Archive for the ‘tutorials’ Category

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Handwriting

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I was on Studio 5 last week! It’s hard to convey everything I want in a short segment, so in addition to the little video (below), I have great tips on how to improve your handwriting.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s International Correspondence Month. I’ve made a dent with my box of envelopes, but I still have about 15 letters to go before the end of the month (totally doable, if you ask me!). I make goals like this for myself quite frequently, and I’m excited that this one is sticking! Ideally, I’d love to write this many letters all the time, but it’s a matter of carving out the time. It’s not as quick or convenient as sending an email, but it certainly means more to get something hand-written than a quick 2-liner in your inbox. At least, that’s how I feel.

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With the rise of the digital age, good penmanship has gone down the crapper. If I had a quarter for every time I heard the whine “I wish my handwriting looked better”, I’d be living it up in my multi-million dollar dream home. It’s an epidemic of bad handwriting! Most schools aren’t teaching cursive, either! I’m glad to be in a state that still requires cursive as part of the third grade curriculum. Not only does it teach kids a slice of history, but it promotes better literacy (often times kids that don’t learn how to write cursive have issues reading script fonts), better fine-motor skills and concentration. It may be impractical to hand-write everything in this modern age. However, we should shift our perception of handwriting from an archaic means of communication to something meditative, meaningful and personal.

Calligraphy and penmanship have very similar foundations. So let’s talk about 5 ways to make your everyday handwriting better.

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Tutorial: Leather Handbound Book

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I’ve been kinda stumped with Christmas ideas. But another one came to me! Penelope and I made a few of these for gifts for her to give away. They make the perfect gift for guys or girls, too! Once I got all the supplies together, each book takes about 10 minutes to make. Perfect for mass production, or that little extra handmade touch to your perfect holiday gift.

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I’ve styled this purple and liquid gold-leafed leather book in a gift “basket”. Perfect for the young lady needing a respectable purse and purse contents. Details:

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They’re ever so simple to make. I’ve made these with the leather scraps I have on hand (I have a giant overflowing bin full!), but these could easily be made with felt, fabric fused to paper with Heat ‘n Bond. Let’s make one together!

EASY Leather-Bound Pocket Notebook Tutorial

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Supplies

Read more to learn how to assembly this easy easy book!

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Tutorial: Beaded Turban Ring

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I’m a last-minute gift-giver. 90% of the gifts on my list have not been bought or made. . . yet. I’m that on the ball this year. In fact, does anyone else feel like they’re just dragging behind with holiday prep?

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Each year I try to make most of my gifts. It’s become increasingly harder with two kids and calligraphy work. So I like to go for things that are simple, thoughtful and/or cute. I was playing around with an idea for a ring design using only these small beads and gold wire. That’s when the idea for this little ring struck. It’s so easy, you could make up a bunch for  of your besties this winter!

Beaded Turban Ring

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Supplies

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Cut the wire about 8 inches long. bend one end about 2 inches from the end. The bend will keep the beads from falling off.

With the straight end, string the beads, about 4-5 inches. Some glass beads won’t fit at all, while others will slide on smoothly. Just keep picking out more beads until you find one that fits.

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Wrap the beaded wire around a marker or finger. Above I have 4 wraps. Only wrap the marker twice. Remove any excess beads, then trim and kink the straight end about an inch or so in.

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Coil one wire around the other, tucking the end in as much as you can.

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Coil the second end around the first coil tightly.

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Now enjoy!

Outfit details:

More tutorials are on their way!

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

 

 

DIY: Gold and Leather Bolo Necklace

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I’m hating the silence over here. We’ve been busy packing up Black Friday orders, driving 700 miles, nursing some serious head colds and doing laundry. Anxious to get some creative time under my belt this week, I made a couple necklaces with Penelope. She rummaged through my jewelry stuff and strung any kind of pendant and bead onto a leather string. I played around with some leather and metal and came up with this. I love how my new necklace turned out. It’s reminiscent of a bolo tie because of the length and windsor knot-like shape of the leather piece.

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I found this laser cut scale leather in a scrap bin at Michael Levine back in May when I went to LA. It’s such a small piece. It’s so nice to be able to use small scraps for things like this, I feel like there’s no waste that way!

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Make one with me!

Leather Gold-Dipped Bolo Necklace Tutorial

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Supplies

  • gold chain 11-18 inches
  • 20 guage gold wire
  • 4 jump rings
  • closure
  • leather strip, 8 x .5 inches
  • scissors
  • jewelry pliers
  • liquid gold or gold foil
  • junk brush

If you’re going the vegan route, go for felt instead of faux leather. Felt will wear and look better over time than faux leather.

Click below to read the rest of the instructions!

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DIY: Ikea Hack Photography Studio Lighting

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Dear professional photographer friends, don’t hate me. I hope we can still be friends even with my ghetto lighting ways.

Sometimes I have to burn the midnight oil in order to get any blog posts up. We’ve been a busy family this fall! It’s nice to finally have a way to take decently lit photos without having to wait until the perfect time of day to shoot. Usually that perfect time of day lands during lunch time or mid-morning when I’m still in pajamas, sans makeup or shower.

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There are a few things that I do to allow for more photography time. I have the 35mm prime lens which allows for a 1.8 aperature. It’s slightly wider than the 50mm so it allows me to park my tripod only 8 feet away from me for a comfortable head-to-toe shot, without too much distortion. But a 1.8 aperature can only get me so far.

Let’s talk artificial lighting.

I took the above photo at midnight. I boosted up the ISO and lowered the aperature, but the light is still too harsh. That’s where lights come into play. Professional lighting systems can be expensive, so I made a hack to see if a pro lighting system was something that I should invest in. I’ve been asked by a few people what my solution is, so I figure I’d share it for all to see.

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I’m using two Ikea LERSTA lamps. They’re cheap, portable and effective. I think I’d get a third lamp or a fourth if I were doing more night-time style shots, but the two lamps are great for small objects and for fill-light when the sun’s not doing what it’s supposed to.

Here’s how to do it:

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Step 1

As you’re assembling the lamp, wrap the inner part of the lamp with tin foil. Make sure the foil is sort of crumpled so it will bounce more light around.

Step 2

Buy a daylight fluorescent bulb. They’re on sale at my local Home Depot. We’ve changed nearly all of our indoor lights with these. And they are awesome.

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Step 3

Get a large bowl and cut out a circle from some white (like white, white) fabric. I’m using a white quilting cotton.

Step 4

Measure the circumference of your lamp’s opening, cut a length of thin elastic just shy of the circumference.

Step 5

With your sewing machine on zig zag stitch, stretch the elastic as you sew it onto the outer edge of the circle of fabric. It won’t be pretty, but it’ll look sort of like a shower cap.

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Fit that over your lamp and done!

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Now you can illuminate basically anything.

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I used the two lamps and my room’s overhead light to light up the above outfit. Not bad for a 10:30 pm photoshoot, right? And since you’re using daylight bulbs to illuminate the room, there’s no need to adjust white balance. BOOYAH. Mic drop.

Was this DIY helpful? What will you light up?

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