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Hand-Stamped Zippered Denim Pouch

Hand-Stamped Denim Zippered Pouch by Tiffany Windsor

Hand-Stamped Denim Fabric Zippered Pouch by Tiffany Windsor

AB_crossroads colors

Welcome to stop #3 on the Indygo Junction blog tour! As many of you know, I LOVE creating with Crossroads Denim so I was delighted when my friends at Indygo Junction invited me to join in today! Crossroads Denim is available in lots of beautiful colors… and… take a look at these 5 new colors. Awesome! When I saw the Cactus Flower pink it just screamed SPRINGTIME to me and, well… it just makes me happy!

Hand Stamped Denim Fabric by Tiffany Windsor
My inspiration for this project comes from hand-carved wood stamps from my friend Mahe (who lives in Pakistan) and I thought it would be fun to hand-stamp my denim pieces. I used Tulip Soft Fabric Paint in white and stamped alternating lines of the two stamp designs. Even though the denim has a slight texture on the right side, it takes the stamped design beautifully!  Once that paint was dry, I headed to my sewing machine to stitch up a quick and easy zippered pouch. As you can see, it’s fun to play with bright color combos. I used Pistachio for the lining. I love the texture and feel of this denim and although it is soft, it has a great weight to make this sturdy pouch.

CrossroadsfabriclogoAmy Barickman is the inspiration behind Crossroads Denim and she was inspired to take classic denim and update it for an urban lifestyle. The first step in this process was finding a fabric with the right feel. She didn’t want the denim to be stiff and fussy, so she had it pre-washed and softened. This made it useful not only for garments but also for home dec and quilting. Then she worked on color; inspired by an urban arts district in Amy’s hometown of Kansas City, she came up with 18 gorgeous colors including Downtown Teal, Weathered Indygo, Coffee House Brown and Midtown Moss. Doesn’t that sound yummy! And, did I mention, they’re made in the USA :)

Before you go, be sure you check this out! In celebration of this super cool blog tour, Indygo Junction is offering 20% off of all purchases from their website using the code xroads20, so head on over and pick your favorite colors (and patterns).

And, here’s a complete line-up of links for this Crossroads Denim blog tour which is culminating in a fabric and pattern giveaway. Please stop by and leave your comments!

3/17 Fishsticks Designs

3/18 Today’s Creative Blog

3/19 Cool 2 Craft

3/20 JediCraftGirl

3/23 Sulky

3/24 See How We Sew

3/25 Crafty Planner

3/26 Therm O Web

3/27 Coats and Clark Sewing Secrets

3/28 Indygo Junction


Disclosure: Fabric provided by Indygo Junction. Design and enthusiasm are my own!

Sculpey Souffle Dragonfly Pendants

3-8-15-Sculpey-Souffle-300

I was delighted when my friends at Sculpey asked me to give their Sculpey Souffle Oven-Bake Clay a try. I have always considered polymer clay my first obsession in the craft world. Back in the 1980’s, my sister Heidi Borchers and my Sculpey 1Momma Aleene and I took a polymer clay cruise where we learned how to make millefiore clay canes. It was 3 days of pure creative bliss. We always chuckle when we think back on Momma’s job during that cruise which was to sit on the clay. I don’t remember why we didn’t have a pasta machine but at that time we were taught to pre-warm the clay by sitting on it.

Fast forward to the 1990’s and I went on a creative binge making polymer clay aromatherapy jewelry that I sold at retail. So, since I’ve tried just about all the clays on the market, I was excited to give Souffle a try!

This clay is lightweight making it perfect for creating those medium to larger jewelry projects. It’s exceptionally strong and will not crack when baked in large pieces. I read that its Sculpey 2strength and ability to hold detail makes it an excellent clay for advanced techniques such as mokume gane, bargello and caning. It’s also designed to have a beautiful suede-like finish when baked.

This Souffle set includes 12 fun colors including: Igloo, Canary, Pistachio, Jade, Pumpkin, Cherry Pie, So 80’s, Turnip, Sea Glass, Lagoon, Cowboy, and Poppy Seed. The colors are bright and fashionable. You’ll need to be sure to go on-line and Google Sculpey Souffle and see all the amazing projects that you can create but for me, I wanted something simple and fast and Igloo and Poppy Sculpey 5Seed were my colors of choice.

The first question that comes to mind for me when working with polymer clay is always “Is it easy to condition?”, so to give it a test, I broke off a piece of the black (Poppy Seed) and I’m pleased to say that Souffle is very easy to condition by rolling it in your hands.

I did the same with the white (Igloo) and found it was very soft and easy to roll.

Sculpey 6After conditioning the clay, I used my roller and stacked craft sticks to roll out the ball into a pendant shape. (You’ll notice that I used blue tape to hold the 3 stacked sticks together.)

This is a fast and easy way to roll out a consistent thickness if you don’t have a pasta machine. Of course, if you want a thicker piece, just tape more craft sticks together (or less if desired).

There are all sorts of wonderful tools designed specifically for polymer clay crafting but in a pinch, I just use my craft sticks and pvc pipe to roll out pieces.

Sculpey 7

I wanted to create a quick and easy project, so I grabbed a wood stamp with a dragonfly design. I know that many tutorials suggest that you spray water on Sculpey 8the stamp before stamping onto the polymer clay but since this Souffle clay was not sticky, I decided to go ahead and stamp without water. It worked perfectly, but be sure to test for yourself.

You will also want to test out how firmly that you want to stamp your design. For this design, I wanted a deep impression so I gave the stamp a firm press into the clay. Be sure you don’t press too hard because you can distort the design.  For this pendant shape, I wanted to keep it as round as possible.

You can also stamp the design into the clay and then use your Sculpey Knife Sculpey 10Tool to cut away the excess clay from the outside of the design. Using the design as the guide, just cut away the excess clay along the design line.

When cutting away the excess, leave a small allowance along the edge of your design. Notice how the Knife Tool leaves a rough edge but it’s easy to smooth edges with your fingers and the Sculpey Blunt Point Tool just by rolling it along the edges on the front and back of your design.

Sculpey 11

Depending on how you plan to hang your pendant, at this step, you can use the Sculpey Needle End Pointer Tool to pierce a hole. Be sure to match the hole size to the jewelry wire or cording that you plan to use. The Pointer Tool is a great way to start the hole and then you can use a toothpick to enlarge it if needed.

Now it’s time to bake.

Sculpey 12Following the package instructions, you will need to bake your pieces on oven-proof glass or a metal surface at 275 degrees F)  for 30 minutes per 1/4″ of thickness. Also, per the package instructions, do not use a microwave oven and do not exceed the package directions temperatures or recommended baking time. Also, I was taught from the very beginning to always dedicate my polymer clay tools (pasta machine, baking tray and toaster oven) to my polymer clay crafts only.

Sculpey 13Once you have baked and cooled your pieces, it’s time to start thinking about how you would like to color and finish them. I selected black and white for the base of my pieces because I love to use alcohol inks and shimmer finishes but keep in mind that this Souffle set features an awesome set of colors that will look beautiful when mixed and matched into mokume gane, bargello and caning.

Sculpey 14

Lumiere paints apply beautifully over the black suede finish of Souffle clay. Just squeeze out a small puddle of paint and dab a cosmetic sponge into the paint. Remember, a little bit goes a long way. Dab it onto the surface of the clay and keep layering until you have the color you want. Be sure to leave some of the black peeking through.

Sculpey 15

 

You can layer the shimmer colors to create a variety of effects on your clay pendants. The shimmer paints look beautiful over any of the clay colors.

On my white Souffle clay dragonfly pendants, I like to color with alcohol inks. You can dab with a cosmetic sponge or squeeze liberally over the surface. As you layer the colors, dab back any excess with a paper towel to reveal beautiful color effects. You can seal these pieces with a matte or glossy sealer. If you did not pierce your piece for jewelry wire, you can glue a jewelry bail onto the back and hang on your favorite chain.

Look at the beautiful detail that you can achieve with this Sculpey Souffle clay. It’s a winner in my book!

Dragonfly-Pendant-P

Disclaimer: Product provided by manufacturer. Testing, creativity, opinions and designs are my own!


 

Craft Fail – When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong – Book Review

Craft Fail Book by Heather Mann

Craft Fail Book by Heather Mann

Now here’s a book I can relate to! Have you seen Heather Mann’s new book Craft Fail – When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong. Filled with over 100 full-color photographs of hoped-for outcomes, this book provides a lot of laughs and sympathy for those “A for Effort” projects.

As a craft designer, I’ve had hundreds of craft fails, which thankfully have not made the pages of any published book, but it’s through those fails that I can completely relate to the home decor fails, fashion fails, holiday fails, kids crafting fails but mainly the food fails that are featured in this book. Maybe someday I’ll be able to make that perfect rainbow layered cake! In the meantime, I’ll know that there is a whole tribe of us out there that can laugh at our results!

Craft Fail Book by Heather Mann

What we hope to achieve – a tempting rainbow cake! © Workman Publishing

Craft Fail Book by Heather Mann

The reality for most of us! © Workman Publishing

Craft Fail Book by Heather Mann

Heather Mann and son © Workman Publishing

Leave a comment to this post for your chance to win this cool book! Comment deadline November 30, 2014. Random winner will be selected December 1, 2014.

Disclosure: Publisher provided me with a free review copy of this book. Opinions and confession of craft and cooking failures are my own. Link provided goes to my Amazon Affiliate account :)


 

My 6 Essential Tips for Productivity

6 Essentials Tips for Productivity

6 Essentials Tips for Productivity

When asked to talk about this topic I had to chuckle because it took me weeks to fit it into my schedule. Honestly, there are days when I feel super productive and other days where I wonder where I squandered away my time. I used to be super proficient with multi-tasking. I’m not really sure when and where I lost that skill, but hey, things change.  An educated guess is that it’s because there is so much available at our fingertips at any given moment so let’s start with #1.

#1. Turn off the chatter. Both in your mind and on your computer. I found it very effective to schedule my social media time. It used to be that I would check in 10, 15, 20…. let’s just say… multiple times throughout the day. That was a time sucker! Now I limit my time to 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at the end of the day with maybe sneaking in a few quick check-ins throughout the day. Since some of my creative design campaigns tie directly into my social media (ie. Blog Hops), I am “required” to check in on my social media. That’s fine, but I found that I really had to restrict my personal social time.

#2. Take baby steps from procrastination to productivity. I used to be very effective at pre-scheduling all my work. Then the pendulum swung the other direction and I would be burning the midnight oil trying to make a deadline. I tried all sorts of ways to prompt myself to just “get it done”. I’m an old fashioned girl and I found that even though I tried all sorts of electronic checklists and apps, honestly, a good old-fashioned checklist on a yellow pad is what works for me.  I write in pencil and put today’s date at the top and each day, I leave the things I did not finish and erase those that I did and change the date. One place, one list. Done.

#3. I work from my home office and design studio so there is even more discipline in trying to keep on track and not get distracted. Ooh! Look at the pretty flowers in the garden. Let me give my kitty some lovin’. Just like working in a “real” office, I set times for when I show up at work, eat my lunch and end my day (although that’s a tough one because I really think I am more productive at night). So make yourself up a do-able schedule and try to stick to it.  If you need to, schedule yourself some garden and kitty time.

#4. I love to organize. Anyone who has seen my design studio storage room knows this fact. The same applies for me with my office organization. I buy file folder trays 6 at a time and mark each one with the project I am working on. I find that I have to switch gears to different projects for different clients many times each day so it’s really helpful for me to be able to just grab the info I need right from the tray. I’m also addicted to notebooks. Whenever I start a new project, it gets a notebook with lots of pretty tabs. I find that I may need to change the tab topics as I get deeper into the job but I like to be able to grab my info quick. I also like yellow or white lined pre-punched paper for note-taking so that I can immediately pop those into my 3-ring binder notebooks.

#5. Reorganize. Take a look at where stuff is piling up around you. Even though I set up my systems of folders and trays and notebooks, I always seem to have a couple of go-to places where I just toss papers. I reserve some evenings when I sit down and go through those stacks and I assess and assign categories. But do it quickly. Don’t get caught up in thoroughly reading every single paper from beginning to end at this step or the next thing you know, it’s two hours later and, well, you’ve probably missed some other deadline.

#6. Share. Network. Repeat. Don’t be afraid to ask others how they have mastered their productivity. Share your ideas and keep your eyes open for others who might share their tips for how they are managing their work and businesses day-to-day. I have found that most people love to share their insights, advice and tips.

Growing your business? Have you heard about Kabbage.com? Kabbage provides small business loans in seven minutes or less, and is the leading online provider of working capital for go-getters. With so many tools and tricks out there to keep others productive, its great to see companies like Kabbage pride themselves on helping small businesses remain productive.

Holidays Made at Zazzle.com

Holidays Made at Zazzle.com

Holidays Made at Zazzle.com

Calling all my creative friends! With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about those hand-made gifts. If you’re like me, sometimes you just don’t have time to make completely hand-made items for everyone on your shopping list.

My solution? Zazzle.com. I create my own original artwork and upload it to a variety of blank surfaces. In this YouTube video, I share with you how to personalize an iPhone case and more to create perfect holiday gifts. It’s cool to transform your custom artwork into greeting cards, magnets, mugs, and much more. Use the code REELIOZAZZLE to get 15% off at Zazzle and even higher discounts on the products mentioned in this video.

Disclosure: Promotional consideration provided by Zazzle.com. Opinions and design selections are my own. I’m a Zazzle fan :)

Announcing the Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor

Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor

Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor

As many of my creative friends know, one of my very favorite crafting mediums is Cool2Cast. I love it so much, I even put my name on it! With this casting medium, you can create pieces for embellishments, jewelry, home decor and more.Cool2Cast Jar Cool2Cast is very economical so you can make pieces one-at-a-time or by the dozen. If you have worked with silicone molds, candy molds, polymer clay molds and resin molds, you are going to love how you can use Cool2Cast to create cool new shapes. You can give the pieces added detail by embedding into them or embossing them.

I am SO excited to announce that I have teamed up with the team at Bella Crafts Quarterly to produce a NEW Cool2Cast eBook (watch my video announcement!) which you can purchase on-line and download and view as a pdf or purchase it from MagCloud in print format. This ebook is BIG! I can’t believe how much we actually stuffed into this ebook. With over 100 pages, I had the opportunity to get into every step of the basics of Cool2Cast.

Cool2Cast Book Cover


 

When I first started playing with Cool2Cast, I was immediately drawn to how awesome these pieces are to color with alcohol inks and they take stamping beautifully. Whether brushing, pouring or dipping into alcohol inks, you’ll be able to create some really unusual one-of-a-kind pieces.Cool2Cast Wreath

Cool2Cast stamped embossed squaresToday is the official kick-off to a 10-day book review blog hop. I am so very honored and delighted that my fellow creative friends will be featuring their own Cool2Cast projects and/or reviewing this ebook. I encourage and invite you to check out these blogs to find out more about the creative possibilities of Cool2Cast! But wait…there’s more!

Wednesday October 29, 2014 Marjolaine Walker www.marjolainewalker.com/blog/
Thursday October 30, 2014 Dana Joy www.gotjoycreations.blogspot.com
Friday October 31, 2014 Laura Bray www.laurabraydesigns.com
Saturday November 1, 2014 Roberta Birnbaum www.decorablesart.com
Sunday November 2, 2014 Vishu Reberholt www.fabnsassy.blogspot.com
Monday November 3, 2014 Steph Ackerman www.stephaniescraps.blogspot.com
Marjie Kemper www.marjiekemper.com
Linda Peterson www.lindapetersondesigns.com
Tuesday November 4, 2014 Larissa Pittman www.muffinsandlace.com
Wednesday November 5, 2014 Kristi Parker www.kristiscreativecafe.blogspot.com
Cindi Bisson www.fatcatcreations.blogspot.com
Thursday November 6, 2014 Beth Watson www.bwdesignstudio.blogspot.com
Rita Barakat www.ritabarakat.com
Susan M. Brown www.sbartist.com
Anita Scroggins www.theflamingochronicals.blogspot.com
 Friday November 7, 2014 Lisa Fulmer www.lisalizalou.com
Carmen Flores Tanis www.florestanisstudio.com
Suzann Sladcik Wilson www.Beadphoria.wordpress.com
Madeline Faiella www.madelinedesigns.typepad.com

To wrap all this up into a nice little package, I have assembled a Cool2Cast Starter Kit for a giveaway and the Bella Crafts Quarterly Team is delighted to also include a Cool2Cast eBook download! To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment on this blog post and let us know what Cool2Cast designs you are inspired to create! Comment deadline Saturday November 8, 2014. Random winner will be selected and announced November 9th.

Cool2Cast Giveaway Starter Kit and eBook


 

Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway

Craft Your Stash Lisa Fulmer

Craft Your Stash Book by Lisa Fulmer

If you love crafting, you probably love to shop for craft supplies. If you’re like me, it’s a whole lot easier to keep adding to your stash than trimming it down. Well, thanks to my creative friend Lisa Fulmer, Craft Your Stash will help you transform your craft closet treasures into gifts, home decor and more. Lisa has definitely hit the target with this new book, which challenges you to use up the supplies you’ve got on hand.

Stash wall - Cool2Craft studio

Tiffany’s Craft Stash – Cool2Craft Design Studio

My stash has been growing and growing. I’ve done a good job of taking stock of it – I love organizing! But now it’s time to whittle away at it! In Craft Your Stash, you will find 19 imaginative stash-busting projects, each designed by Lisa to encourage you to dig in. Most of the projects call for basic tools and beginner-friendly construction.

Lisa has set up a week long blog hop to promote the book – the hop is wrapping up today but you can still visit her blog for all the details. You can purchase Craft Your Stash: Transforming Craft Closet Treasures into Gifts, Home Décor & More at my Amazon affiliate link, get signed copies at www.craftyourstash.com, ask for it at your local craft and book stores, enter Lisa’s giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget below or leave a comment on this post to win your very own copy! (Comment deadline: October 31st, 2014 – random winner will be selected and announced on November 1, 2014.)

hoard stash craft repeatWay to go Lisa! So excited for this new book release! You have definitely sparked a desire in me to dig in, organize, and craft with my stash!

I’m delighted to join these other cool bloggers on today’s tour!

Sunday 10/5
Cool2Craft
Handmade Happy Hour
Ann Butler
Jader Bomb

Tools techniques intro Craft Your Stash Lisa Fulmer tabletop tools Craft Your Stash Lisa Fulmer  tabletop stash Craft Your Stash Lisa Fulmer  Craft Your Stash Lisa Fulmer

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vlog: #friDIY – Introducing Gavin

friDIY Blog Introducing Gavin

friDIY Blog Introducing Gavin

When I moved my design studio to Piru, CA last year, I had the amazing good fortune to have this young man knock at my door. I was deeply immersed in designing for my new book (to be released in November) so I quickly moved in, set up temporary tables and was totally focused on getting the manuscript delivered on time.

Within a few days of working at the studio, a knock came on the front door and there stood a pack of teen boys inquiring about what I was doing. When I told them I was crafting, their “leader”, Gavin, was SO excited and asked when they could come in and craft.  Turns out that Gavin is a super-crafter and I am SO inspired by his creative aspirations.

I recently commissioned him to create some crochet bracelets for my retail handmade gift store and he is super excited to be able to come on camera in the weeks and months ahead to share his creative world with you! Here’s our quick #friDIY YouTube video visit from this afternoon.


Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway

Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows 300

Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows 300

DImesional-Denim-CVR-Final-3One of the items on my to do list this year is to get back into sewing. I was an avid sewer in my teenage years but as time went by, my sewing machine seemed to find its way to the back of my studio. So with my new sewing focus in mind, whenever  Indygo Junction contacts me, it’s always a resounding YES!

I’m really excited about this blog tour and their new book, Dimensional Denim by Amy Barickman. This book was inspired by the desire to add depth and texture to their Crossroads Denim Fabric line (or recycled denim, which is featured in three projects). The book includes 10 fabric manipulation techniques and accompanying projects, as well as detailed illustrations, extra inspiration ideas and 5 pages of color photography.

I LOVE Indygo Junction’s Crossroads Denim Fabric and I was excited to see that they have 5 new color selections. For my projects, I teamed up the Wisteria, Ice Blue and Mushroom.

You can find Crossroads Denim at all of these online stores:

Fabric Depot
Nancy’s Notions
Fabric.com
Beverly’s Fabrics
Pacific Fabrics

fabric

The colors are beautiful on their own, but I decided to use my Ann Butler polka dot stamp and her Color Box Crafter’s Ink to add some patterning to my fabric pillows. I wanted to try out some of the easier fabric manipulation techniques for my first projects so I selected the ruffles and the weaving. My first project was the tiny heart pillow. Then I decided to try a larger version and I finished up with the weaving technique. Since I only used two colors for my weaving, my pattern turned into a stripe effect and I love the tattered edges on these techniques! Watch my YouTube video!

Hero Color Adjust PM

Check out more of the awesome ways you can use these techniques for home decor, accessories and more!

DD 5 DD 4 DD 3 DD 2 DD 1

Want to win your own copy of Dimensional Denim? Click over to the Indygo Junction blog to see how, or get your own copy now for 30% off using code DDBT14 at checkout! And make sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour schedule below!

8/4 Indygo Junction
8/4 Kollabora 
8/5 Amy Barickman
8/6 FishSticks Designs
8/7 Cool2Craft – you are here!
8/8 The Sewing Loft
8/11 Nancy Zieman
8/12 Skip to My Lou
8/13 Inventive Denim
8/14 Whipstitch
8/15 Coats and Clark


Disclosure: Fabric and book provided by Indygo Junction. Designs and opinions are my own.

Momma Aleene’s Upholstered Chair featuring Tulip Soft Paint

Momma's Tulip Soft Paint Chair 300

Momma's Tulip Soft Paint Chair 300

When Momma Aleene asked for her own special chair in the studio, I knew exactly what I wanted! My grand-niece Savannah Starr had painted this upholstered chair last year for her studio space but decided not to use it. I’ve seen it sitting in my sister’s garage for quite some time now so when she was recently cleaning the garage, it was an easy decision when she said “do you want THE chair?” It is a huge wing-back and I tried to fit it in my car without success so I thought I had to pass on it until Heidi offered to drive it down. It wouldn’t even fit in her SUV so she brought it in her pick-up truck. I tossed on some sweater pillows that Heidi made and now THIS is a chair fit for a queen!

I tried to find my before pictures of this chair, but without success, I can only tell you that from memory, it had a busy floral pattern.  It took two coats of Turquoise Tulip Soft Paint to transform this chair. What I love about the Tulip Soft Paint is that it dries soft and flexible. Everyone is amazed that it is painted! Now Momma has her own special place in the studio to catch all the action.

When I was looking through some vintage photos, I found this photo and love Momma’s pose. This was a promotional photo that was taken as she was just launching her empire :)

Vintage Aleene 1945