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Pursuing an old idea and creating new opportunities…

Ever since I read the latest post by one of my fellow crafty WordPress blogger (Laura SerendipiDIY), I have had this urge to come back to my blog and update it, revamp it, rethink it slightly and also to share a little something about my latest inspirations and projects – which incidentally aren’t actually that new!

For the last three or four months now i have been looking into pattern designing, and using some of my own drawings, photography and art to put onto various objects and surfaces, from postcards, fabrics, cushions, bag to frames, appliqué and free motion machine embroidery… Etc!

Funnily enough, it would seem that I wasn’t the only one looking into this… Thanks to blogger Laura SerendipiDIY and her post I have learnt that there is such a thing as a surface pattern designer as an actual job. Had i known that when I was still at school and I was asked what would I want to do when I grew up… I would have definitely said “surface pattern designer”!!! I think I might now have grown slightly obsessed with the idea of surface pattern designing as i have started to doodle any chance i get…

In the meantime and until I get a few designs under my belt – well in my portfolio… I will be looking into using my drawings for fun tote bags, purses etc as well as my photographs for postcards and cushions.

Last night, I found some of my old drawings. They were originally for making flash cards to use on a website with fun activities to learn French. Well this is another project I never managed to come to the bottom of! Now the website project is long gone but I still think there’s potential for some of the drawings I made…. The elephant and the sheep are my favourite and I feel like they could be part of a great little story celebrating friendship…. I think I could use this idea in my surface pattern designing…. Now there’s a challenge! I am going to keep on experimenting with my existing artwork and will carry on building up some sort of portfolio with it as well as start producing some items for The Frog in the Craft Etsy shop – like this drawing which I have applied to a tote bag as heat transfer. The original to the drawing is in the pen craft section of this blog. I have updated the post with the “enhancements” I made on Paint 3D, to get to the picture I used on the heat transfer. Bags of Love is a website that offers printing on fabric, heat transfer paper (technique used on the tote bag) and other medium. I will soon give Fashion Formula a try as well. This a website where you can get your patterns and design also printing on fabric as well as being able to sell the patterns. I would have thought that there are other sites like this out there, probably well worth a little more research also.

How about you? Have you got any old projects that you would like to revisit , revamp or re think altogether ? Do you think you would enjoy surface pattern designing? Have you used any other websites services for fabric printing, heat transfer printing or selling your designs? I’d love to hear about it!

Thank you for reading this post. And if you would like to read more of them, then please follow me! You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well as Etsy and EBay….

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Homemade Soap Gift Sets

A few months ago I wanted to learn to make soap because I saw it on an old episode of Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas on television. I searched through YouTube and Google to find a method but was slightly overwhelmed by the fact that it required ingredients such as lie. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of using this potentially dangerous substance for my first go alone.

In the end, I found a workshop locally where we were shown how to make soap and bath bombs with natural ingredients. I booked myself on it and had the idea to also enroll my daughter, my friend and her daughter as a birthday present for all three of them…. Well, any excuse for a girlie afternoon hey!?
At the workshop, the instructor showed us how to easily make soap using SLS free melt and pour soap base, essential oils, herbs or other natural ingredients such as powdered spices or even dried flowers. The bath bombs were also made with natural ingredients. I really enjoyed the workshop but was definitely more interested in the soap than in the bath bombs…. Unless the bath bombs could magically tidy our upstairs bathroom up and make the stuff gathered in the bath (until my next table top sale) disappear, then they were no good to me. Though they were quite satisfying to make I will admit….!

I made one big soap  to which I gave colour with some paprika powder and a nice fresh scent by adding some lemongrass essential oil. This soap worked out great for the kitchen to remove onion odours from my hands after preparing a meal. My daughter made a few different little soaps with some rosemary to add a little exfoliating and lavender essential oils for a nice calming scent.

As soon as we left the workshop, with some soap base purchased there, I was on the hunt for some silicone moulds, pipettes, essential oils, etc… I took most of the materials and equipment with us on holiday, which ended up being a great idea for a mum / daughter activity together, experimenting with the oils and the colours. We used gel food colorants to add colour to our creations.

I haven’t had the opportunity to make anymore since then, through being busy trying other types of crafts, but with the Christmas tombola coming up at work, I decided to recycle some of the small coffee jars I’d kept into “scrunchie and soap gift sets” to donate as two of the prizes. My daughter, my step-daughter and I also made a couple more for gifts.  This time we used soap colorants and added shea butter for a little more moisturising property.

And that was a couple months ago already! The plan was to make a few more to sell on Etsy… Well that’s not actually happened yet… I really do enjoy making soap though, almost as much as decorating the jars!

So how did I make the tombola gift sets?

First, I selected a jar suitable in size to hold a scrunchie and at least 3 small soaps. I chose to recycle some small coffee jars I has saved “just in case”… The jar can be decorated however you want, or even left plain. In this case, I took the plastic cap off the lid and applied fine glitter to the inside of the lid. I also selected some decorative cord to tie around the neck of the jar and a Christmassy charm to attach to it. Lastly I applied some glittered lettering spelling out “SOAP”.

Then I melted approximately 140g worth of melt and pour soap base with a little shea butter in the microwave for 1m30.

I added some essentials oils (2ml) and a drop or two of colorant. After a quick but thorough amount of stirring, I poured the mixture into the moulds of my choice. A few minutes later, once the soaps had set, I just placed them carefully in the jars, and Tadahhh!! Two lovely handmade soap gift jars!

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