the Smoothfoam Creativity Team are celebrating by creating some new designs with the hollow half-balls that Smoothfoam has provided us.  We're creating Bonnets and Baskets, which are perfect for springtime activities and Easter festivities. 

I was inspired to create a spring hat.  I found the prettiest yellow place mat that looked like a straw brim and had some flowers embroidered on it, so it was easy to create this hat in a flash.  This hat hangs on your wall and would be perfect for your home or springtime events like wedding showers, Mother's Day teas or Easter decorating.

Spring Garden Hat
Terry Ricioli

To create this hat, you'll need:

Round place mat (14")  (I found this one at Kohl's)

8" Smoothfoam half ball

Yellow and white paint

Green tulle

Some silk flowers

Hot glue and glue gun, paintbrush, serrated knife


1.  In order to match the crown of the hat to the brim, I trimmed 2" off the half ball.  If your place mat is larger, trim the ball accordingly. 
2.  Paint the half ball to match or contrast with the placemat.  Let dry.
3.  Glue the ball to the center of the placemat.  Glue tulle over and around the ball and add some silk flowers.  Glue ties for the hat underneath and tie it in a knot for hanging.

There you go!  Quick and easy spring decor!

The Smoothfoam Creativity Team will be linked up in the first week of April, so you can see all the new springtime designs on the Bonnets and Basket blog hop!

Happy Spring Crafting!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Little Bee for Smoothfoam

Hi Crafty Friends!

I created this little bee for the Smoothfoam blog last month with a Valentine's theme in mind.  But then I realized that with a change of message or no message at all, it would be perfect for any occasion!  How about "Bee Well" for a friend who's feeling under the weather?  Or, "Don't Worry, Bee Happy"?  I could go on and on with different bee-related themes, but I'll bet you can think of a few of your own.  And, with some of you out there participating in spelling bees right now, I think this would be the perfect mascot!

Whether you put this little bee in a flower arrangement or on a bulletin board, he'll brighten up your corner of the world with his cheeriness!  Here's a link to the Smoothfoam blog where you can find the instructions for this little bee.

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Designer Crafts Connection - New Techniques to Try

Hi Crafty Friends!

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.  - Pablo Picasso 

I think this quote by Picasso sums up my philosophy toward art, design and crafting.  I love to try new techniques and what other way to learn is there than to jump in and try it!  Of course, there will be craft fails, do-overs, and dead ends, but that is the way I learn - trial and error! 

This month the designers in the Designer Crafts Connection are all about new techniques to try out and add to your arsenal of crafty skills.  I can hardly wait to try out some of them!  To cruise the blogs, click forward or back on the big blue button off to the left side of this post. 

My technique this month is one I've been dying to try - pun intended!  Yes, I'm going to use Rit dye on a few things.  I haven't played with this before, but I've admired what other designers have done with it.  So, we will see how it works. 

First, I selected some colors and made my solutions.  I made them up in canning jars.  They are easy to use for the warm water and dye solution and you can heat them up in the microwave if they cool off.  Plus, you can put a lid on them and store them for later.  Here I have purple, teal, peach, fuchsia and yellow dyes. I also had some liquid dye in Kelly green.

I chose wood pieces, a wood birdhouse, some pieces of hemp twine, burlap, cotton braid and plastic spacers.  The plastic spacers are the most unusual things I dyed.  You can find them in the hardware store.  They have large holes and can be strung on cord.  These pieces I either dipped in the solution or painted.

I really like the way the burlap picked up a rich color.  The wood pieces and birdhouse are a more subtle pastel which shows the wood grain.  The nylon plastic spacers need to be dyed more than once to pick up more color.  And, the twine will be great for matching bead colors in my jewelry designing.

Here's another piece I dyed which I really like.  It was white cotton braid and I dyed it in the peach.  It would make a nice bracelet.

I also tried ice dying with a canvas coaster.  In this process, you cover the coaster with ice cubes, dry dye and a sprinkle of salt.  Then, you let the ice melt and microwave it wrapped in plastic to set the dye. It has a very nice effect and you get a nice intense color.

The canvas coaster

After ice dying with fuchsia

(I received some Rit dye and the coaster at a blogger event at the Craft and Hobby Show.  All opinions (and craft fails) are completely my own.Thanks, Rit!)

All in all, it was a fun day devoted mostly to trying out some of the many ways you can use Rit dye.  The hardest part was waiting for things to dry!  I can definitely see using it more in my designing.  For more great ideas, go to their website.

Happy Crafting!