Monday, 30 May 2011

Tieta Loves Cheese - A Tutorial on Magnets

My Tieta Carme loves her cheese.  Tieta, is Catalan for an auntie, a familiar form derived from the word 'tia' (aunt), connoting that she is someone that you are quite close to.   I am.

It was always a family ritual that when any one of us went away somewhere far from home we would bring back a souvenir for everyone, and she got either cheese or make up, but usually cheese.  Even when I was quite small and used to come to London as an unaccompanied minor with my red Iberia bib bag with all my worldly paperwork stuffed into it, I remember going back with a selection of British cheeses for her...   In those days when I was the souvenir recipient I was much keener to get the odd airport toy or sheet of stickers myself, but now I have moved to the cheese side, and I totally get her.  

I recently discovered that there's a universe full of people out there who collect vintage French or Swiss cheese labels for fun.  Well I jumped onto that bandwagon sooner than you can say reblochon, and found a wonderful seller of quirky graphics, Harmonica Godlfish who had just the images I had in mind. Do check out the shop - it is pretty magical. 

So in honour of my favourite tieta, I made some cheese label magnets to adorn her fridge.

Resizing the images to fit the 25mm trays was a bit of a technical pain in the proverbial, but we got there.  I printed out a sheet full, and cut them to size using a craft punch.  Then I coated the images with a bit of hairspray (here Sainsbury's value range, cheap as chips).  They were laser prints on good thick paper and I was going to be using epoxy resin stickers, so not crazily worried about the inks running here, but still.  One precaution won't hurt.

When dry, I glued the self adhesive epoxy stickers over the top of the images.

I had already cut the images and centering the sticker correctly was nowhere as difficult as I'd envisaged (normally I stick first and then cut the image around the sticker).

Then I ModPodged some blank cabochon settings, and popped the domed images into those, wiping away any excess out of the sides.

Inspect your work.  Be pleased at how pretty it turns out.  My fingers were stained from a previous project, I do normally wash my hands but that black paint proved a nightmare to clean.  Thank the world of science for surgical spirit which removed most of the mess!

I have recently come across some fantastic self-adhesive neodymium magnets, which means they are very strong, but they come with an equally strong sticker that you just peel off and attach to wherever you need.  They will be in the shop shortly. 

And they went onto the backs with a pretty neat finish (unlike every other time I have used glue and made a humongous mess of the backs)

I like the way they click together...

Hey, I'm easily amused.  Even now I can still have great fun with a magnet, much like my five year old does.

Magnets are finished.  I love these so much, I'm going to make a set for myself.  And maybe for all my cheese loving friends, and perhaps for an ex-boss I am still in touch with, whom we used to call 'le grand fromage'.  Apt, methinks. 

But these, these are for tieta.  x

Sunday, 29 May 2011

How NOT to Make a Glass Tile Pendant Part 4 - Sizing

So I made a rather beautiful pendant (image inside pendant credit to Digitalya).

I struggled a little bit with the US-letter-sized digital collage sheets as when printed on A4 paper the images come out bigger than they were intended to be.  Of course, you can avoid this by choosing not to fit-to-page on your printer settings, but this was a rather big professional laser printer and the shop assistant at the printing shop I went to for these had only just started working there and seemed not to know the printer too well, and neither did I, so I didn't want to push it.

And there is another little issue, that a lot of these gorgeous images are sold as 1x2 inches, and my trays and glass are 24x48mm - a fraction smaller.  So not only are the images slightly big for my purposes anyway, but I also had the printer issue which meant that in the end my images were a couple of mm bigger per side.  This slightly larger size would be fine under normal circumstances but these beautiful images have a deep shading around them that frames the image and gives them a feeling of depth that I like a lot.  So because I had to end up cutting the images to the smaller size I needed, I had to cut pretty much all of the shading out, which made me get annoyed at myself for not pushing the printer guy to get it done properly!

Anyway, problem number two, as a result of the image being bigger than I needed, I had no natural outline to cut around, and no craft punch to use (like I do with my circle images) - so I cut it by hand.  But I got cocky and decided not to use a template.  Freehand cutting!  Now that is a recipe for disaster in my hands!!  And so it was.  It looked nice at first, huh?  And then you saw the other side:

 See anything yet?  No?  Try this:

See it now??  Yep, I cut away too much, ruined a perfectly good image and a good bit of effort.  I did realise it was cut slightly too narrow when I placed it onto the glass, but I thought I had centered it nicely only to find out that actually, it couldn't be more askew if it tried. Also for those of us who use glass, it's worth remembering that the glass will magnify all your mistakes...

So another one resigned to the soaking bin.  Moral of the story, if you can't use a paper punch to get accurate images, make yourself a template - this is very easy, just grab a piece of card and cut out your shape from it, then use it as a viewer to center your image so that you know where to cut, and draw around the shape on pencil onto your image and cut around that line.  This drawn line will sit at the edge of the image so won't show behind the glass or under the glaze or resin.  Of course if you're using glass you can just use the glass shape as a template, but the card version is useful if you use your images over wooden blanks or scrabble tiles for example.

Friends' Makes - Dawn's Fairy Lovely Clips

Today, I present to you the work of the Dawn of Polly Red Crafts who makes very cute jewellery for girls of all ages as well as some very beautiful and very grown up pieces from woven wire.  See below the gorgeous hair clips she made using the clips and resin stickers available in my shop with images from Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies - a favourite collection of books in our house too!  

Whilst Dawn is busy uploading lots of new things to her Folksy and Wowthankyou shops, you can follow her through the Polly Red Facebook page.  Be sure to visit and say hi!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Meet the Family

Here we have the Glass family - they're all very smart, an accomplished lot.

Here they are, all posing together for the first ever Glass family photo.

They are:
Rectangles (flat): 24x48mm,
Squares (flat):  25mm, 20mm
Squares (domed): 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm
Circles (flat):  25mm
Circles (domed):  8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 18mm, 25mm
Ovals (domed): 13x18mm, 18x25mm
Hearts (domed):  16mm, 23.5mm

My how the family has grown from just two eager tiles back at the start of the year!  Rabbits!