Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New To Me Technique (& What Kept Me SO Busy)

Thank you so much for your very kind and encouraging words about my journey back into papercrafting! You know how to make a girl feel good. In true timely fashion, I just got done reading my Weekly Inkling newsletter from SplitcoastStampers and someone asked about using the Cuttlebug to cut felt. There was a link to a thread on the forum about that very topic. You can check it out here. I never knew (or thought much about) how many things you can cut with the Cuttlebug (or similar type device). Very COOL! *Ü*

I wanted to share with you some goodies I made as Christmas presents. I couldn't share them before because the recipients read my blog and I didn't want to spoil the surprise. I have Erin G. to thank for the inspiration to even try this new to me technique...Bead Crochet! Erin posted back in November about a class she took on Crocheted Jewelry. You can create some amazing looking jewelry! In investigating this technique for myself, I came across some how to books on Bead Crochet. It really, really intrigued me and I was off and buying beads, thread and a couple of how-to books. (I even picked up one that shows how to do the type of crocheting Erin learned-but I haven't had a chance to try it, yet).

Here's what I ended up creating. It's a necklace and I used size 6 or E beads strung in a pattern. I chose a simple magnetic clasp.

Once I got the hang of the technique (the hardest part was the beginning and making sure I was stitching in the right places in the first few rounds), I wanted to try using different sized beads. Please excuse the blurry photo. I didn't realize until after I sent off the bracelet that it wasn't the best picture. I used two different sized beads for this one. I really like the textured look.

Then I got really brave and tried THREE different sized beads! I just love how this one came out and it wasn't nearly as difficult as it may look. It's a matter of stringing the beads in a particular pattern. Once that's done then you just do the single crochet stitch over and over and over again! LOL

I had plans to make many more of these for gifts, but I simply ran out of time. My enthusiasm certainly is greater than the physical ability to actually complete all the projects I want create. I guess maybe if I start working on projects now, I'll have a ready stash for NEXT Christmas! LOL

I've been anxious to share these, but had to wait until I heard back from all the recipients. Then I knew I was in the clear to share. Yay!

Hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fun With Felt and Fabric

Instead of purging like I had planned to, I played instead today. It sure felt good! I made three fairly simple cards and put together a Hex Box by Kelleigh Ratzlaff. Wanna see? LOL

This is the first card I worked on. I brazenly copied the design I saw here made by Joanne of Just a Little Something blog. I wanted to do a little sewing and this seemed like a great card design, so I went with it. The paper is from Martha Stewart. I got it at Michaels last year. I used my Fiskars Apron Lace border punch and I finally got to try out my Bow Easy tool to make the bow (with dollar store ribbon and unfortunately, you can tell it's cheap ribbon). I didn't know what sentiment I wanted to use on it, so I haven't stamped one yet.

My second card today involves felt and sewing! I've seen more and more cardmakers using felt in their cards and I thought I'd try it and see how it worked. I used my Nestabilities to cut the hearts out of felt, which is glittery felt. It feels a little firmer than regular felt. I then got the bright idea to sew the main heart onto cardstock. Please disregard my not so great sewing prowess on this one. Again, not sure of what sentiment I wanted to use, so I left it blank. The paper is from DCWV Spring matstack. Pretty simple, but I like it.

I had cut out a bunch of those little hearts and wanted to use them, which led to my third card today. Still no sentiment but I kind of liked the punch of red with the black and cream on Making Memories Wedding paper. The brads are little buttons (probably hard to tell) from the old Sabrina line. I flipped over two of the hearts so they alternate the look of glittered and plain.

Finally, I actually got to use one of Kelleigh Ratzlaff's templates!! I "met" Kelleigh while in one of Jessica Sprague's classes and when she started her blog I added it to my reading list. I've watched her grow in her design skills and over the summer as a Garage Sale Wonder and, more recently, Crazy (her word) Coupon Lady. Man does she land the bargains! In December she challenged herself to showcase an ornament a day and it was fabulous. You MUST check out her blog! Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs and then her store at Digi Chick. Kelleigh is very real and very funny. Her enthusiasm just oozes from her blog. I can't imagine you would be disappointed when you check her blog out. She has an incredible design team that showcase her templates wonderfully, too. I just {heart} Kelleigh! LOL

I decided to use her Hex Box template today. It was very easy to use. What's neat is you can print out the template and use it on your own paper or you can add your own digital paper if you use a photo editing program like Photoshop Elements. She has a tutorial on how to use the templates included with your file. Anyway, I chose to print it out on plain paper, cut it and score it onto white cardstock. I put the box together and then remembered I wanted to stamp on the cardstock! Dopey me. I was too excited to see what the small box would look like (you get the large AND the small size). I stamped the top no problem, but I was too lazy to take it apart to stamp the sides, so I cut a strip of cardstock and attached it. I used Papertrey Ink's Polka Dot Basics stamp set and CTMH's Cranberry ink. I really wanted to use one of the fabric flowers I made and showed previously on my blog and that dictated the colors I used on the box. I wanted to dress up the sides just a tad, so I grabbed some Bazzil Ribbon (from Archiver's a lonnnng time ago and then added some rhinestones. I think this would make a cute little giftie for a teacher, especially if it was filled with chocolate...LOL

And there you have my efforts for today. It felt really good to play once again. Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed your visit and will be back again soon.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Brace Yourself...I've Been in my Craft Room...

But I'm not quite ready to sit down and create just yet....

With the addition of the flat screen tv, we have an entertainment center that Steve no longer needed. There's no room for it in our living room, so the next logical place was my craft room. I resisted at first, because it meant I would lose one of my tables, but after thinking about it for a while, I realized I would also have storage space in the entertainment center. Steve decided to take the week off from work, so he was available to help me move the beast into the craft room. First though, I had to shift things around. That's what I did Saturday and this morning we made the move.

I thought I'd show you what my space looks like right now. It's not finished, but it is a space I can work in again.

First, the entertainment center (and a bigger tv than I used to have in here). I had to take down a shelf that was on the wall. It was pulling away from the wall anyway, so it wasn't that big of a deal to take it down. I've got those bottom cupboards filled with what used to be on the wire shelf unit that was here. My albums just fit inside the glass doors and there's other miscellaneous schtuff in there. I need to go through and purge, but first I wanted to get stuff off the floor! You can barely see it on the right, but I hung my ribbon holder ON the door (which cannot be closed yet, because that office space needs to be cleaned out yet again. When it is, that telescope will have a new home. The door on the left side of the picture opens to the other half of the garage. I'm happy to report I finally got some weatherstripping for it so that it won't rattle like it has been. I had the heaters on long enough that it warmed up enough for me to put the stripping up. Whew~! I think I need something for the bottom of the door, but I can do that sometime this week.

Next up is the new location of the wire shelf unit. I had to take down the table that was here (and move all the schtuff that I had stored underneath it) to move the shelf unit and adjust the shelf heights, but I think it will work great. I managed to get my most used papers to fit on the shelves. My cardstock is in those plastic holders and on the bottom shelf, I found two plastic crates at the thrift store for $1.99 each. Sure beats having to buy more of the plastic holders. I put some shelf liner on the bottom of each to corral any scraps. My smaller pads are below my cd player and are in boxes I've had hanging around. I actually discovered the purple box fits the 8x8 size pads and I'm thrilled. On the left side of  the shelf unit is a white shelf I found at the thrift store recently. Originally I was going to hang it up, but it fits perfectly in this space, so I'll just use some of that putty stuff to secure it. I think it was a couple of dollars.

This table is directly behind  where I will be sitting when I create. I'm tickled that I  can have the sewing machine out as well as my Cricut and maybe I'll use them more! I had some wire shelves up here with my paper in it if you remember. The shelf behind the Cricut and the things on top are thrift store finds! I got the little basket because it has butterflies on it. LOL
The three tiered one might end up in the house unless I find a use. For $1.99 I couldn't resist. The heater is in front of the sewing machine. LOL

Here are some more thrift store finds...I can't believe I finally found one of these...for $7!!!

And this file cabinet, with two narrow drawers and one large drawer was $6! It may be sort of ugly, but it's sure sturdy! LOL

Thanks for the compliments on my Christmas layout. I will probably have a few more to share sometime as that doesn't encompass the photos I took on Christmas. LOL I still have to put away Christmas stuff, but there are a bunch of Steve's boxes in my way, I can't get to the attic to bring down the boxes I need to pack up.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Hope you like how the craft room is looking...I think I'll be pretty happy creating in there again.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Morning 2009~Digi Layout

It's lightly snowing outside and the girls are  playing with their new goodies behind me. I thought it would be a perfect time to try to scrap some Christmas morning photos. I just splurged and picked up some new templates and kits this morning and just had to make use of them!

Janet Phillips (who started it) is stepping down as owner of The Daily Digi. Turns out she is now going to be a designer at Sweet Shoppe Designs. They just announced it on their newsletter this morning. I think Janet is one of my favorite template designers, after Kay Miller, of course, so I was tickled to see her there. I really like that Janet creates templates for lots of photos. I'm using Too Many Photos 2 in my layout.

I also picked up a couple of new kits from NitwitCollections. They were released earlier this month, but I really looked at them this morning and fell in love, so I bought the goodies for Deer Friends and Snow Folk. I say goodies because you can get just the kit, which stands alone, but Mary Fran also creates add-ons to the main kit, which are usually "must have" in my book. *Ü* I used Deer Friends goodies in the layout above. I like the homespun feel of the kit, especially since so many of the presents I gave were of the homemade variety.

We had a great day and hope you did as well.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Better Late Than Never...

The girls and I finished our baking today, which proved to be a great way to pass the morning and afternoon for two excited girls.

They both were a big help to me. First we made some sugar cookies (more on that in a bit), then we made Russian Tea Cakes, one of Steve's favorite cookies. The girls had a blast rolling the cookies in the powdered sugar.

I laughed out loud when I caught them doing this! Anticipating eating the yummy treats we'd been creating. LOL

To avoid the cheesy, forced smile they are prone to give me these days, I made Amy laugh.

Then we had to tickle Jessica...

Here are some of the other goodies we made...Honest to goodness, this breakfast bar WAS clean earlier this week, for about 5 minutes. LOL The bane of my housekeeping existence. Anyway, brown globs are what I grew up knowing as chop suey candy, but you may know them as haystacks. It's chow mein noodles and peanuts covered with melted chocolate chips. The other day we made a batch of butterscotch ones. My mom made them every year at Christmastime. They take me back to when I was a girl.

The other cookies are store-bought sugar cookies, and we added mini M&Ms. I saw the idea on a blog or the Real Simple cookie emails I signed up for. (I can't remember which).

I was struck by how cute they looked with the M&Ms making a picture of some kind, so I had the girls go to town.

Here you can see better some of the ideas they came up with on their own. I only suggested a tree (which is what I saw when I saw the idea). You've got a wreath, Santa's hat, a couple of trees and a snowman. Just goes to show how creative kids can be. These cookies spread a lot more than I anticipated (is it the thin air here...I dunno), but they sure look cute, don't they?
 (Edited to add...we also made plenty of Spritz cookies in red and green, too!) Steve really likes those, too!

We finished the afternoon watching Santa Claus is Coming To Town. I told the girls that I watched it when I was a girl, but on tv, so I only saw it once a year. They were quite impressed with that. LOL

The impromptu hugs and smiles on the girls' faces with their excited chatter about Christmas was all the gift I needed. I think my heart grew three sizes bigger today. It almost made me want to cry. (My mom has been on my mind a lot, as she often is around the holidays and special days...I still miss her so! That probably had something to do with me feeling super sentimental today, too)

I thank you for stopping by and for all your encouraging words when I post. It means a great deal to me that you care to stop and share a thought or two along the way. May your Christmas be filled with magic.

Hugs and Merry Christmas!

A Few More Gifts...

Yesterday afternoon the girls and I went to my friend, Becky's, house so the girls could have a playdate with her kids, Aaron and Julia. Becky and I weren't sure that Aaron would be up for having some fun since their beloved dog, Bronco, had to go to doggie heaven. Bronco had been ill since August and it was time. I hope the girls helped distract him a bit from feeling sad about the loss of his friend. They have another dog, Tucker, who probably helps to ease the sadness just a bit.

Anyway, I had to create a couple of goodies for the kids and waited to share until after we saw them.

I have the book Amigurumi Two (as well as the first one, which pretty much started my love of Amigirumi) and in it were a pair of robots. A boy and a girl. Amy and Jessica thought that the boy suited Aaron and that he would love it.

Amy wants the girl one now...are you surprised? She is very much the same except she has two antennae (and is stitched with red and pink stripes). Anyway, the girls had fun playing with this little guy until we left for our playdate. hee, hee! They kept talking in a robotic voice while doing so. Too fun.

The girls pretty much pore over my patterns and tell me each critter they want me to make. Let's just say, I will never be without something that I could be creating. I might even need an extra room just to house all the ones they want. LOL

Miss Julia LOVES kitties. And I found the pattern for this little cutie on the cover of this book at the library. I modified the face slightly. I initially bought the eyes that look like real eyes, you know with color and the pupil. I placed (but didn't attach) them on the face and proceeded to freak out just a bit. You know those portraits that are hung up where it looks like the eyes are following you? Well, that's how this one looked to me as I was trying to figure out the placement. It gave me the heebie jeebies and I thought it might also give Miss Julia the heebie jeebies, too. So I used my trusty black safety eyes.

I also changed the color of the nose and mouth. In the book they are yellow. Yellow? Seriously? That was a little disconcerting, too, so I used a sweet pink that reminded me of Sarah's nose.

What really appealed to me was the fact that the kitty was created in such a way as to look like it was playing with the ball of yarn. So of course, I had to roll up a little ball. I wasn't quite sure how to secure it so it wouldn't unroll, so Miss Julia (or her mom) can roll it back up if they want (or toss it if it gets too

These were fun to make!

I just came across a post on Bakerella's blog that had my jaw hanging open and drool dripping down onto my keyboard. I don't know if you subscribe, but this is too incredible NOT to share. Check out Candyland. Wow!

Hope you have an awesome Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rice Krispies "Gingerbread" Houses...

I was in Michaels the other night, looking for something else entirely (but didn't find). On my way out I spied sign that said the gingerbread house kits were only $7.99, so I stopped and looked and all the kits were gone. Oh well. Then I looked a little lower and found kits to make Rice Krispies houses and the kit was only $4.99 AND it made TWO houses (& more)! Works for me! I haven't felt inspired to have the girls make gingerbread houses this year(and they haven't asked, either). Maybe because I got my gingerbread house "fix" in the crocheting of the gingerbread house.. LOL Knowing how much the girls like Rice Krispies treats, I thought, we'll give it whirl.

They were quite excited. It worked out pretty well. Only there was one tube of white icing for two girls. They, of course, started to bicker over how much time the other was taking to use the icing. So, I snagged my colored gel icing from the cupboard and that soothed their restless creative souls. LOL Thought you might like to see some pictures....

While waiting for the mixture to set, I had them draw out what they wanted their house to look like. To be honest, it was more of a mommy sanity saver as they were anxious to get started and they needed to wait before they could.

Jessica and Amy both wanted to use the blue icing, which looks awfully black to me, but whatever. So, instead of bickering over white, they bickered a little over the blue. Sigh...I tried!

You can see a bit of Amy's "plan" in this photo. Those candies came with the kit. If I'd have planned this a bit better (a-hem), there would have been more and varied candies to use.

Not the best photo in the world, but you can see them intent on their project. Don't you just love how "stripey" Jessica felt yesterday in her outfit selection?Love it when she does that! LOL Hey, they are both stripes, right? That's what she tells me.

Amy's masterpiece. There was enough mixture left over for them to make a few other items, like a tree and a Santa.

Jessica's masterpiece. I love her scallops. She really tried to make patterns, but ran out of the colors needed to finish it. The circle on the side is a snowflake. It's actually a pretty good one, but white on the krispies doesn't show up too well.

I wanted to let you know that my knee appears to be fine. I think I tweaked a muscle (ligament? Connecting tissue?) rather than cause any serious damage. Only, it's colder today than it has been and I can "feel" it in the knee. Lovely. Well, that's where Ibuprofen can help, right? Thanks for the concern that's been expressed. I really appreciate it.

I will try to come back and post either later today or tomorrow morning. I have a couple other things to share that are gifts and I want to be sure not to spoil any surprises. *Ü*

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Couple More Presents...

I sure kept myself busy today. I haven't said anything, but Steve finally ordered his flat screen tv and it arrived yesterday. It's a 42 inch one and he's gotten it hooked up, but we still need to figure out all the bells and whistles.  Up to now we didn't have any curtains on the big window in the great room (where the tv is located). Steve is now nervous about people being able to look straight into the room and seeing his new baby. So, he asked me to look for some curtains. I was able to find some simple (inexpensive) ones at Walmart this morning, along with the rods needed. I decided to put them up and surprise him when he got home from work. I maybe should have waited for him though, because at one point I lost my balance and fell, twisting my knee pretty good. It's not swollen, but it sure hurts! I didn't let it deter me though, and I got the curtains up. It looks okay. I like a lot of natural light in a room, but these are fairly sheer so some is still allowed in. The color looks decent in the room. Whew.

Once that was done, I turned to a project I needed to get done in time for swim class today. We hang out with some good friends we've made over the past year or so. Jessica is in the same class as Annabelle and her little brother Ryan (who's 4) often plays with Amy while she waits for her class to start. Heidi has watched me create project after project as we sit together and chat away. I really, really wanted to make some projects  for this great family. So, this morning I got busy. I made Heidi a covered ornament like I showed in a previous post. For Ryan, I made this super cute elephant. The pattern is from the same booklet I used to create the lions the other day.

And for Annabelle, I made this

She should be able to wear it as a pony tail holder. The flower is 3 inches wide and I layered two buttons on top of each other for the center. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby.

I couldn't post this earlier in the day because Heidi reads my blog and I didn't want to spoil the surprise. *Ü* They all seemed very happy with their gifts. Yay!

And now I must close and get back to work on a few more projects...this is what I get for starting too late to do what I want to leisurely. LOL Ah well, it's part of the fun of the season, right?

Have a good one. Thanks so much for stopping by. Oh and I forgot to let you know that Jessica's ear quit hurting on Sunday and she's been fine ever since (knock on wood). Thank you to those of you who asked.

Til next time!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One Way To Go "Green" This Holiday Season!

 You may or may not know that I give my godson and his brother a gift card for whatever present giving occasion comes around. I usually try to dress up the packaging for the gift card. When I saw this on Holly's Hog Wild About Stamping, I knew I had to try it for myself!

What a fun way to give a gift! Oops, as I look at the photo of the "dressed up" wreath, it looks a little warped. I can fix that no problem, though. I included a plain one so you can see it. The wreath takes 15 dollar bills and I wanted to give them $20, so I searched online and found this site and I checked out the Money Star, which led me to this page that shows how to make a star using 5 bills. Perfect! I wanted to dress up the wreath a bit, but didn't want to do the rhinestones and I could only find some silver cording and ribbon. Not spectacular, but it'll do, right?

I timed myself making one of the wreaths and it took me 10 minutes to fold all the parts and put them together. Not too shabby. It also shows it's not a difficult fold. The star kind of looks complicated, but honestly, it wasn't hard either. You just need a smidge of patience when tucking the points together.

So, if you need a last minute gift, you may want to try this. Holly has a video showing how to do the fold and she's very thorough, well worth a look-see.

I got Louie the Lion done last night, so the teacher gifts are done. Making progress! Yay!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a super day.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Meet Lucy Lion

I have to share this! I'm giggling as I look at what I created today. The girls' school mascot is a lion, and I got the  bright idea to crochet a lion for their teachers as a holiday gift (in addition to the ornaments I made). Anyway, I used a pattern by Vanna White from a little booklet I picked up at Hobby Lobby (you can find it at Joann's and Michaels, too I think).

The first one is done and Amy named her Lucy. Jessica named hers (yet to be created...starting tonight) Louie.

Look at that little piggie like tail. Oh my goodness, this turned out way cuter than I thought it would. LOL I hope the teachers like them. *Ü*  Amy wants one now....