Mama Carrie Makes

1 Comment

Friday Craft, Bazaar Time

It’s beginning to look a lot like Holiday Bazaar time ~ this weekend I’ll be showing my wares at a local Holiday Bazaar with my helper KidMakes, wish us luck!

To prepare for the rush of customers clamoring for my products (positive thinking) I have opened a new online shop using Tictail. I closed my Etsy show quite awhile ago and have decided to try out this vendor.  My new shop is available at this link, or if you click on Shop in the top menu. I’ve got a few pieces listed, more to come after the show this weekend.

0001_Necklace_Owl (1)

Have a great weekend!



Friday Craft, Watercolors

Mmmmmm, watercolor palette, ready to go.

Paint_WatercolorSet (1)

I have added another craft to my list, although technically this is a sub-category of painting which I’ve been doing for awhile. Watercolor is just a different animal.

On our camping adventure in August, I brought a makeshift watercolor kit with me (some paint dried onto a Mary Kay palette) and loved doing watercolor in the wild. When I got home I bought a better palette and a set of inexpensive gouache paints. If I use these up, I plan to buy some better watercolors. But, since I’m in the habit of passionately falling in love with crafts for short periods of time, I’m limiting myself for now.

There are many many tutorials on You Tube, including a 4 part series by an artist in the Santa Cruz Mountains (where I used to call home). I’ve been considering joining the You Tube masses and starting a Mama Carrie channel. Would you like to see some tutorials from me, on painting, jewelry, zentangles, book making?


Friday Craft, Envelope Album Part Deux, Envelope Album Strikes Back


This is my second attempt at the envelope album, using a package of pretty cheap cards with envelopes. I used a very old paper pad from my stash.

Learnings from this attempt:

  • Use quality materials, especially for a book of this type. I want this book to be handled and paged through again and again. It won’t last if I don’t use quality paper and good adhesive.
  • I’m still learning how best to do the spine. On this book, I attached the inside cover paper, which split where the book bends and had to be covered up with washi tape, which does not stick well enough to cover my mistake. The book cover and adhering the spine to it are challenges I’m still working to master.
  • These books need a closure of some type. When they are filled with embellishments (of which this book has none!) and photographs something is needed to keep the book closed.

I also tried to use my scraps, because these books create tons of little strips and tiny pieces that I hate to just throw away. In the bottom left picture you can see the pocket is covered with stripes of different paper. I really liked the effect.

Stay tuned, I just couldn’t stop making these books. The learning continues in episode three, Return of the Envelop Album.


1 Comment

Friday Craft, Envelope Mini Album Part One

I’m not even sure how I came across it, but I fell into a YouTube wormhole and ended up watching Kathy Orta’s Envelope Mini Album series. There are 5 episodes, ranging from 10 minutes to 30. She used a package of envelopes and cards from Local Big Box Craft Store to make a scrapbook album, ready to be embellished with pattern paper and whatever other bling you can throw at it.

These videos are from 2011, and Kathy Orta’s brand has grown since then. She sells kits to make her amazing albums, which have grown in complexity since these were published. She blogs at Paper Phenomenon and has a shop as well.


This album uses her hinge binding method, and a duct tape spine. It’s got lots of pockets and tags and pull outs for pictures or journaling. Not too bad for a first pass, but my technique definitely improved over time.

Then I fell into an even deeper YouTube wormhole and found many many more tutorials along the same vein. So I promptly made a bunch of these mini albums, which I will show off to you in a few different blog posts.

Stay tuned…



Friday Craft, Ring Bracelet tutorial

I refuse to call these by their common name, so I’m going to call this a Ring-bracelet. I made it by request, and after taking these pictures I revised the design a couple of times to make the ring-bracelet work for my friend’s hand.


I used 20g craft wire and gold fill chain from my local craft store for this. You’ll also need a big focal bead that will lay flat on the wearer’s hand; I used all my pliers, but you could get away with just round nose and nippers.

Working from the wire spool, put your bead on the wire and then create the beginning of a wrapped loop, before closing your wrapped loop string on your short piece of chain. (2) The size of this piece of chain will depend on the wearer’s finger size. My wearer was not a tiny person, so I used 3 inches. Once both ends of the chain are attached, close the loop (3).

Cut the wire from the spool, 1.5 inches below your focal bead. Repeat the prior steps, with the long piece of chain (5). I decided to make the bracelet section big enough to bit around my wearer’s hand so I used 8.5 inches of chain.

I wanted a little more WOW, so I too 10 inches of wire and created a spiral (6). Mark the mid-point of your wire, then clasp this point between your round-nose pliers. Bend the ends around your pliers creating a spiral. Leave at least 2 inch tails to wrap around the wrapped loops, attaching your spiral to your focal bead.

After wearing this for a bit, my friend discovered she could not comfortably flex her hand without worrying about breaking the chain. So I brought the piece back to my studio and added a wrapped link at the top and bottom. This gave her the wiggle room she needed.

Pretty easy gift idea. What do you think?


Friday Craft, Trees of Life Series Part Three

I have passed through my Tree of Life phase. The trick has worked, I feel inspired to create again. I’ve moved from wire and beads to paper and paint. Stay tuned for the fruits of these ingredients. Here are some of my last Tree creations.Tree_BlackGemstonesMulti

I love the multi-colored gemstones against the black wire.Tree_TurquoiseCopperGoldGreen

This tiny copper and turquoise bead tree was made as a gift for a lovely co-worker. The tree on the left is dark green wire with a gold frame. TreeBlueGreenCopper

This is made using some duo-beads, they have holes in both sides of the bead. I love how they look more like leaves than the round beads.


Saturday Spotlight, Studio MME

Studio MME – a Portland-based artist who creates embroidery patterns with simple stitches you might actually be inspired to use! From Megan Eckman’s About page:

I started making embroidery patterns after discovering that craft stores were selling the EXACT same patterns I had stitched with my grandmother as a child. The world needs new patterns that inspire you to daydream and laugh. I believe in simple stitches (I tell people I specialize in just going up and down with my needle) and fun designs that are nothing like what you stitched years ago.

Her shop has embriodery patterns and kits, stuffed animal kits, and East and West Coast focused patterns. She even offers a free guide to embroidery to help get you started.

(Portland’s Mount Hood embroidery kit)

Check out Megan’s blog too and get stitching!



Friday Craft, Tree of Life Series Part Two

The Trees continue to come out of my craft cave. I am working on a new shop (jumping ship from Etsy) so stay tuned!

Tree_Tiny_TurquoiseCopperThis is the only tiny one I’ve made, I like it but I want to see more of the branches. I think it would be very wise to have a mixture of tiny and big for sale…


I like the mixed metals here, gold and copper wire. The purple beads glow when you see it in person.Tree_OmbreBrownPinkCopper

I really like the ombre colors here and the branches are so clearly defined and visible.Tree_BlueCopper

More mixed metals, and the icy blue really stands out.Tree_TurquoiseSilver Tree_TurquioseBrown_Pointed Tree_PurpleBlueCopperI like the different shape of the frame on these, with the roots growing out of the bend.

More of the same with tiny variations. Progress?