Monday, September 30, 2013

Card for the Expectant Parents

 K and G are expecting their first child at the end of January and recently found out they are having a little girl. I made this card before they knew for sure what they were having, but the colors seem to it now.

This is a super simple card, and a good reason to splurge on some of the $1 paper craft/scrapbook supplies available at Joann's.

The purple paper came from my stash and I used a decorative punch to filigree the corner. The yellow around the quote stands out so nicely on the purple.

The whole reason for the yellow flower in the lower right corner, which is set on a pink plaid chip board sticker, is to cover up a mistake I made with the punch. It never fails, I always seem to goof up one corner. But in this case you would never know if I didn't tell you.

The quote says "We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson  Personally, I think this is a great sentiment for expectant parents. I may use it on another card in the future...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Welcoming Thought (Or a Wreath Alternative)

 This is the time of year that we are supposed to be taking stock of our blessings, thinking about warmth, family and harvest. At least that's how I feel. The holidays are fast approaching and with family stopping by more often, I wanted to start decorating for the season.

There are tons of wreath tutorials and some really beautiful designs out there for this time of year. Don't believe, go look at pinterest. Personally, I'm not a big fan of wreaths and with my screen, they are hard to see. Plus, I don't have that much room to store them. So I decided on an alternative.

I started with this free template from for a pillow. I loved the look of it but wanted to personalize it a little. Rather than enlarging as directed, I printed it out on a single piece of paper and cut the pieces out of craft felt. There was the main orange background, a yellow-orange body and the brown stem.

With a pencil, I free handed some lettering and the swirly-curlies and then hand stitched the beads down. For a little extra touch I outlined the stem in the same gold beads as the swirly-curlies and used a pale green ribbon to hang it. There is no stuffing or stiffener to this at all, just basically two layers of felt.

It looked a little plain on my 70's-tastic front door, so I added the fall leaf wreath from yesterday's post to it. My DH gave it his stamp of approval, so it will be up for a bit, until I get my Halloween door project finished...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Leaves For the Home

Fall and spring are my favorite times of year. I love watching all the colors change and transition. Even though all the leaves on my trees are still bright, vibrant greens, I know the changes are coming. The days are cooler, the nights are getting chilly and I'm starting to crave hot chocolate.

Since the leaves outside aren't changing fast enough, I decided to make myself a little bit of fall for the house. Using templates I found on My Cute Stamps, I cut my leaves out of brown, red, orange and yellow craft felt. I added some gold glitter puff paint for the veining and contrast. (Besides who doesn't love a little glitter when it won't rub off on everything!)

The biggest problem was figuring out what to do them. My first thought was a fall table runner or something decorative over my front door. I decided the best thing, given my limited time, was to stitch some 1/4" ribbon to the back (it's a nice pale green) and make a garland.

Yes, my picture is horrible, but I blame time constraints at the moment. Eventually I will update with a better picture.

At any rate, I cut one of each leaf out of each color and ended up with a total of 16 which were then alternated along the ribbon. I hand stitched it because I was watching E and A and couldn't get to my sewing machine. Realistically, using the machine you could easily connect as many as you want in very little time.

Now to figure out what to do with it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Remembering the First Day

The new school year began this month and who doesn't love that! School age kids are back in class instead of wanting rides and money to hang out with friends. This year E started kindergarten and little A started preschool. So naturally, I got to get the first day of school pictures and then I had to put them on a new layout. (If I'm going to scrapbook, I might as well do it when it happens instead of waiting a couple years! haha)

Sorry for the horrible picture, I used my phone just because it was easier. Besides, I can sacrifice a little picture clarity if you still get the general layout idea.
Each of the little ones got their own page but I planned to have them facing in the book so I made the layouts complimentary. I kept it super simple and really only embellished with a few rhinestones and a contrasting paper on each page. My absolute favorite part is the family picture. How perfect is that?! The whole family walking E to her first day of kindergarten.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Ladder Shelf

A while back I decided I wanted something new for my living room. I wanted some shelves, something to display some pictures, a few little pretty things I'd picked up or been given and a place to store some blankets in a decorative but functional way.

Naturally, I searched Pinterest for some inspiration. It took some scrolling but I fell in love with the idea of a ladder shelf. What a unique way of getting my fish tank up to eye level, storing blankets and displaying some of my favorite things. And, with my living room essentially shaped as a boring rectangle, I could put this pretty much anywhere and it wouldn't completely divide the room.

I took my idea to my DH and asked if he could build it for me. Really, having him build me something is the best way to get exactly what I want, usually for less, and it makes him happy because he gets to play with his toys. Everyone wins.

It took some figuring and planning, but he built me this beautiful shelf! I love it. Knowing we would have a ten gallon fish tank on a certain shelf, we were able to reinforce it. And there was plenty of room underneath for E and A's project trays and a cloth bin that holds their coloring books and crayons.

The biggest compromise was came with whether or not it would be painted or stained. He loves the wood grain and I like light colors to keep it from feeling heavy. Yes he won, and we stained it. But only because we had stain left over from when we did the floors.

I still have a long list of things for him to build me - including a pretty console table for under the mounted TV just so I can get rid of the blah store bought media stand.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Somewhat Vintage Touch in the Dining Room

 I make no attempt to hide my love of all things vintage. I love classic movies, big band music and the way a home used to be run. I think that is my I love my mother- and grandmother-in-law. They do things a little more old fashioned. It's because of them I have learned to can vegetables and fruits (grandma told me last weekend about how they would can beef and when you opened that on a winter day, it made the best beef and gravy to have with potatoes), I've learned to sew, and I've been striving to make things myself. Back in the day, people made things to last, not be disposable. Plus I'm cheap.

If I can make it and it will save me money, that's what I do. That includes laundry soap, dog toys, blankets and clothes, home decor and now a basic necessity: dinner table napkins.
I realized I didn't think that much about putting paper towels on the table with the meal, until I had to spend the money to buy more. I had an epiphany: why am I spending money on something I am just going to throw away!?! Cloth napkins just make more sense - I do laundry anyway so what's a few more pieces of cloth to throw in?

So I dug through stash and found the above remnant. I love it! It looks great in my dining room and I already had it. Then I went to Pinterest, and started searching for a good tutorial on how to make these. I found this one on tiny rolled hems, and since it had lots of pictures, I used it.

It was about 29"x44" and I cut out six 12" squares to start with. I also set up my ironing board so that as I finished a seam all I had to do was swivel around, press what was needed and get back to sewing. Even with that convenience, it still took me 30 minutes per napkin!

I am so happy with the end result though. The only difficulty I had was with the last couple of corners. It caught frustrating trying to get the machine to move the material when starting at the edge of like six layers of materials. You can see how small the hems ended up being, and how pretty they look on my new tablecloth.

With so much fabric in my stash, I am wanting to make a lot more of these. I am anxious to try a mitered corner for some. (And I really want a bunch for holiday meals!) But that is a project for another day - I have lots more sewing to get done before the holidays...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Altered Book - The Grad Book

 My baby brother, J, graduated high school this year. Family issues and drama caused a lot stress around what should have been a happy event, a milestone moving him from childhood into manly adulthood.

I thought I would try to make something special for him. Something that would show him he really did have family that cared for him, was proud of him and happy to see him succeed. DH's family have taken him in and treat him like any other grandchild, nephew or cousin.

Rather than just having everyone sign a photo mat or a card, I wanted to do something a little more special. J is worth the extra effort. Sooo, I made my first altered book as a guest book for his graduation party. The pages are rough, but it was my first attempt. I bought a cheap hard cover book from a local thrift store, gutted it, added stickers to the front for a "title", covered the spine with "Class of 2013" ribbon and created pages.

The pages were the biggest challenge for me. I needed them to be sturdy so I used a heavy base paper and adhered scrapbook papers to each page. The first couple of pages have his announcement, senior pictures, and shots from the ceremony. The majority of the book is shots of J with each of the 20 people that were there to support him with a hand written not of encouragement on the facing page. It is finished with pictures from the barbecue we had to celebrate him.

Being an 18 year old, he said thank you, but I know the sentiment is a bit beyond him now. In years to come he will appreciate having the reminder of that huge moment in his life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Take A Seat

 DH loves when I say I want a new piece of furniture for the house. Until about a year ago, it made him shiver with fear at the cost of what I might have in mind. (Truth be told, I don't go crazy and we only buy furniture when it is absolutely necessary because, I mean come on! Have you priced that stuff lately???) Now he gets a little giddy when I ask for something.

When DH retired from the military in June 2012, he decided it was time for him to decide on his awesome retirement hobby. One thing that had always interested him was carpentry and wood working. I've indulged this even though the tools can be a bit expensive (I have a craft stash that can hold me over for a while so I'll let him splurge on his new hobby) because in the end, I knew I would reap the benefits!

And now I have. I saw this amazing bench over and I fell in love. I have a soft spot for the farmhouse style and have been trying to balance it with the modern home DH wants. I got lucky and DH loved the bench. The one thing we agreed on was the original size given in the plans (NINE FEET LONG!!) was a little long for our day to day needs. So we did a little tweaking and he made it about four and a half feet long.

It turned out beautiful! The plans were so clear and easy for him to follow, and to tweak. The added bonus was the cost: about $25 for the materials! I've already sweet talked him in to building me a second one for added seating during the holidays.

If we didn't love our antique dining table so much - or just had space for a formal dining room - I would beg him for the table that matches the benches. For now, I just need to focus on making some cushions to put on top, as soon as he will let me cover his work!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Tweet Idea

J's girlfriend is still learning basic stitching so the stitches are a little wonky,
but I think it gives it personality!
Some of the flock we made!
 I like simple projects that I can do with people around me. When J shipped off to Ft Lee for the summer, his girlfriend and I decided to try a project. We were thinking a hanging display for over her bed, something fun and colorful. Because I've been on a bird kick I suggested birds hanging from a branch - it was a great way to recycle a branch that had fallen out of my huge tree.

Anywho, she was sold and I found a simple bird pattern which we cut out of felt. She paired which color wings with which color bird and we started sewing. First a wing to each side and then the two sides together.

It really didn't take long to get about 20 birds put together. Once they were done, I decided they needed a little more personality so I broke out my puff paint. If you need to add personality to a fabric craft, puff paint is a pretty darn good way to do it.

Simple glittery swirls on the wings, gold glitter beaks and little black eyes. This took about two days - I painted one side of all the birds one day, let them sit overnight to dry and then did the opposite side.

These little cuties have been done for a couple of weeks now and I have yet to hear how she wants to proceed with this project. I'm kinda thinking I might turn them in to a cute garland or maybe some Christmas ornaments. Hmm... the wheels are turning.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Feeling Scrappy

I have decided to start scrapbooking. This is a big thing for me. I've never been a big fan of that particular craft simply because it seems like you spend $50 on stickers and embellishments all for one picture on a 12" x 12" piece of pretty paper. Personally, I love my pictures and the stories they tell too much to have them be lost in a sea of stuff that is actually supposed to make them stand out.

Don't get me wrong, there are some great layouts that really do make the picture the center of attention. In fact those are the ones that have inspired me. That and the fact that I love the beautiful papers you can find and the idea of telling my story and holding the memories that I hold so dear. (Basically I need to use the stack of papers and printed pictures I have before I can justify buying more paper!)

The layout I made for this post features pictures from Easter this year. I loved the bright colors of the base paper and contrast of the flowery side panel. I opted to punch out the main focus of the pictures and set them on a bright green solid, which will also serve to frame some journaling (that's why there is the random huge green rectangle in the middle there). And balanced the page with a few gems on the flower paper and dimensional flower stickers to the right.

My personal favorite part is the main picture at the top of the page - my step-daughter N taking pictures of her hubby and their little girls E and A. I love that it is someone taking a picture of their family and I punched the family group out and raised it with some double sided foam mounts just to make it pop out a little.

I think I might actually start to enjoy this as a hobby, which may scare my sweet hubby.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Something Frosty in the Warm Fall

I love the look of frosted glass. I've done lots of projects with glass etching cream and love them. The problem is that can get expensive and would large projects a little more challenging given the budget I'm working with.

So I thought it would be a good time to try the frosted glass spray paint. I found a couple of cheap framed mirrors at Walmart and taped off what I wanted to remain clean glass with masking tape.

Following the directions on the can of paint, I sprayed the mirrors and  waited for it to dry to see how it would turn out.

I really liked how the smaller mirror turned out. The diagonal lines are interesting and can help draw the eye to other pieces around it when hung on the wall. The larger mirror was ok, but a little plain. So I wasn't too bummed when I learned of a major drawback to the spray frosting paint. It can be scratched off.

I found this out by leaving the smaller on top of the larger and it obviously got moved around and scraped some of the paint off. (The picture doesn't show how bad it was actually chipped, but it was all four corners where the smaller mirror was set.)

But, this dark cloud does have a silver lining. If the paint gets scratched or you just plain don't like how the thing turned out, you can scrape the paint off! I used the razor scraper I use on my glass top stove and it came right off, no issues. I was so relieved. Now I know I can easily change how these mirrors look and that means changing my decor for the cost of a can of paint!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Little E Wants a Blanket

A couple of weeks ago I had my two granddaughters for the night. In the morning, as they were finishing their breakfast, E and A saw me working on my Black & White quilt. In no time, A was asking for a rainbow quilt and E asked for a red blanket with flowers.

Pretty much as soon as they went home, I scavenged through my fabric stash and found red material that I could pair with a fun floral print. The print is pink and orange flowers on a black background and livened up with a sparkly glittery finish.

Choosing to keep the whole simple, I cut both fabrics in to strips that were then sewn together to make a roughly 44"x 56" quilt top. (You can still see the selvages on the edges of the quilt, right next my pup who was checking it out.)

I need to do the quilting still, and plan to add some pink and orange ric-rac to the red stripes just to liven them up. This will be a cuddly blankie for a little girl and a nice throw for her to keep as she grows. The rainbow quilt is going to be a bit more challenging but the design I have in mind will be worth it!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Give A Hug Card

 Today the school year officially started where I am. This means there are plenty of students off to college and there are lots of moms wishing they could still give them a hug.

That thought inspired this card. It is very simple with the happy colors of the pink tag set off against the warm fall toned background. A glittery hug sticker and sparkly stones will make a loved one smile when they receive it.

This is the time of year when life tends to get even busier than usual. At least in my neck of the woods it does. I have buckets of tomatoes and cucumbers to can, just received a few dozen ears of corn to deal with, along with fall cleaning, getting ready for the cold of winter, my hubby possibly changing jobs and the holidays to plan for.

I would like to think I am a little better prepared this year. Jars are ready for canning, gifts have been bought throughout the summer and I'm about have done with my holiday shopping. Being able to make these simple cards offers a nice, relaxing escape from all the stuff that needs to be done. Or, let's be honest, a productive way to procrastinate on cleaning and canning. But hey, I can still say I got something accomplished!

Anyway - time to tackle all that corn!