Friday, December 30, 2011

Get a jump on your Valentine's Day crafting...

Here are a few vintage Valentine postcards that I have.  They were received in the mail in the year 1912.  I thought it was fun to think about using something from 100 years ago to make something new.

 I think I will make some pillow tucks with some of them. I have been wanting to try out some of this stuff:

I found out about Bubble Jet Set 2000 from my friends at Material Rewards in Dansville, NY.  They have used loads of it for the quilts they have made for the children of deployed soldiers.
You soak the fabric in the solution for a few minutes and then let it dry.  Once it's dry, iron it onto some freezer paper, cut to 8.5x11 inches and you can print right onto the fabric with your inkjet printer.  The images will be vibrant and last through washing with mild detergent.   I like that I will be able to get tons and tons of images from just one bottle.  The bottle says 40-50 sheets depending on the weight of the fabric.

I will keep you posted on my progress with this idea.  But first, I have to finish off a couple more UFOs that were part of my resolution for 2011.  Sadly, I can't really call this resolution a success, but I have finished a few of the things in the line-up.  I'll keep working on it.  You might have noticed that I tend to get side-tracked easily.
So many ideas, so little time...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jar Light Tutorial

Good morning. :)  I hope everyone is having a relaxing week after the Christmas rush.  I am getting a few things done around the house that have needed attention for a while now.  Vacations come just in the nick of time, don't they?!  I was planning to go to school to do some work today, but it's finally snowing here.  And blowing.  A lot.  I have to make that snowy blowy drive when school's in session, but today I can choose the comfort of home instead.  There's always tomorrow for a day at school playing catch-up.  Or the next day.

My holiday decorating was pretty minimalist this year.  But I had a phone call Monday night and arrangements were made to have people in on Tuesday night.   Yikes!  Well the area that was most in need of at least a little something was my stairs.  They were bare.  Na da.  Nothing.  Zip.
So I thought about what I have on hand, and this is what I came up with:
Please ignore the fact that the stairs are
"temporary" - unpainted plywood and all.
Here's the quick how-to.  I had the jars on hand because I didn't make strawberry jam this year.  (Next year... There is always next year.)

This is a branch of greens that I have had for a few years now.  I use wire cutters to harvest what I need.

Cut really close to where it "branches".

Use a berry pick which you picked up on a huge sale.
Just pull one strand out at a time.  It's actually rather therapeutic.
I used two berry strands and two "branches" from the greens.
Twist the ends of the greens together to make a circle.
Wind the berry strands around that.
Set the mini wreath on top of the jar and place the candle in it.
Hmmm... needs something....
A strand or two of the berries wrapped around?
They were going to be a pain when turning the
candles on and off.
I think it needs snow...
What do I have that looks like snow?
This stuff - and better yet I'll still be able to
use it when I'm done with the jars!
Didn't use this funnel for jam last June,
but it came in handy for this job!
Those little pellets are pretty bouncy, so pour slowly!
This was the kind of look I was going for.  Simple.
I love the soft light from the jars going up my stairs.
I think I'll add some of my snowmen to the empty stairs and this look will be good for me through January. :)
Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas to All

I have had yet another beautiful surprise
in the mail from Linda of Parker's Paradise.
I am truly humbled by her ongoing generosity.
I wish I could convey to her how much her
gifts in the mail have touched me and lifted me up.
I have had almost zero time for blogging lately.  Haven't posted, haven't read very many other posts.  But vacation is coming at the end of the week.  Our school goes til the end of the day on Friday, so I still have 3 more days of high energy fun with my 4th graders.  :)  They have really been on their best Santa-is-coming behavior this week.  Hopefully I can sneak a little time over my week off to catch up with what's happening in blog land.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for all good things in 2012!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Christmas Ornie

I have been having some fun doing just a little crafting during my long Thanksgiving weekend from school.  I have a rather large collection of juice can lids waiting to be turned into something wonderful.  I started this collection because these are the perfect size to do a little tin punching with the kids at school.  They love designing their own ornaments from these juice can lids!
I started with these items:
The tea lights are $2.50 a box from Walmart.  The berry string is actually two strands taken from a pick and then twisted together.  That amazing hunk of rusty wire is something my husband had laying around his tool bench.  (He always seems to have such items just when I mention a shopping trip...)

I spray painted the juice can lids back in the summer with this:
I punched two holes on each side of the lid so that I could poke the two wire ends through and then bend them over.  I thought this would make it easier to level the ornie when hanging than if I just had one hole on each side, but I think you could make it work either way probably.
I used two 8" pieces of wire which I twisted together, leaving two ends about an inch and a half long on each end.
I poked the wire ends through the holes in the lid and bent them over using my little needle nose pliers.
Then I wrapped the berry around the wires.  I came up with this idea when I realized my tea light would probably slide off the lid pretty easily, but it was just the touch this ornie needed. :)

To do the tea lights I first painted a thick coat of this on each one:
When I bought it I didn't realize it was pretty sparkly, but I have found many uses for it just the same.  I use it as a base coat and then grubby up the project by painting a coat of Mod Podge over it and then sprinkling cinnamon and cloves over it while it's wet.  I had a picture of the sparkly look, but I accidentally deleted it.  I don't have anything currently in that stage, so sorry!

This is what it looks like after the second coat of Mod Podge:

Here is the finished ornie:

I don't have my tree up yet, but I can't wait to make a few of these to put on it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas in the Kitchen

Christmas Decorating in the Kitchen

Here is a quick winter bouquet that fits right in with kitchen decor.
The ingredients:
Twist the berry pick into the evergreen pick until you are happy with how it looks.  Tuck that arrangement into the upside down grater and fuss with it until the bottoms of the picks don't fall out the opening of the grater.  Then hang the spring with the candle in it onto the front of the grater.  And done!
You could hang a tea towel from the handle and it would finish it off nicely! A quick gift - for yourself or a friend. :)

Here's another kitchen themed idea:

I used brown craft wrapping paper that I cut to fit in my printer to make the label for this little rolling pin.  I gave the rolling pin away, but I think I need to make one of these for me, too!  For the homespun background fabric I just measured it wide enough so that a little wood could peek out on both sides and made it long enough so I could sew a seam and turn it.  Then I slipped it over the rolling pin.  I used my xyron sticker maker machine thingy to make a sticker out of the label, and I stuck it right to the fabric.  I was thinking that I could also have made the label paper long enough to wrap around the rolling pin. (Then it could have been removed after Christmas...)

The label I created:
The upper image is the one I used for the small rolling pin I covered.  
The lower image might work better for a larger rolling pin.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Incredible Swap Treasure from Margie

I participated in Amy's Christmas at the Cabin Swap and my partner was Margie from Hungry Hook Primitives.  Holy guacamole!  What a lovely assortment of prims I just opened!

Here is a shot of the whole kaboodle:
I know!  AMAZING!!

Here are some close-ups of the items:
I have never owned any hooked rug items before, so you can't even imagine how excited I was to open this grouping of mug mats!  
(And the first person who actually puts a mug full of anything on one of these is going to suffer serious punishment!)

Love these labels - the pictures don't do them justice.  

Love this little guy!  I've already auditioned him in several spots.

I just bought some orange clove tarts at Walmart to try out.  
Guess what I'm going to do as soon as I finish this post?

These mini pillow tucks are so cute!  
I have a couple of ideas for where they will spend the holidays, too!

Margie really spoiled me.  When I opened this package I instantly started worrying that I didn't send Margie enough treasure in return!  (How could there ever be enough to balance this amazing-ness?!)

I sent Margie's package priority mail on November 18th from our little post office, and it then spent from the 19th until the 22nd sitting in Rochester, NY.  It then moved to West Virginia.  The post office might need a map because Pennsylvania is just below New York.  ;)
However, I should not be stressed because the delivery confirmation still says the expected arrival date is November 21st.  Apparently there is going to be time warp involved...  Grrr...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Joy Ornie Make-do

Here's a little more JOY for you. :)
Here's the pattern I made.

I just drew a star that filled a regular sheet of copy paper, and tried to make one of the "legs" longer so it would fit in the spring better.
I traced the pattern and then wrote JOY in the middle-ish.  Stitched the J and the Y. Then layered right sides out and sewed on the line, leaving an opening for stuffing the star.  After I stuffed it, I sewed it shut the rest of the way.  Then I grunged it, sewed the O (bell) on, and wound the berry vine around it.  Ta-da!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Joy ornies

I said I would post a little tutorial for my joy ornies this weekend, and it looks like I am coming in just under the wire.  (My husband doesn't call me "Last minute Lissa" for nothin', ya know!)
Anyhow, here's the basics.  They are actually fairly quick and easy.
I made a little clothesline for drying them
after I sprayed them with staining stuff.
1.  Start by visiting Jennie Baer over at  I contacted Jennie to make sure she wouldn't mind if I directed folks to her free patterns.  She has moved away from creating patterns to photography - and you should see her work!  GORGEOUS!  I love the way she captures the eyes on her subjects.  (I'm an eye person - it's where I always notice first in a photo.)
Click on the "freebies" tab and then on Ornie Patterns.  I used the star ornie outline for my Joy ornies.  (She has lots of other really nice prim patterns, so look around!)

2.  Cut two pieces of fabric for each ornie (front and back).  I love ticking fabric and I used natural ticking for these ornies.  My fabric pieces were about 6" X 8.5", but they could have been a little bit smaller and still worked.

3.  Cut the star out, on the line.  Then trace the star onto your fabric using a disappearing ink pen.  I used a Sewline air erasable marker.

4.  Use the disappearing marker to write "JOY" on the star.

5.  Layer a piece of batting under the top piece of fabric and stitch the J and the Y using your choice of thread.  Be sure to leave enough room for your O!

6.  Now layer the back layer of fabric (right sides out, not together) and stitch all the way around the star with thread that matches your fabric.  Stitch right on the line you traced.
7.  Cut out the star using pinking shears, being careful not to cut through your stitched line.

8.  Prim your ornie by coffe / tea / vanilla staining and or grunging on both sides.

9.  Sew a bell or button onto the spot where the O should be, going through all layers, but being careful not to take big stitches or it will make a mess on the back of the ornie.

10.  Wind berry vine around and end up at the top, making a loop for hanging out of the end of the berry vine.  You can make your own berry vine by taking a berry pick or a berry swag apart.  Just take two strands at a time and twist them together, end-to-end..  Because it's wire inside, they stay twisted pretty well.

I have a JOY make-do to share tomorrow.  Get your bed-springs ready!
I hope the coming week brings the blessings in your life into a sharper focus.  May those blessings be abundant, and even more special when shared.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Small Christmas Hang Tags

I have been working on some small hang tags for a little Christmas tree I purchased at Stonewall Craftique recently.  When I make these tags, I go online and search for free vintage Christmas cards on Google images.  Then I insert them into a word document and resize them and arrange them on the paper.  
I am experimenting with how to share these here.  I am not sure if this will actually work or not and would love it if you would let me know if this works for you.  These tags all fit on one 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with .5 margins all the way around.  Then the images can be cut apart and stuck onto the small hang tags.  (I bought mine at Staples and the size is roughly 1 1/4 X 2 3/4 inches.)
Prior to putting the images on, I coffee and vanilla stained my hang tags and then baked them at 200 to dry them.  I do about 5-8 minutes on a side and flip them so each side gets 2 turns.

I will post a picture of my little tree later.  Right now, I am going to step away from the camera and give it a little time to think about it's refusal to cooperate.  I'm supposed to be getting ready to go with my husband to do our Thanksgiving dinner shopping anyway.  Do you think the camera knows...?

And before I forget:
She has a really fun idea for getting 5 extra chances to win!  Everyone is a winner with this idea! 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ornies from OLM's Swap!

I joined in Olde Lady Morgan's ornie swap, and my ornies arrived on Monday!  I couldn't wait to get into that box because I had seen some posts about the ornies arriving for other people.  I LOVE all of the ornies I received!  There's such a great variety. :)
Here's a picture of the collection:

Here's the individual line up:
Created by Tammy from A Primitive Place

Created by Rachel from Somewhere In The Middle

Created by Sheila from Country Impressions

Create by Allison Knight from Sew Many Girls
Created by Marie from Olde Lady Morgan
Marie also included a bag of treats - Thanks!!
Created by Trace from Granny Trace Scraps and Squares

These are the ornies I created for the swap.  

I'll be back with a tutorial/pattern for some JOY ornies this weekend - after parent conferences are done.  I also have some other ideas to share after my swap partner gets her treasures.  (I don't want to spoil any surprises!)
Have a great rest of your week!