Sunday, November 30, 2014

December Craft Night - Dec 16th - Christmas Garlands

Make Christmas Garlands at Craft Night w/ Red Circle CraftsHappy First Day of December! That's a thing, right? Craft Night, as you know, is the 3rd Tuesday of the month. This month that falls on December 16th. We're at my favorite japanese tea house again this month and we'll be making garlands. Or at least, I'll be making garlands, and I'd love your help.

My Holiday Market is coming up surprisingly fast, and it would be a great help if you'd help me make the garlands to decorate the event. If you'd rather work on your own project, that's fine! Crafting together is really the name of the game even if we're all working on different things.

December Craft Night:

December 16th at 6pm
At Behind the Museum Cafe
Please RSVP

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving | Red Circle Crafts

If you're celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year we're doing Thanksgiving Breakfast. With waffles instead of turkey. If this becomes a new tradition, I will not complain.

I'm looking forward to Small Business Saturday (much more than Black Friday, for sure). If you're in Portland, check out Little Boxes. I am always happy to participate. While I've gotten some good deals, I've yet to win anything. This could be my year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tutorial: Embroidered Christmas Cards

Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts

Embroidered cards always feel like magic to me. They don't really look like much until you're part way through with it when an image just seems to emerge. They're also not as hard to make as they look. And I did the hardest part for you, making the pattern, so you can just enjoy the accolades.

I made three designs, two Christmas-y ones and one generic wintery one. I know that I have at least one holiday card to send for Hanukkah and it's nice to have a "Happy Holidays" option.

Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts

Push Pin
Cardboard or Cork Board
A2 Folded Note Cards
Embroidery Floss
Small Scissors
Masking Tape

Print out the templates onto card stock and cut out the gray boxes. Tape it to the front of an A2 Card with masking tape.

Lay the card and template on top of either a small piece of cardboard or cork board so that you have a solid backing you poke holes into.

Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts

Using the pushpin or needle, poke holes in all of the dots on the template. Make sure you get them all! (Tip: Hold the card with the template still taped to it up to the light to make sure you got them all.)

Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts

Thread your needle with embroidery floss. I used the smallest needle with a large enough eye to thread 6 strands of floss through. You can used fewer strands, but I like the way it looks with the full strands best. Then start embroidering. Start on the inside and leave a tail that you can tuck into other stitches after you're finished. Use the template as a guideline so that you're making all of the lines shown. When you're finished, on the inside, weave the floss over and under the stitches to secure and snip the thread. Re-thread the tail you left in the beginning and do the same thing. You can also tie your ends, but I think it looks nicer to just tuck the ends in.


Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts

This one is probably the easiest of the three images. You can start anywhere and end anywhere. To make it look exactly like mine, I started on the inside ring, moved to the short pieces on the radials, and then stitched the radials all into the center. See the inside stitches (below) for an idea of how it all came together.

Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts


Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts

This one takes the least amount of time to complete and is only a little tricky because you have two colors. You can do the top or circle first, it doesn't matter. Just pay attention to which hole is used by both colors.

I used a back stitch to make the hanger.

Because I had two threads ending so close to each other, I tied the gold ends inside, but tucked the green threads in (see below).

Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts


Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts

Beware: This one is tricky. I've got some tips to make it easier though.

Use a needle instead of a pushpin to make these holes, at least the ones that are really close together in the M, e, and r's. A needle is sharper and a little thinner.

Start a the bottom right hand hole. (It's marked on the template.) And move horizontally. Go up through one hole, down through the next and so on all the way across the page until you get to the last hole in that row then move up to the next row.

If you rip through the paper between two holes, skip a line and come back to one of them. I know that's confusing, but if you try to go through one hole and then come up through the next, but it's ripped through between them, it just won't work. So go up or down through the first one as normal, but then instead of going through the next hole, skip up a row and do that row the rest of the way across. Then when you come back, go down a row instead of up and finish out the row you didn't complete. When you get back to where you left the row, go up and finish the half row above and then keep moving across the line as normal. It is very easy to switch to the wrong hole though, so double check the template and be sure. Otherwise you'll end up having to undo all your work and go back. I know this from experience.

See below for the confusing mess of stitches. I did better on the second one, but I wanted to show what the back looks like when you skip around because of a tear.

Embroidered Christmas Card | Red Circle Crafts

A note: Some of the links in this post are amazon affiliate links. I make a few cents if you purchase the item through my link.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday Market Mailing List


I can't believe how fast things are moving. Thanksgiving is this week and next week is December already. I may have mentioned that I'm running a holiday market on December 20th & 21st. I'd love for you to be there too.

So I've got a few ways you can keep up with what's happening.

I've got a Facebook Event where I'll be posting info about vendors and photos of all the awesome things I receive for the swag bags.

Also, I'm doing weekly emails with vendor spotlights and coupons good at the event. If you want to get on my mailing list, you can sign up here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving Thanks Through Charitable Donations

Give!Guide from Willamette Weekly

It's the holiday season officially now. Which means I'm getting lots of requests for donations, as we all are. It's frustrating to be asked by everyone and their mother, but I still try to give some money at this time of year as a reminder to myself that even if I don't have much, I still have more than some.

If you are in the Portland Area you're probably aware of the Give!Guide from Willamette Weekly. It recommends itself to me for a couple of reasons: they vet the organizations that are included in it; offer incentives for as little as a $10 donation; and a number of the organizations in it have private donors willing to match the amount raised publicly through the Give!Guide.

So I want to highlight a few of the organizations in the Give!Guide this year that offer crafty or DIY services to the community.
Independent Publishing Resource Center has a great zine library, a print workshop, plus lots of cool classes and events. Donate here

Portland Tool Libraries makes it possible for people to borrow tools of all shapes and sizes for lots of different projects. It's a really great resource for DIY projects. Donate here

SCRAP is one of my favorite places for off- the-wall craft projects. If you follow me on Instagram you've seen some of the great things that I've found there. I also love that it's keeping a lot of the supplies out of the landfill and giving them new homes to excited creative people. Donate here

Whether you choose to donate any money to one of these organizations or another, I think the most valuable thing is to choose one that means something to you. Sometimes I choose one that means something to someone that I'm having trouble finding a gift for instead and put the donation in their name. Either way it leaves me feeling like I'm helping to make a difference.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tutorial: Mini Dioramas

First a heads up: We will be making these at November's craft night next Tuesday. You should come. Please RSVP here.

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Mini dioramas can be as complex and crazy, or as old school (elementary school, I mean) as you'd like. I knew I wanted mind to involve woodland creatures or mermaids. But I chose woodland creatures because I recently saw an amazing mermaid creation that I basically wanted to recreate. Not cool, self.

There are lot of ways to create these. I love the compact ones in altoid tins where you're basically layering paper on each other until you reach the edge. Mine is more of a tribute to the ones we did in school with a background and things in the foreground.

Follow along, so you can see how I made mine. Feel free to copy it or make your own adjustments. Obviously your box is going to be a different size and have slightly different requirements. I have included a printable of the shrubs, tree and animals for you to print out and color, if you'd like.


MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Printable Woodland Flora and Fauna
A Small Box
Pen & Pencil
Coloring Tools (Colored Pencils, Markers, Paint, Crayon, etc)
Paper Scraps
Bits of Cardboard & Cardstock
Optional: Tape, hole punches, glitter, stickers, stamps, etc.

Optional Step 0: Make A Plan

Some people are not planners. I drew out a little sketch of what I wanted and then drew some little characters (fox and squirrel) and still had to go backwards a little when I realized it needed a moon. But if you know what you want to include, it's easiest to start at the back and work your way forward. It's not the end of the world if you have to stick your fingers back behind things to add something here or there though.

Step 1: The Background

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

I took some paper scraps that I had lying around that looked vaguely night-like. I didn't want something too dark like actual night would be. And then I cut magazine scraps to look like a horizon and vaguely green earth. If you want anything to overlap, glue that down first. Draw anything you'll want on your background before gluing it down, trust it me it works better that way.

Step 2: Make Your Characters

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Whatever you want to fill in your box. Draw it, color it, cut it out. If you're printing out my creatures, print them on cardstock so they'll stand up easily. If you're cutting out things from magazines, glue them onto cardstock or other thick paper.

If you look at my photo above, the trees and shrubs have white tabs on the bottom and side that will get glued to the side and bottom of my box. I colored in the part of the shrub that I glued in before I thought about it.

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

To make your little creatures stand up, cut a small rectangle of cardstock and fold it in half. One half glue to the back of the creature. The other half will be glued to the inside bottom of the box.

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

This is my little fire. I cut out some vaguely flame-shaped pieces from both orange and red papers and then layered them with a bit of cardboard in between them to get some depth. Then I stuck a folded piece of cardstock behind it so they will get glued in the same way that the squirrel and fox do.

If you are looking closely at my diorama, you'll notice that I have a little grey fire pit around my flames. I made that by cutting a rectangle of grey card stock, folding it in half long-ways and snipping the bottom half long-ways up to the fold. Then when I bent it into a curve, I was left with a bunch of tiny tabs to glue down and keep a semi-circle of grey paper standing.

Cut out a moon too, if you'd like. I used two circles of the same paper with a bit of cardboard inbetween them for depth.

Step 3: Put It All Together

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Remember to start at the back and work your way forward. I should have started with the moon, then the fox, then the fire pit, then the fire (the fire pit tabs need to go underneath the fire tab), then the shrubs, then the squirrel, then the tree.

Dab a bit of glue and hold each tab down for a moment or two until it sets. It's very sad to not have let something dry enough before you move on and end up disturbing it with your next piece.

Also, I recommend holding a few pieces in place at a time so you can get a feel for how they'll look together before you glue a piece on.

Most importantly, have fun with it. It's intended for silliness, not perfection.

MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts MIni Woodland Diorama | Red Circle Crafts

Friday, November 7, 2014

Holiday Market: Vendors Wanted

Holiday Market 2014 | Red Circle Crafts

You may have seen the tab at the top of the site that recently showed up: "Holiday Market". If you click on it, you'll find information about the upcoming Holiday Market. I'll be talking a lot about it in the next month and half.

Today I want to reach out to all you crafty people in the Portland Metro. I'm looking for vendors. We have some confirmed already and the space is limited. But we have early bird pricing through November 18th. So you should get on that.

Check out the vendor page and download an application if you're interested. I'm also happy to answer any questions you may have. Email or leave a comment!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thanksgiving Decor Crafts

Felt Fall Leaf Garland | Red Circle Crafts

For me, Thanksgiving is a time for food and family, chosen or the one you were born to. I've seen some intense table decor for this holiday, but I always think that it doesn't leave any room for food. I prefer Thanksgiving crafts that will make a home feel inviting, warm, and cozy, the perfect place for your family to gather, but don't get in the way. I don't want my decor to be the focus of the gathering.

Some simple things you can do to add light and festivity to your home for the beginning of the Holiday Season (yes, it deserves capitalization):

Juniper and Bittersweet Rake Wreath from Better Homes & Gardens I love this non-traditional wreath idea from Better Homes & Gardens. It adds color and definitely a fall feel.

DIY Calligraphy Leaf Name Cards from the Fledgling SongAs a kid, it was my job to set the table. I took great pride in arranging everything and adding my own touches. These DIY Calligraphy Leaf Name Cards from The Fledgling Song are definitely something I would have done and it would be a great project to keep kids busy and out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Leaf Napkin RingsI love these plaster leaves so much that I made them into Christmas Ornaments last year. Find the tutorial to make them as napkin rings on Design Mom.

DIY Twig Candle HoldersIt's getting darker earlier and earlier. Adding light through decor seems to be a theme this time of year. I try to use natural materials as much as possible for crafts. You could take this even further and use upcycled peanut butter jars (or jam jars or chipped glasses) instead of glass candle holders to make these twig candle holders found on Homedit.

The first image is from my Felt Fall Leaf Garland that I made last fall.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mail a Piece of Cake

Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts

Back in July I posted about a faux Ice Cream Sandwich Postcard, which created a monster. I now want to mail EVERYTHING! There's a whole movement about mailing weirdly shaped items (flip flops, teddy bears, 2-liter bottles, etc.). As long as you can stick the requisite stamps to it and it's 13 oz or less you can pretty much mail whatever.

Despite all that, I was a little nervous that the postal person was going to say, "Sorry, you can't mail that." Turns out she just wanted to check and make sure I had enough stamps on it.

Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts

So this particular piece of cake was made using the tutorial from She Knows. Mine is a little messier. I imagine that practice makes perfect. To be honest, the cake looks about as good as a real cake I would make. Frosting is a little uneven and smooshed here and there and the slice is not cut exactly perfectly. It was however made with much enthusiasm. I think that counts for something, right?

Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts

It was remarkably easy to make overall, assuming you already know how to pipe frosting and are maybe better at than I am or at least don't mind it being imperfect. I hear the rustic look is in.

I highly recommend this project, especially if you want to be the "cool" aunt and send this to your niece for her birthday, like I did.

Mail a Cake | Red Circle Crafts

P.S. My slice of cake required six 49¢ stamps.