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Tips & Tools – My Favorite Scissors

If I was only allowed to have a single pair of scissors, this is the pair I would choose. My friend and fellow bookbinder, Melody, gave me these scissors about 15 years ago. They have been my favorite scissors ever since.

If I could only have one pair of scissors, these little ones would be the ones I would pick.

If I could only have one pair of scissors, these little ones would be the ones I would pick.

I have had people ask me what scissors they were, but I only knew they were Friskars. This past week, however, I found their original packaging. I had put it in a file folder to save it because I thought so much of the scissors. Now I can finally tell you the name of these wonderful scissors. They are Friskars No. 5 Softgrip Micro-Tip Scissors.

My scissors are over 15 years old, but they are still my "go to" scissors when I'm working with paper. Here is the original packaging.

My scissors are over 15 years old, but they are still my “go to” scissors when I’m working with paper. Here is the original packaging.

I’ve used these scissors a lot and have not yet needed to have them sharpened. I’m sure they’re overdue, but they still work just fine.

Happy paper cutting, Candy

DIY – Red, White & Blue Paper Stars

In Ashland, Oregon, where I live, the 4th of July is a major holiday. We have an old fashioned parade and lots and lots of people come to see it. In fact, there are usually more people watching the parade than there are permanent residents in Ashland. So decorating in red, white and blue is simply something I always do this time of year.

Paper red, white and blue paper stars make a great table decoration for my 4th of July table.

Red, white and blue paper stars make a great table decoration for my 4th of July table.

I have a box filled with seasonal decorations that has lots of red, white and blue decorations in it. Each year I try to come up with something new to add to it. This year it’s paper stars. I made some metallic paper stars for the holidays (see DIY Three Dimensional Paper Star). They came out great, but they did take a fair amount of time to make. For these red, white and blue paper stars, I decided to simplify the process.

These paper stars are easy to make. Cut, score and fold.

These paper stars are easy to make. Cut, score and fold.

Instructions:

  1. Cut out a 5 pointed star. Score the 5 lines that go from a point in the star to the opposite side of the star. Figure 1 above shows where the score lines go on the star.
  2. Figure 2 shows the cut out star with score lines. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the score lines are there.
  3. Fold each of the lines you have scored, as in Figure 3 above.
  4. After the initial folds are made, they will all be “mountain folds.” Now make the folds from the center to the shortest side of the star into valley folds by pushing them down as in Figure 4 above. If you need help with understanding scoring and mountain and valley folds, see my blog post: Understanding Paper Grain Direction.
The finished paper star.

The finished paper star.

I made my stars in a variety of sizes. I think the variety makes a great presentation. Use these stars for table decorations or for just place around the house for a festive effect.

I have these red, white and blue paper stars on my entry table. I like to change what I put there with the changing seasons.

I have these red, white and blue paper stars on my entry table. I like to change what I put there with the changing seasons.

I have included a PDF template of stars in 3 sizes. You may use this for cutting out your stars.
Template: Stars in 3 sizes

Enjoy, Candy

Art On The Go! – Tea Bag Folding

Another trip this past week in Josie, our new-to-us camper, gave me a little more experience in organizing and making art while traveling. With limited space, I had to pick my project carefully and decide what to take on this trip. For this trip it was cutting and folding tea bag wrappers.

This tea bag rosette was made from 8 tea bag wrappers like the one in the photo above.

This tea bag rosette was made from 8 tea bag wrappers like the one in the photo above.

My friends have been graciously saving and giving me their tea bag wrappers for a number of months and I have amassed a rather large number of them. I decided to take a stack of the tea bag wrappers with me and cut them into 2″ squares as well as start folding them into rosettes. I wanted to try a new fold I had found and see how it looked when folded.

I have great friends who have saved their tea bag wrappers for me. I now have a great treasure trove of many varieties of tea, many I never new of before.

I have great friends who have saved their tea bag wrappers for me. I now have a great treasure trove of many varieties of tea, many of which I never new about.

This trip was easy to pack for because I didn’t need to do any prep work other than gathering the supplies and putting them in the van. I just packed a small cutter, some tea bag wrappers, the new instructions I had just found and a little glue. It all fit in one small bag.

This is the portable cutter I took with me. It was easy to cut 2" squares from tea bag wrappers.

This is the portable cutter I took with me. It was easy to cut 2″ squares from tea bag wrappers.

I enjoyed playing with the tea bags and the new fold. What I found was that cutting and both folding use similar muscle groups. For future trips, I’d like to include more variety in what I take with me to work on while traveling.

This photo shows the original tea bag wrapper and how it looks cut into a 2" square along with a sample of the completed rosette that is made of 8 of the 2" squares.

This photo shows the original tea bag wrapper and how it looks cut into a 2″ square along with the completed rosette  made of 8 of the 2″ squares.

It’s going to take lots more trips to get through all my tea bag wrappers. I have some ideas I want to try out along with different folds and color combinations.

I didn't know there were this many different Stash teas. I love all the different colors of the wrappers. I can see a rainbow in my future.

I didn’t know there were this many different Stash teas. I love all the different colors of the wrappers. I see a rainbow in the future.

For more information about tea bag folding (including links to instructions) see my blog post: DIY – Tea Bag Folding & Paper Origami Rosettes

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – Father’s Day Napkin Tie

When I found instructions for folding a napkin into a tie on the Chinet website, I knew I had to make some for Father’s Day. Here’s a link to the instructions: PDF Father’s Day Necktie Napkin Fold Instructions by Chinet.

This tie is folded from a napkin. It's perfect for Father's Day.

This tie is folded from a paper napkin. It’s a perfect addition to a Father’s Day meal. The pinstripes were added with a white pen.

I normally use cloth napkins, but with a little rummaging through some Christmas boxes, I found some red paper napkins. I decided they would work perfectly if I added a little pinstriping. So, with the help of a ruler and a white pen, I made white pinstripes on my red paper napkins. The paper did absorb the white ink, so I had to go over each stripe a few times. Labor intensive, but this is for my dad who doesn’t want gifts, so I think of it as a labor of love.

I started with a red paper napkin and used a white pen to make pinstripes for the soon-to-be tie.

I started with a red paper napkin (right) and used a white pen to make pinstripes for the soon-to-be tie (left).

I followed the instructions pretty well, but not quite exactly. Here is how I folded my tie.

This is what my tie looked like after the first folds.

This is what my tie looked like after the first folds.

To make my tie look crisp, I decided I needed to iron it after each set of folds. It really did the trick.

My Father's Day tie after the second set of folds. I used a single Zot to hold the tie together.

My Father’s Day tie after the second set of folds. I used a single Zot to hold the tie together.

In addition to ironing, I decided to glue the tie where the two folds come together on the back. One little Zot did the trick. I think double sided tape would work well too. I like using Zots because these are removable and will make it easy to unfold the napkin and use it as such.

The "knot" on the top is perfect for slipping silverware through.

The “knot” on the top is perfect for slipping silverware through.

After winding the “knot” around, I attached another little Zot on the back to hold the knot in place. Then I slipped a fork and spoon through the loop that was created by the knot.

Link to Chinet’s instructions: PDF Father’s Day Necktie Napkin Fold Instructions by Chinet.

Wishing you all a Happy Father’s Day, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Boxes With Chocolate For Father’s Day

The first half of my week was working on Origami Mandalas (see Art On The Go! – Making Origami Mandalas). The last half of the week was spent thinking about Father’s Day. Do you realize, it’s less than a week away?

Chocolate in their own boxes for Gary, Nelson, Bob & Warren for Father's Day.

Chocolate in their own boxes for Gary, Nelson, Bob & Warren for Father’s Day.

My father has made it difficult for me, again, by requesting no gifts. He says he doesn’t have room to store more “stuff.” I get that, but it’s hard for me not to get him something for Father’s Day.

I figure I can get away with giving him some chocolate. That’s edible and won’t take up space once it’s eaten. Dagoba Taster Squares are perfect since they are like individual small bites. They can be easily saved (or eaten immediately).

I made each box in the favorite color of the recipient.

I made each box in the favorite color of the recipient.

Since my dad and I we will be with 3 other fathers on Father’s Day, I decided to make 4 boxes, one for each of the fathers and fill them with Dagoba Taster Squares.

You can download the template for making these boxes from my blog post: DIY – Truffle Box. I also show how to close the box once it is made.

Happy Father’s Day, Candy

Art On The Go! – Origami Mandalas

This past week I received an order for a number of Origami Mandalas. I also have sold a number of them from my studio. So, on my 4 day camping trip this week, I decided to try making Origami Mandalas in our new-to-us little RV while traveling and camping. (See Josie’s Story – Introducing Art On The Go! for details on our new-to-us little RV.)

I was able to fold a lot papers for Origami Mandalas on my latest camping trip.

I was able to fold a lot papers for Origami Mandalas on my latest camping trip. The key was having the papers cut and ready to be folded. Not much space is needed to fold.

My origami mandalas are made from paper scraps that are 1″ by 4″. Even after using paper scraps for the paper wrapped pencils I made last week, I still had enough smaller scraps left to make quite a few origami mandalas.

Here I'm working on deciding color combinations for the Origami Mandalas.

Here I’m working on deciding color combinations for the Origami Mandalas.

I cut the papers for the origami mandalas and took them with me on our 4 day camping trip. I folded every day. What I discovered was that I need to have varied tasks and not just fold all the time. My muscles got tired easily when I was only doing folding. When I started doing other things, like sketching or gluing, I could work longer than when I was just folding. I think this is because at home I’m getting interrupted a lot more and move around more than when I’m traveling in a tiny space.

For some reason I am drawn to the color green for healing, as in this Origami Mandala.

For some reason I am drawn to the color green for healing, as in this Origami Mandala.

For my next trip, I will take more of a variety of projects with me. I will include some folding, but I’ll also have other projects that use other muscles. Our van is quite small and I don’t move around in it as much as I do at home, so I’m going to have to consider that when picking what to take with me.

I'm drawn to the color blue for dreaming, as in this Origami Mandala.

I’m drawn to the color blue for dreaming, as in this Origami Mandala.

Storage is at a premium, so planning ahead is essential. While I plan on taking multiple projects, what I do take has to take up as little space as possible.

Another green for healing in this Origami Mandala.

Another green for healing in this Origami Mandala.

One of my projects for this next week is to make a list of the things I do on a regular basis that might be appropriate to take with me when traveling. I’m going to include everything from parts of projects to entire projects. I’m thinking that most will require prep work before I go, much like the cutting of the 1″ by 4″ strips for folding my Origami Mandalas did for this trip.

Blue again for this dream Origami Mandala.

Blue again for this dream Origami Mandala.

For links to instructions to make Origami Mandalas and other rosette and mandala folds see my blog post: DIY – Tea Bag Folding & Paper Origami Rosettes.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Square Paper Envelopes From Magazines & Catalogs

There is a monthly First Friday Art Walk in Ashland, Oregon where I have my studio at the Ashland Art Center. During the Art Walk I usually demonstrate a paper project to those who visit my studio. Last Friday I demonstrated how to make square envelopes from paper circles. I originally made my square circles from gift bags. (See the link to my blog post with instructions at the end of this article.) This time I tried a magazine, a woman’s clothing catalog and an old gallery guide.

Square Paper envelopes made from a catalog, magazine and an old gallery guide.

Square Paper envelopes made from a catalog, magazine and an old gallery guide.

The paper was lighter weight than the gift bags, but the envelopes came out wonderfully. What I like the best about these envelopes is how colorful they are. And those of you who follow my blog know how much I like color!

Two envelopes made from this National Geographic magazine.

Two envelopes made from this National Geographic magazine.

I love the photos in the National Geographic magazine, but their magazine pages are too small to make most envelopes. Not so when you only need circles. With their abundance of double page spreads, I was able to get quite a number of gorgeous envelopes. I was able to get two circles per page using a CD as my template.

This photo shows a number of double spreads from the National Geographic magazine that became envelopes like the square envelope on the lower left that was made from a woman's clothing catalog.

This photo shows a number of double spreads from the National Geographic magazine that became envelopes like the square envelope on the lower left that was made from a woman’s clothing catalog.

I also had an old gallery guide that I cut many circles from. Then I arranged them by color or mood and made a number of  envelopes.

My favorite envelope, frozen fowers.

My favorite envelope, frozen flowers.

Here is the link to the instructions to make these envelopes: DIY – Square Envelopes Made From Paper Circles

HINT:
With the lighter weight paper I found glue stick to be my preferred glue. The liquid glue made the paper wrinkle a bit.

Enjoy, Candy

Tips & Tools – Organizing Tombow Brush Pens

I use Tombow brush pens a lot for quick, colorful pointed brush calligraphy. There are a number of different brush pens on the market, but where I live, Tombow has the largest variety of colors.

My spreadsheet helps me organize my Tombow Brush Pens.

My spreadsheet helps me organize my Tombow Brush Pens.

I was constantly buying colors of pens I already had until I came up with a way to organize my brush pens. Each color has a three digit number. I entered the numbers on a spreadsheet and told the spreadsheet to organize the numbers in ascending order. Voila! I have a list of colors in numerical order that I keep in my purse.

I not only keep track of my Tombow Brush Pens on my spreadsheet, I also write the color combinations I use on sample sheets.

I not only keep track of my Tombow Brush Pens on my spreadsheet, I also write the color combinations I use on sample sheets.

When I go to the craft store I can add another color or two that I don’t have. I just look at the number on the pen and can see immediately if I already have that color. That’s exactly what I did yesterday when I purchased some more brush pens. To help me even further, I have brushed the color next to each of the numbers on my spreadsheet. This helps me see which colors I may be wanting to add. I’m thinking blues for my next shopping trip.

It's now easier for me to repeat colors that I like together. My sample sheets are a big time saver.

It’s now easier for me to repeat colors that I like together. My sample sheets are a big time saver.

I also have started writing sample color combinations. Next to the calligraphy sample, I write the number of the pens I have used. Now I don’t have to wonder which colors I used to get the effect I want. It has saved me a lot of time.

Organizing my Tombow Brush Pens has saved me a lot of time.

Organizing my Tombow Brush Pens has saved me a lot of time.

Organizing doesn’t come naturally to me, but I sure appreciate the results. I find I work better in an organized environment, so I struggle to find ways to organize my environment and my art supplies. I so appreciate being able to have a quick look to decide which colors to use for a project.

I love having a quick reference guide to my colors.

I love having a quick reference guide to my colors.

I will be writing names for a fund raiser later this year. I will be using my sample color sheets for people to pick their colors. It will allow me to spend more time writing and less time trying to figure out color combinations.

Organizing doesn't come easy for me, but I do like the results.

Organizing doesn’t come easy for me, but I do like the results.

Happy Organizing, Candy

Studio Snapshot – More Paper Wrapped Pencils

Most of this past week was devoted to making a huge batch of paper wrapped pencils. I only had 4 sets of pencils in my studio and The Rogue Gallery was almost out as well.

These are some of the over 150 pencils I wrapped in paper this past week.

These are some of the over 150 pencils I wrapped in paper this past week.

I was obviously overdue for a long session with paper, matte medium, paper scraps, sand paper, naked pencils and rafia. I say naked pencils because I use pencils that haven’t been painted. It’s easier for the paper to stick to unpainted pencils. It makes for a lot less sanding. I like anything that makes my job easier.

I use paper scraps to wrap my pencils whenever possible. These pencils were wrapped in Thai Momi paper that was left over from making a wreath.

I use paper scraps to wrap my pencils whenever possible. These pencils were wrapped in Thai Momi paper that was left over from making a wreath.

The above photo shows a left over scrap from when I made my Thanksgiving Paper Leaves Wreath. Note that the paper on the pencils looks a bit darker. That’s the effect of the matte medium I use on the paper to seal it. I seal my paper wrapped pencils with two coats of matte medium. It protects the paper and it also protects fingers from getting any color offset from the paper.

I like wrapping my pencils with rafia. The rafia is left over from a basket project I did many years ago.

I like wrapping my pencils with rafia. The rafia is left over from a basket project I did many years ago.

I try and reuse art (and non-art) items as much as possible. The rafia I use to tie my paper wrapped pencils together is from a long ago basket project. I knew the rafia would come in useful again, so I kept it. I do try and give away as much as I can that I don’t think will ever be useful to me again.

The paper for these paper wrapped pencils were left overs from making paper lotus flowers like the one in the center.

The paper for these paper wrapped pencils were left overs from making paper lotus flowers like the one in the center of this photo.

Many of my paper scraps come from end cuts from making my paper lotus flowers. Sometimes people will buy a lotus flower and a matching set of pencils for a gift.

My two most popular paper wrapped pencils.

My two most popular paper wrapped pencils.

My two most popular paper wrapped pencils are the crossword pencils and the music pencils. It was the crossword pencils that started me on the journey to making paper wrapped pencils. I made them as a gift for my dad the year he requested I not get him anything for Christmas. Since he loved doing crossword puzzles, I made these for him. He loved them and forgave me for giving him a Christmas gift.

These pencils were wrapped with chiyogami papers.

These pencils were wrapped with chiyogami papers.

If you are interested in making paper wrapped pencils, I have instructions on my blog post DIY Paper Wrapped Pencils.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – Pinwheel Fold Card

My most popular DIY from last year has been my Pinwheel Fold Card. I decided to repeat it. I originally found a photo on the internet of this card, but no instructions, so I created my own version. The card looked like a pinwheel, so I called it a Pinwheel Fold Card.

One Pinwheel Fold Card open and one closed.

One Pinwheel Fold Card open and one closed.

After I made the card, I decided to google “pinwheel fold card” and found out that other people have made the card and called it the same name. I even found instructions on how to make them on YouTube. My instructions, however, are a bit different from those on YouTube. My instructions allow you to make this card using any size square. My instructions also doesn’t require straight and diagonal folding boards. Once you have made your first one, you realize that they’re really quite deceasy to make.

I made my Pinwheel Fold cards in two different sizes.

I made my Pinwheel Fold Cards in two different sizes.

The basic concept of this card is that there is an inside square and an outside square. The length of the side of the inside square is half the length of the outside square. If the outside square is 8 inches, then the inside square is 4 inches.

Here are the papers I am using to make a Pinwheel Fold Card.

Here are the papers I used to make my Pinwheel Fold Card.

I started with 2 text weight 8 inch squares of paper,  a card stock 4 inch square in gold and a 3.5 inch square with the card message on it. You can see my choice of colors and patterns above. Using two coordinating patterns would work nicely too.

Here are the steps I went through to make my Pinwheel Fold Card.

Here are the steps I went through to make my Pinwheel Fold Card.

Instructions:

  1. Using either a glue stick or double sided tape, glue the two 8″ squares together in the center only. In order to let the papers bend without buckling, make sure the gluing is only in the center of the two squares and doesn’t extend out to where you will be folding (see figure 1 above).
  2. With a pencil, mark with a line the middle of the length and width of the square that will be the inside of the card (figure 2).
  3. Lay the 4″ card stock with the points of the square lining up with the pencil marks that show the middle of the larger square. Glue in place (figure 3).
  4. Fold up the outside paper against the inside square (figure 4).
  5. Repeat around each side of the square. Notice that there are 4 triangles made at the intersection of these folds (figure 5).
  6. Cut out the triangles (figure 6).
  7. Turn the card over. Fold the first pinwheel flap as shown in figure 7.
  8. Repeat for all 4 sides (figure 8).
  9. Turn the card over again and glue the message into the middle of the card (figure 9).
  10. Start folding the sides of the card up, one overlapping the next. Make sure you fold so that the result looks like a pinwheel (figure 10).
  11. When you get to the last flap, insert it under the first, like folding a box lid (figure 11).
  12. The finished Pinwheel Fold Card (figure 12).

In addition to working with the 8 inch squares, I also used some 6 inch origami squares of both printed and coordinating solid papers. Using the origami paper, which was already cut, made the cards go super fast. With the 6″ squares, I used a piece of 3 inch card stock for the inside square.

These Pinwheel Fold Cards were made from 2 sheets each of coordinating origami paper, one print and one solid.

These Pinwheel Fold Cards were made from 2 sheets each of coordinating origami paper, one print and one solid.

Note: The pinwheel folds keeps the two papers together, so no additional gluing is necessary after the first gluing in step one.

I hope you enjoy making your own Pinwheel Fold Cards.

Happy creating, Candy