Friday, March 28, 2014

Blooming Portland

Portland Flowers | Red Circle Crafts

It's spring! Officially and all the plants know it. I've taken a gratuitous number of photos of flowers in the past week or so. I think everyone else has too.

Portland Flowers | Red Circle Crafts

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Easter Bunny Projects

I often find myself making bunnies. I sketch them in margins. I paint them in little paintings. I make plush toys. I don't even use Easter as excuse. But you can. Here's a selection of some of my favorite free Easter Bunny Patterns on the web.

Easter Bunnies | Red Circle Crafts

1. Rabbit Pillow from Say Yes

2. Soft Woolen Bunny from The Purl Bee

3. Snow Bunny from Wild Olive

4. Easter Bunny from Revoluzza

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Watercolor Notecards

Watercolor Notecards | Red Circle Crafts

I've seen some lovely watercolor cards lately. Here and here immediately come to mind. I love the look of watercolors, but often shy away from using them because I'm not that skilled with them. This type of washed-look seemed like something I could manage, so I figured a little experimentation was in order.

I used stickers (letters and a mustache) to make the white space on the cards. Painted over it and then waited for it to dry. Once they were mostly dry, I just peeled the stickers off. I was a little afraid the stickers wouldn't come off cleanly or that the paint would seep under them. I think I might do a little more experimenting with some different fonts and my own stencils using contact paper to make some more.

Overall I'm pretty happy with them, but the mustache is definitely my favorite. I think the colors I used mixed together perfectly and look like sherbert. The mustache also just cracks me up.

Watercolor Notecards | Red Circle Crafts

Watercolor Notecards | Red Circle Crafts

Watercolor Notecards | Red Circle Crafts

Friday, March 21, 2014

Egg Carton Flowers

Egg Carton Flowers DIY | Red Circle Crafts Sometimes my favorite craft projects are designed for kids. There's something about sitting down and planning to get my hands (and face and clothes) dirty. When I saw this deceptively simple project on Mr. Printables, I knew it was exactly what I wanted.

Egg Carton Flowers DIY | Red Circle Crafts

These spring flowers are made from an egg carton, paint, pipe cleaners, and masking tape. Cut out from the egg carton the pieces that sit between the eggs and trim the sides into petals. I tried a few different shapes instead of just the lily shape used in the tutorial.

A quick google image search gave me some different ideas for painting. I tried to do a few more subtle things with the flowers rather than paint them solid colors. Some turned out better than others.

My favorite part though was obviously curling the pipe cleaners into fantastic shapes.

Egg Carton Flowers DIY | Red Circle Crafts

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It Feels Like Spring

Portland is full of blossoms, the PSU farmer's market has started up again, and the weather seems to be cooperating too. I'm ready for spring to be here. In fact I've been staring longingly at all things plant related. Even when I don't have a construction project blocking my windows, I don't have great light in my apartment and no outdoor space. So, for me, it's all about other people's gardens.

Here are few interesting plant-centric DIY projects.

Growing Microgreens by Five & OneThis is one I use frequently as it doesn't require much light and makes such a big difference when fresh greens are pretty scarce. Five & One explains how easy it is to grow your own microgreens (otherwise known as sprouts) from seeds or dried lentils.

Hanging Easter Posies by Justine HandI love hanging things from my high ceilings and using things I may have otherwise thrown out. We eat a lot of eggs in our household. It would be a fun project to spend a few days collecting enough to make little vases. This tutorial is from Justine Hand via the Gardenista.

Vertical Plant Gardens From Refinery 29Refinery 29 has two great picture tutorials for hanging gardens. I am particularly fond of those felt pockets. And I love the photo of tattoo covered arms and hands carefully hand sewing the felt.

Clay Plant Labels by Say YesSay Yes has this ridiculously cute tutorial for making plant labels. I think you could easily take this idea and run away with it if maybe squirrels and porcupines (or is that a hedgehog?) are not your thing.

I am so thankful, especially this time of year that I live in Portland and not New York anymore. Everyone I know on that side of the country is ready for the snow and cold to be gone. Portland seems to be bursting with spring.

All photos in this post belong to the linked sites.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day | Red Circle Crafts

Growing up, I mostly just wore green to school to avoid getting pinched. Elementary school kids are pretty vicious with the pinching. But I loved that my mom would let me add green sprinkles to waffles for breakfast and green food coloring to my milk. I didn't drink milk much, but if I could get it a weird color then it was OK in my book.

J got a waffle iron for Christmas and has been making waffles like crazy. So for the first time in a long time, I'm having green sprinkles on waffles for breakfast to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Any excuse for playing with my food, I guess.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial

My favorite St. Patrick's Day ever I spent in Toulouse, France. A friend of mine dragged me to what seemed like the only Irish Pub in Toulouse where we drank Guinness and Bailey's all night while sharing stories about our travels with each other and a fantastic variety of people we met that night, including an opera company visiting from England. It was the first and last time I had Guinness.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

This year to celebrate, I'll be wearing my new Rainbow & Shamrock Pin. You can make one too.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

What you'll need:

Oven-bake clay (I used Premo in Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple)
A carving tool (or a butter knife or a toothpick)
A rolling pin or straight-sided glass
The Shamrock Template
Glitter
An oven
Pin-back
Hot glue

How to make it:

Let me recommend that you start by working with only one color of clay at a time and to clean up your hands, workspace, and tools in between colors so you don't contaminate your colors. Yellow seemed especially susceptible to being stained by the others.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

I started with the shamrock. I rolled out a small ball of green clay and sprinkled a bit of white glitter on it. Then I laid the Shamrock Template on top of it and traced a shamrock onto it before cutting it out.

I used the left over bits of green clay to make a small cylinder and then rolled it flat too.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Roll out each of the rest of the colors so you have somewhat matching pieces of flat ovals of approximately three inches long each.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Cut a wedge from each of these. You can see mine are in color order already (ROY G BIV).

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Next scratch hatch marks into each side that will press into its neighbor. Press hatched sides together smoothing together gently with your fingers. If colors don't fit together perfectly, you can add a small snake of color to the top of the rainbow and smooth gently to get a more perfect line.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Curve the rainbow together so it looks pretty and then chop off the excess. You can see my rainbow ended up being only a little more than half the size of my original wedges.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Put hatch marks on the back of the shamrock and the top of the rainbow where they will connect. Press together carefully.

Bake in the oven, following the instructions from the package of clay.

Once cool, use the hot glue gun to attach a pin back to your rainbow.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Note: There are a few Amazon affiliate links in this post. I make money off them if you purchase the product through my link. This money goes to more craft supplies and website expenses.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

St. Patrick's Day and Other Tales

I have a lot of weird stories about St. Patrick's Day. It's an eventful holiday for me, considering I usually just try to avoid it.

Most memorable was the year two of my friends were getting married in downtown Boston on St. Patrick's Day. J and I drove up from New York through one of the worst blizzards to get there in time. I love when J tells the story about the car spinning out because he makes me sound like a total rock star, but really I was so far beyond scared from hours of tense driving that I was this weird faux-calm. When we finally made it through the storm and into Boston. We could hardly drive through downtown because of all the revelry at 10 am. They are serious about their celebrating.

I'll hopefully have a St. Patty's Day tutorial ready for Thursday. In the meantime, here's some green inspiration to get you into the holiday spirit.

Spring Cloth Napkins from Purl BeeSpring cloth napkin tutorial from Purl Bee.

 

Lo-res Apple & Pear from Log LikeApple and Pear Ornaments from British Designers Log Like.

 

Preserving Herbs from TipnutPreserving Herbs Tips and Tricks from Tipnut.

 

Paper Succulent Tutorial from Craftberry BushBeautiful paper succulents (with a tutorial) from Craftberry Bush.

All photos belong to their respective sites.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fantastical Finger Puppets

Fantastical Finger Puppets | Red Circle Crafts

I've been thinking about finger puppets for awhile now. They've periodically crossed my path on pinterest. It feels similar to making plush toys, something I love making, but it's new and has it's own challenges inherent in it.

Fantastical Finger Puppets | Red Circle Crafts

Fantastical Finger Puppets | Red Circle Crafts

I made this set for my 5 year old niece. She's really into princesses and horses at the moment. While I'm not into either, I can totally get behind some of the elements in princess stories including fantastical monsters and unicorns.

Fantastical Finger Puppets | Red Circle Crafts

These are made from felt and hand stitched. The faces are not as detailed as I'd like, but embroidering on felt is hard! I think I was also expecting too much out of too small of a space. I think if I make these again, I'll rethink the embroidery and try to simplify the expressions.

I am totally in love with the idea of neon pink unicorns. I think I may need one in my life.

Fantastical Finger Puppets | Red Circle Crafts

Fantastical Finger Puppets | Red Circle Crafts

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Portland: It doesn't rain a lot, it just rains often.

I titled my post after a button I saw on etsy. It was this saying that I tried to convey to my mom when she was here caught in yet another rain storm. "It's not usually like this," I tried to say. But when Portland has such a reputation of rainy weather and then the proof is soaking wet right in front of you, it's hard to dispute.

I think if you choose to live here, as so many of us moved here from elsewhere, you resign yourself to at least some wet weather. And I like to think that I've come to embrace it. So this post is dedicated to the rain in Portland.

Red Umbrella by Michelle MauleRed Umbrella Watercolor Painting by Michelle Maule on Etsy


Cloud and Rain Felt Garland by OhMyDeerLoveCloud and Rain Felt Garland from Oh My Deer Love on Etsy


Turquoise Rain Romance by AmberElizabethArtTurquoise Rain Romance Giclee Canvas Print from AmberElizabethArt on Etsy


Raindrop by InstantAnalogRain Drop Polaroid Print by Instant Analog on Etsy