Sweet, sweet curiosity.

This blog is all about things I have made. You can find intense embroidery, paper quilling mania, crazy gingerbread houses, masks, puppets, steampunk clothes, ornaments, wackiness and sculptures on this site. So have fun and check it out!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Questionable Robot RW23 embroidered!

 I have started a series of embellished fabric hoops surrounding some cute robots.  I painted with acrylic paint and embroidered this little hoop. Questionable Robot RW23 is the first in my series.

Here is what I was thinking about him when I made him:

 Questionable Robot RW23 is a quizzical robot who has stumbled on some funny philosophical circuitry and must ask itself “what is right and wrong?”  He is quite confused and has not moved in 4 days due to his inability to come to a clean and complete answer.  Perhaps you can help him answer this dubious question. Is what’s right and wrong very clear to you? Or Perhaps you are also quizzical like this robot!

He is for sale on my etsy page, if you need to ponder this question more!

He is in a blue plastic 6" hoop.  I am excited to do more like him... My next robot ponders on love... 

 Doesn't he look so confused?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blackbird and Birch Trees Silhouette Embroidery

 For the most recent Hoopla swap on Craftster.org. I was challenged with making a silhouette for a partner who liked so many things it was hard to pick what to make her.  She had mentioned that her totems were both blackbirds and birch trees. I too have an affinity for Birch trees so I decided to focus on that. After many sketches I ended up with this design.
I used variegated black and grey thread for the outlines of the trees. I used a ton of black thread to fill in and for a little subtle wink of colour a dark brown thread for a couple of details. I am really all about the short and long stitch on my filler stitches because satin stitch and I don't always communicate well. This is an 8 inch hoop that I painted black on the outside to tie in my colour choices.
 As far as design goes, this is one of my most favourite hooplas.  It took me a very long time to come up with this design and I hope that my partner liked it.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Patronus and Dementor Silhouette Embroidery

 Allrighty, it's time again for some geek craft.  This embroidery was made for somebody in a swap that also has a penchant for good ole harry. I found the image on her pinterest which originated from 9gag.com.
 I used a technique I have never done before on this which is I ripped up tiny pieces of black and a greyish/green fabric so that they were tiny rags with frayed edges. Then I twisted and bunched them, stitching them on to get the dementor's cloak looking very torn. As you can see from the picture below it made a fascinating raised texture on the embroidery.

 I had a lot of fun stitching this and now, I think I might just say - Expecto patronum!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Faux Batik Banner and Blog Renovation!

As you may have noticed I have revamped my blog! I was feeling like it needed a little bit more of a personal touch and I wanted to do something that represented what I really do on the blog with my banner photo, so I have been working away with on a hand-painted, hand embroidered banner.  I had seen this great technique for doing faux batik and I thought I would share with you my experience making it.

  • School GEL glue. The kind of glue is very important! It must be gel as it dissolves in water.
  • Acrylic paint
  • a bin to soak your fabric in
  • water
  • a design!

Here is how you do it:
  1. Pick out your design and transfer it to your fabric, in my case I drew out all of the letters.
  2. Here is where some online instructions differ - you can choose to wet your fabric or not. I chose to not wet it and it worked fine.
  3. Paint your gel glue where you want the fabric to be white in the end. I did it on the letters and I free handed the hearts and flowers.
  4. Let this dry completely.
  5. Water down your acrylic paint a little and proceed to put acrylic paint on your fabric. However your heart desires! I used four colours of paint, ultramarine blue, purple, white and another blue ( which the label is gone from...) I mixed them together, spattered them, generally messed around with it.
  6. Let this dry completely, and I do mean completely.
  7. Once it is totally dry, fill your bin with warm water and put the fabric in, letting it soak for 20 minutes.
  8. You will start to see the glue separating from the fabric, I rubbed at the fabric a bit to get the glue off which seemed to work fine, you can also use some mild soap as well.  The colour of the acrylic can lighten a little bit so be careful not to scrub super duper hard on some parts. 
  9. Let dry.
  10. Iron.
  11. VOILA! Your faux batik is finished.  I then proceeded to embroider mine, but you can do whatever you like with it!

When I first did this of course I read the directions wrong and used watercolour paint instead of acrylic, but that also had interesting results. What happened in this case is that the watercolour stuck to the spots where the glue was, so it actually had the opposite effect, the watercolour washed away, but where the glue was, the paint remained ( a bit faded) but essentially still there. If you want to repeat my mistake, I would suggest, not soaking it very long and being very gentle with it, but it too looked like batik. Sorry, I don't have a photo of that.

But here is the finished product!
 Hope you all like my newly renovated Blog!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Frank the Foxy Fella- Embroidered and Framed

I found these two tiny fantastic frames at a thrift store and I hummed and hawed about what I would fill them with! I settled on putting two animal "portraits" inside them and began looking at several animals and I finally decided on two fox faces. 

I had a fantastic nature book just on foxes so I drew out two images of foxes and as I was drawing them I decided they were the same fox and that his name was Frank. I then began stitching away. I am in a phase where I am trying out more "realistic" stitching and even though this is fairly stylized, I was trying to use some more subtle colour choices to add shading and highlights.

These will be my first finished item ( not custom) that I am selling on my Etsy site, so if you are interested they are for sale.   I can make you one kind of similar because I just SOLD both of these guys...

Thursday, February 9, 2012


So I have been trying to get this together for some time now, but I have just gotten some items up on the site. I have never done this before but I am really looking forward to what will come of it.

My shop is called "ACOCC" which is a short form for: ( you may have guessed this) but it's A CAN OF CRAFTY CURIOSITIES. Gotta love a useful acronym.

I don't have a ton of items on there right now, but I will get there in time.  I need to finish up all of my swaps before I super duper focus on content for it. That being said, if there is anything I have created on the blog that you would be interested in purchasing from me, Lemme know! I can do that now!

I intend on selling my quilling pieces, embroidery pieces, art pieces and sculpture. Currently I just have quilled monograms on there. But hey - you have to start somewhere!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Quilled Monograms Workshop

Recently, I was approached by a family friend to host a workshop to teach a few folks how to make their own quilled monograms.  This sunday, 5 charming ladies and I made some wonderful quilled monograms, (Superbowl vs. crafting... crafting wins every time... sorry...).  It was really interesting to see how other people approached making them and what they came up with.  As filling in the monograms is very much like doodling, each one of the ladies had their own specific style.  I was very impressed with them all and am glad I had the opportunity to share this fun craft with others.  I really do think that these are deceptively simple. The hardest part is really getting the letter to be in the right shape.

 Here are some in progress shots of the ladies creating an S and an R.
There were a lot of participants who wanted to do the letter J! You can see them all in this shot.
  Here are the finished monograms of a  J and a D.  One of the ladies couldn't make it to the workshop, so I finished her letter, mine is the letter D.

This was a lot of fun, and I would love to do more of these. It was just amazing how different people interpret the same project. The whole day was really fascinating and engaging! Thanks to the ladies who came out to the workshop!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quiller Koi of Quillingtastic Quillingness

 So here is my next Quilling adventure.. my Quiller Koi.  I looked at a lot of different koi tattoos for inspiration but this is an original drawing that I did, then I turned into a Quilled creation.  I wanted to try out some different techniques and found that making an image like this held it's own challenges.  I also tried several different kinds of glue.  My first adventures with quilling were these monograms, which I printed out on to paper with a faint grey colour. With this project, I used carbon paper to transfer the image as my scanner was on the fritz, but I found that it got really dark, so eventually I just went over everything with an eraser which took most of the carbon off, however, left just enough so I could tell where I wanted to put my quilling paper.

 The great thing about quilling paper is that it really lends itself to organic shapes like waves or flowers, so a koi fish seemed totally fitting.

I tried several different glues as I have noticed that there is a wrinkle effect to your base paper when quilling.  I tried something called "zipdry" which is flammable, kind of sticky, and it dries shiny. However it does dry really fast, so if you are willing to put up with some shiny this glue is good if you want to work quickly, It also does not cause the paper to wrinkle. I also tried Mucilage glue, which wasn't better to use then regular pva or School Glue. So my conclusion is thus to solve the wrinkle problem: Treat your paper as you would watercolour paper and tape it down to a flat surface while you are doing it and while it is drying. A piece of board would be perfect for this, so you can move it around if you need to.  This doesn't allow for wrinkle because your paper has nowhere to go. You may still get some wrinkle but on a piece like this koi it would end up totally curled up if I didn't take any preventative measures.

 I wanted to show you all three of these pictures because one great thing about quilling is the photography of it. I am not going to claim that I am a mad photographer because I am not, but because of the height of the paper ( 1/4 inch if you are wondering) you can create some really neat shadows depending on where your light source is.
The different techniques I used in this process were slightly more complex than with the monograms.  To get the swirls which are outlined the entire way round I folded a piece of paper in half and then curled it. The other tricky part was doing the fins and tail. Basically these are pieces which have been slightly curved echoing the shape and repeating in several different tones of paper. The other really hard part was staying on my lines. There were a lot more factors involved with this piece. It helped to have the original drawing around so that I could measure what size the pieces would be from there and glue them onto my base paper.

This was actually a ton of work and probably took me about 8 hours but I really like it and am happy with the way it turned out.  I now have to think up what I will do for my next quilled piece..