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Friday, November 27, 2015


If you have ever taken a piece of artwork, picture or hand stitching to be framed you probably got the surprise of a lifetime...

Sticker Shock.

It costs how much?

I did a little piece of cross-stitch while on vacation. I took it to a craft store frame shop and found out that that little piece  would have cost me almost $400 to frame... and that was after I used a 65% off coupon!

Um..No thank you.

Today I'm going to show you how to frame your artwork/projects and save you a lot of money.

I mean, a lot of money...

When I first came to Rochester, I walked into a Michaels for a part time job until I could find a full time one. The manager looked at my resume and said, you're crafty, you're a framer!

I never had framed anything in my life.

                        .........and gave me full time.

But I was taught and I routinely had the displeasure of shocking people when I told them how much their little piece of artwork would cost them to frame.

Framing still isn't cheap by any means but if you can get your artwork to a standard size, you can cut the cost by quite a bit.

Remember this piece I made early this year? The tutorial was here.

First we need to gather supplies. The important thing here is that your mounting board be acid-free.


Acid-free mounting boards*    
1 set of frames the width of your project*
1 set of frames the height of your project*
Glass cleaner
Plastic bump outs                             

Measure out the size of your artwork and try to get it to the next solid number, i.e. 24 instead of 23 1/2". Art stores often have a framing department and there you can get just about everything you need to frame your piece... and usually, they'll even cut some of the materials for you.

Once you have the size you need, make a trip to your local art store and ask for some acid free mounting board. This mounting board will be somewhat solid on the outside but "cushy" on the inside. It's important that it is acid free (they do sell some that aren't for other purposes) because otherwise it will yellow whatever image/artwork you are framing overtime. This is what happens with all those old pictures you have in your old photo albums.

While you are at the art store, wander over to the framing area. Until recently, your
Jo-anns, Michaels and AC Moores used to carry these:

These are two sides of a frame as well as the connections and pressure clips. Essentially,  you can buy the two sizes you need for any piece. My piece was 10" x 24" so I purchased a 10" kit and a 24" kit.

Mount your artwork over the cut foam board. I used simple tack pins to hold them to the edge. It will eventually rust but I'm not real concerned about a tiny bit of rust on the end where no one is going to look.
Take out your framing pieces. There will be two pieces for each side, one with two screws and one that is flat. Put the screw piece on top of the flat piece and slide it into the panel.

Like so:

Slide in the side pieces from the other kit and screw down. This creates tension and holds both pieces together.

You want to make it so the corners are tight so there are no gaps on the face of the frame.

You will only want to put three of the sides up so you can slide in the glass but essentially if you put the entire thing together, this is what it will look like.

Woot! Woot!.. starting to look professional!

With your glass cleaner (my homemade version is here), spray your glass and use a newspaper to wipe it down.

This is a trick I learned at my first job working at McDonalds. Newspaper makes your surface really shiny and leaves no lint.

If you are not using a mat board, this is the point that we would take out the bump outs. My piece did not have any space so eventually it may adhere to the glass. If you are concerned about this and not using a mat, you'll want something to create a bit of space between the glass and the artwork. At the frame shop, we had little strips of sticky acrylic that we would stick to the frame, but when I've asked for these, no one seems to know what I'm talking about. A good alternative are the bump outs you would use on the back of your frame anyway to protect you wall. Cut them in half and place the cut side towards the top of the frame so that it won't show when you slide it into the frame, it may take some trial and error to prevent it from being seen. Place the sticky side against the glass.

Create your artwork "sandwich". Foamcore, artwork, (bump outs), and glass.

Slide the "sandwich" in the frame.

With one side of the frame still open, slide your "sandwich" into the frame.

Once in, put the framing pieces in both ends and attach the
last side.

All set!

Slide on the last side and screw down taking care to make sure there are no gaps on the frame showing in the front.

Your kit came with some funky little flexible clips remember. What do you do with them?

Their purpose is to make sure the artwork is taunt in the frame so that it doesn't wobble.

Press them down and slide them underneath the frame. This creates tension and keeps your artwork in place.

Now your frame is complete but you need to hang it somehow. Hangers are provided in your kit. These aren't my favorite as there is no real way other than tension to make sure they stay in place but this is what comes with it.

Forgive the bad lighting, this is a one woman operation.
Pop it into place. Measure down on the other side and do the same so each are equal-distant on the frame and your frame will hang straight.

 Please notice the spacer clip underneath the clip here.

When I frame, I like coated picture framing wire because it's easier on your hands but it is entirely up to you what you want to use and what you have on hand. Thread through your wire through the hangers and leave a tail.

Twist your wire to hold it in place. If you like, you can also wrap the end about two inches with masking tape if you desire.

Do the same on the other side.

Turn it around and admire your work. You have now framed a picture of your very own!

Great job!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On this day of Thanksgiving, I just wanted to say "Thank You" for each and everyone of you.

Whether you stopped by from a link party, a random search or through another website, I just wanted to let you know that you brighten my day.

As I check to see where you are all from I realize how amazing it is that a simple blog can reach out and join so many like minded individuals around the world. I love visiting your blogs when I see where you come from, learning from you as well as sharing ideas I'm doing.

 Your comments mean so much. They are little gems that I read and re-read and cherish. When I have a bad day, I re-read some of these comments and they bring an instant spark of joy.
Life is not always nice, we need to be kind to each other. As much as I enjoy a snarky remark from time to time, a simple word or act of kindness can sustain me for a long time. There are a lot of brave faces behind broken hearts out there. We never know what is going on in someone else's life so the kindness of a stranger or friend can mean so much.

So on this day we give thanks for everyone and everything in our lives. I hope that the season is joyful with lots of acts of kindness to you and yours. Be blessed my friends!
                                                                    Stacey K 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Gathering Baskets...Garnering Memories...

When you make a homemade gift for someone, you never know whether they really want it or if it's something that they accept to be nice. I, at least, never am sure. But then someone says something about something you made that really makes you realize how valued it is.

I've been basketweaving since the early nineties and back then, made a lot of baskets.
When I moved, I left a lot of baskets at my parent's home. I really didn't think anything about it until last week.

"Your brother wants you to weave him a basket", my mother said.
"Chris wants a basket?"
"Yes, he saw the one I use all the time and I told him you made it", she said.
"Well, she needs to make me one", was my brother's response.


Guess what both of you are getting for Christmas! Woot! Woot!

So for today's tutorial, we are going to make one of most useful baskets you'll ever use, a marketing basket. This is perfect for gathering produce from the garden or when you go the farmer's market. I've used it to hold crafting supplies or anything else your heart desires.
With an open weave basket, it allows dirt to flow through so if you are gathering garden goodies, put them in the basket and spray the entire thing with a hose, baskets actually need to have that done about once a year to prevent them from becoming brittle. This is the basket you will weave again and again. You may weave it for yourself, but if you're friends see it, I'll guarantee, they'll want one too.

This basket is going to feature two new techniques/focuses. First is color theory, the second is a wrapped handle.

On a side note, please forgive my hands. I just finished staining and painting the chicken coop and I have a lovely "stain" manicure.


An easy way to add character to your basket is to add color. While there are some places that sell pre-dyed reed, let me demonstrate to you how arduous this process is.

To Dye Reed:
1. Bucket
2. Hot Water
3. Dye
4. Reed.

Put hot water in bucket. Dump your dye and dissolve. You can use RIT dye which is one the easiest to get, or specialized basket dye. Dye is dye unless you are doing something with walnut hull

Put in your reed.
Fill with water to cover and if your reed floats, put something on top to weigh down (I had a pumpkin close by, hehe). Remove when the color reaches desired consistency and dry on towel, tarp, etc.




1 D handle, mine was 10" x17". "D" as you can see refers to the shape of the handle, put it on the side, it looks like a D
(The base of the handle will determine how wide your basket will be.)

Mark centers of each piece of reed.

(8 pieces) 1/2" to  5/8" flat/flat reed, cut 45 inches, four of these dyed if desired
(14 pieces) 1/2" to 5/8" flat/flat reed, cut 36 inches, 8 dyed, 6 plain
(4 pieces) 3/8" flat/flat dyed, cut 36"

(19 pieces) of reed, 12 colored, 2 plain, any sizes necessary to build the sizes as tall as you wish.
#2 round/round

(2 pieces) 1/2" Flat/Oval
(1 piece) Very long flat over piece to lash around entire basket
Filler pieces
Jackknife, paring knife, something to shave off reed

Soak all reed, but not your handle. Beginning with you 45" pieces, lay them horizontally in front of you, rough side up (you'll see little hairs on the "wrong" side, more so than the "right" side) . You may use a big book or similar object to hold them down.

Position your handle in the center of the basket on top of your center marks.

Weave the 36" pieces vertically on either side of the handle, rough sides up.

This is where we are going to discuss color theory....

Plain baskets are beautiful because it really makes the texture of the basket stand out. But sometimes you want color, something to accent a room, or maybe just to add color to float your boat.

Negative space gives the eye a place to rest.
When you start using color, remember negative space. Unless your intent is to make a basket that is strongly colored, your eye really needs some place calming to land on with all the color otherwise it looks like, eh hem, that someone threw up color. It's just jarring.

In this case, I wanted to give the basket a "plaid" type of design. It's for my brother so I wanted to give it a more "masculine" feel to it.  So you'll see, color, plain, color, plain etc. Then when we start to add the weavers any place color crosses color will give us a "plaid" effect but there is enough negative space to prevent it from being overwhelming.

Once the base is in place use a small piece of waste reed to space the weavers out evenly.  I used 1/2 inch. Once you have it spaced in a way you want it, use snap clothespins to hold each corner.

Take a long piece of #2 round/round and gently pinch in off center. Loop this around  one of the bottom weavers and weave around at least three times. If/when the reed runs out, simply tuck it in the previous weaving and begin with a new piece. If you are unsure of how to do this, refer to the strawberry basket here.

Once you have all three rows, simply clip each end of the round reed at the starting two reeds on the inside. You are now done with the round reed for now unless you want to add twining later in your basket.

Now quickly soak your basket being careful not to soak your handle too much. Handles are generally glued together and the soaking will cause them to separate-the reason we are so careful with them.

Remove the soaked basket and GENTLY, begin bending the sides up towards the handle of the basket clipping to keep them together. Now we are building the sides. Starting at least five reeds away from your handle, weave your first row of weaving going inside and outside of each of the reeds.

Once you are at the beginning of first reed, weave past four reeds ending on a top reed cutting the end here and tucking it behind a weaver. Again, refer to the strawberry basket for more detailed directions here.

Weave as far up as you desire, leaving about five to six inches so you can cut and tuck the ends of the reed. We need to start twining three to six rows of round reed so that we can put a border around the top of the basket.

To begin twining, on any two reeds without a handle, put one piece of round reed.

Now simply take the round reed in front and put it behind the next spoke and continue around for three to six rounds.

When you run out of a reed, just end in the back of the spoke and insert a new end of round reed crossed on top. Continue weaving. When you get to the first two reeds after your 3-6 rows, clip each reed at the starting spoke.


Cutting an tucking time. (Sounds like something from Hee Haw?)

Re-wet your basket taking care with the handle. Gently fold down each spoke and measure down to a point that you can tuck it inside a weaver like so. Cut and tuck it making sure to hide the ends as so. A long flat head screwdriver works amazing for this.

Once we have all the ends cut and tuck we are going to work on the wrapped handle.

Simple Wrapped Handle

A wrapped handle is not only for a decorative fancy but also makes the basket handle sturdier and it feels good on your hands. For this simple wrapped handle, choose a piece of dyed reed that is longer by about 8" than your handle piece. Wrap it around the handle and see if you have enough to tuck in.

Soak all reed. Begin by putting your 1/4 half round reed with the round side against the basket, bend and start wrapping around the handle.

Forgive my lovely "stain manicure". Someday I'll remember
to wear gloves.

You can create your own pattern by determining how many you want to cover and show. I did a five wrapped, two unwrapped. Wrap as tightly as possible without overlapping.

When we run out of reed, bend on one section down and tuck it into your previous weaving. You may have to loosen it then tucking it back in. Butt up a new reed with a tail and start weaving around that tail.
Weave all around until you reach the other end and tuck it in the back of the basket.

Here is my mother's basket handle. This time I did the same just with two pieces of 1/4 flat/flat and I staggered the wrapping.


To Rim the Basket.

There are several ways to rim a basket but one of the most simple and therefore fast, is with 1/2 round reed. We are going to wrap both the inside and the outside of the basket with the flat side against the weaving side of the basket. Overlap your basket wrap about 3-4 inches and mark, on the bottom portion of the wrap where the rim stops. On the inside of the top portion, mark where the bottom rim meets the top portion of the rim.

Taking a paring knife, start from your marks and carefully shave any excess material from both sides. Periodically lay one on top of the other to gauge when they lay flat. Once they do, lay that piece aside and repeat the procedure for the inside of the basket.

This is where this gets tricky.

Rimming the basket can be hard on the hands. With the longest piece of #2 or #3 flat oval, cut a slanted piece so that you can insert it from the back of your weaving, underneath the twining, up through the twining, back down and underneath the twining again like so:


With a LOT of clothes pins, attach both rims making sure they are on the correct side and the borders overlap as flat as possible.

Begin by coming up from the bottom, and around both rims. As you go through the rim, before you pull it taunt, put in 5-7 pieces of round reed or sea grass inside the space between the two borders. This is called, aptly enough, rim filler and it "finishes" the basket so that you aren't just looking at blank space. This is the perfect use for all those little broken pieces of round reed we all end up with. Go all the way around. This is called "lashing".


When you come back to the beginning, you have a choice to make. You can either leave the basket with one round of lashing or you can cross backwards all the way around until you reach the front, both are perfectly acceptable ways of finishing the basket.

When finished lashing, repeat the procedure that you began with to finish the lashing. You will need a screw driver, awl or something to open the space to pull the lashing through to the bottom of the basket. When finished, simply cut both ends of the lashing.

Burning Your Basket.
No we aren't loosing our minds. See all these lovely "hairs" popping up everywhere on this basket? Have you ever seen a hairy basket anywhere? No. These "hairs" need to be removed and the way to remove them is to wet the basket and burn them off.

Wet your basket thoroughly, again taking care of the handle. Now with a hand held small lighter, go around the basket anywhere you see little 'hairs' and singe them off. Afterwards you may have to take a sponge or dishcloth and wipe off the black soot marks.

Staining the Basket.

To finish you basket you can leave it raw if  you are using it strictly for decorative purposes, but if you intend to actually use it, you will want to put some type of sealer on it. Do not use polyurethane! It will make the basket brittle. One of the easiest things to do is use wood stain. It comes in many colors including clear and will protect  your basket for years of use.
Golden oak, clear, puritan pine are several really good choices. You can also use clear and mix a bit of color into it or use one of the many colored stains.

After you make a few baskets, you'll begin being able to finish them in a day depending on the size or intricacy, or at most, a couple of days. Its a useful skill that many of our great grandparents probably knew and it's ready for a come back.

Chris' basket

Mom's basket.

* Copyright Stacey K all rights reserved. I give permission to use the pattern for creating baskets for personal use or sale, teaching etc. Any renaming of this pattern and selling it under this or  any other name is strictly prohibited.