More Mail Art

I am really enjoying decorating the envelopes of my letters at the moment. When I get time I like to draw on them. These two envelopes below are my most recent attempts at mail art.
The second one is made using images I have cut out of magazines. It is a much quicker way of decorating envelopes than drawing and the results can be really colourful. I hope the recipients like them! 

How-to make bracelets from ribbons

I recently bought some nice ribbon in Hobbycraft. Nearly all my ribbons go straight into my ribbon/trim box (this box by the way makes me ridiculously happy) to use for something later. It occurred to me though, when I opened up the box that none of the loveliness inside ever gets used for anything! What a travesty! I needed to make something fast in order that my little happy box didn't become a sad little box of unused ribbons and trim. 
I had already been toying with the idea of making bracelets out of ribbons but had never been sure of how to go about it. After a little bit of trial and error I settled on a style I like.
All you need to make a bracelet like the one I made above is; ribbon, ribbon end crimps, extension chain, jump rings, a lobster clasp (little beads can also be added for an extra decorative touch) and pliers to open/close the rings and chain. The photo below shows the order I put the components.
They are very easy and quick to make once you get the hang of it.
Here is how I made them;
1) First off, cut your chosen ribbon to a desired length. I find the best way is to wrap it around your wrist before you cut it, so you can decide whether you want the ends to meet or have a bit of a gap. Once you have cut your length of ribbon secure ribbon end crimps on either end. I used the pliers to firmly close the crimps, you could also apply some glue inside the crimps for extra security.  
2) Attach the extension chains (one short and the other longer) to the crimps and add the lobster clasp to the short extension chain. Jump rings need to be used to join the sections together. The pliers make opening and closing the jump rings and extension chains much easier.
3) To fasten the bracelet open the lobster clasp and attach it to either a jump ring or along the long extension chain.
4) That is it!
I have also been experimenting with making the bracelets out of plaited ribbons and lace trim. I really like the results and have been getting a bit carried away with making them. Let me know what you think.

Carving stamps

I have come across so many nice handmade stamps lately on Pinterest and couldn't wait to have a go at making some myself. So I bought a linoleum cutter and a load of erasers and off I went. There are many lovely examples out there so it was easy to find inspiration (here is my stamping board on Pinterest). I have found it so much fun!
All you need is an eraser, a pencil to draw motif onto the eraser, ink and a linoleum cutter. The envelope stamp above was inspired by a pin I saw on Pinterest. I have started making my own notelets as well as decorating writing paper.
There are tutorials on the web for learning to carve stamps such as this one by Ishtar Olivera. I confess though that I went straight into carving without any know-how. The results were a bit rubbish at first and I cut my fingers a stupid amount of times (those linoleum cutter blades are sharp!) but the results did get much better with practice. I would still recommend looking at a tutorial first though, I would have saved quite a bit of time and plasters if I had done so!

My favourite stamp I have made so far is the earth stamp. Here are a couple of examples of how I have used it.
If you are getting into stamping to I would recommend buying this book by Geninne Zlatkis. I just have and I think that it is really good. It has detailed instructions on how to carve stamps and use them on different types of materials including fabric and stone. The book has lots of lovely photos and illustrations throughout showing examples of ways you can use your stamps, as well as templates you can use at the back. I found it really inspiring and it is now one of my favourite books. I am always on the look out for more stamp related tutorials/ books so recommendations are very welcome. 

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