Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine's Day is Almost Here?

Anyone else feeling like January went by awfully quickly?

I've seen so many lovely heart-related crafts lately, as well as a number of blog posts gathering them together.

I like best the projects that don't have to be for Valentine's Day. J and I don't really do anything to celebrate. I'm not against V-Day, but it's always felt a little silly to buy chocolate/flowers/etc for a hallmark holiday. We have in the past had a crafty day together making valentines or cooking together. I will take any excuse to celebrate us.

Here are a few Valentine projects that I will probably make, just not for Valentine's Day and probably not for J. He doesn't care about pink things, hearts, or flowers (except when he does).

Paper Pieced Quilted Heart Mat from Wild OliveI'm still learning to quilt. So I love small little quilting projects like this. This one is English Paper Piecing, which I haven't tried yet. So I'm kind of excited. Tutorial and photograph are from Wild Olive.


Paper Daffodil Wreath Crown from The House That Lars BuiltThese crepe paper daffodils are amazing. I'm thinking this will be a great spring project when all I want is for the rain to stop and to see some sunshine. Tutorial and photo are from The House That Lars Built.


Confetti Filled Hearts from Tuts+I have a love-hate relationship with confetti. But these are too cute not to want them. I like the idea of using them to wrap something other than confetti. Tutorial and photo are from Tuts+ made by Kitiya Palaskas.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Square Circle Skirts

Square Circle Skirst | Red Circle Crafts

I have three nieces. I recently went on a skirt making binge and made them all skirts. I found a really simple tutorial from Make It & Love It. It is literally two squares of knit fabric with a hole for the waist attached to wide elastic.

The smaller one (blue one) I made from my youngest niece, but had originally intended it for my 16 year old niece. I mistakenly thought measuring from the middle of the square to the corner would give me the length of the skirt, but quickly realized that I needed to measure from the edge of the circle to the short edge of the square. I think my sister would kill me if I'd sent such a short skirt to her 16 year old daughter.

Square Circle Skirst | Red Circle Crafts

You can see that I had to gather the waist a little to fit a 5 year old, since I had cut the waist for a thin 16 year old.

Square Circle Skirst | Red Circle Crafts

The tutorial I found is technically for children, but it scales up really well. This would be especially great as a simple sewing project for someone just learning to sew on knit fabric. Mistakes would be easily hid in the drape of the skirt.

I also love that the tutorial recommends using an old shirt to turn into a kids skirt. The blue one is made from a jersey knit dress that didn't fit well.



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Class: Drop Spinning Yarn on Feb 15th

Red Circle Crafts classes are starting in January! Check out the Classes Page to see more information. You can register online and all supplies are included! Gift Certificates are available as well.

Drop Spinning Yarn Class with Sarah Lowe on February 15th

Drop Spinning Yarn Class February 15th | Red Circle CraftsLearn to spin yarn! Drop spindling is a simple and powerful way to transform raw fibers into beautiful yarn.  In this 2-hour class you'll make a small skein of yarn from just a drop spindle and your hands. We will cover hand dying, the preparation of different fibers, how to spin yarn for a specific project. Then we will get to work practicing the centering art of drafting and spinning roving into yarn. Once we are finished, you will have a plied hank of yarn to take home with you, handouts to practice with, and your own drop spindle.

Class will be taught by Sarah Lowe, a local artist and massage therapist.

This class will be held on February 15, 2014 from 1pm to 3pm.
All Red Circle Crafts Classes are located at 1720 NW Lovejoy Street, Suite 304, Portland, OR.

Price: $40
Materials Fee: $30
Total Cost: $70

Click Here To Register Online

Drop Spinning Yarn Class February 15th | Red Circle Crafts

Friday, January 24, 2014

Furnishing on a Budget

Chairs at Red Circle Crafts

I am quite proud of my efforts to furnish Red Circle Crafts Classroom on a very tiny budget. Craig's List has not been quite as awesome as I'd hoped it would be. But between it and thrift stores, I think I'm doing well. Always room for more chairs though, and bench. I want a bench.

I knew that I wanted to get a total of 14 chairs for the classroom, at least 8 as soon as possible. I now have my chair (which looks vaguely throne-like), two stools, a smattering of wooden chairs, and 4 borrowed folding chairs.

The fun part of this process has been fixing the fixer-uppers. I like a distressed look for the most part. Some of the chairs had good bones, but looked a bit weary.

Before & After Chairs | Red Circle Crafts

This chair was all that was left of a 4 or 6 piece set of kitchen chairs. It had obviously been outside and used while painting and who knows what else. A quick rinse in the bath tub, and a scrub with rubbing alcohol cleaned up the white paint considerable. The seat itself was still a mess. Using a belt sander, I sanded off the paint splatter and staining on the seat. I purposely chose not to put another coat of paint or varnish on the chair; I'm happy with it as is.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Screen Printing With Stencils

Party Animal Screen Printing | Red Circle Crafts

I love screen printing. I asked my friends what they thought my favorite craft was. While my question was all snark, they universally answered screen printing and meant it in all seriousness. So maybe my friends know me? And maybe they're right. I do a lot of different crafts, but it always makes me happy to clear an afternoon to set aside for screen printing.

I made these two shirts for my nephew for Christmas. The drawings are my own from summer of 2013 when I drew a whole series of animals wearing party hats. I saved the originals and have used them for a couple of projects since then.

Party Animal Screen Printing | Red Circle Crafts

I've thought of doing a screen printing tutorial, and maybe I will, but another day. If you're willing to spend money on screens (the most expensive part), a squeegee, and ink, it's totally feasible to screen print at home without a lot of equipment. I use my kitchen table to print on and when I'm finished put it all away in a tub that lives on top of a closet.

If I have something I want burned on a screen, I'll take it to someone to burn for me. But if I have an idea I only plan to print once or twice, there's no point in burning a screen, at least for me. So I make a stencil out of contact paper that I throw away when I clean the screen. With a little bit of time and patience, I can turn most any image into a stencil. Although certainly some images are easier than others.

Party Animal Screen Printing | Red Circle Crafts

Friday, January 17, 2014

Visiting Mount Talbert

Mount Talbert | Red Circle Crafts

I had never heard of Mount Talbert before I drove past a sign for the Nature Park. It was beautifully foggy, but also pretty chilly as I traipsed up switchbacks.

Mount Talbert | Red Circle Crafts

Whenever I accidentally find someplace like this it makes me realize how little I get out of Portland. Although in my defense there are so many places in Portland I've yet to see.

Mount Talbert | Red Circle Crafts

Mount Talbert | Red Circle Crafts

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Home Base for Red Circle Crafts

[caption id="attachment_406" align="aligncenter" width="596"]The Butcher's Daughter via Remodelista Inspiration from The Butcher's Daughter via Remodelista[/caption]

Yesterday I moved into my brand new space. Red Circle Crafts has a home base now. It's definitely a work in progress and it probably will be for awhile. I'm having a lot of fun reinventing containers for storage and Craig's List finds for furniture. Eventually I want to get a new, big table or possibly a few small tables that I can rearrange as need be.

While I dream big, I'm pinning stuff on my Studio Decor Inspiration Board.

This is what it looked like before I moved in.

RCC Studio Before

I'll post more pictures as I put fun studio projects up on the blog. It's not a big place, but there's plenty of light (south-facing windows for the win). It's basically a blank canvas for me to work some magic on.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tutorial: Sewing Tea Towels

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

I recently bought two lovely, soft, cotton prints from the remnant bins at the fabric store. I love remnants. They are always a great deal and often spark my imagination with projects I could do, although this may be why my fabric stash is the size it is. I knew immediately that these would be great for the tea towels I have been thinking about. The left over scraps may work for another project too.

Here's how I made them.

Fabric (washed cotton preferably)
Sewing machine or needle and thread
Washable marker
Straight edge (like a yard stick)
ric rac or fabric tape

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Start by cutting your fabric down to the size you want. Mine are 17" x 25" before hemming.

Next hemming. I wanted a hem of 1/4" so I started by folding and pressing all the sides in by 1/2".

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Then I folded the corners in as a lazy mitered corner. If i was doing a larger hem, like I would for cloth napkins, I would use this method to make mitered corners. But I don't want to fuss with the itty bitty corner seams on a hem this small.

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Press down the hems again, and then open them up and fold the corner in again and press again. The pictures might make more sense. It's surprisingly difficult to describe in words.

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Now tuck the hem edges in so they meet the fold. Hem should now be 1/4" all around with now fraying ends visible. I keep the pins in after pressing and take them out while sewing.

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

I plan to hang these from a hook, so i sewed in some ric rac (or tape or ribbon). I tucked the ric rac inside the hem fold so it folded and will be sewn over twice.

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Then sew around the edge back stitching at the beginning, end, and over the ric rac.

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

A quick pass with the iron and it's finished!

Tea Towel Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Monday, January 13, 2014

Class: Stamp Carving on February 8th

There's still room in this Saturday's Class. Check out the Classes Page to see more information on all the available classes. You can register online and all supplies are included! Gift Certificates are available as well.

Stamp Carving with Morgan Rose Hansen on February 8th

Stamp Carving Class February 8thLearn how to carve your own stamps! Stamps can be used to decorate any number of things: scrapbook pages, textiles, greeting cards and much more. Using a simple line drawing of your choice (2.5" x 3.5" at the largest) or one of the instructor's designs, learn how to easily recreate an image into stamp form to be used again and again.

Class covers proper handling of tools, techniques for effective carving, transferring images, troubleshooting, mounting your stamps, and stamp care.

All supplies provided.

This class will be held on February 8, 2014 from 1pm to 3pm.
All Red Circle Crafts Classes are located at 1720 NW Lovejoy Street, Suite 304, Portland, OR.

Price: $40
Materials Fee: $20
Total Cost: $60

Click Here to Register Online.

This class is taught by Morgan Rose Hansen, a Portland artist who sells her classic tattoo-style line drawings as handmade stamps along with her original art at her etsy store:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Upcycling Projects

Upcycling Projects | Red Circle Crafts

Upcycling is one of those weird words that I think we all use a little differently, but most people understand each other when talking about it. My definition is to turn something of little or no value (like trash, packaging, or holey socks) into a finished product or high-value commodity.

As a self-described DIYer, I'm a huge fan of upcycling. I use old magazines and misprinted printer paper scraps instead of art paper, cut down old clothes for sewing projects when they aren't in good enough shape to be donated, and save glass jars for storage and projects. I'm always looking for new projects that I can do to reduce my trash. It's fulfilling to take something I might otherwise throw away and make it beautiful and useful.

Here are some upcycling projects I've found that use materials I have or could find reasonably easily. You may have seen some of these projects on my pinterest boards if you follow me.

Sumo Plastic Bottle Bowling Pins from Sugar and DotsI have a soft spot for sumo wrestling. Video of the 15 day tournaments is often playing in the background while I'm working on other things and I've become fascinated by the sport. These little sumo bowling pins by Sugar and Dots are perfect in my mind.


Can and Wool Candles from My LIfe BoxOne of the most amazing things about upcycling is the ability to make something look brand new. I love that these candles from My Life Box look they could be from some hip store and cost an arm and a leg, when in fact they are made from used cans.


Slipper Boots from Drawings Under The TableDrawings Under the Table has a great tutorial in pictures that shows how to use the shape of the cuff and sleeve to make these slippers fit like they were made for your feet. And they look super comfy.


Plastic Bottle Planters from RosenbaumThis tutorial from Rosenbaum is in spanish, but the pictures are surprisingly easy to follow. I love how beautiful they look hanging together even if I don't generally think plastic soda bottles are beautiful.


Chalkboard Place Cards from Family ChicThese sweet little place cards from Family Chic are made from the corners of a clementine box. It's definitely clementine season, so a good time to find creative ways to reuse the wooden crates they come in.


Paper Bag Berry Baskets from EllineeI love these berry baskets from Ellinee, but I haven't sat down and made one yet because the task looks daunting. Maybe it's easier than it looks? They would make lovely catch-alls for my desk.

All photos belong to the site they are linked to. The first image is mine. But if you're wondering how to make them, it's a grocery bag and magazine page glued together. Try here for a huge list of envelope templates.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Unicorn Plush Toy

Unicorn Plush Toy | Red Circle Crafts

My niece is currently horse crazy. Oh man. I don't remember going through a horse phase, but I certainly remember when my cousins and a few friends did. Some of them never grew out of it.

I had a lot of fun making this little guy. I modified a pattern from Nocturnal Equine on Deviant Art. If I make this again, I think I'll try enlarging the pattern for a bigger plushie.

Unicorn Plush Toy | Red Circle Crafts

My niece was really pleased and I'm happy to give handmade toys. There's something really special about giving something I've made.

Unicorn Plush Toy | Red Circle Crafts

Monday, January 6, 2014

Class: Make Your Own Journal on February 6th

Red Circle Crafts classes have started! Check out the Classes Page to see more information. You can register online and all supplies are included! Gift Certificates are available as well.

Make Your Own Journal with Kathleen Conahan on February 6th

Journal Making Class | Red Circle Crafts

Learn to make your own hardbound books in this class with bookmaker Kathleen Conahan.

In this two-hour class you will build by hand your own blank journal. This process involves folding, gluing, and a little bit of hand sewing. Beginners welcome!

All supplies and equipment will be provided and you will go home with your very own brand new journal and the skills to begin making your own books.

This class will be held on February 6, 2014 from 6pm to 8pm.
All Red Circle Crafts Classes are located at 1720 NW Lovejoy Street, Suite 304, Portland, OR.

Price: $40
Materials Fee: $10
Total Cost: $50

Click Here to Register Online

This class is taught by local bookmaker Kathleen Conahan of Book Wyrm's Hoard. More of Kathleen's work can be found at her etsy store:

Friday, January 3, 2014

Relief and Gratitude

Terrarium Building Class | Red Circle Crafts

What I haven't shared online for that past few weeks has been my quiet freak out about classes starting. I've had a great amount of encouragement from my support network as I start up Red Circle Crafts. It's actually been really awesome. But I reached a point where I felt like I was about to jump off a cliff with no parachute. I had prepared as much as I possibly could (despite a list of more things to be done) and knew it was just a matter of jumping in with both feet. I'd already committed so I knew I wouldn't back out. However I was scared. Scared that I didn't know what I was doing, scared that it wouldn't work, and scared that no one would like my ideas.

Yesterday was my first class. And it was amazing. It was everything I needed to restore my faith in me.

Terrarium Building Class | Red Circle Crafts

While the class was really small, I'm glad it was. It was a chance to figure out how it all works in practice instead of just in my head. I also really appreciate all the feedback I received, not just last night, but also from all of the artists I've contacted about teaching future classes.

So now I'm excited again and ready to tackle the next steps, turning these ideas and practices into systems and templates for future classes.

Terrarium Building Class | Red Circle Crafts

Photos are all from last night's Terrarium Building Class. Jason agreed to come back and teach another class in the spring, so if you missed it, you'll have another chance to take this fabulous class. More photos from class on our Facebook page.

Terrarium Building Class | Red Circle Crafts

Thursday, January 2, 2014

DIY Projects With a Rotary Cutter

Just a hint that I have a few spaces left in the class tonight (Terrarium Building) if you were thinking of going, you should!

On a different note, I got a rotary cutter, also known as a Dremel, for Christmas. I am more than a little excited to start playing with it. I'm pretty unfamiliar with it as of right now, so I'm trying to stick to some of the better tutorials out there while I figure out what I'm doing.

A rotary cutter can be used to cut, etch, drill, or sand almost any medium it seems. It's amazing for really detailed work on delicate surfaces including eggs, glass, stone, metal, and wood. I even saw a photo of crayons someone had carved.

Some of the interesting projects I found:

Globe PendantTutorial from Mad In Crafts

Using a rotary cutter to drill holes in two plastic bowls, Mad In Crafts shows how to make a very classy pendant lamp.


Spoon Pendant Tutorial from Crafster.orgCraftster shows how to easily upcycle old spoons into pendants, key chains and more.


Wood Etching With a Dremel from Interiors By KenzI love that this tutorial from Interiors By Kenz shows you what she was trying to do, and then when that seemed like she'd bitten off more than she could chew, what she actually made.

You may be seeing a few rotary cutting tool required projects from me in the near future. First I need to get safety goggles though.