My Shantilly frame got a makeover for February! The inspiration was this fun suit-on-a-hangar bookmark from my BFF Susan, and the words are letters snipped from alphabet fabric glued onto rectangles cut from last year’s February calendar paper. Here are the ones for November, December, and January. Happy new month! ♥
Look at the lovely ornament my sweet art-teacher-writer-friend Ginger gave me at church on Sunday! She twisted and turned a piece of wire into a heart surrounding my L-O-N-G name . . . thoughtfulness and handcrafting at its finest. And now, with Christmas Eve just one week away, I’m off to finish my end-of-year writing assignments, bake, and celebrate with my family. I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and happy, happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2014! ♥
In June, I wrote in this post about our crafty upcycling friend Mahe (aka MZ) that included a call for submissions for her new upcycled craft book. The Green Crafts Lifestyle is now out, and it’s amazing! It includes sections on paper, plastic, wood, metal, and fabric and has projects from 20 artists around the world, including four of my bloggy friends:
- Vicky of Vicky Meyers Creations
- Danielle of On the Upcycle
- Lora of Lora Lee’s Centsations
- and Sheri of Awesomesauce and Asshattery (author of her own new Kindle book . . . click HERE for details!)
Along with 35 projects detailed on nearly 200 pages of photographs and step-by-step directions, you’ll find author bios and photos with links to their blogs, websites, and other online contacts.
Now for the promotion! To provide all crafters with a chance to learn from these techniques, Mahe’s Altered Upcycling business will provide unlimited FREE Kindle copies of The Green Crafts Lifestyle this Friday, August 16 through Sunday, August 18! Kindle doesn’t restrict you to its device; you can read the book on any PC machine or tablet with the free Kindle App. Simply click HERE for your free copy.
AND . . . drum roll . . . MZ is looking for MORE submissions from MORE of you! In her words: “We need talented artists, crafters, and upcyclists to provide projects and tutorials based on upcycling and green crafting. Altered Upcycling will take submissions for Part 2 of “The Green Crafts Lifestyle” series, and the project submission deadline is August 31, 2013. Please make sure you send tutorials that upcycle wood, plastic, paper, glass, or fabric. The tutorials must be in MS Word format with the pictures embedded in the doc file. I will also need a photo of you as well as an artist bio and links to your blogs, Etsy shops, etc. Please email tutorials to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s save the world one craft project at a time!”
Thank you, Mahe! ♥ P.S. If you haven’t entered my “Catch-up Giveaway,” please click HERE!
When our family was all together in June, we created an art project that Dave and I will cherish forever! When I say “we,” I admit that all I did was pin the original idea (click here . . . it’s REALLY cute!) on Pinterest and send it to our seven amazing daughters-in-law. They took it from there! Shannon is our mixed media artist, so she prepared the canvas. Then she wrote a tutorial! (See links below.) When everyone arrived, Jen took charge of the grandchildren handprints. Being a kindergarten teacher and mother of toddlers, she’s a pro! Tiffany, Mary Ann, Vickie, Danielle, and Christin all helped with the painting, holding, and cleaning up of little hands. Our work of art is now hanging over our staircase so it will be the first thing guests see when they enter our home. HAPPY SIGH . . . ♥
Click Mixed Media Canvas for a word document.
Click Mixed Media Canvas for a pdf.
In the past, I’ve shared reviews of two of Mahe Zehra Husain’s fabulous upcycling books, The Ultimate Guide to Upcycling and Make a Card Awesome. So, when she asked if she could send a preview copy of her newest publication, I was more than happy to agree! This one is called Adventures in Mixed Media: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Beautiful Pieces of Art. It includes chapters on:
- Materials (Paper, Coloring Mediums, Found Items, and Art Stores)
- Techniques (Making Mixed Media Art Paper and Making Mixed Media Collage Paper)
- Projects (A House Journal, Altered Art Organizer, Paintbrush Book, Mixed Media Canvas, The Earth Without Art, Idea Journal, Mixed Media Memories, Art Around your Neck, . . . And Now ‘Round your Wrist, Birds, My Imaginary Flight, and Believe)
I love the way Mahe describes how she organizes her craft room to store “found” items, and the sections on “7 Unusual Sources of Paper” and “Let’s Go On a Treasure Hunt” had my creative juices flowing! Mahe includes YouTube videos for each of her techniques, as well as complete written directions and photographs of all papers and projects. You’ll love Mahe’s friendly, conversational writing style, too! You can get your copy by clicking here at Amazon.com or any time from my Shop Love! page above.
Oh, and remember that Mahe’s first book is ALWAYS available for FREE at her web site, Altered Upcycling. Thank you for all you do to care for Earth as you create, Mahe! ♥
Do you recognize this little riff? These famous seven beats have been used for over a century to end a song or joke or as a call-and-response . . . the first person sings, hums, or taps out the first five beats (“Shave and a hair cut . . .”) and the other person supplies the ending (” . . . two bits!”).
Since I decided I needed ONE more piece of whimsical (and QUICK! and FREE!) art in my my guest bathroom, I used the words to create a 5 x 7 sign with a fun font and the (clipart!) music notes.
I already had the frame, which fits perfectly in the room’s black/white/lime green/silver color palette.
Click the link below for a (word document) copy of your own! ♥
After updating the guest bathroom with a painted and decoupaged kids’ stepstool and a few other decorative touches, I decided to finish it off with a piece of fabric art. First I “shopped my house” and came up with a 17 x 21 black poster frame and a remnant of black/white/lime green fabric (from this crib skirt) that perfectly matches the colors of the room. Then I . . .
- cut the fabric,
- sketched and embroidered a rubber ducky in the middle,
- stretched and taped the fabric over a piece of cardboard cut to size,
- and popped it behind the glass in the frame.
Perfect! Now . . . bring on those guests! P.S. I laid the picture on one of my mother-in-law’s quilts to take this photo . . . such beautiful handiwork! ♥
Do you ever squeal with delight when you see a blog post? Of course you do! That’s what happened when I saw the DIY Poppy Teapot from the lovely Natalie of La gang à Nat. Seriously, go look at it now right HERE. Isn’t it gorgeous??? And all I could think of was that I had a plain white sugar bowl and creamer that I’ve used for YEARS, and wouldn’t they look LOVELY with Natalie’s poppy a-la-mode? So I emailed her to make sure I could copy her design and post it here, and she said YES! (She’s VERY nice!) The only difference is that I used Sharpies since I already had them on hand and then baked the items in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to set the color. I just LOVE them . . . thank you, dear Natalie! ♥
- The adorable design on the bib came from my blogging friend Megan of A Kitschy Kitchen. Click here, and this original drawing can be yours, too, as a gift from Megan! Since I used a heavy muslin (a remnant I had on hand) for the bib, I was able to simply trace the design. Then I embroidered it while watching TV when we were snowed in. Megan has an Etsy shop, too . . . here’s a post about it!
- The skirt, bib ruffle, and neck and waist ties are made from this fabric I bought from Karen of KRS Designs. The cute baking motif was perfect for this project! You can find links to all of Karen’s shops on her blog.
- And now for the ruffles. The blue one was from a gift of fat quarters I got for my birthday. It has a seam in the middle, but it’s pretty well hidden. The fabric for the pink and brown ruffles came from Laura of LC’s Cottage. Click here for Laura’s blog, here for her Etsy store, and here for a previous post I wrote about her shop.
Details about the design are available on my Wonder Woman Retro Apron post . . . a free tutorial from the Jo-Ann web site along with a few tweaks of my own. The only thing I changed on this one was to line the bib to hide the back of my embroidery and make the top ruffle smaller so as not to hide the mixer.
I had SO much fun making this, and thank you to my friends for your lovely contributions! ♥
A little more digging uncovered another one—a light blue this time—but again just the body and a bib pocket with no straps.
So . . . I decided to make another art apron!
First, I removed the pocket, googled a clip art picture of a paint palette, penciled it onto the pocket, embroidered it, and stitched the pocket back on.
Then I used the zebra fabric you’ve seen on some of my other projects (originally a set of sheets from Target!) for the neck and waist ties.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I have a little story to share. For me, it started with this sweet post from Claire of The Penguin Theory about an amazing artist from Portugal named Sandra. When the Etsy community learned that Sandra had faced a great loss, they banded together for a fundraiser sponsored by Esther and Estella of Star of the East (with an Etsy shop here) who invited fellow artists to make a donation toward a raffle with more than 50 Etsy items as prizes. The response was overwhelming, and I know all the winners are just ecstatic! Others have ordered items from Sandra’s own Etsy shop called Azulado, where I found this gorgeous ceramic heart. It arrived this week just in time for the holiday, beautifully wrapped in a handmade box tied with ribbon. Please visit Azulado when you get a chance (and also Etsy angels The Penguin Theory and Star of the East) from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. Love and prayers to you and your family, Sandra! ♥
Remember the little hearts I sewed on my recent travels—upcycled from a sleeve of a cozy old red sweater?
I used two of them for little-girl barrettes with pink button a-la-mode and all but four for my heart-to-heart garland.
Then I looked at the sweater again and decided that the body had to become a BIG red Valentine pillow, like this:
- Fold the sweater in half lengthwise and, starting at the fold, cut a large half-valentine from the front and back. Unfold.
- Pin and stitch strips of the sweater’s hem and sleeve binding across the pillow front for a-la-mode.
- Pin and stitch the pillow front to the pillow back, right sides together, leaving about three inches unsewn.
- Trim the seam, then turn the pillow rightside-out, stuff, and handstitch the opening.
It’s the softest pillow ever! ♥
P.S. The drawing in my office is a print of I’m Into Art by Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton of Wellsville, Kansas. You can read a biographical sketch of Mrs. Layton’s life and see close-ups of her drawings here. She’s one AMAZING lady!
I’ve been following Christina at Le Trango: An Illustrated Accessories Company for quite awhile and always get a smile when I see her adorable illustrations coming through my WordPress reader. So I decided to check out her Etsy Shop and found this sweet set of notecards I can send to my friends and family. The shop also features Christina’s whimsical creatures on canvas tote bags, pocket mirrors, and stuffed toys. Click here for Le Trango’s blog, here for the Etsy Shop, and here for the FB page from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. Thank you, Christina! ♥
Have you discovered the Nicky Grace Vintage Fabric & Gorgeous Things blog? It’s a feast for the eyes! And when I checked out Nicky’s Etsy shop, I just had to buy this beautiful set of 10 fabric collage cards, two each of five designs. Look . . . some of them even have HEARTS on them . . . perfect for Valentine’s Day! Nicky also has other fabric collages, embroidery, hearts, ceramics, paintings, bunting, pillows, bags, dolls, pincushions, and even shapes cut from vintage fabrics for crafting. Click here for Nicky’s blog, here for her FB page, and here for her Etsy shop from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. Oh, and you MUST check out these photos of Nicky’s amazing Pop-Up Shop! Thank you, Nicky! ♥
My newest Shop Love! post features my blogging friend Allison of Thoughtful Creations who makes AMAZING handpainted, collaged, and mixed media zipper pouches for her Etsy shop called Open Hand Creations. Allison also included this beautiful bookmark with my purchase, which I’ve tucked into my winter wreath along with my favorite red cardinal ornament. Besides her blog and Etsy shop, you can follow Allison on her FB page as well. Thank you for the lovely purchase and inspirational quote, Allison . . . I can’t wait to gift it to someone I love! ♥
I recently won a 2013 Art Calendar by Blue Sky and Egg Press in a giveaway sponsored by my blogging friend Molly of Charlotte’s Fancy. It’s PERFECT for my home office! Then, generous person that she is, she also added a whole BAG of cards and labels—some artistic, some crafty, and some cute. I put a few of them in the collage below . . . I just love them all! If you’re not already acquainted with Molly, please check out her blog, including the “About” page where you can find links to her projects that have been featured on other blogs and even in magazines! Thank you Molly! ♥
See these beautiful flowers? They’re painted on a vinyl record album!!! I love it! This work of art was created by my friend Kristin and her parents. Kristin was a student teacher in my school and is now a full-fledged teacher, newlywed, and brand-new Etsy shop owner. I’d like to invite you to check out Kristin’s blog here and her shop here—featuring painted glassware, handmade cards, candle holders, and more—or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. Thank you again for the lovely gift, Kristin! ♥
My newest Shop Love! post is for my blogging friend Christina of Christina Designs Art. Just look at these gorgeous handmade earrings and the pretty hairpins-with-a-la-mode! These will make such lovely, welcome gifts for some of the sweet girls in my family this year. Click here for Christina’s blog and here for her Etsy shop, where you’ll find many other styles of earrings and beaded hair pins as well as memory wire bracelets and acrylic paintings. Thank you, Christina! ♥
Ooohhh . . . MORE cards with reproductions of original art! And they’ll be PERFECT for invitations for a big birthday party I’m throwing this summer for the head cowboy in our family, thanks to my blogging friend Beverly of Beverly Dyer Fine Art and Stationery, who also sells her beautiful creations in many stores in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina area. She even added this beautiful memo pad to my order! Click here for Beverly’s web site, here for her blog, and here for her Etsy shop featuring painted art prints, cards, pendants, and pillows, or find her links anytime in my Shop Love! page above. Thank you, Beverly! ♥
I absolutely love to send people cards made from original art and photography reproductions, so I was very excited to find these in the Redbubble Shop of my blogging friend Rita from Australia! Rita has her own studio and gallery, teaches classes, hosts exhibitions, and has MANY creative irons in the fire including quilts, fibre and textile art, mixed media, and collectibles. Here are Rita’s links, which you can locate anytime in my Shop Love! page above:
- Gone Rustic WordPress blog
- Gone Rustic Etsy Shop
- Redbubble Shop
- Pilgrim Cottage Collectibles Etsy Shop
- Stitched Up Mama WordPress blog
- Stitched Up Mama Etsy Shop
Thank you for the beautiful cards, Rita! ♥
Do your New Year’s resolutions include using more of what you already have in your crafting, gift-making, and home decor? Then you’ll want to meet Mahe at The Altered Upcycling Blog and Altered Upcycling. Mahe explains that she has a Master’s degree in Operations Research, works at a software house, and is an avid altered artist who is constantly looking for ways to make the world greener one small craft project at a time. And, if you sign up on her blog or web site, you’ll receive her FREE pdf book called The Ultimate Guide to Upcycling for one-of-a-kind jewelry, cards, gift bags, wall art, and more. Mahe sends out free ideas and how-to videos in her email newsletter as well, such as how to make a beautiful card from a dinner napkin, old dictionary page, leftover ribbon, and glue! Mahe writes in a friendly, conversational style as if she’s sitting right beside you, includes what worked and DIDN’T work for her, and supports her ideas with step-by-step directions, photographs, and alternatives. You can get your copy by clicking on the link in this post or any time from my Shop Love! page above. Thank you, Mahe! ♥
My newest Shop Love! artists made two of my Christmas and birthday gifts this year!
Their friend and colleague (my art teacher daughter-in-law Tiffany!) sent me this adorable chicken from Zuliganz and these gorgeous felt-ball earrings (made by the same artist who created the measuring tape earrings Tiffany gave me last spring) from Wired for Impact.
This husband/wife team sell their creations locally in the St. Louis area and at their Unboxed Art Etsy Shop in support of causes near and dear to their hearts.
A couple of years ago I saw a kids’ art jar online and thought it would be the perfect gift for a special little girl’s birthday. It was so colorful and intriguing . . . but when we dumped everything out, I found LOTS of pretty raffia filling and WAY too few actual art supplies. Live and learn, right? So, when my dad was preparing for a recent move and asked if I’d like to have some empty plastic snack containers, I immediately thought, “ART JARS!” I began collecting artsy/crafty items from the dollar bins at Michaels and Target, plus hitting the dollar stores, and soon had a huge bag of fun things to include. These will be under some Christmas trees soon! ♥
I got the sweetest giveaway gift in the mail today . . . stationery, notecards, and a memo pad designed by the fabulous designer Kara of Karalynn Creative . . . plus, the most amazing pencil I’ve ever seen made by Anthropologie! Besides Kara’s WordPress blog, she has a lovely Etsy shop for you to visit, too. Thank you, Kara! ♥
I was SO excited that the October issue of HGTV magazine has a tear-out print of a new painting by designer David Bromstad! Click here to see a 30-second video about his creative process via Pier I Imports. But guess what . . . you don’t even have to buy the magazine to get it! Simply click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to download a pdf you can print at home! I think it would be lovely as fall decor or in a nursery. At our home, it’s the perfect guest room dresser buddy for this fun lamp. ♥ P.S. Click here for more fun and free autumn prints!
I was rummaging for a frame yesterday and found my long-lost fork easel! I didn’t make it . . . I bought it at a craft show. But I think I could make one now that I know A Ponytail Kind of Day! She has a post here about her fork easels. Plus, if you go to her Category Cloud and click on “silverplate,” you’ll see knives, forks, and spoons made into candleholders, bracelets, necklace pendants, money clips, vases, key chains, and napkin rings! I’ll try it if you will! ♥
P.S. Click here for a tutorial for a rock and wire photo display option . . . another fun upcycle! P.P.S. And now I just discovered this AMAZING silverware starburst mirror! You must check it out! P. P. P. S UPDATE: Spoon rings now on A Ponytail Kind of Day!
If you haven’t already visited the 9-15-12 post at We Don’t Need Sleep, you MUST take the next 60 seconds to do so . . . and download your beautiful FREE seasonal art print! I so love this gift, and it’s available to EVERYONE! Thank you, Kristin and Callie! UPDATE on 9-24-12: I just got a tip that we can find 12 more free fall printables at My Blessed Life! Thank you, Myra! ♥