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Inspiration: DIY Stamps from Erasers

15 Oct

I love stamps, I use them for embellishing both fabric and paper. Although I’m not so much into geometry and repeated pattern, I still find it very interesting to create a stamp that you can use over and over again for a multitude of projects.

You don’t have to buy fancy stamp-making products to create a durable stamp. There is always the option of the potato to make a quick stamp, just like they taught us at school. But there are numerous materials that we can make stamps from, and they can all be found around us in our everyday lives. Erasers are a good example; you can use cheap erasers to create unique stamps. This you can apply to different surfaces; to spruce up your tablecloths, or embellish your wrapped presents, and even personalize your totes.

And as usual, here is some inspiration from Pinterest. I tried making my own eraser stamps; they work great… and I do hope I will have the time to share them with you here in the near future.

Tips: Turning Erasers into quick stamps

Here are some tips…

  • Things you usually need: Eraser, craft knife, and pencil to draw your design on the eraser.
  • Stamps can be used on paper, fabric, walls, and any surface you can think of.
  • What really matters is the color you are using, and whether it is ink, acrylic, fabric colors, or fabric inks. And… the surface’s smoothness or lack of; whether it is porous, textured, smooth, shiny, etc. Experimenting with different color mediums and surfaces always gives you a different result, even if you are using the same stamp.
  • It is important to clean the stamps with soapy water once done with them to be able to work with them on different other projects.
  • You need to be a bit delicate with rubber stamps made from erasers, because they tend to tear, especially if the design is intricate.

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • There are many image-transfer techniques (that I might be posting about soon) to help transfer an image you like unto an eraser. An easy option is, print the image you like in reverse  on regular paper, go over the design with a heavy pencil or piece of charcoal, place the image, face-down, on the eraser, and trace over it with a dull object, so as not to tear the paper.

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • Usually eraser stamps are good for bold designs, like arrows.
  • As shown in two examples here (see one of them below), pencil rubber ends can be used without carving them as stamps. Just use your imagination.

Source: joybx.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • Stamps are really cool to work with on fabric. Just use a good quality fabric-color range that you can later on fix by ironing. It will become washable and permanent, if you follow the instructions on the can.

I have used stamps to change the look of so many things. You don’t need to create a repeated pattern or a geometrical one, sometimes one stamped shape onto the corner of your tote, or in the middle of your T-Shirt, will be quite enough to breathe in new life to it.

Happy stampin’ :)

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An Alternative Marketing Approach: The Importance of Intention in Making Our Craft

11 Oct

Intention & Handmade Products

The secret behind a successful handmade jewelry or crafts item, artwork, or design, is a well-perfected intention, and a great amount of curiosity and love. This, I believe, is the reason why some of my work gets sold, and some items stay unsold no matter how I lower the price or re-package the product.

Intention, I believe, is the secret ingredient behind everything in life. Intention, not the one we convince our selves we have, but the actual innermost motivation that makes us nice to people, sociable, active, or none, is what really matters.

I have had around two years to witness and measure the influence of intention on marketing my handmade products and designs.

I will tell you one thing that is a solid truth, discovered during endless hours spent at craft-shows: People buy the items I most love. The products that I made as “replicas” – of pieces I first made with love, curiosity, a sense of adventure, and an open-mind – barely made it into a customer’s handbag!

All my “firsts” got sold, while many unloved replicas, are still stuck with me here in a box, a drawer or a craft-show display unit.

In the middle of noticing how intention affected the way people and customers were attracted to my products, I started realizing all my favorite pieces are getting sold, and I am getting stuck with the “replicas,” the soulless ones, the pieces I made while I was imitating the “mother” piece, the first-born baby, the handmade item I made with great love, and care.

Those first pieces were full of soul because I was shaping them for the very first time, entering the realm of “creativity,” and taking great care in choosing the beads, the colours, the form.

The replicas, however, are pieces that I made with no sense of adventure, with a little bit of boredom looming over my head,  an obvious lack of enthusiasm, and most importantly, were made in a factory-like mode!

What did I do when I realized my favorite pieces are almost gone? I started hiding them; grounding them and not taking them to the first day of the craft show I was participating in. My sales would suffer… so next day I bring some of my favorite pieces and mix them up with other pieces, and lo and behold, they get sold almost instantly!

There is a particular ring I loved so much, but I didn’t think it suited the market I was selling it to. Guess what? It’s gone, although it’s quite eclectic, and the people over here love a uniform, mainstream kind of style. But it got sold, and people started asking for similar eclectic rings; people who didn’t look like they would ever sport a ring that looked absolutely out-of-the norm. And I sold in huge numbers, because each ring was made with a great sense of curiosity, each one was an experiment on its own, no replicas, no boredom, but a heightened sense of curiosity, with a big pinch of love. I have sold all the “good” rings. Each one of them.

Did you know that “factories,” especially those producing accessories and apparel, mobilized machinery for only certain parts of the process, while the rest of the work gets done by people? Which means it’s partly handmade, yet, these products do not carry the glory and the vibe of a handmade item made by an individual, creating his/her products in a factory-less setting.

This means, every-time I entered a factory-like mode, the items I made by hand, did lose part of their soul. They were never attractive to buyers, although, they looked exactly the same as the “mother” item I made, and which got instantly sold.

An Alternative Marketing Approach: Sincerity sells!

Intention, is this covert motive that we hide behind our words, artwork, lifestyle, and even the way we dress. Even when we are vocal about what we think, or want other people to believe, is our intention, still this doesn’t mean that our innermost is necessarily on the same page. An example: A man who acts humble, only his intention is not the true nature of humility, but to impress people and attract flattery.

Another example: An artist who paints with the intention of scoring fame, while using his/her God-given talent for this mere purpose, and not for the higher purpose of actually journeying through the endless realms of art and self-discovery… for art that does not involve self-discovery, and a real search for answers, and a mechanism of change, is probably a form of artistic hypocrisy.

I have fallen into the traps of false intention so many a-times. And have grown to actually hate the very product of my hand that I created with a false intention.

This, people, feel

Customers’ eyes immediately wander towards the “good” items, the loved items… while no matter how hard I try to sell them a truly gorgeous earring, they will not buy the one I’m holding, they will buy the “original” piece or design I created first.

The most important and challenging lesson that I learned ever since I started my crafting journey is how to “perfect” my intention, before actually perfecting the handmade item I was working on.

I started asking myself questions like:

“Why am I working on this?”

“Am I waiting for applause from an audience, or am I working on this out of pure love?”

“Am I motivated? Do I feel like doing this, or am I just ‘finishing’ work like a factory?”

I realized, over the course of time, that handmade work, a painting or a design, are “deeds.” There are “good” deeds, and there are “bad” deeds.

Good deeds come from a place of love.

Bad deeds come from a place polluted with insincerity. When I switch to a factory mode and create pieces just to “finish” the work, I am being insincere. Whereas when I am putting all my attention, enthusiasm, and commitment into my work, I am positively being sincere.

And sincerity sells, exactly because we didn’t have the intention of selling when we made the ring, the painting, the design, or the article.

When we don’t have the intention to impress, to sell, to convince, and concentrate only on the process of creativity, we bring to life a product that stands out, attracts, and can sometimes become legendary.

I have seen many artists who worked so hard at getting famous, wearing certain clothes to accentuate the fact they were artists, wrapping themselves in suffering to deserve the title, artist, yet they never make it past the limited circle of like-minded artists and sufferers. Why? It’s insincerity.

On the other hand, you see artists who become eternal legends. Why? They were busy making art, they had no time cultivating fame. And for that very reason, their work became immortalized.

To work within sincerity, every day, on every item, one needs to cultivate an inner observer that knows when things are getting spoiled by other intentions and thoughts.

I pray that I would reach a level of sincerity in every item I create, and that my deeds, whether as handmade products, paintings or designs, will be “good” deeds, fueled with love, sincerity and commitment.

Buy my indie pillows at UK-based Ohh Deer’s online shop

9 Oct

I have great news to share with you today…

My pillows are being sold at Ohh Deer up until October 29. So grab your Paypals and come shop for some botanical pillow love!

Check these two links to take you directly to the pillows:

The image on the pillows is originally hand-painted. I used water-colour, acrylic, and ink over old book pages to create the look.

The pillows are Vegan and made with a super soft faux suede and come complete with the fibre insert. They’re completely machine washable at 30°c and hand made In UK. The cushion has a stone coloured back cover – and zip fastening. They measure 43 x 43cm a smashing size! They cost £25 each.

This is my first online sale ever. I have been active in craft shows, but kept on postponing taking the online plunge. So, I’m really excited about this! The pillows are a limited edition and are being sold for a limited time: 3 weeks starting yesterday. So, don’t miss out on this special sale!

Happy shopping, all :)

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My 2 cushions at Ohh Deer’s ‘Pillow Fight’ competition

15 Sep

I have two cushions taking part in a cool competition called Pillow Fight. The authors of this idea are none other than Ohh Deer, an absolutely inspiring & intelligent British online/offline shop that sells quirky illustrated gifts, from pillows to T-shirts, and, in between, gift cards and stationary.

First, I’ll talk about my cushions, then a little bit about Ohh Deer.

A personal cushion story

  • This cushion is called: Nature v.s. Psycho-analysis. You can click here to see the pillow and to read the brief I wrote about it.

Technique-wise, this pillow “carries a photographed image of one of my hand illustrations using watercolor and acrylic,” and I forgot to mention, ink. So… a bit of recycling went into this pillow’s original illustration.

I’m not going to copy-paste the full brief, but I will quote myself  with: “This year, I started making botanical illustrations over yellowed book pages from my large library of New Age books. This is to celebrate the triumph of simplicity, and the return to nature, over complexity…  In other words, this pillow carries an intentional twist, where the botanicals signify the triumph of nature over 21st century melancholy.”

  • This cushion, below, is called: Triumph of Nature over Psycho-analysis. You can click here to see the pillow on Ohh Deer, and to read the brief.

This pillow is basically about: “Return to nature and you’ll find happiness.” Love the way the paper grain is showing around the psychoanalysis type and the watercolor/acrylic/ink illustration.

About Ohh Deer

Ohh Deer is about “Quirky Illustrated Gifts,” illustration and photography that can be so cute at times and outright vulgar, at others. This is basically what stuck in my head from the brief I read on their About Us page.

Here’s a quirky example from their online store, a card dubbed Emotional Baggage by Gemma Correll, followed by 2 Pillow Fight competition entries; the first one is called: Audio Cassette – By Simon Pilkington… and… The pillow called: Huntress – by Sandra Dieckmann:

To view some of my favorite designs and pillows from Pillow Fight & Ohh Deer’s collection, visit my Pinterest boards:
  1. Artisan’s Scrapb◎◎k
  2. Pillows.Cushions

Ohh Deer Blog…  & Pillow Fight

If you visit Ohh Deer’s blog, you will find delightful surprises. My most favorite post, so far, is called “Something a Little Different.” It comes with images from a recent Ohh Deer booklet design that carries their concept, a concept of growing together and being a role model for others once we have matured ourselves. So beautiful!

This is exactly how Ohh Deer runs their endeavor, it takes care of you as an artist, and you take care of them, in the spirit of love. They offer you 25% of purchases from your artwork –  once you have won the competition and became part of their contributing team. But before that they do promote you on their website just by entering their competition.

As for Pillow Fight, the deadline is September 25, so if you are interested, please click here to read the specifications and to enter! Good luck!

I learnt about this competition through fellow WordPress blogger, “London Drawings.” Please visit this lovely illustrator’s post where you can find 4 pillow designs by merchesico. Here’s a lovely example:

DIY | Mini Canvas & Chalkboard Stand {From Popsicle Sticks}

12 Sep

Popsicle sticks are made from trees; it’s such a huge waste to throw them away! What to do with them? They’re fragile and you can’t do something serious with them… unless it’s a miniature, like a mini stand for your cute little drawings, or handmade chalkboard signs to be used at craft shows.

Materials needed:

  • 4 Popsicle sticks
  • 2 Tooth picks
  • White glue – I used Bic White Glue
  • Craft knife or X-acto knife
  • Cutting mat or cardboard to protect your work surface
  • Some book pages to cover the cracks on the Popsicle sticks

How-to:

  • I initially wanted to create little holes in 3 popsicle sticks to insert a toothpick – to bind the three “feet” and to keep them free to fold and move. The Popsicle sticks cracked but did not break, so I inserted the top toothpick where the wood cracked… and quickly added a generous amount of wood glue to fix it in place and to prevent the three feet from breaking. It took some patience to engineer the tripod and balance the “feet.” The rear “foot” can swing back and forth if you want it to, and it’s safe to do so since the model is well glued and the paper strips kind of toughen up the miniature stand.
  • I glued the “shelf” on by adding a huge amount of wood glue. I decoupaged some strips of paper that came from an old book using a lot of white glue. This worked perfectly as extra support and as a decorative touch to hide the cracked wood.
  • I then added an extra tooth pick at the base of the mini “shelf” for extra support, again by applying a lot of glue.
  • One thing to remember though, you need to let the glue dry a bit before you move into the next step or the whole thing will fall apart. Patience is a virtue :  – )

This mini stand actually has a function other than being utterly cute and adorable:

You can use it in craft shows to place your brand name on it… or, if you make a few more stands, you can place cute little chalkboard signs on them to identify your craft work, homemade cookies, or handmade jewelry (bracelets, rings, earrings, etc). You can also display your miniature canvas (or cardboard) drawings and paintings with this stand. In your kitchen or dining room, if you have a corner for homemade olives and oils, sandwiches, cookies… you can place this stand with a sign that tells your dear ones “yummy things are served here.”

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little-chalkboard-thumbtacks-3-by-karboojeh-handmade

DIY Table-setting Placemat | Pompom | Handpainted Floral & Botanical Design

6 Sep

I have a special thing for placemats. They can be made by hand, that’s one of their major attractions. And you can customize them to look exactly the way you want them to. You only need some basic sewing skills, some fabric colors, and a bit of imagination.

I have been dreaming about making my own placemats for quite some time, really. Recently I felt I was ready to make them since my sewing skills became a tad-bit better than they used to be.

The ingredients for making these cute placemats are:

  • Cotton fabric
  • Pom-pom trim, and individual pompom balls
  • Fabric paint and markers (I actually used more than one brand, but they all have pretty much the same ironing, and laundering instructions)
  • Sewing machine with the ability to sew a straight line
  • Flatware to trace around

I started by sewing the hems with the pompoms at one go.

Then I freehanded the word “eat” on a paper with pencil, while keeping in mind I wanted it to look like the vintage American Pop font.

I then traced the word on both placemats after taking measurements and centering it, also with pencil I used a basic image transfer technique using charcoal, for more ideas go here). I used the round lid of some cookie canister to trace the plate shapes. I then got me a real spoon and fork and traced around them (with pencil), that’s how I got the fltawre shapes. Once I was done with the basic outlines, I used a black fabric marker to outline them again, then I painted and sketched flowers and herbs to fill the plates.

The inspiration for making this specific design came from different places, which all have one thing in common: A vintage feel.

Inspiration: Table-setting placemats

I found a few table-setting placemats that I really liked. Here are a few ideas. The one above is so lovely, it has a vintage French feel, while the one below is a bit whimsical, especially that lace was used to create the place-setting utensils and plate shapes. So, if you don’t want to invest in fabric paint, you can simply applique the shapes.

Or you can use your basic embroidery skills to create this beautiful and simple placemat by Yellow Spool.

Source: u-createcrafts.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

And of course, you can always upcycle a jean pocket to create a one-of-a-kind placemat.

Source: todaysnest.typepad.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

You can actually use the pocket on its own, like this one below. All you need is cut the jean, then place the flatware inside for a cool table arrangement.

Source: bhg.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Here is another pocket placemat idea…

Source: bhg.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

And, finally, a cute picnic placemat with multi utinsil pockets.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. If you have any interesting placemat ideas, or, better still, if you have made your own placemats, please do share your link in the comments section below. Take care for now… K

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A glimpse into my atelier

9 Aug

I have been patiently tidying up – & crafting – my work space. I finally got around to put together a nice mood corner & desk. Here is a little glimpse.

I see myself as organizationally-challenged, but I am slowly & very patiently learning how to put everything in its place. You have no idea what this used to look like… and, em, no, I don’t think sharing a “before” photo is a good idea (ehem)… believe me,  imagine the worst ciaos and that would be “it”  –   hehe!

The challenge in putting together this atelier is that almost everything is handmade, and so it took some time to finish creating. The handmade items are:

  • Mood board (right): I used burlap, which I glued (using glue gun) on a piece of cardboard, and added the ribbon. At the bottom I stuck a piece of cork behind the ribbons.
  • Chicken wire mood board (left): I basically rolled some chicken wire around an old canvas frame, that I actually had since school. I didn’t staple or glue anything, just scrunched it round the frame.

  • Thumbtacks: Made those using several materials… including coins. Added a dab of E6000 to plain tacks and glued on some coins, plastic things from broken things, a bear’s face…
  • Chicken-wire lampshade, which I shared in a previous post right here.
  • Other handmade items are: White wire basket (for the pencils) and a mini wire-sculpted chair. Mini Chalkboard and chalkboard stand (a tutorial is on it’s way, hopefully!). Mini wire birdcage. Hand-painted tins (the ones under the lamp). Handmade flower magnets (using corn flour dough). Cement votive (it’s next to the tins, which are under the lamp). The botanical watercolor sketches are also mine. And other stuff.
  • Handmade bunting: Recycling old fliers I had into rectangle bunting, and there’s the mini paper flower garland, too.

So basically a bit of recycling, painting, and re-styling, went into there. What helped to tie the whole look together is the neutral shades of burlap, wood, and cork. As for the theme,  I went for a bit of British-chic in celebration of the Olympics.

Please do share links to your mood-boards, ateliers, or craft rooms if you feel like it.

Have a lovely day

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Inspiration: The Laura Ashley floral fever

5 Aug

Source: flickr.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

When I was a teenager (a few years ago, hehehe), I grew up with a few Laura Ashley skirts and floral accessories, and up until this day I continue to associate pretty pastel florals to this wonderful brand. Florals are now witnessing a big come back thanks to the school of ‘vintage-chic,’ which is celebrating everything beautiful my generation has seen the last drops of. We’ve been through the ‘ugly’ eighties, but we’ve captured the last offerings of the glorious 70’s, and florals seem to have managed to make their way into our lives up until the early 90’s.

The above pic shows a few Laura Ashley floral fabrics. They go together so well, although the motifs are different.

Below is a vintage-style bedroom with a country, yet contemporary, twist. The chest of drawers is from Laura Ashley as well as the vintage-style floral patterned accessories.

For more Laura Ashley accessories, I picked this floral mug  for you…

The vintage-chic style is probably the most among other trends that is celebrating florals in a big way. Vintage-chic stylists and bloggers are showing us ways to mix and match, and stack up on  florals upon florals in one location, in one room, which is exactly what I am liking recently. Look at this…

Source: flickr.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Source: poppytalk.blogspot.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Florals, which are a staple of the British aesthetic and the prairie trend, have also seen a come back into fashion lately. Belts and little floral details have appeared in this year’s spring/summer clothes and accessories.

Another brand name that celebrates full throttle florals is  Cath Kidston, whose take on florals is a bit different than the classic Laura Ashley line, but all the same I love them both (I did mention this earlier in a previous post). Here is an example of Kidston’s accessories.

I also found florals from other brands,  such as this mug, which ultimately reminds us of Laura Ashley’s style.

Finally, this is my biggest floral crush… vintage floral cards. Yum.

And this one here….

Source: umla.tumblr.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Ok, then, I’ll leave you with a flowery and sunny day, hopefully, and see you next time,

K

DIY Prettier Magazine Files

30 Jul

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In the spirit of continuing the theme of pretty organizing, I noticed that when I place things in beautiful containers and storage solutions, they get an instant promotion around the craft room: From being a merely functional “thing” to a piece of “love” that you want to place in a prime location.

In this DIY, I basically upgraded 3 magazine files by attempting a wall-paper look. This is inspired by the lovely bird magazine files that are at the bottom of this post, and which I mentioned previously.

This is how these poor black files got their promotion up into a much nicer shelf at my workspace. The files are a bit unsteady since they are old, and I did stack up more magazines than they could hold, so they are puffy at the edges.

I had a difficult time deciding whether to decoupage the files or paint them. I had some nice damask wall-paper, but it looked too patterned, too well-finished for the look I was looking for.

So I decided to use:

  • Acrylic paint (white, pink, green)
  • Foam stamp (Motif: Grapes)
  • Brush

Method:

  1. I started by free-handing the shape of a pink bird, as if perched on a branch. I found an illustration of a bird and placed it in-front of me to help me keep the proportions right while I painted. I decided to paint the bird on two magazine files (I just had to hold them real tight as I sketched the shape). This is so that the final image would give the impression of a whole big painting that was cut into 3 parts (just like the original wall-paper idea was).
  2. I stamped the grapes around the bird arbitrarily after dabbing acrylic colors on the foam stamp (pink on the grapes, green on the leaves), but the lines were too thin, so I decided to take advantage of this and add a vintage-y touch by dabbing paint here and there, on the leaves, around the grapes themselves, and around the bird.
  3. I touched up some areas with light pink or white to hide mistakes.

The inspiration

Yes, here it is… the beautiful inspiration that got me thinkin’ about changing the look of my files.

The design of the files in the above pic is by British stylist Marie Nichols, whose blog  is so inspiring.

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