Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Design Team Call

Get Crafty with Creative Connections Monthly Craft Challenge is going to re open in June. The Get Crafty Challenge is open for everyone to enter.

But we need a design team to make samples of each challenge before the challenge goes live. So this is the month to look for new Design Team Members and May is the month for them to settle in. 
So do you have what it takes? 
Could you be on the new all improved Get Crafty with Creative Connections Monthly Craft Challenge Design Team? 
  • You must be a member of Creative Connections this is 100% mandatory. It is FREE to join, and you can join here
  • You must participate in the Get Crafty Craft Challenge, the challenges are monthly, and we do understand that life and business gets in the way at times, but please just let us know if you are going to miss one please don't just disappear.
  • Please provide pictures of anything that you create for the Get Crafty Challenge to be used on the Get Crafty Challenge blog.  
  • You must post your Get Crafty Challenge pictures on your blogs, site, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest with links back to the Get Crafty Challenge. 
  • You must promote the Get Crafty Challenge any way that you can online or offline. 
What's In It For Me: 
  • An opportunity to show off your work, this can be stuff made to sell or your own personal items. 
  • Links to your blog, shop, or site from our Get Crafty Challenge blog's and the Get Crafty Challenge Pinterest board. 
  • Access to our private Get Crafty Challenge Design Team Group
  • Opportunity to be part of a lovely supportive team 
  • The right to proudly display the Get Crafty Challenge Design Team Member badge on your blog, site or anywhere else you are on the internet. 
Any More Information:
  • There is no time limit on being a Design Team Member, you can be a member for however long you want to be or leave whenever you want to leave.
  • If you do want to leave then please just email Kerry to let her know so that we can find a replacement.
  • We are looking for Design Team Members covering all crafts that Creative Connections covers, papercrafts, jewellery, cards, patchworkers, toy makers, glass work, wood work, fashion, gifts, wedding, baby and child if you are a member of Creative Connections you are entitled to be on the Design Team.
  • This design team call is open to Creative Connections members who run their own businesses or who just craft as a hobby. 
  • All design team applications will be reviewed and a response sent out at the end of the month
  • We are looking to fill 15 Design Team spots 
  • This Design Team Call will stay open until midnight on the 20th of April 2014 
  • All successful applicants will be notified by the 25th April 2014 at the latest. 
So are you still interested? 
Want to know how to apply? 
  • Applications are via email, in this email please include a little information about yourself.
  • Your crafting style, and any links to blogs, sites or shops that you may have. 
  • Pictures of three examples of your work
Please email scrapbookerry@gmail.com

Friday, 28 March 2014

Coming Soon

Very very soon the Get Crafty With Creative Connections Challenge will be revamped and revived! 

Are you excited?

I know we are. 

It is going to be bigger, better and now connects up to the brand new news feed on the Creative Connections site so you will never miss a post! 

We also have our own page over on Creative Connections now so you can see all the challenge posts there! 

There are changes a foot, are you coming on the journey with us? 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Crafty Maths - Full Circle Skirt Tutorial - Part 1

Full circle skirts are great to look at and fun to wear. Whenever I see a poodle or rock’n’roll skirt from the 1950s I just want to bop around singing Hand Jive from Grease - which probably isn’t wise given my limited vocal ability and general lack of exercise. But they sure make me smile

I love making full circle skirts - they are very useful as a base for all sorts of dance and theatre costumes - here are some lycra skirts I made for the Who characters in a production of Seussical the Musical my children were in last year. 

The younger cast members especially loved twirling round in them which got me thinking I should run up some elasticated waist ones for my nieces in time for the summer.

Full circle skirts are “exactly what it says on the tin”. They are made from a circle of fabric. But with a hole in the middle. Sounds easy I thought, but there was a bit of trial and error to get them to look right. I don’t usually work from patterns - I make it up as I go along - so I folded my fabric into 4 and cut what I thought were quarter circle shapes by eye. Not good - my first attempts were really lopsided - with a very uneven hem. I also messed up the hole in the middle - more oval than circular and usually too big or two small around the waist. So I thought it best to work out a pattern.

It all comes down to maths - circles, arcs, radius and circumference. If this is music to your ears you’ll enjoy working it out for yourself - but if you’d rather someone else does the calculations, I’ve added a few ready worked out at the end.

So back to my school days - the circumference of a circle is the measurement all the way round the outside - the blue line in my diagram. And the radius is the distance from the middle to the outside - the red line.

And there is a nifty little formula which says the circumference of a circle is twice the radius multiplied by something called “Pi” - a number just a little bigger than 3.

(To be precise pi is 3.14159265359 plus a load more numbers at the end but we won’t go there..)

I used this formula to work out a pattern for my skirt. Imagine your finished full circle skirt is laid out flat on the floor - it will look like a doughnut. Or a polo mint. But try to think of it as two circles laid on top of each other.

For my elasticated skirt, the size of the smaller circle (the hole) is based the circumference - the blue circular line - being the same as the measurement around the widest part of your child’s lower body - the hip measurement. Work in cm as it makes the calculations easier. Honest.

My niece has a hip measurement of 70cm, 
so the circumference of the hole needs to be 70cm. 

You may be tempted to add a little to the hip measurement so your child can get it on easily. But wait. You will find that no matter how carefully you work out the maths, the hole will always be a bit bigger than you expect because of something called bias which means the fabric will stretch, plus you will make the hole bigger when adding the waistband as you'll lose the sean allowance. (When I was working in really stretchy fabric like lycra I found I actually needed to reduce the size of the diameter. It is always easier to err on the small side as you can always make the hole bigger but you can’t add any back on.)

Next you need to calculate the radius of both circles - the two red lines. So let’s do the short one first. Remember the formula I mentioned early - well if we turn it around we can use it to calculate the length of the line. So the radius = circumference divided by 2 times pi. To keep the maths simple, I cut pi back to 3.14 so 2 times pi = 6.28. So just divide your hip measurement by 6.28 to find out the length of the short red line.

In my example the short red line = 70/6.28 
which is about 11.1cm. 

Although it is tempting, avoid rounding the answer to full centimetres. It is best to round to 1 decimal place as you can easily read millimetres on your tape measure and a few extra millimetres here can make a huge difference to the size of the hole.

The length of the longer red line is really easy - just add the length of the short line to the length you want your skirt to be. I wanted mine to be about 32cm - just above her knee.

So for my skirt the long red line = 11.1 + 32
which is 43.1cm. 

You can round the long red line to the nearest half centimetre if you like - it just determines the length of the skirt so a few mm each way doesn’t make a huge difference here. So I am going to use 43 cm.

Ok. We have the numbers. How do you use them? While it is possibly to lay out paper (or fabric) flat and draw full circles, I find it much easier to create a pattern for just a quarter of the skirt. Take a piece of paper which has at least one square corner. I like patterned paper as it is a good size and has grid lines that make checking the square easier, but you can also tape sheets of drawing paper or newspaper together.

Tape the paper down so it doesn’t move and push a pin into the square corner - it works best on low pile carpet or an old table - don’t ruin your family heirloom or polished floors.

Attach one end of a piece of string to the pin and tie the other end to a pencil near the point. When the pencil is held perfectly vertical, the distance between the pin and the point of the pencil needs to be the length of the longer red line - in my case 43cm.

Making sure the pin and paper don’t move and keeping the string taut, draw a curved line (an arc) with the pencil - this is the bottom of your skirt.

Cut the string shorter and retie to the pencil to the length of the shorter red line - in my case 11.1cm. Draw another arc in the same way - this is the top of your skirt.

It is really important to check the accuracy of these arcs - use a tape measure to measure from the pin to the drawn lines in a number of places - if your pencil doesn’t stay perfectly vertical the line will wobble - resulting in oval waistbands and wonky hems.

Once you are happy with your pattern, cut it out. You won’t need to add any allowances - adding the waistband compensates for length lost in seams and hems.

Fold your fabric into half and then in half again - ironing creases if possible to make sure the folds are precisely square. Place your quarter pattern on the folded fabric, making sure the smaller hole is towards the folded centre of the fabric not the open end.

Move the pattern up or down to line it up so that both the straight lines of the pattern are against the folded edges of the fabric.

Pin and cut along the curved edges of the pattern only - don’t cut along the straight lines.

And there you have it! When you open out your fabric you should have a perfect doughnut.

You may want to check it fits your child before finishing. It should fit over the hips easily - if it is a little too small, refold into quarters following the ironed creases, pin and cut a little off the top of the fabric following the cut line as a guide. If it is a little too big - don’t worry - it will just be more gathered around the waist.  

Simple. Now you need to do to finish it is add an elasticated waistband and hem it. Look out for another post from me soon - where I’ll show you how I finished some of the circular skirts I made.


The Old Button Full Circle Skirt - Radius Ready Reckoner
(all measurements in cm).


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mum - I need a Halloween Costume - for tonight! Ideas for Quick Costumes

Picture of young boy in home made Under the Sea Lobster costumeThey always do it to you don't they? Tell you they want a costume last minute.

And if it's not the kids themselves, it the school - how many of you have had a letter saying "Your child has been chosen to be a Sheep / Alien / Christmas Parcel /Lobster (delete as appropriate) for our School Show. Please can you supply a costume for tomorrow's dress rehearsal."

And yes really, I once had to do an  lobster costume. It was for a dance show routine "Under the Sea" - the girls wore mermaid costumes but the only boy was Sebastian the Lobster.  

Today is the last day for entering the Get Crafty with Creative Connections October Challenge which has a Spooky theme. So if you've made any fabulous Halloween costumes, or if you have got some fantastic spooky themed makes you'd like to share, just follow the link: October Challenge - Spooky (Halloween, Ghosts, Ghouls). Our favourites will be shared on this blog next month and the winner will get a set of Funky Fabric Coasters from The Old Button. 

And if you need need to create a Halloween theme costume really quickly with stuff you may have at home or can find at local supermarket or high street shops, you might find the following ideas helpful:
  • Harry Potter - you can do any of the characters in a school uniform - get your child to draw a Gryffinor (or Ravenclaw etc) badge onto an old white school shirt with felt pen. Add a wand (or a clean stick from the garden). You could run up a quick cloak if you have the time - a rectangle of fabric can be fastened with an old fashioned brooch or button.  And don't forget to draw Harry's scar in eyeliner pencil. And tie up a few old books with string for Hermione and give a "Quidditch" broom to Ron. Or maybe you can make some cardboard Radish earrings (use thin cord elastic or hair bobbles to loop round non pierced ears) and a "Butterbeer" cork necklace for Luna Lovegood.Picture of scowling green faced man in hand made Grinch costume
  • The Grinch - if you have an old Father Christmas outfit and hat, you can use green face paint to create a this really lovable creature!
  • Black Cat - tight black tights or leggings and a long sleeved crew neck tshirt, jumper or old dance leotard. Black furry or cardboard ears sewn or glued onto an old headband. Add a tail made from black fur trim or sew a narrow fabric tube stuffed with cotton wool or old tights.  
  • Or you can adapt this into a Black Bat by swopping the tail for shaped wings cut from black fabric or a thick black bin liner and tacking or safety pinning to the back of neck and the sleeves once the costume is on.
  • Pumpkin - got a big orange t-shirt? And a black sharpie or felt pen? Just draw thin curved lines and then go crazy with blacked out pumpkin designs. Faces, bats, witches - much easier to draw than to carve on a real pumpkin! And you can tie a couple of pillows round the tummy if you want the to show the roundness of the pumpkin.Picture of children wearing light up accessories  
  •  Hunches from Seussical / Crazy Hair Creatures - I used some Crazy Hair with flashing lights to create Hunches for a local production of Seussical. I made huge black bat-wing tunics and the kids wore black leggings.  They also wore flashing gloves and looked brilliant on a black stage.   I bought these flashing assessories on-line but you may be able to find similar in the super market Halloween section or from a fancy dress shop.

Keep an eye out over the next couple of months as we share some more design ideas for costumes as well as lots of other makes, craft tips and tutorials.

Friday, 25 October 2013

September Wedding Challenge Winners

Last month's challenge was all about Weddings. So we challenged you to show us what you can do and we had two fantastic entries.  

Silk Dreamer Cushion by csvernm

This luxurious handmade white silk cushion by csevenm has a lovely phrase embroidered onto it "every great dream begins with a dreamer" and would make a great gift for a newlywed or an engagement. 

This beautiful embroidered wedding envelope from Joan Glen Martin is just stunning. There are lots of little details from the cute girl holding a just married banner to the flower and lace surround.  

Elsie May and Bertha kindly offered some prizes for this challenge - and the Design Team unanimously agreed that both entries were so amazing that we would have two winners. 

So well done csevern - you win the needlecase and pincushion  - and well done Joan - you win the lavender pillow. Either drop us a message on the Get Crafty with Creative Connections Craft Challenge or email Louise on elsiemayandbertha@virginmedia.com.

And don't forget everyone - October's challenge is Spooky (Halloween, Ghosts, Ghouls) so get your amazing entries in now  - you have until the 31st October - just click on this link to find out how to enter.

The makes entered into October's month's challenge will be judged by the Design Team and the top makes will be featured on this blog next month. And there is a prize too - the Old Button is donating some Funky Fabric Coasters.  

Friday, 4 October 2013

Get Crafty with Creative Connection's Monthly Challenge October 2013 - Spooky (Halloween, Ghosts, Ghouls)

Hiya all and welcome to October's Challenge which is all about Halloween and other spooky things.  We would love you to take part - full details on how to enter are at the end of this post - and please share share share to promote the challenge - Twitter, Blog, FaceBook - whatever works for you.

The makes entered into this month's challenge will be judged by the Design Team and our favourites will be featured on this blog next month. And thanks to those who entered September's Wedding theme challenge. It was great to see some gorgeous entries - watch out for a feature on these later this month. 

The nights are getting darker here in the UK and the shops are filled with lots of scary costumes, bags and decorations. While some of these are pretty good, it is great to have something unique, something that appeals to your taste and something that you will love to bring out year after year. 

And as crafters we just love making our own. So it's time to get spooky......... here are what a couple of members from our Design Team have been busy making.....

Just take a look at this fabulous bunting by Louise from Elsa May and Bertha - I just love the autumn colours and the gothic theme. Ravens and bats. Perfect for a bit of grown up decorating for Halloween.

And for the kids - what about these not so scary padded goody bags by Sharon from The Old Button. Cute appliqued felt pictures and embroidered words - perfect for little ones who don't want the blood and gore look.  

So why don't you show us what you've been up to?

So how do you enter -  it is simple - just add your item via the link tool at the bottom of this post.  But check out the rules and guidance first: 

  • This challenge runs until the 31th October 2013, so you can enter at any time during the month.  
  • This challenge is open to all crafters, and all craft business owners, to enter.   
  • You can enter up to two times in any one month.   
  • Please always make new projects, no back linking to previous projects.
  • You can include items you will go on to sell, most of us who are members of Creative Connections sell things so that is not a problem. 
  • You can combine your entry to this challenge with any other challenges that you contribute too.  
  • Please include a link back to this blog and Creative Connections (www.creative-connections.ning.com) when talking about the Get Crafty Challenge on your blogs, or any social media places. Creative Connections is on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  
  • If you want to blog about your challenge items then please do so, please remember to link back to the challenge post and please add your links to the Get Crafty Challenge Group over in Creative Connections, (you need to be a member to do this which is free to join) the group is here for you to add your posts.   
  • If you would like to add the Get Crafty Monthly Challenge badge, you can copy the image from the side of the blog and link it back to www.getcraftywithcc.blogspot.co.uk
We're looking forward to seeing your entries - and there is a prize too - The Old Button is donating some Funky Fabric Coasters.