Friday, December 20, 2013

Sew & Sew Sewing Box

This is what I started with. It was pretty banged up and headed for the garbage.

Welcome to the Ann Butler EZ De's Blog hop! Go to the link at the bottom to hop through and see what other designers have done with Ann's beautiful stamps.

I love the adage, "A place for everything, and everything in it's place." That was the motto of my eighth grade Home Economics teacher, Mrs. Coker, who tried to pry open our 13-year-old brains and pour in her knowledge of a lifetime. At the time, I thought she was a silly old lady, but now I wish I had paid more attention in her class.

I love an organized house and have had that happen once or twice, but I always have another project on the horizon, and if you're a crafter, you know that you can clean and organize your workspace, but the minute you get out the supplies to make one card, it looks like Hobby Lobby threw up. That's why I'm constantly trying to corral the little pieces of a bigger projects in one location.

Sewing is a prime example. You have spools of thread, several sizes of pins, needles, both for hand and machine sewing, scissors, bobbins, needle threaders, beeswax...you get it. I also have not only my own sewing supplies, but those of my mother and mother-in-law. Those items are precious. I don't use them, but when I see them they always bring back a memory or two.

This little case was about to bite the dust. It had an injury to the corner of the lid and since it was just cardboard, it wasn't really worth repairing...until I received my EZ De's alphabet stamps. I was immediately in love. These stamps have it all: beautiful shapes and a lovely swirl pattern within each letter.

Ann also has a line of Crafters Ink with Clearsnap. The colors are rich, and the pads are juicy. You can use it on paper, wood, fabric, just about anything. My head is swimming with all the possibilities of projects to come.

Here's how I saved that little suitcase where I now have my mother's sewing supplies housed.

Supplies
Small suitcase or large box
Ann Butler's EZ De's 2"Alphabet stamps (KellyCraft)
Ann Butlers Faux Quilting stamps (Unity)
Ann Butler Colorbox Crafter's Ink, Aquamarine, Lilac and Limon
Small sponge
Clear acrylic block, 12" x 3"
Get-it-Straight Laser Square and Multi Mat Docking Station (KellyCraft)
Clear Embossing Powder (Ranger)
Heat tool
Big Shot (Sizzix)
Dress Form Die, Sewing Room, Tim Holtz Alterations for Sizzix
Patterned Cardstock, 6 sheets- Four sheets to cover the box, one to cover the lid edge and another for the stamping background. You will also need some 6" square scraps for the die cuts. (Graphic 45)
Chipboard, 3 6" square sheetsAmpersand stamp (Stampin'Up!®)
Ivory cording, 36"
Miscellaneous sewing notions: Needle, pins, buttons, thread
Large  and mini Pop Dots
KoolTak Premium Extreme double-sided adhesive
Spray Adhesive (3M Super 77)
Masking tape, Pencil

Directions
  1. Repair any damage to the box if you are using a recycled find. Place two sheets of the patterned cardstock on the box lid and adhere with masking tape on the edges and where the two sheets meet. Flip the case over and trace the edge outline with a pencil on the back side of the card stock. Trim the excess and adhere the paper to the box lid with spray adhesive. Repeat on the box bottom if desired. I left mine as it was.
  2. Cut a sheet of cardstock into enough strips to wrap the edge of the lid. Adhere it with spray adhesive. Use Premium Extreme adhesive to attach the ivory cording around the top edge of the box lid.
  3. If you have the Get-it-Straight Laser Square and Multi Mat docking station, here's a great way to get your stamps to line up: Place the acrylic block in the corner of the laser square. Use the lines on the Multi Mat to line up the lower edge of the alphabet stamps. Place the card stock on which you plan to stamp in the corner of the laser square. Ink the stamps with Crafter's Ink (mix colors right on the stamp if you like), then use the laser square to get your stamps straight.
    Just carefully place the acrylic block with inked stamps facing down in the corner and press to get a good ink transfer. Ink and repeat for the second stamp. Pour on clear embossing powder, remove excess and use heat tool to melt. Trim the pieces, ink the edges and add the stamped layer to another layer of scrap card stock.
    Line up your stamps using the Multi Mat grid.

    Ink your stamps then use the Get-It-Straight laser square and Multi Mat to easily get the letters straight on your paper.

  4. Ink the ampersand stamp with Limon, Aquamarine and Lilac. Stamp on scrap paper and emboss. Cut out the ampersand and attach it to the box lid with pop dots.
  5. Ink several patterned square stamps from Ann Butler's Faux Quilting line from Unity Stamps with assorted colors of Crafter's Ink. Stamp on a piece of patterned card stock, emboss with clear embossing powder and heat. When cool, trim the squares into 1" pieces. Set aside.
    Place all the Faux Quilting stamps on the block, ink with multiple colors and stamp, then emboss.
  6. Fold a piece of an old pattern tissue into a fan shape. Use Premium Extreme to hold the folds in place and to adhere the pattern to the lid.
  7. Mount three pieces of scrap card stock to the chip board using spray adhesive. Cut the Sewing room die three times. Sponge ink around the edges of all three dress forms. If you want to alter the height as I did, just cut right above the base or right at the hem, then remove part of the column. Adhere to the box lid with pop dots.
  8. Wrap one or two of the thread spools from the Sewing Room die with thread and attach to the lid with pop dots. Fill in any excess space with the 1" quilt stamps, mounted with mini pop dots.

This piece was created in about three hours, including designing the project, cooking dinner and making a couple of false starts, so it's pretty easy. Now, instead of an overflowing sewing basket, I have a nice little case that looks great on my bookshelf in the sewing room.

If your Santa is struggling with what to get for his favorite crafter, send him to KellyCraft for Ann's stamps and the Get-it-Straight Laser Square and Multi Mat.

Be sure to hop through the blogs by clicking on tone of the names below:





Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cozy Christmas Cottage

There are two things I absolutely love: making gifts for my friends and decorating for the holidays - any holiday. Those two items come together in the mother of all holidays, Christmas, and as my granny would say, "It's right around the corner" (Silly me. When I was a child, I would walk to the end of her street to see if I could see Christmas. After all, it was right around the corner.).

My sweetie and I have been married 43 years. In that time, we have collected ornaments from our travels across the United States, managed to accumulate tons of Christmas lights and in the last few years have added many quality items to our stash. And it's a big stash. I love to add a new element each year, but I'm running out of room, so I decided to create our 2013 keepsake using SmoothfoamTM and paper and embellishments from The Robin's Nest. The Robin's Nest Dew Drops add a lacy appeal to the roof lines. and the Smoothfoam keeps it lightweight. This cute little Christmas cottage can stand alone or have more pieces added each year.

If you haven't been to the Robin's Nest blog yet, start there and hop through to see the work of some amazing designers!

Here's how I did it:

Supplies
  • SmoothfoamTM sheet (1), 1" x6" x 12"
  • SmoothfoamTM pieces (3) , 3 1/4" x 4 3/4", cut from a scrap SmoothfoamTM sheet that was originally 1/2" x 12" x 24"
  • Assorted card stock, The Robin's Nest
  • Dew Drops, assorted colors and shapes, The Robin's Nest
  • Acrylic paint, Jenkins Green and Titanium White, Golden Acrylics
  • Acrylic Stamps, Tattered Angels Screen Prints, Garden
  • Foam Adhesive, Beacon Hold the Foam
  • Quick Dry Adhesive, Beacon Quick Grip
  • Pearl Pen, Gold, Viva D├ęcor
  • Transparency Sheet
  • Circle punch, 1 3/4"
  • Gold cord, 8"
  • Ink, Pine Needles, Tim Holtz Distress Inks, Ranger
  • Ink Applicator (Tim Holtz for Ranger) or sponge
  • Black Sharpie
  • Hot foam cutter or sharp knife
  • Ruler
  • Small sharp scissors
  • Cellophane tape
Directions
Notes:
All card stock edges are sponged with Pine Needles ink.
All elements glued directly to the foam use foam adhesive. Additional items and paper-to-paper attachments use Quick Grip adhesive.
  1. Cut the three small SmoothfoamTM rectangles and adhere together. Paint all the SmoothfoamTM pieces with two coats of Jenkins Green acrylic paint.
  2. Mix a small amount of Titanium White into the green paint and use it to stamp swirls all over the large block including the side edges. Use the gold Pearl Pen to trace some of the stamped swirl lines. Set aside to dry.
Join the three small rectangles.

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Option: If you don't want to apply green paper to cover the joined edges, smooth off the cut pieces with modeling paste and cover with paint.


 Small Door Block:
  • Use a small round object to draw curves at the top of the block. Cut excess with sharp knife or hot foam cutter.
  • Cut eight pieces, 1 1/4" x 1", from dark green card stock. Use the Gold Pearl pen to color along the lower edge (the 1 1/4" side) of each piece.Use a toothpick to drag the lines toward the top of each piece to create a wood effect. Adhere to the sides of the block, beginning at the bottom and overlapping each piece.(See photo option.)
  • Cut the gold cord in half and adhere to the corners of the small block to hide any rough edges.
  • Cut the door from striped card stock. Add a bar across the middle and attach a round gold Dew Drop for the door knob. Lightly draw a small circle on the upper portion of the door. Arrange green and red Dew Drops to form the wreath. Adhere to block with foam adhesive.
  • Cut two pieces of printed or glittered red card stock 1 1/2" x 3". Score a line 1/2" from the 3" edge. Mark 1/4" increments on the scored edge and trim a small triangle at each mark. Bend the card stock to fit the curve of the roof. Place small strips of cellophane tape to the underside of the cut edge with the adhesive facing toward the portion that will show. Trim off the excess. This will provide a base for the Dew Drops to stick.


    Score the edge, then mark in 3?8" increments. Cut a small triangle at each mark.
  • Adhere the pieces to the roof, adhering flush at the back with a slight overhang in the front, and gently fold the cut strips down. Place red Dew Drop circles in the center of each flap and white Dew Drop diamonds to cover the adhesive tape between the red circles on each flap.
  • Cut a 1 1/2" square from the same paper used for the roof. Score a 1/4" strip in the middle. Fold and adhere to the roof top.
Curve the card stock to fit the roof line. Place cellophane tape on the underside and trim excess.
Finishing
  1. Cut two 1 3/4" x 6" strips. Follow the directions for the roof on the door portion (the only difference is that these pieces will be centered from front to back on the roof).
  2. Cut a small piece of card stock scrap for the lower window and punch a 1 3/4" circle for the top.  Draw lines with the black Sharpie on a piece of transparency film and cut shapes the exact size of each window. Adhere all to house front and use the gold Pearl Pen to place dots around the outer edges.
  3. Adhere the door section to the house front and add additional Dew Drop embellishments.
  4. If you have drafts created when doors are opened or closed that cause this light-weight piece to fall over, just add some sort of weight to the bottom back, such as a row of heavy coins (nickels or quarters) secured with masking tape or an L-shaped piece of metal, such as a hinge.
Wouldn't this look great on a mantel? You could also make several and use them to surround your Christmas tree before all the presents are wrapped and after they have been opened (Nothing is as sad as a Christmas tree with no gifts under it.).
Here's wishing you the best of holidays! Remember that handmade gifts are the most treasured and buying from local shops not only supports the families in our hometowns, but also makes our economy stronger overall.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Deck Yourself from now Until Thanksgiving

Add fall color to your wardrobe with these easy-to-make, recycled jewelry pieces.
Add fall color to your wardrobe with these easy-to-make, recycled jewelry pieces.
I awoke this morning to the first signs of the fall season. It's rainy and chilly here in the Mid-South, where it was sunny and 86° on Sunday. This weather makes me want to pull out my favorite fleece PJs and snuggle up with a hot cup of joe and a good book. It also makes me yearn for wool skirts and crew-neck sweaters in rich colors, perfect for wearing while shopping the multitude of farmers' markets and craft fairs that the fall season brings. What better way to dress up last year's favorites than with new jewelry?

My mother was the costume jewelry queen. I believe she had the first piece of jewelry she ever bought, and added to her stash regularly. She wasn't big on bracelets, but I have boxes and boxes of necklaces and earrings, which provide the fill-in beads I use in recycled jewelry. This bracelet and earrings set contains pieces from three necklaces, plus the addition of some really cool items and embellishments from Kool Tak. I'm also trying to rid myself of excess jewelry findings, so my metallic pieces are a combination of brass, copper and silver.

I love Kool Tak adhesives and have since the first time I used them. They provide strong bonding for anything I want, but my new favorite Kool Tak products are the Shiny Foil Sheets and Sparkles. They make old things look new, adding the small touches of color on the wires and spicing up my plain metallic brown polymer clay pumpkins. Kool Tak products make this project so easy! The mat protects your work surface and the foils, sparkles and 3D adhesive make your jewelry pop! I guess I'm like those old crows that hoard shiny baubles - I just can't get enough.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASupplies
Kool Tak™ 3D Glue
Kool Tak™ Shiny Transfer Foil Sheets - Summer Blooms
Kool Tak™ Sparkles Set -  Red, Threading Beads
Kool Tak™ Non-Stick Crafting Sheet
24 gauge wire, 8 1/2"
18 gauge wire, 8 1/2"
Assorted recycled beads
Kato Polyclay, metallic brown, 1/2" x1 1/2" x 2" block
Findings: Clasps, crimps, jump rings, eye pins and french ear wires
Krylon Triple Thick Glaze
Tools: Craft knife, toothpicks, Smoothfoam™ block, jewelry pliers
Instructions
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Use toothpicks and a block of Smoothfoam to keep your hands stickyness-free.
Pumpkins
Condition the clay and roll it into a 5" cylinder. Slice it off in 1/2" increments. Roll each piece into a ball and slightly compress the top and bottom to make it a pumpkin shape. Use the toothpick to score lines from top to bottom to resemble the grooves on a pumpkin. Run a piece of wire through from top to bottom to create the stringing hole. Bake according to package directions and cool.
Tip: If you want to wear this with a Halloween costume, just cut Kool Tak™ Ultra Clear Adhesive into tiny triangles, arrange a face on the pumpkins and apply Kool Tak™ Shiny Transfer Earth Tones black foil. Instant holiday customization!
Place each pumpkin on a toothpick and anchor them into a piece of Smoothfoam™. Coat each pumpkin with Kool Tak™ 3D Glue. When the glue has become completely clear, it will be  sticky and ready for you to apply the foil to each piece. Don't worry if you don't get foil all over the pumpkin. This makes it look more rustic, but if you prefer, keep patting the foil on the bead until you cover it all. Apply a light coat of Krylon Triple Thick Glaze to each pumpkin and allow to dry.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Jewelry findings include eye pin, head pin, ear wires and clasp.
Bracelet
Attach one end of the copper wires to a jump ring and add a crimp piece to hold it in place. On the heavier gauge wire, string the larger beads and three (or more) of the pumpkins. Bend the wire's end to hold the beads in place and add the smaller beads to the thin wire, continuing until you have less than 3/4" of wire remaining. Wrap the small wire around the large one. Attach both wire ends to a jump ring and add the crimp piece. Add a bracelet clasp.

Earrings
Insert an eye pin into the base of the pumpkin. Cut the shaft 1/2" from the top and bend to make another eye pin. String beads onto another eye pin and join the two eye pins. Attach french ear wires to the top of the bead pin. Attach a drop bead at the bottom of the pumpkin.
Now, put on that snazzy skirt and sweater and top it off with your recycled custom jewelry!
- Candice Windham

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Easy Peasy Tote Bag Pocket



I just love tote bags. I guess because I always have something to tote, but I was a bag-a-holic long before I had anything to carry around with me. My grandmother always had a big  handbag that contained everything but the kitchen sink, so I guess it's just in my genes.

Anyway, I am participating in the 2014 Sketchbook Project, a wonderful sharing of ideas and art. I try to carry my sketchbook and an assortment of pencils, water pens, markers and erasers with me when I know I'll have some down time - doctors' offices, traveling, etc. All of this paraphernalia takes up room, thus the need for a tote bag, but not just any tote bag. The sketchbook is only 5" x 7", so a big bag isn't necessary, but all those writing instruments! I hate digging in the bottom of any bag for a pen.

These fabulous new stamps from Ann Butler and KellyCraft were the answer to a prayer for a simple way to dress this little bag up AND hold my writing instruments at the same time. I had seen a baby quilt made by Ann using her stamps at the Craft and Hobby Association Tradeshow this summer, so the idea to use the patterns for quilts was not mine, but I loved the look and thought it was perfect for this tiny tote bag. By using Ann's ColorBox Crafter's Inks, I was able to make this quickly and easily, then heat set it with my iron so it's now washable.
As it turned out, I had many more writing instruments than this pocket was made for, but it fit my sketchbook perfectly. No more bent pages, no more frayed corners, just pristine, blissful white pages. The writing instruments were relegated to the inside of the bag (with maybe one or two of my favorites in the pocket with my Sketchbook), and while I'll still have to dig in it to find just the one I'm searching for, I'll be able to carry twice as many!





Here's how I made it:

Supplies
EZ De's Stamps, EZ-De's 3" Tri Triangle Set A (KellyCraft)
Get-It-Straight Laser Square (KellyCraft)
ColorBox Crafter's Ink, Aruba, Limon and Sweet Pea (Clearsnap®)
Muslin fabric, 8" x 10"
Acrylic block, 5" x 7"
Felt
Iron-on Interfacing
Sewing machine with white thread
Scissors
Fabritac Adhesive (Beacon)
Buttons
Twill tape, 6"
Small tote bag (Hobby Lobby)

Directions
1. Determine one straight edge and put the Laser Square in place. Turn on the beam and place the cursor about 1 1/2" from the right edge. Add both large triangle stamps barely at the edge of your acrylic block, inking one in Limon and one in Aruba. Line the base of the block up with the laser line and press to apply ink to the fabric. Repeat with one of the stamps and Sweet Pea ink, turning the triangle to fit inside the first two. Continue inking and stamping until the fabric is fully covered.
After you stamp the first two triangles, you can probably eliminate the need for the Get-It-Straight Laser Square, but I was taking no chances!
2. Heat set the ink according to package instructions.
#3. Using felt gives you the appearance of a great quilted surface.








3. Cut interfacing and felt to the size of your finished pocket and an additional piece of muslin the size of the pocket front. Iron the interfacing onto the back side of the stamped fabric. Cover with felt and pin in place. Stitch along the triangle lines to suggest quilting.

4. Pin the stamped fabric face up to the extra piece of muslin . Stitch along top and sides and turn the pocket inside out. Tuck the bottom of both pieces of the muslin in to create a false seam, then top stitch the edges 1/4" from the edge all around.

5. Stitch buttons to the front. Use Fabritac to glue the sides and bottom of the pocket to your tote bag.

6. If you're making this for a gift, stamp "Just for You" in Aruba ink on the twill. Attach to handle with stitching and sew on additional buttons.

That's it. This little tote would make a nice Christmas gift as well, and you have plenty of time to get them done!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I saw the signs....


After the recent Craft & Hobby Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas in July, we headed on to Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks, the California coast just north of Los Angeles, drove across the Golden Gate bridge, then turned east to Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Reno and Rocky Mountain National Park. (We are known for our marathon driving trips.) We had already spent the nights before the convention at the Grand Canyon North Rim and Zion National Park, the most beautiful place on earth in my humble opinion.

We saw so many different signs along the way. I have always been interested in signs, particularly those with lots of age on them. The ones we saw on this trip were mostly more modern, but they were still beautiful. My KellyCraft Get-It-Straight Laser Square made this squared-up layout easy as pie (which we thoroughly enjoyed at The Thunderbird Restaurant just outside Zion National Park).

Here's how I did it:

Supplies
KellyCraft Get-It-Straight Laser Square
Paper, Printed, 12" x 12"  and Postcard cutout (DCWV Timeless Type Stack®)
Cardstock, Navy, 12" x 12"
Cream Card stock, 8 1/2" x 11"
Brown Card stock scrap
Die Cutting Machine (Spellbinders Grand Calibur®)
Die (Spellbinders Floral Ovals)
Adirondack Color Wash, Denim
Brown Ink Pad
Printed photos, titles and journaling
Glue Dots®

Tools: Paper Trimmer, Sponge, Scissors

Directions

Tip: If you have a layout program on your computer, you can design this page there and know exactly how much to trim your photos.
Use your printer to create unique journaling blocks that become part of your story.

1. Prepare journaling block (see photos 1-3) : Determine the width and height of the journaling area on the postcard (2 3/4" x 2 1/4" in this case). Set your type to print within this size and print it out on copy paper. Line your postcard up ( a light box or handy window pane make it easy to do this) so that the journaling fits within the space allowed and tape down the top edge on the copy paper. Send this through the printer again to print your journaling on the postcard. Trim and set aside.


2. The background paper was nice, but I needed for it to be darker. I spritzed it with the Color Wash spray, then rubbed with a sponge while it was still wet. (Photos 4 and 5)

3. Trim the navy card stock to 11" square, then cut out a 10 1/4" square from the center. Align the remaining border with KellyCraft Get-It-Straight Laser Square and glue down to the printed paper. (Photo 6)

4. Set the title four times on your computer. Trim each to 11" wide and 1/2" tall. Sponge edges with brown ink. Adhere the title strips to navy border using your Get-It-Straight Laser Square. Cut four die cut medallions and place on each corner.

5. Using the Get-It-Straight Laser Square once again, adhere all the photos and the journaling block in place. Place one of the photos at an angle across the address portion of the card. With all the straight lines in this layout, the angled piece gives the eye a little relief and adds interest to the page.

Do you have a vacation coming up? Remember that landscapes are beautiful, but sign photos can tell the story of where you've been with very little journaling.




I received product from KellyCraft and Spellbinders.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beautiful Butterfly


Nothing says summer like a beautiful butterfly…that and swimming, popsicles, baseball, fireworks, cool nights on the patio…and our Vacation Bible School. My local church has the most awesome VBS ever! The entire church is transformed into another land – this year it’s a rainforest with a huge tree (10 feet around!) in the sanctuary. There are monkeys swinging from the rafters in the entry hall and lots of giant lizards everywhere.


I wanted to make dozens of butterflies and dragonflies to float among the monkeys and frogs all over my VBS craft room. But I didn’t have enough Smoothfoam on hand (note to self: get more Smoothfoam and start planning earlier next year!) so I just made this one beautiful metallic butterfly to hang in my studio. He’s so pretty and bright and when I turn on the fan, he flits around to keep me company and make me smile!

Supplies
12″ Smoothfoam sheet
Smoothfoam balls – three 1″, two 2″ and one 3″
Metallic paints – green blue, gold, purple
18″ length of stiff wire (a clothes hanger works well)
Heavy duty craft glue
Straight pins
Purple fine glitter
Tulip dimensional pearl finish paints – green, white and gold
Foam Cutter
Craft Knife
Round-nose pliers
2# test fishing line
Paintbrush, sponge

Cut two slits on opposite sides of  3" ball. Sponge blue and green paint on all balls.

1.  Cut two slits (1-1/2″ long by 1/2″ wide) on opposite sides of the 3″ ball, with the sides of the slit angled inward. This is where the wings will attach to the body.
2.  Insert the wire through the centers of four of the balls in this order: 2″, 3″, 2″ 1″. Suspend the balls above your work surface by resting the wire ends on two objects, like bookends or vases. Sponge-paint all the balls with a random blend of blue and green and allow to dry.
3.  Draw two wing shapes on the Smoothfoam sheet and cut out with foam cutter. Paint all sides blue and allow to dry. Use dimensional paint to draw outlines of shapes and dots as desired.
4.  Add a generous amount of glue into each slit of the largest ball and press in a wing to each side; insert straight pins to secure. Support the wings in place as the glue dries by propping them on a couple of soup cans.
5.  Push all the balls toward one end of the wire, leaving about 3″ of wire exposed at the top. Cut off all but about an inch of wire on bottom of body and curl it with pliers to keep the balls from sliding off (save the excess wire trim). Paint two blue dots for eyes on the top ball.
6.  Glue and glitter the surface of the two remaining 1″ balls. Add one to the exposed wire at the top of the body. Insert a 3″ piece of wire into the other ball and poke it beside the first one to make the antennae.
7.  Make two long loops of fishing line and place one around the base of each wing to hang. Tie the loops together about 18 ” above the butterfly’s body.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Birthday, America!

This is the time of year we celebrate our independence. What says America better than a red, white and blue sign to greet your guests at the door and tiny reminders of our freedom scattered throughout your home? These great chalkboards can become the centerpiece of your decorating with just a few pieces of bright chalk and about 10 minutes of your time. Don't worry if you can't draw it perfectly. Remember my motto: If it's perfect, it's not handmade.

The best thing about these chalkboards are that with the swipe of a paper towel and maybe a little bit of water, you have fresh slate to start all over for your next celebration. Mine were purchased as you see them, but you could achieve the same results with a piece of plywood or masonite and a can of chalk paint. Pop your handmade board into an inexpensive frame, and you have a great designer look.

Be sure to click on the Designer Crafts Connection at left to hop through and see other designers' ideas for celebrations.

Supplies
Chalkboards
Strong colored chalk or pastels

Directions
Write your message on the boards. To achieve the large letters/numbers, such as the 4, break a piece of the chalk to the width you want your letter, then draw with the side to create equal lines. Don't worry if all the solid area isn't filled in. That makes it charming.

Be sure you say the pledge to our flag and sing a verse or two of God Bless America or your favorite patriotic song, and always remember that freedom isn't free. It was bought and continues today because of our brave men and women who serve our country and also the families of these soldiers who carry on at home while their loved ones are on the other side of the earth. We owe them a debt that can't be paid.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better....

...we have a giveaway! If you're as excited as I am about etchall® Reusable Glass and Mirror Etching Creme, you'll love this message from the blog of Julie McGuffee. (which I am shamelessly reusing!).


Etchall Giveaway!

Have you seen all the etched projects designed by Designer Crafts Connection (DCC) members?  Are YOU itching to etch?  Then here's a newsflash for you:  Hop thru the DCC webring and comment on the projects.  Each time you comment you'll be entered to win the same etchall® kit that the designers worked with - the more you comment, the more chances you'll have to win.  (US & Canada addresses only.)

You have until midnight, June 23rd!  


Just click on the Designer Crafts Connection button to hop through the blog posts and leave a comment.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

I think I'm in love...


I have always wanted to learn to etch glass. There are so many possibilities for home and office decor that I believe I could write a book about it. There's only one problem: I have always hated the mess, odor and possible side-effects of the etching creams I've used in the past, so I haven't played with it very much.

Well, those days have ended, my friends. My first project with B&B Etching Products, Inc.'s etchallTM  Reusable Glass Mirror Etching Creme  turned out so good that nothing made of glass is safe at my house. I want to etch every surface, which  is made less expensive than the older versions of etching cream because it is reusable. It says so right on the label and it's true. I was able to return 90 percent of the used cream to the bottle for future projects.

I used a stencil, which I created with a punch and etchmaskTM vinyl, for my first etchallTM project. I am very pleased with the results. You could also use a stencil cut with an electronic cutter or one cut from a die. Pre-cut stencils could be applied with repositionable adhesive, but most are too sturdy to fit a curve.

This piece is designed for a summer party table decoration. I had originally planned to use it as a votive holder, but once it was etched, I couldn't resists filling it with water and floating a freshly picked gardenia in the center. Doesn't the etched surface look just like a chilled glass of water? Makes me cooler just thinking looking at it.

Gardenia's were my grandmother's favorite flower, and I have finally grown a bush that is almost as large as the one she had in her yard. Of course, it probably wasn't more than 48" tall, but I was looking at it with my five-year-old eyes from a different viewpoint than I do today. My gardenia bush is loaded down with blooms, and the fragrance is heavenly. Maybe we'll have a little summer evening dinner on the deck tonight in honor of my grandmother, gardenias and etchallTM, the best etching cream I've ever seen.

Click on the Designer Crafts Connection button at left to go to other designers' blogs to see how they've used this great product.

Here's how I made it:

Supplies
glass bowl or glass pedestal bowl
etchallTM Reusable Glass and Mirror Etching Creme(B&B Etching Products, Inc.)
etchmaskTM Vinyl (B&B Etching Products, Inc.)
Craft knife (Westcott)
Border punch (EKSuccess Brands TM)
Flat brush
Only a minimum of supplies is needed for etching with etchall TM..

Directions
1. Punch etchmask vinyl with border punch and apply it to the glass surface

TIP:  It's easier to make several small pieces and place them on the glass, rather than one long strip, which can end up being a stuck-together mess.

2. Using a small flat brush, apply the etching cream to the glass. Be sure the surface is covered entirely. Work in sections so you don't have to worry about any dripping. Allow the creme to set 15-20 minutes.

3. Scrape off the excess creme and return it to the bottle. Under running water, wash the remaining creme off, then remove the stencil.

That's it. I made this in about 45 minutes, 30 of which was waiting time. Now. if you'll excuse me, I need to go to the garage and rescue that box of glass items I was going to place in a yard sale.







I received etchallTM Reusable Glass and Mirror Etching Creme and etchmaskTM vinly from B&B Etching Probuts, Inc., the Westcott Craft knife from Westcott and the border punch from EKSuccess BrandsTM



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring Beauty



I just love Springtime in Tennessee, and this one has been beautiful. Our azaleas were just gorgeous, the daffodils beautiful and all the flowering trees made wonderful touches of color in our woods, but the most stunning blooms were on our three-year-old Clematis. I took so many photos because it just became more beautiful every day.

I knew I had to document them in a scrapbook page. This one is a digital page created with the Duetica Lettering Arts Studio fonts, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign, but you could just as easily create this in a traditional layout.  The Duetica Lettering Arts Studio made this beautiful title so easy to do with the elegant Mandolyn font.

Here's how I did it:
  1. Using the Duetica lettering Arts Studio, set “Spring Beauty” using Mandolyn font. Make changes to “S” and “Y” to create swirls.
  2. Open Spring Beauty file in Photoshop. Change color to deep purple. Save as a png file to preserve background transparency.
  3. Open photo. Set image size to 12 x 12. cropping as necessary. Set Opacity to 50% and save.
  4. Open new 12 x 12 file in InDesign or Pagemaker or other layout software. Note: You can also create this entire page in Photoshop.
  5. Draw a 12 x 12 square and fill with purple, adjusting color to 20%
  6. Place photo from step 3 and reduce size to 11 x 11 with a purple border.
  7. Place photos and journaling block as desired, set for a 45% purple drop shadow and give them white borders .
  8. Type journaling in black and change Clematis title to purple.
Did you have a beautiful spring as well? Be sure to document it in your scrapbook pages or journals. I smile when I think how excited my descendants will be to peruse my thoughts 100 years from now, especially if that Clematis is still blooming every spring!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Mother Album



I know Mothers Day for 2013 has come and gone, but this project could work for any subject. Check out how I created this using lace paper, Mica powders and KoolTak® adhesives.

Now I just have to fill it up!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Using up my stash...

I was cleaning put my stash of ribbons and fibers a few weeks ago and came across a pack of colored twine. There were at least a dozen colors, maybe more, and I was saying to my self, "What was I thinking when I bought all this twine? I have enough to twine bomb a small country."

I was trying to think of different things I could use it for when I remembered the small foam spheres I had from Smoothfoam®. I whipped out my foam cutter, sliced several of them in half, plopped myself down on the sofa with a Criminal Minds marathon on the TV, a big glass of sweet tea and made flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.

You can see compete directions at www.smoothfoam.com. While you're there, be sure to  go through the posts of other professional designers who love Smoothfoam® the way I do.

Have a great Memorial Day and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sand and shells picture frame


sand texture smoothfoam picture frame

I have always loved the addition of texture in art, whether it’s the tiny brush stokes of Van Gogh or the addition of fibers, rusty metals, embossing powder or glitter to my current craft project.
But this not a case of adding texture. It was a case of covering up an error. Yes, I know that’s hard to believe, but I occasionally make a few mistakes, and while you might never notice them, they drive me crazy. In fact, while some designers are the Queens of Creativity, or the Divas of Design, I am Her Highness of Hiding Mistakes.

This piece started out as a simple tutorial on how to make a little frame for one of my favorite quotes about the beach. It got ugly quick.

I use an awesome heat foam cutter. It cuts Smoothfoam like butter, but that’s my problem. I tried to zoom through the inner cuts and wound up with one side not only crooked, but ¼” smaller that the opposite side. When I tried to correct the error, I made the cut too long, almost cutting the entire side off.

So here’s what I did…I got out the heat tool, went outside and heated up the whole thing, using the side of a pencil to mush the edges into a semi-straight line. I liked the look, and instant texture was born. The effect reminded me of the beaches near Charleston, South Carolina where they aren’t white sugar sand, but have bits and pieces of beautiful granite mixed in and huge chunks of it protruding from the beach.

Once that part was done, I was officially in love with this project, and I became positively giddy as I added to it!

Supplies:
Safety note: Wear a mask when melting Smoothfoam; do it outdoors or in a large room with plenty of ventilation.

Instructions

1.  Cut Smoothfoam to 6” x 8″ and remove the center area (3-¼” x 5-¼”, reserve this inner rectangle).

2.  Heat this frame with heat tool, moving the heat around quickly as it starts to melt. If you have a large uneven section that needs to be straightened, heat it and quickly roll a brayer or the wooden part of a pencil over the area to flatten it. Allow to cool.

3.  Paint the frame, front and back, with a mixture of two parts Titanium White and one part Yellow Ochre. Be sure to get down into the crevices. Allow to dry.

paint smoothfoam frame

4.  Working on a small area at a time, apply the bronze paint and quickly wipe it off with a paper towel. Using swiping and dabbing motions to get a nice mottled look. Allow to dry and apply more of the white/gold paint with a sponge to highlight some areas.

5.  Create a quotation on the computer and center it inside a rectangle that is the size of your frame opening. Tape a piece of muslin fabric to a sheet of computer paper. Place the fabric/paper in your manual paper feed tray and print the quotation on the fabric.

6.  Use a foam cutter to slice the depth of the piece of Smoothfoam you removed from the frame’s center to about 5/8” – this creates the sunken look when placed in the frame. Center the muslin on the rectangle and wrap it around the foam like a gift, secure with  adhesive tape. Place it inside the frame; it should fit snugly without  adhesives to hold it in place.

7.  Cut a sheet of chipboard or cardboard to 5-½” x 7-½’ and glue it to the back of the frame.

8.  Embellish as desired with shells and beads, etc.

And here’s how I discovered how handy those little scrap pieces of Smoothfoam can be…the 3/8″ sliver that I cut from the inner frame to make it thinner was laying on my worktable, broken into two pieces, when the mailman arrived with a very hefty package for me. It contained three huge vintage spools from cotton mills, which were used for the spun threads. Several pieces of silk thread in a yummy beige color were draped artistically across the spools. No way that was going in the trash! I picked up the scrap Smoothfoam and began winding the thread around it to keep it from tangling. I pressed the end of the thread down on the edge of the Smoothfoam and it held instantly.

Today is also another first Monday posting day for Designer Crafts Connection. Just click on the button, above left, to hop form blog to blog for Handmade Inspiration.

Now, go hug someone you love and dream of spending time with them on a beach soon.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mothers Day Card


I can't imagine a better season to honor our mothers than spring. Iris and tulips are pushing up through the warmed earth, birds are singing and preparing nests for their new additions and the sun shines - most of the time, although those showers are helpful as well.

When I think of my mother, I think of sewing, baking and setting a high moral example for her two daughters. She loved family history, anything old as well as the latest trends and beautiful color combinations. This card reminds me of a beautiful purple wool straight skirt that she paired with a purple twin sweater set. Add pearls and heels and she was definitely decked out.

She made all of our clothes when we were growing up, and there were always scraps from which we fashioned doll clothes. Today, my scraps are now baskets of paper pieces left over from my latest projects. When I saw these wonderful quilt-patterned stamps, designed by Ann Butler for Unity Stamp Company, I knew they would make the perfect frame for this card.

There are 20 additional designers in the blog hop today. Just click a name to hop from blog to blog.
1. Ann Butler  
2. Beth Watson  
3. Candace Jedrowicz  
4. Candice Windham (you are here)
5. Carol Heppner  
6. Cheryl Boglioli  
7. Cindi Bisson  
8. Debra Quartermain  
9. Denise Clason  
10. Eileen Hull  
11. Fabrizio (Fab) Martellucci  
12. Jen Goode  
13. Jonathan Fong  
14. Kristin Kelly  
15. Lisa Fulmer  
16. LIsa Rojas  
17. Lorine Mason  
18. Madeline Arendt  
19. Melony Bradley  
20. Rebekah Meier  
21. Theresa Cifali  

Be sure to scroll all the way to the end for a great coupon from Unity Stamp Company!

Here's how I made this simple card:

Supplies
  • Stamps, 1" Doily Picnic and Leaves All Over (Designed by Ann Butler for Unity Stamp Company )
  • Versamark Ink
  • Silver Embossing Powder
  • Heat Tool
  • Card stock, 5 3/4" x 5 3/4" (Basic Grey)
  • Card Stock, 12" x 6 ",  4" x 4" and 5" x 5" white
  • Cardstock scraps, 6" x 1/2" coordinating patterned paper, approximately 20 strips
  • Double Stick Tape
  • Craft Knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Stamping mat or rubber padded mouse pad
  • Sponge
  • Dye inks to match your patterned paper (Colorbox Dye Inks)
  • Paper Towels
  • Lace Ribbon, two pieces, 7" (Offrey)
  • Square Punches, 1 1/4" , and 1 1/2"
  • Scissors

Instructions

1. Fold white card stock to 6" square and set aside.

2a.  Measure  1 1/4" from each edge of the 5 3/4" square. Trim the center out to create the frame.
 
Step 2a. Measure margin and trim center out.

2b. Mark the center of each edge of the frame and use this as a guide for stamping. (I used a 2" square acrylic block and set both my stamps on it to save a little time.)


Step 2b. Find the center of each side and mark lightly with pencil.


 3. Begin in the center, aligning the point of one stamp with the center mark, and stamp four images on two opposite sides. On the other two sides, line up the center point (if you are using two stamps on one block) and stamp the two images. Apply silver embossing powder and heat with heat tool until it melts.

Step 3. Stamp the images on the frame with Versamark ink.


4. Sponge ink on frame and buff it off the embossed areas. Be sure to hit the paper edges of the frame as well to hide the white inner core.
Step 4. Ink frame with a sponge and dye ink. 


Step 4. Buff embossed areas lightly with damp paper towel.


5. On the 4" square of white cardstock, create an opening that is 1/4" all around smaller than the other frame opening. Adhere to the larger frame to create a white liner. Set aside.

Woven Background
1. Draw two lines corner to corner. Line up two strips of 1/2" paper along the pencil lines and adhere both ends to the white card.



2a. Weave paper strips with alternating patterns, using the two guide strips to keep the lines straight. Once you have woven a strip, adhere one end only to the card stock. This will make it easier to weave the last few strips in place. 2b. Trim any edges off the white card stock and paper scraps. Adhere the frame to the top of the woven strip.


Step 2a. Tape down only one end of the woven strips.

Step 2b. Weave all the strips into the base, alternating colors.

3. Place double-stick tape on each end of the ribbon and wrap it to the back side of the frame.

4. Stamp (or print from your computer) the sentiment. Punch it out on the diagonal with the 1 1/4" square punch. Punch a scrap of patterned paper with the 1 1/2" punch and layer the sentiment on it. Adhere it to the woven center of the card.

5. Punch a heart from a card stock scrap, apply Versamark and silver embossing powder and heat with heat tool. Form the center bow by wrapping the ends of the lace ribbon  across the center of the ribbon and secure with double stick tape. Apply the heart to the ribbon center and attach it to the card.

6. Adhere the entire frame front to the 6" folded white cradstock.

I will probably think of a hundred things I could have added to improve this card, but at the moment the only thing that would make this card better is if I could hand it to my mother personally.

Wishing you all a very happy Mothers Day, just a little bit early!

Use this coupon to get a great deal on Ann Butler's Stamps as well as all Unity Stamps!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Recycled Sun Catcher

Welcome to the Designer Crafts Connection April blog hop. Our theme this month is Spring Flowers, but we were also challenged to only use items we already had around the house. This wire and glass sun catcher fit the bill.

There wasn't a lot of sun when I took the photos for this project, so trust me: that beveled glass can really sparkle. To see another spring project using the roll of wire described in the materials list, see my blog post of March 22.

Be sure to click on the Designer Crafts Connection button at left to hop to other bloggers participating in this event.

Here's how I did it:

Materials
Metal Coat Hangers, 2
Roll wire (Found in the garage. No one knows what gauge it is or why we bought it.)
Wire Cutters
Needle nose pliers
Regular pliers
Beveled glass pieces, 1 large, four small (Purchased at a salvage store several years ago. I think they were made for light fixtures.)

Instructions



1. Straighten one of the coat hangers leaving the hook attached. About 8" from the top of the hook, bend the wire and form a circle. Cut the other hanger into two pieces, one approximately 8' and the other approximately 16". Bend the 16" piece in the middle and attach it to the sides of the ring. Add the8"piece to the remaining side side and wire to  the center hook piece.

Cut wire pieces and wrap around ring to secure the center wires in place.
Form four wire flowers, wire to ring and finish off flower centers with a wire spiral.
Wrap a piece of wire around the vertical portion of the glass, leaving stems about 2" on the top. Twist to hold. Place another piece of wire around the glass horizontally, locking the ends around the vertical wire. Form circles with the wires ends at the top.



 Hang the large piece in the center and space the four smaller pieces around the sides of the ring. This could be made with fishing line if you have holes bored in the glass for stringing, but a good stiff wind could break them if you hang them outside.

Don't forget that today is April Fool's Day. Go play a trick on someone you love and be sure to hug them afterwards!