Thursday, November 20, 2014

Castle in the Air ~ Ironcraft Challenge

The stationery and art supply shop, Castle in the Air in Berkeley, CA recently hosted an "Ironcraft" event that I was glad to participate in.   The store invited all who were willing to pick up, or be mailed a free "mystery" crafting supply item which you would then transform into something amazing and unique.  After submitting pictures of the final art, everyone who participated in Ironcraft was rewarded with a special prize.  

The mystery item we all received was a bulbous spun-cotton (watte) shape.  

After opening the package, my first thought was "What on earth am I supposed to do with this??!!" After staring at it for a few minutes I realized that it is most likely supposed to be a snowman.  But I wanted to get away from the obvious and turn it into something else.  I turned it upside down and it was clear what I had to make it into - a hot air balloon ornament!  I already make hot air balloons using paper mache so it was a fun challenge figuring out how to work with this new medium.  Here is a tutorial with steps on how to make one yourself.

Step 1 -Cut away the middle of the "neck" area of the shape with a blade.  This will create the bottom (basket) and the top (balloon) of your hot air balloon.  Seal and flatten down the rough cut edges with glue.

Step 2 - Using a sharp object, push in four holes in both the top and bottom.  Dab glue into the holes and insert tooth picks.

Step 3 - Draw the basic design with a pencil.

Step 5 - Paint the hot air balloon using acrylic paints. Finish off with paper flags and/or bunting.  Glue a ribbon into a hole in the top for hanging.

If you'd like to read more about the Ironcraft challenge, here is the link to the Castle in the Air blog.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nostalgic Toys ~ Jacob's Ladder

A Jacob's ladder is a folk toy consisting of blocks of wood held together by strings or ribbons. The Jacob's Ladder folk toy, also known as 'tumbling blocks' dates back to the Pilgrim times in America.

 When the ladder is held at one end, blocks appear to cascade down the strings. However, this effect is a visual illusion which is the result of one block after another flipping over.