Our friend Mahe of Altered Upcycling is offering her newest Kindle book, Zentangle Inspired Art: A Beginners Guide to Zentangle Art and Zentangle Inspired Art and Craft Projects, to all of us for FREE from Monday, May 19 through Friday, May 23! The book is full of projects and worksheets to facilitate both the beginner and experienced artist. Mahe says, “Even if you have never tried doodling before, this guide will walk you through the entire process of Zentangle art in a step-by-step manner supported by numerous pictures and examples.” Thank you, Mahe! ♥ P.S. Remember . . . if you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free app for your phone, tablet, or computer to read Kindle books!
I recently hung the Peeps garland I made last spring (out of felt, not the candy!). Here are the super-simple directions:
(1) Draw a simple bunny shape or find a free template online.
(2) Make the bunnies from felt, fabric scraps, construction paper, or scrapbook paper.
(3) Add the eye and nose dots with fabric paint, permanent marker, or embroidered French knots.
(4) Attach the bunnies to ric-rac, ribbon, rope, string, or twine using glue or hand or machine stitching.
You’ll soon have a cheery pop of color for your spring décor. Have fun! ♥
During my last spring cleaning, I found NINE unopened decks of cards in the game chest. If they haven’t been claimed yet for their intended purpose, they’re up for grabs for crafting, right? So, when I saw several versions of Valentine garland made from hearts playing cards on Pinterest, I had to give it a try! I punched holes in the corners, strung them with red baker’s twine, and added a few hearts cut from the backs of the Jokers and advertising extras for a-la-mode. So easy, and they made great gifts for some special people I love! ♥ P.S. Here’s the red sweater heart pillow that’s sitting on my favorite chair this month and the felt conversation heart garland I hung across the mantle.
When I saw a touching layout designed by Ellie on My Little Bunny Cupcake, I knew I’d found the perfect quote to put on my card when I give a fabric flower to a friend: Just living isn’t enough . . . one must also have freedom, sunshine, and a little flower. Thank you, Ellie and Hans Christian Andersen! ♥ P.S. My dress form is wearing my scarf crocheted by our bloggy friend Tamara. Isn’t it just lovely?
When I saw this post on Thrift Store Crafter, I suddenly remembered that I, too, have a journal upcycled from a vintage book! I also remembered that I’d promised the person who gave it to me (my BFF/sister Susan) that I would actually USE it and not put it away with my treasures, so I got it off the shelf and began listing all the crafts/sewing projects I want to make and tucking in clippings and patterns. Now, when I find myself with a little block of free time, I’ll be all ready to go. And besides . . . this journal just makes me smile! ♥ P.S. Be sure to check out Sarah’s tutorials on Thrift Store Crafter!
I’m a lucky crafter . . . I won this fun Sneaky Art book and Rainy Day Art Pack, both by Marthe Jocelyn, from Robyn of Museiddity‘s recent giveaway! I’m happily set for my next little visitors! Please click here to learn more about the book and here to learn more about Robyn and and begin exploring her Museiddity creations. Thank you, Robyn! ♥
In autumn I bought a fun chicken-wire frame at a craft show from Shantilly, and since then I’ve had fun restyling it for different holidays and seasons. November’s design reminded us to give thanks, December’s spoke of joy, and January’s is all about snow . . . a clip-art mitten illustration mounted on scrapbook paper, letters snipped from alphabet fabric, and tiny clothespins to hold everything in place. ♥
Happy 2014! I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas season. I had extra fun with my family celebrating Christmas, New Year’s, AND my birthday! And, with several days off from work, I enjoyed some extra sewing and crafting time, too.
Remember my sweater teddy bear? For my first holiday break project I wanted to use up the leftover sweater parts, and I found the perfect idea in the January, 2014 Woman’s Day magazine, submitted by Anna of Lasso the Moon. For mine, I . . .
- cut the scraps into two-inch squares,
- folded them in half,
- strung them on stiff wire,
- tied off the wire, and
- added a ribbon.
It’s always fun to have something new to hang after undecorating for Christmas! ♥
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! ♥
Remember the chicken-wire frame I bought at the craft show from Shantilly? And how I decorated it for Thanksgiving with cut out burlap letters and a fabric flower? My granddaughter Miranda helped me restyle it for Christmas with new letters, then we added the scrapbook paper ornament my friend Debbie taught me how to make. Perfect . . . and I’ve already got ideas for when Valentine’s Day rolls around! ♥
In my Sleepover! post I told you about Shantilly, a new crafty business launched by my daughter-in-law Shannon and her sweet mom and sister. Their popular handmade items include different sizes and colors of chicken-wire frames to use for memo boards. (My friend Karen bought one for each of her nieces for Christmas!) With mine, I made a new wall decoration for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The letters are snipped from a remnant of the burlap I used for my mini-screen bag, the teeny wooden clothespins are left over from my t-shirt garland kit, and for a-la-mode I pinned on one of my fabric flower brooches. I just love it, and the best part is that I can update and reuse it for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and more! Thank you, Shantilly! ♥
Did you love sleepovers when you were a little girl? They were my favorite! Last weekend some fun girls in my family drove in for a “Crafty Cousins Slumber Party.” We went out to eat, chatted, crafted, slept, ate breakfast casserole and cinnamon roll-ups, went to a big craft show (where my lovely daughter-in-law Shannon launched Shantilly!), and ended with lunch out with my dad. We made fabric flower brooches, Christmas cards (thanks Margo!) and earrings (thanks Karen!). If you heard laughter floating through the air Saturday night, now you know why. ♥
A year or so ago I had fun making some vintage earring magnets but I’ve given them all away, so it was time for another batch. Simply use pliers to pull the hardware from a clip earring, then superglue a sturdy magnet on the back! Then I had a chance to go to a new-to-me antique store last week, and I found a vintage metal tray to use as a magnetic memo board . . . a perfect match! ♥
P.S. What are the memos, you ask?
- Top Left—A recipe for “Peachy Spread” (to serve on quick breads) from my friend Janice: Mix together 4 ounces of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of baby food peaches, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. This will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
- Top Right—“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:24)
- Bottom Left—A photo for a project I can’t wait to make . . . the ANNY BAG from my bloggy friend of It’s Sew Anny!
- Bottom Right—Adorable Josh . . . our youngest grandson! ♥
THANK YOU for helping me celebrate my second blog anniversary with another amazing outpouring of nominations for the Good Neighbor Award! For every blogger listed below, an avid reader (or more than one!) took time out of her busy schedule to send me an email telling me how much she would love to have you for a neighbor and why. Isn’t that just the most lovely compliment?
- First, I’ll share the comments, in no particular order.
- Then I’ll list the blogs that were nominated in ABC order. (Be sure to click on the links to find some new friends!)
- Finally, I’ll announce who got the most nominations and wins the giveaway. Here we go!
- Living next door to this blogger would be great. She could help me with my photography skills and I know I would learn so much from her. She is such a sweet person and I feel a kindred spirit with this lovely lady.
- She’s my twin but she doesn’t know it . . . we must have been separated at birth!
- She’s so stinkin’ funny!!!
- Her home sounds like quilt heaven. Imagine being able to visit any time I’d like!
- Because of her, I can’t throw ANYTHING away without first pondering how to reuse it in a creative new way.
- I would like to have her as my next door neighbor to have a cup of tea together because she is so friendly and cheerful.
- I love the ideas she has for different crafts, plus she just sounds like the kind of person who would make a great neighbor.
- She’s Wonder Woman in disguise!
- Her tips make my life easier.
- She makes me look forward to getting older because she has so dang much fun!
- Her patterns and tutorials inspire me, teach me, and stretch my limits.
- Her DIYs are to DIE for!
- I so admire how she balances her family, job, and creative pursuits. I hope to be able to do that someday, too!
- She’s SO sweet! What’s not to like???
- Her cards and paper crafts are a delight to the eyes.
- I’ve learned so much about how to make my home more company-ready and hospitable from her, something that’s very important to me.
- Her OOTDs are so inspiring! I’d love to be able to recreate something similar from my own closet. If she lived next door, she could help me!
- Her blog is WAY better than Pinterest!
- I love, love, LOVE the jewelry she designs and sells! It would be so much fun to watch her in action!
- She has given me lots of good advice, both knowingly and unknowingly. I just love the way she thinks things through.
- She’s so creative, yet so humble . . . I can’t imagine a nicer neighbor to have.
- She was one of the very first supporters when I joined the blogging world and has been a super bloggy friend. Even though we live in different countries, I feel that we are close friends and close neighbours. I am always inspired by each one of her posts. She always leaves me thinking a bit more deeply about the simple things in life.
- She’s REAL! And not many people are real these days.
- Her sense of humor never fails to brighten my day.
- She always takes wonderful photography and it would be so neat if she was my neighbor and could teach me how to take better photos!
- She makes me laugh every day.
- I would love for her to drop in for a cup of tea and show me her latest ideas. I would like to tell her some kids’ craft ideas of my own and she could use them in her own work.
- Her gentle, loving personality comes through her art.
- I want her craft room! Please, please, please move next door and help me!
- Her blog is many things to many people (crafty, witty, funny, sweet and always, always kind and caring). I never would have dreamed that a woman I met through blogging would one day become one of my dearest friends.
- I wish she lived next door for a hundred reasons: we have an amazing ‘kindred spirit’ connection. If she lived next door we would share walks, talks and cups of tea. We would craft together, visit antique shops, eat falafels and be there for each other (as we are now) through thick and thin.
- She makes me laugh. She makes me smile. She loves animals and children and shows her care through words and deeds. I would be one lucky woman to have her living next door.
- Her life seems to be a lot like mine was 15 years or so ago, when the youngest kid was just starting school and the oldest was starting the teenaged years. I’d love to have her next door so I could say every morning “You’re doing a great job! They’ll be fine!”
- I love how she weaves her faith in God into her everyday life. It’s hard to do that without being preachy, but she nails it.
- She’s always nice and encouraging and seems like a fun person to be around.
- She has a variety on her blog but what I would love to learn from her is paper piercing. She has done some amazing birds and I have bought one of her cushions, so beautifully made. Very inspiring and very creative.
- I’ve learned so much from her about how to promote my business through my blog.
- Her recipes are so amazing that I just want to lick my computer screen. If she lived next door, I’d always leave my window open so I could enjoy the good smells coming from her kitchen.
- They make me laugh!!! They need to move to my neighborhood so we can go shopping together.
- She could check my patterns and find the errors! (That’s selfish, I know . . . LOL!)
- She has a great blog full of wonderful craft projects to do with your children. They are inexpensive and fun projects that promote lots of creative play. She would be fantastic to have as a neighbour, endless ideas for me!
- She cares for the world and everyone in it. I admire that.
- There are actually two ladies that I would like to have as neighbors. They are both so generous with their time and talents. I look forward to their posts. They lift my spirits and make me laugh. They are also wonderful at teaching their particular craft.
- She’s so open about sharing the ups and downs of her life . . . I need someone like that next door!
- She helps me so much over at my blog. When I get stuck with how to do things, she just writes me a lovely clear instruction and I am away. She is kind, generous with her time, has a terrific sense of humour and talented at crochet! I wish she lived nearby.
- Her writing voice is so witty. I’ve learned a lot about writing AND life from her!
- I’m so much more organized since I’ve “met” her through her blog. If she lived next door, I’d hire her to help me get my whole house in ship-shape.
- I never heard of “refashioning” until I read her blog. Now I see it everywhere, but hers are the best of the best! I’d so love to learn from her.
- I want her to move next door so I can see her collections and so we can go thrifting together. What fun we’d have!
- I’d invite her over for coffee and get her advice on redoing my living room . . . or kitchen . . . or family room . . .
- Her tablescapes never cease to amaze me. They make me want to entertain every night just so I can create such prettiness!
- She could teach me to crochet and make me laugh!
- She helps me keep things in perspective. I need a next door neighbor just like her!
- She ALWAYS “likes” and comments on my blog posts. That means SO much to me!
- Her refashions are beyond words! Maybe, just maybe, she could teach me to do that!
- It is one of many grandparenting blogs I read, but it is above and beyond because of her exceptional photography, quilting, decorating, gardening, shopping skills, and it is an all around fun blog. She has a great sense of humor and I could picture myself sharing a cup of coffee and dessert with her and enjoying the conversation immensely.
- Where do I begin? I use her recipes! I try her decorating ideas! I pin her crafts! She simply inspires me with each and every post. How wonderful it would be to have her as my next-door neighbor!
Please pick up your button above to display on your blog (if you wish). Nothing is required. I just want you to know that you’ve made a big impression on someone (or many someones!) and that we’re all grateful you’re sharing your life with us. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand . . . the blog with the MOST nominations is . . . Crafty Staci! Click here to read about your prize, Staci, and if you choose to accept it, please email me and I’ll send you my mailing address to get the ball rolling. CONGRATULATIONS! ♥
It has been SO much fun to get SO many email nominations for the Good Neighbor Award this week! I’ll be posting the results this Sunday, September 22, so you still have time to send me the names of your favorite neighborly bloggers! Click here for details . . . and remember that the blog with the MOST nominations wins a prize like the one below! (Click here for a description . . . all made from last year’s winner’s beautiful but no-longer-needed sundress!) Also, I got an email from author/blogger Geraldine Hartman of Veggies, Yarns & Tails and she is offering Kindle versions of ALL of her books for FREE this Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to check them out! (Remember . . . you don’t have to own a Kindle–you can download the app here for your smartphone, tablet, or PC.) Thank you, Geraldine! ♥
AWARD: Simply put, the Good Neighbor Award is for someone you’ve met in the blogging world you wish could be your real-life neighbor. To nominate a blogger, simply email me (to keep it a surprise!) at firstname.lastname@example.org, including a link to the blog and why you’d like this blogger to live next door. Is it to cook, sew, craft, shop, or write together? To learn to do something new? To be inspired? To visit over a cup of tea? Nominees will receive the award button on my second blogiversary, Sunday, September 22. (Click here to read about last year’s nominations!)
GIVEAWAY: The person with the MOST nominations will be invited to send me a formerly-loved garment that I’ll make into some fun treasures and return. (Click here and here to read about last year’s winner!) Thank YOU for being MY good neighbors the past two years, and I hope to hear from you soon! ♥
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! ♥
Happy Memorial Day weekend! We traveled to Dave’s hometown today to pay our respects and visit loved ones. Since I needed a road trip project, I grabbed a bag of the 4 x 4 fleece squares left over from the no-sew fleece pillows my family made last Thanksgiving and some embroidery floss. I simply folded each square in half, hand-stitched the bottom and side, and added a blanket stitch on the top. [UPDATE: Now I only stitch the sides and blanket stitch the top AND bottom. Click HERE to see why! :)] They’re the perfect size to keep little hands comfy while holding and slurping freezer pops at our family get-together this summer! And, since it was a long trip, I have plenty for everyone. ♥
The main occasion for our big family gathering over Father’s Day weekend is my husband Dave’s *milestone* birthday. Since Dave has been a teacher, principal, and Superintendent of Schools throughout his career, we’re using a school theme for the party.
The Book Page Banner designed by Lauren of The Thinking Closet (one of the sweetest, most talented bloggers I know!) sparked the idea of using bunting shapes and book-page letters for the birthday banner. My version included:
- measuring, drawing, and cutting the shapes from black cardstock with a ruler, pencil, and scissors,
- adding an inch at the top of the 5″ x 7″ size and folding it over to give a little extra strength to the punched holes and help the letters stand out from the wall,
- Googling “printable alphabet template” for the letter patterns, tracing and cutting them out from an old book I save for just this purpose, and using a glue stick to attach them to the cardstock, and
- threading baker’s twine through the holes for hanging.
It was easy and fun and will be a perfect complement to our other decorations. And, if you haven’t checked out Lauren’s amazing banner (complete with detailed tips, a C.S. Lewis quote, a free cut file for your Silhouette, and POM-POMS!!!), then click HERE right now! And follow her blog and FB page, too! Thank you for the inspiration, Lauren! ♥
Have you ever heard of 9-hole buttons? And did you know you can use them for words and monograms??? I didn’t until I read this fun post by Nicole on Diary of a Mad Crafter! And Nicole is so clever that she even made her OWN buttons!!!
I found mine at the yehuting Etsy Shop . . . only $4.98 plus shipping for forty. This lovely shop owner has TONS of other amazing notions, too. Do pay her a visit!
We’re having a big family reunion in June that falls on Father’s Day weekend. I wanted to make cards for all the dads who’ll be visiting, and the wooden buttons on plain kraft cardstock worked perfectly for a masculine monogram. I have quite a few left over, too . . . so more projects to come! ♥
I love PEEPS . . . even though they make most of the rest of my family go “Ewwwwwwwww . . . !” But who could resist some adorable PEEPS garland? It’s super easy, and as I made it, I realized I had lots of choices. So here’s a chart! Simply pick one thing from each column (which you probably already have around the house!), and soon you’ll have your finished garland hanging among your other spring decor. Here is mine with felt, fabric paint, ric-rac, and machine stitching. (Click on the photo for a close-up.) Oh, and you can find lots of free templates for the bunny shape on Google images. Have fun! ♥
||Eyes and Nose||Garland||Attachment Method|
Not long ago, I had a brave moment and decided to try crocheting. I got pictures to look at and lots of tips from family and friends. I already had some beautiful reddish yarn and a crochet hook. I made the chain and then dug in. I did it! Yay! I got to the end of the first row and added another row . . . and another . . . and another. “This isn’t so hard,” I congratulated myself.
Then I spread it all out and looked at what I’d made so far. Instead of a rectangle, it was an arch! Oops! I guess I added a stitch or two on every new row! But since it was my first try, AND I love the yarn, AND it looked pretty even in its wonkiness, AND it reminded me of the red soil on the farm where I grew up, I decided to make something out of it.
The picture slowly grew in my mind: a red hill covered in grass and wildflowers with a bright blue sky and bright yellow sun. So I dug through my remnants and . . .
- found some blue canvas duck for the pillow squares
- handstitched my piece of crochet at the bottom of the pillow front,
- found some yellow canvas duck and appliqued/embroidered the sun,
- embroidered some lime-green grass on top of the hill,
- chose some vintage buttons that complemented the colors I’d already used and stitched them at the top of green embroidered stems for flowers,
- sewed a zipper in the center of the pillow back and opened it,
- stitched the front and back right sides together,
- trimmed the seams,
- turned the pillow right-side out through the zipper opening, and
- inserted a 12-inch pillow form.
That’s my lucky save, all ready to jump-start my spring decor! And today is your lucky day, too, because you get to read some amazing posts on the “Lucky” theme from eleven other bloggers (including one on how to REALLY crochet!) in this month’s Collectively Creative. Enjoy! ♥
Make your own luck (using a crochet hook) – (Gentle Stitches)
The many meanings of “lucky” – (The Thing About Joan)
This Party Calls For A Theme: It’s All Rainbows and Unicorns – (Green Door Hospitality)
Keep Calm and Pinch On – (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)
Honorary Irish and my favorite Irish Soda Bread – (My Healthy ‘Ohana)
Hello, 6 – (Joy, Lovely Joy)
Luck o’the Irish for Easter! – (Minerva’s Hand)
Lucky Gold Elephant – (Now at Home Mom)
Asian Cucumber Salad – (Inspire and Indulge)
I was the amazingly lucky winner of a recent giveaway on the Trixie Lixie blog . . . a beautiful fabric covered journal! I just love it, and it even has a pocket on the inside back cover. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Tracy also sent me one of the new knicker kits she sells in her shop! Just look at this pretty fabric and elastic! I can’t wait to try this project! Following are LOTS of links you can follow to check out Tracy”s creativity from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. Thank you, Tracy! ♥
- Click here for the Trixie Lixie blog.
- Click here for a tutorial on making fabric-covered journals.
- Click here for a knicker tutorial.
- Click here for the Trixie Lixie shop.
- Click here for the Trixie Lixie FB page.
In my “Meet an Upcycling Queen” post last month, I introduced Mahe of Altered Upcycling. Many of you picked up the free ebook she offers from her blog and loved it! Now Mahe has another free offer starting TOMORROW, February 23 and running through Wednesday, February 27—a card-making ebook available here on Amazon.com. (If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download “Kindle for PC” from Amazon.com here, also for free.) Mahe was kind enough to send me a preview copy, and I found:
- cards featuring paint chips along with items many of us already have around the house,
- cards for lots of different holidays, seasons, and occasions,
- step-by-step directions and photographs,
- links to youtube video demonstrations,
- and much, much more!
Please take a moment to help yourself to this lovely gift which is regularly $2.99 but ours for free for the next five days. Thank you, Mahe! ♥
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! ♥
And, speaking of love . . . I just had to share this gorgeous fabric ribbon I bought from The Dizzy Izzy Shop.
It’s full of hearts with a sweet saying for Valentine’s Day or any day.
It will be so much fun to use for projects, wrapping, and labels!
The shop also sells bias binding, button, felt, felt balls, notions, and other supplies.
Thank you for my lovely purchase, Helen! ♥
Yes, I’m about to share ANOTHER amazing daughter-in-law craft! We were so excited to get this beautiful star with photos of our dear little ones for Christmas. Jen was kind enough to send me a tutorial this week . . . and she must have known I’d ask, because she’d even taken a photo of her materials! Thank you, Jen! ♥
(1) Get a wooden or metal star from a craft store, some scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, a paint brush, scissors, and photos. Tip: Photos that are further away from the subject work better than close-ups.
(2) Use a piece of plain paper to cut templates for each side of the star points. Then look at the pictures and decide which ones to put on the star and where they will go based on their sizes and vertical/horizontal positions.
(3) Use your template to cut out the pictures, making sure they are facing the same way as their position will be on the star.
(4) Paint the backs of the photos with Mod Podge and stick them to the star.
(5) Cut scrapbook paper to fit any extra space on each point of the star and Mod Podge it on.
(6) Paint the whole star with Mod Podge and let it dry overnight.
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! ♥
Welcome to the “JOYFUL” edition of Collectively Creative, hosted by Kelly of Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons! My project is easy and fun . . . similar to the Instagram collage letters I made this summer. . . . and I love how it turned out!
(1) Purchase some wooden letters at a craft store. Mine are 12 inches tall and were on sale for around $2 each.
(2) Optional: Paint the letters and let them thoroughly dry. I spray painted these with the green paint left over from my antique milk bottle project.
(3) Get out Christmas cards you received and saved from last year and cut out pictures and words to fit the shapes of the letters, overlapping them as in a collage. Attach these bits with Mod Podge. Or, if you don’t have cards available, use images and words from holiday magazines.
(4) When each surface is covered to your satisfaction, coat the entire letter with Mod Podge and let it thoroughly dry.
(5) Display your letters on a shelf or drill small holes or attach hanging hardware to the backs and hang them on the wall. Mine are now over the stairs along with my peppermint wreath where they’ll greet our Christmas Day guests at the front door. ♥
P.S. Before I link to our other Collectively Creative posts, I’d like to give a shout out to some other amazing bloggers who have shared their J-O-Y this season. Thank you to ALL of you for your inspiration!
- Framing Christmas PJs – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)
- How To Display Christmas Cards – (Organized Living Essentials)
- Adding Joy to Every Room – (Neaten Your Nest)
- DIY Gift Bows (Upcycled Toilet Paper Rolls) – (Inspire and Indulge)
- How to trim a Christmas tree: ornaments, Lego trains and whipped cream – (The Thing About Joan)
- Joy Advent Calendar (And Giveaway!) – (Cul de Sac)
- Joy To The Cookies: Having an Annual Holiday Cookie Baking Party – (Green Door Hospitality)
- The Spirit Of Christmas – (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)
- DIY Themed Mini Christmas Trees (This One’s for My Husband!) – (Mrs. And The Misc.)
- Wrapped In Christmas Lights (Happy Little Kiwi)
- Sharing Joy – (Gentle Stitches)
- The Joy Of Discovery – (Love, Laughter and a Touch Of Insanity)
One of my VERY favorite bloggers is Liz from a A Ponytail Kind of Day. Every time I saw one of her unique creations, I’d think, “I sure wish she had a shop!” Well, now she does! It’s the Sincerely Liz Boutique, where you’ll find all kinds of beautiful handmade items for your home. Since I was looking for gifts for specific people, I ordered these fabric hangers, a set of rag coasters, and this way-cool bowl made from a Christmas record album. Then, friend that she is, Liz also put in this “Keep Calm and Sew On” framed art AND an AMAZING vintage dress and lace overlay that she bought for one dollar because she knew how much I’d have fun using it for a “What Can You Make With A . . .” project! What a sweetie! Please check out Liz’s boutique from this post or from my Shop Love! page above, and THANK YOU, Liz! ♥
The beautiful vintage sewing machine earrings I won in the Hugs & Kisses blog giveaway inspired me to take all the danglies out of my overcrowded jewelry box and hang them on the wall. Since I already had all the materials on hand, it was free, too! Simply wrap an old frame in fabric strips (I used a faux suede remnant), staple strips of lace across the back, and poke the earring wires through the holes in the lace. It’s easy-peasy, pretty, and makes choosing just the right pair of earrings a breeze. P.S. One of my Thanksgiving guests exclaimed, “That’s just what I need!” so now I’m making one as a gift for her, too! P.P. S. (1-3-13) I was just going through some bookmarked websites and found THIS! I couldn’t remember before where I got my inspiration, but now I know! Thank you, This Italian Family! ♥
Last week I put out my first “Shop Love!” post.
I wanted to start promoting our blogging friends’ small businesses.
I’ve done a little more shopping . . .
and I won a giveaway . . .
so today I’d like to highlight four more bloggers and stores.
Once again, each one impressed me with both their BEAUTIFUL products . . .
and their QUALITY customer service.
Here are their contact links!
You can also check them out ANYtime on my new “Shop Love” page above. ♥
(1) The Original Thread: I fell in LOVE with this inspirational 2013 calendar, which is designed by Melanie of The Original Thread blog and sold as a fabric panel in her Spoonflower shop at Madex Designs. She has many other gorgeous fabrics as well!
(2) Terri’s Notebook: I recently won a lovely giveaway from Terri’s Notebook—two pdf patterns. I was going to wait until I made the items to share them . . . but that hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll share what they WILL look like. 🙂 The first pattern is for Stuff Baskets and the second is for a Checkerboard Set, and both are for sale at her Patchwork Trails Etsy Shop. You can also visit Terri’s portfolio here and her paper goods shops here. Terri’s motto is “Explore. Dream. Create.” Don’t you love that? ♥
(3) A Kitschy Kitchen: I’m just starting to make aprons myself, but I know someone on my gift list who will LOVE this one! It’s from Megan of A Kitschy Kitchen: The Life and Studio of an Apronista who sells her creations at her Etsy shop. Notice, too, the adorable fabric gift card holder! Stressing quality as well as beauty, Megan’s motto is “Buy Well, Buy Once.” She also has some other lovely items in her shop, such as embroidery, cocktail napkins, and coasters.
(4) TheHighNoteDotNet: I’ve followed Darilyn’s lovely blog thehighnotedotnet for a long time now and was so excited to receive my first purchase from her Etsy shop, which specializes in vintage music projects. Darilyn even included a little gift . . . a copy of my favorite quote, which I embroidered on a pillow and she offers to all of us for free to make an iron-on transfer. She graciously provides tutorials for her projects as well. And check out her craft room . . . it’s amazing!
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! ♥
Today I’d like to highlight four amazing WordPress bloggers’ stores where I did my Cyber-Monday gift shopping this year. Each one has BEAUTIFUL products and EXCEPTIONAL customer service! Here are their contact links along with a little photo shoot of my lovely purchases (plus a few freebies they added!). I hope you’ll get a chance to check them out yourself soon! P.S. I now have “Shop Love!” page in my header to promote my blogging friends’ small businesses. I’d love to add more, so please leave a comment or send me an email if I may feature YOUR store! ♥
After making a peppermint wreath and peppermint Christmas tree skirt, I had three little felt peppermints left, so I wrapped a headband in red bias tape and stitched the candies on top to make a festive accessory for a special little girl. This was another free-to-me activity since I already had all the supplies on hand . . . don’t you love it when that happens? There’ll be no more peppermint projects for me this Christmas since I used up all my red felt remnants and have vowed to use up my stash before buying more fabrics (we’ll see how THAT goes!). But several of you have said you’re on it now, so I can’t wait to see what you make! Now . . . on to some Christmas gifts . . . and Christmas pillows . . . and . . . ♥
Yesterday I posted a tutorial for “Easy No-Sew Felt Peppermint Garland.” Here’s what I made with mine! We’ve had the grapevine wreath forever, and it was definitely due for refreshing, so I pulled off all the tired greenery and replaced it with my new garland. Other than tying the ends together at the top, I didn’t even have to stitch or glue anything as the branches themselves hold the garland in place. Now the wreath is hanging in my kitchen window topped with a little raffia. I love it! ♥ P.S. I have ten “peppermints” left over, so watch for one more post on them!
(1) Cut red and white felt into strips. Mine are 1/2 inch x 8 inches.
(2) Lay a white strip over a red strip, then pull the white strip down about an inch. Begin rolling upward at the end you pulled down. This will give the “candy” a solid white center and a red outer layer.
(3) After the piece is rolled, put a pin through it to hold everything in place until you string the candies.
(4) Using a sturdy needle and extra-strength thread, poke the needle through the loose end of a candy, go through the middle of the candy and out the middle of the opposite side, and remove the pin. Pull the candies close together to keep the rolls tight.
(5) Hang your garland on the mantel, in a doorway or window, or on a Christmas tree or wreath! ♥
Yes . . . I was the very lucky winner of another blog giveaway! Debbie of Debbie Does Doodles made these fun and lovely tags and labels and included a sweet note on a vintage postcard that made me smile. Isn’t her work amazing? THANK YOU, Debbie! I appreciate you! ♥
I want to thank my blogging friend Sharon of Crafts ‘n Coffee for the WONDERFUL blog giveaway gifts she sent to me—THREE Christmas craft magazines, three mini-magazines with even more crafting ideas, and a STAK tree kit . . . plus she added a button, Starbucks coffee packet, and full-length pocketed apron from Styrofoamflorals.com! THANK YOU, Sharon . . . I can’t wait to try all these ideas! ♥
Awhile back I posted the hot air balloon mobile kit I won in the Craft Schmaft blog giveaway. I finally had a block of time to put it together . . . it was SO much fun! And now that I have the pattern, I can cut out my own fabric and make as many as I like! THANK YOU, Craft Schmaft! ♥
- Click here for Craft Schmaft’s blog.
- Click here for Craft Schmaft’s FB page.
- Click here for Craft Schmaft’s store where you can buy this fabulous kit!
I know . . . I’ve been winning WAY more than my share of blog giveaways lately! But . . . they’re so much fun! 🙂 And look at these BEAUTIFUL handmade cards I received in the mail from my new friend Vickie of Horsemark Cards!
Please take a moment to get acquainted with Vickie by clicking here for her blog, here for her FB page, and here for her store. Vickie—they’re spectacular, and I can’t thank you enough for such a lovely gift. ♥
Welcome to the “THANKFUL” edition of Collectively Creative! Today I have a giveaway for all of our blogging friends . . . one of my children’s stories from Pockets magazine for you to read, share, and/or use to introduce a creative writing activity about holidays. Simply click the first link for a printable word document or the second link for a printable pdf.
I hope some special kids in your life will enjoy meeting Mrs. Hetherington and her Portland Elementary School Drama Club this holiday season! But first, please pour a cup of tea and take a few minutes to savor the rest of this month’s Collectively Creative posts. Each one has something special to enrich our lives. Happy Thanksgiving! ♥
P.S. If you’re a parent, grandparent, children’s book reviewer, librarian, or teacher, please check out the new kids’ Thanksgiving book called Sarah Gives Thanks by one of our fellow WordPressers, Mike Allegra at heylookawriterfellow. I bought a copy, and it’s a keeper!
- Our Family’s Thankful Journal (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)
- Creating a Thankfulness Photo Album (Organizing Living Essentials)
- T.H.A.N.K.F.U.L. for my Kiddos! (Neaten Your Nest)
- DIY ‘Thankful’ Dry-Erase Board (Inspire & Indulge)
- What I’m Thankful for: Grandparents and Cinnamon Rolls (The Thing About Joan)
- Healthy Chicken Sausage and Apple Stuffing (My Healthy ‘Ohana)
- Roasted Squash And Garlic Apple Potage (Cul De Sac)
- Vegan Creamed Corn Cornbread (The Pancake Princess)
- Holiday Entertaining: Gifts For Your Guests (Green Door Hospitality)
- Thanksgiving Requests (Ponytail Kind of Day)
- Rustic DIY Thank You Cards (NorthStory)
Here are the tags for this year’s donations to the silent auction at the Arts and Crafts Mission Market at my church. It’s such a worthy cause . . . all the money goes to a local daycare center for families in need. Click here to see how to make the Christmas wreath pillow and here to see the Americana pillows. P.S. Below are my gift baskets from markets past, each based on . . . you guessed it . . . a pillow! ♥
In a reply to a comment on the Autumn Mantel post, I lamented that there never seems to be enough time to do all the projects I have on my list. But intecoolochoberord replied,
“Time can be a funny thing . . . but I’d rather have too much inspiration
and too little time than the other way around!”
Then, on the Start Where You Are . . . post, gentlestitches commented,
“The more I let go of perfectionism,
the more perfect my projects become.”
Sometimes our blogging friends say EXACTLY what we need to hear! ♥
I met my super-crafty, super-sweet, and super-pretty daughter-in-law Shannon for coffee, and look what she made for me! Tiny easels with paint and ribbon a-la-mode and tiny art canvases with paint and paper decoupage (and tiny spools for Frankenstein!) for my Halloween decor! I LOVE them! THANK YOU, Shannon! ♥ P.S. Click here to see an example of Shannon’s mixed media “She Art.”
I can’t WAIT to start on it!
BUT . . . I have a ton of writing and editing deadlines right now, so it will have to remain on my to-do list until the perfect time arrives.
So, thank you, Claire, and I’ll look forward to writing a fun post about my project as soon as I finish it!♥
My crafty friend Debbie gave me a fun gift. . . a sample of her new Halloween treat bag! Isn’t he cute??? Mine is filled with paper to use as a decoration, and he looks right at home beside my bowl of giant fabric candy corn! I’m going to try my best to make some for our trick-or-treaters this year. Thank you, Debbie! ♥ P.S. If you love owls, remember that you can get a free David Bromstad owl art print by following the link you’ll find here!
I was so intrigued when I saw some wooden letters decoupaged with maps on House of 34 and decided to make a set for a gift. However, the birthday guy is an amazing photographer who creatively explores the city of Philadelphia with all of its amazing architecture, landmarks, murals, and street art. So . . . I printed off some of my favorite Instagram photos he’s shared on FB and cut out different bits to create a “Mod Podge collage” on each letter instead. I love that I can show him how proud I am of him . . . and it was fun, too! ♥ P.S. You can follow on Instagram at mr_fisher. And Ashley Bollinger has some other fun Instagram art projects here.
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! 🙂
UPDATE on 9-22-12: Click HERE to read the heartwarming results of this post! ♥
One week from today is the anniversary of my first WordPress blog post! Since I’ve discovered how many people around the world I’d love to have for next-door neighbors, I’d like to celebrate with a new award and giveaway!
AWARD: Please nominate a WordPress blogger (or lots of them!) for the “Good Neighbor Award” in an email to me at k[underscore]scraper@hotmail[dot]com (to keep it a surprise!), including a link to the blog and why you’d like this blogger to live next door. To cook/sew/craft/shop/write together? To learn to do something new? To be inspired? To visit over a cup of tea? Nominees will receive the award button on September 22.
GIVEAWAY: The person with the MOST nominations will be invited to send me a formerly-loved garment that I’ll make into some fun treasures (a-la “What can you make with a flannel shirt?” or “What can you make with a lace tank?” or “What can you make with a polo shirt?“) and return. THANK YOU for reaching out in friendship this past year, and I hope to hear from you soon! ♥
The minute I saw an adorable mobile on Eco Felt Crafts (who got the idea from It’s the Life, who got the idea from The Handmade Home . . . don’t you love how bloggers share???) I knew I had to make one for a special baby girl. I love the combination of felt, fabric, buttons, and ribbons in greens, pinks, blues, and whites to match her nursery. It was so much fun to make! P.S. Click here and here and here and here and here for five more cute mobiles. And if you’ve made one, please send me a link in a comment and I’ll add it to this post. I’d love to try them all! ♥
Other baby gift posts on Pillows A-la-mode:
When I was digging through my treasure box and found these pretty rocks that some sweet kiddos gave me, I immediately thought of a super-creative craft I’d bookmarked on What Katie Made. Thank you, Katie, for such an easy-to-follow tutorial! Now I have treasures holding treasures. ♥
Have you checked out the crafting ideas on the Country Living web site? I want to try them ALL! But I started with an easy one . . . frig magnets made from vintage jewels. I don’t have the brooches they suggest, but I have LOTS of clip-on earrings. Simply remove the backings and glue on a magnet . . . easy peasy and SO pretty! P.S. You can also click the blue dot on the CL home page to vote for the Reader’s Choice 2012 Blue Ribbon Blogger Award. It was really fun to check out all the finalists! ♥
I recently saw thimble necklaces posted by two creative bloggers on imacraftaholic and Dollar Store Crafts. Since I have a small collection of thimbles from my grandma, I decided to use one for a necklace charm.
(1) Make a hole in the top of the thimble with a hammer and tiny nail.
(2) Poke a jewelry wire through the hole.
(3) Bend the end of the wire inside the thimble with jewelry pliers so it won’t come back out.
(4) Curve the other end of the wire through the opening on the charm bar and tighten with jewelry pliers. (See lost earring necklace for another example, and click photo for a larger view.)
(5) Wear the thimble alone or with other charms. I love combining it with my scissors!
I hope you’ll get to use one of these ideas to make your own thimble necklace. Enjoy! ♥
- They’re quick and easy, and it’s so much fun to mix and match scrapbook papers for the covers, spines, and labels.
- A notebook costs less than $1 to make and less than $2 to mail, so by adding a handwritten message on the first page, it makes the perfect economical yet pretty and useful greeting card/gift combination.
You can find a complete tutorial here. I can’t wait to start giving these away, too! ♥
(1) Find a stand-up frame that matches your guest room. (I got this one at a dollar store for . . . yes . . . $1!)
(2) Use the picture that comes with the frame as a template to cut a light-colored piece of scrapbook or wrapping paper.
(3) Put the pretty paper in the frame.
(4) Using a dry-erase marker, write a welcome message on the glass before your guests arrive.
(5) Watch them smile!
P.S. A big THANK YOU goes out to Bliss . . . a DIY and Home Design Site for this great idea! If you’ve written a recent post about creating a hospitable guest space, I’d love for you to send me a link in a comment and I’ll add it to this post, too! ♥
Remember when my dad gave me a huge stash of vintage earrings to use for my fabric flowers awhile back? Well, he’s done it again, but this time it’s (drum roll!) . . . bow ties! How cool is that! I have all sorts of ideas popping into my head for ways to use them, but I’d LOVE to hear yours, too! In fact, if your suggestion is one of the first three I get a chance to try, I’ll mail you one of the black ties to use in a project of your own! THANK YOU! ♥
Since my “lost earring necklace” worked out, I got brave enough to try one of the cute button necklaces I’ve been seeing everywhere! I decided to go with black buttons, so first I went through my stash and put these in a pile. Next, I made a new pile with the ones that were ½ to ¾ inches in diameter. Finally, I sorted out the ones that had the most interesting designs, and I was ready to go.
Here’s the tutorial for my version of this fun craft:
- Cut three strands of cord 48 inches long. I used hemp cord from Michaels, where I also purchased a package of bracelet closures and crimp beads.
- Thread the strands through a bracelet bar closure and pull it to the middle. (Click on the red collage for a larger view.) Clamp the cords 4 inches from the bar closure. This is where you will start adding buttons.
- Separate the first of the six strands of cording. Slide on the first button and tie it at the back with a simple slip knot. Keep adding buttons, evenly spaced, until you get to within five inches of the end. Repeat with the other five strands.
- Stretch the strands back out and knot the ends. Then add a crimp bead at each end and attach these to the circle closure.
- You’re done . . . enjoy! Oh, and please check out this adorable button necklace (with earrings!) at The Bead Den. I discovered it right after I made mine, and I LOVE it! ♥
When I put together the Persian Plum kit I received from Books Quilts and Sewing’s giveaway, the first step was to sew a small, neutral-colored square onto a larger colorful solid or floral triangle and then cut the tips off both. This left me with a stack of perfect little triangles, and of course I decided I must do something with them as well! I always keep a stash of blank notecards and some craft glue handy, so here’s what I came up with (adding a tiny strip of one my other remnants for the trunks). I think they’ll become a nice little gift for a friend or family member someday soon! ♥
I was browsing the department store ads in the Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago when I was captivated by a lovely display of summery picnic dinnerware. When I saw coasters that looked like slices of oranges, lemons, and limes, my little DIY fairy said, “You should make some of those!” So off I went to the fabric store where, serendipitously, I spotted a lovely orange, lemon, and lime print on my way to purchase the felt I’d need. How fun is that!!! 🙂
Here’s how I made the coasters:
- Cut out three sizes of circles. The smallest and largest are from colored felt, and the middle is white. (I used the bottom of a yogurt carton, my trusty peanut butter lid, and a random lid from my container drawer for templates.)
- Handstitch the small circle onto the white circle using matching embroidery floss.
- With white embroidery floss, stitch three criss-crossing lines across the colored circle.
- Glue the now-attached pieces to the larger circle to cover up the stitches, and trim all the way around with pinking shears.
For a gift, make four of each and tie them together with a pretty orange, yellow, or green ribbon. Or, if you’re lucky enough to find some fabulous fruity fabric, you can make a simple little drawstring bag to gift them in. They’re so fun, easy, and colorful . . . you’ll love making your own! ♥
This project looked SO cute and easy that I just had to try it! Visit Dreampatch for my original inspiration (via Pinterest, of course!). I made all of these in an hour or so . . . but most of that time was spent enjoying sorting through my grandmother’s vintage buttons. We have LOTS of girls in our family now, so it will be fun giving them away! ♥
If you, like me, keep many of your sewing/crafting supplies out in the open in decorative containers, you’ll love this quick-‘n-easy project from Dianne Faw! Simply take the cover out of a tape dispenser, use it as a template to make a new, pretty one (from scrapbook paper, gift wrap, a map, whatever you have on hand), and put the new cover in. So cute! ♥
P.S. I’m keeping my new dispensers in this fabric basket that I fashioned from an “oops” while making my first bracelet purse. And if you haven’t tried a bracelet purse yet, click here. They’re so much fun to make and give for little girl gifts!